Introducing: Peanut Butter

Peanuts, or any nuts really, are great sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, when eaten in moderation. They’re also a good source of protein and are full of other vitamins and antioxidants. If you don’t have any intolerances to them, there’s plenty of good reasons to include these in your little grub’s diet.

As mentioned in this blog, we opted to introduce allergens sooner rather than later. But at the same time, I wanted to wait to introduce grains (I’ll explain why in a future post). So peanut butter on toast wasn’t an option for us for a little while!

As I wanted to avoid toast, here are a few alternative methods to introducing peanut butter. These are great for those not quite ready for really chewy food – my little grub wasn’t ready for anything lumpy or chewy until about 7 months old, but I didn’t have to wait to start him on some peanut butter. Grub loved these combos and they work really well as a snack or dessert. I use a natural (doesn’t have to be organic) smooth peanut butter.

– Mash 2 tbsp ripe banana, 1 tbsp avocado and 1-2 tsp of peanut butter together

– Mash 2 tbsp ripe banana, 1-2 tsp of peanut butter and 2 tbsp greek yoghurt together (we still have this for dessert most nights!)

– Mix 2 tsp peanut butter in to 2-3 tbsp of greek yoghurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon (trust me, this one is a hit!)

– Spread some peanut butter on peeled cucumber slices (suitable from when you’re wanting to introduce finger foods)

– and of course, spread over a hot piece of toast and watch it go all gooey and delicious! (Also a great finger food option).

Have you tried any of these? How did you introduce peanut butter? We would love to know! Leave us a comment below.

 

Eggs, Glorious Eggs!

Eggs are a relatively inexpensive food and are packed full of nutrients. They’re high in quality protein, with all the essential amino acids in the right ratios, a good source of omega three’s and a great source of other vitamins and minerals that are important for growing babies.

Knowing all this and that eggs are an allergen, I wondered how I might give eggs to my baby. I came across a few articles and websites that suggested egg yolk as a good first food, to try at around 6 months, as they’re easier to digest than the white.

Armed with this knowledge and the idea that babies don’t know what “should” be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I made up a few combos that can be given at any time of day! I love knowing that I have a quick and healthy dinner option in the fridge for those days when I lack inspiration, motivation or time (or all three at once).

DSC08115

I tend to always have either some mashed potato or kumara ‘chips’ in the fridge which makes a great base for any meal. Every 3 or 4 days (depending on how hungry your little one is), peel some kumara and/or potato, cut in to roughly 0.5cm strips and bang them in the oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes or so (or when soft). With this in mind, here are some ideas for first time ‘eggers’:

  • Mash 2 – 3 kumara or potato ‘chips’ with a boiled egg yolk and 1 tbsp avocado
  • Mash 2 – 3 kumara or potato ‘chips’ with a boiled egg yolk and 1 tbsp ripe banana
  • When you’re ready to introduce the whole egg, scramble one with a dash of milk and when cooked, mash in to a few kumara chips
  • Boiled egg cut into quarters (length ways) for a healthy finger food snack
  • And of course, just good ol’ scrambled eggs

Add a dash of water to the egg yolk combinations if the consistency is too thick for smaller babies. For older babies, you can adjust the consistency so it’s more lumpy. A full egg yolk can be quite rich for little tummies, so try just a few spoonful’s of the above mixtures to start with and build from there. When you’re comfortable introducing egg white, these mixtures still work.

 

My First French Toast

It’s Mother’s Day down here in New Zealand, and it’s a day I’m so grateful I get to share in as a mother. It wasn’t so easy for us to fall pregnant (that story for another day), so the day takes on extra special meaning for me. This year, it’s also a little different. I don’t have brain-fog or leaky boobs, nor do I suffer from extreme sleep deprivation or constant second-guessing myself. This time, I don’t have a one-week old baby! Instead, I’ve got a one-year-old boy who’s super cheeky but thankfully sleeps through most of the time. So, this year, I’ve requested a sleep-in with dad on duty and French toast for breakfast.

It’s probably not something that springs to mind when you’re talking healthy food for babies and toddlers, right? But this recipe can be shared with the whole family and is a weekend favourite of ours. Us adults tend to add the lashings of maple syrup and bacon that are practically mandatory with French toast, but little grub is just as happy with his toast on its own. I love knowing I’m giving him something that tastes good, and is also good for him – egg, a dash of cream (a little fat is good for you!) and cinnamon with no sugar whatsoever.

This is really versatile as you can use any type of bread; those who are paleo or gluten free can also join in! You’ll just need to soak the bread for about 20 minutes or so, turning it over during that time, to ensure it absorbs as much of the eggy mixture as possible. When grub wasn’t yet having grains, we used this bread (found at our local Countdown) and it was delicious! After a good soak, it goes soft and chewy. Even better for little people as it doesn’t have the seeds that some paleo breads have.

To serve, I cut this up in to soldiers and hand it over, when he was younger I would break little pieces off and pop them in his mouth. You don’t need yoghurt, berries or banana with this (that was for the photo only!); it’s great all by itself. This recipe is for one piece of bread, although there’s always a bit of the eggy mixture left over. If so, pour this over the bread while it’s cooking – that way you’re not wasting anything and your grub is having a whole egg for breakfast. It may look a tad funky with an egg layer over the bread but honestly, does it really matter?!

