Tag Archives: baby led weaning

Pea-utiful Tuna Croquettes. BLW Basic!

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Taking a break from anything too taxing in an effort to help me get a decent night’s rest (help with my problem here), what better way to unwind than to get back to slaving away at the cooker!

This is a baby led weaning basic, a staple, nutritious, hand handy meal for infants, toddlers and grown ups too! The shape is great for little hands, and the texture is perfect even for beginner BLWers.

You can easily customise them, I had some chives growing in the garden, but spring onion, or dried herbs would work just as well. I also chuck in a handful of peas because they are a great iron source and my guy loves a pea, but sweetcorn for extra fibre would work also.

Did you know that most of the goodness and fibre of a potato is in the skin, so a good scrub and bake so you can use the whole of the potato also adds an extra nutritious boost to these crispy golden batons.

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Ingredients

1 large baking potato or 2 medium mashing potatoes
Large handful of frozen peas or sweetcorn
1/2 can of tuna drained and flaked
Fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives or spring/salad onions
1 egg

Pre heat oven to 170C/340F

I used a left over large jacket baked potato, scoop the flesh out and mash. Alternatively, boiled and mashed potato works just as well.

Add tuna, spring onions or chives, peas/sweetcorn, pepper to season and mix thoroughly.

Lightly beat the egg and add to the mixture, combine well.

Prepare a baking tray with a sheet of non stick paper or lightly oil your tray.

Scoop heaped tablespoons of mixture onto the baking sheet at intervals.

Lightly flour hands and shape into a croquette or patty or anything you fancy, flouring hands each time.

Bake at 170C until golden, 15- 20 minutes, you may like to turn halfway through cooking to get an even colour.

Enjoy. And take a look at some of my other ideas.

Crispy Hery Butternut Squash Fingers
Carrot Parsnip And Leek Gratin

Sugar Free Baby Friendly Blancmange

Sweet Potato, Spinach And Lentil Dahl

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Crispy Herb Coated Butternut Fingers…Perfect For BLW Hands!

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Butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables at the moment, it has been perfect for baby led weaning, mashed, roasted, boiled, it always turns out tasty and healthy.  Ok, it makes a lovely hearty soup, but today I was feeling creative, so I tried something a little different with it.

Butternut squash is a winter squash, but it seems to be around all year, you can dress it up for the summer easily!

Low in fat, and high in fibre, it contains potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.

It’s bright orange flesh gives away the fact that it is packed full of carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, shown to protect against heart disease.  And on top of that, there are high levels of Vitamins C and A and folate.  Super!

In fact, because it is so virtuous, I feel less naughty for frying it in a little olive oil to make crispy chips.  It is perfect for baby led weaning, little fist sized chunks with a crispy outside and a creamy inside make for an interesting new texture and a pretty tasty side dish for the adults too!  Have a look at the recipe below…

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1 Butternut squash
2tbs plain flour
1 heaped tsp mixed herbs or any that you have
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

It’s a fairly simple method, I like easy…the hardest part is peeling and chopping the squash, but once peeled, cut into large chunky (mis-shapen) chips.

Boil until tender but not overly mushy.

Drain away the water and dry on kitchen paper to remove most of the excess water.

In a shallow dish, mix flour, smoked paprika, mixed herbs and pepper to season.

Lightly coat the butternut chips in the flour and sake away excess flour.

Lightly fry in an oil of your choice, I love some olive oil.

Drain again on kitchen paper and garnish with chopped fresh or dried herbs if you fancy!

Enjoy…

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Carrot Parsnip Leek And Potato Gratin-BLW Recipe

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As a rule, the little guy eats the same as me, I have done this from day one of our BLW journey. Sometimes though, I feel like he might need something a little more nutritious than the family lunch or dinner, if I fancy a salad, I think he might need more substance. So every few days I might make a batch of something which he can eat that gives me a little more freedom…if I fancy something a little naughty!

This mix is great on its own, sprinkled with a little cheese and finished under the grill. Or you could add a few cubes of ham for lunch, or you could just serve it as a side to the roast dinner if you don’t want to share the Roasties with your little person!!

Enjoy

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Ingredients

1 carrot diced
1 parsnip diced
1 large potato diced
1 leek sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
mixed herbs
grated cheese (optional)

Add all of the diced vegetables, carrots, parsnips and potatoes to a pan of boiling water, simmer until tender, 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your cubed veg!

Heat olive oil in a second pan, then add leeks and sauté until tender.

Once leeks are tender, sprinkle over the flour and cook out gently for one minute.

Add the milk and a good pinch of herbs and black pepper. Stir on a low heat until smooth and creamy.

