Summertime Frozen Yoghurt Pops

Here is a delicious little treat for you and bub, just in time for the scorcher about to hit tomorrow here in Sydney – 42 degrees and baking! Also if you’re on a bit of post festive season, pre Australia Day detox like me then this is the kind of treat your after.

This is a great substitute for craving ice-cream after dinner, which is my current downfall. We are trying to eat together as a family. I’m hoping Rafaela clues onto using her own spoon by watching us. So far we just have her wanting our and refusing to eat out of her bowl unless it comes from either mine or her dads. Eating together means eating super early for me, like at 6:30 pm. In my former life I was likely to be at work or on the train at that time. The task for us in the coming weeks as I plan on heading back to work is to maintain our dinner time, therefore the freezer will be my new best friend!

The below recipe is for Blueberry & Banana flavour. You can substitute or make many different combinations. Think about Raspberries, Mango, Strawberries and Banana. Once your bub is old enough you can use Honey. However this recipe uses Agave Syrup, easily available at Coles or Woolworths. We also use Organic full fat Yoghurt. Babies need full fat products until the age of two.  I use Macro Foods Organic Greek  Yoghurt or Jalna Bio Dynamic Organic Whole Milk Yoghurt. These are both staples in the fridge. For adults, try reduced fat vanilla yoghurt.

You don’t need to make them into Popsicle’s.  I  did picked up some cute moulds from Ikea for $2.99 last week. I’ve also made some smaller baby friendly portions in Ice cube trays. You can easily put this into a freezer friendly tub and scoop it out like normal frozen yoghurt.

Stay Cool!

Frozen Yoghurt Popsicles (makes about 1 litre)Frozen Yoghurt Pop

Ingredients:

1 Cup (280g) of organic plain yoghurt (see above)

½ cup (125ml) Soy Milk or Full Fat Milk

1 Banana

1 Cup (150g) fresh or frozen blueberries

¼ cup (60ml) of Agave Syrup or Maple Syrup

Method:

Place all the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Pour into your moulds and freeze for 4-6 hours.

To remove the Popsicle from the case, run under warm water or place in a cup of warm water.

There is plenty to fill up 6 Popsicle moulds and a decent amount of ice cubes.

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Sweet Orange Couscous

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day! It’s also the meal of the day that I find Rafaela the most alert and willing to try new things. Looking for new breakfast options is always on my agenda. I try not to get stuck into feeding her porridge and toast every morning.  This recipe is very yummy, super easy and can be a great as a summer salad for the whole family. Just add seasonal vegetables like asparagus or zucchini, seasoning and rocket.

Sweet Orange Couscous (this is enough to serve 12)

Ingredients:

2 cups of organic CouscousSweet Orange Couscous

2 cups of boiling water

½ cup of Orange Juice. Try and use one with pulp, I use Nudie’s Nothing but 21 oranges with pulp

1 orange

2 small carrots peeled, pre-steamed and grated

Sprinkle of cumin & LSA meal (Ground Linseed, Sunflower and Almonds)

Method:

Place couscous in a heat proof bowl. Add boiling water. Cover and set aside to absorb the water. This should take about 5 minutes. Fluff with fork to separate the grains.

Meanwhile, peel and segment the oranges. Do this over a bowl to catch the juice. Make sure you remove the white membrane. Either cube or leave as segments.

Add orange juice, orange pieces, carrot, shake of cumin and LSA meal to the couscous.  For younger babies, blend in a food processor with a little extra liquid (Water/breast milk/formula/juice).

If you want to make a small portion for just baby use the following measurements; 2 tablespoons of Couscous, ½ cup of orange juice, 1 carrot and ¾ of boiling water.

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Homemade Finger Licking Nuggets

Happy Holidays! Had I mentioned I love Turkey, did you almost devour  a whole bird like I did? Raffy too had her fill of Turkey, amongst other things. I can say we will definitely need a bigger house after the loot she made off with. We managed to sustain her enthusiasm for ripping paper and eating it over three days of events and also managed to manoeuvre her from porter cot to car seat without too much drama. I did feel bad that she was missing out on the amazing feast of seafood and cold meats and of course the desserts. In between her meals of paper, she loved to munch down on her Turkey nuggets. I cut them into strips so she could eat them with her hands. The leftovers would be stirred through some sweet potato mash.

