Saturday, December 4, 2010

Decadent deviant

I knew there must be some negatives to baby-led weaning and today I discovered one: stealing.

Yes, today in Safeway I found out that Mae is so dextrous now, and so in control of her own food intake, that just as I had my hands full with new season plums, she swiped an apricot from the display and sunk her teeth into it before I could yell "stop, thief!".

"Ah well" I reasoned, "no one wants an apricot with indeterminate teeth marks in it" so I let her polish it off, praying she would make it swift and painless. She didn't let me down. The evidence was swallowed before we'd reached the nappy aisle, at which point I slid the stone slyly into my pocket, making me well and truly an accomplice.


Shoplifting aside, I am happy to see evidence that she can eat fruit like this now - no more slicing necessary! As long as it is reasonably ripe, Mae can get stuck into nectarines, peaches, plums and obviously apricots; skin and all from here on in. And it seems she knows that the stone is not for eating too, so I can mostly relax on the choking front.

Anyway, back to today because there is another brush with the law to report. On leaving Safeway (without setting off the alarm) we made our way to my mothers' group Christmas picnic. Here, Mae cruised around sampling watermelon and fairy bread, all fairly benign and quite delicious. Until she remembered she aint no nice girl, she's a girl on a crime spree and there's work to do.

I had popped my plastic glass of cold sauv blanc next to me for a second while I rummaged in my bag for more treats, and once again Mae spotted my distraction and used her dexterity to dabble on the wrong side of the law for a second time in a day. This time it was underage drinking.

She actually downed my glass of wine in one. Jeez! I was horrified! The other mums assured me it had mostly gone down her front, and there was only a centimetre or so in there in the first place so I don't think I'm going to be featured on A Current Affair as Australia's most irresponsible mother just yet. Most worrying though, was that she didn't even flinch! I don't think I could down a glass of wine, and certainly couldn't in my underage drinking days. On the upside, she holds her drink well, no ill effects to report!

Crikey.

So my point is, that it's all well and good bringing them up to be in control of their own food intake, and very dextrous with it, but there seems to be a gaping hole between now (when she is physically capable of shovelling anything into her mouth) and sometime in the future she can actually understand the meaning of the word "no", or better still just know inherently that we don't steal apricots off the shelves in Safeway and eat them in full view of our fellow shoppers. Nor do we pick up other people's glasses of wine at picnics and down them in one.

Bring on that day because I'm not sure I'm fit to be her moral guide in the meantime!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Birthday special

"Where have you been?!" I hear you cry. Well we've been busy, OK?!

Actually Mae has been busy eating pasta bows and broccoli and I didn't think you'd want to hear any more about that. Meanwhile I've been busy applying for jobs and that zaps my ability to cook exotic things. Plus she has continued to reject pretty much anything that has more than two ingredients. But I will give you the highlights of the last month in brief:

Favourites:
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Can eat about 12 cherry tomatoes in one sitting
  • Blueberries. Entire punnet eaten whilst in shopping trolley in Safeway last Wednesday
  • Cucumber. Yes, finally she has top and bottom teeth so can bite harder foods
  • Entire pears, including the core, eaten like a real person
  • Cream cheese, cucumber and avocado sandwiches
  • Butter beans, straight out the can served on a dirty picnic blanket. Once again, we are in the 12-15 region in one sitting

Most rejected
  • Eggs
  • French toast! (who rejects french toast for egg's sake?!)
  • Potatoes in all forms apart from chips
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Her own birthday cake
Because yes indeed, Mae is now one year old! To celebrate this momentous occasion, I slaved over this hungry caterpillar cake (fitting choice, yes?):


And she took one bite and chucked it on the floor:


But the fact that she rejects anything that lurid is totally fine with me!

Hang on a minute, I do believe jelly snakes (AKA hungry caterpillar's mouth) are fairly lurid, and clearly not rejected:

video

Yes, must be my cooking after all.

Mae is kind of toddling (a bit like a happy-drunk zombie) and can even climb up stairs. Nothing will stop her speed-crawling around, not a nappy change or a cuddle or a story. Well, nothing but food. I'm so glad we've raised a little foodie who will happily give up racing for a precipice when she hears the cry, "sultanas!" and will don her pelican in order to speed-eat a range of healthy foodstuffs several times a day. Just got to polish my cooking skills and work out how to truly hide an egg, and "Extremely Junior Masterchef", here we come!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bad egg

I must admit Mae has inadvertently become a creature of habit over recent days. My imagination seems to have narrowed to the size of a petit pois when it comes to thinking of meals, and so it's been pasta bows with Rafferty's Garden puree and cottage cheese or ricotta stirred in, served with some lamb or kangaroo with a side of either broccoli or cauliflower. Followed by watermelon and a yoghurt.

The poor girl has had this fail-safe gaggle (what's the collective noun for a random group of foods thrown together for their nutritional value and pick-up-ability? Perhaps a "cobble" would be better, as in, "cobbled together") most days for at least a week now. So it shouldn't have been a surprise when I pushed the boat out today and the boat was rejected - she too is now totally unable to think outside the bow-shaped square.

I had a look at another BLW blogger's page for inspiration and decided to grate a potato, an onion and some broccoli stem (I know, sounds random, but actually quite nice!) into a pan of hot oil, fry it up then break an egg in and fry it up some more. It seemed like a totally delicious feast to me, one of those decadent Friday night meals that your dad makes when your mum is away.

This was her face on tasting my offering:


After flinging it around the tray for a while, she grabbed a piece of egg and shoved it in her ear. It was at that moment that I realised we were through with dinner.

It also confirmed what I had suspected the last few times she's had it - that she has gone off egg. Better than the egg having gone off itself I suppose. Nevertheless, I am going to have to lift my game tomorrow if she is to be kept from turning into a pasta bow.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dirty little secret

One of the reasons many parents prefer purees to finger food is that they are just so much bloody neater. Never having done purees, I was in somewhat blissful ignorance as to how many wipes, wipedowns and total wipeouts we could have avoided. But having lunch with a friend and her 7-month old today, I saw how the pears and yoghurt were neatly transfered into Miss Mac's mouth and with one wipe, we were done!

Meanwhile, Mae scoffed her cream cheese and tomato sandwich, wiping it across her ears, elbows and the table top (collecting the previous occupant's debris as she went). The obligatory mandarin that followed drenched her sleeves and orange bits found their way up her nose. Nine wipes later, we were done.


Let's see those Orangesleeves in more detail:



But I am so used to it now that I barely notice, and do you know what, it all comes out in the wash. Literally. She has a staple wardrobe of (white) Mothercare long-sleeved onesies, and at the end of each day we have at least two with illuminous orange up to the elbows and a necklace of watermelon. But I just pop them in a laundry sink of Napisan until the next machine wash and so far no stain has proved too tough! Now I sound like a bad eighties ad for washing powder.

