Little Lunches – Vegetable Eggy Rice

Veg eggy rice BLW

We’ve gone down the baby-led weaning route so LB usually eats what I eat. As I’m getting more confident feeding LB I thought I’d begin to share the recipes I make for the two of us eat in a series called Little Lunches. We’re usually at home for lunch and while sandwiches in the pre-weaning days were perfect for me (sorry LB for dropping the odd bit of cheese on you while you were sleeping on me and I was grabbing lunch). Now we eat together and for ease I make something we both can eat. It’s certainly helping me to eat better.

All these recipes are for one grown up and a little one. They’re quick to prepare or can be prepped in advance. Of course everyone (big and little) has different appetites so you may need to adjust it accordingly. These work for me and LB. I’m no Annabel Karmel but these are the dishes that both my daughter and I enjoy.

Under the age of 1 it is recommended that children have no more than 1g of salt a day. Us grown-ups can have 5g so I cook without salt (or use substitutes like low salt stock cubes) then add tweaks at the table to make it more my taste. I try, where possible, to make sure each meal has:

  • protein
  • fruit and or veg
  • carb
  • during the day at least one portion of full fat dairy

First in the series is vegetable eggy rice. One of LB’s first foods was broccoli. Back then she ate florets with gusto, now she’s older and has twigged an association with food and tastes, broccoli is falling down the popularity stakes. I still offer it to her though as she will eat it if it is roughly blended with cheese and lemon juice to make a pasta sauce and when everything else on her tray has gone she will eat florets.

This recipe great for using up those little scraps in the fridge that need eating, hence why the broccoli has a tint of yellow. The vegetables can be easily substituted in this recipe along with adding cooked meat. Sometimes we may add a bit of left over Sunday roast chicken. Depending if your little one has developed good pincer grip or not it can be worth adding an extra egg to the mix to make it stick together better and make it easier to pick up.

vegetable eggy rice

Vegetable Eggy Rice
1 grown up & 1 little one

  • 100g rice (I usually use basmati)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • Half a handful of shredded savoy cabbage (or similar)
  • Half a broccoli, cut into florets and blanched
  • 1 egg, beaten (if you want the rice to clump more and make it easier to pick up, add a second egg)
  • pinch of black pepper

For grown-ups

  • soy sauce
  • sweet chilli sauce

 

  1. Precook the rice and put to the side to drain and cool.
  2. Heat the sesame oil in a saute pan then gently soften the spring onions, cabbage and broccoli.
  3. Once vegetables are cooked through add the rice to the pan. If there is still water on the rice at this point the pan may spit a bit.
  4. Move the vegetables and rice to one side of the pan and pour the egg in the other side of the pan. Allow the egg to cook for around 5 seconds then stir the vegetables into the egg. Keep stirring until egg is cooked and coating the rice.
  5. Stir in a pinch of black pepper before serving. For the grown up add a good dash of soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce to taste.

little lunches rounded

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2015/04/16/little-lunches-vegetable-eggy-rice/

Weaning – 3 months on

baby-led weaning LB

Time is speeding by and we’ve been on the weaning journey for nearly 3 months now. As mentioned in previous posts we ended up going down the baby-led-weaning route as it worked best for us.We’ve come a long way since that first munch on broccoli and there has been an unexpected benefit for me – shedding those pounds.It hasn’t been intentional, but looking at what we eat to make it suitable for LB has meant I’m eating better too. It also means more or less no naughty baking. LB’s not daft, she seems to know when I’m eating something she isn’t.

We regularly eat out now with LB and she certainly knows how to charm the other diners, though we need to work on her table manners. Grinning at people with a mouthful of food won’t be as acceptable in a few years time! Eating out with her has made me look at menus more. She usually eats what were eating and not too long ago we visited a certain pub for a meal. There wasn’t a single item on the menu suitable for her or remotely healthy for me. The main and kids menu was full of beige food and chips with everything. Even the obligatory peas looked sorry for themselves. The usual failsafe of veggie burger had been replaced with a macaroni cheese burger. Safe to say we won’t be returning there for a while. Thankfully our usual eating haunts have a better choice of tasty dishes.

