Alfresco dining the BLW way!

Alfresco dining the BLW way!

Friday, 29 October 2010

A Guide to Nutrition

Feeding Ethan Bear has meant I have developed a keen interest in nutrition.  So I thought I would find out about all the things we need to make our bodies work and compile it in one place.  It makes the thought of him getting all the stuff he needs seem a little less scary.  I choose not to give him vitamin drops as I believe he can get everything he needs from a healthy diet and trust him to choose the right foods when he needs them.  I have never really been a big fan of popping vitamin pills as the science is debatable on whether non-dietary sources of a lot of things achieve the same result.  So I remain a sceptic and Ethan Bear seems just fine. 


Carbohydrates provide energy for the body = starchy foods like bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, cereals, starchy vegetables (like parsnips), milk and milk products, sugar, preserves and confectionary.

Protein provides amino acids which are building blocks needed for growth and repair plus energy = meat, fish, eggs, dairy foods, cereal products like bread, soya, nuts and pulses.

Fat provides essential fatty acids that the body can't produce but need in small amounts to allow cells to obtain nutrition and expel harmful waste products.  Babies need efas for brain development and to mature the  senses = fats, oils, meat and meat products, oily fish, dairy foods, nuts, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, pastry products, crisps and other snacks.     


Water soluble nutrients that cannot be stored in the body. 

Vitamin B1 or thiamin - needed to release energy from carbs it is also important for heart and nervous system to function.  Found in wholegrains, nuts, meat (especially pork), fruit and vegetables.

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin - releases energy from carbs, protein and fat as well as transport and metabolism of iron and is needed for skin to be healthy.  Found in milk, eggs, rice, liver, beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, mushrooms and green vegetables.

Vitamin B3 or niacin - involved in use of protein and helps haemoglobin to form and carry oxygen around the body.  Found in poultry, white fish, milk, eggs, whole grains, soya beans, peanuts and some veg.

Vitamin B12 - used in making of red blood cells, important for keeping the nervous system ticking and releases energy from food.  Found in meat, fish, milk, eggs, and marmite.

Folate (or in tablet form folic acid) - needed for formation of healthy red blood cells and nervous system (especially in nervous system formation of unborn babies.  Found in green leafy veg, brown rice, peas, oranges and bananas.

Vitamin C - an antioxidant (which help protect your body from damage by free radicals) and important for normal structure and functioning of body tissues and helps absorption of iron from vegetarian sources and helps the healing process.  Found in fresh fruits (esp. citrus and berries), green veg, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes (esp new).

Vitamin D - important for the normal structure and functioning of the skin and body linings, e.g. in lungs and keeps immune system healthy.  Found in liver, whole milk, cheese, butter, margarine, carrots, dark green leafy vegtables and orange-coloured fruits, e.g. mangoes and apricots.         

Vitamin E - antioxident and protects skin against damage.  Found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.  

Vitamin K- vital for normal clotting of blood and is required for normal bone structure.  Found in green leafy vegetables, meat and dairy products.


Calcium - important for healthy bones and teeth plus functioning of neves and muscle.  Found in milk, cheese and other dairy products, some green leafy vegetables such as broccoli.

Fluroide - helps with the formation of strong teeth and protects against dental decay (caries).  Found in fluoridated water, tea, fish and toothpaste.

Iodine - needed to make thyroid hormones, which control many metabolic processes, and keep our bodies healthy.  Found in milk, sea fish, shellfish, seaweed.

Iron - required for making red blood cells, which transport oxygen around the body. Also needed for normal metabolism and the functioning of enzymes that remove unwanted substances from the body.  Found in liver, red meat, pulses, nuts, eggs, dried fruits, poultry, fish, whole grains and dark green leafy vegetables.

Phosphorous - needed for the formation of healthy bones and teeth, and for the use of energy from food.  Found in red meat, dairy products, fish, poultry, bread, rice and oats.

Potassium  - helps maintain a healthy blood pressure. It is also involved in the normal functioning of nerves.  Found in fruit (esp bananas), meat, shellfish, veg, milk, nuts, seeds.pulses.

Selenium - important component of the body’s defence system that protects our bodies against damage. It is also necessary for the use of iodine in thyroid hormone production, as well as the normal functioning of the reproductive system. Found in brazil nuts, bread, fish, meat and eggs.

