Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Simply Pure’s Baby’s 1st “Gwam Cwackers”

PB + Banana "Gwam Cwaker" Smores

 As babies grow into toddlers in every sense of the way they can become more reserved at trying new things as they find comfort in things (and people) they know... but this doesn't mean sticking to the same meal and snack routines, it is important to continue to offer a variety of different foods (remembering the 3 or 4 day wait rule of course)... so lately we have noticed Julia becoming very independent with her eating so a few weeks ago I made these graham crackers we tried one a day for about 3 days, she showed little interested then took a few days off and when we returned to them she ate the entire thing and probably would have ate more... morale of the story if at first your baby refuses try, try again... research varies but it can take anywhere from 7-12 times before you child really gets into something.

These are a perfect not to sweet cracker/cookie for baby/toddler (or a great 3 o'clock snack for mom or dad), high in fibre and iron (from molasses).  When I was making these it reminded me of ginger bread cookies I think because of the smell of molasses, speaking of which did you know that molasses is not only a good source of iron it is also a good source of calcium and magnesium, unlike other sweeteners it also adds flavour and doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar (and it also contains fewer calories than other sweeteners) more on this coming as I will give a thorough overview of sweeteners… Sweeten What? How? One final thing about molasses is make sure you buy “sulphite free”.

So here we have it…

Simply Pure’s Baby’s 1st “Gwam Cwackers”

1 ½ cup whole wheat flour + some for counter
½ cup 100% bran
3 tbsp brown syrup
¼ cup MS*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup EVOO
3 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used fortified soy)

*MS = maple syrup

1)      Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix flour, bran, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and flax in a bowl, stir in syrup, molasses, evoo, vanilla and milk, mix well.
2)      Place dough on lightly floured counter, and you may need to dust additional flour on top of dough so it doesn’t stick to rolling pin (or you may line counter with parchment paper I found this was more difficult to roll out), roll out till about 1/8” thin, cut rough edges so you have a rectangle to work with cut into 8-10 large squares, or desired shapes transfer to cookie sheet with a spatula score across the centre of the cracker with a fork (this will allow the cracker to break apart after cooking).  Use the scraps of dough to roll back out and make a few more cookies.  

3)      Bake 10-12 min, put on wire rack for cooling and perfect for an anytime snack (in the photos at the beginning we made PB + banana smores delish!! would also be great with homemade jam) also freeze well!!
Upcoming... Baby's 1st Carrot/Oatmeal Cookie lip smacking goodness and the long awaited Chili and Flafels.... and this... any guesses??

Looks like some spring'ish temperatures coming our way this week enjoy... questions of the day...

Do you always try your baby's food before you give it to them?  Will you give your baby food that you don't eat or don't like? What new foods has your baby had in the past week?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Baby's 1st "Gwanola"

Well I recently turned the big “30” it seems to be one of those b-day’s with a lotta stigma attached to it… we must remember that it is only a number, people are living longer healthier lives then ever before so 30 is really the new “20” haha well that is my story and I am sticking to it.

It is funny how every year we have a birthday, we are one year older, and one year wiser but it really isn’t until you have a child that you see it, they are a reminder of age as they grow-up you become more aware of your own age… at least that is something that I notice. It’s also a great time to reflect on the previous year which brings me to the side by side St. Patty’s day picture comparison let’s just say that Julia was not even close to fitting in the hat this year… yes that is a guiness in her hand we (well actually she) thought that it would be a funny surprise for daddy.

Without further a do... here we have Baby's 1st granola... this puppy went through many trials (which my husband loved) all of them were good with minor variations and the key that I found was actually cooking it less, Julia actually really likes it to eat with her fingers or sprinkled on her fruit smoothie.  It is loaded with nutrients, protein, iron and fibre making it a perfect way to start your day.
Simply Pure Baby’s 1st ‘Gwanola’

1 ½ cup large flake oatmeal
½  cup kasha (toasted buckwheat)
¼ cup quinoa
3 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp ground flax
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup raisins or cranberries
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (other oil would work)
½ cup of pure maple syrup (BRS* or honey may work also – remember though no honey until after 12 months, we have decided to wait till 2 years if then as it is one of those on the fence vegan things)

1)      Preheat oven to 250F.  Mix oats, kasha, quinoa, sesame seeds, flax and cinnamon in a large bowl
2)      Mix in oil and maple syrup until combined, put into a shallow glass baking dish and place in oven for 20-25min, stirring after 15min - it will still look wet when it is done it dries and becomes crunchy as it cools I aimed to make this a "softer" granola if you want it crunchier cook it longer.
3)      Scoop granola into a bowl toss in raisins or cranberries stir until mixed and volia you have baby’s 1st granola, works as a finger food refining that pincer grip or a perfect nutritious topping to yogurt or fruit smoothies.

