Feingold Feed

❄ Linkies & Little Notes

Good Morning, everyone!

❄ There's a lovely post by Divina at beauty of picture books today ... and I'm quite honored to be mentioned! Her Friday focus - passing along our precious picture books once they've been outgrown, a topic I touched upon recently here at my blog. Stop by Divina's and take a look around - it's a beautiful spot! I very much enjoyed her post on February books as it features the works of Elsa Beskow - and we're big fans of Ms. Beskow around here! (Current favorite: The Story of the Snow Children)

Speaking of beautiful books, what is the most recent book you've purchased/borrowed from the library - for yourself or your children? To enjoy with the kids, I ordered Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella by Jan Brett last week. For one thing, we LOVE Jan Brett books and have been collecting them for years, and for another, her latest title is set in "a snowy Russian winter" ... which fits in nicely with our Olympics study this month. And last month I ordered A Fine Romance by Susan Branch, about her trip to England with her dear sweetheart, Joe. I'm only on the first chapter, just soaking in the goodness of her charming illustrations and witty prose.

Here's an article about making naturally-tinted Valentine's goodies. Earlybird can't have artificial dyes/flavors, but he gets a kick out of colored frosting like any other child! I'm glad for this reminder because this is the last weekend before Valentine's Day which means anything I want to have on hand - for crafts/gifts/goodies - I must procure and organize this weekend. Despite the vast amounts of seasonal planning I do routinely, I'm often caught unawares by little holidays like this.

Look at this gorgeous home office made out of a storage closet: An Amazing Closet-Turned-Office. I just love the colors as well as the overall set up and it just so happens I have a closet just like this downstairs beside the laundry. I wouldn't need something quite so fancy, but I do need a crafting spot ... a place for my glue, glitter, stickers, paper collection and whatnot. Hmmm ...

And finally, a quick weather report:

Russian winter

Cold, snow ... and that's about it!


Skies are brightening, Little Bear's waking ... time for another cup of coffee! Have a Happy Friday, my friends ...

I'll see you here again very soon!

Lunch with the Guys

Yesterday, Bill and I took the younger boys out for lunch at Earlybird's favorite restaurant - Wendy's! He can eat some of the menu items there - most notably, "natural french fries with sea salt" (which is exactly how he orders them, lol). He was so happy to do this and to show his baby brother "the ropes." Naturally we took some pictures to mark the milestone - Baby's first "fast-food" experience. ;)

Owen at wendy's 1

(The paper napkin was a makeshift bib - not that he had anything, mind you! I brought a bottle but he didn't need to have it.)

Owen at wendy's 8

Earlybird loves people-watching almost as much as he loves the food! (And for the record, he gets a plain cheeseburger, small fries and his own pear juice.)

Owen at wendy's 3

This was a very sweet moment: "Thank you SO much, Daddy. I love you!"

Little Bear just took it all in ...

Owen at wendy's 6


Now, while I'm thinking of it, Sarah recently asked me about posts I've done on food dyes and how they affect behavior. I know I wrote some posts directly addressing that issue, but for now I can link you, Sarah (and anyone else interested) to my "Feingold" archive (this post in particular is pretty detailed). Let me stress - I am by NO means an expert, but I know what works for my child. And without a doubt food dyes and some other substances really impact EB's behavior and abilities. This is why we follow the Feingold diet (not to the letter, but in our own way) as well as some other guidelines that we feel help keep EB (who is autistic as many of you know) balanced.

Well, that's all for now my friends. Thanks so much for all your lovely anniversary wishes! We are having *quite* the 20th year, aren't we?


See you all again sometime soon ...

Happy Halloween Donuts!


Well, this was all kinds of fun!

A batch of freshly baked pumpkin donuts, glazed and adorned with a few "tricks and treats!"

Donuts are a traditional autumn food - they're soft, sweet and SUCH a treat! My favorites are freshly baked cider donuts - they are simply a must at the farm in the fall! Dunkin Donuts always does fun holiday-themed donuts, but Earlybird - though enthralled by those ads and what he sees in the shop windows - can't have commercially prepared donuts. He asks for them, of course - he's a child after all, and they look good! - but I explain that he can't eat those particular donuts. I tell him that they're made with things that would make him feel crummy. I always have a plan though - something to take the sting out of missing out - so I suggested a homemade alternative ... delicious donuts made at home, with good things he can eat!

Now we've baked donuts before (remember these pretty things last Christmas?), but for this time of year I wanted a pumpkin spice donut. So I just googled "baked pumpkin donut" and found lots of options. The recipe I found here sounded awesome, so I decided to try it out.


One really neat trick I learned from this recipe was to pipe the donut batter into the pan using a ziploc bag (with the corner snipped off). This made it so easy!

I will also mention that I used squash puree instead of pumpkin since I had it on hand (despite what the kids think, squash really is no different from pumpkin!). Also, I did not make a maple-cinnamon glaze as the recipe suggests - though it sounded lovely, I wanted something plainer. So I just used vanilla instead of maple extract and left out the cinnamon.

After baking (for about 14 minutes - we made ours dense), I set them to cool in the front window ...


And while the donuts were cooling, I made the vanilla glaze ...


Doesn't that early morning sunshine look pretty? :)

We raided the holiday candy stash for embellishments - but I left one plain for EB. (Funnily enough, though he loves the look of the decorated donuts, he'd rather eat something less textured.)

