Alfresco dining the BLW way!

Alfresco dining the BLW way!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Soft Play

Went for the first time on Thursday to a free play centre near where we live.  It was great, they have a whole room decked out with crash mats and wedges and soft blocks and wheels for kids to play in.  Ethan loved it straight away and didn't seem worried about the older kids running past him and screaming and yelling.  He took it all in his stride and crawled up and over lots of stuff and had fun cruising along other stuff.  We stayed about half an hour but Ethan could have happily stayed longer I think (had he not undone his nappy and had an accident on the mats!).  We are going to go again next week and messy play the week after.  Feel so lucky we have these free childrens centres to go to and am going to keep using them...don't know how much longer they will get government funding!


Banana Muffins

Just got a brand new muffin tray and silicone muffin cases from Lakeland so thought I would try out some healthy muffins that we could eat and Ethan could try too.  These are lovely and moist and went down a storm.  Obviously the more ripe the bananas the sweeter the muffins.  The bananas I used were still quite firm but tasted great anyway.

Makes 12 generous muffins.  Up to you how much you let baby have!  

Ingredients: 5 bananas, 1 egg, 100ml milk, 100ml apple juice, 200g self raising flour, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp baking powder.

Method: Preheat the oven to 200'C/400'F/Gas Mark 6.  Mash the bananas in a bowl til there are no lumps.  Beat the egg and add to bananas. Add milk and juice and mix well.  Fold flour, cinnamon and baking powder into banana and liquid mix.  Spoon mixture into muffin cases in a 12 case muffin tin.  Bake for about 20 minutes until browned and cooked through (if you prick with a fork it should come out clean).  Remove from oven, lift muffins from tin and cool on a wire rack.

These hold together really well so are a good snack to take with you when going out with the buggy or to a friends house.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Vegetarian Tagine

Makes 4 Adult and 2 Baby Portions

Ingredients: 250g cous cous, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 onions thickly sliced, 1 sweet or ordinary potato peeled and cubed, 1 large aubergine cubed, 2 tomatoes roughly chopped, 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds, 1 litre hot vegetable stock (made with low salt stock cube) , 100g dried or 175g fresh apricots, 400g can of chickpeas drained, 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 lime, handful of fresh mint leaves roughly chopped.


Place cous cous in large bowl and just cover with boiling water.  Stir well and set aside.

Heat oil in large casserole dish and fry onions, sweet potato and aubergine for 10 minutes until well browned.  Add tomatoes and cumin seeds and cook for 2 minutes.

Add stock to the pan with apricots, chickpeas, chilli and cinnamon stick.  Simmer gently for 15 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Cut 4 thin slices of lime.  Squeeze juice from rest of lime into tagine and stir in mint.  Season to taste with black pepper.

Divide cous cous into serving dishes or plastic tubs if freezing, spoon over tagine and garnish those serving immediately with lime.  I didn't give Ethan a piece of lime with his!

Ethan enjoyed picking out the various vegetables and found the cous cous very easy to handle.  It clumps together a lot making it a perfect weaning food for little fingers to handle!

Monday, 20 September 2010

This Weeks Meal Plan

Monday - Breakfast = Rice Pudding/ Lunch = Roast Chicken & Steamed Broccoli/ Dinner = Vegetarian Tagine with Cous Cous/ Snacks = Bread sticks with Avocado Hummus

Tuesday - B = Mango/ L = Squashed banana on Corn Thins/ D = Beef Bolognase with Spaghetti/ S = Cucumber

Wednesday  - B = Cream Cheese on Oatcake/ L = Steamed Carrot / D = Lentil Curry/ S = Corn Thins

Thursday - B =  Apple/ L = Mushrooms & Pasta/ D = Vegetable Stir Fry/ S =Bread Sticks & Cream Cheese

Friday - B = Scrambled Egg/ L = Orange Slices/ D = Steak & Pasta in Creamy Mushroom Sauce/ S = Corn Thins

