Cheesy Polenta Slice

I must say juggling motherhood and working has taken its toll. Not to mention the sickness rotating through the household at the moment. Rafaela is the little outbreak monkey; bringing home all these random diseases and the constant runny nose. ‘Hand, foot and mouth disease’ what the hell? Sounds worse than it is…I would pride myself on being quite healthy, I have avoided countless bouts of the infamous man flu. However the combination of being exhausted and never fully recovering from one sickness to another is definitely making life that little bit more dramatic.

We’ve had some big changes of late. I went away for work for 5 days and Andrew played Mr Mum and Dad, he’s now decided number 2 addition to the family is on hold indefinitely. Ha!

Rafaela has sprouted a tonne of teeth, along with being sick, this has led to a fair few sleepless nights, vaporisers and a heap of Panadol. It has also been very challenging to get her to eat anything than puree and spaghetti. Nothing orange or green gets past her so we’ve had to get pretty creative these days. It has been a huge learning curve for us. Every meal these days seems to start with the refusal to sit in her high chair (this resembles planking) Then watching her (like a hawk) to take the first bite to then try for the second and it’s a blatant refusal.  We are then cleaning up countless bowls of food thrown across the room, arguing over the options in the freezer, to then release her from her chair and the screams that can only be described as her being tortured, to then have her just want to eat something from a packet. It is not uncommon for the whole family to be in tears by the end of this… and that was just breakfast.

Now, the little devil is walking! It has been a process as many mums and dads will know; starting with the shuffle across the furniture, then the two hand hold, then the one hand. We went from big steps to little more controlled steps and then we had the downward dog moves that took her from sitting to standing on her own. All amazing feats, and then last night in the corner of my eye I see her get into her tripod position, stand and then take off! She was practically running and on a mission to nowhere. She was just so excited to be moving. It was hilarious and charming all at once. So with all these changes, I am feeling the need to be as simplistic as possible. This leads me to the below recipe for Cheesy Polenta Slice. It is extremely easy to make, it just needs at least 25 minutes of your attention.

Ingrediants

1 cup of polenta
1 litre of water
3/4 cup of parmesan cheese
3/4 cup of a cheddar, tasty or mozzarella cheese
3 good pinches of dried oregano
Cracked pepper
Butter

Method

Bring the water to boil and slowly while whisking add the polenta. Reduce the heat and Continue to whisk the polenta for 10-15min so you don’t get any lumps. Remove from the heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. While it may look cooked it’s important to cook the polenta for close to 25min otherwise it will be heavy and grainy.

Add the cheese, oregano and pepper stir to combine.

Line a small rectangle baking tray (The silicon trays work a treat), smooth out the polenta into the tray and allow to set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

When ready slice up into fingers or use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes out of the polenta. Melt a dollop of butter in a non-stick pan and fry up the slices until golden brown.

Serve up with pasta sauces, fresh tomato salsa, or with roast veggies. You can also add cooked veggies to this dish before setting in the fridge, consider; pumpkin, carrot or zucchini

You can also freeze the polenta. I find it easier to package the individual portions in foil and then defrost in the fridge or microwave before crisping them up in some butter.

Cheesy Polenta cut using a cupcake cookie cutter

Cheesy Polenta cut using a cupcake cookie cutter

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Teriyaki Salmon & Soba Noodles

I started cooking this dish during my pregnancy and it has now become a staple on the dinner menu. As a keen seafood eater, I was definitely disappointed to read about all the seafood products I could not consume, while pregnant. It was actually my downfall when I was desperately trying to keep my being pregnant a secret until we were past the ‘safe’ period. As soon as I unassumingly motioned away a prawn rice paper roll filled with bean sprouts, suspicion was rife! I am never one to turn down a rice paper roll, let alone food in general.

As you do when you fall pregnant, or as I did, was memorise the foods I had to avoid and start working on a meal plan. My body was going through so many physical changes, overnight I felt I couldn’t fit into my pants anymore. It was quickly dawning on me that I had to start eating better. Years of not eating breakfast, drinking too much and scoffing kebabs at all hours of the night/morning hadn’t done me any favours. So this monumental step change turned into 18 months of ‘dieting’ with a great deal of motivation. Trying to have and raise a healthy baby and losing the 20kgs I gained during my pregnancy. Now that is another post in itself!