Crackerjack helped me with the garnishing:


You can see our final designs in the top picture - notice the one in the upper left corner? That's our homage to the "frost snow on the punkin" this year! ;)

Now obviously these donuts would be a real treat even without all the candy and sprinkles, etc. That was just in the spirit of the holiday at hand. ;)

But considering the donuts are baked, and made with minimal fats, they're really not all that bad for you! In fact, I was thinking that these spiced "squash" donuts would be lovely on Thanksgiving morning ... Munching on spicy, warm donuts while watching the Macy's parade? Sounds like a plan to me!

Well my friends, I wish you all a good Monday, and a Happy Halloween as well! I hope you all have a nice day (and night). Be safe and have fun!

I'll be back again sometime soon ...


Our Valentines Day


Right after I put up my morning post, I got down to the business of breakfast. I don't usually bake so early in the day, but I really wanted the house to have that cozy warm smell this morning. Sure enough, as the sleepyheads staggered out to the kitchen, a buzz of excitement crackled in the air: Not only was it Valentines Day, but there was going to be chocolate for breakfast! :)

Once the donuts were cooling on the counter, I bundled myself up and headed outside to the feeders. After a few stormy days, today was so lovely, almost spring-like. I even spied a flock of robins overhead - there had to be a hundred of them! Now, as legend tells it, the birds choose their mates on this day, so I fashioned a little Valentine gesture in the snow ...


Back inside, before Daddy left for work and we got down to "school," we enjoyed a Valentine breakfast together:


The picture doesn't show it but the icing is tinted light pink (naturally, of course, for my Earlybird). I used a pan from The Baker's Catalogue and all Feingold-friendly ingredients ~ right down to the sprinkles! :)

Later in the day we worked on a colorful mosaic picture, based on a craft suggested in Catholic Mosaic. This went along with the lovely book, Saint Valentine, by Robert Sabuda.


We had help, of course:


Our "stained glass" panel is the first part of a Lenten project we're working on this year.


A bit later, Nana stopped by for coffee (and a donut we saved just for her) and she brought with her some treats for the boys - two new movies! Snow Buddies (adorable) and IMAX Deep Sea (amazing)!

And finally, as the sun dipped low in the sky, it was time to make Daddy's Valentine and to savor one more Valentine treat ...


Mind you, that's good old-fashioned Swiss Miss in those mugs - quick but delicious! EB can't have Swiss Miss, but he opted for a limeade popsicle instead. ;)

Well, I'm off for now. I hope your day was a good one, and I'll see you all sometime tomorrow. :)

Gingerbread Goodness!


A busy morning of lessons and therapy (and all that ice gazing), left us with big appetites at yesterday's lunchtime. I insisted the boys eat up well because - according to our December 11th Advent Tag - we had an afternoon of gingerbread goodness ahead of us!

Normally, with Earlybird's dietary restrictions, I need to make things from scratch. But I spied these lovely gingerbread men at Whole Foods last week and, after checking the ingredients label, I decided they would be OK. (More than OK, they were soft and delicious and best of all, easy!) As much as I love making gingerbread (nothing smells more like Christmas, I think) some days there just isn't time. Yesterday was one of those days, so I was glad for these cookies in the cupboard!

For the record, the decorations - while hardly sugar-free - are all-natural and Feingold-approved. They had to be, for Eb's sake! From left to right: Sunspire Chocolate Baking Drops, Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Chips, homemade buttercream frosting, India Tree Snowflake Sprinkles and Sparkling White Sugar, Candied Ginger Babies, and a mixture of Sunspire Semi-Sweet Chocolate and Peanut Butter Baking Chips.

Well, you can just bet Earlybird was first to the table, and if you notice, he claimed the candy-coated chocolates for himself ...


I asked Bookworm to read aloud Gingerbread Baby while I kept EB from eating too many candies assisted Earlybird with his cookie. This beloved story is special to my Crackerjack - he LOVES Jan Brett anyway, but this particular book was a gift to him on his very first Christmas! (We always read the note inscribed inside before starting the story.)


Here's a parade of cookies for you ...







*If you squint, you can see mine is actually a gingerbread mama, complete with a ginger baby in each arm. ;)

(Note ~ Bookworm ate his too quickly for a photo, lol, but I can tell you he preferred the pb-and-chocolate chips.)

After we cleaned up the cookie concoctions, I set out a simple craft for Earlybird, who was eager to do something "with goo and 'parkles." I just cut out gingerbread men from brown construction paper and laid them out for him to embellish ...


... because nothing says "craft" to Eb like glitter and glue.


When they were all done, we set them out to "cool" ...


... and then strung them up in our window, alongside his minty watercolor hearts ...


Late in the afternoon as the sun started to fade and the boys had dispersed to various pursuits, I popped in Little Bear's Gingerbread Cookies to watch with Earlybird. You know, as children's programming goes, Little Bear has to be one of the best. We've loved LB since Bookworm was little!

These homey Advent Afternoons are rushing by so quickly! How many days are left now? Can it really be less than two weeks? And, just so you know, as of today, our cards are not in the mail, the tree is still half decorated, and I've yet to wrap a single package ... but somehow it will all get done. Right? Lol, maybe I should have made up Advent Tags for myself - with to-do's rather than treats!

