When I first started Morgan on solids the most difficult meal was breakfast. At first she absolutely refused to allow us to come any where near her mouth with a spoon so the usual items that I would think to serve her didn’t work. I resorted to just giving her things like strips of banana or avocado. But after browsing some Baby-Led Weaning forums I read one mother’s solution was making quick microwave oat cakes. I loved the idea and gave it a try the next day, the result was perfect. Morgan loved it and it was easy for her to pick up and hold on her own. I have played around with the ingredient each time I make it and more often then not just eyeball the amounts so feel free to have a play with it yourself. You can add sugar but I say why give them sugar when they are perfectly happy to have it without. I sometimes make it with just oats a little bit of milk and Morgan still loves it. Don’t just assume that babies and toddlers need things to be sweetened with sugar in order for them to like it. Also don’t think that you need to go out and buy a baby porridge (oatmeal). For the most part it is just the regular oats pulsed down to smaller pieces. If you feel that your baby needs the oats broke down then just pulse them in a blender yourself. There is no need to buy a separate oats for your baby and the rest of the family. Also be wary of the flavoured porridge (oatmeal) if you don’t want to give your baby sugar in those early months as they have added sugars. This is not only great for babies but for toddlers and with some alterations even adults.
Microwave Raspberry Oat Cakes
1/2 medium banana
20g (1/4 c.) rolled oats
pinch of cinnamon
a couple of frozen raspberries
Even before I had my daughter people use to tell me that babies and toddlers can eat what you eat but that they just need it blander. Now if people were only talking about sodium levels in their food then they could be correct. But sadly many people have come to believe that young children and babies won’t like a lot of herbs and spices. I feel that this only makes the problem of picky eaters worse for later on in their lives. Introducing babies and toddlers to a wide range of spices helps open up the pallet especially during the early years of their lives as their taste buds are just developing. Ever since Morgan was 9 months old her food has been well seasoned and spiced we just closely monitor the salt. If you are nervous about what kinds of herbs and spices you can introduce when they are young take a look at this great article for a little more in depth guidance.
Now this week for Sunday Supper we are celebrating the changing of the season with all things orange. My original plan had been to share sweet potato and chicken patties but with a much different taste pallet then the ones I am sharing. But my first attempt was a disaster, the texture and the flavour just didn’t work. So I had to go back to the drawing board. But I couldn’t find a recipe that was what I wanted so I decided to just put together something on my own. I felt inspired to give them an Indian twist, I wanted them to have enough flavour so that they could stand on their own without needing a sauce like my first attempt did. Sadly before I had a chance to make attempt number two my sweet baby girl came down with the worse cold she has ever had. It was Saturday afternoon before I even had a chance to attempt it and I was nervous at cutting it so close. But somehow I managed to throw it together and thankfully the nerves didn’t effect my performance of this recipe because it was so delicious. It isn’t spicy hot, just full of flavour so it is perfect for people both big and little who don’t like spicy foods.
Chicken and Sweet Potato Fritters
500g (1 lb) Sweet potato,peeled and chopped
250g (1/2 lb) cooked chicken, chopped (I used leftovers)
1 large onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 mild chili, chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp curry powder
salt to taste (I didn’t add any)
2 egg whites
Oil for frying
One major issue I have people tell me about their picky kids is that if it isn’t in the ‘shape’ of their favourite foods then they don’t want to try it. So in other words if the fish fingers don’t look like fingers then good luck getting them to try it. I am not at that stage of picky eating yet with my 14 month old but it did get me thinking. First of all where do our kids get this? Is it because most kids are only given quick and easy frozen fish fingers or is there just something about the shape that appeals. I am often trying to find easy, wholesome finger food ideas for my daughter to eat is that what later on causes this need for finger shaped food? I have no idea but as parents all we can do is try. I often make a breaded baked fish as a substitute for us getting fish from a chippy, which my husband has decided is too greasy for his taste. But I had never thought to try to make the fish into finger sizes. It really wasn’t that bad as far as being more time consuming then breading the fish whole, but it would be just as easy to bread the whole fish for those less pick and then making the finger size for the pickier members of our family. And the nice thing about this size for the smaller members of the family is it is really simple to pick up. Usually I just give Morgan cut off pieces of our fish to eat, which she eats happily, but because these were made to fit in her hand I noticed she found them easier to eat and she actually ate more of her meal then what ended up on the floor. Which makes me happier because less mess to tidy up after dinner.
