Vanilla Cashew Butter

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I have the biggest backlog of recipes waiting to go on the blog but this turned out so unbelievably amazing that I had to share it with you! I’m a nut butter fanatic at the best of times but this has now trumped peanut and almond butter. It is so creamy and sweet and wow – just delicious! We finished one jar of it within 2 days and this is the second jar. Requests are coming in from the family now to make more for everyone. You seriously have to make this and spread it on anything – or just eat it off the spoon, whatever, just make it! Oh, and it’s really high in protein so great for spreading on toast for the kids. I actually spread a bit of it on Braxton’s porridge bars for him.

So easy to make and only 2 ingredients – there’s just no need for store bought!

Ingredients

1.5 cups cashews
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla pod

Method

You will need a high-speed blender for this, a normal blender won’t break it down enough unfortunately. I love the Vitamix – you can literally make anything with it!

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the cashews on a roasting tray and put in the oven for 10 minutes, until they go golden but not burnt – keep an eye on them.

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Once they’re out the oven, put them in the blender with either a tsp of vanilla bean paste or the insides of a vanilla pod scraped out and turn the blender up to the highest variable until it starts breaking it down into a thick butter – about 3 minutes.

Once it is a bulky consistency, get it all off the bottom with a spoon, then turn down the variable and the speed and start again on a low speed. Gently increase the speed keeping the variable on low. Over the course of about 3-4 minutes it will make it runny. You should wait until it goes really runny even though you think it might be tasty when it is thick. It’s worth the wait!

Vanilla cashew butter 1

Love and health,
Lauren

Apple Pear Blueberry Vanilla Baby Blend

Apple Pear Blueberry Vanilla

Braxton is 9 months now so he’s eating a lot more ‘solid’ food but he also loves these sort of things for breakfast so I still make them. You can give these purees from the beginning of weaning – although I am a strong believer in waiting until 6 months before introducing solids as it reduces chances of allergies or autoimmune diseases by giving the gut time to mature before introducing anything new.

This is super sweet and delicious and the vanilla gives it such a yummy flavour. It’s one of Braxton’s favourites! The blueberries are a great source of antioxidant so try giving them a few times a week when they are in season.

Ingredients

1 apple
1 pear
A handful of blueberries
1 vanilla pod or half tsp vanilla bean paste
3 tbsp almond / oat / rice / coconut milk (whichever is your preference)

Method

Peel, core and chop the apple and pear and wash the blueberries.

Put them in a saucepan with the almond milk and open up the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds, or add the vanilla bean paste.

Simmer on a medium heat until soft – around 8-10 minutes, then put in the blender and serve once it’s cool enough.

Love and health,
Lauren & Braxton

Dairy Free Fish Cakes For Baby (& you!) & The Lowdown on Omega-3

Fish Cakes

Fish cakes are a great way to get omega-3 fatty acids into your baby. The body cannot synthesise Omgea -3 so it has to come from diet and oily fish is one of the best sources for it. I am totally on board with vegetarianism, I used to be a vegetarian myself until falling pregnant, but I do find that fish-based omega-3 is the best way to get omega-3 into our bodies. Apart from being good for the heart, joints and inflammatory diseases, it aids brain development in babies, helps with their behaviour and maximises their intellectual potential! Studies have actually shown that babies with higher amounts of omega-3 from early on have better concentration skills and read better than those whose omega-3 levels were very low.

Of course, as usual, please make sure your fish comes from trusted sources. The best way to ensure high quality salmon that is low in mercury is to obtain wild salmon or if it is farmed, make sure it is farmed ‘organically’ so it is left to grow and feed naturally even though it is technically farmed.  Abel & Cole offer an organic farmed range.

