Baby Led Weaning (BLW) Round 2 and 2.5ish

I like to say “round” instead of stage or trial, since we’re in this for the long baby led weaning fight.  We’ll be patient and we’ll be diligent in our efforts.  I say “we” but it is really like a boxing match- it all depends on the other person (in this case: Bambina).  Even though I’m being a rebel by skipping all the purees and cereals, I am taking the usual 3-4 days in between introducing new foods in case there are any funky allergic-like reactions.

Sillyboy, as an infant, started having slight unhappy stomach issues when he had apples, but it was actually applesauce (we even tried sugar free) that did it.  We didn’t offer anything apple related and slowly figured out it was the sauce vs. whole apple slices.  Luckily he grew out of it and has both apples and applesauce often without any tummy troubles or allergies.

First BLW food: sweet potato spears (sauteed)

Second BLW food: bananas (raw, peel on- sliced like so, below).  See, you need to leave on the peel so baby has a handle or a grip to hold the mushy food.  She did hold the banana, take a little chip off- but then she was done.  I won’t say it was a #fail but after two days I decided to try something different in flavor and color.  We’ll come back to my beloved banana soon though.

Third BLW food: avocado spears (peel on).

Yes, absolutely with the peel on.  Those U.K. moms are so clever.  At first I was skeptical, so I sliced spear-shapes sans peel.  They lasted about 2 seconds as Bambina pummeled them into mush with her mighty baby strength.  I say pummel because I think she knew it looked squishy and was testing it out and decided to have a bit of messy fun.  Then I realized the error of my ways and gave her 3 or 4 slices with the peel ON.  And that’s when I like to say Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!  Because that’s what we do around here, and I am not exactly sure what it means except you have to say it loudly when something goes your way and is awesome sauce.

Bambina went to town and knew immediately what to do with the peel-on slices.  She didn’t even give the non-peel slices a second look.  She concentrated on picking up a piece- first with her left then with her right hand, and stuck it directly in her mouth and started gumming it.  I may or may not have cheered before quieting down to finish my meal and not make Bambina feel awkward at all.  The rest of the fam had sliced avocado in our salad, to be sure that she is really having something we’re having as part of our meal .

She ate and she smeared some and went right back to picking pieces up and eating some more.  It was a glorious she’s-never-done-this-before day!  Bambina did so well (and must have enjoyed the avocado a ton), she didn’t have many stray pieces or hidden crevices full of mushy greenness.

There you have it, round 2.5ish for the poor banana attempts, and a real round 2 for the avocado goodness.  We will carry on and give a few more rounds to different options- more colors and definitely up the texture and flavor variety.  With BLW, there isn’t a real timeline of what you should try when, except for fruits and veggies, then meats and grains.  Bambina seems to be up for it. Carry on.

Biscuits and Vengeance with S.O.S

Okay so I’ve heard about the Post Punk Kitchen, but don’t consider myself post-punk (it’s a rock genre, too) nor much of a punk-kitchen-ish type.  It’s where vegans go and talk and tweak and read reviews, techniques, and recipes for super delish food.  I’m not armed with exotic kitchen skillz and though I recreationally read (oh, about 2 a week) cookbooks from cover to cover, I usually pick only one recipe to try out.  Here’s that one try! Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa-

I’m in love with biscuits.  I know I said I’m a potato girl, but biscuits are in close competition for second place on my list of yummy starchy foods.  I like biscuits for breakfast in all their pb&j glory, as well as using them for dipping into soups, substituting them for sandwich bread, and even for S.O.S.

What’s S.O.S. you ask?  In the layman’s language, it’s “shit on a shingle” or for the rest of non-foul mouthed America (does that exist, really?), it’s biscuits and gravy.  Or biscuits and sausage gravy.  Or the English folk like beans on toast. Or the most popular: creamed chipped beef on toast.  All of the above are s.o.s. and SO tasty.  Unless you’re vegan.  Strike out if you’re trying to get anything at a restaurant or beg your non-vegan mom to make it for you sans any meat/fat/dairy. Sad face.

