Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All about the baby! Part 2

Ok, so I realize this is not tomorrow, but I have many excuses....just ask my children!!!
3 days are my 5 most in-demand recipes for babies:

1. Summer fruit: perfect for baby’s 6 months up.
½ a mango, ½ peach, ½ banana – skin removed and roughly chopped.
10 – 15 blueberries.
Blend them together and then I would pass it through a sieve because Wilco had a really nasty gag reflux, but eventually I didn’t need to anymore. Serve either just like it is or with yogurt or rice cereal.
You can always freeze this in containers or even better make icypole’s for those hot days or when your baby has sore teeth – I still make these for my kids, Wilco had one tonight and it kept him entertained while I got everyone else fed.

2. Green vegies with quinoa

Quinoa with vegies and stock
Gussy this is for you and all baby’s 6 months up.
Whatever seasonal vegies you have:
½ zucchini, ½ a squash, 1 small carrot, the same amount of pumpkin, a couple of cherry tomatoes, 2 florets of broccoli.
1 small clove of garlic and I’d use half a shallot (little purple onion).
Half a bunch of kale, spinach, cavalo nero – which ever one is freshest at your market / organic store.
Parsley, rosemary or sage
Start by frying the onion and garlic in a little olive oil and or butter depending on your baby’s age.
Add the herb of choice finely chopped; I would add the parsley 2-3 minutes before serving.
Then add your vegies, again chopped finely if your baby can eat chunkier food or roughly if your going to puree it.
Cook for around 10 min until they smell yummy and are starting to colour just a little. (As Wilco got older, after 8 months I would add Quinoa or Amaranth which are the tiniest grains and really easy for baby’s to swallow and digest and full of goodness) If you use these stir them into the vegies just before you add the water or stock.
Add enough water to cover and bring to boil. Then add the green of your choice and put a lid on and cook until the vegies are soft about 10 -15 min. (If you add Quinoa make sure to add a little more water as it will soak it up)
Once cooked puree the vegies and again pass through a sieve if needs be.
I serve this with a drizzle of Extra Virgin oil and good Parmesan cheese (when your baby's allowed it).

We had run out and my girls were coming home so I put a stock on.
This is day 2, with the vegies.

Another tip: instead of water use Chicken stock (recipe coming soon) when they are at the right age. I never liked feeding my kids meat because it’s very hard for their little bodies to digest, so the best way of feeding them meat is to slow cook whatever meat your feeding your baby or better still making stock- which is incredibly good for them and us, especially if you cook it over 2 days like I do. Anyway that is a whole other blog which I promise to do in the not to distant future.

3. Muffins:

This is really for 12 months on or unless you use rice flour or another gluten free flour.
A muffin is very handy for small hands; you can pretty much use anything left over from the fridge. I have never followed a muffin recipe I just make them up each time depending on what is in my fridge, which needs to be used.
Today I made mini muffins with blueberries and raspberries and then with the muffin batter leftover, I made 6 normal size muffins with the plums I bought at the market.
Preheat oven at 180c fan

everything you'll need for your muffins or what I found in my fridge that needed to be used.

So you’ll need:
1 mini muffin tray or 2 if you have.
Cupcake cases mini again.
1 mixing bowl for dry ingredients
1 bowl or pyrex jug for wet ingredients

Dry ingredients: 
sift 2 cups whole-wheat flour or spelt flour (I will sometimes use ½ cup fine polenta & 1 ½ cups whichever flour is your preference - gluten free flours are fine too)
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of salt, sift altogether with flour and baking powder.
Add 1 cup of raw sugar or maple sugar, alternatively you could add ½ cup of honey or apple juice concentrate or even agave to your wet ingredients.
Mix together.
Wet ingredients: 
2 banana’s mashed with a fork
100grams of ricotta (I used goats because that’s what I had left) 
2 heaped tablespoons of yogurt any will do mix banana, ricotta and yogurt together in bowl 
Then add 2 beaten eggs
and your 75grams of melted butter 
Mix together till everything is combined well.

Our milk and yogurt of choice - click on the yogurt label to see what I mean about no add anything.
Ok pour your wet stuff into your dry stuff and mix together, mine was a little dry so I added ¾ cup of whole milk and then it was perfect.
Now get your muffin tray with your cupcake cases already in and start spooning 1 teaspoon of mixture into each.
Then add your berries, 1blueberrie & 1 raspberry into each (note you can use any fruit in these you can even use frozen berries) cover the berries with another teaspoons worth of mixture until all finished.

step by step or my version of!

