Category Archives: 8 months +

Avocado & Cheese Omelette

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12 (1)I owe the regular readers of this blog and friends who text/ call me for baby food ideas- the biggest apology. I’ve been telling a number of you about new recipes that I plan to post “this coming weekend” and dint make true of my promise.  Put simply – I went through a phase where the recipe ideas flowed but I had a case of serious writer’s block. But this afternoon, I’ve made a promise to myself — block or no block, recipes I shall post.

Avocado’s are considered as among nature’s most perfect food. It is also on the list of ideal first foods that a lot of nutritionists recommend for babies as they’re high in good fats that help in the healthy development of your baby’s brain and central nervous system.  They’re loaded with vitamins, contain important minerals such as potassium, calcium.

I introduced Keya to avocado’s in mashed form mixed with banana’s or steamed peaches at around 6 months of age. She loved the creamy texture but as she began to teeth, lost interest in it as she preferred food she could gum instead.

Let’s admit – although Avocado’s are packed with great stuff, its hard to tempt a curious toddler with its mild flavoured mash – at least that’s the challenge I have faced in the past few months. I started baking using avocado recently but have been trying to use it in something which was more routine – and then it hit me! The answer had been right before my eyes!

Mashed avocado in scrambled eggs or cheese omelette is AMAZING!  I’ve made 2 versions of this recipe – one, adding the mashed cado’s into the whisked eggs before cooking – for a proper avocado omelette. Another, of topping a cheesy omelette with fresh avocado slices. Both are equally delicious with only real difference being that the incorporated cado omelette has a slight greenish tinge.

Feel free to stir mashed avocado or pre-made thawed avocado puree into scrambled eggs just as they begin to set… I’ve tried that too, but haven’t taken a photo of that yet.  If you’re baby is under the age of 1 and you prefer to avoid the egg whites, just scrambled egg yolks and avocado will work just as well. Add a dollop of cream cheese (if available) and you’re good to go.  For toddlers and older kids I’d even recommend adding a few spoonfuls of avocado puree into your pancake batter…yum!

Nutrition report:  Great source of protein, calcium, multi-vitamins, potassium and iron.

BTW – Something is messed up with the wordpress text formatting … I am aware that some text appears larger than the rest and I have no idea why.. Please bear with me till I have it figured out and fixed.  Thanks!

Ingredients:

– 1 large Egg  (or only egg yolk for babies under 1)

– 1/2 a mashed avocado (Mash remaining avocado with a squirt of lime juice and freeze. For 1 egg yolk use abt 2 tsp of avocado puree)

– 2 tsp of grated cheddar cheese / OR / 1-2 tbsp of cream cheese

– Pinch of cracked black pepper. Salt is optional (as we’re using cheese)

12 (2)Method: (For Avocado Omelette)

1.   Heat a non-stick pan. Drizzle a wee bit of oil and swirl it around a little. 

2.  While the pan heats, whisk the egg with a fork till light and fluffy.  Stir in the mashed avocado and the cheese. Season with pepper.

3.  Pour the egg-avocado-cheese mixture in the middle of the pan and allow it to spread out into an omelette. Cook on a medium heat till the        top has set, flip and cook for a minute on the second side. DONE! 

Method: (For Scrambled eggs with avocado)

1.   Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Drizzle a dab of unsalted butter and swirl it around a little.

2.  While the pan heats, whisk the egg with a fork till light and fluffy. Add the cheese and mix well.

3.  Pour the egg mix into the centre of the melted butter (borrowing Ina Garten’s trick for fluffy scrambled eggs). Lower the heat and gently stir the eggs as they start to set.