I found this recipe on the Wholesome Baby food site. I’ve adjusted it slightly for Australian kitchens and produce. They are extremely simple, not at all dry, freeze extremely well and make a great finger food.  They are Suitable for babies aged 9 months and older, you can mash the nuggets apart into bits and pieces that can be easily chewed and picked up. You can also chop or lightly puree if needed. You can also substitute the Turkey for chicken mince which is relatively easy to find in the supermarket. Woolworths has a great organic range.

Homemade Finger Licking Nuggets (makes 25-30)Turkey Nuggets

Ingredients:

500g Turkey or Chicken Mince

1/2 cup wholegrain raw oats

1/2 cup wholegrain breadcrumbs

1 egg (you can substitute the egg for 1 tablespoon of natural apple sauce or water)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Spice mix (1/4 teaspoon each or shake) – sage, thyme, pepper

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until nicely combined

With moist hands, shape mixture into nuggets or logs or anything you please.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and done.

Store in an air tight container and freeze.

 

 

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‘Tis the season for… Gluten free Gingerbread Men

While Raff has sprouted almost three teeth, she can’t quite bite into a cookie yet. If she could, this would be the type of cookie for her. I found this recipe on the healthychef.com. It is a really easy recipe and she has other variations for nut allergies.

This is my first attempt at making cookies of any kind. I have always found the task a bit daunting; they either come out rock hard or super soft, never just right. I guess that is the trick with baking, it needs just a little bit more attention. My little men look a bit spotty, that’s because I should have minced the dates finer, the workings of baking while baby is napping!

Merry Christmas.

Gluten Free Gingerbread MenGingerbread Men

Ingredients:

280 g  almond meal (ground almonds)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
4 fresh soft pitted dates (60 g), finely ground.
50 ml cold pressed olive oil, macadamia or coconut oil
2 tablespoons of honey, maple syrup or brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
1 egg white

Method:

Combine almond meal, dates and spices in a food processor. Process until combined and mix is crumbly.
Add olive oil, honey, vanilla + egg white. Process again until a soft dough forms.
Remove the dough and flatten down slightly between 2 pieces of baking paper – about 3 mm thick.
Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the dough to firm up. If in a hurry, place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Cut out into shapes with a gingerbread cutter and place cookies onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake at 150 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool.
Makes 10 to 12

To decorate, melt a little white, milk or dark chocolate and spoon into piping bag made and decorate gingerbread with smiley faces and buttons.

Reference: http://www.thehealthychef.com/2012/11/gluten-free-gingerbread-men/

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‘Tis the season for Turkey & Quinoa Meatloaf, gobble gobble!

Tis the season indeed! This year will be our first Christmas with Rafaela and the excitement is slowly growing. The tree is up and the ham is en-route! She has no idea what is going on, she was given her first gift the other day and just ripped and ate the paper.  On the bright side she was eating with her hands…

What I do love about Christmas is the copious amounts of food. My family have a pot luck type soiree, while it’s more of a traditional affair on my husband’s side. Turkey tends to be a quintessential meat at both events. I thought to myself what a great meal for babies at Christmas, all that excitement and energy. Remember that Seinfeld episode when Jerry feeds his girlfriend Turkey so she would fall asleep and he and George could play with her antique toy collection, Priceless! While it does contain certain amino acids that bring on sleep it’s a combination of things that make you sleepy after turkey, usually all the other food and alcohol that goes with the feast.

Regardless, Turkey is a great lean protein; it was one of the first meats I tried. Most supermarkets have a select range of turkey products and its pretty affordable.

Below is a super healthy and protein packed meal for the whole family. While meatloaf is not normally a glamorous meal, you can dress it up by wrapping it in thin rashers of bacon for the Christmas table. Adding Quinoa gives the loaf a great nutty flavour and actually keeps it quite moist. I’ve provided a healthy glaze that is suitable for babies. For older kids you can use the standard tomato sauce type glaze.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas.