Well, thanks, as always, for sharing our day with us ... and I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

More Thoughts on Feingold & Food

A few readers left questions about yesterday's Feingold-friendly breakfast post, so I thought I would answer them here in case it might be helpul to someone else, or in case someone has suggestions, particularly for this first question regarding milk - how to save when buying lots of it for a large family.

From Melissa:

"What kind of milk do you use? Regular (non-organic) milk is $3.50/gallon here--a real budget buster when you go through one per day. If you do use organic, any tips on keeping the cost managable?"

First let me say, milk is allowed on the Feingold diet, but we choose to limit it with Earlybird (more on that below). We do buy organic milk as much as possible, or alternatively, milk that is free of growth-hormones. That said, only three of us drink it, so I know I buy much less than the average family. I try to limit milk servings to our three main meals a day, and encourage water and juice in between. I think that saves a bit, but I can imagine how much milk a larger family would go through in the course of a day when most, if not all, members are drinking it.

I have yet to price out all the varieties of milk available to us. In fact, I have set up a sort of "price book" for myself (an idea I first read about in The Tightwad Gazette). Mine is a small looseleaf binder in which I will keep notes on each item we buy regularly - where the best prices are, how to use it, store it, etc.

As with any grocery item, when buying organic milk, check the price on the store brand at a natural market; it might be less expensive than a national brand. Also, find out if there is a local dairy where you might buy direct, or perhaps, join a local food-co-op. You could check with your state's agricultural board or take a look at this Local Harvest website (big hat tip to my friend Theresa for the link).

If you have suggestions for saving money on milk - organic or otherwise - please do share them by leaving a comment below!

Speaking of milk, Theresa left this comment:

"We are looking into Goat's milk though because I am beginning to suspect that we may have a problem with milk based on Andrew's behavior on those days (like today) when we've had dairy for breakfast."

EB has issues with milk, too, though he does eat dairy foods in moderation.

A couple of years ago, just after he was first diagnosed with PDD-NOS, we tried a two-week gluten-free/casein-free diet. I had read that children on the autistic spectrum can benefit greatly from a GFCF diet, so we gave it a shot. It was very hard - the boy loves his bread!  Someone told me that any food your child craves is probably a trigger for them health-wise (i.e. physical or emotional symptoms).

After two weeks, we didn't see much difference, except with milk. He was drinking a lot of it at the time, and without it, he seemed to be calmer. So we cut it out completely.

We think with EB, he has certain levels of tolerance. He can handle dairy and wheat in moderation - too much of it is, well, too much for his system. If he binges on dairy or wheat he reacts to it with an uptick in PDD behaviors. For instance, he loves cream-cheese bagels, but he'll ask for them over and over. Same thing with homemade pizza. We find when we get away from those things he does better. He can have them again at some point, but we have to remember to keep it in check. There needs to be balance.

From LeeAnn:

"Dawn, your list of breakfast foods is so comprehensive, I'm having a hard time figuring out what is *eliminated* in this diet. Could you point out a few common items that EB cannot eat?"

In my breakfast post, EB can have everything I listed, only we need to follow the Feingold list and choose appropriate items. So for instance, he can eat cereal - but not just any cereal, it needs to be a brand that is approved. There are a lot of brands listed, many of them natural varieties - but some mainstream as well. We always have several types on the shelf - EnviroKidz are a big hit. Crispix is too. Since cold cereals can be expensive, I look for coupons, wait for sales, and try to watch how quickly we go through them.

It's hard to make a generalization, but basically there are certain fruits and vegetables - such as apples and berries - that contain salicylates (chemicals produced naturally) that some people are sensitive to. (More information here.) EB can eat other kinds of fruits - he particularly loves melon, pears and bananas. He can't eat raisins, but he can eat dried pineapple or chopped dates. So it's just a matter, in most cases, of finding substitutes.

We're very fortunate that EB is not a picky eater. For example, when we began the Feingold diet, he was drinking lots of apple juice - yet he made a smooth transition to pear juice. We use an organic bottled juice which is, unfortunately, quite expensive, but there are other less expensive brands listed. (We cut his juice with 2/3 water by the way.)

Also, at the time, he was eating lots of applesauce (literally every day with almost every meal). We switched to "pearsauce" - which at first was jars of Earth's Best pear baby food, but that was crazy-expensive considering how much he could eat. So instead we buy organic pears (they go on sale a lot) and cook them down and mill them to make pearsauce. He loves it! (And it makes delicious pear bread to boot!)

It is important to note that this is all stage one of the Feingold diet. After four to six weeks on stage one, you are supposed to move on to stage two and start re-introducing things like apples and tomatoes. You watch for signs of intolerance. We have never done this, as we find EB does so well on stage one, we're not ready to make that leap yet, lol!

Most homemade foods, made with F-F (Feingold-friendy) products are A-ok too. So, EB may not be able to eat Chips-Ahoy, but he can eat homemade chocolate chip cookies.

I think it's important to have lots of choices available, so that the feeling of limitation is downplayed. That's why I just ordered organic lollipops and natural decorating sugars. We don't eat these things regularly, but on the occasion when all the other kids are getting a pop or are eating a colorful cupcake, EB can too.