Actually there's a thought, I should call up Omo, Mae could be the next star of a "before and after!" But then I'd have to play the sorry housewife with the chauvinist husband and the relentless sons with their relentless footballs. Perhaps I'll keep my dirty little secret to myself.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Little shop of horrors

The horror is the bill from the weekly shop, and there is nothing little about it.

I knew having a baby would be a little bit pricey what with the cots and the prams and all, but I never imagined quite how much greedy guts would add to our weekly shopping bill. Especially doing baby-led weaning - I thought eating what we eat, it would just be a case of a bit of extra pasta here, a few more veggies in a sauce there, right? Wrong. These are all the extra things I now buy on the weekly trolley dash round Coles to keep the little lady's belly spilling over her elasticated jeggings:



The receipt tells me that this little lot adds up to over $40 per week!

I mean, I know if I was to be organised I would be whizzing up snack foods from scratch and freezing them, so I know I'm paying (literally) for my own laziness, but who'd have thought such a small person could eat all that in a week? On top of all the actual meals she eats too.

Right. This week I'm getting onto these pikelets my friend and fellow baby-led weaner, Rosie, recommended - surely more delicious, better for her and certainly way cheaper than the motley crew in the photo:

1/2 cup wholemeal SR flour
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 smallish ripe banana
splash of vanilla
sultanas
I just go industrial style on all the ingredients (apart the sultanas) and blend them together with a bar mix. Add in the sultanas and pan fry in a little butter. Serve with a splodge of cream cheese.


I'll let you know how they go tomorrow.

PS. I'd like to share a moment from today where Mae took BLW to new extremes. I turned my back for a second (don't all parents say that? Can it really be true? I know that you know that it was slightly longer) and when I turned back, newly mobile Mae was sitting quietly by the cat's dish, her pincer grip wielding a Salmon and Tuna Purina One. I couldn't say for sure if she had already eaten one or not, but I'm choosing to see the sunny side in that I'm glad it was the food, not the litter, she was contemplating!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lonely laptop

In case you were wondering where we've been, there is a sorry tale to tell, but it has a very happy ending. And I wouldn't go into detail if it wasn't food related.

It starts with me and Mae at teatime on a dreary Thursday evening racing to pick the laptop up from the repair shop at rush hour. Picture the scene: Mae is hungry (and this girl waits for no laptop), my arms are full of Mae, my bag, my wallet, the laptop in a bag... I am trying to wrangle her into her carseat, she is not happy with this (as discussed, she is hungry). I am rummaging around looking for stale snacks in my bag to bribe her with for the journey. Finally she is in the car, sultanas in her lap.

We arrive home without too many tears. I whip up some cheese on toast, and phew, the whinging subsides and we all start to relax. At this point I remember the laptop, still in the car. I go and get it. It's not there. It's nowhere. IT IS NOWHERE! I realise with horror that it is actually somewhere. It is on the street where the car was parked, WHERE NO LAPTOP SHOULD EVER BE.

Clearly, however, unattended laptops do not stay on the street for long.

The tale between then and now is a torrid one, involving lamenting the decline of humanity and prayers over a backup hard drive. Until I got a phonecall this morning from a lovely man who had found the lonely laptop languishing in the gutter and taken it home and taken his time over finding its anguished owner. Thank you, thank you, thank you, lovely man!

So, to cut a long story not all that short, we are back and I will tap out the BLW tales that have been mounting up in my mind over the coming days...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kangaroo court

Judge Mae tried kangaroo in the highchair court yesterday, and the verdict? Guilty of liking it. Loads.

It was marinated in some kind of herby, garlicky affair so was full of flavour, and on Chris's instructions I cooked it by zapping it in the sandwich toaster for two minutes so it was still a little bit pink inside. I served her two pieces about 5cm x 2cm and watched slightly stunned as she got the bits between her teeth and actually gnawed on them, with accompanying caveman-like sound effects. She still only has two actual teeth but I think more are emerging, so I can only assume that poor skippy served as a more macabre version of Sophie the Giraffe.


She has definitely chewed meat with gusto before, but this was the first time she followed sucking and chewing with actual swallowing. In fact as soon as it was softened and devoid of goodness, she just swallowed the whole thing with one enormous gulp.

I had also roasted a plate of lovely veg, which she helped herself to enthusiastically:


Clearly not enough gum satisfaction in a roasted carrot, zucchini or potato though - she took one bite of each then threw it on the floor, going back several times to repeat the hilarious exercise with a Roman feast-style decadence.

With the excitement of all that red meat, she was bouncing off the walls by bedtime. Geddit?!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nuffin Muffin

Sometimes I amaze myself with my own dexterity. Not only have I learnt to tidy up with my toes since having Mae, but yesterday I baked savoury muffins one-handed.

Yes, Her Royal Whingeyness could not be put down for one second between the hours of 4pm and 7pm, due to her mini-nap schedule which had left her beside herself with tiredness. And so it was that I found myself weighing flour, cracking eggs and getting muffins out of the oven all whilst balancing Mae on my hip, persisting in my quest for an interesting and varied diet for my loved one against all odds.

The effect on my stress levels of her increasingly panicky whinge (think the vuvuzela for an approximate sound) meant that the scene would have looked like a poor man's Ready, Steady, Cook! to the casual observer, with the added twist of a very bossy mini-me attached to the stressed-out chef. With none of the banter. Or prizes. And a much harsher judge than a studio audience armed with red tomato cards.

And I'm very sad to report that the fruits of my one-handed labour were outright rejected by the judge on this occasion.

I followed this recipe but left out the salt, used more zucchini and added mustard. I cooled them down in the garden for extra speed, and grated a cucumber into some greek yogurt as a delicious, contrasting topping/spread/dip thing. I was convinced I was onto a winner, and she seemed to enjoy the first mouthful. But on going back for seconds, the whinge finally turned to tears. Perhaps it was a bit hot, or the top too crusty, or the new teeth too hurty, or the baby simply too tiredy, but an angry face was made and the muffin ejected into her pelican in one definitive rejection of my culinary efforts:


I won't take it personally though, I will instead view the experience as a physical achievement - I bet I couldn't have done that a year ago. And I know they were yummy. I know this because I ate three before dinner, adding a whole new dimension to my muffin top.

And she did continue to covet the yoghurty dip thing, which was also made with my (one) fair hand:


Monday, September 13, 2010

Daily grind

I normally post when Mae has had something quite delicious or a bit of a breakthrough, but I don't want you to think it's all saganaki and organic muffins in this house. Most meals are significantly more mundane. Although you probably weren't thinking Mae's diet was particularly gourmet given the likes of the tuna tempter or the cauliflower cheese episodes!

