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Desserts, Snacks, Breads

Here's some ideas and recipes that may be helpful in your TR program. Send your ideas in.

Smoothie Time
submitted by Jessica Casaday of CSUS on December 20, 2006

Size of Group: 2-4

1. Blender
2. Plastic food gloves
3. Bowls for fruit & ice
4. Paper or plastic cups
5. Slotted spoons
6. Measuring cups for ice, juice, & yogurt
7. Paper towels (baby wipes??)
8. Straws

1. Respond appropriately to question/comments.
2. Initiate conversations in appropriate manner.
3. Follow healthy diet.

Directions: Note that ingredients are in the order that they must be placed into the blender.
1. 1 cup of ice
2. ½ cup of water
3. ¼ cup lemon drink mix
4. ½ cup of vanilla yogurt

1. Youth
2. Elderly
3. Individuals with Physical Disabilities
4. Individuals with Mental Disabilities

1. Individuals who may harm themselves or others:
Count sharps (if they help cut additional fruit), Plastic blenders or only staff touch blenders, Plastic cups

2. Youth: Directions in large font

3. Elderly: Directions in large font, Smoothie blenders with pull push spout

4. Individuals with physical disabilites: Smoothie blender has a spout you push or pull to serve

5. Individuals with mental disabilities: Photo or actual ingredient visible to them Large font Simple directions


No cook rice crispy treats
Donna Drake of Heartland at Willowbrook on July 19, 2005

Size: 12/15

Equipment: 1 bag Hersheys milk chocolate bits. 1 8 oz jar peanut butter. 1 box rice crispies cereal. 2 small bowls per person. rubber cloves.

Objective: cognitive, social, small motor skills, sensory

Description: Get your group together around a table. Have them put on rubber cloves. micro wave chocolate bits for 1 minute till melted and smooth. Give each person two bowls. one with scoop of melted chocolate and scoop peanut butter, the other with rice crispies. Have your residents mix the chocolate and peanut butter together till smooth and then add the rice crispies. Put the mixture on in balls on wax paper and chill for one hour. Some of my residents ate it before it got to the wax paper.

Easy Breezy Peach Cobbler (No mixing )
submitted by Carolyn Shrimplin of Westminster Manor Of Bradenton, Health Center Activities Coordinator on April 04, 2005

Size: as many as you have room for

Equipment: 1 box yellow cake mix 1 large can of peaches, 2 sticks of real butter, 2tsp of cinnamon, can use nutmeg,but go easy. 1 large glass baking dish, or can use casserole dish. I prefer not to use metal dish for this dessert.

Objective: Aroma therapy, Sensory stimulating, Initiates socializing, team work,Reminiscing about when they baked for their families. Great appetizer,before dinner, or for dessert. Can be frozen. after cooling, only store for 3-4 days.

Description: preheat oven to temp according to cake mix temp on box. Pour dry cake mix in baking dish, try to distribute evenly. Open canned peaches DO NOT DRAIN JUICES pour peaches over top of dry cake mix try to distribute evenly, No stirring of mixtures. Slice butter in squares,and place over peaches, Cover entire dessert with butter. Sprinkle cinnamon over top of butter. Place in middle of oven. Bake uncovered until butter melts and dessert is bubbling. Top should be brown with traces of where cinnamon was sprinkled. Dessert should bake 20-25 min, maybe less depending on temp of oven. Use heavy duty oven mitts to remove. Keep Steam away. Set in a safe place to cool for 20-25 min, or can be placed in refrigerator, uncovered for 15-20 min. apprx.

After cooling can add Ice Cream Topping,or Cool whip. Serves 7-10. Servings should be small, dessert very sweet. ENJOY.


Sensory Bread Making
submitted by Cynthia Soucy, CTRS of Harborside Healthcare Willowson April 30, 2005

Size: any size

Equipment: Bread maker, follow instructions according to breadmaker, butter, and knife

Objective: For an "at home" feeling, stimulate conversation

Description: Every Friday at our facility, I bake a loaf of fresh bread for our patients. They are now really looking forward to it every week, and they are always interested on what kind of bread I will be making.