4.  Add the mashed/ pureed avocado into the pan jusssst as the egg mix starts to set. Stir gently to evenly distribute the avocado into the eggs. Turn off the heat once cooked. Season with black pepper and DONE! 🙂

Pumpkin & Cheese Couscous

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ImageCouscous, a coarsely ground form of quick cooking pasta made from semolina is a common ingredient used in middle eastern and African cooking. Although it doesn’t have too much flavour on it’s own couscous is pretty yum when combined with a good sauce. Keya took a little while to like the granular texture. Initial episodes of suspiciously eyeing the new texture (when she was about 9 mos) did happen. But I persisted and she finally loves it! Hurrah! Nutritionally – couscous is akin to pasta. It is quick to cook and saves you a LOT of time on crazy days. Also, babies who are just getting teeth, learn to appreciate the granular easy-to-gum texture.

(Although couscous itself cooks in 5 mins, the sauce needs a little time. But I optimize my time by making 3-4 servings at a time and freezing the extra in ice-cube trays. Freezing is so convenient but in general I avoid giving Keya anything that was frozen for more than 2 weeks… thats my personal quirk so I usually use up my frozen baby food within 10 days.)

Keya loves the pumpkin-cheese sauce that I make for her. Its basically a thick version of pumpkin soup with lots of added cheese. I begin by baking the pumpkin because that’s my favourite way of cooking it as you can extract max flavour without losing any nutrients in cooking water as you would by boiling – But feel free to steam it in a veggie steamer  if you own one and/ or are pressed for time.

Nutrition report: This meal is a good source of fiber(from couscous), is rich in vitamins A, B, C, E and beta- carotene. The cheese packs in a lot of flavour and is an excellent source of protein.

ImageIngredients:

– 1-1/2 cups peeled pumpkin cubes

– 4 cloves garlic with peel (if roasting)

OR  1 peeled clove if sauteing in pan

– 1 small onion, sliced thinly

– 5-6 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

– 1 tsp dried oregano or basil (optional)

– 2 tsp Olive oil

– Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 200 deg C. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Toss the pumpkin and unpeeled garlic cloves in a teaspoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pumpkin and garlic onto the baking tray and bake @ 200deg C for 30mins. Cool.

2. Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick pan. Add the sliced onion and saute till soft and slightly golden brown. If you’re steaming the pumpkin instead of baking it with the garlic – add 1 clove of peeled sliced to the pan along with the onion. Allow the contents of the pan to cool.

3.  Place the cooled roasted (or steamed) pumpkin cubes in a blender or food processor along with the roasted(or sauteed) garlic and sauteed onions. Add a little water (about 1/4 cup) and puree everything till nice and smooth.

4.  Return the pureed mixture to the previously used non-stick pan. Add the dried herbs at this point and bring the mix up to a gentle simmer. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.

5.  To cook couscous – place 2-3 tbsp of couscous in a bowl (to make a single serving). Pour 1/3rd cup of very hot water (2 times the qty. of couscous) over the couscous and cover with a lid. Set aside for 5 mins allowing the couscous to soften. Uncover and fluff it up using a fork.

6. Serve the couscous mixed with the pumpkin sauce to make a hearty- healthy meal. Sprinkle some extra grated Parmesan on top if you please 🙂

Yummy yum yum!!

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Whole grain veggie + cheese crackers

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IMG_4572As parents who love to be out and about with their baby,  Vineet and I have our challenges when it came to sticking to otherwise religious mealtimes for Keya. Grocery stores are stocked with so many brands of snacking options for infants and toddlers. Teething rusks, teething cookies, biscuits, all swearing they are healthier than the next. Sure they’re easy options – but all are sweet!  Keya, I have come to realize, doesn’t seem to have much of a sweet tooth – not something I am complaining about as this will hopefully save us a lot of $$$ on dental care later on – but finding suitable snack options for her is challenging.  Add that to my slightly obsessive habit of trying to make everything healthier and you have — these awesome whole grain vegetable crackers! A tasty savory snack for babies and toddlers. These have become a huge hit with K and my go-to snack option for her when we’re out or traveling.

Nutrition report: Complex Carbohydrates, Vitamins, Protein.