This amount of mixture will get you 40 mini muffins or 25 mini & 6 normal.
Pop in the oven and bake for 20 min or check in 15 min, this totally depends on your oven (my oven is crap so I just keep checking until they are golden on top).

Tip: If you have a Frankie in your house and you want to make these I suggest cooking your fruit first and pureeing it and then either adding it to the wet ingredients or I would do half the batter as normal and the other half add the puree. Lie and tell them they are plain and they will love them and be non the wiser. Frank begs me to make her muffins. And although she will eat any fruit normally, she will not eat cooked fruit (well actually she does eat cooked fruit she just doesn’t know it!).

4. Broccoli rice or pasta:

chop broccoli and de stem cavalo nero - chop.
ready to go..
Broccoli pasta with cavalo nero finished - ready for cheese

This by the way this is not broccoli pasta it's pesto, I forgot to take photo's of Wilco eating the broccoli pasta.

I learnt this one or the adult version by my gorgeous friend Rochie – who I might add taught me how to cook Italian food. She had the best teacher in the world, her Italian Mother in law Gina – no words!!!
They are 2 of the best cooks I know, and I fantasize about the two meals Gina cooked me, on a regular basis, some 20 years ago, - again I have “no words” to  describe them!
Anyway back to the food – Rochie cooked broccoli pasta for me many times and everytime I would take mental notes. My god it was good! So over the years I have perfected this recipe and it too is a family favourite and can be changed here and there to suit all the family.
Ok here goes with my version for the baby: (will do the adult version on another blog)
1 small head of broccoli – stalk and all, washed and cut roughly
Garlic, for the baby I’ll do 1 small clove
Olive oil and butter
Water or I like to use stock if I have it in the freezer about 1 cup.
A little pepper
Parmesan cheese

Wilco watering the strawberries - whilst his dinner waited!
(I occasionally put in a zucchini and some parsley for extra green, just because I like to know I’m feeding them a stack of green stuff – the more the merrier I say)
Brown rice or teeny weenie brown rice pasta or Quinoa – your choice.
Start with a small pot and add a tablespoon of olive oil and a smidgen of butter and then your garlic chopped really roughly or not at all doesn’t matter. Then add the washed and cut up broccoli stir and cook till the broccoli turns a bright green, season with pepper and then add your water or stock. Cook until the broccoli can be mashed easily with a fork. Once this is the case mash it all up, depending on the age of your baby either roughly or through a sieve and mix it with grain or pasta of your choice, sprinkle with cheese and a drizzle of EVOO.

My children’s favourite meal - still !!
Frank in soup heaven - just the way she likes it with chicken and teeny pasta

Wilco couldn't get enough

5. Soup with carrot and rice or teeny pasta
This one takes a lot of work only because it involves making stock and there is no way I can teach you how to do it in this post – but I will be doing it very soon.
So this is one you can use later when you’ve made your stock.
I freeze individual portions: the whole family – large Pyrex, frank – medium Pyrex and Wilco - tiny Pyrex.
So I de-mould one from the glass Pyrex containers (invest in the glass Pyrex, it doesn’t leach any nasty’s into you food and they last forever and they are great for putting in your kids lunch boxes- I highly recommended buying them)
Put on the stove and slowly bring to a boil. Whilst it’s melting, peel and chop up a carrot  (as finely as your baby needs it. You could always grate it finely- Wilco and Mima like it in rounds – your choice). Add to the stock and cook till tender, about 15 min, remembering to turn your stock down when it comes to the boil.
Cook your pasta/rice separately and add to soup when serving – cool with a little filtered water and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yumo!

Wilco's favourite with Cavalo Nero - his dinner last night.
The absorption method.
Tip: I have to strain Frank’s because she will not eat cooked carrot, but that doesn’t matter because the goodness is still in the soup, she will only eat hers with chicken and rice or pasta in it – go figure!

Here is my recommendation for the best cookbook I’ve found for baby’s all the way through to teenagers.
Wholefood for Children by Jude Blereau. Everything she writes about feeding baby is what I believe is the way we should all feed our children and I have!
If you go to here website she has links to so many great things and she also does a blog - which I just discovered and am now addicted too!