What are your thoughts about this picky stage for toddlers? Is it inevitable, something that all toddlers go through? Or do we as parents accidentally cause them?
Baked Fish Fingers
500g (1 lb) skinless fish fillets (such as sole, flounder, tilapia or other firm white fish)
120g (1 c.) plain flour
2 large egg, beaten
60g fresh breadcrumbs*
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
Baby-led feeding is just as it sounds, letting them feed themselves. While it was my plan all along to do this style of feeding it quickly became the only option anyway because Morgan was fiercely independent and refused to let us feed her. She has gotten better as she has gotten older but very quickly I realized I would have to be very creative in the kitchen if I was going to provide her with healthy meals that she could feed herself. I swear by my mini-muffin tins and use them for so many different meals to help create Morgan sized food. She eats what we eat so I had to learn how to prepare our food so that it is acceptable for her. One of the biggest concerns when it comes to small children is the levels of sodium in the food. Sodium isn’t great for adults but it is even worse for babies and small children. The bonus is that my meal preparation for my husband and I has been even healthier since Morgan started eating with us. And because we decided to go the route of Morgan eating what we eat she eats pretty much everything, including spicy foods.
But let me say there is a difference between a toddler eater and a picky eater so don’t be fooled by them. I have had so many people tell me, ‘oh my baby didn’t like’ and I asked them well how many times have you introduced it to them and they say only once. Don’t give up after the first attempt, give it 3 to 4 times before you settle on the fact that they don’t like it. And even then give it some time and reintroduce it, their taste buds are still developing so it could be just a phase. For the longest time we thought Morgan wasn’t going to like tomatoes because she refused to eat them raw. Now as a 14 month old she is obsessed with eating the tomatoes off of my plant in the garden. This meatloaf recipe was a huge hit with Morgan and my husband really liked meatloaf being served in these bite size portions.
500g (1 lb ) mince
38g (1/2 c.) fresh breadcrumbs
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 courgette grated*
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp thyme
2 tsp of tomato ketchup
50g (1/2 c.) cheese grated
Well here it is, my first official post under the redesign and I hope that you like it. While it isn’t quite perfect and my husband and I will be tweaking details this week I am happy to be sharing it with you today. My desire is to make it easier for you to navigate the site, find recipes and I also want to begin to share a more personal look at my journey of parenting and including recipes designed more for babies/toddlers. A blog is all about personal journeys and since this is such a big part of my life I feel that I include more of it with you.
But I first want to touch on a subject dealing with parenting that is very close to my heart and is slightly off topic and well truth be told a rant. So here it goes, I am sick and tired of these parenting wars. “My parenting style is better then yours”, “you’re a bad parent for doing something I disagree with”, “the book says not to parent like that” and so on. Parenting is a hard enough journey without us beating each other up over decisions that should matter only to us. Do you know what I have discovered as a new parent? You and I as adults are all unique individuals, we have likes and dislikes, different beliefs, goals, none of us are the same. So why on earth would we ever expect that parenting would be a one size fits all formula? It isn’t, all of us as parents make decision that fit our lifestyles and works for our families and it doesn’t matter if our family looks different then another. I want to challenge every parent to stand against the bullying of other parents. I am committing myself to never hold anyone else to the choices that I have made for my daughter.
So why the rant? I wanted to make sure that I created a level of understanding of where I stand when it comes to parenting choices since baby-led weaning is a different choice that not all people might agree with. I want you to know that I am sharing from a place of no judgement. You can take what you need and leave the rest. My goal is simply this; to provide recipes that are easy to follow with step-by-step instructions, to share meal ideas that are suitable for babies and toddlers and yet are tasty enough for adults, provide information about baby-led weaning for those that are interested in giving it a try. And above all else to show you how meal planning, organizing meals to use up ingredients so there is no waste and cooking meals from scratch is not only easier then you think but will save you a lot of money in your family budget. I hope that you will not only continue on in this journey with me but that it will help bring us closer together as you come along for the ride.