Mother’s Day Dessert – Safe for the Whole Family

When I saw the cover of the May 2016 Better Homes and Gardens® magazine, I was inspired!

Mother’s day is right around the corner and what better idea than to make a delicious modified dessert for the mom who’s having trouble swallowing but that the whole family can share and enjoy.

The recipe in the magazine is for “Showstopping Meringue Desserts”. Crispy, marshmallow-y meringues are unsafe to consume for someone on a puree diet because they consist of several different textures and dissolve on the tongue, making it impossible to control the swallow. Add whole fruit and the original recipe is definitely off the list of “okay” foods if you are having trouble swallowing.

So I created a recipe that is every bit as beautiful and delicious.

The whole family can eat this and not feel like they are being cheated…just ask my girlfriends who ate these for dessert at our “girls’ lunch” yesterday!

This recipe is easy to make ahead and scale up or down, as needed.

  • 1 – 8 oz. brick Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 – 8 oz. container Whipped Topping, thawed
  • 1 jar Lemon Curd
  • Seedless Blackberry Jam
  • Blueberry Syrup
  • Mint for garnish, optional

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Drop rounded half cup portions on a parchment lined sheet pan that will fit in your freezer. Form a well in each mound, making a shell, and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to serve, peel the frozen shells off the parchment and place on individual plates or on a platter. Place the shells in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or allow them to sit at room temperature for about 10 minute so they can soften.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon curd to each shell and top with small dollops of seedless blackberry jam and drizzle with blueberry syrup. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 8

The shells can be made ahead up to a month ahead, just freeze them until they are firm before you cover them with plastic wrap

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If you are concerned about carbohydrates and fat, you can easily substitute Neufchatel cheese and “lite” whipped topping.

Nutritional Info each: 325 calories; 17.25 gm fat; 40 gm carbohydrates; 135 mg sodium; 0.33 gm protein

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Perfectly Safe Popsicles

If you’ve been prescribed thickened liquids and you miss eating ice cream and other frozen treats, this video will help you

 


Cookbook Review – Part 2

Book 4.1

 

I purchased, read and tested recipes from the four best-selling “Dysphagia Cookbooks” on Amazon.  Each is well written and insightful but there are specifics that are unique to each book. Each is a “labor of love” for the author. If you purchase one of these books, I encourage you to read the forewords and acknowledgements as you will find something of value in each.

As a passionate cookbook reader, collector and author, I currently have more than 100 cookbooks in my collection. I subscribe to every food magazine that is currently published and I can’t seem to part with my 20 year collection of the now defunct “Gourmet” magazine. If you called me a “food-wonk”, you would not be far off. I have developed my own techniques and recipes and have combined them into a guide: “Cooking for Someone with Swallowing Problems”.  This guide teaches the techniques you need to modify everyday foods and beverages. It has recipes and suggestions for eating out and stocking your pantry with pre-made, common everyday foods found in the grocery store. This guide is designed as a reference tool so you can modify the everyday foods you love so you can come close to living the life you had before you developed dysphagia. It is available for purchase for $29.95, which includes shipping and handling. If you want to purchase one, contact me directly: laura@dysphagiasupplies.com.  As part of the purchase of the guide, you will receive monthly updates, articles and new recipes.

The four best-selling “Dysphagia Cookbooks” on Amazon are:

  •  “Soft Foods for Easier Eating Cookbook” by Sandra Woodruff, R.D. and Leah Gilbert-Henderson, Ph.D.  This is “A Complete Guide” to dysphagia management.  The first 101 pages cover everything you need to know about stocking your pantry with food and kitchen equipment, thickening liquids, staying healthy, special considerations and more! If you can, take the time to read the first 101 pages, they are truly enlightening. The approximately 200 recipes follow the National Dysphagia Diet guidelines. The recipes are simple and easy to follow. Each recipe includes nutritional information and offers suggestions for substitutions and modifications. There are also tips for menu planning. The last thirty pages lists support organizations as well as products, manufacturers and distributors of products that make life easier for living with swallowing problems.

 o   This book was written in 2010, therefore it does not list many of the, new or improved products, new suppliers and support groups that have been developed in the last four years and there are many.

