Tag Archives: Baby Food

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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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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