So the experts say fish, are highly nutritious and should be consumed by adults and children, twice a week. Fish contain huge amounts of protein, are low in “bad” fats and contain Essential Fatty Acid (EFA’s) – Omega-3 fatty acids. The EFA’s in fish are not found in any other protein source.

The biggest implication when consuming a diet high in fish is the level of Mercury found in some. High levels of Mercury can cause developmental delays and it is recommended that pregnant women and children avoid those fish species high in Mercury. These include Shark (Flake), Ray, Swordfish, Barramundi, Gemfish, Orange Roughy, Ling and Southern Bluefin Tuna. Salmon on the other hand is a cold-water fish, low in Mercury and high in Omega 3’s.

Rafaela is starting to enjoy it. I have made her Salmon fish cakes and this recipe also. She gobbles it up. Raf is pretty inspiring when she eats like this, especially since it is was such a battle to get Andrew to try it and now he loves it too. I have also served this to friends and family a couple of times and it has gone down a treat. The great thing about this dish is you can jazz it up with the side accompaniments like Avocado Wasabi and Pickled Ginger. The Wasabi paste and Japanese Pickled Ginger can be found in Coles, I tend to stock up when they are on sale. These ingredients are easily accessible and affordable.

You can marinate the Salmon a few different ways. You can make a teriyaki sauce from scratch or you can buy a pre-made marinade. Ayam makes a great tasting sauce, without too many nasties in it. This is a super speedy meal. So depending on your preparation time and pantry items, you could go either way. For Rafaela, I use an organic soy sauce, crushed organic ginger and some lemon juice to marinate her Salmon in.  Below are the recipes for both. Enjoy!

Teriyaki Sauce

60ml Soy Sauce

60ml Mirin (Japanese rice wine)*

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1 teaspoon of crushed Ginger

Rafaela’s Teriyaki Sauce

(Based on a piece of salmon width and thickness of her palm, about 1inch wide and high)

2 tablespoons of Organic Tamari Soy Sauce

½ teaspoon of crushed Ginger

Splash of Lemon juice

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 x 180g skinless Salmon fillets

Teriyaki sauce as above or pre-made Ayam Teriyaki Marinade.

1 tablespoon of Sunflower oil

180g of Organic Soba Noodles (I use Hakubaku brand noodles, pack of 3 x 90g, found in Coles and Woolworths)

1 teaspoon of Sesame seeds

1 Spring Onion thinly sliced

Splash of Sesame oil

3 teaspoons of Wasabi paste, or to taste

2 Avocados, flesh scooped

Japanese pickled ginger

Method

Place the Salmon in a zip lock bag with the teriyaki sauce and leave it to marinate for as long as possible, overnight is great. Otherwise a minimum of 1hr is fine. Mix up the avocado and wasabi together and set aside.

Heat the sunflower oil in a large non-stick frypan over a medium heat. Remove the salmon from the bag, reserving any remaining marinade. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side until cooked but a little rare in the centre. Add the reserved marinade and allow to bubble for 1 minute. If you like your Salmon well cooked, then gently press on the thickest part with your finger, looking for spring back.

Boil water for noodles and cook according to the packet instructions. They usually take about 4 min. Once the noodles are cooked, strain and add a dash of sesame oil, sesame seeds and spring onions. Serve salmon with noodles and avocado wasabi. You can also add steamed vegetables such as; snow peas, broccolini or carrots.

For your baby, the obvious omits from this recipe, is the avocado wasabi and the spring onions. I tend to keep some mashed avocado aside to serve with some extra vegetables. If you are cautious about cooking oils, then consider cooking the salmon with some Coconut oil.

Rafaela's Version

Rafaela’s Version

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Rafaela is Bananas… B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Rafaela is Bananas... B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

She can almost do it herself… Great travelling food, no mess no fuss!

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We continue the series of all things “round” with this burger recipe. It is a combination of a couple of different recipes and I have also adapted it to include quinoa and some extra vegetables. Of course, the thing with burgers/patties/rissoles/cakes is you can really just add anything to the mix and you can somewhat hide ingredients that you little one is quite picky about.

