Thursday, 22 November 2007

Breakfast ideas

I try to keep P's breakfasts wide and varied so that she is not the type of kid who eats the same cereal day in and day out.

When P was first weaning, she would always have some sort of fruit puree for breakfast. Being obsessive compulsive, I would ensure that she wouldn't have the same puree more than once a week. Fruit purees are often the easiest to do I've found, as many are soft and don't need steamed/boiled beforehand. A lot of fruits cannot be cut/peeled prior to the meal either, thus neccessitating immediate preparation.

After she was a bit more confident with textures and chewing, we introduced crushed organic Weetabix with mashed banana, which P has a few times a week for breakfast now. I don't always just add banana, but any other fresh fruits I have to hand. I should think that there are quite a few other low-sugar cereals that are similar if you can't get Weetabix, for instance, Shredded Wheat.

We are also lucky enough to have a new product available here called My First Muesli, by Cow and Gate. It's a muesli (go figure) with just enough texture, plus it has no added sugar or salt. I remember looking for low-sugar muesli for myself a couple of years ago, and I was appalled at how much sugar content most of them had! I'm glad that P can gain all the nutrients that muesli provides without all the sugar. For flavour I add fresh fruit to this too. For extra calcium, some plain Greek yoghurt.

Another handy breakfast food, especially as we are entering the winter months, is porridge, or as Americans would say, oatmeal. I buy a really cheap pack of porridge oats, just add milk, heat it up, and then add either fresh fruit, or fruit puree. Depending on the fruit, I sometimes add a little cinnamon as well. P loves it, and it seems like such a lovely, cosy meal to start a cold day.
If the oatmeal is too textured, just whiz it in the food processor/blender to achieve the required consistency.

Are there any specific breakfasts your babies/toddlers adore?

Parsnip and Apple Puree

Phew, long time no see. Between circulating illnesses within the house and just overall life hecticness, I've neglecting poor little Mush. No longer! Well, at least for a little while.

I decided to post this recipe for two reasons - it was one of P's favourites when she started weaning, as well as the fact that the parsnip is an often ignored vegetable, particularly in the US. Here in the UK parsnips are everywhere it seems. When you go grocery shopping you spot parsnips in the trolleys of many shoppers. Not mine however, unless they are for P. As I've mentioned before, I'm no great lover of vegetables, and parsnips aren't an exception.

This recipe is from Baby Healthy Eating Plan, as always, the link is to the left.

Parsnip and Apple Puree

1) Peel the parsnip and cut it into small dice. Cook it in a small pan of boiling water until the pieces are tender. Alternatively, steam.

2) Peel and core the apple and cut it into small pieces. Put it into a small pan with 2 tbsp water and cook until just softened.

3) Blend the parsnip and apple until smooth.

It's that simple. To be honest, I tend to steam everything rather than boil, but that's just me.

Enjoy, toothless, newly-weaned babies!

Friday, 26 October 2007

Turkey-Banana Puree

One of the first things I read about making baby food at home was the importance of putting aside adult preconceived notions about what foods taste good pared together. Babies have no such notions, so if you're able to set aside the gag reflex that immediately comes into play at the thought of avocado and yogurt mixed together, you'll realize that two foods that taste great separately might just mean heaven for a baby's virgin taste buds when mashed together.

This recipe for turkey-banana puree is from Connie Lindardakis' Homemade Baby Food: Pure and Simple. I found that the straight meat purees I was making for Isabella were thick and pasty. Adding the banana made the turkey puree moist, and since Isabella (and most other babies) loves bananas, this puree made perfect sense to me.


One boneless turkey breast, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 ripe banana, peeled


1. Remove any visible fat and skin from the turkey breast, place it into boiling water, and cook it for 20 minutes or until turkey is cooked through.

2. Strain the turkey, and keep about 1 cup of the broth.

3. Puree turkey in the food processor, and add banana.

4. Stream in the broth and pulse the puree until it has a smooth and creamy texture.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Mango and Fresh Apricot Puree

See, I told you that I would a) post more and b) put up some introductory purees, and here I am. In fact, assuming young P continues to nap (2hrs 15mins so far), I'll even put a few up now. Just for you, lovely readers.

One of the ever-present fruits in our house is the mango. I confess, despite my love of fruits, I never bought one single mango prior to P's weaning. I'm a pretty whitebread fruit eater - apples, oranges, bananas, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, and the like. I think because I'm not a fan of a lot of tropical fruits in general, I avoided the poor mango. No more, as P adores them.

