Baby Bircher Muesli

Sophia has been having roughly the same (hopefully healthy) thing for breakfast everyday and I can’t believe I never thought of sharing it with everyone. I call it baby bircher muesli but its merely a shadow of the original Bircher muesli but I can’t really think of a better name to call it. Here’s the original Bircher recipe:

oats soaked in water overnight

1 large grated apple

1 tablespoon cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon ground hazelnuts or almonds

Here’s my version:

1) I start with Bob’s Red Mill’s 8 Grain Hot Cereal (whole grain). Use as much of this as your baby can eat. Sophia now takes approximately 5 heaping teaspoonfuls. I used to use the 5 grain hot cereal but this has got more variety (which is good in my books as it means it covers more ground in terms of nutrients) and is already ground to a grit form (not milled into flour) because Sophia only has 8 teeth and with the 5 grain version which consists just rolled grains I will need to grind it into a similar texture myself. I wish there is an organic version of either though, which I imagine surely cannot be too hard for Bob’s Red Mill which already produces many organic products.

2) Add enough water to cover the grains and leave it to soak overnight, covered, in the fridge.

3) Just before serving, grate about 5 tablespoonfuls of fruit – I’ve used organic strawberries, papaya, apple, pear, honeydew, watermelon, grapes and basically anything the family happened to be eating at that time

4) Mix the fruit and muesli and top with 1.5 teaspoons of ground organic flaxseeds, preferably sprouted.

5) Optional: Add liquid multivitamin (I use animal parade) and Omega 3 (I use Nordic naturals baby DHA at the moment but may switch to Jarrow Formulas capsules soon. For soft capsules just cut them up and use the oil inside.)

6) Optional: Add ground nuts and seeds. I’ve been lazy so I add some organic almond butter. Walnuts would be good and perhaps this weekend I’ll chop up a batch finely for use.

I actually developed this recipe out of a combination of wanting to give Sophia the least processed food possible, more texture, more variety but also out of lazyness. It was just too difficult to cook baby portions of this hot cereal every morning so I resorted to soaking the grains overnight in water to soften them up, which means I don’t need to cook them. Its actually not such a bad thing: by not cooking you avoid destroying nutrients and by soaking the grains overnight you apparently “activate” the enzymes and all these funky stuff I don’t quite understand. All I know is, its a good thing and I’ll continue feeding it to Sophia as long as I can, rotating the fruits and nuts so she gets as much of a balanced diet as possible.

By the way, just a word of warning that overdoing the flaxseeds could potentially lead to constipation as they absorb a lot of water. Drinking more water can help avoid it to a certain extent but still, do not overdo it as you can’t really force a toddler to drink!

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Happy Belated Pancakes Day

It was pancakes day yesterday and both yesterday and today we celebrated with pancakes for breakfast and snack. So I thought I’ll share my healthy toddler friendly pancake recipe. Its actually adapted from the basic recipe provided by ediblesubstance – 1 cup self raising flour, 1 cup milk, 1 egg, pinch of salt. Easy eh?

Here’s my healthier version for Sophia:

1 cup wholewheat flour

1 tablespoon rolled oats (I used ground rolled oats which I keep around to mix up for Sophia’s usual breakfast but if you’re just using the whole rolled oats, just soak it in the milk (next ingredients) for a bit)

1 cup liquids (mixture of mashed up fruit of your choice and milk)

1 teaspoon ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

Whisk everything together and fry on a lightly buttered pan. Drop some berries in before the pancakes cook through.

Speaking of recipes, here’s a recipe for Sophia’s typical lunch these days:

1) 2 tablespoons quinoa seed

2) 2 tablespoons amaranth

3) 2 tablespoons millet

4) 1 tablespoon minced beef

5) 3 tablespoons fish cut into small pieces

6) 2 tablespoons vegetable of choice – carrot, spinach or shanghai green being the most common ones. Yesterday she also had some bittergoard added.

Boil grains till soft like a porridge then add remaining ingredients and turn off flame after 30 seconds.

Unlikely but successful recipes

After I prepared these purees the smell really put me off. When I told my parents what they contained, my parents were appalled. But Sophia is loving them. Try at your own risk.

