Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Quinoa with Black Beans and Hominy


1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of 1 large lemon

1/4 cup grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 large limes)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Two 15-ounce cans hominy, rinsed and drained
One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated

For the quinoa: In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the quinoa, chicken broth, salt and lemon zest to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, agave, lime 
juice, vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper until smooth.

In a serving bowl, combine the quinoa, hominy, black beans and cilantro. Add the dressing and toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into the lettuce leaves and serve.

Per serving (based on 6 servings): Calories: 332; Total Fat: 13 grams; Saturated Fat: 1 gram; Protein: 9 grams; Total carbohydrates: 46 grams; Sugar: 12 grams; Fiber: 5 grams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Sodium: 625 milligrams

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/quinoa-with-black-beans-and-hominy-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

My alterations:

No lemon zest, cilantro, lettuce leaves
Used lemon juice instead of lime 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Spicy Yogurt Sauce

I am loving this new creation:

Spicy Yogurt

1 C Greek/strained yogurt
1/2 C crumbled feta
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp hot sauce (Tapatío is my favorite for this recipe)

Stir ingredients together. Use as topping for falafel, dipping sauce for pita chips, or eat as savory/spicy yogurt (my favorite!).

Makes a really yummy meal as a savory yogurt--I added Ras el Hanout Moroccan spices or pureed beans (canned cannellini or garbanzo beans) a couple times and YUM.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Moroccan Turkey Meatballs: Pretend Falafel

I thought I'd share a delicious recipe with y'all: http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2012/02/recipe-for-moroccan-turkey-meatballs.html

I used coconut flour instead of falafel mix, and served with hot sauce, yogurt-lemon-tahini sauce, and feta on a bed of spinach. It satisfied my craving for a
falafel sandwich!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Salves for the Soul

Sometimes I get a bout of melancholy that sticks with me for a couple days and I need to do something to shift my perspective or just ride it out gently. I like to remind myself of the things that help:

(1) A good cry. Possibly brought on by a sad song, a touching image, a heartbreaking movie. It can be completely unrelated to whatever set of circumstances is spawning my melancholy. The simple act of crying is a catharsis, emotionally and physically. Tears even contain hormones that are capable of easing pain and softening aggression. The act of releasing them helps us to feel better.

(2) Art. Sometimes I need to express with art what my words can't. Or just get into the act of creative release, without focusing on a destination or product. Art therapists use art-making as a way to process and understand feelings while bypassing the language center in the brain that can sometimes hinder our emotional expression. The act of creating and working with different materials (tearing tissue paper, creating collages, working with clay, coloring with markers, painting, etc.) helps me get in touch with parts of myself I sometimes forget. My favorite medium right now is papercloth, a very forgiving mixed media collage/decoupage technique that allows me to remain process, vs. product-focused.

(3) Music. Loud, soft, with or without dancing, just as long as I give myself to it and let it flow through me. If I want to get weepy, I go for Iron & Wine's The Creek Drank the Cradle, Dylan's Blood On The Tracks, or Tom Waits' Blue Valentine. If I want to dance and sing at the top of my lungs, I listen to something energetic and rhythmic--my current favorites are Macklemore and Ke$ha!

(4) Mindful Meditation. What is helping me most right now is finding a moment to focus on an intent for the day and find appreciation for what I have. When I'm in a rut or feeling crappy, it's really easy to notice what I don't have. Dwelling on the negative reinforces the message that I don't already have what I need, when in reality I am so very fortunate that I do have what I need.

What works for you to help you feel better when you get a touch of the blues?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Domestic Overwhelm of the SAHADDer.

SAHADDer: The Stay-At-Home ADDer. Being a stay-at-home parent comes with its own set of challenges, but throw some ADD in the mix and it can be completely overwhelming--especially when systems in place go all hinky. I recently experienced a particularly bad case of Domestic Overwhelm, when a system that was barely functioning became overly stressed with the addition of a brutal cold that sent us in a tailspin. Have you ever treaded water to the point of exhaustion? Hopefully not, but it's the perfect metaphor to describe where I was. Head barely above water. And it was raining. And the swells were huge. And there were sharks!