It is important to get a breadmaker that has a rapid rise cycle. The bread kneeds, rises and bakes in 1 hour in my machine.

At 9:00 each Friday, I put all of the ingredients into the bread machine and hit start. This takes about 5 minutes. Put on a fan toward the end of the cycle so that the smell will travel throughout the room and in the hallway. This attracts more people to the activity.

After the bread is made, I get my residents into the activity room for a game. Before the game I show them all the fresh bread. While the bread cools, we play the game, and at the end of the activity, I cut it up and serve it to the residents. I only give them a half of a slice because lunch is shortly after and it may spoil their appetites.

After the patients/residents get their fill at the activity, I bring the rest down either to the therapy department for our short term patients, or I go room to room to those who can not make it down. There are always staff looking for a treat too!

Coffee Can Ice Cream
Submitted by Kathy Sharp of Vancouver Island Health Authority on February 08, 2004

Size: 2 to 10

1-one pound & 1-three pound coffee can (empty)
1 bag of Ice Cubes, Rock Salt, rectangular table and towels
Bowls, Spoons, Ice cream scoop

Vanilla ice cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup light cream
1 beaten egg (or use dried could omit if worried about health risk)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

To enjoy the process of making ice cream
To reminisce about ice cream and summertime


For all varieties of Ice Cream:
Have the participants (Delegating the first 5 steps to individuals)
In 1 lb. coffee can have a participant mix all ingredients.
Have a participant (or yourself) seal can lid (Tightly) with duct tape.
Have a participant put the small can sealed can inside larger 3 lb. can.
Pack ice and 1 cup salt around small can.
Put lid on large can and duct tape closed.
Have the participants sit along a rectangular table on either side and have them roll the cans back & forth on a large towel (towel optional) for 15 minutes.
Open large can and dump ice and water.
Wipe small can dry and open.
Have participant stir mix, scraping sides of can. Additional ingredients, e.g. cookie crumbs, chopped nuts, can be added now.
Reseal small can and place back in larger can. Repack with salt and ice.
Have participants continue rolling for 10 minutes more.
Open large can and dump ice and water.
Remove & wipe small can dry and open.


banana pudding parfaits
submitted by shannon hunes of river hills village on December 22, 2003

Size: 2-6 or more

Equipment: bananas, plastic knives, clear cups, plates to cut bananas on, graham crackers or nil la wafers, vanilla pudding and chocolate pudding, 2 bowls, more if more participants, wire whisks, spoons to add pudding, spoons to eat with

Objective: dexterity, socialization,sensory outcome: the residents will enjoy this

1) set up assembly line style, one or 2 for each job
2) 1 team slices bananas, one team crunches graham crackers, one team makes vanilla pudding, one team makes chocolate pudding.
3) when everything is done, the vanilla pudding team drops some vanilla pudding into clear cup.
4) Bananas are added, crunched cookies, chocolate pudding, bananas, cookies, vanilla pudding, bananas as a topper.

It looks real neat in the clear cup, they can see the layers

Bagel Pizza
submitted by kiwana Jones on Monday, November 04, 2002

Size: 6

Equipment: thawed bagel, pasta sauce, pepperoni or meat of choice,shredded cheese, dried oregano

Objective: allows interaction, increases socialization, fine motor skills, increases tactile stimulation

Description: spread a small amount of pasta sauce on one half of bagel add meat, sprinkle cheese a and toast in a broiler oven until cheese has melted..garnish with oregano

Baking With Style
submitted by Lorice G. Smith of City of Goldsboro, Parks and Recreation Department on Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Size: 10 to 12

Equipment: throw away small cake pans, cake mix, try to choose different flavors. Read the back of box for ingredients required. Cake frosting, plastic knives and a large surface for working. Sprinkles (optional) or any type of simple cake decorations. Volunteers or extra staff

Objective: Baking and decorating individual cakes. The expected outcome of this activity is for consumers to become more independent with Daily Living Skills, work on number skills, utilizing team building skills and have a positive intrinsic feeling at the end of of the activity.