A few other notes:

  • Yogurt is OK, but not just any flavored, colored, mainstream brand that catches our eye. It must be one that is listed as tested and approved.
  • EB can have jam, but only a few kinds are listed in stage one. I'm hoping to order some online, but in the meantime, I would like to make some homemade pumpkin butter and pineapple jam.
  • Eggs, biscuits and ham are all super - with homemade biscuits, fresh eggs, and a ham from the list (several brands are suggested).
  • Waffles - can't do regular ol' Eggos, but can do some of the organic kinds. Since these are expensive (and we can whip through a box in a day) I try to make homemade.
  • Homemade muffins and coffee cake and other baked goods are all fine too. I couldn't pick up a coffee cake from the bakery - they might use artificial flavorings or preservatives. But really, homemade is so much better for all of us, and our budget!

Not all the items listed are obscure - many mainstream varieties are listed. But I do find more of what I need in a natural foods market. Organic or natural food products tend to use less or no artifical ingredients and preservatives, and these things are highly intolerable for a child with sensitivities. (For the record, all of us are sensitive to some degree - ever get a headache from Nutrasweet? I sure do.)

The trick for my budget (and time) is finding a balance. For instance, we can (and do) buy these delicious organic Krispy Rice bars. EB loves them and has one on the way home from speech twice a week. He likes to have them other times too, though. Since he eats them so quickly, I really should find a less expensive alternative - homemade granola cookies maybe. Save the bars as a now and again treat - not an everyday thing.

I hope that gives you some idea of how we have to make alterations. The diet is not difficult but it is something you have to think about and work around. In most cases I've found we can find an acceptable brand or a subsititution. The key for me is having meals planned out ahead so my shopping is efficient. I can't just grab anything off the shelf, so a carefully thought out list is a must for me if we are to have things to choose from and meals that are healthy and varied (and waste less food in the process).

And, as I've mentioned before, the Food List which comes with your membership explains all this in detail and provides all the name brands you can use.

Gill asks:

"How are things like fishsticks? I guess the coating is a no-no?"

Fish sticks are ok, Gill, if you use an approved brand. We happen to like Ian's frozen fish sticks very much (not sure if they are available over there). I would like to make and freeze our own - they sound so simple to do. I would just be sure to use a crumb coating made with crackers, cereal or bread from the approved list.

So, there's my very long question and answer post! I hope you found it helpful. Keep in mind, I am not an expert in any of this, and other than being a member, am in no way affiliated with the Feingold Association. I am just grateful that these food changes have helped my son, and in the process, helped me improve my food shopping habits.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day. :)

Feingold-Friendly: Notes on Breakfast

I've been brainstorming some ideas in my food planning notebook, with particular focus on keeping meals Feingold-friendy, and I'd like to share my notes as I go. Eventually I hope to have a 2-week menu plan written out, but for now, I'm just getting the general ideas down on paper.

Mainly I'm working off a food list I made up long ago, adjusting it to to what we actually eat, and what EB can eat. I find that by sitting down with recipes and my Feingold food list, it is easy to quickly check ingredients, brands and possible substitutions. I note things to tweak right there on the page, then tear and file it away. I have a tote bag packed with my meal planning supplies - Feingold materials, magazines, recipes, grocery store flyers, coupon packet and notebook.

I do this at home, but you could easily do this at the library once a month or so. Just plan to spend some time poring over the current issues of food magazines, women's magazines - even parenting magazines, I find, have wonderful child-friendly recipes that are easy to adapt and assemble. Copy down recipes and ideas you want to try (long hand if you have the time, or make copies on the library machine).

I am slowly making notes as I go about how to make each food choice more economical and convenient, but in general, I try to watch for coupons (more organic varieties appear every week) and I check the weekly sales flyers for sale items. I am fortunate to live close to several markets, but I usually shop at one regular store and one natural market. In the summer months I will stop at the farmstand as well. If I can get my pantry better organized, I hope to buy in bulk more often (summer project!). Also, I hope to replace our freezer this summer (ours died a year ago or so). And I know I don't have to tell you all this, but the weeks I shop with a meal plan in hand, are the weeks we make much better use of our food!

Please keep in mind that any foods I mention are chosen in accordance with our Feingold Food List. You must join The Feingold Association in order to receive the comprehensive food list (which lists acceptable brands) as well as a plethora of other supportive materials, including a mail-order guide, fast food guide and a handbook with recipes, menu plans and coping stategies.

I hope that my notes here give you some breakfast ideas, whether you follow Feingold or not. :)

Cold Cereal:

  • With milk (for those who can tolerate it)
  • In single-serve snack containers
  • Organic "krispy" cereal bars
  • Homemade "trail mix" with any combination of dry cereal, dried bananas/pineapple/mango/dates, coconut, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, pretzels, milk or white chocolate chips (store in small baggies as a take-along breakfast)

Notes: My middle son and I are the only two who eat our cereal with milk; the rest of my family eats it plain. I'd like to cut down on amount of krispy bars consumed (limit to after-therapy treat if possible).

Hot Cereal:

  • Serve with fruit (diced or stewed and sweetened slightly), brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, chocolate chips, cream, low-fat milk or yogurt

Note: I saw a neat idea in Family Fun magazine, where you take rolled oats and a bit of salt, grind them in a blender or food processor to the consistency of wheat germ and then scoop the mixture into plastic resealable baggies in 1/2 cup portions. Add natural flavorings as you wish (let the kids personalize their own set of bags), seal the bags and shake. To serve, empty contents into a bowl and slowly stir in 1 cup boiling water. Cover and let sit for 3 minutes. Stir again; add milk if desired. My boys like a brand of really expensive organic "kids" oatmeal pouches in chocolate chip and cinnamon flavors; there's no reason I can't make up baggies like this for way less money!