Saturday -  B = Avocado on Toast/ L = Ham Roll/ D = Thai Curry & Rice/ S = Cucumber

Sunday - B = Rice Pudding/ L = Mashed Banana/ D = Roast Dinner/ S = Bread Sticks

First Aid Course

Have completed the first day of paediatric first aid course.  It went really well.  I am now confident that I know what to do if a baby is choking.  You should try and get them to cough and if they can't lean them forwards and administer a sharp tap inbetween the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand five times.  The trainer went over the importance of never blindly putting your fingers in a babies mouth as you are liable to push a blockage further down the throat and do more harm than good.  It made the message of allowing baby to feed themselves taught in baby led weaning seem even more important and relevant.  I would urge every mother and father to attend a paediatric first aid course - the steps needed to save a baby's life are simple once you know them and it makes me feel more confident as a mother.

Below is a link explaining what I learnt :

It feels good to know I have taken the first steps required for my new career as a childminder.  The day was really interesting and I'm looking forward to the second session next week. 

Ethan had a really good day with his Grandma.  He took a little feed of expressed milk from the bottle in the morning and Mum said he seemed fascinated by it.  He hasn't fed from a bottle since May.  He ate some other bits and pieces I had left (made sure they weren't TOO messy as know what a nightmare that can be to get him clean again!).  Apparently he had a few moments where he was a bit upset but generally he was quite happy.  He seems to have come out of this seperation anxiety phase now so that's good.  I feel better about going back to work two days a week in January knowing he will be fine with Grandma.

Am making a vegetarian tagine tomorrow.  Recipe and picture to follow!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Avocado Hummus

This is super healthy (calcium and protein from the chickpeas, healthy fats from avocado and vitamin c from the lime) and super tasty and super easy.  You can put it on a loaded spoon, smear it on some toast or a rice cake or use it for dunking bread sticks in.  Ethan Bear likes his on an oatcake!

Ingredients: 1 can of chickpeas, save 75mls of the water from them when draining, 1 ripe avocado, 1/2 - 1 lime, 1 garlic clove roughly chopped, handful of fresh mint.

Method: Place chickpeas, garlic and avocado in a food processer and blend until smooth.  Cut avocado in half, stone and scrape out the flesh and add to the food processer.  Blend until all mixed together.  Roll lime and then cut in half, squeeze half of the lime into food processer and taste.  Either leave as is or add second half according to taste.  Add mint according to taste as well.  Chill until desired.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Up Town Bear!

Am so proud of little Bear today.  Left to meet my friend Sarah & her baby Pip in town at 10am and didn't get home til 3.30pm and he behaved so well!  Is this the same baby that was crying a month ago if I went out in the pushchair for 15 minutes with him?  Just goes to show, phases come and go with babies and you shouldn't worry too much when they are going through a difficult one! So it was baby led weaning on the move again.  Some breadsticks were munched in Asda cafe and then a long breastfeed before a nap.  Then we went for a mooch around the shops.  Then we had veggie sushi for lunch and Ethan had a little nibble.  Am going to make some soon I swear, it's so lovely! Then  Sarah bought us mummies some lovely shortbread in John Lewis cafe and the babies shared a fruit salad.  Ethan tried slices of apple and orange for the first time and loved them.  I have always been a bit scared to give him hard slices of apple but I don't know what I was worrying about to be honest.  A very successful day.

One thing really annoyed me though...Mothercare recently had a refit and reopened the store with lots of pomp and ceremony.  And what have they changed?  Got rid of the two parent and child toilets!  Had to search everywhere in town to find one I could fit the buggy in whilst bursting for loo.  Thank God for Asda!