It is pretty normal, or so I have read, for kids to be fussy with their food. Where one day they may have liked eating something and now they sit in protest if it even comes near the plate. Rafaela has so far done this with carrots. It was her favourite as we started on solids, then she wouldn’t have a bar of them and now she can’t get enough of carrot sticks. Also, I have always been pretty adamant about including something green into her meals, zucchini and spinach have been standard but broccoli has always needed to be mixed up in the dish. So beating the Broccoli ban has become a more difficult feat. Even cheese, such an easy snack and a great source of calcium, will only go down the hatch if it’s melted or mixed into her meals.

So, like I said, making a burger is a great way to disguise any undesirable foods and this is for all ages!  Two birds with one stone in this house. With these lamb burgers, I am able get Raff eating more vegies and my husband, Andrew, eating quinoa.

Again, these burgers are very freezer friendly and great for the whole family. They can be served with all your favourite trimmings in a bun or on their own with mash or salad on the side.

Ingredients (Makes 12 – 14 larger burgers and 10 + mini burgers)

500g lamb mince

1 cup quinoa, cooked (prep notes below)

1 egg

1 small Spanish onion (or ½ large), finely chopped.

1 medium zucchini, grated

1 small carrot, grated

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

80g of fetta, crumbed.

2 tsp. cumin, ground

Fresh or dried oregano (roughly a teaspoon)

Pinch of pepper

Method

Place dry quinoa into a large fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water.

Place rinsed quinoa into a small saucepan and cover with 2 cups cold water.

Bring the quinoa to a boil and turn down to a low simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cool before mixing into lamb.

You can either finely chop or grate the vegetables or place them into a food processor for whiz.

In a large bowl combine lamb, quinoa, egg, onion garlic, vegetables and spices. Mix thoroughly until the mixture comes together and is smooth.

Prepare the lamb burgers by forming them into small balls, usually the width and of your child’s palm. Flatten down into a patty and place on baking paper.

Place a large non-stick sauté pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the patties into the hot pan and brown on each side. Cover and cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes.

To plate the dish place the lamb burger with some fresh salad or fresh tomato puree. Top with a dollop of natural yogurt mixed with fresh mint or with some sweet potato mash.

 

Lamb Burgers

Lamb Quinoa Burgers

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Baby Lentil Falafels & Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

Here is a simple recipe from Donna Hay’s latest cook book ‘Fresh & Light’. I have been looking for simple, healthy recipes that are freezer friendly and it has so many easy recipes that use fresh ingredients.

Patties, burgers, cakes, rissoles, meatballs… however you want to define food rolled up and then pan fried or baked is fine by me. All I can say is, these little round morsels of food are making a huge comeback in our household these days. It is the ultimate odds and ends recipe, using up odd vegetables and the staple mincemeat or that odd can of chickpeas from the pantry. So this is the start of the Palm series. I say palm as I make them all the size of Rafaela’s palm (the recommended portion size) for her and everyone really. So watch this space, over the coming weeks I will be focusing on all things…. Round!

Lentils are a great addition to your little bubba choo’s diet; High in protein, so great for Vegetarians. They also tend to take on the flavours that they are cooked with, Making them very versatile. You might want to start with Red lentils, they are slightly lower in fibre so they don’t produce as much gas as brown and green ones. They also cook to mushier consistency. Some suggestions for Lentil include; cook them in a homemade broth, mash them with vegetables, Use them as a thickener or throw them into a soup or casserole. They would require 20min of cooking. Always thoroughly rinse lentils as they are prone to debris.  This recipe calls for a can of brown lentils. These are readily available as all supermarkets. You can also get organic varieties, which I have used below.

These little Falafels are very tasty and are not deep fried. Like most falafels, they are best served with a sauce. So I’ve included the one from the original recipe. Rafaela gobbled these down, while smearing the yoghurt sauce all over her face. They freeze really well and are a great meal or snack option. These are perfect for the whole family. I found them a great finger food for parties.

Lentil Falafels (makes 12)

1 x 400g can brown organic lentils, drained and rinsed.

1 cup (70g) fresh breadcrumbs

100g Ricotta

1 egg

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ coriander leaves

1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon rind

Sea salt and black pepper

Sunflower oil or macadamia nut oil for brushing

Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

1 cup thick plain yoghurt

2 garlic cloves crushed

2 tablespoons of Tahini paste

2 table spoons of lemon juice

2 table spoons of chopped chives

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees (450F). To make the garlic yoghurt sauce, combine the yoghurt, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and chives. Set aside.

