It’s the season!

It is almost Thanksgiving and Christmas the seasons we dream about when it’s 110° in the middle of an Alabama summer. Holidays with autism can be hard sometimes especially when the children were little.

When Justin was diagnosed with autism 20 years ago people didn’t know much about it there was no Internet to look up everything on autism effected 1 in every 185 now it effects 1 in 56 children. It is the true pandemic. We would try to do the traditional thanksgiving with everyone together but more often than not Justin would end up in a back bedroom watching SpongeBob while eating chicken fingers and ketchup. ( still his favorite meal) then we started hosting the big holidays so that at least he could be at home and in his own room.

We would have 20 to 30 people at the house and have a really good time. Now all the boys are grown one has a wife, a baby and a new baby on the way. One goes to Friendsgiving with all his friends one is in the army so he may or may not be home for holidays and as for Chef Justin he is wearing me out spending a fortune at the grocery store after all a pack of baloney cost seven dollars these days and cooking every recipe he has seen on the Internet.

These are a few of his favorites we thought that we would share. He likes pork tenderloin with cranberries and orange sauce this one isn’t too hard to make. He also makes a sweet potato a masterpiece that is very time consuming. We would all be just as happy with mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows on the top but not him. We also make the roasted brussels sprouts with candied pecans. Justin has a severe nut allergy if he eats any but he’s OK to be around them.

Random fact here he is very allergic to peanuts however he’s everything at Chick-fil-A which is cooked in peanut oil with no reaction at all. His doctor said that the heat of the oil cooks off all the allergens good to know. However if your child has a nut allergy make sure you ask your doctor before you try this.

We also have several desserts to choose from. Justin doesn’t eat very much sweets. He doesn’t like chocolate at all I think he’s an alien, who doesn’t like chocolate? We have learned to adapt over the years with all boys we did not expect to have them home every Thanksgiving so what we do is we have breakfast casserole made the night before and popped in the oven around 7 AM the children all know it will be here ready to go at about 830 they can come by and eat breakfast with us if they would like to if not that’s OK too then we will have the rest of Thanksgiving dinner and the desserts for them to come by later in the day but if they can’t it’s OK.

When you have children with special needs you just have to make the holidays your own and do the best that you can do one thing I learned early on was to not have great expectations of other people being able to Accommodate your special needs child it’s not that they don’t want to they just don’t know how. Holidays at home are much easier for us now and that too is OK. We go to the movies on Thanksgiving weekend put up our Christmas tree and eat pizza. We have also been known to have an occasional holiday meal at Cracker Barrel.

What ever your Thanksgiving looks like just make it your own and know that we are thankful for you and for following Chef Justin. If you would like any of the recipes to this let us know and we will be happy to share them!

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.