Had my first go at expressing some milk today in months.  Last time it was so I could go and watch Hole play at Brixton Academy.  This time it's for Ethan spending the whole day with Grandma whilst me and his daddy go to the pediatric first aid course.  It took a while to get going and then after lots of swopping over and getting fed up I managed one and a half ounces.  Not bad seeing as I had just fed Ethan and they say your milk supply is less at night.  Will try and get more pumped in the morning.  Want to leave plenty so I don't stress.  Am dreading leaving him all day as it is but at least if I can get together lots of milk I know a part of me is with him still nourishing him.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Ethan tucking into courgette torte

He seemed to really dig this.  We did too!

Courgette (Zucchini) Torte

Makes 3 Adult Portions and 2 Baby ones (although if baby keeps dropping it you can just give baby both portions!)

Ingredients: 6 courgettes (525 grams approx), olive oil, 1 small onion, 1 fresh chilli (I used a mild one and left seeds in but you can add more or less and put seeds in according to taste), 4 medium free range eggs, 50 grams self-raising flour, 100g cheddar cheese ( I used mature - again depends on your taste), 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, butter to grease.

Method: Preheat oven to 200'C (350F).  Trim courgette and slice thinly.  Fry with oil in a pan for a few minutes, turning until they are soft and browning.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl.  Slice the onion thinly and add to remaining oil in pan with the chilli.  Saute until onion soft and beginning to brown.  Using slotted spoon add onion and chilli to courgettes.  Beat the eggs in a large bowl.  Add flour and cheese and cayenne mixing in well.  Then add courgette mixture.  Grease a 9" shallow ovenproof dish with butter and bake for 30 minutes until risen, firm to touch and golden.  Allow to cool  but do not refrigerate.  Serve with tomato and cucumber salad or veg of your choice.  

Fast Food

I don't know about you, but I love it when bananas have got a bit brown and are sweeter and mushier.  I have given firmer, less ripe bananas to Ethan and he hasn't seemed that taken, can't say I blame him! So  I was at a loss to know what to do with a very ripe one of them so Ethan could have a go at eating it this morning.  I gave him a bit with the banana skin still on and the flesh slipped out and he was left chewing the skin looking confused.  So I got a corn thin, snapped it in half and squashed some banana in the middle.  This was a big success.  Okay, the banana and corn did not remain a neat little sandwich for long and soon there was banana here and corn thin there, but it meant some did make it into Ethan's mouth!  After that I went to the green grocers and got a punnet of raspberries.  He had a good go at these but the old mushy soft fruit issue happened again and a lot is all over his buggy now.  As soon as we got home from our walk his clothes all went in the washing machine and he seemed much happier in just a nappy anyway...means he can speed around the floor quicker!  If I didn't know better I'd think he was smearing food on his clothes on purpose so he can be natural and free!

Breakfast today was cream cheese on oatcakes and dinner is going to be Courgette Torte which is a mexican dish kind of like quiche but without the pastry.  If it goes well I will post recipe and a photo.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Ethan LOVES moussaka!

Moussaka (Makes 4 Adult portions & 2 Baby ones)

Three aubergines, One small onion diced, 450 grams of beef or lamb mince, 2 garlic cloves crushed, Olive oil, 2 tablespoons of tomato puree, 75 ml of water, teaspoon of ground cinnamon, tablespoon of parsley, black pepper.
For the topping: 75 grams of butter, 75 grams of plain flour, 570ml of milk, 50 grams of grated cheese, nutmeg, 2 eggs.

Preheat oven to gas mark 4, 350'F or 180'C.
Fry onion in olive oil in a large pan for 5 minutes and add garlic.  Add meat to pan to brown, stir to break up any lumps.  Put tomato puree, water, cinnamon and parsley in a bowl together and mix.  When meat has browned pour tomato mix over it and the onions.  Stir in and leave on a low heat, stirring occassionally.  Put some olive oil in a frying pan or wok and fry aubergine on both sides in batches.  When all are browned remove from pan and soak up excess oil from them with kitchen paper.  To make the topping, take a saucepan and put on a medium heat.  Add butter and melt before adding flour. Gradually add milk and keep stirring.  Next add cheese and keep stirring until it has become a smooth cheese sauce.  Take off the heat and add some black pepper.  Allow the sauce to cool and then whisk both eggs into it.  To assemble: get a casserole dish and put a layer of aubergine across the bottom, then a layer of meat sauce and repeat until finishing with a layer of aubergine.  Pour the topping over it all and then sprinkle with nutmeg.  Bake uncovered for an hour.  Warning: is very hot when first comes out the oven so allow to cool before giving to baby.  Make sure you check the aubergine especially is cold enough before serving to baby!    