Strawberry dessert

Ingredients:

  • Strawberries 1 punnet
  • Bittergoard one 2 finger thick slice
  • Purple chinese spinach 5 stalks

Method:

  1. Wash and chop up bittergoard and strawberries.
  2. Pluck leaves off chinese spinach and peel off fibrous outer layer of stem.
  3. Steam for 5 minutes
  4. Drain off excess liquid and blend

Odd Cod

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 200g of cod fish
  • 1 purple potato
  • 5 stalks of purple chinese spinach
  • 4 strawberries
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoons butter

Method:

  1. Peel and slice one clove of garlic. Peel the other clove and set aside.
  2. Peel and chop potatoes into 1cm cubes.
  3. Cut strawberries into halves and remove stem
  4. Pluck leaves off spinach and remove fibrous outer layer from stem
  5. Fry sliced garlic in butter till golden
  6. Add cod and lightly brown both sides
  7. Add potatoes and half a cup of water
  8. Simmer till cod cooked through and potatoes are soft. Turn up the flame to reduce the water till a thick stew forms. Meanwhile add spinach and stir
  9. Once sufficiently thick remove from heat and add strawberries and remaining garlic clove. If spinach wilts before stew thickens, remove it from stew to prevent overcooking it.
  10. Blend mixture.

Sophia gives both these recipes her stamp of approval despite the strong bittergoard taste in the first and the pungent garlic in the second. She’s a weirdo but I’m loving it.

Baby baked beans

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup navy beans
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small red onion

Steps:

  1. soak navy beans in water overnight or longer – I soaked approximately 20 hours and after cooking the beans were still a bit crunchy, not like canned baked beans. But then again, I would think its the canned ones that are “wrong” and not my homemade version 🙂
  2. dice onions finely
  3. remove tomato peel – putting the tomato in boiling water for 10 seconds or so makes this incredibly easy
  4. pan fry onions with half a teaspoon of butter
  5. Add tomato and fry till soft
  6. Place beans into slow cooker, top with onion tomato mixture then add just enough of the water used to soak the beans to cover the beans
  7. Simmer for at least 2 hours – I simmered for about 3
  8. Blend.

These were so yummy I am actually craving for them as I write this. The washed out photo doesn’t do it justice at all.

Baby baked beans

Recipe – Pumpkin and Salmon

Ingredients:

  • Garlic 3 cloves
  • Pumpkin 1/8
  • Tomato 1
  • Salmon 1 slice

 

 

 

 

 

Steps:

  1. Heat some oil in a pan
  2. Fry minced garlic till fragrant
  3. Add salmon and fry both sides lightly
  4. Add tomato, fry quickly and pour into slow cooker
  5. Add pumpkin then add water or vegetable stock
  6. Cook till pumpkin is soft
  7. Remove pumpkin and mash with fork
  8. Blend remaining ingredients in blender then mix with mashed pumpkin

Pumpkin is Sophia’s favourite non-fruit so unfortunately I have to hide everything in tonnes of pumpkin. However, this recipe can be adapted for babies with more normal tastebuds too – just reduce the amount of pumpkin or increase the amount of all other ingredients.

Chicken recipes

A dear friend reminded me that I can post my recipes on my blog so here goes (with a chicky theme):

Chicken and sweet potato stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 large potato or about 3 small ones with skin on (its best to purchase potatoes organic
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • Half a teaspoon of butter / other healthy oil like canola or olive oil

 Steps:

  1. Wash potatoes thoroughly. I usually dig out the eyes but keep the skin on as most of the nutrition is just under the skin and skinless potatoes is pretty much just starch.
  2. In a small saucepan, pan fry the onions in the oil until slightly browned and aromatised (if using olive oil or butter be careful to keep the temperature low)
  3. Add chicken and stir fry quickly for a minute.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients then add enough water to just cover all ingredients.
  5. Simmer over low flame till vegetables are soft.
  6. For stage 1 food, place all solid ingredients into blender and blend, adding the cooking liquid as neccesary to adjust consistency. For stage 2 food, remove potatoes and carrots and mash with a fork, place the potato skin into a clender together with chicken and onions with some cooking liquid, then conbine the mashed up food with blended food for a slightly lumpy texture.

Herbed chicken stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/4 cauliflower
  • 1 onion
  • Sprig of sage (use the leaves only)
  • Half a teaspoon of butter / other healthy oil like canola or olive oil

 Steps:

  1. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and add just enough water to cover all ingredients.
  2. Cook for an hour, or long enough to soften the sweet potato and cauliflower.
  3. For stage 1 food, place all solid ingredients into blender and blend, adding the cooking liquid as neccesary to adjust consistency. For stage 2 food, mash the sweet potatoes with a fork and blend the remaining ingredients then combine.
  4. For added texture, use remaining stock to cook some rice or other grains such as millet until soft and add to the mixture.