Either way, I thought I'd share a typical day:

Breakfast, 8am

Amuse bouche
1/2 banana, served chopped onto the highchair tray

Main
5-10 Sultana buds, Blackcurrant Wheats OR Weetbix Bites, soaked in just enough full fat milk so that they are soft yet still pickupable

Dessert
Baby yoghurt, flavour variable

Palate cleanser
A strawberry or some watermelon


Mid morning snack, 10.30am

Mini packet of sultanas
Two mini rice cakes with mashed avocado, served on her play mat so they can be spread across the floor and/or wiped across the DVD player


Sultana grazing

Lunch, 12:15pm

Cream cheese & cucumber sandwich, crusts removed, bread squashed down and cut into three fingers

A Mandarin. This does not vary, for the kicky legs and squeals of excitement upon sighting the mandarin are amongst the highlights of my day. Yesterday she broke the world speed record for mandarin eating, downing the whole thing in less than two minutes flat


Mid afternoon snack, 3:30pm

Two bits of steamed apple
Two mini rice cakes with humous (see morning snack for serving suggestion)


Dinner, 5:30pm

Entree
Two florets of brocolli, steamed

Main
Pasta bows with the veggie mince bolognese sauce Chris made last night, topped with parmesan

Dessert
1/2 kiwi fruit


The only remarkable thing about that menu is perhaps the sheer quantities, it looks enough for a fully grown man! Well, one on Weight Watchers at least.

Has anyone got any suggestions for fail-safe stalwarts, especially snacks? Those rice cakes are boring me...



Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Bada Bings

Actually, this post is about butter beans. *See below for an explanation of the title.

So, back to lunch.

I'm trying to tick so many boxes with each meal now:
  • Protein, good fats, carbs and non-nuked vegetables must be present
  • Not too much salt
  • Not too much processed stuff or E numbers
  • Chris and I must be able to eat it for our dinner too
  • Mae will actually be able to eat it (as in, pick it up, hold it, chew it and not choke on it) and as a bonus, enjoy it
  • It will not take more than 20 mins to cook
and I've just added another one:
  • Must be good for my waistline, yet filling enough to mean I will not be forced into eating yet another Mint Slice mid-afternoon
So today, I whiz up an onion and fry it in some olive oil, added some garlic, a can of tomatoes, some parsley and some cumin and stir in a can of butter beans. I serve it on toast, with a side of avocado. This is for both of us:



One of the slices of toast I cut into fingers so I have three offerings for her tray: individual beans, tomato on toast and avocado. I love to play the guessing game as to what she'll go for first. Today, it it's the toast, but after she's tried a butter bean, she keeps going back for more beans.


It occurs to me as she chews and swallows the beans how far we have come in a few short months - I would have seen a bean as a choking hazard for sure even probably six weeks ago, but she ate them like a normal person today and I didn't need to poise myself for the heimlick maneuver once!

The beans don't keep the wolf from the door for me till dinner though. As I've already thrown the Mint Slices in the bin in an angry fit, my rumbling stomach has to make do with dry bread and jam.

* The title refers to an unfortunate mishearing on my part BC (before children). I used to be part of a pub quiz team, members of which were mad on the Sopranos. I had not seen the Sopranos at the time, so when they put our team forward as "The Bada Bings", I heard "The Butter Beans" in an Australian accent. For months on end I went along with this lame name, mainly because I do quite like a butter bean. On finally seeing the Sopranos, my mistake dawned upon me. However this fictional, yet legendary, strip club will forever be interchangeable with the humble legume in my mind.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Munch Brunch

I have had some very successful brunch experiences out with the little boss over the last week that I'd like to share with you. Unfortunately, so consuming was the constant-ness of our dates that I failed to take a photo (see last para for why). Not wanting to leave a post pic-free, here's a shot of Mae in her retro jumper from Grandma and Grandpa:


Now, back to brunch.

Pros:
  • Meeting friends anytime between 10.30 and 12:30 works really well at the moment as Mae is tending towards a nap 9-10 ish and then down again at 2pm
  • That time would encompass her lunch anyway, and this way I don't have to cook it
  • There are some great brunch/lunch places opening up near us eg. Milkwood and Pope Joan
  • The likes of poached eggs, sourdough toast, avocado and any kind of homemade beans type arrangement are the staple fair at these places and all these things can be shared with the Mae-stro
  • Sharing my meal with Mae might actually make up calorie-wise for all the times I tidy up her leftovers into my mouth
  • She gets to sit at a table like real person (we don't have a dining table at home). I can tell she loves it, she even joins in the conversation with her shouty pontification
Cons:
  • If I have to pick Upsy Daisy off the floor again I might scream
  • Ditto sultanas (brought as Mae's hors d'oeuvres)
  • I use so many wipes - for hands, faces, tables, my brow that I feel very sorry for all the wipe trees that are being depleted at such a rate
  • There are many hazards on a table - hot coffee, salt-shakers (imagine! That would really set me back with all that salt-anxiety I've been suffering from), knives...
Really, so many more pros than cons, although I do feel if someone was to film these jaunts and then play it back at high-speed, you would see me wiping up and picking up and wiping up and picking up and rescuing and fishing and offering and endless more 'doing' words, whilst my friend is able to recline and enjoy a latte. Such would be the ferver on my side of the table, the viewer would feel exhausted just watching.

But I don't feel exhausted from 'doing', rather I feel proud of Mae for enjoying our adult-style outing as much as me. I think it's only Upsy Daisy who got the raw end of the deal, oh and the floor of the cafe has probably seen better days too...


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More peas please

Yesterday we had one of the stalwarts on the Hotham-Welford weekly meal rotation - penne pasta with chilli salmon, peas, mint and ricotta. All you do is boil up your pasta with some peas (same pan), drain, then stir in 500g ricotta, a bunch of chopped mint and one of those shrink-wrapped chilli salmon fillets (chopped) that you find next to the smoked salmon in the supermarket. So easy and delicious, with all the food groups represented:



Might I say, success! Like, kicking of the feet, mmm mmm noises as she munched and a panicky cry for more before she'd even swallowed her mouthful, success. The only other thing that currently meets with the same enthusiasm is oranges. And the bath flannel.



After a few bits of pasta though, I could see the peas were not surviving the journey from tray to mouth, and she had obviously forgotten about her pincer-grip, leaving the peas to collect in her pelican.

Concerned that they were the only representatives from the vitamin family in this meal, I began to make mini-canellonis with the penne, stuffing each with peas before I put it on her tray. It seemed to work, and about twenty penne pieces later, I was satisfied she had eaten more than forty peas too. How many peas make a serve of vegies for a baby? I've no idea but surely this is adequate.

