Category Archives: baby’s desserts & treats

Ragi (millet) & Banana Kulfi Pops

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RAgi kulfi

Making popsicles is amazing fun for pre-schoolers. Keya loves helping me make these on the weekends! This Ragi (finger millet) and frozen banana kulfi pop is not only super healthy but also SO delicious! I like to use frozen bananas as they give the kulfi a smooth and creamy texture.

3 ingredients blitzed together and frozen. Easy peasy! This recipe makes 2-4 kulfi’s depending on the size of your molds.

Make these as kulfi-pops or freeze in a freezer-safe box to scoop and serve for younger kids who might struggle with holding the popsicle.

Ragi (finger millet) is a rich source of calcium, protein and iron. It is also a good source of fiber.

Bananas are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of manganese, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, potassium, biotin, and copper.

2RAgi kulfi

Ingredients: 

  • 2 medium bananas
  • 3/4 cup full-fat milk
  • 2 tbsp Ragi flour

To make:

  1. Peel and slice the bananas. Place in a ziplock bag and remove as much air as possible. Freeze for 3-4 hours or overnight.
  2. Measure 2 tablespoons of Ragi flour in a bowl. Set aside. Heat the milk in a saucepan until just steaming. Slowly pour some of the hot milk into the ragi flour and stir to forn a thick smooth paste.
  3. Pour the paste back into the remaining milk in the saucepan and cook the ragi till it forms a thick cake-batter-like consistency. Turn off the heat and allow the ragi-milk mixture to cool completely.
  4. Place the frozen bananas in a blender and blitz in short bursts at first. Then turn up the speed on your blender to puree them until nice and smooth . Add the cooled ragi-milk mixture and blitz till everything is well combined.
  5. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 4-5 hours.

 

If using wooden popsicle sticks, I like to stack them up in 3’s and secure with a little rubberband till the kulfi is completely frozen. I have found that little hands find these thicker sticks easier to grip.

To unmold, dip your plastic or metal popsicle mold in a pan of warm water for 10-15 seconds. Wiggle the stick around gently to loosen and the kulfi pops right out!

Enjoy!

 

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Baby’s Vanilla- Egg Custard

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photo 1A few mommy-pals of mine have been asking me for ways to offer eggs to their babies. Much like them, I have faced a situation where K got really bored of mashed boiled egg (yolk only till she turns 1), and scrambled egg. I have started to add these to her cerelac of late, when I am pressed for time as plain ol’ cerelac just doesn’t seem like enough nutrition for my active little monkey.

Home-made custard is another novel way of offering your baby eggs. Commercial custard powder is mostly cornstarch, so I prefer to steer clear of it… and with how easy this custard is to make – it hardly counts as effort… even for the sleepiest mommy on a sunday morning (like me!) Keya just laps this up when I serve it mixed with grated strawberries and blueberries 🙂

Nutrition report: Rich in Iron, Calcium, and Protein and Multi-vitamins from the added fruit.

Ingredients:

– 1 cup cow’s milk

– 1 egg yolk

– 2 tsp cornflour

– 1.5 tsp Sugar

– 1 tsp Vanilla extract ( 1.5 tsp if you want to camouflage the egg-iness further)

photo 2To make:

1.  In a saucepan, bring the milk and sugar up to a gentle simmer.

2.  While the milk heats, whisk the egg yolk and cornflour together in a bowl. Pour a little milk (1/4 cup) of the warm milk into the egg mixture and whisk till smooth.

3.  Pour the egg-cornflour-milk mixture back into the rest of the milk in the saucepan. Add the vanilla. Bring the custard up to a full boil while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Keep stirring till the custard thickens (it will further thicken as it cools).

4.  Pour the custard into a jug/ bowl. Use a mesh sieve if you have any accidental lumps.

Cover it with plastic wrap – such that the plastic wrap touches the surface of the custard. This prevents the custard from forming a ‘skin’ on top as it cools. Chill the custard in the fridge till its time to serve.

This is delicious served with fresh fruit like – berries, bananas, apples, peeled oranges and also grapes!  Feel free to make this more “apple-y” by mixing some applesauce into the custard before you add fruit pieces. 

Enjoy!  🙂

Eggless Oat-Avocado Chocolate cupcakes

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photo (2)I’ve been meaning to bake with Avocados for a while now as I read that they work exceptionally well in egg-less cake recipes. I made these cupcakes for little Ruhaan, our friends Prasoon & Meenakshi’s exceptionally well behaved 2 year old last weekend when we met up for brunch.