Description: Gather about 10 to 12 consumers who has demonstrated an interest in baking. First of all, ask all consumers to wash their hands and meet in the kitchen. TR staff or recreation leader should have all materials out and ready for consumers. Since this is not the consumer's kitchen, they will not know where items are kept. Have 4 different stations set up for groups of 3 or 4 at the most. If leading a group of adults with lower level abilities, modify when necessary. Read the instructions aloud and ask consumers to follow. If you have consumers that are capable of reading, encourage one consumer or take turns reading the instructions to the rest of the group. Please allow participants to be as independent as possible. Consumers will need assistance when using the mixer. Assist individual with pouring cake batter in their individual pans. One box of mix should yield 3 cakes. Follow instructions on the back of the box for baking temperature. While cakes are baking, consumers enjoy their lunch and discuss the the 1st stage of the activity. While consumers are having lunch, the leader should take the cakes out of the oven to cool. After lunch, ask everyone to wash their hands again and meet in the kitchen. Have fun decorating cakes and encourage consumers to be creative.

submitted by Janet K. Slade of Genesis on September 16, 1999

Size: Can be adjusted to any size group.

Equipment: Large dry erase board and marker, various types of apples,apple cutter, large bowl, large metal pot, paring knife and caramel sauce (store bought)

Description: Gather residents in a large semi circle around you and have the dry erase board behind you. Start discussion about different ways that apples are measured, re: by the pound, peck, bushel, etc..Continue with the idea of what you can do with apples ( and there are many), applesauce, juice, butter, bobbing for apples, etc.. All of this info is displayed on the dry erase board as you are talking to your group. My group also talked about William Tell shooting the apple and the Garden of Eden. Then we discussed types of apples and I cut the apples and offered small pieces to those that wanted a bite. They discussed their likes and dislikes of the apples. Then I put caramel on the apples and wait until you hear the comments on this part of the program!! While they were sampling I was busy paring a peck of McIntosh apples for the sauce. I was given different ideas from my residents on how long to cook the apples and what to add to them while they were cooking. While the staff was placing the residents at their tables I finished cooking the apples and seasoned them with a bit of cinnamon. Each resident was given a small Dixie cup of applesauce with lunch (okay with dietary and nursing). You can also write the word Johnny Apple seed on you dry erase board and try to rearrange the letters to make other words. Our facility is 50 residents, all on one floor with the dining room used for this activity.

Blazen Trail Mix
submitted by Michelle Falcon of Children's Memorial Hospital on May 27, 1999

Size of Group: 6-10

Equipment: large bowl spoon, peanuts or variety of mix nuts, M&M's, gummy bears or dried fruit (varies with age appropriateness), plain raisins or try yogurt covered raisins), sunflower seeds


Use any of the following:
1. various sponge shapes and sizes
2. paint brushes
3. rubber stamps
4. potato, apple, any fruits good for sponge painting

Tempera Paint
Newspaper for keeping paint area clean
Painting smocks
water tins

*depending on budget and age group you can vary this activity to fit needs of your clients/patients

Objective: Increase leisure awareness through an easy nutritional snack making activity, and increase fine motor skills, and creativity making snack packs for take home. This activity enhances, listening, socialization, and team building skills.

Leader should motivate clients using the theme Blazen Trail Mix through what can we find while on a nature walk or trail. Talk about using this as a great snack while in nature, on picnics, at parties, or in your daily lunch.


1. Distribute materials to individuals(pair up if needed)
2. Explain during the activity that it is important to listen to the instructions and that each person has an
important part of this activity.
3. Read the recipe out loud and have the clients follow your instructions. Together they are making the final product to be used in the snack packs.
4. Empty 1 cup of the trail mix into the individual snack packs!

Art Activity: How to make snack packs!

*always use zip lock bags if time doesn't allow art project

Place newspapers down to keep area clean
Place a variety of paint mediums on table
Place colors of paint in individual containers (large paper plate is good for dipping)
Use small brown paper bags
Have clients decorate the paper bags with various mediums. Encourage clients to make
trees, flowers, rocks, bugs, and other things found in nature.