We had loads left over, so I repeated the whole process for lunch today and it went down equally well second time around. Although I'm not sure I've got the energy for mini-cannelloni-pea type missions for at least a week so Chris will be pleased to hear this one is off the meal rotation until my pasta-stuffing RSI has recovered.

How many vegies would your baby typically have in a day?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fritter critters

Individual lumps of steamed vegetables are boring Mae senseless, so I'm continuing down the path to us all eating the same thing at quite a speed.

Today I made some fritters - pumpkin, pea and feta fritters to be precise. I followed this recipe but just added some feta (AKA salt). They took about 20 mins total and we all had them for dinner - now that's my kind of chefery!



I'm pretty sure they would have been added to the reject pile along with the parsnip if it wasn't for the feta - Mae just loves the salty, tart-tasting stuff, just like her dad. Unless of course it was the shapes into which they were cut that made her eat them:



Or was that just me?! I know what you're thinking: "too much time on her hands", but honestly it took ten seconds after I found the critter-shaped cookie cutters in the back of the drawer! And I have to find a way to make a play on words for blog's sake! However at 9 months, I think Mae has a hard time telling a cat from a dog, so I doubt she was able to identify the animals and consequently be amused and inspired enough to eat them due to their shape.

But eat them she did. Well, sort of. It's the first time she's had peas, and as predicted a few months ago, her pincer grip is refined enough now so sort the peas from the pumpkin:



As you can imagine, it was a very long meal.


What do you think about salt in your baby's food? How much is too much?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Turnip for the books

Actually, it wasn't a turnip it was a parsnip, same family but a bit posher and less opportunity for puns. And the only thing she turned up was her nose.

I chop up the whole parsnip into chip-shaped chunks (first error - do not try and disguise one food as another - my Mum did that once when she told me fish was chicken when I was four and I've never forgotten it) and steam it (second error - parsnip should always be roasted but our oven is on the blink so poor Mae is having the healthy option every time at the moment). I grill up some tender spring lamb (poor little lambies) and get the broccoflower on the boil thinking a lovely serve of meat and two veg would be just what the lady wants. Wrong:



She picks up the parsnip with enthusiasm, no doubt thinking it's a chip, but one taste of its squishy, pasty flesh she flings it back down on the tray with a shudder of disgust. I often find that if things start off badly, they can continue into meltdown no matter what is offered, so I act quickly and whip out the reserve option - last night's mushroom risotto.

I hadn't given it first because it's somewhat lacking in vitamins and very high in salt, but keen to make sure she eats a proper dinner, I fashion some mini arancini balls that she cannot refuse. Sure enough, she devours one after the other, ignoring poor lamby and the broccoflower until she must be totally stuffed. I marvel at her ability to whack back the carbs - like mother, like daughter; her stomach knows no bounds. She does in the end force down some broccoflower too, so I feel an almost balanced meal has been had.



It occurs to me that if a meal doesn't appeal to me, then why should it appeal to her? I think I might have to stop worrying so much about salt, I mean it's not like I'm giving her KFC, and I wouldn't fancy a bit of steamed parsnip for my dinner. Plus I really think she knows what her body needs and if it's carbs today, that is totally fine with me (as discussed, carbs are always fine with me!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

BBQ badness

Yesterday Australia went to the polls and failed to decide anything at all, and we went to an election BBQ and decided (again) that feeding Mae without a high chair is a bad idea.

It didn't begin well; Mae must have known in advance that we would all end the day whinging and on-edge, and started early. In fact, she burst into tears on arrival and didn't pull herself together for at least an hour as we tried to eliminate all possible causes (hungry? tried an avocado, not biting; teething? no new ones in evidence; separation anxiety? still crying when attached to me) until we were forced to start the possibilities again. Hungry? This time, she munched her way through a whole banana in about three mins flat, and finally stopped crying.

I wouldn't say she exactly calmed down though, because just as the BBQ was served, in stark contrast to everyone else in the party who was glued nervously to the TV biting their nails, the shouting started. I mean Mae's shouting, not the pollies, and I mean top of her lungs REALLY SHOUTING!!! not crying or at all upset, but loud enough to set everyone's increasingly frayed nerves even more on edge. We persevered, thinking food would cure all again, and loaded our plates with Mae-friendly deliciousness: roast zucchini, capsicum and spuds, herby lamb strips, saganaki (yes, saganaki), avocado salad. We took it in turns to proffer a tasty morsel, her sitting on the floor in her overalls.

She did accept our offerings and particularly enjoyed the roasted veg but we were forced to flank either side to catch the flying bits, as her vocalisations and flailing limbs become increasingly agitated. I had to grab the nearest newspaper (today's, unread, sorry Suze) and spread it beneath her as we failed to keep on top of the gesticulated veg.



After 15 minutes of this, the party was now silent - hard to know if in shock and awe at our baby in her shouty pants, or at the knife-edge quickly becoming apparent before us on the TV. But Chris and I were totally exhausted - time to let the good people focus and get Mae home, take off her shouty pants and get her into bed.

You'll be pleased to hear that she was much more settled this morning, more than you can say for the election!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fast!

Fast as in, "not eat for a while", not as in "speed" like last night's dinner. Yes, in stark contrast to yesterday's gobble-fest, Mae refused dinner today.

It's so unlike her that I whip out the thermometre, and sure enough, she's running 38. Hardly time to call out the doc, but explanation enough for the afternoon's whingeing and a steadfast refusal of my best sweet potato, free range poached chicken and, randomly, bread with cream cheese (for the fat and carbs portion of her din dins) that I lay before her.

Instead, it's time for the four b's: breastfeed, bath, breastfeed, bed. Followed by a beer for me, that makes five. Let's hope it's not the Return of the Ear Infection.

She's been sleeping soundly for a couple of hours now so here's hoping a good night's sleep will knock whatever it is on the head. And if she's better tomorrow, I promise no more pasta bows for at least a week!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fast food

Sometimes I just can't be bothered to get creative with the food, but I still want to make sure she gets a good variety of nutrients in a meal, especially now she has dropped another breastfeed and is down to only three a day now. I reckon these Rafferty's Garden purees are perfect for lazy days where fast food is required:



I cook up some pasta bows and steam up some broccoli while the pasta cooks, then use the Rafferty's puree like it's a pasta sauce, grate some cheese and hey pesto, dinner is served:



I think Mae ate more today than she's ever eaten in a sitting - she ate 25 pasta bows, 4 florets of brocolli and a whole pear for dinner. I suspect a growth spurt is on the horizon!