Zinc - required for the use of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Needed for cell division, growth and tissue repair. Also necessary for normal reproductive development, the immune system and healing of wounds.  Found in meat, milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, wholegrain cereals, nuts and pulses.

Two other very imporant components of a healthy diet... 
Water - essential for our bodies to work correctly.  Breastfed babies get all the water they need from breastmilk (it is 88 percent water and baby can control whether they are getting mainly watery or fatty milk from the length they choose to feed) even during the weaning period so although you can offer water from a cup you don't need to worry too much about baby taking it.  Formula fed babies should be offered water regularly.

Fibre - needed for movement of waste products and to prevent constipation.  Found in cereals, beans, pulses, lentils, fruit and vegetables.

Stevo's Gorgeous Curry

Swede is a great source of vitamin C, B6, potassium, maganese, thiamin, folate, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Like all curry, this tastes great on the day but ten times better the next day (as you can see from the photo of Ethan Bear literally smearing it all over himself cos of how good it tasted!).  You can get 3 to 4 adult portions and a baby portion out of this.  Serve with rice and or naan or just on its own.  I gave Ethan a few spoons to play with but he soon abandoned them for the method which is much easier for him at present of diving in with his fingers.

Ingredients: 350 grams red lentils, 175g cauliflower cut into trees or florets if you want to be posh about it, 110g dessicated coconut, One large onion diced (175g), 200g swede cubed, 3 teaspoons curry powder, 2 teaspoons ginger (fresh or ground), 2 teaspoons cumin, olive oil (or ghee or any other vegetable oil) for frying and 1750ml (7 cups) of water, 2 low salt stock cubes crumbled.

Method: Fry onion until clear in large saucepan.  Add water and all other ingredients.  Bring to the boil and then simmer, stirring regularly until fully reduced.  If you don't stir regularly, this will stick by the way!  

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Ethan's Favourite Teething Foods

Al dente (firm, just cooked) pasta

Cucumber sticks

Apple slices or whole to gnaw on whilst I hold

Orange slices with peel still on

Breadsticks dunked in hummus or just as they are


Baby Watching

Ethan Bear is so good with feeding himself now and manages some tricky textures much better than I think I would.  I can't get over how much he has been eating in the past few days.  He seemed to go off his food a bit before the teething kicked in but how he can't get enough!  I had a funsize (whatever that means!) apple from Aldi earlier and took a bite out then offered it to him.  He's still quite little for handling something that size well (it kept tumbling out his hand when I gave it to him) so I held it in front of him and he ate most of it pretty quickly.  He is also loving oranges at the moment.  The first time I gave him one (with peel still attached, chopped into a slice) he tried to eat the peel but he has worked out that's not good and chomps very skillfully on the fruit now before dropping the remains over the high chair.  This is the start of the deliberate dropping, I hope it doesn't become too much of a nightmare!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Loaded Spoon

Ethan has always been fascinated with any other cutlery for that matter but today is the first day he has really used one well.  I found some baby rice in the cupboard and so I thought I would give him a bit with some sultanas in to practice his spoon skills with.  It's a great consistency for self feeding with a loaded spoon as it's so sticky (I put more rice to less milk than stated on pack to make it like rice pudding). I didn't give him much but he shovelled it in well before abandoning the spoon in favour of his trusty fingers which are much less hassle! Seeing how much he has come on with his hand to eye coordination has made me think I should be trying Ethan with spoons at most meals now.  I'm very proud of little bear today.  Poor litle mite was screaming in the middle of the night with his teething but you wouldn't know it today and he's passed another developmental milestone.  He's a clever little cookie.    

Macaroni Cheese

I love macaroni cheese but felt it was missing I bunged a load of vegetables in there too.  Ethan loves the creamy cheese sauce and picking different coloured vegetables out.  The whole milk is a great source of calcium, Vitamin D, B12, riboflavin or B2 (which is responsible for red cell growth and promotes a healthy immune system)  and phosphorus (which helps with bone formation, digestion, energy extraction and protein formation) .  Babies need full fat milk as they need more calories for all the energy they burn off and the fat helps their brain development but it should only be used in cooking after 6 months and can be given as a drink after a year.  

Makes 3 Adult portions and a baby one.

Ingredients: 300ml of Whole (Full Fat) Milk, 100g Mature Cheddar Cheese grated, 25g butter, 25g Plain (All Purpose) Flour, 300g Macaroni (or failing that any pasta shapes you have in the house), 2 Carrots (100g), 100g Frozen Peas and 100g Cauliflower.