It's All Greek To Me

Just making moussaka.  Made one for us and couldn't resist making a baby one for Ethan (is exactly same ingredients...not really any reason to make it seperate, just thought it would look cute!).  Hoping it goes as well as the last one...didn't have the right amount of aubergine so added peas to bulk it up and only had beef mince so I'm sure it's not really a proper moussaka but oh well! If goes well I will proudly display a photo and if it goes pants then you can have a giggle at what it looks like.  To be continued...

Monday, 13 September 2010

A Strange Thing To Be Excited About (TMI?!)

With Ethan being exclusively breastfed for 6 months,  I have been used to liquid orange poo which started getting bits of food in when the weaning process began and has generally been becoming more solid.  Today I have just found a round little perfectly formed one and am far more excited than I should be!  No-one told me about this bizarre aspect of motherhood.  Me and Muffins were chatting the other day about when your baby is newborn you fret so much about poo changing colour or baby going too much or not enough.  Won't be going overboard and taking a photo to put in his baby book or anything...just wanted to announce with pride this momentous occassion!

Perfect Sunday

We had a lovely day today.  The sun was shining so decided to go for a long walk down to the local country park.  The plan was to feed the ducks and swans but we got to the first lake and Ethan was sparko in the buggy so we just kept walking and talking and taking in the beautiful scenery.  It's such a lovely change from how Ethan was in the buggy only about a month ago.  He went through a phase of really hating it and after 15 minutes would scream and yell til I either set off back home or if Stevo was with me he unclipped Ethan and carried him.  It coincided with some seperation anxiety and that seems to be subsiding too which is good.  Is very flattering to be loved and wanted so much but hard work too!  Me and Stevo are both attending an all day pediatric first aid course on Saturday so I hope Ethan will cope okay with not seeing us all day.  Am going to try and pop back at lunch if possible but if not I hope Grandma can keep him happy. back from our walk to the smell of roast chicken and Stevo set about finishing off the roast whilst I played with Ethan and gave him a bif of a milk feed.  Ethan had some roast chicken and broccoli for lunch and then grapes, carrot and breadsticks for tea.  The house is jam packed full of fruit and veg...just got to plan what I am going to do with it all for the week now.  I swing between being crazily organised and changing my mind on a minute to minute basis!  Have got a home-made pizza base in the freezer from the other day so that's one meal and Stevo is going to make tomato, ginger, tamarind and dessicated coconut curry one day.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

This Seems To Be Becoming All About Rice!

The risotto rice made okay-ish rice balls.  Ethan found them easier to handle than normal rice but Charlie just enjoyed lobbing them across the dining room!  Ethan seemed to find the curry quite nice at the first sitting.  Then he cried for milk and had a sleep on my lap.  I offered him some more when we sat down for our dinner when my best friend Muffins, Nick & Charlie arrived and he seemed less interested but still had a good play.   

Saturday, 11 September 2010

International BLW!

Was up late last night cooking two vegetarian curries for today as our vegan friends and their little boy Charlie are coming over for lunch today.  They have got a bit of a kick to them but are not crazy hot.  I loved really hot curries when pregnant with Ethan but can't take quite the same strength anymore.  So far Ethan has loved all the different Thai and Indian curries he has tried so let's hope today is the same.  

Sardine sandwich for breakfast went down well with Ethan and the cats were circling the splash mat under his chair with increased gusto this morning!