Extra tip:
Mae has worked out how to suck the sachets down straight from the pack - I gave her a banana and apple one of these for brekkie and she sucked it like it was a straw. Means no spoons and perfect for when we're out and about. And not a drop down her front either!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dumpling daze

I love a good dumpling, but they are a food I used to save for late nights in Chinatown rather than try and cook myself - they are surely too tricky and will take way more than the 30 min max I've alloted to dinner-making? But then again, they are the perfect size for Mae's little fingers and surely don't have to be made entirely from MSG and unidentifiable meat by-products - they could be little nuggets of goodness too. On my trawl through the internet for recipes, I refine my search and find these little gems - ricotta cheese dumplings. More like gnocchi than anything asian really.

I make a pumpkin and sweet potato soup and float the dumplings in it for our tea, and save some soup and dumplings for Mae tomorrow - fingers crossed!



She ate two - I think she kind of liked them! I mean, they aren't cheese on toast or ice-cream, but they are edible and she went back for more - success in my view!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Zucchini fritters

As mentioned in the last post, Mae is now eating proper meals. Sometimes the amount varies (like yesterday I'm pretty sure she ate basically nothing) but some days she eats more than some of my (admittedly quite thin) friends at a sitting. She is also getting a bit tired of your basic vegies - a stick of pumpkin still goes down well sometimes, but now she's had icecream, greek butter beans with fetta, spanakopita, salmon fishcakes and spicy beanburgers, she is beginning to understand what life is all about!

So now we're back to normal life, I've got to get cooking if I'm to keep her chins multiplying over her Tommy Tippee catch-all.

It's now going to be about thinking of meals that we can all eat, or at least that I can prepare a derivative of for Mae before I add salt or chilli to ours. It's also got to be easy enough, I'm not going to slave over a hot stove for more than 30 mins a day. And preferably I will be able to save some for lunch the next day.

Today it was zucchini and corn fritters, with, bizarrely, paneer. I used this recipe but added a red onion and the paneer, and left the salt out for Mae's.




When you put so much thought and effort into a meal, you really want it to be successful, so it's with baited breath that I watch her take a bite. Success is measured in her going back for a second bite, which she does, and in the end eats two whole fritters for dinner (as well as half an orange for dessert).



Phew, effort rewarded with whole bits of sweetcorn in her nappy for days to come!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Airplane 2

Alas, our visit to the UK is over. We are slightly more confident about our return journey, for Mae's food intake at least, as we know we have to be prepared this time, especially as Mae has dropped a breastfeed while we've been away and is eating proper meals now so I can't just rely on the boob if all else fails.

So I make a job-lot of cheese on toast, cooled and cut into fingers (not messy, easy for her to hold, we know she likes it). We also arm ourselves with rice cakes, breadsticks and organic carrot "cake" bars. The outward journey taught us that Cathay Pacific serve a pasta option with every meal that isn't breakfast and an omelette with every one that is; two things she can eat once the cheesy toast runs out - hurrah!



I had also thought that there would be fresh fruit with each meal, but I quickly realise that was because I was a vegetarian on the way out. Airlines assume vego means vegan-health-freak-on-a-diet, and so the meals come with loads of salad and fruit. But I am a normal person for the return and am saddened by the lack of fruity goodness we can share with Mae.

The air hostesses are brill though, on one leg they find a banana from somewhere (I saw the steward furkling in her handbag only moments before it arrived) and on another, a kind lady embezzles a lovely fruit platter from business class for us, complete with Mae's fave: watermelon!

So once again, she managed an almost respectable food intake over the 24hr flight. Now here's hoping for a vaguely respectable return to schedule over the coming days - I've got a feeling I'm going to be feeding her lamb chops at 2am as her body clock stays firmly on Greenwich Mean Time.

Bonus video: she doesn't always eat what's on offer, especially when there are shiny things around!

video

Learnings:
  • Take as much food with you as you can on an aeroplane

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sand wich

Today was Mae's first proper day at the beach, ironic that as an Australian her first swim in the sea is in England! We packed her lunch, thinking that candyfloss and hotdogs are probably not what we want her to eat today, even though we proved ourselves the totally relaxed parents the other day with the ice cream adventure.

Predictably, the first thing she eats at the beach is sand. We put her in the middle of a large rug and thought we were safe given she can't crawl yet. But alas, no. We turn our heads for one second and when we turn back she is grinning through a faceful of sand. It occurs to me though, that this isn't the set-your-teeth-on-edge prospect for her that it is for us, for the simple reason that she has no teeth to crunch the sand between. It's just another texture to her. She doesn't look remotely distressed, so we just give her some water to wash it down with.

I'm pretty sure it's still in her mouth when lunchtime comes around and we give her her a tuna (springwater from a can), organic cream cheese and finely chopped cucumber sandwich on brown (crusts removed, cut into four squares).



She seems to enjoy the sandwich (despite the questionable texture) but feeding her at the beach is hard work for us - no highchair and not even a clean floor that you can employ the two-second rule with. When a bit of sandwich hits the deck, it's gone for good. No dusting off and back on the plate here. I think she probably eats about the equivalent of one square before we are all exhausted from trying to catch the flying bits. Oh well, she won't starve. But I give her a breastfeed just in case, then it's straight in for a swim to wash her off. I don't think the rule about waiting an hour after eating before swimming really applies to babies either - especially seen as she's hardly eaten anything and "swimming" equals being gently swished around by us for about 5 minutes.

We were at Broadstairs, incidently, which is 10 mins up the road from Sandwich. I wish she had had her first sandwich (and sand) in Sandwich, then I could have had an even better title to this post!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I scream

We are on holiday, it's summer, and it's actually quite hot over here. Everyone else is doing it so why can't Mae? Yes, it's time for her first ice cream. Well, sort of. My Mum has stacked the freezer with mini Magnums for the adults and Mini-Milks for the kids. I check the ingredients - it's pretty much just milk and a bit of sugar. From all the reading I've done, I've worked out that salt is way worse for babies than sugar. Too much salt can damage kidneys, where too much sugar just rots your teeth and makes you fat. Seen as Mae only has half a tooth, and I'm not worried a little bit of sugar in an ice lolly is going to make her fat, I decide she can join that realms of those who have lived and those who have not, and give her a Mini Milk.

Mae sits on her Auntie Meg's knee and I give her the wooden bit of the stick, helping to guide the ice cream into her mouth whilst her audience looks on with anticipation - how will she react to this mouth-numbing-yet-mouth-watering deliciousness? A camera captures what no words can describe:




The cold is startling, causing this priceless moment, yet the sweetness that quickly follows is divine. Her crumple-face turns to delight as she reaches for the ice cream again, and again, and again. Oh dear, I think we've created a sugar-crazed monster - I wonder if she will ever eat broccoli again?!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Eating out(side)

Opportunities abound to dine alfresco in the English summertime. We have found ourselves at a BBQ, a children's birthday party and grabbing a quick sarnie in the middle of a London park in the last few days. And each time I have thanked the lords above that we did BLW because otherwise we would have had to have been way more organised.