Turkey & Quinoa Meatloaf 

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, chopped

500g ground turkey

1 tablespoon organic tomato paste

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)

2 egg yolks

1x zucchini & carrot, grated

Handful of Cheddar cheese

Glaze (Combine these two ingredients in a small bowl):
• 1 Can organic tomato paste
• 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or more if you’d like your glaze to be a little thinner consistency)
optional: add 1/8 cup of honey to sweeten glaze

Method

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees C and line a loaf tin with Baking paper.

Heat the olive oil in a fry-pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool.

Combine the turkey mince, cooked quinoa, onions, zucchini, carrot, tomato paste, cheese, Worcestershire sauce and egg, in a large bowl until well combined. Shape the mixture into the loaf tin. Either brush on your chosen glaze  or add rashers of bacon, ensure you tuck in the ends to avoid curling.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes  The loaf is ready when your meat thermometer reaches 70 degrees C . Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Add your seasoning to your portions and cut a slice into fingers for the baby.

Keeps in the fridge for 2 days and freezes well.

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Organic Tahini Snowballs

Yay! Raff can now finish a slice of toast with her own two hands… Ben Harper would be so proud and so is mum! Now this opens up a whole new world of meals for us, I’ve been looking for different spreads to keep it interesting.

Nutritionist Leanne Cooper suggests Tahini (hulled sesame seeds); it is a great source of calcium, especially for babies with milk intolerance. Marco Whole foods at Woolworths sell Organic Tahini, easily found next to the Vegemite. Once I buy a product like this, I like to find other recipes that use it, just so it doesn’t go to waste. Below is a recipe for Tahini Balls, perfect little snack for everyone in the family. It’s also found the Smokey Middle Eastern dip, Baba ghanoush. Recipe coming soon!

The recipe below uses dried fruits. There are some thoughts around the use of dried fruit versus fresh fruit with babies. Yes, fresh is always best. Dried fruit has lost its water content; this concentrates the nutrients which can be good and bad. You won’t need to eat as many sultanas as grapes; however the higher fibre content will give it a laxative effect.

You are able to give babies dried fruits from 6 months of age. Always ensure that you find varieties that are organic and without sulphur dioxide which is used to preserve the bright colours. This can trigger asthma and tummy problems in predisposed babies. Dried fruits are higher in sugar and present a choking hazard for younger babies. You can however re-hydrate them to make them easier to puree and consume. You can do this by soaking or gently simmering the fruit in water until soft.

The great thing about this little snack, zero actual cooking and they look like little snowballs, Great festive treat.

Organic Tahini SnowballsOrganic Tahini Balls

Ingredients

½ cup Organic Unhulled Tahini

½ cup Organic Honey

½ cup Desiccated Coconut + a bit extra for rolling

½ cup Organic LSA (ground linseed, sunflower and almonds)

½ cup Organic Dried Apricots

½ cup fresh Dates

½ cup Organic Dried Cranberries

You can use  different combinations of dried fruit based on your tastes. Think about apple, mangoes, figs, pears and cherries. 

Method

Place dried fruits in a blender and process until finely chopped. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix thoroughly with a spoon. Scooping up heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture from the bowl, roll into balls with your hands. Roll balls in extra desiccated coconut. Refrigerate until time to eat.

Makes 20-25 balls.

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Super Banana & Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

This is a really easy little recipe I found on the Wholesome Baby Food blog, just tweaked. It is full of ‘super foods’ Quinoa and blueberries, great for the family if you’re looking for a sugar free treat. I usually give them to Raff as a snack or serve them with yoghurt for breakfast. They freeze extremely well.

The main benefit of these little gems is the Quinoa (pronounced ‘Keen-Wah’); it’s a great little seed that comes in many forms. I have been using the whole seeds and flakes. This ‘super food’ is packed with protein, and also a great source of iron and fibre. As a family we use the whole seeds within omelettes and salads. For Rafaela we use them with mashed vegetables, stews and fruit for breakfast. It is also great to freeze and grab when heading out the door to beef up the pre-made pouches. This is what I call Raff’s fast food.

Shopping tip: It is readily available is supermarkets, you can find whole seeds, flakes and flours in the Coles health food isle. I bought a 1 kg bag of whole seeds from Costco for $11.99. Bargain!

