Many Hats Mommy

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Click here to discover my top 5 posts of 2013! via manyhatsmommy.com


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Autism, Parenting, and Chocolate: My Top 5 Posts from 2013

Thanks again to all my readers for visiting my corner of the world. I didn’t write as much in 2013, but I still had popular posts. Wondering which ones were read the most? Think you missed one? Here are my top 5: Continue reading


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Gluten Free Casein Free Chocolate Sponge Pudding


Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link to Home Educating Family Magazine. If you choose to subscribe, I will receive a small commission.

I have some good news for you–this pudding is yummy and it’s easy to turn the original recipe into a GFCF delight. The bad news is, it’s easy to make into a GFCF delight! You will want to make this often. Continue reading


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Gluten-free Casein-Free Ham & “Cheese” Croquettes


Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link to Home Educating Family Magazine. If you choose to subscribe, I will receive a small commission.

Cooking in Our Homeschool

The boys and I have been watching cooking shows together and I’ve been incorporating “cooking class” into our homeschool. It has been a lot of fun for all of us, but be warned! Cooking with kids takes twice as long, so you’ll need a heaping helping of patience and time. There are some days I know we just don’t have time for a cooking class.

Last week we watched an episode of “Sandra’s Money-Saving Meals” on Food Network. She was doing a bake sale theme. At the end she did two savory recipes, and I fell in love with both. The first one was Ham & Cheese Pinwheels, which we can’t make yet because it uses pizza dough, and gluten-free pizza dough just doesn’t roll up into a log. I want to try it with rice paper instead, but haven’t found the rice paper yet. (Is that even the right term?)

The second savory recipe was Ham & Cheese Croquettes. If you don’t have to worry about food allergies, you could click on the colored link and get her recipe. For those of you that need to eat gluten-free or GFCF, you’ll be able to use the recipe I adapted. It is YUMMY! Continue reading


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Gluten Free Crockpot Cinnamon Biscuits

The other night I was waiting for a late dinner with my husband. I was hungry and on Pinterest. Bad combination. While browsing and repinning, I came across this recipe for gluten free Crockpot Cinnamon Biscuits. (Her picture is prettier than mine.) Continue reading


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Special Diets for Special Kids: Volumes 1&2

Today I have another fantastic resource for you from Future Horizons! Lisa Lewis, Ph.D., has written some insightful materials about the effects of diet on children with ADHD, autism,  celiac, food allergies, etc. Future Horizons has put two of her popular books into one volume–Special Diets for Special Kids: Volumes 1&2.

Here’s what I love about this book: Continue reading


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Enjoy Life Foods Has a New Snack–Plentils!

I have a confession. I miss Cheetos. Yes, I know they have no nutritional value. Yes, I know they’re not good for me. I still miss them from time to time. That, and Bavarian cream donuts with chocolate frosting.

But I digress.

Once on Twitter I made a comment that I missed Cheetos, that I wanted a crunchy cheesy snack. Enjoy Life Foods’ Chief Marketing Officer Joel replied, “Just wait, we’re working on something new.”

Oh, the suspense!

Then I got The Email…”Would you like to test these for us?” Are you kidding? Of course!

When the Enjoy Life Foods box arrived (which Dr. J has been able to identify and read for over a year), I opened it in the leasing office where I picked it up. I thought, why not have a taste test with folks who don’t HAVE to eat gluten free (or some other special diet). Enjoy Life Foods sent me one bag of each of the four flavors–Light Sea Salt, Garlic & Parmesan, Margherita Pizza, and Dill & Sour Cream. Three non-food allergy adults tried them, and they all liked them! Margherita Pizza and Garlic & Parmesan were the winners of that taste test.

Continue reading


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Enjoy Life Foods Oven-Baked Chewy Bars

Do you know what I love about Enjoy Life Foods besides the fact that they ask me to taste test for them? I love that they listen to their customers. I’ve left notes on their Facebook wall, and they reply! I’ve had conversations on Twitter with their Chief Marketing Officer (yes, he’s working on getting Meijer to carry my favorite product!). I’d say that’s good customer service.

But, enough of that. You want to know what we tested! Continue reading


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Enjoy Life Foods Not Nuts Seed and Fruit Mixes

The wonderful folks at Enjoy Life Foods sent me another great product to test: Not Nuts Seed & Fruit Mixes. If you are not familiar with Enjoy Life Foods, their products are free of the eight top allergens, which is awesome for those of us whose kiddos are super sensitive to some of those allergens!