*BRS = brown rice syrup

There are multiple variations that I am going to continue to experiment with so feel free to mix it up you add a little more punch for mom and dad by adding some chopped almonds or sunflower seeds. Do you have any favorite granola combos? Have you ever made granola before?

Sounds like old man winter is coming back tonight... it wouldn't be spring if we didn't get at least one more snow fall haha...

I now conclude with a little quote "Life is not measured in the breathes we take it is measured in the number of moments that take our breath away" - seeing my daughters face light up is one of those moments...

 Waking up to flowers on the table is another one of those moments...
In the past week have you had any moments that have taken your breath away? 

Happy Tuesday and I will be back very soon with Baby's 1st Chili or Falafel Marbles... hmmmm ;-) 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Division of Responsibility and Baby’s 1st Lentil Veggie Stew

Good morning and Happy St. Patty's Day!!

I was recently reading this book on baby recipes (go figure eh? Haha) and there were some stats on what the average toddler eats, I almost fell off my bike while I was reading (I will sometimes double my cardio w reading) so I had to look up the study for myself so here it is…

Feeding infants and toddlers study: what foods are infants and toddlers eating?
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, January 2004, Vol 104, supp 1, p 22-30

This was a descriptive analysis, based on a national random sample of 3,022 infants and toddlers age 4 to 24 months.

Here is a summary of the results:
  • 18% to 33% of infants and toddlers between ages 7 and 24 months consumed no discrete servings of vegetables
  • 23% to 33% consumed no fruits
  • French fries were one of the three most common vegetables consumed by infants 9 to 11 months of age, by 15 to 18 months, french fries were the most common vegetable
  • Almost half (46%) of 7- to 8-month-olds consumed some type of dessert, sweet, or sweetened beverage, and this percentage increased as age increased
  • By 19 to 24 months, 62% of toddlers consumed a baked dessert, 20% consumed candy, and 44% consumed a sweetened beverage

Here is a summary of the applications:

  • parents and caregivers should be encouraged to offer a wide variety of vegetables and fruits daily, with emphasis on dark green, leafy, and deep yellow vegetables and colorful fruits
  • offer desserts, sweets, sweetened beverages, and salty snacks only occasionally, offering nutrient-dense, age-appropriate foods as alternatives (eg, fruit, cheese, yogurt, and cereals)
  • water, milk, and 100% fruit juices should be offered as alternative beverages
  • family-based approaches to developing healthy eating habits may be helpful as family food choices influence what foods are offered to children

Ok so what are your thoughts?

I am glad that I have had a few days to digest this because I was unable to respond earlier as my jaw was on the floor, maybe that is because I am somewhat naive we know that the rates of childhood obesity have soared in recent years I guess I just didn’t think that it would happen that young…but of course everyone is different but I honestly can’t believe by 18 months french fries were the most common vegetable I am assuming they weren’t sweet potato fries? Haha and sweets and candy oh my!!! This research is going on 7 years old so it would be interesting to see how that has changed in recent years – sounds like a PhD dissertation… ;-)

So how much should a ‘toddler’ eat? What is a toddler portion?

I said that I wasn’t going to call Julia a toddler until 18 months but it seems as though I am… kinda but not really :-) 

As we have learned 1st hand in recent weeks, toddlers can become very picky eaters, they will have their favourites and eat nothing else as a mother (or father) you want to make sure that they eat something so how do you not fall into the trap of catering to their eating?

On average a toddler serving is about ¼ of an adult serving, so we first need to know how much an adult serving is as many people are not sure what constitutes  a serving size, for example according to Canada’s Food Guide 1 piece of bread is 1 serving therefore; ¼ slice of bread is a toddler serving. With this in mind it is important to have realistic expectations of how much your toddler should eat, it is also important to make every bite count towards their daily nutrient requirements, so we want to focus on healthy food choices you give your child choices and then they will decide on how much they will eat, this is the concept of 'division of responsibility' which Ellyn Satter has devoted a program of research to.  In brief parents decide what to buy where and how and when to serve it children will decide the amount if any they will eat, this can be a challenging concept to get your head around, but at the same time you are helping your child to become a competent eater.  Below is quoted from Ellyn's website:

Fundamental to parents' jobs is trusting children to decide how much and whether to eat. If parents do their jobs with feeding, children will do their jobs with eating:
  • Children will eat
  • They will eat the amount they need
  • They will learn to eat the food their parents eat
  • They will grow predictably
  • They will learn to behave well at the table 
Well that all sounds simply... but when your child is refusing everything that you give them and then you start catering to the things that they will eat you have missed the boat on division of responsibility so I think that this is a great concept but it takes some practice to follow.

So now that we have established the division of responsibilty what are the daily nutritional requirements for toddlers this is a vary brief overview I will follow up posting more detail.