Mae has tucked away some spicy beanburger, felafel (success this time!), bread and homemade humous, a fresh tomato (first time - tick!) and shared Chris' chicken & avocado sandwich from Pret A Manger. I worry about the salt intake here, but on the whole it's kind of worked.





I have quite a few learnings to share about baby-led weaning on the go:
  • Take some back-up vegies ready steamed in a little tupperware at least. Well-cooked vegies that are not drenched in some kind of dressing in a salad are hard to come by at these events and if you're out all day, the mother in you will be nagging that the 5 a-day count has not even nearly been reached. Consequently, you might find yourself thinking lettuce will be fine. It isn't. At least not for Mae at 8 months, she just can chew it, it's like us inhaling a leaf.
  • Disposable bibs! A revelation, and it means you don't have to carry round rotting debris for the rest of the day
  • Bring a little rug to sit on because as it turns out, Mae may not like lettuce but she loves grass
  • Snacks are really important now. At first I didn't bother too much, but now we're out and about, not only does she seem to be hungrier, but it's not always possible to breastfeed when caught in rush hour in London. Also, a good snack will keep her quiet for quite some time. The UK seems to have tons of travel-safe, organic, handy snacks made especially for babies. I'm hoping there are similar when we get back home. Flavoured breadsticks, little organic carrot cake bars and the trusty rice cracker are all becoming stalwarts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Detritius

There's nothing like being at other people's houses with a baby to make you realise what kind of guests you really are: the worst kind. Noisy, inflexible and, of course, filthy. I feel like wherever we go, we leave a trail of debris at best, destruction at worst.

Luckily we are mostly staying with friends and family who've seen it all before, which is lucky because with baby-led weaning, there is really no way of containing it. You just have to apologise and make it clear you will clean up (and pay for any permanent damage) after bathtime, because as soon as dinner is over, it's time to strip Mae down and get the hosepipe on her. Or at least get her in a warm bath quick-smart, followed by a feed and bedtime in quick succession, because no amount of wet flannels can clean up this baby. This means, however, leaving your hosts' kitchen looking like a splurge gun has hit for at least an hour after the event.


I think our hosts would agree though, that the spectator sport that is baby-led weaning is enough compensation for the detritius. At least I think so, although Emma might disagree - I really hope Mae hasn't made her mark (literally) on the new (as yet untreated) kitchen floorboards!

Learnings:
  • We have doubled up on bibs now - we have the overall one with sleeves and the Tommy Tippee with the catch-all on top, which does a great job at, well, catching most
  • Buy a lot of wine as compensation for your hosts

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Berry nice

It's berry season in England - raspberries, strawberries, blueberries - little juicy nuggets of delight everywhere you look! Mae has had strawberries before and enjoyed them, but for some reason I kept thinking raspberries might be a choking hazard so had avoided them. Ridiculous! They are perfect baby food - the right size to pick up now she has a pincer grip that could pick the lint off my black jacket (actually there's a thought, I could put her to work), and then they melt in your mouth like a Prawn Cocktail Skip.

So at my parents house, Mae tucks into her very first full English brekkie. Two fingers of egg on toast, one finger of roast tomato on toast, two mini yoghurts, half a banana, five strawberries and ten raspberries later, she is finally full! Her look of delight is incongruous with the scene from a slasher movie that my parents dining table has become, but I think we can say she is going to enjoy English cuisine!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Doing the aeroplane

We are in England, meaning we survived 24hrs on an aeroplane with an 8-month old! And she managed to eat. Sort of.

The nice lady brought us four jars of Heinz puree at the beginning of Flight One - 2x Pumpkin & Sweetcorn and 2x Pear & Banana. It took us an hour to feed her one jar (which was fine, we weren't short of hours) but we were unable to take a photo - we had to employ all six arms to get it into her.

It goes something like this: she sits on her Dad's knee, long sleeved bib on, I put a small amount on a spoon, give the spoon to Mae whilst surreptitiously guiding it into her mouth, some comes off in her mouth, she pulls the spoon out and flicks it around, grinning, spraying pumpkin onto the entertainment system, her Dad's T-shirt (yellow in colour already - good choice, Chris) and the hair of the kicky man behind us. I wipe everything I can (apart from the kicky man's hair, he can do that himself as penance for kicking) and then we start again. 84 wipes later (including several used to mop our brows from the effort of it all), the jar is empty.

The next meal time, we decide to give her some of ours, the puree just too much effort. I get some very salty potato wedges with my meal so I suck the salt off and give her a couple:



The rest of the flight I'm afraid was rice crackers and breastmilk for Mae, but I'm pleased to report that she survived, and so did we!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tofu and brocciflower

I'm never quite sure what counts as genetically modified food, and why it's necessarily always bad, because as Mae and I are doing a trolley dash in Safeway, I spot a food that seems to have been modified especially for Mae. Brocciflower! I kid you not, it is an exact mixture of broccoli and cauliflower, making for basically a green cauliflower. Two of our most successful foods married into one nutritious nugget of luridness. It cannot fail!


I steam up giant florets and give two to Mae, along with some of last night's tofu that I saved for her. The tofu is one of those marinated ones that we had in a Chinese style stirfry (honey and soy flavour) but I wash it to rid it of honey/MSG/general badness on it.

Faced with a choice, even though the brocciflower is so jolly-looking, she chooses tofu. And eats it. Two 10cm x 1cm strips down the hatch. Then she attacks the brocciflower, ignorant to the fact this vegetable has astounded her mum (and surely all shoppers in Safeway today) with its novelty. Hard to say how much she actually eats, but I'd say at least one floret has been downed.

One more day until "doing the aeroplane" takes on an altogether different meaning in baby food lingo!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tuna tempter?

Looks like I should have named the last post "ear we don't go" as our flight to England has had to be postponed because of poor Mae's ear infection! So rather than sitting on a plane today working out inventive ways of getting the pureed baby plane food into Mae, I was left to work out inventive ways of finding a meal I could possibly give her from our pitifully bare cupboards. "How does Mild Indian Curry Tuna Tempter in a toasted sanger with cheese sound Mae?" "Delicious, Mum". Good, cos there's nothing else.



The tuna looks hideously oily so I put it in the sieve and rinse it, pat it dry, then toast it with the last of the tasty cheddar. I cut a big finger out the middle and eat the rest myself while Mae naps. Actually, it is quite delicious!