Up town yesterday I had some veggie sushi.  Ethan tried a bit and loved it so I reckon I will go to the chinese supermarket and get some sushi rice and make him some rice balls to try soon.  I am thinking of making him some sweetcorn and pea pancakes for breakfast one day soon too as they will make eating those things very easy and should taste quite nice!    

Have been looking up the uses of various rices on tinternet and it says you can use risotto rice for making sushi. Have got some of that in the cupboard so am going to attempt curry rice balls for lunch for the babies.  Fingers crossed!

Woo Hoo!

Lost 3lbs since last week and just had a yummy home made pizza for tea and still stayed within my daily calorie allowance.  Ethan loved the pizza.  I put grated carrot, broccoli and cherry tomatoes plus lots of cheese on for the topping  but he seemed to love the doughy base the best.  I put a bit less salt and sugar in the mix and it seemed absolutely fine so that's good to know!

Ethan was really not interested in broccoli at all yesterday but loved it today...guess that goes to show it's best not to assume baby doesn't like something just because they don't like it at that particular time.  My fiance Stevo was agreeing saying he thought about having one of the walnut whips I had bought from M & S earlier but decided he didn't feel like it.  I reckon I always feel like chocolate though!  My favourite film as a child was Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.  I used to watch it religiously every Saturday morning and knew every single line of dialogue and song.  Then my mean siblings stole the betamax tape and hid it and that was the end of that.  My chocolate addiction was only just starting though.  I have so many fillings from my sweet tooth though and don't want Ethan to end up with a mouth full of metal or whatever that white stuff is they make fillings out of now.  I'm probably a bit like a reformed smoker in the way I care so much about stopping Ethan from becoming a comfort eater like myself.  It's hard for me though as I have given up booze and fags and caffeine so my only vice is chocolate...don't want to be too virtuous or I may end up not recognising myself!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Thank Crunchie!

Oatcakes went down a storm this morning.  I put lots of full fat cream cheese on them and it was extremely messy!  Ethan nearly got cream cheese in his eye somehow!  He looked so cute with it all round his face and on his hands.  Was glad I decided not to get him dressed til after breakfast.  The cats resembled vultures, circling the bottom of the high chair waiting for scraps to fall down and then licking the cream cheese off the oatcakes. I'm sure the chickens will appreciate the soggy oatcakes - nothing in our house is ever wasted!

I decided to try Ethan with a cup this morning.  The only baby one we had was WAY too big - like me trying to drink out of a bucket so I gave him a shot glass which was better but I worry about him breaking so am going to get a doidy cup when funds allow.  Only a tiny bit of water went in but he is still breastfeeding a lot so I know it's just a case of getting him used to cups gradually.

I am off to the market later to stock up on fruit and vegetables for the week.  It is so much cheaper than the supermarket and we have a chat with the stallholders as we have been going to the same ones for a few years.  There is one for all your usual stuff and then a Sikh man has one with lots of spices and more exotic ingredients.  He always tries to tempt us with his homemade samosas...may just have to get some this week! 

It is also weigh in day for me on my weight loss plan.  I am back to my pre pregnancy weight now but am trying to lose a bit more as I want to look good for my 30th birthday in October and, of course, our wedding next July.  Fingers crossed!

Meal Planner

Thursday 9th September

Breakfast: Rice Pudding (calcium & grains)
Lunch: Roasted Sweet Potato (starchy veg)
Dinner: Roast Parsnip (starchy veg) & Broccoli (veg)
Snack: Breadsticks (grains)

Friday 10th September

Breakfast: Cream Cheese on Oatcake (calcium & grains)
Lunch: Grapes (Fruit) Broccoli (Veg) & Crispbake (grains)
Dinner: Pizza with peas, sweetcorn & broccoli (calcium, grains, & veg)
Snack: Pear  (fruit)

Saturday 11th September
Breakfast: Sardine Sandwich (calcium & grains)
Lunch: Lentil Curry (protein), Aubergine Curry (veg) and Rice (grains)
Dinner: Sweetcorn on cob (veg)
Snack: Mango (fruit)

Ethan Bear's favourite ready made snacks


Corn thins

Rice cakes

Tesco Dutch Crisp bakes

Got some Nairns Oatcakes for him to try tomorrow...hopefully another one to add to the list!