The dishes were piling up, the trash was overflowing, the guest room had become the dirty laundry room, I was incredibly cranky, exhausted, cognitively fuzzy, emotional, and I couldn't get over that hump to crank up the system again. I was feeling pretty isolated because all my socialization was halted by the state of my house and mind. My kids were suffering, my husband was carrying work and domestic stress around... It just was not a pretty picture. Sleep deprivation is a terrible trigger for ADD, and I have my share of it with a one-year-old who still wakes up frequently in the night to nurse. The chronic deprivation of rest is, as a good friend put it, like a repetitive stress injury. It needs to be treated gingerly, like any other injury, while it heals.

Well, my friends, I'm happy to say I'm emerging from the Domestic Overwhelm, and I've learned a few things about getting systems functioning again when everything is out of whack.

Get help.

Start with some practical, body-double help. If you can swing it, hire a housecleaner and an organizer. Hire a night nanny. If you don't have funds to spare, trade childcare with a friend to get a few hours to yourself. I hired a mother's helper, the teenage daughter of a friend, to spend a few hours at our home a couple days a week while I take care of my needs. My needs? Cleaning up the kitchen uninterrupted, preparing dinner, taking a nap, organizing the garage, watching a movie in my bedroom, taking a bath, looking out the window, playing in the garden, writing letters, paying bills, making phone calls, doing art in my studio, taking a walk alone with the dog... Anything I can do where I can find myself a little.

See a doctor.

It's important to rule out physical conditions that might be contributing to your exhaustion. Anemia, hypothyroidism, vitamin D deficiency... Any number of conditions that are easily treatable could be causing you to slump. If you're being treated for AD/HD with medication, check in with your doctor about your dosage. Additionally, a psychiatrist can be immensely helpful in determining if you're suffering from depression and would benefit from medication to help get you back on track. Consult with a psychiatrist/psychologist/therapist for talk therapy options, which can often be just as effective as or boost the effectiveness of an antidepressant.

Let others see your mess.

Another thing that really helped me over the past couple weeks was finally deciding that even if I can't keep a clean house in the way I wish I could right now while my internal resources are so limited and what little resources remain are prioritized for my children, I don't have to isolate myself from my friends. I tell my friends "please take it as a compliment that I'm letting you see how my house is. It means I trust you not to judge me!". If they really love you (as they should, because DUH! that's what true friends do!), they will be understanding of your struggles, and you will benefit from the support.

What I learned:

I was depleted. My spirit was starving. Without having time to take a spiritual breath, I wasn't much use to anyone. I was spending so much of my day in a state of half-there. I was half-there for my kids while I tried to clean or cook or organize, and there was no time for those self-care tasks that require privacy, like bathing, movie-watching, writing... This meant my batteries were never recharging, and I was sacrificing my already precious sleep to have some alone time after everyone else was asleep. I was spending my day feeling like a shitty person for not giving my kids the attention, clean house (within reason), nutritious food, or present parent they needed.

The addition of a mother's helper is new, but I already feel in my gut that this is a turning point. After a few hours with our helper, I noticed the difference in the happiness of both of my boys. I noticed the happiness of myself. As for my visit with my doctor, my blood panel came back from the lab showing my T3 was low, despite my already-being-treated-with-medication TSH levels being normal--a long way of saying that my body was still hypothyroid. The double whammy of being hypothyroid (which causes lethargy, lack of motivation, dull skin, sleep disturbance, and depression) along with a lack of adequate time to care for my self hit me hard. But we're back on track now, with a stronger system in place!

Helpful Links

The following are some very helpful snippets of information compiled by About.com ADHD Blogger Keath Low, a psychotherapist specializing in ADHD:

Moms with ADD
Parenting with ADD
Self Care Tips for ADD Parents

Friday, May 3, 2013

Art, hyperfocus-style

Going through some artwork from the art therapy group I participated in earlier this year, I came across these sketches. This is possibly my biggest ADD challenge -- task switching when my attention has a hold of me. I thought I'd share!