You’ll see I use buckwheat flour and almond milk in this recipe. As you are probably aware by now, I don’t like to give Braxton anything refined (flours, sugars etc). I don’t give him dairy so all my recipes are dairy and gluten free, but of course still unprocessed and using only natural ingredients. Don’t be fooled by the ‘gluten free industry’; they make gluten free foods that are just as processed and full of sugar as ones that do have gluten in them. The food still needs to be natural. I feel it is healthier for his gut to eat non-refined, only natural foods and if his gut is healthy then his immune system will be too. This will reduce the chance of eczema and auto-immune diseases as well as strengthen his immune system against every day illnesses and viruses. However, if you want to, you can use normal flour and normal milk in place of the buckwheat flour and almond milk. I would try and keep these recipes as dairy free as possible if you can. Where possible, please also try and use free-range eggs. They will have way less chemicals in them for your baby to be ingesting.

These fish cakes are one of the best things for baby led weaning as when you make them they last for a few days so it’s a few meals you don’t have to think about, and they are so easy for babies to feed themselves with. I break them into a few pieces and Braxton picks them up and eats them all himself – which means mummy can rush around the kitchen clearing up so she can use his nap times to actually rest!

Ingredients (makes about 6-8 patties)

1 salmon fillet
About 5 white potatoes, peeled and chopped
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 egg (free-range)
Half tsp mustard powder (optional, just adds a nice bit of flavour)
Half a lemon
1/5 cup almond milk
1 tbsp buckwheat flour
Extra virgin olive oil or Coconut oil
Black pepper and Himalayan salt

Method

Steam the potatoes over a pan of boiling water. Rub the salmon with some olive or coconut oil and when the potatoes soften, add the salmon to the steamer until it is totally cooked (about 7 minutes). Remove the salmon from the pan, take off the skin and put it to the side. Remove the potatoes and add them to a bowl.

Mash the potatoes in the bowl but leave some lumps so they are not totally mashed then set aside to let them cool.

Chop the parsley quite finely then flake in the salmon, add the cooled potatoes, almond milk, mustard powder, egg and squeeze in the juice of the half lemon. Mix very well then add the buckwheat flour and add some pepper and if you want (if not for young babies) add a sprinkle of Himalayan salt and mix again.

Take a clean plate and spread some buckwheat flour over the plate and put some in your hands then take a pattie size amount of the mixture and flatten into a pattie shape, the flour will help you do this without it sticking to your hands. Put it on a clean plate then repeat the process until the mixture is all finished and all your fish cakes have been made.

Heat some oil in a large frying pan and when it is hot, add a few of the fish cakes. You won’t be able to cook them all at the same time. Cook each one for 3-4 minutes on each side.

If you don’t want to eat them all within a few days, put some of them, uncooked, in the freezer and you can then defrost them at a later date and cook them.

I hope your bubbas enjoy these as much as Braxton did!

Love & health,
Lauren & Braxton

 

Broad Bean, Sweet Potato & Cumin Plus Baby Led Weaning vs Blended

Broad bean, sweet pot, onion, cumin

How great are these Nuk by Annabel Karmel food cube trays? Perfect for batch cooking for your little ones.

So, let’s talk baby led weaning (BLW). I had intentions of doing only baby led with Braxton but when the time came (when he was 6 months), he wasn’t very good at picking food up and he started getting very frustrated. So I decided that ‘baby led’, for me anyway, means being led by your own baby. Why should I let him get frustrated just because I’d decided I wanted to do something a certain way? He was trying to communicate with me that it wasn’t working for him, and he needed some more time, but was certainly ready to eat the food, so I decided to do a mixture of blended foods and BLW.

He’s now nearly 9 months so feeds himself a lot, and he’s got so good at it! He’s even perfected his pincer grip and understands how to take a bite and keep the rest in his hand while he chews, then finish what’s in his hand when he’s ready, so I give him a lot of food that he can feed himself with, but I still spoon feed him some things as I want to make sure he gets heaps of nutrients so I’ll make a blend of veg like this one, and it’s too hard for him to feed himself with a spoon.

What I’m saying is that we do a mixture of the two. At the beginning I’d mainly feed him myself but always give him something he could hold himself with each meal; some avocado, a piece of cucumber, a piece of broccoli, some roast chicken cut in strips.

This has all worked really well for us and he most definitely has still developed when it comes to his fine motor skills and hand-mouth coordination, despite what the militant baby led weaners told me about doing a mixture!