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Ingredients:

– 1cup whole wheat flour

– 1/2c. finely ground rolled oats

-1/2c grated cheddar cheese

– 1/4c. sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds, coarsely ground

– 4-5tbsp finely grated carrot

–  3-4 tbsp grated broccoli florets

– 1/2 c room temp unsalted butter

– 1/4tsp baking powder
– 3/4c. cold water
– 1/2 tsp each of Salt, pepper, oregano flakes (adjust salt to preference)
To make:
1. Sift the whole wheat flour into a mixing bowl. Add the finely ground raw oats, ground sunflower and baking powder, salt, pepper and oregano. Whisk well to combine.
2. Add the butter into the mixing bowl and rub into the dry ingredients till the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the grated cheese, carrot and broccoli and mix well.
3. Knead the mixture into a dough using the cold water. The dough should not be too soft – neither should it feel dry and hard. Divide the dough into 2 equal sized portions. Shape it into a thick disc and wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for 15-20 mins in the fridge.
4. Preheat your oven to 200 deg C.  Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
5a. Unwrap one of the dough discs. Roll on to a generously floured surface till its abt 1/4″thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes. Place the shapes on the baking tray. To help the crackers brown nicely, you may brush the tops with a lightly beaten egg. Bake @ 200 deg C for 30 mins. The centre of the crackers might be a little bit soft, but these will harden up on cooling. Allow the crackers to cool completely.
5b. For the second disc of dough – I employed a different technique and made these spirals or twists by gently twirling the dough. To make these – Roll out the second chilled dough disk on  a floured surface till 1/4″thick. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut into 1/2″ wide x 3″long strips. Hold one end of the strip with one hand. Gently twist the strip 2 or 3 times and press down the second end gently. Repeat with all remaining strips. Arrange strips on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper. Brush lightly with beaten egg (optional step to help browning). Bake @ 200 deg C for 45mins.
Once baked, allow the twists to cool completely.If you would like to avoid the egg, increase the baking time by another 10 mins to help brown the crackers. Store the cooled crackers in an air-tight container.
Babies and toddlers who are teething can enjoy these healthy savoury crackers during travel or at home. Offer these to a grown up child with some cream cheese on the side for dipping 😉

Baby’s Chicken soup with ginger & veggies

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IMG_2693Today, I am in a wee bit of a rush. As Keya was busy playing by herself, I grabbed my chance to update my other food blog (http://chomp-chomp-gulp.blogspot.sg/) … And as I was just starting to write this post, I realised what the time was and that I need to get this done super quick as I also need to organise lunch for us and little K. So I am going to cut my usual jibber-jabber short and just give you a quick note about the recipe.

I made this chicken soup for K two weeks ago when it seemed that she was on the brink of a cold. She seemed loved the flavours that the fresh ginger and sesame (her first exposure a south-east asian inspired flavours). I know it made her feel better as she slept well that night inspite of being a bit sniffly.

Nutrition report: Great source of protein and vitamins (due to added veggies), fresh ginger and sesame make this especially comforting to have during an illness.

IMG_2692Ingredients:

– 1 cup chicken, cut into small dices

– 4-5 tbsp grated carrots (or finely chopped for an older child)

– 2 tbsp finely chopped broccoli (optional)

– 1 small onion, finely chopped

– A small piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped

– 1 tsp white sesame seeds

– a pinch of salt and pepper

To make:

1. In a pot, boil the diced chicken till cooked.  Skim off any foam that rises to the surface during the cooking. Retain the cooking water.

2. In a non-stick sauce pan heat a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the fienly chopped ginger along with the sesame seeds. Saute for a minute and add the finely chopped onion. Saute onion for a few more minutes and add the grated carrot and broccoli. Stir well and add 1/2 a cup of water to the pan. Cover and cook for a few minutes till the vegetables are cooked and soft.

3. Add the boiled chicken pieces and the water from the boiled chicken (stock), to the pan and stir. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a full boil and then turn off the heat. Cool down till its at a safe temperature to feed your baby.