Set aside to dry
Make sure to put names of each bag for identification
When dry fill with Blazen Trail Mix!!!

icecream Ice Cream in a Can
submitted by Cynthia Teague of Soroptimist International of Gainesville, Texas for Alzheimer's Time Out Program

Size of Group: small or large

Equipment: 1 2lb coffee can with lid, 1 13 oz coffee can with lid

Objective: use of fine and gross motor skills use of cooking skills:reading and following directions

Description: place small can inside larger can: add 1 pt of 1/2 and 1/2 cream into the small can with 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla and stir; close can with small lid; in between the two cans add rock salt and chopped ice and close the can with the large lid. Wrap a large towel around the can with remaining towels ends extending beyond the can on both end.

With low background music playing take turns twisting the ends of the towels in opposite directions which turns the can or place hands on top of the side of the can and rock back and forth. To freeze the ice cream takes approximately 20-25 minutes. It will make approximately 3 cups of ice cream. Great for low functioning Alzheimer's persons or those clients with upper extremity problems.

meatball Easy Fabulous Meatballs, a fast, easy ready to enjoy snack
Submitted by: Carol Leandro


  • 1 bag frozen meatballs
  • 1 11/2 lb. jar grape jelly
  • 1 jar any brand chili sauce


Add grape jelly to saucepan to melt. Then add chili sauce add meatballs. Simmer for at least 25min (can be put in oven for 1/2 hour at 250 degrees. Serve immediately.

bread Monkey Bread
Submitted by Diane Tripp

I work in a long term care facility and I have used this recipe many times with great success with residents with all sorts of physical and cognitive disabilities. I got the recipe from my daughter's preschool so I know it works with different ages as well. Diane Tripp


  • tubes of refrigerated biscuit dough (the amount depends on the number of participants)
  • Cinnamon
  • sugar


I have residents cut or tear up the biscuits into small pieces. They then place them in zip-loc bags with sugar and cinnamon. They then shake the bags to evenly coat each piece of biscuit. Make sure the bags are properly closed first!! Place each piece of biscuit in a lightly greased pan and bake according to the directions on the biscuit package. I use a toaster oven and fill the pan as much as I possibly can. While the first batch is baking, we start working on the next. We've even had assembly lines going with each individual responsible for only one task. Make sure you make a lot because once staff smells it baking, they come running to try it. And the residents are so proud to share their end product with others!

There is a glaze that can be made by mixing butter and brown sugar and pouring it on before baking. It's just as good with out it though and I don't have to worry about anyone handling the hot butter.

food4.gif (7839 bytes)

submitted by Charlie Dixon, MS, CTRS


2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoon vinegar
2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

There are various recipes for taffy. The one described below worked out fine for me.

Be sure that the participants wash their hands well, including under the nails. "Surgical" gloves may be suggested. In any event, cleanliness is important and needs to be stressed.

Melt butter. Add water & bring it to a boil. Stir in the sugar till it dissolves. Cover the pan and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover and boil to 260 degrees. Pour the contents onto a buttered plate. Sprinkle on vanilla. When cool, pull the taffy and cut it into bite size pieces. Wrap the candy with wax paper. Note: you may add coloring while cooking to add color to your taffy.

Practice making the taffy 1st yourself before you make it with others. Depending upon the number of participants, you will want to increase the size of the recipe.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
submitted by Heather Cayse of Regency Manor Rehabilitation and Subacute Center on April 27, 1999

Size of Group: 10 or more

Equipment: Sugar cookie dough, cinnamon, sugar

Objective: Everyone has participation in the activity

Description: When we have a cooking group full of all levels of abilities, we have the lower level residents make snickerdoodle cookies while the higher level residents work on another higher level cooking activity. This way everyone is busy doing something in the kitchen. Snickerdoodles are fairly simple and do not require a lot of one to one supervision. When the snickerdoodles are finished, the residents sell them to the staff for a fund raiser. The residents use the money earned to have
an extra party at the end of the month (our residents like having a lunch party with different ethnic foods) or to help to cut down on the cost of a trip for the residents to enjoy.

Activities & Tx pages sponsored by compuTR and maintained by Charles Dixon
If reprinting ideas from these pages, please give credit.


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