I'm sure most of you do this, but my kids are mad for my icypole's and a super quick way of making a batch, if you don't have fresh fruit in the house is just with an Organic fruit juice diluted half/half with water. I don't let me kids have juice(or any other drink- besides water) on a regular basis. But I'm happy for them to have one of these a day. 
My frank would prefer one of my icypole's than the nasty ones you buy at the shops. And they are really great for keeping little people busy when you need 10 minutes to do something.

finished off with an apple juice icypole
©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Sunday, January 23, 2011

All about the baby! Part 1

Our girls have gone to Melbourne for a week, so I’m going to use my time wisely, stocking the freezer with food for the new school year and spending one on one time with my boy, Wilco – Bliss!
I’ll be making him delicious and nutritious food, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This is for the mum’s out there with babies 6 months – 2 years.  I will break it up into 2 parts so there is not too much info in one hit.

Jemima 11 months old   

Part 1: Learning as we go.
When I first started feeding my kids solids it was, of course, a learning process and if only I new what I know today, there would be things I wouldn’t have done. Jemima always liked food – once I could get her away from my breast!


Frank 4 months old

She started eating properly from about 12 months, but Frank well she has always been tricky.  She was my earliest one to wean (at 12 months) and she wouldn’t eat much, just my homemade stock and her milky, milky. But Wilco was and still is a joy to feed.
When he was born I decided that I wanted to solely breast feed him for the first 8 months of his life. Because my other kids did not want a bar of food I just assumed he would be the same, ah - no!


He was always a good feeder and I had stacks of milk, due to him always wanting the breast, so at 5 months I was surprised that he was showing such an interest in eating. It started with him chewing whilst we were eating and then the grabbing started, he wanted food and the sooner the better. So reluctantly I had to give up my dream of only breast milk and comply once again with my children’s demands.

Wilco 2 weeks old
Frank 8 weeks old

Let me consult Wilco’s diary on what I fed him first………I fed him at 5 months and 2 weeks and he was ready. He devoured the stewed pear that I made for him first, like he’d been eating all his small life, and by my notes it seems he went from strength to strength day by day, and exactly one week later he was on 3 meals a day.
Breakfast was always fruit to start and only sometimes with brown rice cereal and then later yogurt (always check the label and get the one, that is made from whole milk not powders) cow’s, sheep’s or goat.
I gave him all kinds of fruit, whatever was in season at the time. Most of it was raw and I would puree it – like mango, banana, strawberries, blueberries. I actually spent a small fortune on blueberries once Wilco could eat them (cut in half – for safety).
They are pretty much the best things for anyone, so when in season I practically buy my local organic shop out of stock. And that being the case Wilco poohed blueberries for the rest of the blueberry season, pitch black sweet smelling poo! And as for the strawberries I know the books say not to give them to your kids until they are 12 months old, but I forgot – and even though my Frank did have an allergy to strawberries for the first 2 years of her life (not very severe I might add, just red cheeks and chin) I still fed them to him and he was fine.

The girls meeting their brother for the first time
It’s funny how with the first baby we’re all so very careful with everything and we get so stressed about the littlest of things, then the second one comes along and its not so scary and we don’t worry about things as much and then the third one arrives and we’re like - whatever. I figure as long as its early enough in the day and someone else is around (just in case you need to rush them to the hospital) I will pretty much try anything on him.
And touch wood he’s been fine so far!

Lunch and dinner were always green, no matter what I made, Cavalo Nero, parsley, broccoli and garlic always went in – hence my kids do not freak when they see something green because it’s always been on their plate and they’ve always known it’s a non-negotiable - they have to eat their vegies no matter what!

Wilco 3 months
May I just add I am not a breakfast person, so the majority of these are when Max is feeding the kids.