6 servings of grains 
3 + servings of fruits and veggies
2 servings of protein 
3 servings of milk (1 serving = 1/2 cup of milk)
Well I hope that clarifies some things about feeding toddlers.
So now on to the recipe of the day I guess you could even call it "IRISH" stew to fit for St. Patty's day haha...

Simply Pure Baby’s 1st Lentil Veggie Stew

This simple health stew doubles as a perfect meal for the rest of your family, full of veggies, protein, fibre and flavour.  You could even prepare the night before and put in your slow cooker on low for a ready to eat meal at the end of a busy day.

1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 cup of veggie stock (homemade)
¾ cup grated celery root
3 bay leaves
½ tsp dried rosemary
¾ tsp turmeric
6 red potatoes washed and sliced, skin on
6 carrots peeled and sliced
2 cups of frozen peas (fresh would work)
2 cups of frozen green beans (fresh would work)
2 cups of cooked lentils I used brown lentils (depending when you add them you could use uncooked but would need to increase the water accordingly)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
4-6 cups of water for desired thickness (may also use stock)

1)      Sautee onion, garlic in evoo, once fragrant stir in grated celery root, rosemary and turmeric, once mixed add stock and bay leaves.
2)      Add in 4 cups of water, potatoes and carrots bring to a boil, simmer 25-30 min until soft depending on the size of your veggies, add peas, green beans, lentils and additional water as needed for desired consistency
3)      Once warmed through add fresh ground pepper to taste, reserve a portion for yourselves add the remaining into your food processor or use a hand held blender and puree to desired texture, fill ice cube trays, freeze and store

-          You could grate all your veggies for quicker cooking, I was making this to double as our meal so it worked out to puree it afterwards
-          Add 1 cup of chopped parsnips, turnip or sweet potatoes may have to adjust water
-          Next time I may add some barley to make it a complete meal with a serving of grains, for now I stir in some of Julia’s barley cereal and it works wonderfully 

This is the 1st time that I have ever made "stew" to be honest I don't even really like the word "stew" I just think of some bowl of over cooked veggies with chunks of meat in it haha... but this recipe changed the meaning of "stew" for me so I know have this idea to create a Caribbean type stew... here is the end product Before Puree...
 After Puree:
Side by Side:

I froze the extra portions in my ice cube trays as I would anything else... freezes well and Julia (& daddy) loved it a perfect well balanced family meal.

Duty calls I can hear my princess waking up we have some St. Patty's day surprises to do for daddy so we must get busy, here are your questions for today.  

What do you think about the results of the toddler eating study? Do you think that it would be different if repeated now? And "division of responsibility" any thoughts?

I leave you with a flash back to last St. Patty's day... I wonder how that hat sizes up now only one way to find out... stay tuned!!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

DIY Baby Food PART 2 of 2 & Cupcakes

Well I have returned from my "blog-ation"... it was not intention things just got a bit hectic, I suppose one could say that starting a blog at the same time as retuning to work and transitioning your daughter into daycare is a fairly hefty feat.  It's been about 6 weeks now since I have been back to work, Julia is doing wonderful at daycare and we are really starting to see her personality shine - priceless!! The other day when I dropped her off she went right to the caregiver happily… which was fantastic but almost made me cry haha going back to work after a maternity leave is probably one of the biggest adjustments a family makes after the initial adjustment to having a baby of course ;-)

While being on mat leave you anticipate that dreaded ‘first’ day back to work for months… when we talked about me returning to work one of the things that I wanted to strive for was BALANCE - something I never really had before prior to pregnancy I was a complete work-a-holic and from the time our daughter was born my husband and I agreed that I would only return back to work part-time, and although it has only been 6 weeks I feel that this is going to work well... it allows me time to do all the things that are important to me - well kinda sorta you know what I mean... I am one of those people who always tries to do too much so I have also been making an effort to "balance" all the things that I want to do "I don't have to do everything everyday" and I tell myself this so I try to space things out.  There are always about 65 things that I want to make in the kitchen but only so much time... so I have been prioritizing that also.

On an exciting note little miss Julia has cut molar #4 it was a rough bout of teething many sleepless nights with all her teething she has always got multiple at the same time when her top teeth were coming in she cut all 4 front teeth at same time ouch!! So this bout of teething has been ongoing for the past month so it has posed feeding challenges with a lack of appetite so we have been offering a variety as always and it amazes us how she will take to certain things certain days yesterday she was all about the strawberries and today chili - I have just made a fresh batch of Simply Pure Baby's 1st Chili I will be posting soon!! Other new foods in past few weeks blueberry flax pancake 'cake', and baby's 1st granola we tried that this am and she is still not sure about it will post this recipe soon I have a little more tweaking to do.