When I opened the package, I wasn’t sure I’d get my super picky Aspie to try the mix–too many new things at once, especially things that look a lot like things he doesn’t like. However, he does enjoy testing products, and, drum roll please, the Mountain Mambo mix has Enjoy Life Foods’ mini chocolate chips in it! So, we started with that, and I managed to get Dr. J to try it. That was all for him (he’s been anti-raisins for a while now, so any dried fruit is out of the question!). HOWEVER… Continue reading


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Picky Eaters & Sensory Issues

Last week we had a different article on picky eaters. Here are a few more tips, sent courtesy of the fine folks at Future Horizons!

Autism Asperger’s Digest                March-April 2011 issue

Column: Sensory Smarts                  www.autismdigest.com

Happy Mouths, Happy Meals

Sensory Problems Usually Are the Problem with Difficult Eaters

Dear Sensory Smarts,

My five-year-old is such a picky eater! There are only a few foods she’ll eat: pasta, pizza, and ice cream. She wants to eat macaroni n’ cheese almost every meal, but it has to be one particular brand. If the store is out, she will not eat another brand. My parents and in-laws think it’s because I spoil her. They all say I should serve her what everyone else is having and if she doesn’t eat, then tough. I did try it once and she simply did not eat. Help!

From,

Mac n’ Cheese Maven’s Mom

Dear Maven’s Mom,

Kids with oral sensory issues and food aversions will not eat foods they find repulsive and may wind up with nutritional deficiencies. Your child did not become an extremely selective eater because of something you did. It may help to consider the underlying factors that may be impacting your child’s inability to tolerate a wider variety of foods.

Oral Sensory Problems

Kids with sensory challenges, especially those on the autism spectrum, often have sensory issues in and around the mouth. Remember that the lips, tongue, inside cheeks, and throat are lined with skin. A child may be exquisitely sensitive to textures, and unable to tolerate foods that are lumpy, slippery, chewy, crunchy, or a combination of textures, like yogurt with granola. Some kids are particular about flavors, and may only eat foods that are bland, sweet, or even highly spiced. Some kids are particular about temperatures and insist on or refuse foods that are cold, hot, or lukewarm. Some kids stuff their mouths to feel there’s something in there. Other kids object to the way food looks or when items touch each other on a plate.

Some problem feeders have oral-motor weakness, and lack strength and stability in the lips, tongue, and jaw for nursing and later for eating solid foods. Jaw weakness makes chewing difficult while tongue weakness makes it hard to form a bolus (round food mass) to swallow. High or low muscle tone in the mouth can also be an issue. A child may have a hyperactive gag reflex and avoids eating and gagging. At its most extreme, a child may throw up when an offending food is tasted, smelled, or simply mentioned.

Most kids on the spectrum crave predictability. Your daughter may insist on exactly the same brand of mac n’ cheese cooked exactly the same way as a form of control in a world that sometimes feels out of control. If she has successfully eaten that one type of mac n’ cheese in the past, it’s got to be the very same kind in the future.

It sounds like your daughter sticks to “the white diet,” consisting of carbs and cheese, a common diet among kids with sensory issues. These foods are relatively soft and have an easy “mouth feel.” Unfortunately, these foods consist of gluten and dairy, which many kids with autism do not tolerate well. Gluten is the main protein in wheat and other grains and casein is a protein in cheese and other dairy products. The theory is that these proteins trigger immune responses in some kids, resulting in a pleasurable, druglike response. Gluten and casein sensitivities are worth exploring with a nutritionist or allergist.

When a child has a significantly limited food repertoire, do not withhold the few foods that are acceptable. If you take away that one brand of mac n’ cheese, you’re taking away one of the few sources of nutrition for your child, even if it is a poor one. Pizza can be healthy if you buy or make it with high-quality ingredients.

I start by identifying one food the parent would like to add to a child’s diet, typically a fruit or vegetable. If possible, the child selects the particular fruit or vegetable.

Find more on eating difficulties and other sensory challenges in Raising a Sensory Smart Child and at sensorysmarts.com. You may also want to check out these books: Just Take a Bite (by Lori Ernsperger, available in bookstores and online) and Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids (by Melanie Potock, available at MyMunchBug.com).

Got a question? I’d love to hear from you. Please email questions to Lindsey@sensorysmarts.com.