Holiday Eating Made Easy: Sensory Friendly Ideas

Sensory-Friendly Holiday Eating: Simplified Ideas

Pale Trifle

500ml Custard
Un-iced sponge cake (without the jam) or another pale cake, like Madeira cake
425 g sliced peaches (or pears) in syrup
1 packet of yellow jelly – Mango or passionfruit
Mango, Banana, or other pale fruits

Bowl for the jelly to set
Metal spoon
Measuring cups
A large glass bowl for serving – or individual glasses for individual serves
Whisk or beater
Bowl for whisking cream
Piping bag (optional)


Make Ahead:

Prepare the jelly according to packet directions and allow it to set. This takes approx. 3 hours.

Making Up:

Cut the cake into cubes and place it in the bottom of the glass serving bowl, or the glasses for individual serves. Use the syrup from the fruit and pour about half the syrup over the cake.

Pour half the custard over the cake.

Rough the jelly with a fork to break it up a little. Next, add a layer of jelly over the custard. Then top with the fruit, then the remaining custard.

Whip some of the cream to decorate. Spoon the cream into the piping bag and pipe decoration over the top of the trifle. Slice mango, banana and arrange on top of trifle.

Allow settling in the fridge till ready to serve.

You can make the recipe a day ahead.

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Taco Mashtini


Potatoes – 8 russet potatoes
1 cup water
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon salt

Ground Beef – two pounds 
Taco Seasoning – one pack
Water – (Check the taco packet for the amount it requires.)


Wash your potatoes well. 

Peel and slice your potatoes so that they will cook well in the instant pot. 

Add 1 cup of water to the instant pot and then add potatoes.

Set your instant pot to 30 minutes on chicken. – Make sure your vent is closed and leave the potatoes alone to cook.

Once the instant pot finishes carefully open the vent and let vent completely. 

Put all of your potatoes into a large bowl with your seasonings and 1 cup of water or chicken stock. 

Use a hand mixer to mix well and mash the potatoes to the consistency you want. 

Making the taco meat

Brown your ground beef and then drain out all of the grease.
In a separate bowl, mix together your seasoning and water. (This helps you avoid clumps in your taco meat and gets the flavor spread out better.)

Making your layered mashed potatoes.

Layer mashed potatoes taco meat and cheese.

You can add sour cream or some of your other taco toppings to add some extra flavor to this if you are looking to add your own twist to this one.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Tea Sandwiches


Peanut butter
Creamy is much easier to work with than crunchy since it’s smoother.

Strawberry jam or jelly
You can use either jam or jelly but since jam is thicker it’ll hold its shape better without oozing out.

White bread
The sandwich is double stacked, so use bread that’s on the thinner side.


Cut circles out of the bread.
Avoid the cutting the crust. 

Put fillings into sandwich bags.
The sandwich bags are being used as piping bags. Use one sandwich bag for each filling.

Assemble the tea sandwich.
The order from the bottom up: Bread, peanut butter, bread, jam or jelly, and bread.


To make 4 tea sandwiches, you’ll need 1 piping bag with peanut butter, 1 piping bag with jam, and 12 bread circles.

Piping the peanut butter and jam onto the bread makes it so much easier to control the amount and to make it without a mess.

Don’t pipe to the edge of the bread to prevent the filling from oozing out.

Use a cookie cutter that can cut two circles out of each slice of bread.

Frozen bread cuts more neatly and cleanly than room temperature bread.

Make 3-4 tea sandwiches per person.

Use creamy peanut butter since it spreads easier than chunky or natural peanut butter.

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Fruit Pizza: Christmas Tree Cookie


1 (17.5 ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
More fruit for decorating (optional)


First, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On the parchment, press the cookie dough into desired shape. Use flour, powdered sugar, or parchment paper to keep your hands from sticking.

Bake the cookie for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the middle is not jiggly.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before decorating.

In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla, and then mix until smooth.

Then, prepare the fruit for decorating the cookie – make sure fruit is washed, dried, and sliced (if needed).

Evenly spread cream cheese mixture over the cookie.

And then decorate as desired with fruit.

Refrigerate until ready to serve, and it’s best if served immediately.

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Christmas Cookie Cutter Pizza Appetizers


Pizza crust dough, homemade or store bought (for these, prepared pizza crust located in the refrigerated area works well.)

Can of pizza sauce, or your own homemade

Bag of shredded mozzarella

Assorted pizza toppings, such as sausage, pepperoni, green and red pepper, red onion, olives, mushrooms, yellow banana pepper rings, etc. chopped fairly small


Roll out your dough, as for pizza, on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired Christmas cookie cutter shapes. If serving as appetizers, don’t make them too large. If you want to make these for a cute lunch, larger is fine.

Transfer to prepared cookie sheet. Add sauce, then cheese, then toppings, as for pizza.

Bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden and cheese has metled and is bubbly. Make enough…they will go very quickly!

Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Snowman



Pretzel sticks

Candy corn

Mini Chocolate Chips

Extra long toothpicks (4 inches)


The pretzel sticks are a little too long for the proportion of the snowman, so I bit off the ends, leaving them about 3/4 as long as they were to begin with. Just experiment and see what look you like. Also, I find that they go in a little easier if you twist them as you’re pushing them into the marshmallow.

Normal sized toothpicks won’t work; you need the 4 inch variety, which is pretty easy to find at most grocery stores. Slide three marshmallows on the toothpick to create a snowman, then use scissors to clip off the pointy end of the toothpick.

Use the toothpick to poke holes for the arms, legs, and nose, and then push pretzels and a candy corn in the snowman. Then poke small holes for the buttons and push mini chocolate chips into the holes.

Place some mini chocolate chips in a sandwich baggie and melt in your microwave (30 seconds at a time until melted). Snip off a tiny corner of the baggie and “pipe” the chocolate out to draw eyes and a mouth on the snowman.

Make sure to let small kids know that there is a toothpick inside the snowman before they start eating it.

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Holly Jolly Santa Waffles


Apple Cinnamon, Strawberries, Bananas, Blueberries, and Raspberries


Toast Van’s waffles per packaging instructions.

Slice strawberry halves and place them around the top of your waffle to create Santa’s hat.

Next, cut the banana into thin slices. Place a row of slices along the bottom of the strawberry hat to create the fur lining. Place a single banana slice at the tip of Santa’s hat. Place remaining slices around the sides of the waffle and at the bottom to create Santa’s beard.

Place two blueberries on the waffle for Santa’s eyes.

Finish things off with a rosy red raspberry nose.

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Chocolate-Topped Marshmallow Sticks


2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

3 teaspoons shortening, divided

36 lollipop sticks

1 package (10 ounces) large marshmallows (about 36)

1/2 cup white baking chips

Optional toppings: assorted nonpareils, colored sugars, small or crushed candies and flaked coconut


In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and 2 teaspoons shortening; stir until smooth.

Insert one lollipop stick into each marshmallow. Dip marshmallows in melted chocolate, turning to coat; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper.

In a microwave, melt white baking chips with remaining shortening; drizzle over chocolate. Decorate with toppings if desired. Let stand until set.

Use to stir servings of hot cocoa. Store in an airtight container.

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Ashlyn Pieri

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