Here is a lovely little puree that you can make for the baby and also eat yourself on the sly. This recipe is courtesy of the Baby Healthy Eating Planner (link to the left)

Mango and Fresh Apricot Puree

1 ripe mango
2 fresh apricots

1) Slice the mango, peel the skin off, and cut the flesh into cubes
2) Stone and peel the apricots and cut the flesh into small pieces
3) Put the mango and chopped apricots into a pan. Add 4 tbsp water and cook gently until the mango has broken down and the apricot pieces are sot (approx 5-10 minutes). Cool.
4) Whiz the fruits together with a blender/food processor until smooth
5) For a just-weaned baby, pass the puree through a nylon sieve

A note on fruit purees - even if your baby is past the puree stage, I often use fruit purees for a couple different purposes. Sometimes P has toast, and as jams and jellies are loaded with sugar, I spread some fruit puree on toast with (no salt) butter, and she loves it. Additionally, I often buy plain, full-fat Greek yoghurt and mix in the fruit puree of choice. If some of you have a large freezer reserve of purees you think you won't need after your baby moves onto more textured foods, you're wrong, there are plenty of ways to incorporate them later. In fact, P is in the rejection stage with so many vegetables, the only way to get them in her is to puree them and add them to other meals.

Happy eating!

Corn Avocado Soup

Ages and ages ago we had our first Mush contribution from EJW of the late blog Wiscadoo. As I am a huge slacker I neglected to put it up here before now, sorry EJW!

Corn Avocado Soup

"I made this soup (stolen from Rachael Ray) for the grownups last night and gave my son (almost 9 months) a taste and he ended up eating half a bowl! Jalapenos and all! It was quick and easy and good and good for us and not a bland, boring, baby puree. We all win!"

4 avocados
1 jalepeno
1.5 C corn kernels (patted dry- this seemed weird, but made sense later)
2C. chicken broth or water
salt and pepper

"Chop garlic and cilantro, doesn't have to be too fine, it's gonna get blended. Cook the garlic until it smells good. Toss in the avocado and jalepeno and broth/water. Use a hand blender to puree (or do the whole thing in a food processor). Cook the corn kernels until they roast a little bit, then toss into the soup. I blended these, too, but you could keep them whole for some texture. Season and serve with a little reserved corn and cilantro for garnish (or not, if you're lazy like me). We made some feta crostini and it was the perfect summer dinner."

Thanks EJW, it's 9.30am and I'm already hungry now. If anyone tries this yummy recipe, let us know how it's received by your baby/toddler.

Have a recipe you'd like to see in lights here on Mush? Let us know at mushblog at gmail dot com.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Butternut squash risotto

First of all, I must thank my co-blogger Kristi for being such a dutiful Musher. I, on the other hand, suck. Work is calming down a bit now and I'm getting my house in order, so hopefully I'll be able to post regularly now. I have so much in my head that I want to put up here and the plan is to do that soon. Huzzah.

So butternut squash. Yuck. I'm not a great consumer of vegetables, but I hope P will feel differently. However, she has recently been rejecting most vegetables, but thankfully girl still adores her fruit. One exception to the veggie hatred has been butternut squash, which I guess some could argue is a fruit, I don't know. P loves her butternut squash, despite her mother's views that it is quite possibly a demon veggie/fruit which will eventually lead to the downfall of man.

Behold, butternut squash risotto, courtesy of Annabel Karmel's "Superfoods for Babies and Children", as usual, the link to which can be found to your left.

50g (2 oz) onion, chopped
25g (1 oz) butter
100g (4 oz) basmati rice
150g (5 oz) chopped, peeled, butternut squash
450 ml (1pint) boiling water
3 ripe tomatoes (approx. 225g/8oz) skinned, de-seeded and chopped
50g (2 oz) cheddar cheese, grated

Saute the onion in half the butter until softened. Stir in the rice until well coated. Pour over the biling water, cover and cook for 8 minutes over a high heat. Stir in the chopped butternut squash, reduce the heat and cook, covered, for about 12 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small pan, add the chopped tomatoes and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cheese until melted.

Any rice will do really, though basmati is one of the healthier options. The rice used in the risotto in the photos is basmati and wild rice. Pearl barley is another excellent substitute, and something worth keeping in your cupboard anyway. Mine is packed with various pulses, grains and the like, and they are often interchangeable. A post on pulses & co is forthcoming. How exciting for you all.

As usual, you can prepare this in varying textures to accommodate your baby. P has it nice and chunky, and aside from picking the bits out of her mouth to examine before swallowing (as Mum is clearly trying to poison her), she gets on well with it.

Next time I think I might throw some first stage baby purees out there for you, as I know a couple readers of my primary blog have some babies new to the solids game. I wouldn't want these children to wallow in jarred food just because Mush has failed them, now would I?

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Black Bean and Cheese Quesadilla

Lest you thought Mush was going gentle into that good night, we are back, and with a contributed recipe, no less.

Melissa from A Writer's Woolgatherings posted a fabulous, quick-and-easy lunch recipe for her 2-year-old toddler. I asked her if I could post it here and Voila! Mush's first contributing writer! And while she gave her daughter this quesadilla (which she loved, by the way) for lunch, it would make a great snack or dinner as well.


Two tortillas

Black beans (canned)

Shredded cheddar cheese

Sour cream


1. Drain, rinsed, and mash the black beans.

2. Place one tortilla on a preheated and slightly buttered skillet.

3. Spoon a bit of the black beans onto the tortilla and top with a palmful of shredded cheddar cheese.

4. Place the other tortilla on top.

5. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

To get in on the contributed recipe action (you, yes, YOU can have your wee thing's favorite recipe posted here for the world to read), email us at mushblog at gmail dot com.