Place the lentils, breadcrumbs ricotta, egg, cumin, coriander, lemon, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is just combined. Shape 2 tablespoonful’s of the mixture into small patties and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper.  Brush the patties lightly with oil and bake for 10 minutes each side or until crisp.

Serve with Garlic Sauce. For infants try serving with couscous and vegetables. For older kids & adults, try serving with salad and pita bread.Image

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Spinach & Ricotta Baby Cannelloni

Well it feels like it has been a while between drinks (err Posts). We are into the full swing of the juggling act that is working and parenting. Rafaela seems to be thriving in day care, drinking from a cup all on her own and climbing like a little monkey. The drop off is getting easier, tears are fading and is now replaced by a disappointing look. We have progress!

More and more Rafaela is enjoying different foods; she is at the age where the list of foods she can’t eat is depleting rapidly. I started making Cannelloni after my mother-in-law had a bumper crop of spinach. It was spinach and ricotta bonanza in our household for a few weeks. We tried the Greek Spanakopita pie as well as spinach and ricotta gnocchi but the most appropriate for Rafaela to enjoy and the most successful (the gnocchi was pretty tricky) was the cannelloni. It is the perfect family dinner for a house obsessed with spaghetti and in desperate need of a pasta shake up! This is a variation of a classic Donna Hay recipe. It was really about omitting and substituting certain ingredients to make an infant friendly batch. Spinach is a great source of Calcium, Iron & Vitamin A. It is recommended to start babies on Spinach after 8 months as they can contain nitrates and are an oxalate food and should be eaten in moderation. Below is a baby friendly spinach & ricotta cannelloni recipe. I would keep aside a portion of the mixture for Rafaela and the rest for the adults. It is a great dish to freeze for those now so often moments we need a quick tasty meal and lunch the next day!

Baby Basic Tomato Sauce

1 x 400g can of Organic diced tomatoes

1 small onion finely diced

1 garlic clove crushed

Sprinkle of nutmeg

Splash of olive oil

Handful of fresh basil leaves

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Then sauté onion and garlic till tender. Add the diced tomato and ¼ cup of water (I usually wash the remainder of the tomato out with this water).

Add the fresh basil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until thick and lumpy.

Cannelloni

1 x Baby Basic Tomato Sauce

2 x packet of lasagne sheets (contains 8 sheets) halved lengthways

½ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese

Filling

2 bunches or 500g of English Spinach, trimmed.

750g of fresh ricotta (I find fresh from the deli works better than the containers. It tends to contain less moisture)

1 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon of chopped dill

½ cup of fresh breadcrumbs

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.  To make the filling, blanch the spinach in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 seconds, then drain. Squeeze out any excess moisture, and chop.

Combine the spinach, ricotta and parmesan, herbs and bread crumbs. Grease a 20cm x 30cm ovenproof dish. Spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the base of the dish. Lay a lasagne sheet on a flat surface, spoon on some ricotta filling and roll up. Place into the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining filling and sheets. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the cannelloni, sprinkle with the extra parmesan and bake for 25-30min or until soft and heated through.

Now this recipe makes a heap of Cannelloni. If you save 1/3 of the filling for your bubba choo you will make approximately 18-20 cannelloni.

Suggestions: I have also included some cooked pumpkin into the mixture. It adds a nice sweetness to the dish and it helps get Rafaela’s Veggie content up! Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni

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Sunday’s Sugar Free Yoghurt Pancakes

Now that I’m back at work, we celebrate the weekend and what better way to celebrate than with a big hearty breakfast. Saturday’s are reserved for Bacon and Eggs. If you ever wanted to know what food I could not live without, it would be eggs. I could open up a café and just serve eggs, any which way. Sunday’s breakfast is either eggs again, served a different way or Pancakes. I found this recipe on the Wholesome Baby Food site. It was one of the first finger foods I made for Rafaela. It’s perfect for breakfast or as a snack. The recipe makes enough for the whole family and more, enough to freeze for later. I like this pancake recipe because it feels healthier and has a real depth of flavour… until you slather it in syrup.

I use Quinoa flour, which makes a denser pancake than you may be used to, however there is a little technique I use to make them fluffier. If you separate the egg yolks from the whites, whip up the whites until white and foamy then fold them in to the mix before you start to cook. You can do this making any pancake recipe and you will notice the difference.

