Monday, 30 April 2012

Spiced Potato and Spinach Cakes

I often cook an extra jacket potato intending to cook something for my son.  This was the way I used up my last cooked jacket from the fridge.  I would think they would be great for baby led weaners and the reluctant spinach eater (adult or child!)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Homemade tomato sauce for babies, toddlers and the whole family

It is my right to revisit posts of yore, especially when I've changed the cooking method.  This is my recipe for a basic tomato sauce which is great for loads of uses.  When I blogged about this before, I wasn't spending as much time on my posts and it's a long way back.  I was also really lazy and rarely took pictures (not that my pictures here are fabulous.  Photographing a sauce is tricky.)  I also wanted to review, for my own benefit as much as anyone, just how many ways I use this sauce and in how many recipes (I know it's a lot).

Monday, 23 April 2012

Oat and Mango biscuits for babies and toddlers

Some crumbly biscuits, slightly sweet but no added sugar.

You might never have encountered dried mango before.  My son likes dried fruit (who doesn't) and I saw a pack in CO-OP recently.  Most dried mango contains added sugar but this didn't.  I have to say it was delicious.  I'm not much of a fresh mango fan but this was like a sweet, tangy fruit leather.

As it is naturally super sweet, I used some for these biscuits.  A big hit with my 23 month old.  He ate four as a snack.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Singapore Noodles for Toddlers (and parents)

If I have a philosophy, it's probably to introduce interesting foods to kids in the healthiest way I can.  I also like to challenge what is traditionally seen as 'kids food'.  I have a lot of sympathy with Antonio Carluccio's comments recently (even if I question his credentials as a famously fat man) that children's menus make kids fat.

The 'typical' children's menu features chips, chips and more chips.  If you're lucky there's a pasta dish on there, pasta is fine but it just makes me think "yawn".  Isn't there anything more interesting?  The silly thing is loads of kids go to nurseries nowadays and in my experience of two local nurseries, their food is far more interesting and presumably they have no issues getting kids to eat it.

So, I urge you to be a little bit brave with your toddlers and older kids.  There might be some refusals, there might be some less than positive reports but really, why don't we feed food which is closer to what we'd like to eat?  After all if you don't you're setting yourself up for a lifetime of cooking two meals.

That said, I'd be spinning a yarn if I didn't tell you that all of the prawns were eaten along with a couple of pieces of pepper and a few noodles.  It was a hit but my son has his favourites and prawns are probably the thing he would eat for every meal if I let him.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Even more inspiration for fussy babies, toddlers and older kids

Back in February I posted a list of recipes with hidden fruit or vegetables.  My son has been going through a slight aversion to fruit and vegetables recently.  No, that's not true, he still likes fruit and vegetables, he just doesn't like what I want to give him (whatever that might be), it's a control thing.  He wants to make sure he's making the choices not me.  Ah, toddlers!

Anyway, my little toddler doesn't realise (yet) that I'm still sneaking in some insurance fruits and veggies just to make sure he's getting his five a day (to be fair my husband doesn't realise this either...)

1.  Fried Rice.  Unhealthy right?  Perhaps not, especially when you pack it full of vegetables.  It's easy to include ingredients like peas, mushrooms, onions etc.  I think mushroom fried rice is my favourite recipe (and my son loves it too.)

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Prawn Pasta Bake for the whole family

There is something about baked pasta dishes which feel somehow more indulgent and satisfying than normal pasta.  For me I also find I can squeeze more vegetables in and reduce the quantity of pasta per person.

I just made this for my husband and I but I know my son would love it.  Mushrooms and prawns are two of his favourite things.  That said, the prawns are optional and more for a protein source than flavour.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

What's in your fridge?

Oh, just for a bit of fun, I was inspired by a post on Veggie Mama to take a photo of my fridge.

I'm not sure what my fridge says about me, apart from the fact it's fairly new and so not too dirty.   The level of veg is typical, I have no problem eating veg, I just eat too much of everything else too and a bit too much booze...

Dare you share yours?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Wholemeal pizza for the whole family (loads of hidden veggies)

I don't usually make pizza with wholemeal dough but I'm trying to get a bit healthier with my diet so I came up with this.  I've never tried putting vegetables into the dough before but it worked.  This is also the lightest wholemeal pizza base I've ever eaten.