Drain the veg and add to the leek sauce.

Grate over a little cheese and grill/broil on high heat until cheese is golden and bubbling.

Transfer to a cooler serving dish for your little person.

Bubble And Squeak. BLW With A Crunch

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This is so simple it probably doesn’t deserve a post on a blog anywhere!  Sometimes though, the simplest ideas are the tastiest.

When did you last have good old bubble and squeak?  It’s not just for Christmas!

Not only can you pack it full of nutritious veg, but you can add a little grating of tasty cheese, or a sprinkling of herbs.  Kids will love the different textures, the creamy insides and the best bit…the crunchy jacket it all comes wrapped in.

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I won’t bore you with a recipe, but I love to make this with the leftovers from a roast dinner.    Chop up a few spoonfuls of mixed veg, carrots, broccoli, sweetcorn…whatever is going…then add a few potatoes and mash it all together until it starts to combine and hold together.  I added a little grating of cheese, I get nervous to give the little guy too much cheese so this is a great way to make a little go a long way.

Then simply press  and shape tightly into kiddie size patties and fry gently in a little olive oil until crispy on the outside.

Easy!!

And a little addictive!!

I made six, but only three escaped my mouth and made it to the little guy patiently waiting for his lunch!!

Have a look at some of my other recipe ideas great for baby led weaning:

Spinach and lentil dahl

baby jellies

creamy vegetables with salmon

Wholemeal baby biscotti

Sweet potato, Spinach & Lentil Dahl. BLW Minus The Red Face!

When you need a break from perma-orange babies...choose lentils!

When you need a break from perma-orange babies…choose lentils!

It has been a hectic day, but then, they are always the most rewarding.  We had a good swim at the local pool and all piled back to mine afterwards for a mini birthday party for one of my friends.  I spent the day before preparing a few treats for us all to enjoy.  OK, so you might not call lentil and spinach dahl or agar jellies a treat, but the babies loved it, which was so great to watch.

carrot cake3I also made my first attempt at a totally boring ultra healthy carrot cake!  No sugar, no butter, wholemeal flour…OK, so you might not call that much of a treat for the grown ups either, but it seemed to go down well too.

Then again, maybe they were just being polite!  It was moist from the carrots and coconut oil and naturally sweet from the agave and pineapple chunks.  I will definitely make it again.

The recipe for the agar jellies can be found here.  And the carrot cake is here.  Which leaves the lentil recipe for today…I can hear the disappointment already, but honestly this was so tasty, the sweet potato and light curry flavour were delicious.  Please…don’t despair!

I love lentils, packed full of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Combined with the iron rich, vitamin and folic acid filled spinach and the sweet potato which is a complex carbohydrate with masses of dietary fibre and beta-carotene.  It is such a nutritious but tasty meal…try it!

The quantities here make 2-3 baby portions, so you can scale up as you please, as I did, you can also add more garam masala if you prefer a stronger flavour.

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1/2 onion finely chopped
1 large sweet potato cubed
1 big handful spinach leaves
50g dried red lentils
200ml water
1tsp heaped garam masala
ground pepper

Gently fry the onions and garam masala in a little olive oil for 5 minutes.

Add the red lentils, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. (I also used 1/4 teaspoon of vegetable  bouillon stock powder but this is optional)

Lower to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the sweet potato cubes, and ground black pepper, bring back to simmering point and cook for another 15 minutes.

Make sure it doesn’t boil dry, but by the end of the the total 30 minutes cooking time, you want most of the liquid to have been absorbed or evaporated, add water during cooking to keep things bubbling but not swimming!

Remove the tough stalks from the spinach, then slice into thick strips or just add whole to the mixture.  Stir the spinach through the dhal and allow it to wilt and soften down for a few minutes.

The spinach will wilt and make the sauce thinner, so I removed a little liquid to make it a bit thicker and more baby friendly.

Honestly, I will say it again, this was really tasty, I will be making it for the family next time.

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BLW With Beetroot Mash. Not For The Fainthearted!

beetsGrandma had been inspired by a meal out…She thought beetroot mash would be a great idea for dinner! I stared agog as the mash turned a more and more vivid shade of pink as the beets got blended in!

She was a little hesitant to embrace baby led weaning when we introduced it to the family. It was a bit scary for her to watch the little guy shove enormous chunks of food into his already full mouth. But beetroot mash…Grandma is taking BLW to a whole other level these days! Even I was a little edgy at the thought of the mess.

So we sat the little man in his high chair wearing just his vest and a bib (less clothing to clean up after the event) and let him loose on his dinner of mash, peas, leeks and slow cooked pork. He loved it, actually I loved it too, it was so simple and different and tasty.beets 3

 

Of course beetroot is the gift that keeps on giving if you know what I mean…but a couple of dirty nappies and a couple of dunks in the bath tub and life should be pretty much back to a less techni-colour existence!