As Keya still is still learning to chew, and cannot yet handle chicken pieces, I simply pureed the soup and added a bit of cooked brown rice for some familiar texture.  For an older baby who is willing to experiment, you can add some soya sauce instead of the salt.

This soup is best consumed within 24-36 hours of making (when in the refrigerator), although it will keep well if the unused portion is frozen immediately for up to a week. ( I haven’t tried freezing it longer that that)

Tofu & frozen Banana Chocolate Mousse

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5 (4)Tofu. To be honest… as someone always looking for healthier eating choices, I have never been a very big  fan of this soybean product. I know it is low in fat, packed with protein and basically super good for us. But like they say, becoming a parent encourages you to re-evaluate your personal food preferences and start making better choices so our babies can learn from example. So this weekend, I decided to make peace with tofu. At first, i thought… maybe i can stir fry it like paneer (indian cottage cheese). Or scramble up crushed tofu for keya with a few flavourful spices. My research (and boy do i read up a lot on food!) led me to a surprising discovery of using tofu – specifically silken tofu in a dessert. My initial reaction was — eeeyuckh! Like, seriously? One can use tofu to make mousse? But then, the momma inside spoke – Tanya, its time you overcame this tofu phobia so you can introduce it with a happy heart to Keya!

Tofu is rich in protein and calcium and low in fat. Although babies shouldn’t be on low fat diets, tofu helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, which is always good no matter how old one is. Not only is it easily digestible for your baby/ child, but it is great for maintaining the health of your little ones developing bones and teeth. I added a frozen banana for some awesome texture and flavour. Frozen banana when pureed creates a beautiful creamy, non-slimy product. And chocolate, I barely know any people who don’t like that 🙂

This mousse has a super smooth and soft creamy consistency. When i made this for us, I kept K’s serving aside and added 1-1/2 tsp of powdered gelatin dissolved in 3tsp of warm water to our portion. This gave us a smooth yet slightly firmer mousse.

This is undoubtedly is a dessert that comes together in no time at all and that the whole family can enjoy while reaping tremendous health benefits 🙂

Final nutrition report: Great source of Protein, Calcium,Iron, Potassium and anti-oxidants.

5 (1)Ingredients:

– 1 pkt smooth Silken tofu (300g) – Use Silken tofu only!

– 2 medium ripe, frozen bananas, cut into rounds

– 2-1/2 tbsp good quality unsweetened cocoa powder

– 3 tbsp fine brown sugar

– a few crushed baby biscuits or cereal snack to mix in and also garnish

* for older kids you can also use milo instead of cocoa powder & sugar

5 (2)To make:

1.  Drain the tofu and cut into cubes and place in a blender or food processor. Puree till smooth.

2.  Add the frozen banana chunks, cocoa powder and sugar. Puree till the entire contents of the mixture are silky smooth and nicely mixed.

3.  At this stage add some crushed baby cereal (optional) and mix with a spatula. Then divide the mousse into serving bowls and chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours till the mousse sets.

Sprinkle some more crushed cereal or biscuits on top and garnish with a slice of banana to make for an interesting presentation. Serve with a happy heart to a greedy baby 🙂

Mini Chicken & Sweet Potato cutlets

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Sweet Potato (Shakkar kandi) was one of the first vegetables that I introduced Keya to at around 5-1/2 mos. She seemed to really like the sweet-starchy mash at first, but refused to eat it when I offered it to her again a couple of weeks later. Infants are apparently known to do that – Love something at first and hate it later, or  surprisingly accept it if offered in a different “packaging” inspite of the outright rejection the first time. After a few attempts to offer her  steamed or roasted mashed sweet potato puree, I figured I’d offer it to her again, when she had ‘forgotten’ about it, so I began to devise an evil plot to trick her into liking it 🙂  (Yeah Moms do that… we’re the evil people who try to trick innocent babies into eating healthy foods!)

