Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Stuck in a rut - baby food ideas

I'm going to say something that's bordering on blasphemous: I am fed up of Annabel Karmel.

That's it, I've said it now!  Should I hide for fear of releasing of whole storm of mummy-hatred?  Probably not.  It's not that I hate her, I own several of her books, it's just that I'm bored of her, and that can't be good, right?  Actually I'm also a little bit suspicious of her; she has perfect hair, perfect clothes and a perfect smile, how can a woman who looks like that SERIOUSLY be an expert in feeding babies?  Surely, to truly be an expert in this field you should have weetabix in your hair, blueberries all over your dress, (usually in a place where you can't see them but everyone else you meet can) very smelly milky vomit on your shoes and a weary expression.  To be really true to life she should probably also be toting either a massive coffee or a gin and tonic.

I'm sorry to say this Annabel love, but I don't consider "Take banana, mash banana - feed to baby" to be a "Recipe".  It isn't.  Neither is "Add lemon curd to Greek yogurt - feed to baby".   I'm bitterly jealous of anyone who makes their millions coming up with such silliness.

I think her ideas are great for those early stages, but we are currently at that difficult stage when puree is out but toddler meals aren't suitable yet.  I have to confess that we've fallen into a bit of a lazy rut recently, especially when we have had a few days away and This Baby was fed largely on jars of baby food.  That isn't something I have a particular problem with, I highly rate Ella's Kitchen and I think their pouches are bloomin' marvellous, they actually taste of what they're meant to contain.  And yes, I've eaten some!  If she's gotta eat it, the least I can do is try it.  No, the problem I have is that there isn't really much choice out there for this weaning stage and we all know that eating the same thing over and over and over in an endless cycle can soon get pretty tiring.

So I decided that I needed to pull my socks up a bit on the baby food front, especially as I had noticed This Baby had started producing red tinted poo due to an overload of tomato based products.  Sorry for mentioning poo, it's a Mother thing, our post-partum conversations take an instant nose dive from slurry Saturday night debates such as "What's actually in a Mojito?"  to biscuit in hand, tea fuelled chats with friends that seem quite normal dispute starting with the sentence "I was studying my little darling's poo the other day....."   Some sort of conversational assassin sneaks in and takes over without our knowledge or understanding.

I would spend sodding ages messing about in the kitchen producing delicious nutritious meals for my oldest, I once faffed about for hours producing a homemade baby version of baked beans which contained cheese, chives and gold dust probably.   Would she eat it?  Would she heck!  She still wont eat beans to this day, I probably scarred her.

I'm looking forward to the day when we can share our adult means with This Baby and just give her a simpler version of what we're having.  We can pull that off sometimes now, chicken casserole, lentil daal, roasts and that sort of thing come her way, but some things aren't really suitable for one so little.  If something is too grown up for her I noticed that she just spits it straight back out, this often seems to be when something is too dry for her palate, she needs some kind of sauce to help things slip down comfortably.

So yesterday I went about producing her a sauce with a base of fresh tomatoes, red onion, herbs and a little broccoli.  This was then cooled and put into the freezer with a view to taking out a chunk and adding it a little of our meals so that's it's easier for her to deal with. &nbsp I didn't take pictures whilst I was making it, as I was too busy, well, making it.  I'm also not going to insult your intelligence with a "Recipe" because it really isn't one.  Just some food, suitable for a little tinker with a big appetite, smooshed up. But it looked good, smelt good and tasted yummy.

I also roasted some butternut squash with a view to doing the same, it's handy for making a sauce out of and adding to a little rice and cheese to form a risotto.

I've never been a particularly big fan of buying too much food that's specifically aimed at children, but after becoming an avid reader of Hattie's inspirational blog Free Our Kids I've really gone off the idea. I feel bad that I've fallen down this slippery slope and on this basis I'm going to try and limit the food based kiddie crap that we buy in future.  One thing in particular that really annoys me is the concept of children's pasta.  Pasta is pasta, right?  There's no such thing as children's pasta!  Just buy smaller shapes, or mash it up!  Don't pay an extra £1.50 for the privilege of being told that's it's the perfect size.

One thing that I've stumbled upon for This Baby that I wanted to share with you that I swear by, SWEAR BY  is Orzo, otherwise known as rice pasta.  It's a fabulous size and a really interesting consistency.  I bought this whopping great big bag from Tesco recently in the world food section for £1.  There is a Tesco Finest one as well, but it costs double for the same amount and in my mind it's a less authentic version...


It's ideal for her little mouth, bulks out a vegetable puree or a sauce that I've made and tastes really good.  In fact I was trying to get a fabulously arty shot of This Baby's bowl with her spoon in, but she was having none of that and whipped some of it it into her mouth impatiently.  Now that's a very good sign!



I'd love to hear any hints or tips that you have for this stage of weaning.  Any favourite recipes?  Any suggestions or foods you can't live without?  Please, please let me know .  Hopefully we'll be able to stay off the jars for a little while!

Love, love,

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34 comments:

  1. Lol this post made me giggle, the poo thing is SO true!

    I've never tried orzo but it looks interesting. We're far from weaning yet so I don't have any tips i'm afraid but I'll be bearing yours in mind when the time comes!

