Oaty apple breakfast bake with #noaddedsugar

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This breakfast dish is very popular in my house. I have to admit that eldest daughter loves it and the youngest will eat it but its not her favourite. But I think a lot of families have that going on.

You make the apple sauce in batches and freeze that makes it easier. We have lots of windfalls at the moment so am doing this when I can, in between everything else.

You make this dish the night before, we make it weekdays and weekends. All you do is turn the oven on when you get up and bake it for 30 minutes. It’s mainly measuring and mixing, so it was easy for my 2 year old to help make it last night.

Have been using windfalls for my apple sauce, I am beginning to run out of freezer space. Maybe time for another freezer.

I’ve made this dish with no added sugar, only the sugars found naturally in fruit.

Because it has no added sugar it’s suitable for weaning. Just take out the raisins as they’re high in sugar, it’s best to wait until your little one is 1 before introducing them.

You’ll need an oven-proof dish – mine is about 25 cm x 17 cm.

Gluten free and dairy free

You can make it gluten free by using gluten free oats.

Milk can be swapped for non-dairy milk like coconut drinking milk or almond milk, and the butter for non-dairy unhydrogenated spread or coconut oil.

Oaty apple breakfast bake recipe

You will need…

100g raisins
180g apple sauce (stewed apples blended without sugar)
300ml milk
350g whole oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple cored but unpeeled grated
3 medium eggs, beaten
50g melted unsalted butter

How to…

Grease a shallow dish.
Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Put in the dish, cover and leave overnight in the fridge.
In the morning heat the oven to 160º c fan oven / 180º c / gas mark 5 for 30 minutes.
Serve with a little milk poured over and chopped fruit.

Portions and nutrition

This recipe makes enough for 1½-2 rounds of breakfast for a family of 4-5. Based on a 5 year old having a 100g portion this breakfast it contains good amounts of protein, fibre, potassium, calcium, magnesium. It makes a good contribution to iron and zinc intakes too along with key B vitamins such as B6, B12 and more. So it makes for a really healthy start to the day.

The sugar content per 100g is 9.5g (just under 2 teaspoons) but it’s all from fruit so doesn’t count towards the maximum recommended intake for this age of ‘free sugars’* of 4 teaspoons a day.

*’free sugars’ is a definition by World Health Organisation which has been adopted by the UK Governments Scientific Advisory Committee in their recent report on Carbohydrates and health. Free sugars are any processed sugar added to foods by a manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juice.

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Cheap eats January #6: Make your own custard

 

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It’s really easy to make your own custard – all from store cupboard ingredients along with organic eggs, and milk – and you can make it dairy free by using coconut drinking milk (I am sure you could use other dairy free milks but I haven’t tried them as yet).

This is enough for two good sized portions for kids – just double the amounts for more. You can keep what you don’t use in the fridge for a few days. I’ve worked out the cost, and making it with milk and caster sugar costs 44p, Making it with maple syrup (so it has no refined sugar in it) costs 81p.

You will need…

2 egg yolks*
200ml of semi skimmed milk, whole milk or coconut milk drink
1.5 teaspoons of cornflour
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or caster sugar)
Capful vanilla extract

How to…

Bring the milk to the boil in a pan.
Whisk the egg yolks with the maple syrup in a large bowl or jug.
Mix the cornflour with a teaspoon of water so it makes a paste.
Whisk the cornflour and vanilla extract into the egg mixture.
Pour the milk into the egg mixture whisking all the time.
Put it back in the pan and bring to the boil again, whisking all the time, it will thicken.

Serve with seasonal fruit (steamed or baked apple, rhubarb, or sliced banana) or crumble if you have time to make it.

Weaning

If you’re making this for infants under 1 year, don’t add any sugar or maple syrup – the vanilla extract will add enough sweetness, all you need to do is whisk the cornflour and vanilla in with the egg yolks.

 Nutrition

A portion of custard provides good amounts of calcium, phosphorous, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.

*You can use the two egg whites along with another egg and make an omelette or keep them for this banana macaroon recipe. You can refrigerate in an airtight container for a couple of days, or freeze for longer.

 

 

Meatballs and pasta

This is the recipe daughter number 1 made in the Kids Kitchen at the Abergavenny Food Festival last year.

It doesn’t take long to make a batch of meatballs, and if you freeze some of them, they defrost quickly for midweek meals.

