September Favorites

+ nutpods dairy/gluten-free, whole 30 approved coffee creamer

+ these handy dandy name labels for my kids clothing and supplies

+ la la land and hidden figures (both now on HB0 streaming)

+ speaking of movies, have you seen captain fantastic, so, so good! (streaming on amazon prime)

+ reading a bunch of chic lit "beach reads" by this author, so far my favorites are the perfect match, waiting on you, and anything for you

+ this "pizza" spaghetti casserole (paleo, gluten/dairy free)


+ this Ed Sheeran song...swoon

Weeknight Baking: Chocolate Zucchini Bread (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

While our summer garden is fading fast, we recently picked the few remaining zucchini off the vine, and with no other plans for the produce, we opted to make zucchini bread!  My daughter made chocolate zucchini bread at a cooking camp this summer, and has been eager to replicate the recipe in our own kitchen ever since. Thus, my little sous chef and I decided to make this delicious chocolate zucchini bread together.  While it wasn't quite her recipe, she did enjoy grating the zucchini, sifting the cocoa powder, and stirring the various ingredients into the batter.

The recipe listed is vegan, but I substituted 3 eggs for the flax eggs listed, and it turned out just fine; moist, flavorful, and oh-so-chocolatey.  You really can't tell there's any zucchini in this bread, and it was sure was delicious!

Again

Frustrated, saddened, devastated, angered.  Again.  This keeps happening.  As if Sandy Hook wasn't enough.  No one needs to own an automatic assault rifle.  Look where it has gotten the United States.  We can change this, we need to change this now. Look at Australia who took strides in changing their gun laws.  If you feel helpless, confused, and want to do something, I encourage you to become a member of Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action and contribute your support to this fight. And read this.

Feeling all the emotions today.  My heart and thoughts are with the victims and their families.

Atypical

I've found that a key marker of a good book is one where eager anticipation of what is to come supersedes schedules, priorities, and healthy sleep habits.  This may also the marker of a good TV show.  One where you are itching to find out what happens next, wide awake despite the late hour, and feel paralyzed when the screen casually rolls into the next episode and you agreeably, willingly follow along.

This is Atypical.  While I was sad that it was only 8 episodes, this show is well rounded, and on the whole, an insightful and heartwarming comedy about one individual's life in high school with autism. Meet Sam Gardner, a quirky, Antarctic obsessed high school senior with high functioning autism.  The show invites us into Sam's little world, giving the viewer insight into how he thinks, what he feels, and how certain situations downright frustrate him and why. In addition to navigating the daily challenges of high school life, Sam triumphantly decides that he is ready to start dating and acquire a girlfriend.  However, this turns out more challenging than his research suggests, and Sam finds himself completely unequipped and perplexed on how to date.

The cast is excellent, Bridgette Lundy-Paine shines as Sam's blunt, often abrasive younger sister Casey, who is equally annoyed and protective of her older brother.  Sam's dad, Doug, is earnest, frank, and likable.  As the show develops, we learn how he's struggled to connect meaningfully with his son, having attempted many times, only to be rebuffed as his efforts - while genuine - did not resonate with Sam. As the show unfolds, they soon turn a corner as Sam begins to see his dad as the most suitable candidate to dole out advice on how to get a girlfriend.  With this shift of parental involvement and trust, Sam's mom, Elsa, (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, my least favorite character in the series) finds herself in the throws of a mid-life crisis as she struggles to understand her identity apart from being Sam's advocate and mom.  The cast is well rounded with strong supporting characters such as Sam's friend Zahid, his friend and co-worker at the electronics store is ever present with string of cheesy one-liners and sage advice to pick up girls.  Also likable is Casey's persistent friend turned love interest, Evan, who wears her down with his affable, stoner charm.

While I recognize that this show doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what it is like to live with autism, I think it's a good place to begin a dialogue about autism and educate oneself.  Having worked in the public school system as a paraeducator and teacher for many years, I myself have taught many students on the autism spectrum,  and while it is important to note that while no two students with autism are the same, I recognize attributes, language, and mannerisms of former students in Sam.  I was pleasantly surprised at how heartwarming the story is, while being sensitive to the challenges that may come with parenting, and being a friend, and sibling to a child with atypical needs.  

If you haven't yet, go check out Atypical.  It's worth a watch!

This post is part of my partnership with Netflix where I share what my family and I are watching each month on our favorite streaming platform. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  #StreamTeam

image/netflix

Lovely Little Reads: Rosie Revere, Engineer

What can I say, I love Andrea Beaty's rhythmic rhyming text! I genuinely enjoy reading Rosie Revere, Engineer aloud on repeat at bedtime (much more than some of my daughter's other favorites like the cloying Pinkalicious, do not get me started!). Beaty's text makes the reader's voice rise and fall with such vivacious intonation and momentum, it is truly a joyful read aloud experience. 

Not to mention the message! Failure is okay? Normal? You mean, everyone makes mistakes? Everyone?! And then gets up and keeps going? Amen! 

I can only hope that Andrea Beaty will go on to create books for all of the colorful characters in Miss Lila Greer's class (as she has done with Iggy Peck, Architect and Ada Twist, Scientist) and deliver to us more whimsical, upbeat stories about the kid superpowers of curiosity, creativity, and discovery. 


P.S. Go check out my other recommendations on my instagram page!

image/amazon

School Lunches Around the World

Ever wondered what school lunches look around the world?  Here's a glimpse....most look pretty delicious, and you may notice that one of these things is not like the other.  Can you guess what country that might be?  Sigh...


Where would you most like to eat lunch?  My vote is Greece!

images/sweetgreen

Weeknight Baking: Pumpkin Bread (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

One of my biggest cravings this time of year is pumpkin bread.  I love it, I love it!  Pumpkiny goodness wrapped up in a delicious bread?  Sign me up.  Now, with some dietary changes, it was necessary to find a suitable gluten and dairy free alternative.  

This recipe is also written as vegan, but I have no problem eating eggs, so I substituted 3 eggs for the flax eggs listed.  It was delicious, moist, and flavorful, we gobbled it all up within one and a half days. Will definitely be making this again very soon!