LB favourite foods

LB is still toothless (I swear she’s been teething since October), so some foods can be a bit tricky, but it still surprises me what she manages to gum and eat without little pegs.

Favourite foods

  • Blueberries If she had her way she’d eat them all the time. When she was ill a few weeks back they were all she would eat.
  • Prunes – A new addition to her diet and may even topple blueberries off the food top spot.
  • Crumpets/pikelets – Particularly popular if topped with a mix of grated carrot, apple and cheese.
  • Banana pancakes – Half a banana mashed into a beaten egg then cooked in a frying pan with a slither of unsalted butter. Can add extra fruits and toppings, like raspberry and cream cheese to make raspberry cheesecake pancakes.
  • Rice cakes – the plain ones. Unsalted ones are not the easiest to find, I pick them up in Boots. LB has tried the fruit coated ones but prefers the plain ones.
  • Quiche/tart call it what you like – There is a great recipe in the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook that LB adores, especially when I make it with cheese pastry. I usually make one big quiche, cut it in long slices then freeze.
  • Cheese – hardly surprising when I craved it during my pregnancy.
  • Yoghurt – It took her a while to appreciate yoghurt but now she’s masted spoon-feeding herself it’s the food she gets visibly excited about. Usually a good dollop of greek yoghurt blended with some ripe pear and peanut butter or Little Yeo pear and apple fromage frais. I’m a big fan off the Little Yeo range (for me too!) as they’re not too sweet plus they stick to the spoon well for her. Yeo Valley apparently sell mini pots of plain fromage frais but I haven’t seen them for sale near me.

Favorite recipe sources

weaning books

  • Baby Led Weaning Cookbook – I found this book useful, especially in the early days, giving me lunch and breakfast ideas. I found the sister book (Baby Led Weaning) to be a bit preachy and patronising but the cookbook (as long as you skip some of the introduction) is not. The most popular recipes from this book so far are the vegetable tart and meatloaf.
  • 5 O’clock Apron – I’ve been following Claire on Twitter (@5oclockapron) and reading her Guardian column about kids food for a few years. Even pre-LB I was envious of the food she served her kids. A few months back she brought out a cookbook and it has been loved here ever since. It’s not a weaning cookbook, but a book of family food. She doesn’t believe hiding vegetables in an effort to make your child eat them, just make the vegetables better in the first place with spices and other ingredients. We’ve really enjoyed cooking dishes from this book and to make the recipes more for mine & Hub’s grown up palate we just add salt at the table and maybe a cheeky glass of wine. What I like about most of the recipes is that I can prep them during the day when I have time, then it’s just a quick cook or assembly job once Hubs is home. LB’s favourite recipes have been and Egyptian dish called Kushari and chicken shawarma with chop chop salad.

One Handed Cooks

  • One Handed Cooks – a beautiful Australian site and magazine full of tasty food ideas for children, half of which seem to be pinned on my weaning Pinterest board. It’s helped me introduce vegetables and textures to LB in different ways.

Useful stuff

weaning equipment

  • Small frying pan – I picked up my pan, that’s no bigger than 20cm, in the Sainsbury’s sale for £4 a few years ago and it’s turned into one of the most used pieces of cookware at the moment. Great to making small omelette for LB along with heating up small portions of food. Bonus is that seems like less washing up and hassle than using our huge saute pan.
  • Mamas & Papas Baby Bud – Rather than a traditional high chair we opted for a booster style Baby Bud with additional benefit of being portable. It comes with a play tray which is handy for keeping LB entertained when I’m trying to sort dinner. My only slight niggle with it is that the tray could do with being a tiny bit bigger. Second choice – the iconic Ikea Antilop.
  • Bento box – LB has a little purple bento box from Paperchase sale and the adjustable little compartments are great for taking lunches and snacks out with us.
  • Microfibre wipes – We started using baby wipes at first, but discovered they don’t seem to grip the food when trying to wipe it up. Instead it just seems to smear it around. A friend introduced me to reusable wipes. The brand name is Cheeky Wipes, but I made my own by cutting down and sewing some microfibre wipes from B&M Bargains. Cost me less than £2.

Have you found any useful things when weaning your little one?