-          basic fruit purees
-          finger foods
-          “forbidden” foods under 12 months of age

Ok without further a due "DIY Baby Food Part II"

Cost Analysis of Making Own Baby Food:

Cost was never a factor that we considered as we just knew from the start that we were going to be making our own baby food for nutritional purposes.  But let’s look at the cost for a few basic veggies.

Simply Pure Basic Squash Puree $0.05 per ounce
Simply Pure Basic Pea Puree $0.08 per ounce 
Simply Pure Basic Carrot Pea Puree $0.06 per ounce  
PC organic $0.17 per ounce ($0.77/4.5oz jar)
Heinz (assorted) $0.20 per ounce ($0.89/4.5oz jar)

So the long and the short of it is, it is about 50% cheaper to make your baby food – however, this blog is not about penny pinching but a little extra savings never hurts you can put it back into buying high quality wholesome ingredients.  Here is more info on cost analysis, this is a great website it is actually the first one that I came across when I started making Julia’s baby food and I still reference it frequently. 

Simply Pure Basic Veggie Puree’s  

We already reviewed equipment and cooking methods in part I.  Featured here is butternut squash and peas both suitable as babies first foods and both dead simple to make here is a step by step...

Butternut squash is best local in the fall but those only last so long so lately they have been imported from Mexico, the same procedure is followed for pumpkin, acorn or buttercup squash.  We ate more squash this year then ever before I kept creating all these delicious soups (that is one thing all these puree's show you that anything can become soup) Julia has had each squash on it's own as well as mixed in various combos and butternut 'BN' is the winner.

1) First slice the squash in 1/2

2) Clean out the seeds with a spoon and discard

3) Place face down in a glass pan with about 1/2" of water, cover with foil and bake @375F for 45min or until a fork is softly pushed in (oppsie looks like daddy forgot to remove the sticker)

4) Scoop squash straight into food processor and puree to desired texture
4) Place into ice cube trays and transfer into freezer bags or storage containers once frozen - I missed getting a picture of this step check here for what it looks like 

Now for the peas

1) Purchase a bag of frozen peas (in the summer I used fresh peas)
2) Lightly steam the peas (4-5 min until thawed all the way through)

3) Place into food processor, puree to desired texture adding a little bit of the cooking water as needed - under 8 months you want to strain the peas to remove any extra pieces of "skin" that your baby may not like the texture of and here you have it Simply Pure's Basic Pea Puree
4) Place into ice cube trays and transfer into freezer bags or storage containers once frozen - I missed getting a picture of this step check here for what it looks like 
So here you have it 2 beautiful Simply Pure basic puree's suitable for baby's 1st food... as your baby gets a taste for things individually you can start mixing them peas and BN squash is a lovely combo (add some quinoa flakes for a full balanced meal)

Spices and Baby’s

Around 8 months is when it is safe to start introducing some spices, at this point your baby has already gotten used to some basic purees and will be ready for more new tastes.  Cinnamon and apple is a great first spice.  So we use spices for adding flavour to foods but have you ever thought of the benefits some of these spices have? What are your favourite spices? Upcoming I will post on spices, health benefits and what goes best with what.

Now can anyone guess what has been going on in The Delaney's Kitchen (aka upcoming posts)...

- Baby’s 1st stew pictured below
- Baby's 1st chili & granola
- made my first ever loaf of bread... turned out devine
- I tackled an egg plant, tempha, nutritional yeast and a cashew cream sauce for the best lasanga that we have ever had
- whole wheat rosemary foccacia
- beans and grains 101 – soak what for how long?!
- Oat bars and banana carob granola bars
Baby's 1st Stew
Tempha Eggplant Lasagna with Cashew Cream Sauce
My 1st EVER Loaf of Bread SO EXCITING!!

Never a dull moment... in our kitchen and did you know we don't have a dishwasher - this is something that we need to remedy very soon when we bought our house there was no dishwasher and now that we are settled it is obvious this is an essential purchase that we need to make soon…

Well I think it's a wrap I hope this shows you how simple it is to make basic veggie puree's not only is it more cost effective for you to make your own baby food it is also more nutritious as we have previously discussed.

As I continue build my blog I will give step by step of all the purees that I have made… never enough time in a day.

Upcoming we will discuss seasonal produce and feeding a toddler – portions, snacks and more stay tuned and enjoy your weekend don’t forget the clocks go ahead tonight.

A few more shots of my St. Patty's day cupcakes, we have a dinner party tonight and we were asked to bring dessert which was a perfect excuse for me to practice making and decorating some more cupcakes (recipe to come after they are reviewed at our dinner party tonight - it is the same cupcake as Baby's 1st Cupcake but I changed the icing to a Maple Cinnamon Vegan Buttercream - now that is smooth and so much nicer for decorating) we attempted to shape them into a shamerock haha... see for yourself... do you have any special meals or snacks that you make for St. Patty's day?