So Isa Chandra Moskowitz has an easy biscuit recipe at the beginning (first chapter) of this cookbook. And it’s simple, easy, and way cheaper than buying a tube of Pilsbury at the store.  I remember making biscuits when I was little and it requiring lots of kneading and sitting or something.  No way, not at my house at least.  So we started with sifting the dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, some salt.  Then we cut in the shortening (Crisco) and vegan margarine (Earth’s Balance)- which I did the el-cheapo way; by using two butter knives.

Then I had to alter it- because the original recipe called for soy or rice milk but neither of those are to my or Sillyboy’s liking, so I used almond milk and it worked well.  Oh, and I guess I had another alteration way back in the dry ingredient add-in; we had half a cup of leftover wheat flour that I mixed in with some regular baking flour.  Maybe I’m more post punk kitchen-ish than I think?  Okay not.  After I added in the cold milk, I worked it into a dough with my hands, rolled it out and used a drinking glass to cut out pretty circles.

I placed them (about 16 small biscuits, half an inch thick) on a greased cookie sheet, then baked them for about 12 minutes at 450 degrees.  You can kind of see the wheat flecks in the biscuits up close- which I think made them a tad drier than I like, but they were SO yummy.  Sillyboy even asked for another one as we huddled by the oven eating freshly baked biscuits before the husband wandered through wondering what we were eating so late at night.  (Vegan is good anytime is what I say).

Before the baking part, I’d say the entire recipe took me about 5 minutes to make.  Maybe 6 if you include gathering the few ingredients.  I couldn’t find the actual recipe on the ppk site or online, but I’ll be sure to share it- because there are many variations of vegan biscuits that mostly try to replicate the good ol’ buttermilk ones -which aren’t necessary for what we eat them with.  But it was late at night, I was in a pinch, so I proceeded to heat up a can of Bush’s Baked Beans- the Vegetarian version rich in brown sugar but perfect and heats up in about 3 mins. I had s.o.s. for dinner and considering I had made homemade vegan biscuits, it was the best s.o.s.

Have you ever made biscuits from “scratch” or would you ever try to make the vegan version?  Do you happen to have your own version of s.o.s.?  I hear it’s different depending on which state you grew up in, but since I grew up on a military base it’s quite common for the creamed beefy version.

Baby Led Weaning Round 1

BLW time here at casa de’ LunchingMom.  Bambina just hit the half-birthday mark and has been working on her sittin’ up skillz (skills with extra umph right there).  And since I’m a crazy potato girl (sweet potato that is, though I try to limit our nightshade veggie intake), I thought she might enjoy some roasted or sauteed sweet potatoes.  One of the goals of baby led weaning is that your child will eat with you, instead of eating before or after or not be present and part of the family meal time. Here’s a great essay that simplifies BLW in a nutshell from

I remember when Sillyboy was little, the husband and I thought we were so awesome at tag-teaming at meals.  Except one of us always had to reheat our food. No one wants to nuke a freshly prepared whole-food meal of goodness (see radio wave lunch here)!  So for two nights we had a sweet potato side with dinner- and no one minded at all.

I washed and peeled two organic sweet potatoes then sliced them up into sticks so Sillyboy could regard them as having fries for dinner, and Bambina would have a good size to hold and munch. Then sauteed them stove top in a pan with a touch of sesame oil (try it- because it’s an amazing compliment to the sweetness).

Most of the articles and videos I’ve watched recommend the bigger the better in slicing shapes for BLW.  Think spear shapes or potato wedges.  This way your baby has something to hold onto in either hand, and adequate area to gum the food. Once they get the pincer grasp down (8-10 months-ish) you can hit up the smaller slices.  A lot of U.K. families swear by leaving the peel on most fruits and veggies, which is really helpful when handling avocado (a first favorite here and abroad) and bananas.  Babies learn which side has the good flavors pretty quick.