  • Homemade granola (plain oats with a bit of honey and perhaps cinnamon for us) served over yogurt and fruit
  • Granola-over-fruit baked crisp, served with yogurt or cream (lovely on cold winter mornings)
  • Breakfast "cookies" made with oats and pearsauce (instead of applesauce)
  • homemade granola bars

Note: I've bought the Irish tubs of oats in the past, but I think I will price the organic bulk oats at the natural market. If I store it well, it would be less expensive I'm sure. It would make sense, too, to make up large batches of homemade granola to store in airtight containers for snacking and recipes.


  • Plain or vanilla, served alone or with honey, maple syrup, or pureed fruit stirred in.
  • Smoothies made up in blender (keep portion size baggies of fruit in freezer, ready to go)
  • Frozen smoothie bars (like popsicles) make wonderful summer breakfasts (made in a popsicle mold if you have one, or dixie cups with craft sticks work, too).

Note: We buy the large containers of Stonyfield Lowfat Vanilla, though I've toyed with the idea of making our own. It would be more work, obviously, but I would think, less expensive and probably healthier (not sure about how the shelf-life compares). It would be a great idea to make up smoothie pops or cups (in tropical blends) to keep in the freezer - a handy breakfast, snack or dessert!


  • Fresh fruit servings
  • Fruit salad
  • Fruit kebabs
  • Homemade "sorbet" (frozen pureed fruit)
  • A frozen banana coated with peanut butter and granola stuck on a popsicle stick
  • Pearsauce (cooks the same way as applesauce)
  • Baked fruit crisp (see Oats above)

Note: Buy organic fruit in season as much as possible (farms, natural markets) and freeze or preserve when we can. My biggest problem right now is making use of the fruit we have on hand before it's only fit for the compost pile. It's a balancing act, to be sure. We do use some canned fruit (pineapple, pears and a tropical fruit salad).   


Notes: Currently Earlybird drinks organic pear juice, Vruit (Tropical Blend) and occasionally lemonade (frozen, from concentrate). I would like to try making our own pineapple-carrot juice (we have a juicer) and homemade lemonade as well. I would also like to get him to drink more water. In the cold months it would be nice to start our day with homemade hot cocoa, hot vanilla milk or even hot lemonade with honey (nice for the throat).


  • Butter (plain or flavored with honey or maple syrup)
  • Cream cheese (plain or flavored with honey, syrup or perhaps crushed pineapple and shredded carrot)
  • Pumpkin butter (as opposed to apple butter), made from scratch with canned pumpkin or fresh cooked pumpkin when available (lightly sweetened and spiced)
  • Jam or jelly
  • Homemade pineapple jam
  • Homemade lemon curd
  • Cinnamon-sugar
  • Peanut butter
  • Melted cheese

Serve with any of the spreads listed above:

  • Rice cakes
  • English muffins
  • Bagels
  • Homemade biscuits
  • Toast sticks (We like peanut butter, jam and cream cheese, or butter and cinnamon sugar sandwiched between them.)

Notes: We have a bread machine that I never use. I would like to try making homemade bread, as we seem to go through several loaves a week.


  • Quiche (large or individual size) made in homemade crust, with fresh organic eggs, milk and cheese, perhaps veggies and meat too
  • Scrambled or omelette with above ingredients
  • Served on homemade biscuit with a sausage patty or slice of Canadian ham (from approved shopping list). There's a recipe in the Feingold handbook for homemade sausage patties using ground turkey I'd like to try (cook and freeze). We call these breakfast sandwiches "scramblers." :)
  • Wrapped in tortilla, or served in a pita pocket
  • Homemade egg custards made in individual ramekins.

Cheese Quesadilla:

  • Two plain flour tortillas filled with shredded cheese and pan fried or microwaved; serve in wedges.

Note: Currently we use a blend of Sargento shredded cheese because it's easier and the kids like the flavor. I'm interested in using our food processor to shred our own cheese - better for us and our budget.

Mozarella sticks

  • Tasty and easy, but I think buying blocks of soft cheese and cutting them into logs or cubes would be worth a try.

Potato pancakes or zucchini pancakes

  • Served with sour cream and/or pear sauce.

Homemade muffins and quick breads

  • Using organic ingredients as much as possible as well as seasonal fruit. Bake and freeze in batches to have on hand.


Notes: We tend to buy frozen organic waffles, but it makes much more sense to make them ourselves from scratch ingredients or even a packaged mix. We do have a waffle iron; it cooks waffles in individual sticks - fun for the kids to dip in syrup or yogurt. We also like regular sized waffles served sandwich style with pb & banana or honey or jam.


Notes: Use a FA baking mix or even better, make up a homemade pancake mix to store in bulk. When making pancakes, make extras to freeze. Pancakes are delicious with butter and syrup, or diced or pureed fruit, whipped cream too!

French Toast:

  • Delicious with any of the spreads mentioned above!

Sunday Goodies: After Mass on Sundays we have coffee with my parents. I like to have a special goodie for that morning like a coffee cake, cinnamon rolls, pastries or homeade donuts. Any of these things can be made from scratch and kept Feingold friendly. We bought a donut pan at The Baker's Catalogue (only the mini version appears to be available now). We eat them plain, or we might frost them lightly. I'd like to learn how to make homemade pastries and fill them with pineapple preserves, lemon curd or fig jam.

