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
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

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

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

Two florets of brocolli, steamed

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

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.

  • 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
  • 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...