    Hayley
    Sparkles & Stretchmarks
    xxx

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    1. Before having children I swore I'd never talk about poo or openly sniff my baby's bottom in public. I do both all the time, the shame!!

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  2. Ha, the poo thing is so true - I tend to find I can tell when I've been feeding her too much spinach!! Boak.

    You'll get no Annabel Karmel love from me, I still can't get my head around how she has managed to make her fortune telling people how to whizz up vegetables.

    I find the thing that really saves my sanity when it comes to dinner time is the freezer! More often than not, it'll get to 4.30/5pm and I'll think "crap! What am I feeding you today?!" Knowing that I've got bits and bobs that can quickly be defrosted in the microwave is a godsend. Pasta sauce frozen in cubes like you've made (mainly a 'what needs using up from the bottom of the fridge stylee), tuna tomatoey pasta stuff, chilli con carne - in fact, I think I wrote about this on my blog, let me find the link...

    There you go! Hopefully a few more ideas for you:
    http://sittinginthekitchensink.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/weaning-story-so-far.html

    We seem to be eating a lot of omelettes at the moment cos they're easy - mozzarella, spinach and pea mixed in is yum! (And I get to eat the other half, hoorah!)

    Orzo is fab - I'm with you on the not spending gazillions of pounds on baby pasta! We get ours from Asda for £1. Spaghetti broken up works well too (I did try it long but she got in a bit of a tangle!).x

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    1. Ooooh, thank you for the link Helen. I remember this post and thought it was excellent, though typically it didn't stay in my mind. I'm trying out drop scones for our lunch later this week. And I think she's going to really enjoy crumpets too! And of course omelettes! Mozzarella spinach & pea sounds amazing! I'm determined to get this daughter eating eggs, the other flatly refuses.

      Thank you my dear, you have proved most useful! And you're absolutely right, the freezer is my absolute best friend!!!

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  3. Cannot bear her! She's not an expert, she's a business woman. Her recipes are bland. I was a nanny for over 20 years and believe me, your child is far better off with family food mushed up! x

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    1. She's not normal is she? I don't know a single mother who looks like that, those eyes! Those crazy eyes! Thank you for the vote of confidence my dear, so many people seem to hang on her every word I was starting to think I must be a lunatic ;)

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  4. Orzo! Hadn't even considered that! My best 'recycle stuff we actually enjoy eating ourselves' tips are: risotto and tagines - both soft but sticky on spoons so smalls have a decent chance of getting some into mouth, both ace for hiding veg and the dried fruit in tagines masked the taste of stuff he's usually reject with sweetness. Also, both doable on small budget: pudding rice instead of pricier risotto rice and whatever veg is on offer at the market; tagines use cheaper tougher cuts of meat than melt in the pressure cooker. Whoop!

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    1. Tagine!!! Brilliant suggestion! I think we'd all like that. Fab idea, thank you :) And you're right about the stickier the better, that hadn't really occurred to me before, but if I give her a fighting chance of getting food into her mouth she's going to be so much more interested. A friend used to make shepherds pie balls with sticky mash and mince rolled together for her little one that went down a treat apparently, i'd forgotten all about them!

      I bloomin love blogging, I feel all refreshed with new ideas that I can't wait to try out. Thank you so much!!!

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  5. I wish I could remember all of my accumulated wisdom from feeding my five when they were little. I can't. I think mostly, we mashed whatever we were eating and tried to coax the babe into giving it a try... Also, I remember holding babes on my lap as I fed myself and them. Hard to keep their hair clean...my spoonfuls didn't always clear the top of their head. That sounds terrible. They're all healthy and fairly well adjusted now though.

    I had fun reading this post. Always enjoy your humor...Lynaea @ EveryDayBloom.com

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    1. I love the idea of feeding her on my lap, she always wants to interact and copy what we're doing so bringing her in close should really engage her. I would never have thought to take her out of her chair, I don't know why, thank you so much for the suggestion, and as always, thank you so much for reading :)

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  6. I used a lot of macaroni pasta with different sauces most the time and gnocchi she seemed to love a lot too. Another favourite she enjoys quite a bit was buying puff pastry and and filling it with onions, lightly fried, tomato sauce and a little bit of cheese and then rolling it up and put in the oven for 20 minutes then you could cut it in slices and just eat that way. Was a big hit with them both that one x

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    1. My gosh, that sounds delicious! I've just added puff pastry to the shopping list! And I hadn't thought of gnocchi either as I'm not a big fan, but it would be perfect for her and her little fingers, thank you lovely!