I started making this for him from about 8 months old, but you’ll know when your little one is ready.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp cream (or full fat milk)
  • Pinch or two of cinnamon
  • 1 piece of bread
  • Butter for frying

Method:

  • Whisk the egg, vanilla, cream and cinnamon together in a bowl until combined.
  • Soak your bread in the mixture until absorbed as much as possible
  • Melt a little butter in a frying pan over medium heat and cook your bread for a few minutes either side until brown and golden on both sides. If there’s any egg mixture left over, pour it on the bread when it’s cooking
  • Enjoy!

 

Our First Birthday!

Wow! I can’t believe we are 1 already. I don’t think I ever really “got it” when people said “time flies.” But now that I’ve got a child, it literally does.

Over the weekend, we celebrated with an afternoon tea with friends and family at home. And of course, there was cake. With so many talented people out there these days, I definitely felt a bit of pressure to turn it on! I didn’t want to out-source, I felt I should be the one making grubs’ cake, so I decided to give it a crack. The theme was Cookie Monster and obviously, that called for a Cookie Monster cake.

My mum has had this recipe for a deliciously moist (yip, sorry, had to use that word!) chocolate cake that’s always been a hit. It makes a HUGE cake, so I halved the mixture across two 20cm cake tins and it worked! Normally we bake this in a 25cm cake tin. I just had to watch the cook time. The end result was this:

1st birthday 2

It’s not perfect, hey, this is real life after all; I ran out of ruddy icing didn’t I?! So I had to make a new batch for the top and the colour is slightly off because the supermarket didn’t have the same brand of food colouring! You probably wouldn’t have noticed until I pointed it out…. but I’m an honest person. Maybe too honest… haha. The icing is a buttercream and white chocolate ganache.

This is what’s underneath all that icing and how I did it:

Next year I think we will get out the famous Australian Women’s Weekly cake book that we had as kids and let him choose one. I will let you in on a little secret though; I did do some icing decorating classes with Cake and Co. Ponsonby prior to attempting this. I would highly recommend their classes! Jackie is lovely, the classes are small and you get your hands dirty, rather than just watching someone else do it. There’s also plenty of opportunities for questions.

This week, I thought I would share our chocolate cake recipe with you guys. It’s not super dense, so probably isn’t suitable for a cake covered in fondant and heavy decorations, but you can trust that it’ll be a lovely cake with a fudgy consistency that’s never dry. The key is not to overcook it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 600ml carton of natural unsweetened yoghurt
  • ¾ cup cocoa (sifted)
  • 200gm melted butter
  •  1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • pinch salt
  • 3 cups of self-raising flour (sifted)
  • 1 cup of strong boiling coffee (2 heaped teaspoons)

Method:

  • Put all ingredients in to a large bowl and mix well.
  • Pour cake mixture in to a well greased cake tin (if making 1 cake, use a large round tin of 25cm, if making two cakes like I did, divide the mixture across two 20cm tins)
  • Bake in the centre of the oven at 160c for approximately 50 – 60 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
  • Don’t fan bake otherwise it will dry out
  • Let cool and ice (a chocolate ganache is great here, or a buttercream, whatever suits you!)

I would love to know what you’ve have done for any recent birthday parties. What did you guys do? What cake did you make? And of course, if you use this recipe, let me know what you think!

 

BanAnzac Biscuits

We didn’t make it to the dawn parade this morning (I wasn’t keen on waking a sleeping baby), but it’s something I’m looking forward to experiencing with my little one in a few years’ time. Instead, today we will be doing some baking and hopefully catching some commemorative shows on the TV.

These are my version of an Anzac biscuit, but with banana, hence the name “bananzac.” Get it? Haha, all jokes aside; if you’re looking for a healthy afternoon treat for yourself, or a morning-tea snack idea for your little grub, then look no further.

These have chickpeas (yes, chickpeas!), banana, oats and coconut with the only slightly naughty ingredient being 1 tbsp of golden syrup. But that’s spread across about 20 biscuits, so I don’t feel too bad.

Because of the chickpeas, these will always be a softer, chewy cookie. They’re not going to be a crisp gingernut biscuit, even if you cook them slightly longer than the recommended time. Also, they won’t spread like a chocolate chip cookie normally does, so if you want these to be a bit thinner, then you’ll need to shape them before putting them in the oven. I like mine a little chunky, so that’s what you’ll see in the photos.

bananzac cookie 1
Chunky biscuits ready to go in to the oven – I flattened them with a fork

These are easy to whip up and will last about a week or so in the fridge or you can freeze them. I hope you like them!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 1 can of chickpeas (400gm), drained and rinsed
  • 50gm butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3tbsp boiling water

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 170c and line a baking tray with baking paper
  • Put the chickpeas and banana in a food processor and mix until well combined
  • Melt the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted
  • Mix the oats and coconut in a bowl, then add the butter and golden syrup and then the chickpeas and banana. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
  • Put baking soda in your boiling water and immediately add to the cookie mixture. Mix well.
  • Roll about 1tbsp mixture and place on the baking tray, then squish down with a fork or your hands until you’ve reached desired thickness.
  • Bake in the oven for about 16 – 18 minutes until golden on top
  • Leave to cool slightly on the tray and then use a spatula to put them on a wire rack to continue to cool

 

bananzac cookie 2
Fresh out the oven and ready to enjoy!