Tag Archives: Toddler meals that parents love!

Pumpkin-Coconut & Ginger Soup

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So, we’re already in 2015. Wow. I began writing this blog in July 2013 when my daughter Keya was about 9-1/2 months old. As she grew, so did the nature of the recipes I posted. Having recently realized that my blog has comparatively fewer recipes for parents who have younger children I will now consciously try to post more recipes that the 1 year old and younger can enjoy!

photo 2 (3)This vegan and gluten-free recipe for pumpkin-coconut & ginger soup is a very slightly simplified version of the one I read on a health and wellness website ( http://www.sanaqi.com/pumpkin-coconut-ginger-soup/). The original recipe is perfect, but I simply omitted a few of the ingredients – mainly, coconut oil, as i did not have any. I reduced the proportion of the chick peas that the original recipe calls for as they make the soup rather thick and although healthy, can make little ones a bit gassy. The original recipe calls for roasted pumpkin puree. But I have also tested this out using steamed pureed pumpkin and trust me, it is just as delicious. So don’t stress if you don’t own an oven or simply just don’t want to bother with the roasting. Also, I used lukewarm boiled water to thin out the soup to Keya’s liking ( instead of vegetable broth) as it was one less thing to do 😀

Pumpkin puree is a great choice for a first food for babies and can be introduced around 6-8 mos. Coconut is non-allergenic and very easily digested and in general ok to introduce to babies over 7 mons (based on my research). Chickpeas are safe to introduce to babies who are older than 8months. The ginger in this soup is mainly for its flavour. Go easy on it if you think your little one is too young for it or will not like the taste. It is great for the immune system but not recommended for very young babies. So overall the recipe rating is for 9 months and up. Leave out the ginger and you can feed this to your (older than) 8 month old if she/he is handling pureed mixed veggies nicely and is ready for some fun flavours 🙂

Nutrition report: Pumpkin makes this soup a powerhouse of beta carotene, potassium, protein, and iron . Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein. Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals.

Ingredients:

– 1 cup mashed roasted or steamed pumpkin (pumpkin puree)

– 1+1 tbsp olive oil

– 1 clove garlic, sliced

– 1 med. onion, sliced

– 3/4inch knob peeled ginger, sliced into thin rounds

– 3/4cup thick / OR /1-1/2 cups thin coconut milk

– 1/2 to 3/4cup pressure-cooked chickpeas (or low sodium canned ones)

– boiled & slighly cooled water, as needed

– salt & pepper, as needed

Do-ahead for pumpkin: If roasting the pumpkin, preheat oven to 180 deg C. Peel and cut half of a small pumpkin into 1″ cubes. Tumble the cubes on to a baking tray lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle a little olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Toss well using hands. Bake for abt 25-30mins or till the pumpkin is soft and lightly golden. Cool slightly and mash well using a fork. Should make about 1 cup of mash/ puree. Set aside.

 – OR –

Alternatively – steam or boil the peeled pumpkin cubes in water. Drain, cool and mash well. Reserve the cooking liquid to use for thinning out the soup later.

Do-ahead for chickpeas: Soak 1/2cup of dried chickpeas in warm water for atleast 4-5 hours or overnight. Pressure cook the soaked chickpeas in 2 to 3 cups of fresh water for 6-7 whistles or till soft. Drain and set aside to cool. If using canned chickpeas, select the low sodium variety. Drain the chickpeas into a colander. Rinse well under running water to get rid of all the brine (liquid in which they’re preserved). Set aside for later use.

photo 1 (3)Method for soup:

1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan or slightly deep frying pan. Add the sliced garlic, onion and ginger and saute till soft. Lower the heat.

2. Pour the coconut milk in followed by the chickpeas. Do not boil, but just let the mixture warm through nicely and then turn off the heat. Allow the pan to cool down a bit.

3. Place half the onion-coconut milk-chick peas mixture in a high speed blender with half of the pumpkin mash. Add a little boiled water (or the cooking liquid from the pumpkin). Puree till nice and smooth. Add the remaining ingredients in batches to get a nice velvety smooth soup.

4. Pour the pureed soup back into your saucepan. Heat through once while occasionally stirring. Adjust the consistency to your liking with some water and season with salt and pepper. (Can avoid the salt altogether for babies under 1)

Feel free to add a little cooked white or brown rice or some cooked couscous if your older baby will appreciate the texture.