I have sometimes bought organic meatballs, but it’s so much cheaper to make your own. And I have noticed that some of the non-organic meatballs have water added as well as salt and additives – so not only are you paying more for someone else to make your meatballs but you’re also paying for water (and a slightly lower protein content).

My youngest is about 8 months in this photo. You can just about see that I made the meatballs into longer sausage shapes for her to hold and eat. Younger babies haven’t yet learnt to hold things using pincer grasp so if you are going to serve as a finger food you need to make them long enough for them to grasp and have enough meat on the end to eat too. I tried this a couple of times but found a lot of the meat got wasted/not eaten so it was easier to put in with the pasta and sauce. I do usually give some of the pasta as finger food as she enjoys eating it this way, and the 7 year old does too now.

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Sometimes if I am using a batch of meatballs from the freezer I  just chop them up with the pasta for baby, for spoon-feeding along with some veggie’s as a finger food. If you are pureeing rather than chopping food (for younger babies) and you don’t have an older child you might just like to stick with spaghetti bolognese rather than going to the bother of making meatballs.

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You will need…

…for the meatballs
500g organic (ideally lean) beef or lamb mince
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons fresh parsley or basil (but if you don’t have any fresh herbs use a tablespoon of dried mixed herbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

… how to make the meatballs
Mix all the ingredients together (except the olive oil which is for frying) and shape into small balls, the size of cherry tomatoes. The recipe from Kid’s Kitchen gives details of how to steam cook the meatballs, which is healthier. But I have to admit to shallow frying in a the olive oil. turning regularly to brown all over (don’t over-brown them though).

Use what you need and freeze the rest between parchment/grease proof paper in airtight containers. They’ll keep in the fridge for a couple of days and in the freezer for a couple of months.

…for the tomato sauce
tablespoon of olive oil
1 garlic clove finely chopped
handful of fresh basil, finely chopped (or 1 tablespoon of dried mixed herbs if that’s all you have in)
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
tablespoon of tomato puree

Heat the olive oil, add the garlic clove and before it starts turning brown add the dried herbs (if using) and chopped and pureed tomatoes, stir and simmer for 10 minutes, add the meatballs 5 minutes before serving along with the fresh herbs (if using). Serve with pasta and a little fresh parmesan.

In the Summer I sometimes make the tomato sauce with garlic, onion and red pepper, adding the tomatoes after they have softened.

Portion sizes

These portion sizes are a guide to help you know roughly how much to give. I don’t weigh out portion sizes for every meal. But by weighing portion sizes out a few times I’ve learnt to estimate portion sizes by sight:

7-9 months: 30g meatballs to 70g tomato sauce and 20g vegetables as finger food
10-12 months: 40g meatballs to 80g tomato sauce and 30g vegetables as finger food
1-4 years: 50g meatballs to 100g tomato sauce and 1 x 40g portions of vegetables

Nutrition bits

You can use either lamb or beef mince. Opt for British, ideally organic. Whilst lamb and beef is usually grassfed, buying organic ensures that the animal is grassfed as it’s integral to the legal organic standards.

Meat from grassfed has higher levels of omega 3’s. Compared to grain fed animals, the saturated fat from grass fed animals have higher levels of the saturated fat, stearic acid, which does not increase cholesterol levels and conversely has lower levels of the two saturated fats that cause increased cholesterol (myristic and palmitic). Grassfed meat also has been found to have higher levels of anitoxidants, Vitamin’s A and E and glutathione and superoxide dismutase. Both these meats are also very good sources of protein, iron and zinc.

Red meat does get a bad press, but it can make a valuable contribution to a balanced healthy diet – especially for younger children – who are at higher risk of iron and zinc deficiency. It’s also worth remembering that most studies of beef consumption in the US, will be based on what most people eat which is intensively reared cattle on feedlots where the cattle eat grain and in particular maize, which causes all sorts of health problems for the animals and also means the meat has a less healthy profile compared to grassfed.

What’s for lunch #2: Cheese omelette

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Preamble

This is the second in a series of quick, simple, tasty and above all healthy lunches for you to share with your baby and/or toddler.

I love eggs. There, I’ve said it. I learned back in University in 1999 (eek) that scientists had got it wrong all along – just because eggs contained cholesterol didn’t mean they raise a person’s cholesterol levels. It just goes to show that science and nutrition science in this instance is ever changing. What we think is the truth now may well change with greater understanding, through more research in the future.