When it comes down to it, you have to read your own baby, as they are all so different, and do what works best for YOUR baby and YOUR family. This has worked brilliantly for us and I love that we can be flexible.

I hadn’t planned to make this, but I was sent broad beans in my Abel & Cole box this week, so I decided to make this mixture and it worked really well.

Ingredients 

1 bag of broad beans (they should come in their pods, then you must take them out of the pods)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp cumin
1 cube of homemade bone broth / veg stock or a low salt Kallo stock cube

Method

Shell your broad beans then put them, along with the other veg, into the steamer (this helps the veg retain more nutrients than boiling them).

If your stock cube is homemade and frozen, melt it in a saucepan over a low heat. If you are using a store-bought stock cube, mix it in a quarter cup boiling water.

When the veg are soft, put them in the blender with the stock and cumin and blend until smooth or leave lumps if you prefer.

I hope your baby likes this as much as mine did!

Love,
Lauren & Braxton

Cauliflower, Sweet Potato & Turmeric

Cauliflower, sweet pot, potato, stock, turmeric

Are you wondering why I picture all my baby food recipes in plastic bowls? I’m a mum! I don’t have time to style them in nice china dishes then spoon them all back into the plastic bowls that are safe for him to eat from! This category is all about being real; real mums in real kitchens with only 24 hours in one day, and most real mums I know feed their babies from plastic bowls!

All the plastic I use for Braxton is BPA free and this is very important. BPA is the resin in some plastics used to package food or drinks and it can seep into food, causing us to ingest these chemicals. In the long-term this can cause behaviour problems, brain development issues and can even feed through to unborn babies if the mother has too much exposure. Look for BPA free products where you can with bowls, plates, cutlery, bottles and cups for your bubbas.

Moving on to the food… Braxton LOVED this one! It’s so creamy that it almost tastes cheesy (and I don’t give him dairy so this is a bonus!) and it’s really filling, and super easy to make. The turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory (great for eczema) and this is a great way to get these sorts of spices into your babies from early on. Firstly so they get used to the taste and accept it, but also to add the nutrients from so early on.

Ingredients (makes 1 batch of about 10 small meals)

1 cauliflower head, cut into florets
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 normal potato, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 cube homemade bone broth or vegetable stock or a Kallo low salt veg stock cube

Method

Steam all the vegetables together in a steamer (this retains more of the nutrients than boiling the veg) until soft.

If your stock cube is homemade and frozen, melt it in a saucepan over a low heat. If you are using a store-bought stock cube, mix it in a quarter cup boiling water.

Put the steamed food in the blender or food processor and add the turmeric and stock and blend until smooth or leave some lumps if you like, then spoon into individual containers or ice cube trays – I like the Nuk ones by Annabel Karmel

I hope your baby loves it as much as mine does!

Love,
Lauren & Braxton

 

WEANING! Mini Fish Pies For Your Mini People

  • Mini fish pies

The most stressful and time consuming aspect of parenthood for most new mums seems to be food! I mean these tiny people need to eat 3 meals a day, EVERY DAY! Oh, and snacks! And we have to organise and prepare these meals, make sure they’re healthy, have all the right ingredients and none of the wrong ones, and make sure there is something available at all times. It’s bloody hard work!

Please don’t think that just because I run this site that it is any less stressful for me. I find that the only way to make it even slightly less stressful is to be very very organised. I sit down with my laptop on a Saturday morning and plan my meals for the week, then order the online shop from Abel & Cole. I then sit and work out at which times of which days I will cook these things. After all, it’s not always possible to be in the kitchen when you have a baby. Once I’ve written all this down, it feels a lot less overwhelming and I can get on with my weekend!

So following on from that, I thought I’d help you all out a little bit and start adding baby meals to the website. It will have its own category in the drop-down list also, to make it easier to find things.

Here are some mini fish pies – dairy free of course – with just great ingredients and no nasties.