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2015/04/11/weaning-3-months-on/

Baby Tortilla Pizzas

baby led weaning pizza

We’re still relative beginners at the weaning game but we’re rapidly learning what will work for Lily and so far there’s very few foods that have been rejected. Ask me again a few years when LB has decided her current favourite, broccoli, is the worst food we could feed her.

baby pizza lunch

Last weekend after a longer than it should be drive back from Liverpool (Don’t forget you’ve left your keys back at your parents when you turn off the M6 at Stoke meaning you have to get back on the M6 and drive north again) dinner needed to be quick and using what limited ingredients we had around the house. This is when Baby Tortilla Pizzas were born.

tortilla pizza base

As everyone who has ever weaned a child your freezer is full of purees you have lovingly made or you have some pre-made baby food pouches hanging around. Since the beginning LB has rejected purees and pouches so I had spares to be used up for dinner emergencies like this. Add that lonely tortilla wrap in the bread bin from the sweet potato fajitas earlier on in the week and we almost had pizzas.

baby tortilla pizzas

I’m always conscious that babies over 6 months should only have 1g of salt a day. Not much really when you look at the salt content of processed food. Here I’m using ready-made wraps some of which can be high in salt (these ones aren’t), but with time spare some simple tortillas made with flour and water could easily be whipped up.

Baby Tortilla Pizzas

  • Tortilla wrap
  • 3 tsp tomato based baby food puree (I used a Ella’s Kitchen lentil, tomato and red pepper puree )
  • grated cheese

 

  1. Using a 5cm biscuit cutter, cut out three rounds from the tortilla
  2. Spread the puree over the tortilla bases and sprinkle with a small amount of cheese.
  3. Place the pizzas in a small preheated frying pan on medium. Cook gently until cheese has melted. Alternatively you could cook them under the grill. Allow to cool a bit before serving.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2015/02/15/baby-tortilla-pizzas/

Weaning beginnings – Raspberry Cheesecake Pancakes

Raspberry Cheesecake Pancakes BLW

Time is speeding by since LB’s arrival in July. Before we knew it it was time to start weaning. I don’t want this post to be a debate about weaning as I know it’s a very personal (& contentious) issue. We decided to go with current NHS advice and wait until LB was 6 months and showing the three signs of readiness. The intention was that we would do a mixture of traditional puree weaning and baby led weaning (BLW), both of which are encouraged by the NHS. LB had her own ideas, shunning baby porridge (I don’t blame her, have you tasted it?), purees and any ready-made food from the beginning favouring anything homemade she could hold and feed herself. A little foodie of the future. When I was a baby I refused to eat anything from a jar; even if it had been prepped out of sight I’d know.

Since LB arrived I will admit we fell off the foodie bandwagon favouring anything that required little prep and rarely ventured from the odd trusted Nigella or Jamie recipe. Certainly no time for experimenting with foods and blogging. Now we’ve started weaning it’s made us look at what we eat and make it better so LB can join us without too much extra prep. One advantage of waiting until 6 months to wean is that baby can more or less eat what you’re eating (with a few tweaks and exceptions). It’s certainly making us eat a great deal better plus we’re cutting back on both salt and sugar. I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed sitting down each lunch time with my daughter to share lunch.

4 ingredient raspberry cheesecake pancakes

While looking at foods to give LB I’ve soon learnt that the best foods are the ones that you can make yourself. A big breakfast favourite here is 2 ingredient banana pancakes – simply 1/2 banana mashed with an egg then cooked in a frying pan with a small amount of unsalted butter. As I’ve discovered these pancakes are also a great carrier for other fruits and toppings.

What I like about these pancakes is no measuring required and it uses ingredients we always have around the house. Sometimes they contain a pinch of baking powder to make them fluffy, sometimes a spoonful of peanut butter. They’re not just great weaning food but suitable for grown-ups, but I must warn you don’t expect them to be like beautiful fluffy scotch pancakes, they’re different but still good. So here you have it – simple 4 ingredient Raspberry Cheesecake Pancakes.