Method: Make pasta as per instructions on pack put peas in towards end, drain and set aside.  Steam vegetables (you can do this using a metal colinder overing a saucepan of boiling water with a lid on top or in the microwave in a container with the lid slightly open and a few drops of water).   Heat butter in a saucepan, gradually add flour, mixing together to form a paste.  Gradually add milk and keep stirring and turn up heat to high.  Add cheese and keep on stirring until a thick sauce forms.  Take off heat, stir in pasta and steamed vegetables.  If you like a crispy top you can take a portion out now for baby and cool and then put macaroni cheese in a casserole dish and place under the grill until cheese bubbles. 

Monday, 25 October 2010

Doidy Cup

Since Ethan had his eight month check a few weeks ago I have been trying to get him to drink a bit of water.  As anyone who's ever tried to get a baby to drink water will's a messy process!  I tried  him on a cup with a spout first but found my health visitors advice (about them not being very good) to be so true.  Have you ever tried drinking out of one of those things?  Well I did and found it nigh on impossible so God knows what Ethan is meant to do with it.  Granted it stops annoying spillages but it also stops Ethan being able to drink very much water at all without a lot of effort and frustration so the spout cup is out.  So I ordered the doidy cup off Ebay.  This futuristic looking plastic marvel looks like it fell right out of a Dali surrealist painting but there are some excellent reasons for this...the slanted design means babies learn to drink from the rim of the cup and they can see all of the contents without having to tilt their heads too much.  At first I would hold the cup to allow Ethan to sip from it but I've decided to give him free reign now as holding it for him means he is not learning how to drink by himself.  It means lots of mess (he still can't resist tipping it upside down to see what happens!) but as we all know, if you don't want mess then you shouldn't have a baby!


Vegetable Pasta Bake

Makes about 3 adult portions with enough for baby too

Ingredients: 500g Passata or a tin of tomatoes, 200g Pasta (I used penne but any will do), 100g Broccoli, 3 carrots (125g), 125g Cabbage, 1 small onion diced (100g), Olive Oil, Oregano and Basil for seasoning, 50g Mature Cheddar (would also work with mozarella, feta etc).

Chop vegetables up according to your baby's development. If they have mastered the pincer grip you can chop into smaller pieces otherwise just chop it into sticks and broccoli trees.  Ethan loves broccoli trees the best out of all veg, I think I do too!

Method: Preheat oven to 200'C/400'F/Gas Mark 6. Put some olive oil in a wok and stir fry until clear, add carrots followed by broccoli and shredded cabbage.  Meanwhile make up pasta according to instructions on packet.  When vegetables are done (Ethan likes his with a bit of crunch in them as do we!) pour into a casserole dish and add passata.  Then add pasta and herbs and stir until well combined.  Sprinkle cheese on top and place in oven til cheese melts.  This comes out of oven fairly cool still as passata is added cold so I was able to serve Ethan straight away but do check is cool enough before giving to baby.

Ethan loved this meal.  It's very simple but he wolfed a huge portion down.  I think he liked the al dente pasta and vegetables as he has 2 more teeth coming through at the moment so it's comforting to bite on.

Home Made Challenge

Once Stevo gets paid ( can't come quick enough!) and we have enough money to go shopping I am going to set myself the challenge of doing completely home made food for a fortnight.  I am going to bake some bread rolls, crackers, pretzels etc to accompany soups,dips and meals and see how I get on.  I love cooking but it will require some organising to make sure I have home made snacks ready for when I'm out and about with little bear.  Ethan seems a bit disinterested in rice cakes etc at the moment anyway and although they aren't bad for him I would like to be serving him things that I know exactly what went in them and how healthy they are.  It will be a bit of fun anyway and hopefully inspire me more in my cooking and baking.  

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Beef Hot Pot

Beef is a great source of protein, those B vitamins, zinc and iron.  It is good for building muscles which is great for growing babies!

Serves 4 Adults and you should get 2 baby portions out of it too.

Ingredients: Olive Oil, Plain (all purpose) Flour, 520grams of stewing beef (this would work with any meat though), 4 carrots (approx 175g), 1 small onion (75g), 1 Green Pepper (capsicum), 350g of new potoatoes (would work with other potatoes including sweet), low salt stock cube and bouquet garni, 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce.