Nutrition bits

Where to start… well they contain good amounts of protein, vitamins A, D and E,  iron, zinc, B vitamins, particularly B12 and riboflavin and folate. They also provide high levels of minerals including iodine, selenium, phosphorus and some zinc and iron too.

You will need…

  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cheese
How to…
Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat with a fork until smooth.
Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the oil. When the oil is hot, pour the eggs into the pan.
Using a wooden fork or a spatula and working in a circular motion, move the eggs in the pan around, while at the same time moving the pan back and forth across the heat. Allow the eggs to start coagulating.
Stop moving the pan, let the bottom of the omelette begin to cook through and brown a little
If you are in a rush – and/or need to check on baby – pop the pan under the grill to cook the top of the omelette.
Sprinkle cheese on one side of the omelette, put it back under the grill until the cheese has melted and then fold over.
Tip the omelette onto a plate. Cut fingers of omelette for baby/toddler and the rest is for you.
These photos are from a couple of months ago. You can see I served with summer vegetables. Now I would serve with cooked vegetables and/or low salt/low sugar baked beans for baby/toddler.
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We had omelette today too – we had just come back from a baby/toddler group and I didn’t have very much in food wise. I put chopped parsley in the pan – just before the eggs. Hopefully, by adding herbs and other green vegetables to dishes, I won’t be asked “what’s that green stuff?” at future mealtimes.
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Portion sizes

You’ll know if your following this blog I refer to Caroline Walker Trust CHEW! portion size guidance. I don’t weigh at every mealtime but I do often as it helps me to learn to estimate portion sizes visually.

*9 month olds: I gave 3 x 20g finger portions of omelette to baby, and about 40g baked beans(mash/chop the baked beans). If you’re giving other veg as finger food then give about 20g

10-12 month olds: 4 x 20g finger portions of omelette, 50g baked beans, or 30g veg as finger food

1-4 year olds: 5 x 20g finer portions of omelette, 6og baked beans or 2 x 40g portions of veg

And you: you get whatever is leftover –  and try to have two portions of veg (that’s 2 x 80g of vegetables)

*As have said on previous posts, from experience I don’t think younger babies will eat enough finger food to meet their nutrient requirements, so am recommending this for older babies.

What’s for lunch: Sardine fishcakes

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Sardine fishcakes

Preamble

I am going to try and post some ideas for quick, easy and cheap meals to share with your baby and/or toddler at lunchtime in a series (if I manage to come up with enough ideas) called “What’s for lunch”.

Evidence shows us that children are influenced by what their parents eat and drink, this makes sense (science often tells us what we already know). So it follows that parents can have a positive or negative effect on what they’re children eat depending on their own diet. Eating  together also helps babies to learn that mealtimes are social times.

This recipe uses  breadcrumbs – don’t to throw unused loaves away, instead cut off the crusts and put them into the food processor to make breadcrumbs which you can freeze for ages.

I think fishcakes are easier for babies to handle and eat about 10 months (depending on baby’s food handling skills it may be slightly earlier than this).

Nutrition bits

This recipe uses leftover mashed potato and includes tinned sardines which are a great source of omega 3’s, protein, iron, zinc calcium and vitamin D . Also, as they are lower down the food chain, compared to tuna and marlin, they have lower levels of mercury compared to those bigger fish.

An interesting thing happens to mashed potato when it’s left to cool. Its starch structure changes in a way that lowers its GI so that energy is released more slowly into the bloodstream. Potatoes usually have a high GI (as much as 88) and research shows that it can be lowered a GI of 56 if it is allowed to cool.

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You will need…

160g Mashed potato (see portion sizes below to work out what you need)
120g Tin of sardines in olive oil drained*
Chopped parsley (if you have some in – otherwise don’t worry)
1 egg beaten (use milk if your baby has an egg allergy)
Plain flour
Breadcrumbs

Vegetables to serve

How to…

Drain the sardines and mash them well with a fork – no need to remove the bones as they are small and soft.
Mix the sardines with the potatoes and chopped parsley if you are using it.
Form  into 4 small cakes for babies (I made two – see photo – which were a little too big).
Put the frying pan on a medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil.**

Once you’ve got the shape and size you want dip the cakes in flour, then egg and then breadcrumbs.
Fry the cakes for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Portion sizes

The portion sizes I use are from the  CHEW! guidance which is based on recommended intakes for energy and nutrients. They are meant as a guide so don’t worry if you’re baby doesn’t eat all their food that they won’t get enough nutrients.

