‘Cheesy’ Carrot & Potato Bake (Dairy-Free)

Real-life mum struggles here – don’t have time to write a huge post today! But wanted to upload this recipe that I made last week because Braxton loved it and it’s awesome for little ones. Nutritional yeast is a great vegan cheese substitute and makes it a bit ‘cheesy’. Sorry for the short post but hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients

6 carrots, peeled and diced into small pieces
2 white potatoes, peeled and diced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tbsp almond or oat milk
1 egg, beaten
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup brown rice breadcrumbs
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
Himalayan salt & black pepper

Method

Steam the carrots and potatoes until soft.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
When the carrots and potatoes are ready, mash them and add the milk, egg, parsley, salt and pepper (to taste).
In a shallow baking dish, spread the mixture evenly.
Combine the breadcrumbs with the nutritional yeast and sprinkle over the mash.
Bake for half an hour.
It also freezes really well if you don’t finish it all.
Love & health,
Lauren

 

Sweet Potato, Kidney Bean & Roasted Pepper Patties

As usual, thanks to my lovely friend Deepa at GirlBoyFoodBaby. Her baby led weaning recipes are always so inspiring and easy and use the best ingredients. I love being able to collaborate and join forces with other gentle-parenting and health-focused mummas to make the best food for our babies. Luckily for Deepa her little one (only 10 days younger than Brax), actually eats well, whereas I make all these things for Brax and he just looks at them then throws them on the floor.

I’m trying not to get stressed about his lack of interest in food as I know that it can happen to babies from 12 months. Babies who loved food before then often go off food and it can last for a while. This happened with us, pretty much around 11/12 months and although it’s getting a little better, he’s still not a great eater. It’s not that he’s fussy with flavours, he just isn’t interested in food. Apart from bananas – loves bananas!

Anyway, regardless of the fact that Braxton didn’t eat these, hopefully your babies will. And if they don’t, do what I did and eat them yourself!

They are so nutritious and full of perfect ingredients for babies.

Ingredients

2 peppers (I used red and yellow), very finely chopped
About 4 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 tin / carton organic kidney beans
1 cup tomatoes, blended
Juice of half a lime
Handful coriander, chopped
Handful parsley, chopped
Pinch of ground black pepper
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of Himalayan salt (omit for young babies or if you don’t want any salt in there)
Tbsp ground cumin
Tsp turmeric
Tsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup cornmeal

Method

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

Roast the peppers on a baking tray.

Cook and mash the potatoes then add them to a bowl with the kidney beans and mash, leaving some small lumps.

In a small separate bowl, combine the tomatoes with all the spices and nutritional yeast. Mixing the spices in the tomatoes helps liquid spread them evenly in the burger mix.

Add the tomato mixture to the potato mixture then add in the roasted peppers and mix well until everything is combined well and the batter is thick, sticky paste (a good couple of minutes or so). It will seem a bit moist, but thats fine. Add the cornmeal and mix into the batter until well mixed.

Put the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes then shape into patties on a lined baking tray using a spoon and press down and bake for 25 minutes. Then flip them. They’ll still be a bit tender at this point, so flip gently, but will firm up much more by the end. After flipping, cook them 10 more minutes on the other side. Let cool 10 minutes before eating, as they will firm up even more. They should be crispy on outside and slightly moist and chewy on inside.

These freeze really well. Just par bake for 25 minutes then freeze. Then cook for 20 minutes once out of the freezer.

Thanks to Deepa for this one!

Love & health,
Lauren

Vegan Chickpea ‘Omlette’ – Baby Led Weaning

chickpea-omlette

Thank you to my friend Deepa at GirlBoyFoodBaby for this one. She’s always coming up with awesome vegetarian baby-led weaning ideas and this is one I really loved. Full of all the nutrients Braxton needs and so easy to make. I changed it just a little bit but the idea is all Deepa’s!

Ingredients

¼ cup chickpea flour
¼ cup quinoa flour
Cup purified water
Splash of almond milk
Bit of grated ginger
Handful spinach
Half a red pepper, cut in small pieces
A few mushrooms, cut in small pieces
Handful cherry tomatoes, cut in small pieces
Handful coriander, shopped
Mixed herbs
Coconut oil for frying

Method

Add the flour to a bowl and add the water slowly until a thick batter forms. You may not need to add it all, you may need more. Just assess it depending on the thickness.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Heat the oil in a pan and when hot, add a patty sized amount and fry on one side for about 3 minutes then flip and do the other side. Continue until you use up all the batter.

Serve with homemade turmeric hummus and avocado.

Love & health,
Lauren & Braxton

Summer Squash, Sweet Potato & Turmeric Baby Blend

Sweet potato summer squash turmeric

And another use for those summer squashes my mum brought back from Suffolk! This time in batch cooking for Braxton. He’s old enough to be eating proper solid food now but I still make the odd bit of mush to mix in with it as he likes it, and also it’s a great way to get things like turmeric into him for anti-inflammatory goodness.

Ingredients
2 summer squashes
2 sweet potatoes
1 tsp (if powder) or 4 tbsp (if liquid) homemade or organic, low salt vegetable stock
1 tsp turmeric

Method

Steam the vegetables for about 10 minutes or until soft then put them in the blender with the stock and turmeric and blend until you reach desired consistency.