Method:  Preheat oven to 150'C/ 300'F/Gas Mark 2.  Make up plenty of stock.  Chop beef into chunks before tossing in flour. Pour olive oil into large lidded casserole dish, followed by beef and cook until browned.  Add onions, carrots and pepper.  Pour in stock so casserole dish is about halfway full with it and remove from heat stir in worcestershire sauce and add bouquet garni.  Slice potatoes thinly and arrange on top of ingredients in pot.  Cover with lid and cook in oven for about an hour.  After an hour is up you can take a small serving and set aside for baby whilst removing lid.  This is so it has plenty of time to cool down ready for when the rest is done (and the meat should be very tender and well cooked by now anyway) so baby doesn't burn themselves on it. If you are having half the next day just take a bit out for baby before reheating.  Put back in the oven uncovered and bake for a further hour.  To crisp potato topping place casserole dish under a hot grill for a few minutes before serving.

This is a lovely hearty dish on a cold day.  Ethan loved munching on the very soft vegetables and sucked all the flavour from the beef with great satisfaction.   


Breakfast Ideas

Sometimes it's easy to get stuck in a rut with breakfasts.  Waking up with a baby is usually done at an unsociable hour when you don't really feel like climbing out of bed so I thought I would compile some breakfast ideas whilst I am clear of head which are easy to make and nutritious for baby bear.

Avocado (the best fruit source of Vitamin E which is essential for overall health and prevents many diseases, vitamin B12, vitamin B6 which is important for the nervous system, red blood cells, teeth and gums  and calcium) on toast (carbohydrates which are energy givers, just incase Ethan doesn't have enough energy already)

Orange Slices (Vitamin C mainly which helps iron absorption and the body produce collagen which is vital for healing wounds,  plus vitamin A, B vitamins, beta carotene, calcium and iron)

Squashed banana (contains high levels of potassium which keeps your heart and nervous system in good shape as well as your muscles contracting including the heart thus making sure blood pressure is not too high plus they are a binding food which makes stools harder) on rice cake

Apple Slices (iron, pectin which lowers bad cholestoral and a rich source of antioxidents, Vitamin A, E and B6)

Porridge (slow release carbohydrate which maintains a steady blood glucose level) with blueberries (vitamin C and fibre)

Eggy (protein, iron, calcium, Vitamin B12, D which is important for calcium absorption and digestive health, E and K)bread

Cucumber (Vitamin E, C and folic acid) Sticks

Carrot Cake

Ethan doesn't get cake (or anything containing added sugar) very often so when he does I like it to contain healthy stuff too.  The carrots provide carotene which the body converts to vitamin A (which strengthens the immune system, keeps the skin, lungs and intestional tract healthy and promotes healthy cell growth) as well as being rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, D and E, potassium, calcium, folic acid and magnesium.  Don't go peeling carrots though as a lot of the goodness is in or just below the skin so just give them a scrub and grate skin and all.  This makes about 16 adult sized portions or 32 baby ones!

Ingredients: 175mls/6 fluid oz sunflower oil, 175 grams/6 oz soft brown sugar, 3 free range eggs, 3 grated carrots (approx 175grams), 75g sultanas, zest of an orange, 175g self-raising (self rising) flour, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.

Method: Preheat oven to 200'C/400'F/Gas Mark 6  Grease and line the base of a 23cm brownie (square) tin or get your trusty silicone one out if you're too lazy to bother with greasing like me! In a large bowl beat together the oil, sugar and eggs.  Stir in grated carrots and sultanas followed by orange zest.  In a seperate bowl mix flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined and then stir in well to the carrot mixture.  Spoon mixture into prepared tin and bake for 30-40 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch.  If you put a fork in the centre it should come out clean.  Remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely. 

Mixed Dhal (Lentil Curry)

Lentils are a great source of fibre, protein, count as one of your five a day and the folate and magnesium they contain is important for keeping the heart healthy.  They are also a good source of iron.  This serves about 4 adults and 2 babies.  

