Tag Archives: 9 months

Turkey Meatballs… Gobble Gobble

Turkey mince is so affordable; I remembered how I raved about it over the festive season when Turkey was on my mind. It’s the ‘other less fatty white meat’ I also have the quote Seinfeld when I think Turkey… ‘It makes you sleepy’ great for kid’s right! It is the amino acid tryptophan that research suggests in large amounts can make you sleepy. It also produces serotonin that helps strengthen the immune system.  Regardless, it was half the price of Chicken mince and we haven’t had that much luck with chicken lately.

I found a great recipe from a kitchen queen – Nigella, which I adapted purely because I never have celery in the fridge, I always have carrots! Much like patties, burgers rissoles; meatballs can be a combination of anything with a few binders. The trick is to not over work the mixture as it can make them too dense.

You can serve these meatballs with pasta, mash potato, polenta, couscous, steamed vegies or salad. You can even serve them as finger foods for your next dinner party, because we all have time for that!

Sauce

1 onion, peeled

2 x Garlic Cloves

1 celery rib or carrot

1 teaspoon of dried Thyme

2 x 400g of canned tomatoes or passata

Water (fill up two of the tomato cans)

1 teaspoon of sugar

Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper

Meatballs

400g of Turkey Mince

1 x Egg

3 x Tablespoons of breadcrumbs

3 x Tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon of dried thyme

Salt to taste.

Method

Puree the onion, celery and carrot in a food processor. Reserve ¼ of the puree in a bowl for the meatballs.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and add vegetable puree and thyme, and cook for about 5 -10min.

Add tomatoes, water, sugar, salt & pepper. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook while prepping the meatballs.

Add all meatball ingredients to reserved vegetable puree. Mix gently to combine; avoid over mixing to prevent the meatballs from being leaden and heavy.

Form mixture into about 50 meatballs, about the size of a heaped teaspoon. Once all the meatballs are formed, add them to the simmering sauce (Pushing them down to have a light covering of sauce) Continue to simmer 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Enjoy! Rafaela does…

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.

Rafaela eating her meatballs. Gobble Gobble.

Rafaela eating her meatballs. Gobble Gobble.

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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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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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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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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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