And she loves it! Her nap was particularly long today so it's been at least 3hrs since her last breastfeed when I give her lunch so I think she is quite hungry.



She actually eats the entire thing. There was literally nothing left down her front or down her pants afterwards. I also gave her the last of the broccoli to make sure gets some vitamins, and there was definitely some of that down her front. I can only conclude that Tuna Tempters have usurped broccoli as her favourite food!

Learnings:
  • I think it's OK to give processed food every now and again
  • She really loves toasties - if I can get some vegies in there next time, we have a winner!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ear we go

Poor Mae has an ear infection! Bless her, she is fighting through and has been quite jolly considering, but she is clinging to me, and that means I can't even put her in the high chair without tears! Her milk feeds are still going down well but solids seem to have taken a back seat. She managed a few bites of her favourite scrambled eggs on toast yesterday but today I have to sit her on my lap to eat. She ate some broccoli through tears (I know, broccoli makes me cry too) and I'm amazed that she is still chewing and swallowing with an earache and a temperature of 39!

I hope she's better tomorrow because I have broccoli where no girl should have broccoli from feeding her on my lap! No pics today - I am not that dextrous.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Risotto besotto

I'm going nuts on the sharing stuff now. Today, we shared some of the tomato risotto Chris and I had last night for dinner. It has onions and cherry toms in, and fetta on top, none of which she has had before. I gave it to Mae on a spoon at first, a la yoghurt (see my post on spoon feeding). I then dolloped a pile on her tray and she grabbed a fistful with the other hand. So, with spoon in one (repeatedly refilled by me – she’s not that dextrous!) and fistfuls in the other, she shovelled in a healthy portion over about 20 mins. Her face, hands and nose were orange for the rest of the day and I think the high chair is permanently scarred. But conclusion? Risotto=resounding success! I wish I had a photo of when the fetta hit the palate though!


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mum and Mae do lunch

Today, Mae and I actually shared our lunch for the first time. She has started going down for her lunchtime nap a bit later (and sleeping for longer at this one - hurray! But I digress - naps is another blog) and so this means her lunch can fall after midday, when I'm actually hungry too!

I'd been thinking about cheese on toast with baked beans all morning, then it occurred to me she could have that too. Finally, we are getting towards what this baby-led weaning thing is all about! Babies eating what we eat, when we eat!

The beans are low-salt beans, but the cheese is full strength vintage strong and bitey cheddar. I prepare one slice of cheese on toast for Mae, cut off the crusts (I probably don't need to but I do because they always seem like they could get stuck if inhaled) and then cut the rest into 3 fingers. I mush up the beans and pat them onto the fingers, then we sit down and I give her a finger, while I eat mine with a knife and fork. She seems thrilled that we're eating the same thing at the same time and watches me intently as she sucks her cheesy, beany toasty fingers. This is her favourite meal since the fasta pasta. She eats all 3 bits apart from a few gummy bready remains down her front. It felt really good to hang out with her and do lunch like mums and daughters do!

Learnings:
  • Babies can eat strong and bitey cheddar and love it!
  • Having lunch together is real fun

Friday, June 25, 2010

Spoonfed

With all this finger food, which is so great for introducing textures, I don't want to forget about liquids and purees - that's a texture too. But it's quite hard to get into a baby who is now totally suspicious of a spoon and will only feed herself. Solution? Give her the spoon! We have a little red plastic spoon that came from Mothercare (it's from the Annabel Karmel range) but the best thing about it is that it's short, making it much easier for her to hold and still get in her mouth.

I mix some apple puree with full fat plain Greek yoghurt and try and put it in her mouth on the spoon. She is having none of it and tries to take the spoon from me. This, as you can imagine has limited success and results in yoghurt in the ear. I try again, and eventually we find a sort of compromise where I hold the spoon to her mouth, she takes it from me as I give it a little push in the right direction. She sucks the spoon like it's a bone or a wedge of veg and gets a good load of yoghurt and fruit at the same time.


I feel like this is a real step forward because now she can feed herself mushy foods as well as finger foods, meaning there is very little I need to leave off the menu now!
Learnings
  • Get a short spoon
  • Be patient

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oranges are not the only fruit...

...But I think they are Mae's favourite so far. I have in the back of my mind that there is some rule on when babies should have citrus but it's too late - she grabbed a piece of orange off me and put it in her mouth after breakfast so I think it's time to give the humble orange a go formally.



She carefully took each segment and sucked it, juice spilling down her front but clearly down her throat too. Her eyes popped out of her head at the flavour!

Learnings
  • Oranges can kind of break apart and go stringy once they are sucked dry. You might find yourself pulling bits out of your baby's mouth. I doubt they would choke on one of these bits but it's a good idea to keep a careful eye
  • Her bum was a bit red the next day - possibly from the orange, I'm not sure

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fasta pasta

It's lunchtime and we've had a busy morning and I realise I don't have much to give Mae, unless she wants the fallback crackers again. We do, however, have some leftover pasta and sauce from last night (bow-shaped pasta with a jar of bertolli pasta sauce, parmesan flavour, with a tin of tuna in springwater stirred in it to be precise!).

It's been in the fridge overnight so it's kind of congealed, but well, she hasn't tried pasta yet and my sister said my niece loved pasta right from the start. So I sit down with this appetising pot of leftovers and hand Mae a bow while I tuck in myself. I don't have very high expectations of this meal, but to my surprise it is probably the most successful thing she has tried yet! She sucks each bow until it falls apart, and by my calculations, she has attacked 6 bows by the time we finish, and I reckon I could only make one from the origami down her front at the end, meaning she has probably eaten about 5 pasta bows!



I also steam up some pumpkin because I feel guilty about the processed nature of the sauce, which is what made most of the mess in this pic, but I am so happy with how much she has actually eaten, I don't care that her top has to be relegated to the bin afterwards!

Learnings:
  • Bow-shaped pasta really works well - easy to hold
  • Pasta from last night is good because it's more congealed so the sauce stays on easier
  • She has also had tuna here - her first fish meal! No ill effects to report...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spud-u-like

I realise I've been forgetting about an obvious vegetable - the humble spud! Still thinking about how I can combine her food and ours so we are moving towards eating the same food as a family, I decide on a potato bake. Surely this is a main meal? (see my cauliflower cheese error). I make them in separate dishes, adding onion and Facon to ours. I cut the potatoes into wedge shaped and bake with the cheese sauce

Let me tell you it is a rip-roaring success - "cheesy spuds - what's not to like?!" said Mae (well she would have if she could talk)

Learnings:
  • If you par-boil the potatoes first before you bake, they will still stay firm enough for her to pick up once baked
  • Dijon mustard in the sauce adds flavour and she seemed to like it
  • I gave her some broccoli too because so much cheese and spud looked like a meal that didn't contain nearly enough vitamins

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Breakfast fast

Mae isn't loving brekkie. I've given her bits of steamed pear and apple, Weetbix (a whole one, soaked in just enough milk so that it's not crunchy but still sort of stays together) and fingers of toast with avocado or cream cheese but she tends to just play with it rather than eat much. I think it's because she has such an enormous milk feed at 7, then by 7.30 I'm trying to proffer baked goods. I wouldn't be hungry either.