BWL raspberry cheesecake pancake (2)

Raspberry Cheesecake Pancake
Makes one 15cm pancake

  • 1/2 banana, mashed (blast banana in microwave if it isn’t easy to mash)
  • 4 raspberries
  • 1 egg
  • Unsalted butter
  • Cream cheese

 

  1. Mash together the banana and raspberries then whisk in the egg.
  2. Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan.
  3. Pour in the eggy mixture into the pan. Once the pancake has cooked on the bottom flip over and cook until pancake is completely set.
  4. Place pancake on a plate and spread cream cheese on top.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2015/02/04/weaning-beginnings-raspberry-cheesecake-pancakes/

Stained glass mosaic course – Denman College

finished stained glass mosaic

You may or may not be aware that the Women’s Institute (WI) have a college in Oxfordshire called Denman where they run cookery, craft and lifestyle courses. You don’t have to be a WI member or female to go. It’s open to everyone.

While I was heavily pregnant I won a bursary to help cover costs towards one of their courses. I decided to use the money towards a 2-day residential stained glass – leaded mosaic panel course and would take both LB & Hubs with me to make a weekend of it. Why not a cookery course? Time for a change.

It was going to be some well overdue “Me time”. During the teaching sessions it would be the longest I’ve been apart from LB since she was born and also the longest Hubs has been sole carer for her.

Denman3

As we pulled up to Denman Friday afternoon I will admit we had reservations. Hubs had some preconceived ideas of the WI and when he spotted a lobby full of women old enough to be his mum he looked scared. As we got to our huge, traditionally decorated room in the main house, Hub’s heart sunk even further when he realised there was no TV or wifi signal. The three of us headed down to dinner with all the other residential students a bit unsure about what lay ahead of us. It soon came clear why there is no TV and wifi signal is patchy, it’s to make you do that good old-fashioned thing of talking.

We’re not the most natural of social butterflies but once we realised nearly all people there had come on their own we soon got chatting to others. I think the novelty of Hubs being one of only three men there and carrying a baby was a pretty good ice breaker. As the evening wore on, we thawed and realised we were surrounded by a bunch of the loveliest, open-minded, interesting women around. Most of which seemed to adopt LB as their granddaughter.

Denman1

Once dinner was over I headed over to the teaching block to start on my design, meet Anna Conti our tutor and the other 7 students on my course. One of the reasons I picked stained glass mosaic was because I decided it wasn’t something I could easily learn without a tutor and I don’t have the equipment at home to quickly rustle up a panel. Initially I was going to make a panel with LB’s initial, but unless I got it perfect it could look awful so after playing around with a few ideas I settled on a tree made of circles. Yes I forgot I’d have to try and cut a circle from glass.

Saturday was spent cutting glass, gluing our mosaic  the glass panel, leading up and burning my finger. Note to self: steadying hand by putting finger on metal part of soldering iron hurts… lots. Sunday we finished our panels in time for Sunday lunch.

Denman

Other courses running the same weekend were patchwork, botanical painting, showstoppers (singing & dancing) and a very popular baking weekender. The delicious scents from the cookery school kept wafting into the classroom where we were working.

All our time in the classroom was interspaced with food, lots of it.One of the big things about going on a course at Denman is the catering. In true WI style you won’t go hungry and the food was excellent. Each break was accompanied with a biscuit or slice of cake and there was always a pudding with custard for lunch and dinner.

A big mention must go to the staff. Babies rarely visit, let alone stay at Denman and they went to great lengths to make us feel welcome and make sure things ran smoothly. Nothing was too much trouble.

Denman2

A weekend that originally I was so nervous about I nearly cancelled, turned out to be a lovely relaxing weekend learning a new skill with precious bonding time for LB and Hubs. I want to return to do another one of their craft courses. I like the sound of stone carving or silver jewellery. At first glance the prices can seem steep but you have to remember that this includes full board accommodation.

This isn’t the most modern of places to visit, but that’s ok. Denman is in its own little bubble. The lack of TV and wifi wasn’t missed, in fact it was refreshing. We all need to disconnect from modern life once in a while and invest some time in ourselves. Cast aside your ideas of what the WI is about and give one of their courses a go.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2015/01/14/stained-glass-mosaic-course-denman-college/

Christmas Pudding Krispie Cakes

xmas pudding krispie

This Christmas is going to be very different for us. Last year was spent it telling our families of the impending arrival of Little Baker (LB) by giving the future grandparents this book and counting the seconds before the penny dropped and tear/squeals started. This year 5-month-old LB will be joining us at the dinner table, not to eat as she’s not quite old enough yet, but to preside over the feast. How long she’ll be happy in the high chair before wanting to sit on someone’s lap is another matter.