Everything I've listed here, when using approved ingredients and brands are A-OK for someone following the Feingold diet. As you can see, there really is a good deal to choose from. We do not make all these foods by any means - we tend, unfortunately, to rely on the same few meals over and over. But hopefully a rotating menu plan will hopefullly allow for a more healthy and varied diet.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope this post maybe helped someone today. I know there's a lot here, and it might seem rather disjointed, but I hope once I get my menus in place it will all make more sense. You can find my previous Feingold posts here.

Have a lovely day!

Speech with Earlybird

Earlybird had such a wonderful speech therapy session this morning I just had to post quickly and share, especially in light of my recent Feingold posts. His therapist said he did *awesome* and that he was especially conversational today (polite even, with many a thank you and sorry).

His conversational language has really picked up lately - he's so much more social and keyed into his environment, we've noticed. I think, also, as his language skills build (more words, more syllables, more sentences) he's become a more active - or shall I say more proactive - talker. It's so exciting!

EB has made some great strides with his multisyllabic words, too. For example I nearly jumped out of my seat when, driving by a large brick building the other day, he asked:

Mama, what dat?

Oh, that's a school, EB.

No. That a wy-ba-bee.

Yes, EB, it does look like a library! What do we get there?



I get books?

Love it!

EB has only in the past few months really caught on with the multisyllabic words, and he does sometimes drop the middle consonant (not all words, but some). I remember his therapist (I'll call her Dee here) mentioned that with a speech delay it is important that the child uses some sound, even if it is the wrong sound. To drop it completely makes a work incomprehensible, but any sound, right or wrong, keeps the word intelligible. For example, usually he says "mom-mee" but sometimes he drops it and says "maw-ee."

At speech and at home, EB uses flash cards for drilling target sounds. Today one of them had a picture of a pig wallowing in a mud puddle. The word Dee was going for was "muddy," but EB would repeat "mummy" instead. (I tried not to read too much into that, lol.) Dee said that's ok, and even a step in the right direction. She also stressed that when you slow the word down and stress the correct sound, he makes it perfectly - so he can say it, but he needs to remember to say it!

EB's patience has improved dramatically, too. Dee and I try to confer a bit before the boys and I head out, but sometimes keeping EB waiting can be a challenge. Bookworm is excellent at being in charge of EB while I listen to Dee; he helps him on with his coat and takes his hand, and then, as we leave, he walks him down the hall with me (and Crackerjack) following. Well today, EB waited, standing hand in hand with BW, listening to my conversation with Dee. I was grateful for those moments today especially, because I wanted to share with Dee a cute conversation I'd had with EB that very morning, and I'd like to share it with you. (Sometimes I toy with the idea of keeping a blog just for his progress that I can share with family, friends and therapists. Wheels turning ...)

The following is an example of how he's using language more ably these days. Earlybird called me to the family room this morning, his voice had just an edge of distress:

Mama, wook! A bee! (Pointing at the wall where I presumed there had just been a bug of some sort - he uses "bee" for all bugs.)

Where, EB? I don't see a bee.

EB peered at the wall, brow furrowed.

Huh? Huuuuuh?

(Mimicking the way his older brothers say "huh" in an exaggerated, perplexed way.)

Where did it go, EB?

On the counter!

On the counter? Well, if you see it again,  let me know, OK?

Ohhh-kaaaay! I'll tryyyyy!

Too funny! Lots of good words and so much personality, too!

Did I say this was going to be a quick post? :)

Best of all, Dee said he was very even-tempered and in a terrific mood. I told her we'd been making some dietary changes, and that his sleep had been really good too.

I don't mean to imply that all this progress is because we've tweaked his diet over the past few days, but I do think his diet has played a part in keeping him more balanced. He's been sleeping well too (till past five some mornings!) and I know that's helped him (and probably us, too). A friend of Bill's who has a daughter with special needs said that when her sleep patterns settled down and the quality and quantity of sleep improved she made great strides.

I truly hope - and pray - the same will be in store for Earlybird!

Thanks for stopping by today and sharing in our continuing journey. I'm still working on that next Feingold post (snack and meal ideas) - hope to have it up soon!

The Feingold-Friendly Shopping Cart

Writing this post is very timely for me, as today is Wednesday, aka kitchen day - the day I look through (and hopefully clean) our cabinets, refrigerator and freezer. I also begin a shopping list for Saturday's marketing:


My list is actually outdated; I haven't updated it in years!

I wanted to share with you all what I bought on my shopping trip last weekend. As I mentioned, this past weekend was a "big shop." I try do a multi-store, re-stock shopping trip once a month or every six weeks. Most Saturdays I just head to my local Shaw's and within an hour I've got my list completed, my cart filled. So what I am sharing here is not the norm for us, but I wanted to kick off our two-week diet diary with plenty of choices for meals and snacks.

Now, before I unpack my cart, I wanted to say a couple of quick things.

First, I left a lengthy comment in my previous post addressing a few questions that arose in the comments. In it I mention how we do not all follow the diet to a "T" as EB does. I also mention that we asked our pediatrician about the diet before beginning it (or soon after we started). Let me say I love our pediatrician. He is very open to natural remedies - he has never once put my children on antibiotics - and he is very supportive of our homeschooling. He was not against us trying the Feingold diet, but he didn't seem to think much would come of it. But he encouraged us to try it, to see if it helped at all, which, of course, we did, and it has.