For 10-12month baby : 40g sardines (about 1 fillet) to 60g potato plus 30g vegetables

1-4 year olds : 50g sardines to 80g potatoes plus 40g vegetables

And for you – there should be about 60g of sardines so mix with about 100g of potatoes and serve with two 80g portions of vegetables.

For babies 7-9 months

For younger babies (7-8 months) I would recommend using the ingredients (without making the fishcakes for baby), pureeing, mixing with baby’s usual milk and serving with the vegetables as finger food.  If your baby is able to eat their meal as whole food well – for my baby this is around 10 months – but your’s may be able to do this younger, then make the fish cakes rather than puree. Based on my experience, younger babies are not able to feed themselves well enough in this way, so are not able to get enough protein, iron, to meet their dietary needs. Portion sizes for this age group are 30g sardines to 50g potato and 20g vegetables.

Allergies

If your baby has an egg allergy then dip in milk rather than egg to bind the breadcrumbs
If your baby has a gluten intolerance or allergy, dust in gluten free flour and use breadcrumbs from gluten free bread. You can try just dusting in flour too however the fishcakes don’t hold together so well and can be a bit too squidgy.

Postscript added 21 November 2013

Make extra of these and you can take them with you for days out – in a lunchbox – remember to keep them chilled though. I have tried freezing fishcakes before, but have found it doesn’t work well.

*Someone asked me whether they could use sardines in tomato sauce. And I dont see why not for adults but, having looked at the ingredients list, the sardines I have seen in tomato sauce have salt added, so aren’t a good option for babies, or really children, ideally.

**Ideally the fishcakes can be baked at 200°c/ 400°f/gas mark 6 on an oiled baking try for 10 minutes (turning once) – baking is healthier than frying but I didn’t have time to wait for the oven to heat up.

Weaning recipe #3 and family meal: Last of the Summer bean stew

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We had this this for supper a few nights ago. The photo above is of the leftovers we had for lunch the next day. I didn’t have time to chop the stew up into smaller pieces for my baby (this stew works best with chunky vegetables) – I am always in a last minute rush when I make meals – so I gave her chickpeas and haricot beans and some veg to eat with her fingers along with the stew which had been briefly whizzed.

Now that she’s 9 months old she’s really honed her pincer grasp and sits absorbed at the dinner table picking up small pieces of food. Some of those pieces of food she casually drops on the floor but most do end up being eaten.

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Peppers and courgettes are only just in season in the UK but not for long. I  buy organic (as much as possible), local when I can, and definitely British. Buying by season does make it harder in those Winter months when you’re missing out on salads and summer fruits and it does make you really appreciate produce when it comes into season again.

Ingredients

For the stew
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 red onions cut into wedges
Red and yellow pepper cut into 1 cm wedges
2 courgettes cut into batons
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
Half a tin of 400g haricot beans (optional)*
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons tomato purée
Handful of fresh basil chopped
zest from one lemon
200ml very low salt stock (not for babies) or water (for babies)

For the cous cous
200g whole grain (if you can find it) cous cous
300 ml water
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

How to…

In a pan on a medium heat cook the onion, courgette, peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes, until softened.
Add the smoked paprika and tomato purée stir and cook for a few minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and stock or water and cook for 20 minutes.
Zest the lemon and put to one side.

To make the cous cous, mix together 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, stir into the cous cous, then add and mix in the 300ml of water.
Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
Then fluff up with a fork.

Now add the beans and chickpeas, lemon and basil to the stew and and cook for 10 more minutes then serve.

Make sure you allow it to cool enough. For babies, either chop into smaller pieces or whizz a few times with the blender.  For younger babies (+6 months)  thin with a little of baby’s usual milk to consistency required.

Portion sizes

The recommended portion sizes (from Caroline Walker Trust):

Babies from 7-9 months:  80g of stew / 50g of couscous with 20g vegetable finger food

Babies 10-12 months: 90g of stew /60g couscous with 30g vegetable finger food

1-4 year olds : 115g stew / 80g couscous with 40g vegetable finger food

5-11 year olds: 140g stew / 120g couscous with 80g vegetable finger food

*I didn’t want to add the whole tin as thought would be too much – but might be fine – I used the rest in a beef stew a couple of days later.

Weaning recipes #1: accidental Morroccan lamb and cous cous

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We’ve just had just a busy Saturday morning, in and out of the house getting ready for Ringwood Carnival, my eldest’s 7th birthday, a 40th birthday party in London, drama class, and of course baby stuff which is never ending and keeps you busy without you ever actually achieving very much.

