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.

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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 Mom365.com

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.

Green Machine Gets Smoothie

Okay, bear with me on this “add one more green thing” food excursion, because it’s just not as easy as it sounds.  So what we’re doing, it just having that one green thing until we get tired of it and then we plan to replace it with something more awesome that’s green.  And by “we” I mean Sillyboy and I.  The husband is just a observer because he’s not sure how long our little pact will last.

Juices are all the rage- or at least they were last year.  And now- history repeats itself and the smoothie is back ya’ll!  (Yes, I say ya’ll on a random basis- don’t hate, hater!).

I was skimming through either the latest issue of Babytalk or Parenting magazines and found a small recipe section for easy smoothies.  I’m all about easy- and easy to me is 5 ingredients/steps or less (think Claire Robinson).  I attempted to find the online version of the page, but since they are melded together on one site, I haven’t found it yet to share the official copy with you.  But share I will, because I totally tore out half the page and promptly stuck on the fridge.  Out of the 3 fruity recipes listed, only one met my criteria because it was both green and vegan (i.e. no yogurt or milk).  And it was awesome-sauce.  Except Sillyboy is freaked out by the bits-o-green that float around.  Back to juicing kale instead?

Here’s the supply breakdown:

Image

Green Machine Smoothie

1 cup organic kale (washed and chopped- no stems please!)

1/2 green apple (peeled and chopped)

1/2 banana (peeled and chopped)

1/2 cup of orange juice

3 ice cubes

And there you have it- stick all the ingredients into a blender for about 30 seconds- the Green Machine.  I used our Magic Bullet for the one-drink occasion.  This is NOT to be confused with Naked Juice’s green machine that contains seaweed and some other many green ingredients.  It is delish/sweet/not tangy/fresh/frothy goodness.  And a bit textured.  Just a tad.  If you’re the kind of person who can handle pulp in your orange juice, you wind mind the kale crumbles in there.  But if you can’t handle it and pulp makes you gag (like the husband), maybe pouring it through a piece of cheesecloth will work better (like for Sillyboy’s anti-pulp drinking case).

ImageYou get your fruit and green servings in there at the start of the day- which is helpful in case you decide to pig out on onion rings later when the kids are in bed.  We love us some late night greasy (albeit not often) trips to Sonic.  Viola!  Green is good.  have you figured out any other ways to fit some healthy green food options into your family’s meals?

An Easy Way to Find Green at Breakfast

I challenged a 6 year old.  They love challenges, but I this was a tough one.  I challenged him to eat something green every day.  Unfortunately, green eggs and ham don’t count because A.) he’s already had that as part of a meal during a week long school author-study, B.) He doesn’t eat ham (or any beef/pork products), and C.) they didn’t grow “green” that way. The vegan version is so green, it kind of freaks me out anyways.  Ideally I would love to have him eat something green at every meal, but we’re working with baby steps here- and a pretty stubborn almost-first grade kid.  So we tried to think of foods he likes that are green: green beans, peas, kale, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, avocado, and kiwi.   Fruit for the win!  Lucky him- and lucky momma, he enjoys Greek yogurt (though the husband does not in the least), too.

Green things Sillyboy does not like: cabbage, honey dew, brussel sprouts (I think he gets that from me), and mustard greens (ditto).

Here’s our super-easy healthy breakfast – with a bit-o-green:

1. Organic granola- we can’t get enough of the Cascadian Farms versions (U.S. grown and certified organic).

2. Fage Total 0% (full-fat) Authentic Greek yogurt (it’s actually made in Athens, Greece).

3. Pack of Ripe & Easy kiwis

Spoon in as much Greek yogurt as you love, sprinkle some granola on top, and add sliced kiwis.  Sillyboy will eat two bowls of this with two kiwis each on a wakeful weekday.  There you go- some green for breakfast.  Does anyone have other green ideas for breakfast?  The green smoothie route was short lived already, so we defeated that fad.  Not that they aren’t great, we just need a more substantial breakfast in our house of heavy eaters.  What are some other kid-friendly and time easy ideas for breakfast?