The recipe below uses quinoa flakes, which is also great for porridge.IMG_1227

Banana & Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

This recipe makes 24 Mini Muffins

Ingredients

2 mashed Bananas

¾ cup of Blueberries (I generally use frozen berries, let them thaw slightly)

1 cup Quinoa (Flakes or Flour)

1 tsp. of Cinnamon Powder

2 Eggs*

1/2 tsp. of Baking Powder

¼ cup of Maple Syrup

2 tsp. of Vanilla bean paste.

Smallest pinch of salt

Method:

Pre heat a fan forced oven to 180 degrees

Mix together all the wet ingredients in a bowl, until well combined.  Add dry ingredient to the bowl and mix well.

Lightly spray a non-stick mini muffin pan with some Coconut Oil cooking spray or canola oil spray.

Spoon the batter into the pan and cook for 10-15min, or until they are golden brown.

*Check out my previous post on Egg substitutes

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Simple ingredient substitutes

Remember when you were pregnant and they said no more soft cheese, no more processed meats, avoid seafood and pre-packaged salads. Well starting solids is a very similar mine field.  You might find out early on through breastfeeding if you child has any major intolerance’s  Otherwise it’s a game of Russian roulette! No it’s not that bad.

However our little babies have immature digestive systems and their little organs may not be able to cope with an abundance of certain minerals a particular food may provide. ‘Which Foods When’ is a great chapter from Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani’s book ‘Well Adjusted Babies’. You can buy the chapter as an eBook from her site.  I find it extremely informative and it has great tables that can be printed and stuck on the fridge.  From all the various research I’ve done, most professionals in this field tend to recommended trialing new foods on their own and over a period of 3 days to monitor any reactions.

If you’re like me and ask Dr Google everything – “Can my baby have smoked salmon?”.  You will find an absolute wealth of information,. So far I’ve found the internet the most helpful tool and the iPad the second on this whole parenting journey.  The best thing is we have access to this information at our finger tips, it is always evolving and improving as more and more research is conducted. Just ask your mum when you ate eggs and had cow’s milk as a baby.

Below are some substitutes for common allergens. I’ve used all three and they have worked perfectly fine.

Egg Substitute

As a binding agent (Hold it together):

1 banana for 1 egg
1/4 cup apple sauce for one egg
1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons of hot water – allow thickening and cooling then use.

As a Leavening agent (Help it rise):

1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil mixed with 1-1/2 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon baking powder per egg.

Wheat-free (and gluten-free) flours:

Rice flour is the easiest and cheapest flour to use as it is found is almost every supermarket. You generally substitute cup for cup in recipes. Other flours include; tapioca starch, potato starch and potato flour.

All-purpose flour mix

4-1/2 cups White Rice Flour
1-1/2 cups Potato Starch (not potato flour)
3/4 cup Tapioca Flour (also called tapioca starch)

Cow’s Milk protein:

Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani (B.App.Clin.Sci, Chiropractic) talks extensively about pasteurised milk’s allergic nature and its effects on infants when introduced too early. Her recommendation is to slowly introduce products with the protein between 12 – 18 months of age. She starts with Organic goat’s milk, moves into cheeses and yoghurts and then organic cow’s milk. I would highly recommend purchasing the e-book ‘Which Foods When’ from her website for $7.95 (This is an excerpt from her book ‘Well Adjusted Babies’)

Soy, rice, potato, almond, oat and coconut milks are all possible substitutes for cow’s milk. These are all readily available in supermarkets especially organic varieties. If you aren’t dealing with a soy allergy, soy milk is a good option because it has similar amounts of nutrients to cow’s milk.

References

www.eatingwithfoodallergies.com

Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani (B.App.Clin.Sci, Chiropractic), Well Adjusted Babies: Your complete guide to pregnancy, birth, babies and beyond, Which Foods When, Chapter 22: Page 523-565.

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Simple Beef Casserole

I thought I would follow-up with something I actually thought to take a photo of, yummy beef casserole. I will start taking more photos as we cook, would you believe in 10 months I’ve taken 1,238 pictures of just Rafaela!

We started introducing red meat into the diet at the 10 month mark, and we celebrated with this hearty stew! Red meat is a great source of Iron, which is an important dietary mineral. It is essential in providing energy for daily life and is also vital for brain development.