There are a few substitutions below in regards to milk and flour. I also substitute one of the eggs for a banana, it adds a little something different to the taste and this would be the appropriate substitute for any egg allergies.

Sugar-Free Yoghurt Pancakes (Makes between 20+ medium size pancakes)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups Wholemeal flour or Quinoa Flour or Rice Flour
  • 1 teaspoon bi carbonate soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • dash of ginger
  • 2 cups whole milk (you could sub. with rice/almond/soy milk if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I use the Jalna Bio dynamic Organic Natural Yoghurt)

Method:

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl and whisk together until a bit frothy. (For fluffier pancakes, separate the yolks from the whites. Whisk the whites until white and frothy and fold into the mixture before you are about to cook)

Fold the liquid mixture into the dry mix and stir until just combined.

Lightly grease a non-stick frying pan with; coconut oil, butter or olive oil. Heat the pan on a high to medium heat. You need the pan relatively hot but not smoking.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour batter onto a heated frying pan

Flip pancakes when they have bubbles throughout. If you were to add fresh fruit, sprinkle them into the batter before you flip.

Some serving suggestions: organic maple syrup, agave syrup, yoghurt or fresh fruit.

These are a great snack item to have frozen. You don’t need to defrost them, just put it straight into the toaster or into a sandwich press.

 

Sugar Free Yoghurt Pancakes

 

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Dad’s Spag Bol (aka Spaghetti Bolognese)

It’s back to school week. While the traffic gets worse, the trains fill up with kids and the feeling of summer holidays fade, I have to return to work. This wouldn’t normally bother me, well it hasn’t in the last year that I’ve been on maternity leave but now my real juggling act begins. So far it has been pretty stable transition, easing into work while Rafaela has been slowing engaging in day care activities and it seems like she is adapting well. It is really hard to leave her after spending so much time together. However I can already see her growing and learning so much. She still crawls commando style and is absolutely filthy when she gets home but she is almost up on to her feet and can say “bye” and “up”.

I am still in two minds about heading back to work. I am happy to be back and stimulated again, however I miss being at home and moving at our own pace. I really enjoyed having time cook and consider meals. Now that’s reserved for the weekends. Before Rafaela (circa 2011), my husband Andrew, would cook up Spag Bol as it’s his favourite meal. Everyone has their version, Spaghetti Bolognese is the quintessential family staple meal… right. This one is Dad’s and Rafaela absolutely loves it. It will be high on the weekday rotation in this house!

Ingredients (Makes – A fair bit)

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 small onion

1 glove of garlic

1 organic carrot, grated

1 organic zucchini

¼ red capsicum

1 cup organic beef or vegetable stock

250g of organic mince (beef or pork/veal) – I’ve use the Aldi Brand of Organic Beef.

1 x 400g can of organic diced tomatoes

1 small dried bay leaf

Pinch of dried herbs; oregano & thyme

Pinch of pepper

Method

Heat the oil in a saucepan (large enough to hold 5 cups of liquid). Using a food processor finely chop the onion and garlic together. Transfer to the saucepan and cook until soft. In the mean-time add the zucchini and capsicum to the food processor and chop finely. Add grated carrot to the pan and combine well. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the mince. Use a wooden spoon to break up the mince. Once the meat is no longer pink, add the dried herbs & pepper and stir. Then add the zucchini and capsicum, stock, tomatoes, stir to combine. Bring to boil and then simmer for minimum 20min to 1 hour or until the liquid has reduced.

Serve with Organic Spaghetti, Wholemeal Spaghetti or rice or couscous, anything you want. Rafaela likes to slurp up the noodles. She is so fascinated by the action. We just cut the noodles into manageable sizes. This meal is also extremely freezer friendly and obviously enjoyed by mum & dad too.

 

Image

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Green & Gold Pesto Pasta

I am going through a reminiscing phase at the moment. It has a lot to do with Rafaela turning one, growing up and going into day care. I was looking at photos of Rafaela on Australia day sleeping in her pram, all 9 days old and she is the tiniest little bubba choo. One year on she can enjoy the day much more. A splash in the pool and some BBQ, She might just have her first taste of Lamb! We get to have a little dress up in Green & Gold on Friday at day care too. I cannot wait to dress her up in costumes. My husband and I are pretty good at them if I do say so myself! But I think we will just stick to colour blocking on Friday, ease into it.