Back to the groceries. I shopped at two stores last weekend - my regular supermarket and the natural foods market. Between the two stores I was able to get most of what I wanted. Some items (such as an appropriate jam) I will look for online.

I will be working off this list to outline what meals and snacks we can serve to EB. I also will be looking at each item and seeing how that could be purchased, made or served in a more economical way (chicken nuggets, cookies and pancakes come to mind).

So here we go ...


  • RW Knudson's Organic Pear
  • Vruit (Tropical Blend)
  • Minute Maid Frozen Lemonade
  • Minute Maid Frozen Limeaid
  • RW Knudson's Pomegranate
  • Dole 100% Pineapple Juice


  • Ian's Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Jiffy All Purpose Baking Mix
  • Bob's Red Mill Wheat Free Biscuit and Baking Mix
  • Dr. Oetker Organic Cake Mix: chocolate and vanilla
  • Sunspire All Natural Peanut Butter Chips
  • Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Arrowhead Mills Cornbread & Muffin Mix
  • Dr. Oetker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
  • Dr. Oetker Organic Chocolate Brownie Mix


  • Vermont Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf
  • Matthew's Golden White English Muffins
  • Matthew's Whole Wheat Hamburger Rolls
  • Manny's Flour Tortillas

Breakfast Cereals:

  • Envirokidz Panda Puffs
  • Envirokidz Gorilla Munch
  • Mother's Cocoa Bumpers
  • Nature's Path Organic Honey'd Corn Flakes


  • Stonyfield Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt
  • Horizon Mozzarella Sticks
  • Land O Lakes Sliced American Cheese (from the deli)
  • Sargento Four-Cheese Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese (no spices)
  • Horizon Organic Whipping Cream


  • Barbara's Chocolate Chip Snackimals Animal Cookies
  • AhLaska Organic Chocolate Syrup
  • Edy's Frozen Fruit Bars: Lemonade
  • Nabisco Teddy Grahams: Honey
  • Luigi's Real Italian Ice: Lemon
  • Newman's Own Fig Newmans

Eggs & Egg Substitutes:

  • one dozen free range large eggs


  • bananas
  • pears
  • mangoes
  • Dole Tropical Fruit Salad (canned)
  • Dole Pineapple Chunks
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • kiwi fruit

Grains & Rice:

  • Lundberg Long Grain White Rice

Meat & Poultry:

  • Coleman all-natural ground beef
  • Wild Harvest boneless chicken tenderloins
  • Applegate Farms Turkey Bacon
  • Wellshire Farms Original Style Sausage Patties
  • Gardenburger Original Veggie Burgers

Nuts, Seeds, Peanut Butter:

  • Jif Creamy Peanut Butter

Pancakes, Waffles, Mixes

  • Van's Mini Homestyle Waffles
  • Arrowhead Mills Multigrain Pancake & Waffle Mix
  • Pastas

    • Wild Oats Organic Penne Rigate
    • VitaSpelt Spelt Rotini (new)

    Prepared Foods:

    • Annie's Homegrown Organic Macaroni & Cheese: Arthur


    • Hunt's Original Style Traditional Spaghetti Sauce
    • Amy's Premium Organic Pasta Sauce


    • Late July Organic Bite Size Cheddar Cheese Crackers
    • Lundberg Honey Nut Rice Cakes
    • Premium Soup & Oyster Crackers
    • Lay's Original Potato Chips
    • Envirokidz Organic/Gluten-free Krispy Rice Bars (chocolate)
    • Bearitos Unsalted Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips
    • Bachman Kidzels Pretzels
    • Pringles Original Potato Crisps


    • Imagine Organic Free Range Chicken Broth


    • red potatoes
    • carrots
    • Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin (canned)
    • corn (frozen)
    • peas (frozen)
    • McCain French Fries
    • Ian's Alphatots
    • broccoli
    • asparagus
    • lettuce
    • spinach
    • sweet potato

    Non-Food Items:

    • Seventh Generation Free & Clear Automatic Dishwashing Detergent
    • Seventh Generation Ultra Laundry Powder
    • Ivory Soap
    • Rainbow Unscented Bubble Bath for Kids
    • Tom's of Maine Gingermint Anticavity Toothpaste with Baking Soda
    • Buzz Away Sunscreen Lotion with Citronella

    And there you have it - our shopping cart unloaded. Like I said it was a very "big shop!" :) I'm still working on putting it all away, lol!

    I'll be working on the next aspects of following Feingold (meal ideas and money-saving) over the next few days, and will post more when I can (maybe by the end of the week).

    As always, thanks for stopping by!

    Feingold and Our Earlybird

    Now this could easily become an enormous post in no time flat, so I am going to try very hard to be as concise as possible. I think I might break this post up into a few posts, actually:

    • Why we follow the Feingold diet.
    • What went into our shopping cart last weekend.
    • What meals and snacks we make on a regular basis.
    • Ideas for making an organic/Feingold diet more economical.

    I'd like to first talk a bit about our experience with the Feingold diet, and specifically how it has helped our Earlybird. And before I begin even that, here is a link to the Feingold website so you can see what I'm talking about in case you are completely lost at this point, lol! :) Simply put, the Feingold diet is a set of guidlines that can help some people with behavioral, physical and/or emotional disturbances.