Ingredients: 100g Yellow Split Peas, 100g Red Lentils, 100g Mung Beans, 1 Onion diced, 4 Cloves Garlic, Tablespoon of Ghee, 3 teaspoons of black mustard seeds, 2 tins of plum tomatoes (800g), 80ml of coconut milk, 1 low salt stock cube, 3 Tsps/15g Cumin, Ground, 3 Tsps/15g Coriander, Ground, 1 Tsp/2.2g Tumeric, Ground, 1 Tsp/4g Chilli Powder, Black Pepper, 1 Bunch/20g Coriander, Leaves, Fresh, Average

Rinse split peas and lentils separately and put them to soak overnight in a covered pan.
Drain the soaked lentils, heat ghee in a large heavy based saucepan, cook black mustard seeds stirring till they pop.
Add chopped onions, garlic and ginger, cook till onions are browned lightly.
Add ground spices, cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Boil water and make up 625ml of stock with the cube.
Add split peas, lentils and mung beans, tinned tomatoes, undrained and stock. Break up tomatoes with a knife.
Simmer, covered for 30 -60 minutes until lentils are tender and a lot of the liquid has reduced down.
Just before serving add the coconut milk, black pepper and 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander
Serve with naan bread and rice.  I used sticky rice to make rice balls for Ethan and dunked some naan bread in to serve him too.  It's a pretty messy meal but Ethan really loves it.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


Have been having a lot of soups lately which are all just variations on a theme and very easy hence not posting many recipes!  Once you have done one vegetable soup you can do them all so have some fun adapting the recipes I have posted with whatever vegetables you have in the fridge or see are in season where you live.  I did a carrot and leek one tonight (where I just added some stock and blended down a bit) for tomorrow and used it as a sauce with pasta for Stevo for work tomorrow and Ethan's lunch.  I used the shell pasta as the sauce gets stuck in the inside so it's easier for Ethan to eat. 

Just a quick update.  The soup worked well as a pasta sauce and Ethan ate it tonight and loved it.  I would make the pasta more al dente next time though as it kept sliding out of Ethan's hands! 

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Broccoli & Cauliflower Soup

Broccoli and cauliflower are both super healthy containing calcium, iron, vitamin A, C, K, B6, B9 (folate ie the naturally occuring version of folic acid which is important for mums when pregnant and nursing) and E.  When chopping up the vegetables for this soup I saved a few trees and steamed them quick in the microwave leaving them to cool whilst the soup cooks as Ethan loves eating both broccoli and cauliflower in this form.

Serves 2 adults and as many babies as are hungry!

Olive oil,
150 grams broccoli,
150 grams cauliflower,
1 small onion,
400 ml stock made with low salt stock cube, black pepper to season.

Method: Dice onion and fry in a saucepan til starts to go clear. Chop broccoli and cauliflower into florets and add to saucepan.  Add just enough stock to cover.  Simmer for around 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Use a handblender to blend into soup or cool and set aside before blending in food processor.  I like my soup chunky and thick so it doesn't take much blending but you can make it as thick or thin as you like.  Ethan isn't really getting spoons at the moment (anything given on a loaded spoon ends up being poured straight off) so as with the other soup I dunk torn up crusty bread into it and he wolfs those down. 

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Spicy Parsnip & Carrot Soup

Parsnips are carbohydrates which are the only fuel source for many vital organs, including the brain, central nervous system and kidneys.  Parsnips are a good source of vitamin C (immune booster, potent antioxidant) and niacin (vitamin B3 which assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin, and nerves. It is also important for the conversion of food to energy).  They also provide some vitamin E, potassium (which is essential for the function of all organs in the body) and dietary fibre.  Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, which is converted in the body to vitamin A.  Vitamin A helps with night vision - that’s why children are told to eat carrots so they will be able to see in the dark!  Vitamin A also benefits the skin and is great for the immune system.  Garlic is a good source of vitamin B6 and C.  So enjoy this soup safe in the knowledge it's not only really yummy, it's good for you and baby too!

Makes 2 Adult and 2 baby portions

1 small onion
4 garlic cloves
2 carrots
2 parsnips
Olive Oil
1 tbsp curry powder
200 -300 ml of stock (Kallo do a low salt stock cube)
Crusty bread

Preheat oven to 200'C/400'F/Gas Mark 6.
Dice onion and place in a roasting tin.  Remove skin from garlic cloves and place whole in tin.  Chop up carrots and parsnips into your baby's usual eating sized sticks. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter the curry powder all over the vegetables. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, remove and turn vegetables to ensure even cooking.  Roast for approximately another 30 minutes (keep an eye and nose on them though and if you think they are ready sooner get them out!).  At this point I took a few sticks of carrot and parsnip out to serve Ethan with his lunch.  Pour everything else from tin into a saucepan and add 100ml of stock.  Use a hand blender to blend as much as you like, gradually adding more stock.  I like my soups pretty thick but if it's too thick for you just add more boiling water.  I used a petit pain when giving Ethan some, ripping up the bread and dunking it into the soup and then giving him that to eat.  You could put this in a loaded spoon to give your baby too.  My friend Hannah's baby Ollie was over for lunch and loved this soup too so that's the thumbs up from two babies today!