This is undoubtedly a recipe the whole family can enjoy. You can also freeze portions of this soup for later when you are pressed for time. Although I try to avoid it, I do need to freeze soups/ pasta sauces for Keya every now and then. My personal level of comfort is to try and use up the frozen portions within 2-3 weeks. If you do freeze the soup, thaw and re-heat it till super hot, preferably on the stove top and then allow it to cool down to the right temperature before feeding your child.

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Veggie Fried Rice & Sticky Salmon

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photo 2 (1)Introducing fish and prawns to Keya was a very exciting phase for us. I started her on simple poached & flaked fish (snapper or salmon) or small dices of prawn meat by adding it into her favourite pasta dishes at first as the pasta sauce would help soften up them up. Another hugely successful recipe was homemade fish fingers – yoghurt marinated white fish like snapper, crusted in crushed cornflakes and dried herbs and then shallow fried in some olive oil till golden brown and cooked … Just realised, I haven’t posted that recipe yet! Whoops!

Although we mostly cook all of our meals at home, my husband and I  occasionally crave some good ol’ fried rice and grilled fish from our neighbourhood hawker centre. Keya (18 mons old at the time) who we have kept away from restaurant and especially hawker food, insisted on trying some and looked mighty thrilled when she had her first taste of fried rice. But of course it inspired me to make a much healthier version of that dish for her!

This recipe is an adapted version of one by Anabel Karmel , and is hands down Keya’s favourite-EST meal in the whole wide world. Fresh veggies sauteed with rice and seasoning and soya-honey marinated grilled salmon… what’s not to like, right?

I generally use white Basmati rice for this recipe but please feel free to use brown rice if your prefer. This is a guaranteed hit that the whole family aged 18mons and up will enjoy! 🙂

Nutrition report:  Salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12). Salmon is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to healthy brain and heart function, healthy joints and general wellbeing. White rice is rich in carbohydrates and contains some protein. Brown rice has a better protein and fat content and is comparitively lower in carbohydrates. It contains about 4 times the amount of fiber than in white rice. The mixed vegetables ofcourse pack in more vitamins and minerals and BOOOST not just the flavour but also the confetti like appeal.

Ingredients for Fried Rice: (Makes 2 servings for a toddler)

– 1 or 2 tsp sesame or olive oil

– 1/2 tsp. ginger, very finely chopped

– 2 spring onions or 1/2 white onion, very finely chopped

– 3/4 cup diced mixed veggies (carrot, broccoli, french beans, boiled sweetcorn kernels, green peas, red capsicum)

– 1 or 2 tsp fried rice seasoning (i use SHAN’s egg fried rice seasoning)

– 1/2 cup raw white/ brown rice (pre-cooked till tender and then cooled and fluffed with a fork)

– a small handful of chopped fresh coriander (optional)

– cracked black pepper and salt optional as the seasoning contains both

Ingredients for Sticky Salmon: (Makes 2 servings for a toddler)

– 1 boneless, skinless salmon fillet (about 250-300g), cut into 2 inch cubes

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 4-5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

– 2-3 tbsp honey ( plus optional 1/2 tsp brown sugar)

– 1 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Method for Fried Rice:

1. Cook the white or brown rice in boiling water till almost cooked. Drain any extra cooking water and fluff the rice with a fork and allow it to fully cool ( I also chill the rice for abt 30 mins when time permits) Prep the rice in advance so you are not tempted to use freshly cooked rice else you will end up with sticky rice instead of fried rice 😉

2. Heat the sesame or olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Saute the finely chopped ginger for half a minute before adding the chopped spring onions. Saute till they’re soft.

3. Add the small dices of mixed veggies – add the carrot, broccoli and beans first. Cooked corn, red capsicum and peas a bit later. Saute all the veggies till they’re soft enough for your child to eat.

4. Add the seasoning powder to the sauteed veggies and lower the heat. Add the cooked (and cooled and fluffed) rice. Mix everything together nicely. Stir through the chopped coriander. Check for seasoning by tasting and adjust (add) seasoning powder per preference or add a small splash of soy sauce.

Turn off the heat. Keep covered till its time to eat!

photo 1 (1)Method for Sticky Salmon:

1. Place the boneless, skinless salmon cubes in a bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil, low sodium soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, garlic powder. Season with some black pepper. Taste-test the marinade and adjust the ingredients to your liking. Cover and marinate the salmon for about 30 mins.

2. Heat a non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Add the salmon cubes one by one to the hot pan. (no need to add any oil)

3. Cook the salmon on all sides till nice and brown and cooked through. Drizzle a spoonful of the marinade as the salmon cooks.

Serve this yummy, salty-sweet-sticky salmon to your kids along side the fried rice and happily watch them gobble it up!