Ingredients

A pack of fish pie mix (I use Abel & Cole, otherwise a mix of salmon, cod and haddock or your own choice of fish)
About 8-10 white potatoes
1/2 tsp coconut oil
Almond milk (the quantity will depend on the size of your saucepan)
1 bay leaf
1 cube pre-prepared homemade vegetable or chicken stock, or 1 Kallo low salt organic vegetable stock cube
Half a cup of frozen peas
Vegan margarine spread
Freshly ground pepper and Himalayan salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Peel and chop the potatoes and put them in a saucepan, cover with water and boil.

At the same time, rub the fish with the coconut oil then put it in a saucepan and cover with almond milk. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and add the stock cube, bay leaf, some pepper. You can add some pink Himalayan salt if you do want to add salt. The fish should all look cooked after about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, holding back a very small amount of the liquid, just enough to keep it moist then put it back in the saucepan and set aside for a minute.

Put the peas in a saucepan, add water, bring to the boil and drain.

Go back to the fish, Remove the bay leaf and gently mash the bits of fish, breaking them up so they are not whole chunks but also not broken up too small. Add the peas then add this mix to the individual ramekin dishes or disposable mini silver dishes.

Once the potatoes are ready, drain the water and mash well. Add about a fifth of a cup of almond milk and a tbsp vegan margarine and mix until smooth. Add a small pinch of Himalayan salt and mix again.

Add this layer to the top of the fish layer, rub a little vegan margarine over the top of each one and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Once cool you can freeze them and defrost as and when you need them.

I hope your babies enjoy this as much as my baby did!

Love,
Lauren (& Braxton!)

Blueberry Porridge Bars for Baby Led Weaning

 

Blueberry Porridge Bars BLW

Ok guys, I don’t have time to write a super long post today but been looking for things to give my baby that he can feed himself as we’ve started on solids and I’m trying to do as much baby led weaning as possible. So instead of porridge these are basically porridge, but baked! With organic blueberries for antioxidants, acai for extra super-duper anti-oxidants and chia seeds for extra protein.

Porridge Bars

Ingredients

320g organic jumbo oats
1 punnet of blueberries
250ml almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml maple syrup
1 tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp acai berry powder (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 180c and grease a square silicone baking tray with coconut oil.

Add the oats, almond milk, vanilla and maple to the food processor until it’s all combined. Once combined add the blueberries, acai and chia seeds and pulse until the blueberries are evenly distributed but not all totally mushed (some of them can be mushed!)

Spoon it into the cake tin and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Wait until completely cool before you slice into bars.

These will last for a maximum of 4 days before they start growing other stuff!! Keep in an airtight container. I usually make mine on a Sunday and Wednesday is the last day I can use them.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

Leek & Zucchini Fritters

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I had a bunch of beautiful organic leeks and zucchini so I whipped this up for dinner yesterday. It was quick, easy and healthy! No wheat, gluten, dairy or other nasties, and I even baked them instead of frying. I served them with a big salad of corn, watercress, spring onion and tomatoes, simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lime juice. A perfect meal for baby and you!

Ingredients

250g leeks
1 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 chilli, finely chopped (optional but highly recommended!)
300g zucchini (courgette), grated
a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp himalayan salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp aluminium-free baking powder
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour

Method

Slice the leeks down the length, leaving the root end intact. Rinse them under running water. I find this the easiest way to get rid of the dirt which is stuck between the layers of the leek. Dry them and then slice finely.

Fry the leeks in the coconut oil until they start to caramelise. Add the garlic and spices and fry for a few more minutes. Stir in the grated zucchini and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and add the herbs and salt. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Whisk together the eggs and water. Stir into the leek and zucchini mixture. Add the remaining ingredients. On a roasting tray lined with baking paper or silicon mats, spread a heaped tablespoon of the batter into a neat circle. Repeat until all the batter is used up. Bake for 25 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Lauren & Raine

Beetroot & Horseradish Mash

Beetroot Horseradish Mash

This recipe was created a year and a half ago but I’m updating it now as it’s a great one to add to the baby food section. Babies and toddlers will love this because the colour is so vibrant and it tastes gorgeous as well. You can reduce the amount of horseradish if you think it will be too strong for your baby…

There is a chance there might be none of this left by the time my husband gets home for dinner… it’s just so ridiculously delicious! I think it’s one of my favourite creations to date! And I didn’t even edit the picture one tiny bit as I wanted you to see the amazing colour – it really is this exact colour in real life!