Breakfasts idea’s:
Fresh fruit purred or depending what season your baby’s born stewed fruit. A little tip if your baby is constipated add a few organic prunes (pitted of course) to the stewed fruit or stew prunes separately and add them cold to fresh fruit or even use some of the cooking liquid that you stewed them in and put it in a bottle with filtered water. Guaranteed to get their little bowels moving!
With yogurt –use only whole milk and check your label for added milk powders, stay away if they have them added or use sheep’s milk yogurt or goat’s milk yogurt.
Brown rice cereal, Quinoa, Amaranth
9 months and beyond;
Porridge with stewed fruit, baked fruit or fresh fruit
Teeny weenie pikelets with stewed fruit or fresh fruit (I do these ones)
Fruit salad – cut up really small
Brown rice pudding (one of mine too)
Quinoa porridge
Egg and toast
Pancakes / crepes (Max is the master)

Muffins (me)
French toast

Lunch idea’s:
Pureed vegies always green
Avocado with yogurt
9 months and beyond;
Half avocado – Wilco’s favourite
Quinoa with vegies
Qunioa with green vegies
Amaranth with chicken and vegies
Pesto – omelette, pasta, on toast
Cut up vegies, cheese and egg

Dinner idea's:
Pureed vegies - try them on everything.
9 months and beyond:
Chicken soup with carrot and pasta
Chicken stock brown rice with mixed vegies
Absorption method with stock and pasta + vegies
Mini schnitzel chicken or fish fingers
Broccoli pasta with our without pesto
Mixed vegie soup with brown rice

Mima, so happy to have a brother
Pretty much whatever you eat, you can improvise and make something for the small person in your house.
Just remember whatever you feed them when they’re little will set them up for life. This is when they grow the most and you need to make sure whatever passes they’re lips is of the best quality,Organic and pesticide free.
Even if it means buying whatever is in season and cooking a lot of it and freezing it – do it. I buy the smallest glass Pyrex containers and keep sauce for pasta, stock, Bolognese, any leftover stew ready for a quick baby meal – lunch or dinner.
And remember never add salt to your baby’s food – only after 12 months. If they are 8 months old you can season with good quality Parmesan cheese.
Try and use brown rice pasta to start and slowly introduce wheat after 12 months.
Always use unhomogenized cow's milk or goats milk, you will find that milk allergies don’t exist if your dairy is as unadulterated as possible.

Wilco's first bath - 2 hours old

In part 2, which I’ll post tomorrow there’ll be 5 recipes to feed your baby.

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps and Max Doyle

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A natural remedy for the whole family!

I'm doing Ginger tea because everyone I know loves it when I make it for them, and who doesn’t like a natural remedy for the whole family?!

Lemons & Ginger

and Manuka honey

Max and I start drinking this everytime there is a sniffle in our house, it along with my chicken soup, will pretty much cure any sickness that hits our house.

It’s incredible for a sore throat, either boiling hot or freezing cold – your choice.
Trust me when I say it’s addictive ! 

Ginger tea;
3 cm piece of Ginger peeled and sliced as thinly as possible, into your mug.
Lemon – as much or as little as you like, we have ¼ of a lemon squeezed into our mug.
1 or 2 teaspoons of Manuka honey – I have a serious sweet tooth so I like 2, but for Wilco I would only do ½.

Ginger sliced finely

Now the Manuka honey - I like alot

Honey in......

Pour over boiling water from the kettle and stir well and let sit for 5 minutes.

Lemon squeezed
Honey tea – Or what my kids think is honey tea!(not that Frankie likes honey-go figure!)
In a mug:
1 organic camomile tea bag, ½ the Ginger above, a squeeze of lemon and ½ teaspoon of honey. Again let sit until warm then transfer into a sippy cup or if you're naughty like me, a bottle (of course this is only for Wilco - the girls just have theirs in a mug).

My kids all LOVE this! When they’re feeling a little off or they have a sore throat, maybe they're a little hysterical, it's magic in making them feel better.

Icypoles ready for the freezer

I also make icy poles with the Ginger tea.

Pour the tea through a strainer into a pouring jug

Ready to start pouring

Just double or triple the Ginger tea and strain it after 5 – 10 min depending on how strong your kids will drink it (remembering the flavour dilutes when frozen). Let it come to room temp and then pour into icypole moulds and stick in the freezer.

Aerial shot
Poured and ready for the freezer
This makes about 6-8 icypoles
They are so handy for sore throats and teething babies. 

Manuka Honey is a special type of mono-floral honey which contains an ingredient with powerful antibacterial, anti microbial, antiviral, antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti fungal properties. It works wonders on sore throats and many other things, check my link.

Wilco LOVES them!!!
©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps