Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Recipes for toddlers and baby-led meals

Here are some of Jemima’s favourite meals, with variations for including babies. Bella is slowly beginning to try all of these. You might want to add lots of salt and pepper for grown ups! More ideas for baby-led meals will follow as and when I get inspired. Read here to know what I mean by baby-led introduction to solids!

We are mostly veggie I’m afraid, so no meat ideas, but there is one lovely fish recipe here too. Basically I find that Jemima will eat whatever we do, more or less, and loves vegetables if in some lovely meal or with a sauce. Steamed veg on the side does not really do it for her, so the more garlic, onions etc the better. Bella will hopefully just follow in her footsteps… N.B. Please research further for info on safe and unsafe foods but please do not give your child grapes unless you cut them up or watch them and teach them from a young age to bite into them as soon as they put them in their mouths. Grapes are sadly the perfect shape and size to choke a child or baby if inhaled.

Spinach pasta
Healthy, easy and quick – my favourite for when in a hurry.

Puree steamed spinach – either on its own or with a bit of cream / cream cheese / splash of milk, and grated nutmeg. Pour over pasta and pile grated cheese on top! That simple and they love it.

For babies - Bella sucks the pasta clean of spinach and then chews her way through the pasta too. I scoop up more spinach and offer it to her on my finger too.

Veggie lentil spag bol
Fry onions and garlic and any veg you like in olive oil (we usually use small chopped peppers, courgette, carrot and mushroom). When onions are soft add red lentils and a little water. (or tinned lentils if in a hurry). For dried lentils keep adding water til soft. Throw in a tin of tomatoes, some dried/fresh herbs and add salt and pepper for adults later. Serve with spaghetti and grated cheese.

For babies - cook some extra twirls or tubes for babies to hold, cut some of the veg into chip size before frying, and cut fat chip size cheese instead of grating. Maybe help feed them some of the lentil sauce.

Veggie lentil shepherds pie
Make the above but stick in the in oven with mashed potato or sweet potato or a mixture of both on top instead of pasta.

Courgette pasta
Jemima loves courgettes and they are great for Bella to hold and scrape the flesh off the peel without it all mushing up in her hand. So cut courgettes into chip sized batons if giving to babies. Steam and toss into favourite pasta shapes with a little sour cream, crushed garlic and grate cheese on top. Add pine nuts or cashews for protein.

Originally called Sole Florentine, we call cheesy fish and spinach

This is so lovely I would happily produce at a dinner party. Looks good in the middle of a big plate (or very yummy but less posh with mashed potato). Takes 30 mins (unless doing with child in which case can kill a whole afternoon). Feeds four adults or very hungry kids. Jemima loves this one best of all and I see no reason why Bella won’t be able to eat this with her hands very soon.

Fry 1 onion, 1 garlic with juice of one lemon, three peppercorns and two bay leaves in olive oil and white wine/water (prob not wine for babies! but I do for Jemima). When onions soft add big pieces of white filleted fish – we use something big and chunky from the local market but any of your favourite would do, or salmon maybe? (ideally avoid cod and get sustainably fished…)

Poach fish for 5 mins on each side and keep what is left of poaching liquid, removing pepper corns and bay leaves.

Put a good layer of steamed spinach on bottom of a mid-depth over dish. Place fish on top.

Add 4 tsp butter to poaching liquid. Stir in 2 tblsp flour and ½ cup of milk until have a creamy white sauce. Pour over the fish and grate parmesan over the top. Bake in hot oven for 10-20 mins.

For babies
– Just let them at it with their hands! Cut spinach up, give big chunks of fish to munch on, let them suck off all the sauce….

Spinach and feta quiche
Jemima has always loved quiche, this is our favourite but I tend to make up new ones depending on what in our fridge/veg basket. Find a short crust pastry recipe and follow! Line a quiche dish and bake blind for ten mins (score the pastry with a knife first). Fill with steamed spinach and cubes of feta. Pour over mixture of 3 beaten eggs, half a pint of milk, spoonful of mustard and black pepper on one side for adults (or if your child likes black pepper – mine does not!). Bake for 30 mins approx.