You can see how much I love beetroot from my Beetroot Juice post last week. It’s just so good for you and it’s so important for us to get all our nutrients from plant-based sources. I’m also a huge fan of eating locally grown, seasonal produce. For example, not eating strawberries in January because they will be genetically modified. I buy all my fruit and veg from Abel and Cole because they are a genuine source for real organic food. So much so that you can’t even order strawberries or blueberries at the wrong time of year if you tried – they give you what is naturally grown at the right time of year. So as you can imagine, right now, beetroot are abundant in my home! Juice them, mash them, steam them, use them in salads, sandwiches, and, my next venture, to make Valentine’s pancakes out of them 🙂 in the meantime, enjoy this recipe…

Ingredients

5 raw beetroot
6 Maris Piper or Desiree potatoes
2 tbsp grated horseradish root
1 tbsp vegan margarine
Quarter cup almond milk
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Start by peeling your beetroot (just chop off the skins with a knife), cutting them into small cubes, then steaming them for around twenty minutes. I usually make a big batch and keep some aside in the fridge for salads and other recipes.

While this is on the go, peel, chop and boil your potatoes.

Once the beetroot are ready, add them to the food processor with a few drops of the almond milk and puree until smooth.

When your potatoes are ready, mash them until smooth, then add in the pureed beetroot, margarine, almond milk, salt and pepper, then add in the grated horseradish and mix well.

Taste a little bit, it may need more horseradish or salt, or if you like it creamier, more almond milk or margarine, depending on your preference.

Enjoy!

Love,
Lauren

Simple Chia Pudding with Berry Compote

Chia pudding

I keep trying to spread a message about breakfast… it really isn’t very hard to make nutritious, delicious, simple breakfasts for the whole family in order to be able to bin the horrible processed cereals. It can be very daunting when embarking upon this lifestyle, we think it’s going to be really hard but making this chia pudding was no harder than making a bowl of cereal or porridge. If you just change one thing at a time, make breakfast your first change, the kids will love these ideas – just check out all our other breakfast options!

It isn’t baby led weaning-friendly but if you’re happy with spoon feeding your baby / toddler, this really makes such a nutritious breakfast.

“Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength” and these little seeds were prized for their ability to provide long-lasting energy. They provide high nutrition for low calories (almost all of their carbohydrates are in the form of fibre) so this is a great food if you’re trying to lose weight. They are high in protein, fibre, Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and antioxidants.

You can sprinkle chia seeds over your breakfast or add them to smoothies, but this is just another great way to eat them. When you soak these little nutritional powerhouses in liquid, they swell and absorb the liquid. The result is a creamy and delicious pudding. Great for breakfast or dessert… and who doesn’t love dessert for breakfast?!

Ingredients (one portion)

2-3 tbsp chia seeds
1 small cup almond milk
1 tsp organic natural maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the compote (completely optional as you can top the pudding with whatever you like):
4 strawberries
4 raspberries
6 blueberries

Method

The night before you want to eat this, simply mix the chia seeds in a bowl or glass or jar with the almond milk, maple and vanilla (both the latter are optional also, but nice for a bit of sweetness and flavour), cover and leave in the fridge overnight. When you first mix it, it will look like it isn’t absorbing but in the morning you’ll see how the seeds have swelled to look almost like passion fruit seeds (don’t worry, they’re much softer than passion fruit seeds).

Add the fruit to the blender and blend until smooth. Top the pudding with this and add any nuts, seeds or fruit you fancy!

You can also try Raine’s Chai Chia Pudding (a mouthful yes but the pudding works so well with the chai spice flavours)

Health and Happiness,
Love,
Lauren