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  7. Being a mummy of six, I have adopted the relaxed attitude! Annabel Karmel has no place in my kitchen (no-one that has a perfect hair do and makeup can really be feeding young children) I find that whatever I put in front of the youngest child, they will always prefer to lean over and take the `family meal' off of the nearest person-usually one of the teenagers who you need to quick to pinch or it will be gone in seconds, therefore I have thrown the baby recipes out of the window and just adapted the meal we are having to include littles ones needs xxx

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    1. I think that's going to be they key, it's like being at a restaurant and wanting the opposite person's meal I suppose, I'm so guilty of that, I don't know why I imagine she would be any different! Gosh, six Mandy! How lovely! I would LOVE to have six babies! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your wise words xx

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  8. I completely and utterly agree with you about Annabel Karmel!! She is too perfect to be ruddy true!! I reviewed some pots of hers a couple of months ago and my main complaint was the price - it was crazy! I was lucky enough to discover Grace liked smoked mackerel (I searched meticulously for the bones though!) and avocados. I just do whatever, whenever and try not to stress. Thanks for your support of PoCoLo once again lovely xx

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    1. Smoked mackerel is very impressive! She has excellent taste doesn't she? Very grown up, I wouldn't have gone near an avocado until my late teens I'm sure.....I would be VERY proud of her eating so well :)

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  9. I am not a fan of baby aimed products anyway i think similar versions of adults meals are far cheaper! #PoCoLo

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    1. They are aren't they? The only thing I worry about is the hidden salt, but I figure that she eats such a small portion the salt in her meal is going to be comparatively low....:)xx

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  10. I gasped at your first sentence and then laughed my way through the rest of your post!Its been years since I weaned my lot but STILL I remember the name Annabel Karmel!This post needs giving to all mums with young kiddiewinks...brill!

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    1. Hahaha! Bless you Jess, thank you. Flippin' woman, she's not normal. It'll probably come out in a few years that she's actually a robot....like a baby food version of Terminator....

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  11. This made me lol! Do you know I never once read any of her stuff nor bothered to buy any of her books ;) we love orzo and it's tasty! We did long spaghetti chopped up and even the normal adult wholemeal pasta twirls cut in half, macaroni cheese and slag boll with it, sausages, chicken with different sauces, cottage pie, omelettes. Great post and made me smile xx

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    1. I used to use her books a lot with my oldest, but I think that came down to the fact that I felt like I needed to be told what to do, what was ok and what wasn't. I've gained confidence now and that's made me question what's written so much more that it's put me off. I'm very impressive that you've managed to escape from her! I've had so many brilliant suggestions here that I've made a list in my notebook! I love blogging for this, I would never have thought of half of these ideas, because I have a tendency to go round and round in circles with meal ideas, which can get very, very dull. Thank you for your help lovely!

      P.S Slag boll made me chuckle!

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  12. Great post Kate! You are so right - she just looks a little bit too put together to be dealing in baby food and babies all day! I used Orzo for mine as well and completely agree, it's fab and really the perfect size and texture for them. I would boil chicken and veggies like butternut squash and carrots with a large onion to make a soup then just add the orzo at the end - simply and easy and they loved it xx

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    1. Soup is another great idea! There's NO reason a little one can't enjoy soup is there?! NEVER would have thought of that, thank you!!! I really like Orzo, probably because it's a bit different from the norm. For some weird reason I have a hatred of pasta shaped like bows, must have had too much in a past life!! Thank you so much for your ideas Xandi xx

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  13. We LOVE orzo in our house! Totally agree about Annabel Karmel - anyone that looks that polished when cooking for toddlers, CLEARLY isn't doing it right!!! xxxx

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    1. Ha! You're not wrong!!! Peculiar lady!

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  14. I make soup and serve it with toast or pitta bread. Or sometimes I cook & mush up spinach, peas and soft cheese, then use it as a filling for a pasty. Those often go down well!

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    1. Gosh, that sounds delicious! I love the idea of baby pasties, I'll give that a try, thank you :)

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  15. I used alot of her recipes when the girls were babies but now I just dont have time or inclination. I liked the recipes because they were easy but they did all tend to taste the same after a while. And I totally agree on children's pasta - ridiculous!

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    1. Silly isn't it? Children's pasta indeed!!! Pah!!

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  16. Sorry, I have nothing useful to add but wanted to let you know that this post made me giggle. My girls are still difficult to feed even these days. Never been a fan of that woman either :P

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    1. Happy to have made you smile my dear :) xxx

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  17. Haha, this made me laugh. Love the way you write Kate!

    I LOVE Ellas Kitchen stuff, totally gutted Little Miss has grown out of it! I have to admit I once used the Spag Bol one for my own pasta sauce. Was delicious!

    My little one is pretty good at eating. She usually eats whatever we're having but mashed up with a potato masher! If it is something she can't eat she'll have some tinned pasta shapes and bread. She also likes finger food at lunch time, sandwich/cheese on toast, cooked chicken torn up, crisps, cheese squares, raisin, crackers etc, basically whatever we have in the cupboard! She loves yoghurts, custard, banana, cake for dessert. We keep a kids meal in the freezer for emergencies.

    I really struggle coming up with kids meals because I'm a firm believer in that everyone should eat the same (my mum screwed my sister over by making her something different so now she barely eats anything!) I got really lucky with Little Miss.. her only problem is she needs more teeth to progress with her eating!

    Sorry I haven't had anything to add really!

    Amy x cocktailsinteacups.com

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    1. Nothing to add!!! They're great suggestions!! Lovely that Little Miss has a healthy appetite. I laughed our loud at you using Ella's sauce for yourself!!! Absolute genius!!

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