This is by far the healthiest cupcake I have ever baked! I used equal portions of all-purpose flour (maida) and home-made oat flour (finely powdered oats made in the food processor). I used banana to replace most of the refined sugar and soy-milk and canola oil to make the wet ingredients. These were so delicious, you’d hardly notice they had no eggs!

The best part of any cupcake is the frosting… I made the chocolate frosting for these cupcakes using silken tofu and chocolate chips … was the awesome-est frosting ever!

While Keya loved nibbling on little pieces I offered her, I believe Ruhaan enjoyed these very much during his snack time 🙂 Yay!   (This recipe makes 12 regular or 16 mini- cupcakes)

DRY Ingredients for Cake:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (sifted) +  3/4 cup finely ground rolled oats + 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp Baking powder + 3/4 tsp Baking soda Pinch of Salt.

WET Ingredients for Cake:

1 Avocado chopped into cubes 1 medium or 1/2 large Banana + 1/4 cup Sugar + 1/4 cup plain yoghurt

3/4 cup Soya or Cow’s milk + 1/3 cup Canola or Vegetable oil + 2 tsp Vanilla extract

Ingredients for the tofu frosting:

100g or 1/2 cup Silken tofu + 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

To make – CUPCAKES:

photo 3Before your begin – Preheat your oven to 200 deg C and line your cupcake pan with the cases.

1.  In a large mixing bowl sift all the dry ingredients together using a metal mesh.  Set aside.

2. Place the avocado, banana, sugar and yoghurt in a mixer and whizz till smooth. Add the soy milk, canola oil and vanilla and blitz again till it is nice and smooth.

3. Create a shallow well and gently pour the wet mix into the dry. And mix using a balloon whisk till everything is nicely mixed.  Using a spoon, scoop the batter into your cupcake pan till 3/4th full.

Bake @ 200 deg C for about 20-25 mins or till a inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.

photo 2 (2)To make – TOFU FROSTING:

1. Place the tofu and vanilla extract in a blender / mixer and puree till nice and smooth and lump-free.

2. In a double boiler (see image), place the chocolate chips and melt gently. Stir gently to help the process along and till the chocolate is smooth and shiny.  Remove from the heat.

3. Add the pureed tofu to the melted chocolate and whisk till smooth and well incorporated. Keep slightly warm.

photo 4To frost the cupcakes:

It is very important that your cupcakes be completely cool before you decide to frost them. The warm icing will set as it cools. But if your cupcakes are still warm, the frosting might get runny and drip before it has a chance to set.

Slater the frosting onto the cupcake using a spatula. And decorate with your child’s favourite sprinkles – Older toddlers will love doing the sprinkling themselves!

Enjoy!! 🙂

Vanilla & Cherry frozen yoghurt

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8 (4)Fresh fruit with yoghurt is one of K’s favourite breakfast treats. Encouraged by her enthusiastic response and willingness to try out new stuff, I have introduced her to most of the age-appropriate fruit available here in Singapore. Inspired by her (and my) love for cherries with yoghurt, I created a super simple frozen dessert that we (mom & dad) enjoyed on a warm saturday afternoon as I am a bit cautious about offering her something too cold as yet. You can most certainly treat older toddlers and pre-schoolers to this healthy yummy dessert on warm sunny afternoons.

Cherries are a great source of Vitamins A &C, Calcium, Potassium, Iron as well as trace amounts of Copper, Zinc and Manganese. Yoghurt as we already know is a great source of Protein. The added the vanilla for some extra flavour and a wee little bit of sugar to make this “dessert” worthy. I used Greek yoghurt to make this as it is creamier than regular yoghurt. But if you don’t wish to buy this, you make some of your own by draining the water out of regular whole milk yoghurt by hanging it in a clean muslin cloth over the sink for a couple of hours.

As I do not own an ice-cream maker, I used a simple trick to achieve an ice-creamy texture without the icicles (from the water in the yoghurt) spoiling the fun. This yoghurt needs about 5-6 hours in the freezer before serving. About halfway through the freezing time – pull out the semi- frozen yoghurt and blend in a food processor to break up the icicles and incorporate some air into it. Pour back into the box and freeze till firm. Scoop into bowls and eat up!

8 (2)Ingredients: (Makes 4-5 servings)

– 2 cups greek yoghurt

– 12-15 fresh cherries, stems removed and pitted

– 2 tsp fine sugar

– 1/2 vanilla pod. seeds scraped (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

8 (1)8 (3)To make:

1. Heat a few tablespoons of water and add the pitted chopped cherries along with the sugar. Simmer till the cherries are soft and the sauce is reduced. Cool the sauce and puree the cherries till its slightly chunky.