A great little dish, light lunch or side is this Green & Gold pesto pasta, inspired by Australia day. It’s really just pesto pasta with peas and corn, very tasty and I serve it with wholemeal spiral pasta. It makes it a great finger food for Raff to get all messy with. Yep I have had to let go of my cleaning anxiety and just let her go for it.  I actually feel really good when I see her eating all her food even if her hair is now green and I’m washing pesto out of her ears.

Homemade pesto is great to have on hand in the freezer; I enjoy pesto pasta more than pasta and sauce most of the time. It’s a great way to use up leftover herbs before they go off. Freeze them in portion sizes; it will make it easier to whip up quick meals. This is also great summer pasta for adults too, hot or cold. Add Rocket, red onion, bacon or prawns, dried chilli, salt and voilà!

Ingredients

Makes 4 Serves

1 tablespoon of LSA meal

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan

Splash of lemon juice

freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cooked peas & corn (I use the frozen variety)

2 cups cooked wholegrain pasta or brown rice.

Method

1. Pulse the garlic, basil and olive oil in a blender or food processor until minced.
2. Add the lemon juice and pepper and pulse again.
3. Remove to a bowl and stir in the parmesan cheese.
4. Mix as much of the pesto as you like with the peas and pasta and freeze the rest.

Pesto Pasta and Rafaela enjoying spiral pasta

Pesto Pasta and Rafaela enjoying spiral pasta, getting messy!

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One year down…What I’ve learned so far

What a year! Rafaela has absolutely transformed my life forever. I don’t think I have learned so much about my husband, or myself than I have in the last 12 months and I know we have not even scratched the surface. It has been an amazing journey so far and we feel truly blessed. We have to keep telling ourselves “she is our daughter”. When we look back on the thousands [and I mean thousands] of photos, I’m surprised at how much she has grown and the vast amount of memories we have created in just one year. It is exhilarating!

I’ve also reclaimed the joy of cooking as she has inspired us to eat better as a family and to try new foods. The hubby even enjoyed sugar free pancakes, although they were drenched in maple syrup. As you become a parent and a new mum, actually from the moment you announce you’re pregnant, the advice just rolls in and you yourself can’t help but impart any little nugget you have found out that might help another new mum. These are the things I thought about when I decided to start this blog. I had spent so much time researching about solids that it would make me so happy if anything I post here can help save you some time, and give you more time with your bubba choo.

In this post, I thought I would re-cap what I’ve learned and the 12 commandments I now live by;

  1. Steam and bake as much food as you can, why? Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani (author of Well Adjusted Babies) believes cooking for longer and at lower temperatures preserves the natural goodness of vegetables more than any other cooking method. A bamboo steamer is a cheap and effective solution over baby food makers;
  2. Fruit naturally sweetens;
  3. Flavour with herbs and spices, not salt. Cinnamon is a must!
  4. Protein should be the width and length of your baby’s hand. I should practice what I preach here with my own plate;
  5. Always have green on the plate, even if it’s herbs. Green Foods are Super Foods;
  6. Buy organic food where possible. Why? No pesticides and herbicides and certified organic is GM free (genetically modified) Also it it getting far more cheaper and more readily available at your local supermarket;
  7. Start reading and understanding food labels. I avoid foods with preservatives, unnecessary salts, sugars and what’s with the numbers? They are not ingredients;
  8. Texture, texture, texture! It will help avoid a fussy eater and it’s fun to watch their facial expressions;
  9. Once your baby is around the 10month mark, start considering how you can adapt your adult meals for baby, omitting sugar & salt and in my case Chilli. I will remove Rafaela’s portions before I season;
  10. Try and cut finger foods into strips rather than squares. You will find your baby picking them up first working towards cubes;
  11. Buy seasonal fruit and vegetables, its cheaper and tastier;
  12. Commercial baby food is NOT that bad at all. Always go for the organic brands. Woolworth Macro Wholefoods is great, Only Organic, Organic Bubs, Raffertys Garden. Buy them on sale (usually at Woolies) and keep them for those ‘Fast Food’ moments. My advice is to pair it with Quinoa to add more texture. It travels well at room temperature.

These are all pretty stock standard and you will find most of this information in baby food cookbooks and from your baby nurses. This advice has worked for me and I hope it works for you (what’s a mum without giving advice). Thank you for reading. I hope you stick around, I have many more recipes to come.

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