Organix baby rice cakes - apple and blueberry ones and sweetcorn snacks although Ethan Bear is just as happy with normal rice cakes so cheaper to just stick with them if I'm honest!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

It's rice pudding, Jim, but not as we know it!

Well rice pudding was a big hit  this morning and tasted just wasn't as pudding-y as it should have been!  Couldn't find pudding rice in Asda so opted for normal easy cook rice and it just didn't stick together very well.  Ethan was amazing at handling it though, his hand to eye skills are really coming on.  He was eating it in ways I wouldn't have thought up.  I tried a loaded spoon but the food just kept getting flung off and then the spoon chomped on!

I have had a search and found Sainsburys & Tescos do pudding rice so once this batch is used up from the freezer I will buy some from there!

Ethan seems set on moving to the next level with his mobility.  He started crawling at 5 1/2 months and has been pulling himself up since about 6 1/2 months.  Now he is starting to cruise and tried to climb up the stairs yesterday!  It is amazing having such a determined, curious and agile baby.  Gone are the days of safely leaving him in one place and coming back to find him there still.  We have a stair gate at the top of the stairs and will be buying one for the bottom soon.  This weekend we will be fully baby proofing the house as Ethan has a knack of finding the most dangerous thing in a room and honing in on it! 

Once Upon A Time...

I started weaning Ethan Bear on the day he turned 6 months.  It was also the day of his big brother - Jack's - 2 year anniversary (Jack was stillborn on 29th July 2008).  We broke down at the crematorium and my fiancee's dad came to pick us up and we went looking for a new car.  My father-in-law to be put the childlock on the car by accident and I was stuck in the back with Ethan.  I was banging on the door and window and shouting to no avail.  So I got out a bit of cucumber from my bag and the process began.  I remember being so scared to begin with, watching my baby hold the cucumber up to his mouth and marvelling as he sucked on it and chewed just like it was the most natural thing in the world.

The next couple of weeks were a frenzy of various fruits and vegetables, meats and grains.  Ethan tried massaman curry, tropical fruit, steak and blueberry pancakes.  I began having to explain the process to sceptical relatives.

Here's my top ten catchphrases that are forever repeated:
1. Are you sure he should be having that so soon?
2. Aren't you going to mash that up for him?
3. I think that flavour will be too much for him!
4. I don't think he likes that.
5. Can he have chocolate and cakes now then?
6. Aren't you going to eat that up for Mummy, Ethan?
7. Does he skip a lot of meals?
8. You don't give him that do you?
9. It's very messy, isn't it?
10. We didn't do it like that.

Baby led weaning makes perfect sense to me though.  Since birth Ethan has been in control of his feeds - breastfeeding on demand - so to allow him to do the same with solids seems obvious.  As soon as I read the book on baby led weaning a lightbulb went ping and I knew thats the way we were going.  My parenting style is very instinctual and attachment based.  I listen to Ethan's needs and like to let him explore and it's so exciting now that extends to the world of food too.  Watching him work out how to eat sweetcorn on the cob or a kiwi fruit is fascinating.

Today I have been formulating a meal planner.  My inner geek has been released and I have a colour coded system to ensure I am offering the right balance of nutrients every day.  It's really hard to get in enough different fruit and vegetables though so that will be my mission!

I made Ethan some rice pudding (my first ever...began on hob and I burnt the rice- it stuck to the pan and the milk boiled over so it hastily got transferred to a dish in the oven!) and roasted some sweet potato and parsnips for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.  I will offer him some cucumber for a snack as he's teething and loves it and do a vegetable and mango stir fry for tea.