Baby’s food and the fam’s food done at the SAME time= #win.  I placed about 3-4 sweet potato slices on her highchair tray (no plates  or utensils needed) and tried not to stare Bambina down intently just waiting to ooh and ah.  So we all said our dinner prayer and chowed down.  I did peek at her from the corner of my eye as did the boys- to keep an eye on her for fear of choking and/or taste-bud delight.  It could go either way, really.  Luckily she loved it!  She was really quick to grab a piece at a time and start gumming it.  She smeared it around, she threw some pieces on the floor (aka gave the dogs some snackage), but managed to chew a few pieces off- eat some and spit some out.  Every time she’d run out of big pieces, I just handed over more until she was totally not interested which was about when we were all done eating.  Then I had to clean.

Clean I did.  I cleaned the tray, the floor, the seat, and what?- How did sweet potato get smeared inside her onesie?! I didn’t realize until she was having her bath she had smeared it in her hair above her ear. wth.  I did purchase a fancy long sleeved bib cover I plan to use when we’re out and about (Ikea makes super cheap useful ones that you can purchase on Amazon, because Ikea doesn’t have online purchasing for most of their kid items, especially not to Missouri), but she gets a bath after dinner every night so it’s one less thing for me to wash.

I feel like it’s one more stepping stone on this different kind of food journey and I’ll try to keep you posted.  Have you tried anything like BLW before?  Do you stick to purees (homemade?) and just give baby a nosh every once in awhile of your food?

The Old Switcheroo

Getting green= by taking baby steps.  Here’s a quick and easy baby step for getting green and it involves your eyes.  Or, more accurately, making your eyes green.  No, that’s confusing, too.  I’m pulling the old switcheroo and suggesting that you pitch your old reliable mascara and try an organic one.

ImageIt’s not too crazy of an idea, because technically a tube of mascara should only last you about 3 or 4 months since the black goop gets dried out and harbors germs in there.  So you could try a tube of Physicians Formula (which can be found at Target, CVS, and Walgreens in the regular make-up aisle!) mascara and if you don’t like it, you could go back to your originating brand.  Why?—>

Physicians Formula Mascara is 100% organic, all-natural, and doesn’t test on animals in case that helps makes you feel warm and fuzzy about switching. :)  It doesn’t clump, it doesn’t flake, and it’s free of parabens (scary things your body actually absorbs), and the packaging all recyclable (double bonus).  I’ve been using mine for a week now, and the first thing I notice is that it’s super easy to put on with a slick, smooth formula.  It’s easier to take off in the evenings, and takes up the same amount of space in my makeup bag.  Easy peas-y.

Try it and let me know- are you game for taking the leap and trying an organic make-up product?  Most people are too chicken, and don’t want their money to be wasted.  After perusing a few make-up blogs, and some Youtube help (yes, they teach you to style your lashes with said product), every single person thought it worked out well.  What other daily organic products do you use?  How well do they compare to the chemical laced versions?

Kid Approved Easy Pasta aka He Hates Spaghetti

I love almost all things FoodNetwork– the good, the bad, the artery-clogging butter, and spiteful dessert chefs that compete each week.  Luckily the kid does too!  Sillyboy’s favorite chefs include Alton Brown, Rachel Ray, and Paula Deen and always asks why my food and desserts never look like that. Or he’ll pick out the most complicated time consuming (albeit most delish looking) recipe and ask for us to try it.

“Ummm….maybe next time. We have to find those kitchen tools.”

I’ve convinced him he should be a chef himself so he can get paid to make all this stuff when he’s all grown up.  After a few viewings of Ratatouille (hey that Rat is somehow super adorable and I envy his passion for cheese), he’s convinced too.  So we work him into the nightly dinner routine, finding small things he can do.  He can wield a plastic knife with the best, play spin-cycle machine with greens in the sink, and dig for kitchen utensils in the farthest reaches of our tiny kitchen drawers. But stirring, stirring is somehow not cool to him and so he will only do so for about 10 seconds before wandering off to his Lego table.