The secret to a really light and flavourful dough is in the proving.  You do not have to just do one proof, even if you use easy blend yeast like I did.  More proving is more air and more flavour.  Of course, there is a limit.  Once the yeast runs out of food, you end up with a dough with no structure but there's nothing wrong with proving 2 or 3 times, perhaps even 4.  When you think about it, especially if your children eat their tea at a different time to you (like mine does) this multiple proving can be a blessing.  I will explain as I go along.

This is definitely a weekend recipe; that said, I did try to get my (23 month old) son involved but he just started eating mushrooms.  Older kids would definitely have fun with this though.  They could help mould the dough (you could give them some to make into bread rolls or just for fun) they could help top the pizza too.  Involving kids in what they eat is surely a good way to ensure they are invested in the process and likely to give it a go?

This can be meaty, veggie, fishy, it's up to you!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Dairy Free Pancakes

Regular readers will know my son recently had a temporary lactose intolerance which meant he couldn't have normal milk for a few weeks.  My short experience has given me a lot of respect for people who have to cope with this every day.

So I've looked at my pancake recipe and adapted it to make it milk free.  If you have a lactose intolerance you may be able to use butter, it depends upon your sensitivity (I think, I'm no expert) but substitute for non dairy margarine if you need to.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Chicken and Bean stew for Toddlers and Adults

This was inspired by a recipe on the good food website but I've changed some of the instructions and the cooking method and I'm very pleased with the results.

If there can be a summery stew then this is it.  Vibrant with tomatoes, paprika and pepper but full of nutritious chicken and borlotti beans.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Sugar Free Baking Linky

Well here is my second ever attempt at a linky.

In my blog I feature a lot of baking which contains no added sugar or savoury versions of foods which typically are eaten as sweets.  Why do I do this?  Well originally I perhaps took government guidance to heart that babies are "sweet enough already" but as my son has got older, it's made me question my approach to cooking, baking in particular and wonder whether it is necessary to include as much sugar as I normally would.  I have nothing against using sugar and I would rather use sugar for my son than artificial sweeteners but to protect his teeth and keep him interested in a wide range of foods, it seems like a good idea to limit ultra sweet foods in his diet.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Carrot Cake for babies and toddlers

I adapted this from a recipe I found on the Good Food website to make it without added sugar.

I've called it "5 a day cake" because it has so much hidden fruit and veg in it; clementines, sultanas, carrots and apples.  If only I'd pushed it one more...   Really it's a carrot cake and what could be more appropriate at Easter?  I'm not suggesting cake should substitute for fresh fruit and vegetables, but in my view, if you are going to have cake anyway, why not have some healthier ingredients in there?  Much better than a pack of chocolate buttons for your little angels anyway.

This isn't super sweet but it was a hit with my son so I've included it.  Adults might find not find it sweet enough for their tastes but you could always add a little icing when your little one isn't looking...

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Kachumber (Indian Salad)

Who says Indian has to be unhealthy?  Far from it.  Despite the use of ghee in traditional Indian cookery, there is also a wonderful use of vegetables.

This is my take on Kachumber, a traditional Indian salad.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Snack ideas for toddlers

I was recently sent some snack products by a large company who supply snacks to the baby and toddler market.

Anyway, I tried one of the products on my son, I won't lie, he did like it but it got me thinking, how much do people spend on snacks like these?  You can easily pay anything up to around 50p a pack, maybe more.  This could seriously mount up.  Also what nutrition do they provide?  I'm sure it varies significantly (I'm not saying everything is bad but is it really necessary to feed your child crisps, even if they don't contain sugar or salt?)

So, here are some top tips for interesting snacks which won't break the bank and won't be full of anything you'd prefer not to be feeding your child.

1.  Dried fruit.  Not for every snack as it is high in sugar but there's no harm occasionally (and better than chocolate).  Why not mix up some bits and bobs like the dried apple, sultana and date mix here?

Tasty and full of fibre.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Broccoli nuggets

I adapted this from a recipe on wholesome baby food.  Very impressed with the results.  My son ate 6 of these and after eating 6 myself I was full so his little tummy must have been bursting.  He kept just saying "more" and cried when he dropped a bit on the floor.  All that and I'd been struggling to get him to eat broccoli recently!