  •  “Down Easy: A cookbook for those with swallowing difficulties” by Judy Best. This book is especially helpful for someone recovering from cancer. The author, Judy Best, a graduate of a Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, was inspired to write this book as her husband was recovering from throat cancer.  If you want to learn to eat again after you’ve been on a feeding tube, this book offers great tips. The recipes are simple, easy to follow, use whole foods and natural ingredients.  Each recipe also has a complete nutritional breakdown and addresses whether it is gluten-free. This cookbook would appeal to someone who is transitioning to “regular” foods.

o    The author has assigned her own “Down Easy Swallowing Levels”, so the recipes don’t follow the standards set by the National Dysphagia Diet. If you have been given a care-plan for the National Dysphagia Diet, it may be a bit confusing if/how you use the recipes.

  • The “Easy-to-Swallow, Easy-to-Chew Cookbook” by Donna L. Weihofen, R.D., M.S, JoAnne Robbins, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, and Paula A. Sullivan, M.S., CCC-SLP. Part one of the cookbook covers information about how we swallow, and gives tips for managing some of the conditions that occur with swallowing problems. Part two contains approximately 150 recipes that will appeal to someone who enjoys the basic American diet. Each recipe includes a complete nutritional breakdown. This book is written for someone who is on a “Mechanical Soft” diet or who just needs foods that are easy to chew. It doesn’t completely address purees and how to modify each recipe for a “Puree” diet.

o    Written about the same time the National Dysphagia Diet was developed, it does not use the same terminology.  This book was published in 2002, so it can be a bit hard to find.

  •  “The Dysphagia Cookbook” by Elayne Achilles, Ed.D.  In this cookbook, most of the recipes are written for someone who can eat soft foods.  The author offers good advice on how to stock your refrigerator and pantry with foods that are easy to prepare and eat. The book also offers tips for traveling and eating out. The approximately 150 recipes will appeal to a wide variety of people.

 o   The recipes do not use the standards set by the National Dysphagia Diet, so you may need to read carefully and adjust the final dish.  This book does not include nutritional breakdowns of the recipes.

 


Having Trouble Swallowing? Strategies for Staying Hydrated.

When you have trouble taking foods and liquids by mouth, it can be especially challenging to get enough hydration. People who must consume thickened liquids are often put-off by the flavor and texture of older, starch-based thickeners. New xanthan gum-based thickeners like ThickenUp® Clear taste better, mix easily and don’t continue to thicken upon standing.

Convenience is also an important factor in getting enough to drink. It is easier to just “grab and go” water, juices and other beverages that have been thickened in bulk and kept readily available in the refrigerator. Commercially prepared thickened beverages provide a consistent supply of thickened liquids but can be a bit more expensive than thickening liquids at home.

Individuals who have limited mobility and who have dysphagia are at high risk for dehydration because they must depend on others to meet their need for liquids. Keeping cool thickened beverages within arms-reach is essential but can be a challenge. One solution is to make ice cube with water that has been thickened to the proper consistency with a xanthan gum thickener, like ThickenUp® Clear and then using the ice cubes in drinks kept within easy reach. Do not make ice cubes with starch-thickened water because they brake-down into particles as they melt, causing an unsafe texture. “Regular” ice cubes are dangerous for people on thickened liquids because, as they melt, they thin-out the consistency of the beverage.

Eating foods like soups, smoothies, yogurt and other foods that naturally have a high liquid content can also help to combat dehydration. “Perfectly Safe Popsicles” are also a great way to encourage hydration. If you want the recipe, send me an email: laura@dysphagiasupplies.com.

What are some recommendations you might have for staying hydrated? Please share in the “comment” section of this blog.

As mentioned in a previous blog: dehydration can be exacerbated by the use of diuretics, laxatives, antidepressants, certain antibiotics and other medications. Please consult your Pharmacist about your specific medications if you have questions or concerns.

 Dehydration can be very serious. Severe dehydration can lead to hospitalization.

The key to preventing dehydration is simple: Avoid it. Be aware of what you are drinking and consume more liquids!

Water is an essential element for sustaining life. The human body is composed of more than 60% water.

Without water, we won’t survive for more than a few days.

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