We will definitely be making it again.

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Ingredients

600g potatoes
4 uncooked beetroots
Small bunch of fresh coriander stalks and all
150ml of a good splash of milk
good glug of olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

Peel and dice potatoes.

Peel and dice beets.

Boil both until tender, 20-30 minutes.

Drain and start to mash together with a hand masher.

Add coriander, pepper, olive oil and milk and blitz with a hand blender/stick blender/food processor until smooth puree consistency.

We served it with sauteed leeks and peas, and a lovely tender piece of slow roasted pork. I don’t often enjoy taking pictures of my food, but I couldn’t resist with this one, it was just so much fun. Enjoy…

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Baby Led Weaning. Top Tips To Get You Started.

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Baby led weaning is the most fascinating, inspiring and entertaining activity…for adults! Still, after four months, I watch in awe as my little guy handles grown up food…as he shovels way too much in, gags a little and then sticks a bit more in for good measure. He loves to play and learn and food is no exception to this.

I wish more parents had a positive experience of the first few scary months of BLW, but I often hear of parents abandoning ship because it is too scary or too messy.

I have created a list of a few things to get you started and help you feel more confident in committing totally to the BLW experience. As you get started on your journey, keep these tips close at hand to remind yourself that you and baby are in complete control…

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  • Have confidence in yourself. This is the single most important piece of advice I can give. Brush up on your first aid, attend a red cross course or at the very least, know what to do in an emergency choking situation. Learn the basics of back slaps to bring up a lodged piece of food, and understand the process of checking airways, breathing and circulation. Armed with this knowledge you can take a much more relaxed approach to BLW. Look here at the Red Cross site for many great tips
  • Relax. Once you have confidence in your ability in a sticky situation, and trust that your baby knows what he is doing, then you can relax and pass the calm vibes onto your little one. At the start of my BLW journey, I used simple yoga breathing techniques to relax, release and let go of any tension in my body. I kept that calm feeling throughout every early meal until it became natural to both me and baby.
  • Trust in your baby. Your baby has been born with a gag reflex and it starts way further forward on his tongue than on yours. This reflex is your friend, the sound of retching or heaving are his way of dealing with an object and keeping him safe. Try not to interfere while he deals with the object himself, but be at the ready to step in if he can’t handle it
  • Bibs. Double up, I use a long sleeved coverall with a smaller dribble bib on top to fit close around the neck. You will not be so worried about staining the clothes underneath and again you can sit back and relax while chaos take over in the high chair. Tip: Cut the bottom half off of old baby grows and use them back to front as full coverage bibs!
  • Cover the floor. Buy a cheap shower curtain and let the food rain down! Pop in in the washing machine, shake it out after a messy meal, pick big bits up and give them back to baby, and relax in the knowledge that your flooring is protected!!!
  • High chair. I took my high chair for granted until I tried out a friends contraption! Make sure it doesn’t have a fiddly harness or tray that locks too tightly around your baby, you need to be able to whip them out quickly and easily if they become distressed. Look here at the Ikea Antilop, great value, and easy to clean, great for BLW. Look here at the safety 1st baby highchairs, plastic free, able to grow with your child, fairly easy to keep clean but slightly more expensive.
  • Gagging is good. as I mentioned before, it is your babies way of clearing a blockage or learning that trying to swallow something before breaking it down isn’t such a good idea.
  • Silence is not good. look to see if they have panic on their own face, or look like they are silently struggling to bring something up. This is definitely your cue to step in and manually give a helping hand.
  • Let them get back to it. However shaken up you feel, don’t pass your anguish on the baby. Let him get stuck back in straight away so as not to start associating anything bad with his eating.
  • Know that milk is still the main source of nutrients. Please try not to stress over the quantity of food on the floor, or the amount he is actually eating. Food is still just for fun in this phase, once you take the pressure off getting food into baby, and let him take his time over meals, he will become better equipped to understand his own appetite, not what you think his appetite should be.
  • Eat together, don’t stare. Whenever possible, eat at the same time as baby. DO NOT sit and stare at him eating, as fascinating as it may be. Let him see you chewing and swallowing, watch from the corner of your eye, chat and laugh. How would you enjoy a looming figure watching you, praising you and getting involved with your plate of food!!!
  • Don’t overcrowd the tray. My guy likes to eat from a white china plate, he can see the food clearly and knows where and what he wants to reach for. Try adding food slowly to the high chair tray.

Stop The Slop!