Solid foods, finger food or otherwise, sure are hard to time along with all the other things a baby needs of a day. Mae goes down for a nap by 9am, so if I leave brekkie till, say, 8.30, she'll be hard to wind down for her nap (cos this eating bizzo requires much concentration when you're 7 months old and the result can sometimes be a somewhat overstimulated little pumpkin). Anyway, I've compromised on 8am and we had a bit more success this morning.

In fact, this is kind of the routine we're in for anyone interested in comparing how to fit this food malarky around other things:

7am - milk feed
8am - brekkie
9am - 40 min nap
11 am - milk feed
11.45 am - lunch
12.15pm - 40 min nap
2.45pm - milk feed
3pm - 40 min nap
5pm dinner
6.30pm milk feed
7pm bed

It's not exactly Tizzie Hall or Gina Ford, but it kinda works for us at the moment! But looking at that now, I can see why she eats most at dinner - cos it's been a good while since she was last breastfed. Hmmm - need to do some research on what I should be offering first at this stage - milk or solids? According to the book, still milk, so I'll continue with that for a bit yet I think.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lickin' chicken

So she's had red meat, let's try some chicken me thinks. I buy some very expensive free range stir fry chicken strips and quickly realise there is way too much meat here for Mae to eat before it goes off. Nevertheless, I stirfry a batch, let it cool and offer her a strip. She grabs one and sucks on it, I'm watching for signs that it will break apart and choke her, but the fibres seem to hang together longways so it would be pretty hard for it to fall apart. She pulls with her gums and sucks away, but doesn't actually eat any of the actual fibres, she's just sucking out its goodness. I think this counts as a success! And I stirfry the rest with vegies for Chris' dinner so he's happy too!



Learnings:
  • Next time I'll break the pack apart as soon as I buy it and freeze it in mini freezer bags of two or 3 stripseach so I can fry them up for one meal at a time
  • UPDATE! Don't leave cooked chicken strips in the fridge and try to give them the next day. I found they had become too watery and did fall apart into little bits when she tried to eat them

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chip shaped chop

I don't eat meat myself but I'm so keen to make sure Mae gets a totally balanced diet and doesn't turn into an orangutan like Sam Neil would have us believe, that we've decided to give her free range, organic meat for now. Until she's eating things like falafel, dahl and chilli bean soup I'm going to struggle to get enough iron and protein into her if she is is totally vego. So, not messing about, we go straight for the lamb chop/cutlet thing.


She sucks and sucks on it with such relish that I wonder if she's really my daughter! She tries the other end but the bone is pretty tough and sharp so she quickly learns which was is up. She pulls it with her gums and eventually the medallion bit comes off and is totally in her mouth. It's the size of a 50c coin and surely way too big to choke on so I let her just do it. Eventually a grey bit of meat is ejected from her mouth, totally drained of goodness. Wow - that has got to be a good iron intake!

Learnings:
  • Grill it thoroughly both sides
  • Let it cool really well
  • Pull off any gristly bits
  • Pull off any other bits that looks like they might easily fall off and choke her
  • Hand it to her so that she holds the handle

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Falafel fail

Continuing the foray into Real Meals, I get down and dirty with the food processor and confidently whip up some falafels. Bizarrely I decide to make hers chip shaped too, although I think with hindsight she could probably have managed a normal round one. Anyway, shape aside, falafel is rejected. It does contain onion, garlic, parsley, cumin and coriander as well as chickpeas and she hasn't had any of these things before. It's probably just too soon for flavours like this. I won't take it personally. Rejection is apparent by a face that looks like the falafel is made purely of lemons. Back to the rice-crackers for tonight.

Learnings
  • Steady on. She's only been eating real food three weeks, I don't think I ate a falafel till I was about 15.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cauliflower cheese

I've decided it's time to start aiming for the sky and thinking of meals that we can all share as a family. Which means we might have to compromise on salt intake and eat more vegies but I think it's doable - we'll benefit and be more healthy too! So today it's cauliflower cheese. But I think I'm getting muddled up between cauliflower cheese (side dish) and macaroni cheese (full meal) because Chris looks a little disappointed as I serve him this as his entire dinner. Half way through, I admit defeat too - my cauliflower quota for the year is filled.

Mae, however, digs in. I made the cheese sauce from scratch and added pepper and mustard but not salt, and it goes down a treat. She "eats" 3 florets (again, hard to see how much she's actually eaten as most of it is collected in her crotch at the end) but she has plenty in her mouth and is making chewing actions and I definitely see her swallow something.

Learnings:
  • Cauliflower as a vegetable goes down well; cheese sauce also works and should be repeated in other forms
  • Cauliflower cheese is not a main meal for adults

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rice cracker revelation!

So pitta bread is all well and good, but it is bread, which can be salty and I don't want her eating wheat at every meal. So while I was in the supermarket today I was on the hunt for some rice crackers that would be low in salt and easy enough for a baby to eat. Suddenly I spot just the thing, right there in the baby food aisle! It says 10 months plus on the packet, but really - these companies err on the totally cautious side for fear of being sued. If Mae can manage a soggy weetbix and pitta bread and all the other things we've tried her on over the last fortnight, she can manage a little rice cracker.

So I bought them and gave her one with cream cheese. Tick! She got a good bit in her mouth and sucked the topping off, while the cracker seemed to dissolve into her mouth. Some bits of rice came off and seemed to surprise her while they swilled around her cheeks. But they went soft too. Some must have gone down because I couldn't have made a whole rice cracker from the soggy jigsaw pieces that remained afterwards!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eggcellent

We had scrambled eggs on toast for brekkie this morning and Mae was coveting it so much (she had a Weetbix. This works OK if you soak it in just enough milk so she can pick it up but I have to say, she doesn't love it) so we thought we'd let her try a bit of our egg on toast.

I know lots of books and info says you should wait till 12 months to give eggs to babies because of allergies, but the baby-led weaning book says it's OK from 6 months as long as the egg is well cooked. Which it was. So we decided to give it a go - if she was allergic we'd soon find out! And let me tell you, she loved it. And she swallowed it and had some more. And is definitely not allergic. This is great, it means eggs can be added to our repertoire! Great source of protein, iron and calories for little ones. And cheap and easy for mum. Hurray!