The curry and the garlic really compliment the carrot and parsnips.  I put a bit of black pepper in too as I love the stuff.  Enjoy ;)  

Monday, 11 October 2010

Charlie's Birthday

Ethan attended his first party this weekend.  It was his friend Charlie's First birthday party and it was a lovely day.  Ethan was on top form - bringing out winning smiles for the photos and being very cute.  He chewed a lot of carrot, ate some raw pepper but loved the Organix Apple Baby Rice Cakes most of all.  After munching his way through lots of them he crawled over to Charlie's presents and would have ripped them all open if we'd let him!  I remember going to visit my best friend Muffins and Charlie in hospital just after he was born.  He was so tiny and slept through the whole visit.  Now he is a happy and healthy little boy who will be walking before we know it.  How time flies when you have little ones!  The day took me back to Ethan's baptism.  I think for his first birthday we are just going to go to Big Sky (a soft play adventure place in a warehouse) as Ethan will really enjoy that and all his friends can have fun running around there too.  Then a select few back to the house for tea and cakes.  What with our wedding coming up next summer I don't think any of us three could handle another big event next year!  I'm looking forward to our wedding so much but I am conscious of the fact it's really hard to factor in time together as a couple when you're hosting a big party.  We will make sure we do it least the first dance will be ours :)

Made some gorgeous hummus the other day from a fellow blw blogger's page
It's so quick to make and scrummy!  The only problem I had was stopping Stevo from munching it all before Ethan had eaten any!  I am really getting into fruit cakes and loaves at the moment too.  Cooked an apple & blackberry loaf with orange zest on Saturday and some more banana muffins today.  More recipes and photos coming this week.

Friday, 8 October 2010

A note about portion sizes

Mine are very generous...mainly because a lot can end up on the splash mat, the carpet, the high chair, my clothes, Ethan's clothes, his nappies and just about everywhere really! I prefer to give him plenty to play around with and have more to offer if need be.  Better to have too much and end up freezing a bit than not enough.

Cauliflower Cheese

The cauliflower is the best source of vitamin C after citrus fruits and contains potassium and folic acid.  And the whole milk contains vitamin D, vitamin B12 and calcium  and cheese provides protein and calcium.  A very simple dish but very healthy for little tummies!

Makes Four baby portions.

25 grams plain flour
25 grams butter
1/2  Pint (240ml) of Whole (full fat) Milk
50 grams of grated cheese
200 grams of cauliflower florets broken into tree like pieces.

Steam the cauliflower. You can do this by using a metal colander over a saucepan of boiling water or putting a drop of water in with half the cauliflower at a time in a microwavable pot and cooking on full power for a couple of minutes.  Then put a pan (suitable for putting under grill) on a high heat and add the butter,  Stir in the flour gradually making a paste.  You may have some flour left over.  Slowly start adding the milk and mixing in to continue paste like consistency.  Add more flour and more milk until it is all mixed in.  Reduce the heat.  Next add most of the cheese (reserving enough to top the dish later) and stir in.  Once the cheese has melted and you have a thick cheese sauce take off the heat.  Pour your steamed cauliflower into the cheese sauce and mix until cauliflower is coved in sauce before topping with remaining cheese.  Place pan under a grill to cause the cheese on top to bubble and brown.  Divide into four portions and cool before serving.  Freeze any you don't use.

Ethan's idea of spoon feeding!

Pasta Con Carne

Pasta is a good source of carbohydrate which is slowly released for energy and contains glucose which is fuel for brain and muscles.  Beef mince is a rich source of iron which is more easily absorbed by the body than vegetable sources and protein which is essential for muscle and organ health but there are health risks associated with eating too much red meat so it's best to stick to having it once or twice a week if you can.  If you're vegetarian or vegan you can substitute the mince for lentils which are also a good source of iron and protein.