2.  Swirl the pureed cherries into the vanilla- yoghurt and mix well. Pour the mixture into a freezable container and freeze for a couple of hours.

3.  Blend the semi- frozen yoghurt in a food processor to break up the icicles and pop it back into the freezer till it hardens.

4.  Scoop the frozen dessert into a bowl and enjoy immediately! 🙂

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 🙂

Baby’s Carrot- Apricot Halwa

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4 (4)Gajar Halwa, a carrot, milk & cardamom based dessert, is probably one of India’s most popular contributions to the food world. For those unfamiliar with this culinary masterpiece, it is basically grated carrots slow cooked over a medium heat along with milk and sugar and seasoned with powdered cardamom. I was keen to reinvent this one for Keya. But of course I did not want to be feeding my 10 month old refined sugar, so I started to consider alternative sweeteners.

Naturally Honey came to mind. But as it’s unsafe to feed infants below 12 months any honey due to the risk of botulism, that was struck off my list of options. My recent experiment with baking baby friendly cupcakes, reminded of the wonderfully sweet apricot. I am in the process of developing a refined flour and sugar-free recipe for cupcakes/ birthday cake for Keya’s first birthday. It breaks my heart that babies can never enjoy more than a few crumbs of their own birthday cake. Commercial stuff is laced with preservatives, artificial colouring, extra sugar…. yikes! why on earth would we feed a baby that, right? But I’ll save that for a special post once I am 100% satisfied with the results of that project.

4 (3)Back to the apricot for now. Dried apricots are readily available in most grocery stores these days. I suggest selecting  the organic variety as those are dried naturally without preservatives and are sulphur free, resulting in darker skin and tougher flesh. Not only are these deliciously sweet, but dried apricots are powerhouses of nutrients like Vitamin A & C, Iron and Potassium. Additionally, like carrots, they are rich in Beta Carotene and Lycopene which make them excellent for the health of your baby’s heart.

The main ingredient, carrots, of course, besides being delicious as we know are excellent for healthy eyes and skin. I used full fat cow’s milk when I made this for Keya, but if you’d like to make this for a younger baby (6 to 8 mos), you can cook the halwa in water (yes, water!) and once its finished, add 5-6 spoons of the infant formula powder that your baby normally drinks.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT ‘cook’ the halwa in formula milk, as the high temperatures used during cooking destroy its nutritive value. Add the powder after it is done instead. Also, I added a little ground almonds to Keya’s halwa (she is 10 mos old), but this is an optional ingredient and should be left out for babies under 12 mos if your family has a history of nut allergies.

Overall nutrition report: Great source of Vitamins A & C, Iron, Calcium, beta- Carotene, Lycopene and Potassium.

4 (5)Ingredients: (Makes 1 cup or 2-3 baby servings)

– 1 heaped cup, grated raw carrots (as coarse or fine as your baby will accept)

– 6 to 7 dried apricots (add a couple more if you want this sweeter)

– 3/4 cup full fat milk ( or 1 cup water)

– 1/4 cup full fat milk, slightly warmed, for soaking the apricots

– 1 tbsp ground almonds (optional)

– 1 small pinch of green cardamom powder OR cinnamon powder

– 1 tiny pinch of saffron, crushed using fingers

– 1-1/2 tsp ghee OR a small dab of unsalted butter

 

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To make:

1.  Before you begin cooking the halwa, soak the dried apricots in 1/4 cup of warmed milk  (or water) for about 30-45 mins. Puree till nice and smooth.

2.  Begin cooking by, heating the ghee or unsalted butter in a non stick pan till it melts. Add the grated carrots. Cook the carrots over a medium heat till they begin to change their colour a little bit. Add the apricot-milk puree and the additional 3/4 cup of milk and stir well to mix. Cover and cook till the carrots soften and the mixture reduces to a slightly firmer consistency. Add a few tablespoons of milk/ water if you feel that your baby will not accept something too “dry”.

3.  When almost cooked, add the ground almonds and the cardamom powder. Cook for another few minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the halwa  to cool a bit. Add the crushed saffron and mix. It is at this stage, that you add the infant formula powder should you choose to.

This version of Gajar Halwa is so delicious and such a healthy alternative to the high refined sugar stuff that we normally make! You can make a separate batch for mum using low fat milk, and enjoy a treat even if you are on a post- baby diet (like me!) 🙂