I don’t really cook many casseroles; I came from a household that cooked curries instead. But the smell of this was just divine. It took me back to the day I ate goulash for breakfast, lunch and dinner en-route to Switzerland. It’s the perfect dish for the colder months and I’ve found it a great dish for a teething baby. I’m not sure if it is because it has just the right amount of gravy to go down the hatch without irritating the gums or enough bite to massage the gums. Who knows what goes on in there?

I would have loved to use organic beef for this recipe; however I can only ever find organic beef mince (Woolworths, Aldi & Costco). It’s not a necessity to go organic, but if you can then go for it. It’s more affordable than you think.

Below is the baby friendly recipe. Just add appropriate seasoning for an adult version.

Baby Beef Casserole (This recipe will make around 6 cups)

This can be made in a slow cooker, just read your instructions.

Ingredients:

400g of chunk/stewing meat. Trim away any fat.
I onion, diced
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 organic carrots, slice
1 cup of frozen peas
500ml of organic beef or vegetable stock
200ml of organic diced tomatoes or passata
2 tsp. of organic tomato paste
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. of rice flour (You can use any flour, rice flour is gluten-free)
4-5 sprigs of Fresh thyme
4-6 prunes chopped
Splash of Olive Oil, enough to brown the meat.

Method:

Heat oil in a heavy based saucepan and brown the meat. Remove and set aside.
Add onion and carrots to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes. Add crushed garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add the flour to the vegetables and stir to combine. Add the stock, canned tomatoes, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine.
Add beef, prunes and thyme, cover with the lid and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and leave simmering  for 1-1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally, scraping down the sides. In the last 5 minutes remove the lid and add the frozen peas.

For smaller babies puree. For older babies break up the meat with a fork, it should pull apart nicely.

The perfect accompaniments are; sweet potato mash, rice, quinoa, pasta or bread.

This is very freezer friendly.

IMG_1255

Beef Casserole

Shopping tip: Coles and Woolworths both sell organic stock cubes. You can also buy ‘Celebrate Health Organic Stock’ 500ml for $10 at Coles.

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Easy Couscous

Like Millet, couscous is amongst the healthiest grain-based products around. When compared to pasta and rice; couscous is low GI, high in protein, B6 and folate. The below recipe is not only for bubba’s. Just season appropriately for adult tastes and it’s a fantastic accompaniment to salads, stews, curries or as a side dish to grilled meats.

Raffy loves it! We give her some to play with so she can work on her pincer grasp (developmental milestone where they learn to pick up small objects between her thumb and forefinger). This helps develop her coordination, which should eventually see her feeding herself with a spoon, the holy grail!

For a balanced meal, serve with meats and vegetables. It can be a difficult food to eat on its own for a baby. I used this dish to introduce fresh herbs to Rafaela. When she was 8 months old we used pureed vegetables. Now at 10 months we serve it with casseroles. You can keep this in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze.

I’ve briefly mentioned ‘Fast Food’ for babies and the commercial baby food pouches. When we are out and about I will grab an organic pouch and a small container of couscous or quiona and mix the two together. While most are a full meal (Beef, Vegetables and Rice) already and they say ‘contains lumps’. They are still very much a puree. I add the additional grains to make it lumpier.

Easy couscous (This makes enough for babies lunch and dinner and enough for me and my husband)

Ingredients:

1 cup of couscous
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Splash of olive oil.
Shake of spices or fresh chopped herbs

Method:

If you want something with a more bitey texture, then place the couscous and water together in a bowl and sit for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. I personally like this method.
Or you can boil the water and add to the couscous, cover and allow the couscous to sit and absorb the water.
After each method, fluff with a fork. Add lemon juice & a splash of olive oil, spices or herbs. Mix and serve with Steamed veggies, stews, casseroles, avocado, anything!

Shopping tip – Woolworths has a fantastic range with the Macro Wholefoods Market. The most extensive and affordable I’ve seen. I’m obsessed! They have two organic varieties, Whole wheat semolina ($6.35, 750g) and wheat semolina ($5.35, 750g). Great value!

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Whole wheat couscous variety

You can make a sweet version, great for breakfast. Coming soon!

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