I had sausages for my husband and daughter for a quick lunch before going out to the carnival. But nothing for my now nearly 9 month old. The sausages were organic. but as they are high in salt, aren’t a suitable food for babies.*

I do usually try and do the same meal for the whole family but with so much going on it wasn’t possible and I had to rustle something up quickly out of what I had in the fridge. If I had had a chance to buy the ingredients the Morroccan lamb would have  included with some chickpeas – to make the meat go further and  some more vegetables as well as some dried apricots or sultanas.

The dish was not a great success at Saturday lunchtime. Either because my daughter is teething, or the excitement in the house, not much was eaten. I tried again for tea, and she ate most of it happily.

The evidence suggests that you have to get babies/children to try foods about 15 times before they will accept it. Though I do think that if a child has a definite dislike of a food or flavour and they are good at trying new foods and like most, then its probably best not to push it. But of course it’s hard when you’ve spent time and energy making something only for it to be rejected.

New foods

Up until around 18 months babies are open to trying new foods. Research shows that giving a new food once in the first year can double a baby’s intake of that food when a parent offers it again at mealtime.**

When toddlers start to walk and become more mobile, some develop neophobia (a fear of new foods). Academics think that young children have evolved in this way to prevent them from eating toxic or poisonous substances that they might come across in their immediate environment. So any food that they do not recognise as ‘normal’ is seen as a potential danger and is a means to protect them from being poisoned. It tends to peak at between 2 and 6 years old but older children can be neophobic , particularly if parents/carers limit the variety of foods they eat.***

So 1 have about a year to introduce as many different foods as possible. And as much as possible I buy in season produce so that means, like my eldest this baby will learn which foods are in season.

To make about 5 portions you will need ****…

1 tablespoon olive oil

200g Organic lamb mince (I made lamb meatballs with the rest of the lamb mince)

1 celery stick

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 small onion

half a green pepper (or any other pepper)

100g mushrooms

300g tinned tomatoes

100g cous cous

How to…

Dice all the vegetables into small enough pieces for a 9 month old baby to manage. This meal is suitable for babies from 7 months. You can thin it for younger babies with your baby’s usual milk (breast or formula milk) and puree.

Put the cous cous in a bowl and add 150ml boiling water, stir and leave for 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan, add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the spices and stir then add the lamb mince, and cook til brown. Then add the rest of the vegetables for a few minutes, until softened. Then add the tinned tomatoes. stir and simmer for 10 minutes, and thin a little water or baby’s usual milk, then serve with about 40g cous cous.

I served this meal with some cooked carrots and green beans.

My eldest happily ate it the next day too.

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Storage

Cool rapidly and refrigerate in an airtight container. Will keep in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen for 2 months.

Breakfast pancake recipe for Shrove Tuesday or any other day

We had these for breakfast yesterday, this morning and will have them for breakfast tomorrow too! Bleary-eyed and packing for a trip to France, my husband agreed to make daughter pancakes for breakfast this morning. So this is his recipe really – I had to ask him to text it to me from the airport. Tomorrow night,for a change, I might just make the old fashioned pancakes I remember from childhood… in the meantime here’s Andy’s mini pancake recipe:

For 8-10 pancakes you will need…

150g white spelt flour
1tsp baking powder
capful of vanilla extract
150ml milk (or plant based milk)
1 organic egg
10g unsalted butter
Fruit
maple syrup
yogurt (optional)

How to…

Sift the flour, baking powder into a mixing bowl.
Crack the egg into a bowl and add to the milk and vanilla extract, whisk together.
Pour the liquid mixture into the flour, beating with a wooden spoon.
On a medium heat melt a teaspoon of the butter.
Ladle a couple of spoonfuls of the batter into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes until bubbles appear on the top of the pancake – this shows its ready for you to turn over.
Cook the other side for two minutes.
Serve piled with fruit and a teaspoon or so of maple syrup.

Weaning

These pancakes are a great weaning food for babies, cut into strips makes them easier to handle. No need to add the maple syrup as babies shouldn’t have sugar. Serve with mashed banana.

I like mine with yogurt on the side too…

To add more fruit add about 120g of blueberries or 80g of raisins to the pancake batter before cooking. Right am off to make batter for tomorrow morning’s Lets Get Cooking breakfast at school…