Another thing I should mention about Sillyboy is that he loves ketchup, hates marinara. Hates anything spaghetti/tomato sauce related.  So 99% of any pasta dish I have is thrown together sans tomatoes.  Pesto is a great tasty alternative, but the kid can’t handle his garlic!  He totally didn’t get those taste buds from me, I daringly enjoy full cloves of marinated garlic in hummus. #nom  But I found a FoodNetwork easy recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis that he consumes plentiful.

Lemon Spaghetti recipe

There’s only 7 ingredients, and instead of spaghetti noodles, I used cellenteni because it’s a fun pasta shape (corkscrews) you could eat with your fingers if need be and we usually don’t have regular long pasta around since we don’t dine on noodles/marinara.  Sillyboy uses our cheapy (Dollar Store) self-juicer after I’ve halved the lemons, and gets to cranking on the black pepper grinder.  I think we normally use about 3 lemons but it’s so yum- and really great even cold for a few days afterwards as leftovers.  It’s not vegan, but it’s vegetarian and I haven’t met anyone who’s tried it and didn’t enjoy.  What’s your go-to pasta dish that doesn’t include tomatoes?  Is it easy or does it maybe require a lengthy sauce?  Can your kid chip in to help and how?

P.S. Counting down the days (and perusing more BLW Youtube vids like this one) and getting sweaty-palmed as we venture forth with NO baby food for Bambina.  Only a few days ’til she’s officially 6 months old.

BLW aka Baby-Led-Weaning

DS, DD, SAHM, EBF, STTN, CIO and BLW.  Obviously, us moms love our acronyms and they come in handy when you are talking about the same things again and again.  The first 6 I’ve known for quiet awhile, especially with the help of Google and various mom/baby forums and boards over the years.  The way information travels these days, which is quicker than ever before, you can do all the paper and library book research you want, but the material could be totally outdated.  I did my library research, then hit up google and mom blogs after mom blogs, and Youtube actually helped the most!

Baby-Led Weaning is not new agey, but I’ve read it’s another cog in the “crunchy Mom” wheel that is so common these days.  It sounds like parents have realized that the way things were done when they were children- or their parents themselves were children- aren’t exactly raising the healthiest eaters each generation.  Companies are capitalizing on charging what they charge so it’s one less things for moms to learn/handle/do in general.  It was a big deal to go from small glass baby food jars, to plastic reusable ones, and then from that to these space-saving pouches.  It seems the original idea was the most green to begin with, because glass doesn’t leach chemicals and make many happy crafty projects when reused.  I digress.

BLW: Baby led weaning is simple= no mushed food, no purees.  Go.

You take what the rest of the family is having, and slice it up into adequate sizes (comparable to either a potato chip, or two fingers in size) and give it to your baby.  You don’t “help” at all! or shove food or do any extra work for baby.  Baby doesn’t need a plate or utensils.  You sit back and eat your food like a family should, together at mealtime.  It sounds so easy!  I keep reading that it’s messy, but since I made all the baby food for Sillyboy at 6 months (never before! please don’t listen to the riffraff or your mom on cereal in a bottle or other scary things), I’d take a mess over the mountains of peeling/slicing/steaming/pureeing/portioning months anytime.  We begin late next week.  Have you tried baby led weaning?  Something similar?  A combination?  RhodeyGirlTests and YoungHouseLove have both tried with differing results, but both of their kids eat real (i.e. not baby) food every day too.

P.S. by the way, DS= Dear Son, DD= Dear Daughter, SAHM= Stay at home mom, EBF= Exclusively breastfed, STTN= Sleeping through the night, CIO= Crying it out.