I had a little bit of plain boiled chicken left over, from Keya’s dinner last night, that I did not want lying around for too long.  My goal was to make something that would be simple and could be pulled together quickly.

This recipe for Chicken & Sweet Potato cutlets is inspired from the developmental stage Keya currently is in, where she has developed a pincer grasp, and likes to pick up small bites of food with her fingers and attempt to self feed. It’s also a good recipe to bookmark, if you want to make a larger batch and freeze some extras for later, that you can bake or saute for your toddler’s play date or party. The ingredients are easy to source and will most likely already be in your kitchen pantry. Feel free to substitute plain potatoes if your child absolutely hates sweet potatoes and is beyond the age of being tricked 😉

For the nutrition report card on this : Great source of Proteins, Iron and Carbohydrates.

Oh and BTW – I’m pretty confident K liked these 🙂

03 (1)Ingredients:

– 1/4 cup finely minced or chopped boiled chicken meat

– 1/2 medium sized sweet potato, roasted or boiled, peeled

– 1 small clove of garlic, grated OR pinch of garlic powder

– Small pinch each of cumin & black pepper powder

– 1 tsp finely chopped fresh coriander (optional)

– A small dab of butter

– 1 small wedge of lime + a small pinch of salt

 

03 (2)To make:

In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked sweet potato cubes and minced chicken. Lightly oil your fingers and mash into a smooth mix. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings like Cumin/ Pepper / Salt to suit the age of your child.

Shape small balls of the mixture into mini cutlets. For young babies, dab a little olive oil on each side of the cutlet and cook in a non-stick pan till golden on each side. For older kids, you could add a little more oil and shallow fry till a crisp golden crust develops.

If you’d like to bake these, brush the cutlets with some olive oil and bake @ 180 deg C for about 10 mins on each side. Flip, brush second side and bake again. Baking might take longer, so is probably better if you are cooking a big batch together. For a handful of cutlets, makes more sense to go with the non-stick pan.

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The quantities mentioned above will yield about 6-8 mini cutlets. If you are making a larger batch, line a metallic plate or baking pan with non-stick or parchment paper. Place the prepared cutlets and freeze till they feel firm – about an hour . Transfer the frozen cutlets into a ziplock bag and freeze for later. I’d recommend thawing the cutlets in the refrigerator before frying or baking them. Since they are small in size, I’m guessing they wont need too long to soften up.

Egg &Herb Rice

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Eggs are an important part of a baby’s diet providing essential nutrients like Vitamins A & D and Proteins and are also a rich source of Iron. Although egg whites are known allergens and not recommended for babies below the age of 1, well cooked egg yolks are safe to introduce between 6 to 8 months.

I got Keya started on boiled mashed egg yolks at about 7 months. As I din’t know to many ways to use a boiled egg yolk, I just mashed it into her dal-rice khichdi (Khichdi is the Indian term for rice and lentils cooked together till extra soft and flavoured lightly with turmeric, garlic and turmeric). Although she loves her khichdii, I was keen to introduce her to some newer flavours. I whipped this super simple dish up for her the other day and she just lapped it up! Dinner time was 7-1/2 minutes from start to finish!

photoIngredients:

– 1 or 2 egg yolks, whisked well

– 3 to 4 tbsp brown rice, ground to the texture your baby likes

– a small knob of butter

– a small pinch of dried oregano, basil and black pepper

– a couple of tablespoons of warm whole milk

To make:

1.  Cook the brown rice in water till soft. Whisk the egg yolks together with a tablespoon of milk.

2.  Melt the butter over a slow heat in a non-stick saucepan. Add the eggs and allow them to set just a little bit. Whisk to scramble. When the eggs are scrambled, add the cooked brown rice.

3.  Sprinkle the dried herbs and pepper and mix well. Add a spoon of milk or two if the mix becomes too sticky.

Serve immediately.