Tag Archives: gluten free

‘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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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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Apple millet porridge

Glorious Grains! by 8-9 months its recommended to start introducing more grains, seeds and cereals. Millet is a great option to start with. Often found as a key ingredient in bird seed its has a mildly sweet, nutty flavour.  It’s gluten-free, high in protein, B vitamins (B3, B6, and B9) also has calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

This recipe below is an expanded version of one found in ‘What do I feed my Baby’. I’ve provided the details on how to cook Millet.

photo (3)

Apple Millet porridge

Ingredients:

1/4 of organic millet meal
1 cup of water
1 large apple, peeled , cored and roughly chopped.
Shake of cinnamon spice

Method:

Add the millet to boiling water and cook until the water is completely absorbed.  Reduce heat, add apple and shake over cinnamon and let it simmer for an additional ten minutes.  Less water will result in a fluffier texture, while more water will result in a denser texture.

Apple should be soft but still in tact. You can mash with a fork or leave in bite sizes pieces for older babies.

Serving suggestions:
Add a dollop of yogurt, sprinkle of LSA meal (ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds)
Add additional seasonal fruit such as blueberries and banana

Freezes well, best to reheat back in the saucepan. You may need to add additional water to soften it up.

Shopping tip – Coles has a very good range of different grain meal, they average between $5-$8. They should last a while, keep them in a cool, dark and dry place.

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