Guilt-Free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits

If you’re British, there is probably nothing more satisfying and comforting to you than a cup of tea and a chocolate digestive of an afternoon (had to say ‘of an afternoon’ instead of ‘in the afternoon’ because that’s how my nanny would have said it in that endearing East End way when talking about tea and biccies). 🍪 ☕️ So of course I wanted to make the healthy version so I can indulge my ultimate guilty pleasure. these are gluten, dairy, sugar and egg free.

I actually got this recipe from my lovely friend @mrshollingsworths. Her picture looks way better than mine because she’s more of an artist than I am with food but I’m happy to say they taste just as good! 😃 i also bake them for less time than she does – just a difference in ovens i guess.

I know food blogs and Instagram are all about the styling and the perfect pictures but guys, I have an 18 month old, a husband, a dog, arthritis to keep at bay with heaps of hard work, deadlines, and a novel to write! I can only spend so long re-arranging biscuits in the right light surrounded by random ribbons and hessian fabric before I have to give up and hope they’re good enough! So there you have it, my excuse for not having Instagram’s best pictures.

The truth is, I love making the food and feeding those I love. I love writing the recipes and the captions, but photography is not my passion so (in the voice of the dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) there you go! Hope you all enjoy this recipe anyway Happy baking, lovers!

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup oats
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup cashew butter (or any other nut or seed butter)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate topping:
1/2 cup cacao butter
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp cashew butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Put all the ingredients for the biscuits In a bowl and mix really well.

Shape them into biscuits and flatten down on the trays and bake for 8-10 minutes. If they look a little soft it’s ok, they’ll continue to harden once they come out the oven so don’t leave them in for too long.

Take them out the oven and leave to cool.

Make the chocolate by melting all the ingredients in a saucepan over a low light.

Once the biscuits are cool, spoon the chocolate over the top of each one and put on a plate in the fridge to cool.

Love & health,
Lauren 💜

Lentils, Broccoli & Cumin for Babies

Lentil Broccoli Cumin

Once again, I literally just made what I had at home! Although I do give Braxton meat (only organic, free-range from trusted sources), I like him to get a lot of his protein from plant-based sources and lentils are great for this. They are also cheap and go a long way. Broccoli is just full of bioavailable calcium, better than any sort of calcium you can get from dairy, so he has quite a lot of broccoli in his diet.

Cumin is great for digestion so it’s a really good spice to add when first weaning to help their tummies adjust. It is also an antiviral so great to give if baby has a cold.

Ingredients

1 organic broccoli
Half a cup of lentils – I used red lentils here
Half tsp cumin
1 cup of vegetable stock (homemade or low salt version if store-bought)

Method

Put the lentils in a pan with the stock and simmer until cooked – they can take a while. Add more water as needed until they are fully soft.

While the lentils are cooking, steam the broccoli for about 7 minutes. You don’t want to over-steam it.

When both are cooked, put in the blender with the cumin and blend to desired consistency.

Love & 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