Looking back I seem to have a thing about making food christmas pudding shaped. These are simply rice krispie cakes with some fruit added for good measure. They are quick to make, cheap and perfect for that moment when you realise you’ve forgotten to make something for the charity Christmas cake stall stand. Alternatively if Hub’s birthday bake goes wrong today he may get these.

They are not the most photogenic to make. Or should I say I struggled to make my batch (made by me, a 30-something who’s usually a perfectionist) not look like a 7-year old had made them. If you wear disposable gloves it is possible to roll this mixture into balls, but it is easier to spoon the mixture directly in to a paper case.

I got the holly & berry sprinkles used on these cakes as soon as they appeared in Sainsbury’s back in October. I’ve spotted them appearing in Morrisons and cake decorating stores too, but be quick as they seem to disappear fast.

So as another Christmas rapidly draws closer have a very merry Christmas everyone!

Christmas Pudding Krispie Cakes
Makes 12

  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 60g rice krispies
  • 25g dried mixed fruit
  • 50g white chocolate
  • holly and berry sprinkles (You could also make them from sugarpaste or glacé cherries & angelica)

 

  1. Melt the milk chocolate.
  2. Stir the rice krispies and mixed fruit in to the melted chocolate until well coated
  3. Share the mixture between 12 paper cakes
  4. Melt the white chocolate then drizzle this over the krispie cakes.
  5. Decorate with the holly and berries then allow the chocolate to set.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2014/12/23/christmas-pudding-krispie-cakes/

Little Baker Picks – December

LB Dec 14

Didymos Didytai

When LB was little I carried her in a stretchy sling from Victoria SlingLady. Now she’s bigger and heavier I’ve upgraded to a Didymos Didytai to give more support for both me and LB. I like that I can carry LB on my front, back or side with it plus it comes in lots of pretty fabrics. This pleases the hippy haberdashery lover in me. Hubs prefers the more traditional carriers so he uses a Baby Bjorn and for Christmas we’re getting a hardcore baby carrying rucksack so we can take to the hills with her as she loves the great outdoors.

I’m a babywearing fan. Sometimes it’s easier to wear than take a buggy, it means I can get on with jobs and the biggie, put a grouchy LB in a sling or carrier and she’s usually asleep within 5 min. Magic.

Baby grows

I do love baby grows. As a baby it’s the only time in your life when it is socially acceptable to be seen outside the house in a onesie. As cute as outfits are for babies (I’ve bought a fair few), sometimes it’s nice and easy for her to be in a babygrow. Think taking her swimming. Never again will I make the mistake of putting her in an outfit. It’s a mare to change a damp, rapidly chilling wriggle monster into something that isn’t baggy with minimum buttons.

Next baby grows are good as they wash well and have integrated scratch mitts. Size wise they are generous. 20 weeks in and weighing 14lb, LB still fits in her 0-3 baby grows from Next. It’s interesting seeing how the retailers differ so much in quality and sizing. Tesco – good sizing, usually good quality and generally wash well; Asda – small sizing, poor choice unless you have a penchant for frills, slogans and baby pink. LB has nearly grown out of 3-6 months Asda baby grows even though she is small for her size; Morrisons Nutmeg – while some of their clothing is good, their baby grows are thin, wonky seamed and don’t wash well at all.

Baby books

Tactile books are brilliant for babies. LB has the Faces version of this book and it seems to go most places with us. They are made of material, feature plastic mirrors, can be chewed and feature a velcro strap meaning they can be safely attached to the buggy or play gym. She’s mastering the art of turning pages at the moment.

Moccasins

Or should I say Mocc Ons. LB has the inability to keep most types of booties/shoes on and in the colder weather a couple of pair of socks just aren’t warm enough. I’d read about moccasins for babies being great (especially when babywearing) so set about trying to source them. I finally found them in Sainsbury’s. They sell them in a large variety of patterns and colours for the bargain price of £5. You can find other retailers on the Sockons website.

Have you made any fab baby/child discoveries recently?

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2014/12/11/little-baker-picks-december/

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