    As I've mentioned before, we have our youngest son, Earlybird, on the Feingold diet, albeit loosely. By loosely I mean that we adhere to most of the guidelines, but after two or so years, have found what seems (or seemed) to work for us. Recently however, I've been revisiting the guidelines, and I realized we were transgressing left and right. Several things EB was eating routinely were not on the approved list.

    This re-connection came about when I renewed our membership to the Feingold Association. I felt we could use a refesher so I requested new materials (since the old ones had long been misplaced.) Along with the food shopping guide came a fast food guide, mail order sourcebook and we will be receiving the monthly newsletter as well.

    Yesterday we began a two-week trial during which we will stick to the diet strictly and record EB's meals and behaviors. At the end of two weeks we'll look at the chart for any patterns. We will also consider if we're ready to move on to stage two (something we've never officially done).

    We stumbled upon the Feingold diet two years ago, just before EB was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified). Children with PDD-NOS present some, but not all, autistic symptoms, and to varying degrees. EB has a severe speech delay and also some late gross motor skills (sat alone late, walked at 20 months, jumped late - that kind of thing). Eight months of OT helped enormously with the motor skills - he's pretty much on an even track there, now. He's been in speech therapy for a year and a half and his improvements have been wonderful. His therapist, whom he sees twice weekly, is *awesome* and has given me concrete activities (and much encouragement) to use in working with him at home.

    Thank God, EB has many strengths as well. He does not have the eye-contact issue; he looks you right in the eye and in fact seeks face-to-face contact. He loves to be the center of attention (sometimes too much, lol!). He is very bright and though it is hard for him to articulate, he learns and understands things well. In other words, his receptive speech is far better than his expressive. It's important to remember this because often we excuse behaviors that should not be excused - he knows right from wrong and much more can be expected of him at each step of his progress.

    We need to remind ourselves of this, while still making allowances for his challenges. For example, he knows what "no" means, but he can't be relied upon to not walk in the street. He did this just the other day. We usually keep a lock on the gates to our back yard but one was left open. Bill and the boys were out back, and I was working in the dining room when I saw EB pass through the front gate, and head for the street. Bill was upon him immediately (our radar is fine-tuned, I assure you) but not before EB had run across the street to see the neighbor's construction site. Obviously I don't need to say how frightened we were by this - it served as a reminder that he still has safety issues. We are always tweaking the skills-to-work-on list. We need to be careful for him, all the while working on strengthening and expanding his abillities.

    EB is also extremely affectionate, loving, sunny and happy. He kisses and hugs perhaps the most of all my three sons. His emotions run strong both ways, however! He has a temper and can act impulsively and aggressively - it is something we are working on all the time. He's easily overstimulated, especially in large noisy crowds. A trip to the zoo, or a train show or even a busy playground can be a significant challenge to say the least. You have to be organized and thoughtful about those opportunities - they need to be presented in small manageable doses. He has to learn to tolerate - and enjoy! - these activities, and we need to keep them safe for him. He has some issues with hyperactivity and attention - he has not been diagnosed with ADD but I see some of that in him.

    EB is 5 now, and it was around the age of 2 we began to suspect something was "off." We see to it he gets the best therapy we can find (we are very fortunate to live in the northeast in this respect) and we work at home with him, surrounding him with love and support and the kind of atmosphere that allows him to grow and focus.

    Now about that Feingold connection. EB has always been highly sensitive to things that are strongly scented or dyed - regular laundry detergent gives him itchy rashes. Laying on a new carpet turns his ears red. Finger paints that are stinky and colored with chemicals get in his skin and affect his behavior. It sounds strange, but it's true. We've seen it happen too many times to ignore it. For instance, last night he got a bit of lawnmower oil on his hands and within 30 minutes his face became beet red and puffy.

    So we knew early on this child had multiple sensitivies. But how many we were not sure - and of what kinds - physical or emotional? Both?


    I found the Feingold website after a google search for "red cheeks and hyperactivity" led me there. A few days of reading led us to believe this diet was worth trying. The first thing we took away was apples - and let me tell you, this boy loved apples - and right away we saw some improvement. He was calmer, and his speech made more sense. He was using his words instead of just gesturing. At that point we decided to continue.

    So we did, and we have, though up till now it's been sort of modified. We have seen an absolute connection between food and behavior, of that I am sure. It is most apparent when he eats something that he shouldn't - such as a brightly colored lollipop or birthday cake or God forbid, a hot dog (the run-of-the-mill, nitrate-laden kind). We once let him have Munchkins from Dunkin Donuts and for days he was out of sorts - not using words, frustrated, teary, distracted, miserable.

    Let me pause here to say, we are not by any means experts in any of this - diet, nutrition, mental health or childhood development - we are just parents who have found that feeding our child in this way seems to help him feel better, learn better and behave better on a consistent basis. We would go to the ends of the earth for this child - for any of our children - so how hard can shopping and cooking a bit differently be? It is a challenge I am ready to take on if it means an easier life for EB and us all.

    More to come soon, because, as I feared this post did indeed become enormous. But I felt it necessary to fill you in a little on Earlybird's challenges and how we came to follow the Feingold diet in the first place. I will post next (hopefully tomorrow) about just what was in our Feingold-friendly shopping cart this weekend.

    Enjoy this glorious day, my friends, and give your little ones a big hug! They are - each one of them - our greatest blessings in life!


    Our EB digging right into his Feingold-friendly party food!