Serves 4 Adults & 4 Babies
(Freezes really well so a good one to cook in bulk and then freeze for when you want a healthy meal for you and baby but don't have the time or energy to cook one)

Olive oil for frying
1 Onion diced
500 grams Beef Steak Mince
1 Parsnip thinly sliced
1 tin tomatoes.
1 Red Capsicum (pepper) cut into strips
Garlic to taste ( I like 3 big cloves)
100 grams frozen sweetcorn or a small tin
75grams fresh spinach or a couple of portions of frozen
300 grams of Conchiglie pasta (this shell like stuff is easy for baby to handle and the sauce fills the shell but you can use any shapes you like).
Handful of grated cheese and black pepper.

Put olive oil in a wok or large pan over a medium heat.  Add onion and fry until looks clear. Pour in mince and cook til browned.  Next add tin of tomatoes followed by parsnip and capsicum and combine all ingredients.  Crush garlic and add to pan, stirring into mix.  Stir in sweetcorn and then spinach.  If sauce begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes.  Meanwhile make pasta according to instructions and drain and set aside.  When sauce is cooked stir in pasta.  Season with black pepper and top with cheese (if you don't have an inconvenience store near you which stocks dog chews but no cheese!)   I usually leave Ethan's dinner to cool by an open window as the weather is pretty cold here now but you could put a bowl in the fridge and then put baby's food in there to cool it down quicker.

I put in what vegetables were to hand but it would work equally well with courgettes(zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), carrots, broccoli, peas etc.  Little one's enjoy picking out the different textures. 

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Poorly Little Bear

Ethan has had a cold since Sunday and is just starting to get his appetite back so meal times have been a bit of a non starter this week.  Yesterday evening at my sister's he tucked into a vegetable lasagne and had some fruit loaf and then this morning he ate a whole banana (some squashed on a rice cake and some as it was).  He had his eight month development check yesterday and the health visitor said he is very advanced for his age.  He interacts with his environment a lot more than most eight month olds apparently - he was crawling round the room and pulling himself up to standing and pulling toys out of a box and stuff out the bottom of the push chair.  His pincer grip is good as well which explains how he has been eating lots of peas, sweetcorn and sultanas in recent weeks.  I am finally catching this cold from him which is good in a way as it means my body will produce antiobodies to fight it off and they will be passed on to Ethan in the breastmilk he drinks.

The health visitor spoke about introducing a doidy cup of water with meals now so that by a year he should be getting quite good at handling a cup so I am going to order one from ebay later.  She also said about encouraging self soothing to sleep so he can get himself back to sleep at night.  At the moment he breastfeeds to sleep always unless I am not there or he is in the pushchair.  Once he feels better I will try letting Stevo cuddle him to sleep.  I don't see much of a problem with it at the moment but I guess once I am working two days a week in January I won't want to be waking a few times a night to give Ethan comfort feeds.

Now Ethan's got his appetite back, more recipes and photos will follow!


Sunday, 3 October 2010

A very funny Sunday Lunch

Ethan Bear and his cousin Shirley Clementine (who is a month younger) were hilarious at Sunday lunch.  Despite having the same food on their highchair trays they took to stealing each other's peas and carrots! We all had a lot of fun watching them

Friday, 1 October 2010

Baby's Day Out

Ethan Bear is doing very well with the weaning and can now feed himself peas and sultanas quite well.  The other day we spent the whole day in Birmingham and he was very good helping himself to fish and chips and spaghetti bolognase from our plates in Wetherspoons.  I had my mobile bag of treats and got him out a corn thin or oatcake too when he wanted a snack mid shop.  The hardest part of the day was getting the train back home to Peterborough.  It was fine at first as he was asleep when we got on but then he woke up and decided he wanted to explore the train.  So I was crawling after him and trying to entertain him on my lap for an hour and a half.  In the end I even got my bridesmaid headband out and put it on to make him laugh, the things we do to entertain our babies!  I was so happy when we pulled into the station and I knew we would be back home soon.  I really want to fly over to Oz in the next few years to see all my family out there (my Dad was Fijan) and it's made me realise the flight could be a major problem!

Unfortunately Ethan is teething a lot at the moment (6 teeth so far and counting) so when I breastfeed he is clamping his teeth shut around me very hard until he makes me squeal in pain.  It's so hard, I want to keep feeding him until a year at least but the pain is making me dread feeding time.

Tonight we had pasta and bolognase (made with a tin of tomatoes, beef mince, carrot, onion and a bit of garlic and orgegano) for tea.  It was simple, nourishing lovely food and Ethan Bear seemed quite happy with it too.