For babies
– Just let them at it with their hands as above!

Easy bean stew with feta
This is a Peruvian recipe with a difference. Cut 1lb potato and1lb pumpkin into cubes (and some bigger chip size ones for babies) and cook til just getting soft. Fry onion and garlic, (one optional chilli), 1tsp cumin and add a tin of tomato. When onion soft stir in potato and pumpkin and a little water and cook til they are soft. Stir in a can of white beans (cannelini/lima/butter), a cup of sweet corn and a cup of peas. Crumble feta cheese on top and lots of fresh thyme and parsley. We sometimes use coriander because Jemima loves it. Eat with lovely bread.

For babies – Just let them at it with their hands as above, but cut some veg chip size for her! Feta cheese might be a bit salty I have not given this to Bella yet. She loved the pumpkin especially.

Baked potato with tuna

Jemima likes this with tuna, tiny chopped celery and mayonnaise. Also loves that on toast. Bella loves baked potato cut into chip size, as the skin holds it altogether and makes very easy to eat. Also good is baked potato with beans, cheese, the lentil recipe from above, anything you want… I use normal potatoes as well as big baking ones – Jemima likes the little ones.

Any kind of vegetable soup

We eat soup for lunch every day. Sometimes from a recipe but often just based on what veg we have in the house. It is such a good way to get loads of veg into Jemima and you can make lots and freeze or eat two days in a row.

For babies – you can imagine that Bella makes an incredible mess and I do feed her a little too… Dipping lovely bread in is nice and fun for kids as well. Jemima’s favourites are pumpkin, celery, and minestrone, but anything will do, especially when brightly coloured!

Jemima also loves veggie lasagne with courgettes, carrots, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms etc or with pumpkin and spinach etc.

I will add more baby meals each week as I get inspiration but to begin with, chip shaped pieces of softly cooked vegetables or fruit, especially in their peel, are great. I tend to adapt whatever we are eating to suit Bella, as shown above.

We eat a lot of yoghurt and fruit salad and a brilliant one for babies is yoghurt and dried apricots blended – lots of iron in apricots.

One more thing - Ginger water. I have been drinking pints of the stuff ever since my friend told me it would make my skin glow. It doesn't, but ginger is a brilliant natural antibiotic and great for parasites and digestion. I try to get Jemima to drink it as often as possible. Just grate ginger into a bottle and fill with water and keep in the fridge.

All this makes us sound incredibly healthy. We also cook and eat loads of cakes, ice-cream, muffins etc so don’t be fooled, we get through butter way too fast in this family. Finally, the lack of Khmer food is apparent here – mostly because I have put down what I like to cook with the kids – i.e. easy and familiar! Stir fried veg seems too crunchy for babies and Jemima doesn’t eat much. And the curries are also not so great for babies! (The truth is I went right off Khmer food when pregnant, but I will get round to writing down the recipe for the lovely coconut fish amok one day soon).



Spicegal said...

This page is being bookmarked!!! Some fab recipes in there.

I did BLW with my first who is now a fantastic eater aged almost 2 and I love the freedom it provides in just being able to take them anywhere and know they'll be able to eat. No carting around a hand blender and jars for us!!

Good Luck with weaning Bella!

Georgie said...

Exactly! Happy to have helped!

maddy said...

We eat a lot of soups too - I have found the easiest (least messy) way with babies and toddlers is to puree it, water it down slightly with milk (this also cools it down) and then drink it through a straw or in a cup with handles or in a soup bowl (like the Japanese drink miso soup...this makes it fun too!

Georgie said...

Great advice thanks Maddy!

Kat said...

Love the recipes! Will link to this post for my BLW chums.

Kat x

Anonymous said...

I am bookmarking this page for my 15 month old! She also loves flavor to her food. And she has lead us to more of a veggie lifestyle.