Love & health,
Lauren & Braxton

Broccoli, Pea & Mixed Herb Baby Blend

Broccoli Pea Mixed Herbs

Want to get more greens into your baby? This is a great one! The mint makes it really tasty too.

Ingredients

I broccoli head, cut into florets
1 cup frozen peas
Handful fresh mint
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano

Method

Steam the broccoli. Once ready, remove the steamer part from on top of the saucepan of boiling water and add the peas to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.

Drain the peas and add the peas and the broccoli to the blender with the remaining ingredients.

Spoon into small containers or food cube trays to store.

Love & health,
Lauren & Braxton

Creamy Cauliflower Sweetcorn Baby Blend (& Some Info On Nutritional Yeast)

Cauliflower Corn Nutritional Yeast

(Sorry for the bad picture on this one – busy mama alert!)

Just because Braxton is dairy-free, doesn’t mean he misses out. The combination of cauliflower and sweetcorn is great, it goes really creamy. Add to that some nutritional yeast and it literally could not get any creamier if you were to add butter!

The term ‘nutritional yeast’ isn’t particularly appealing, but it is not the same as brewers yeast. It is deactivated so doesn’t froth or grow. It’s essentially a single-cell organism which is grown on molasses then harvested, washed then dried, and this deactivates it. It is very high in Vitamin B12 which is essential in our diets and is used by vegans as a cheese substitute. I know it sounds weird but give it a go!

This doesn’t even need any herbs as the cauliflower and corn are both so flavoursome.

Ingredients

1 cauliflower
1 small tin organic sweetcorn
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Method

Break the cauliflower into florets then steam.

After about 7  minutes add the corn to the steamer and keep steaming for a further 5 minutes.

Add to the blender with the nutritional yeast and blend.

Spoon into smaller containers or food cube trays if you are batch cooking (this makes quite a large batch).

Love & health,
Lauren & Braxton

Carrot, Sweet Potato, Squash & Turmeric for Babies

Carrot Sweet Pot Squash Turmeric

Another simple but delicious meal for you little ones. Braxton is now really enjoying feeding himself so I usually give him some fish, chicken, buckwheat crackers or steamed or raw vegetables (or all of the above!) alongside these blends as he is 10 months now, but this can be made for babies as young as 6 months.

Ingredients

1 sweet potato
1 summer squash
3 carrots
1/2 tsp turmeric

Method

Steam all the veg in a steamer then add to the blender with the turmeric and blend. You can add some almond or oat milk to make it creamier if you like.

Health & happiness

Love,
Lauren & Braxton

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

 

Coconut Curried Chicken & The Importance of Introducing Flavours From Early On

Coconut Curried Chicken & Veg

I met some friends for a walk in the park after we’d given the kids dinner a few days ago as it was such a lovely day and it’s always nice to have something to fill the time between dinner and bath time. One of them asked me what Braxton had for dinner. ‘Coconut curried chicken,’ I replied. ‘Curry?!’ one of the girls asked, almost dismayed. ‘At his age? Did he like it? Does he like the flavour?’ YES YES YES!!! And the reason he is OK with flavoursome food is because I give it to him!

I think it is so important to introduce different flavours into a baby’s diet from the early stages of weaning. Not only will this make life easier for us as it means our babies will be less fussy as they grow up, it also makes life better for them! We all have a friend whose staple diet is chicken nuggets, chips and pasta because they don’t like anything else. I’d hazard a guess that their parents probably didn’t give them much else as kids which is why. There are also so many nutrients in spices and herbs. Turmeric, for example, is a hugely important anti-inflammatory and I make sure Braxton has it at least 3 times a week. Dried herbs have heaps of calcium so at least I know that this dairy-free baby is getting more bioavailable calcium than most babies who have cow’s milk!

With this particular meal I had some chicken out that day as I hadn’t given him any meat all week and I stood in the kitchen wondering what I could do with it, then realised that the easiest thing to do with chicken breast is always a curry. I had mild curry powder and coconut milk and some vegetables so I got cooking!

Ingredients

1 organic, free-range chicken breast, chopped into smallish pieces
Half an onion, chopped
1 can full-fat organic coconut milk (I like Biona)
1/2 tsp milk curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric (optional)
1 cube pre-frozen homemade bone broth/ veg stock or a low salt chicken stock cube in half cup water (optional for added taste)
Handful shiitake mushrooms
Handful chestnut mushrooms
A few broccoli florets
Some coconut oil

Method

Heat a tsp of coconut oil in a pan then add the onion and cook for a minute or so before adding the chicken.

Brown the chicken all over and once cooked, add all the veg. Give it a good stir to coat it in the oil and cook for about 2 minutes.

Now add the coconut milk but don’t add the whole can. Spoon out the delicious creamy stuff from the top and put that all in, followed by about half of the water but no more as it will make it too watery. (You can save this for another dish or add it to a smoothie.)

Mix it all around, then add the stock, curry powder and turmeric. Mix well and turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.

When it’s finished simmering, put it in the blender and blend to the desired consistency.

It may look like mush but you have meat-based protein, plant-based protein, vegetables and spices in there all containing nutrients so this meal really needs nothing else although you could add some brown rice pasta if you want. I froze this in small containers and it made about 5-6 meals.

Health & happiness,
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