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Tag Archives: baby-led weaning

Baked vegetable bites

These vegetable bites are really a variation of my zucchini (courgette) bites, with more veg thrown in! They’re great for using up vegetables lurking in your fridge (you can really use almost anything), and leftover bites can go into tomorrow’s lunchboxes or frozen for another day.

baked vegetable bitesSince coming up with our leftover veggie pops (or ‘cheesy lollipops’ as Nicholas calls them), I often put food on sticks. If you have a fussy eater, I would definitely try putting food they don’t particularly like on sticks.

For littler ones, especially those doing baby-led weaning, these bites are the perfect size for little fingers to pick up and feed themselves.

The bites are baked rather than fried, which not only means they’re healthier but you can throw them in the oven and forget about them for a while instead of standing in front of a frying pan turning them over. Sometimes before baking them I roll the balls into some extra breadcrumbs so they end up with a thin crunchy coating.

Don’t worry too much about exact quantities. If the mixture is too wet to shape into balls, just add some more breadcrumbs; if it’s too dry, add a little bit more beaten egg.

baked vegetable bites 2BAKED VEGETABLE BITES

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15-18 mins
Makes about 16 bites
Freezable

1 medium-large zucchini/courgette, finely grated and squeezed
1 medium carrot, finely grated
1 handful spinach, finely shredded
1 egg
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
Pinch of salt (optional)
Extra dry breadcrumbs for coating (optional)

Heat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Put all the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and mix until combined.

Shape into small balls (adding some more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet). Roll balls in the extra breadcrumbs if using.

Place on the lined baking tray and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

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Baby oat cakes

My regular readers will know by now that I always need inspiration for breakfast. So when I came across Laura’s microwave raspberry oat cakes, I woke up the next morning with a spring in my step, eager to try them.

I’m a big fan of porridge for little ones as there are so many variations you can do, and this is a brilliant different way to use porridge oats. It’s also super quick and open to variations.

These mini oat cakes would be perfect for baby-led weaning, ideal finger food for a toddler snack, and I even made another for my afternoon tea!

Laura makes hers with frozen raspberries. I first tried frozen strawberries and then some raisins I’d soaked in warm water (if giving to a baby, it’s important to first soak any dry fruit to avoid any possible choking hazard). Try to use a banana that’s as ripe as possible as it will be sweeter (actually this is another great recipe for using up overripe bananas).

They were a great success with Nicholas who called them biscuits and dunked them in milk. He said ‘yum’ in English and Italian as well as signing it, interspersed with requests for ‘more!’. I couldn’t have been happier πŸ™‚

Check out more of Laura’s budget-friendly family recipes on her blog Small Wallet Big Appetite.

BABY OAT CAKES

Prep time: 3 mins
Cook time: 4 mins
Makes 1 oat cake

1/2 medium banana
1/4 cup (20g) raw porridge oats
A pinch of cinnamon
4-5 pieces of chopped frozen strawberry

Mash the banana in a small microwave-safe bowl (I used one that was about 10cm across at the bottom).

Add the cinnamon and oats, mixing well so all the oats are covered in banana.

Gently mix through the frozen pieces of strawberry.

Press the mixture down firmly into the bottom of the bowl and cook in the microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until it turns into a firm little cake.

Tip the mini cake out. Once cooled, cut it into wedges.

Variations:

  • use other frozen berries instead of strawberries
  • use dried fruit (raisins, chopped apricots, etc) instead of strawberry, but soak them beforehand if giving to a baby

Soft butternut squash cakes

I’ve been more focused on toddler-friendly meals lately, natural since Nicholas is getting bigger, but I don’t want to stop experimenting with recipes that are also good for your smaller little ones.

These little vegetable cakes are very soft inside so great for babies without teeth. They are a simpler (and slightly quicker) version of my Butternut Squash and Chickpea Cakes, which are easily adapted to feed the whole family.

I made some medium and small-sized ones, but because of their softness the small ones (about 4cm in diameter) are easier for small fingers to hold and also easier to flip over when you’re cooking them.

If you’re making these for toddlers you can add some seasoning and also some spice (I used a teaspoon each of paprika and cumin for a warming spicy flavour). If you’re introducing a little spice to your munchkin, start with 1/2 teaspoon each of spices.

Use your preferred method of cooking the butternut squash, remembering that the quicker you cook it, the more nutrients remain. For toddlers you can leave the peel on as it will get chopped up in the food processor when you combine it with the other ingredients.

This recipe makes a large batch of cakes – perfect to have in the freezer for days you don’t feel like cooking.

SOFT BUTTERNUT SQUASH CAKES

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Makes about 40 mini cakes (or 26 medium cakes)
Freezable

Approx. 400g cooked butternut squash
1 medium courgette (zucchini), coursely grated
1 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup plain flour
Drizzle of olive oil or cooking spray

For toddler version also:
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper

Put the butternut squash into a food processor and blend until smooth. If you’ve left the skin on, check that it’s broken up into small pieces.

Add the grated courgette, chickpeas, egg yolk and flour. Blend until combined (the mixture will be quite runny almost like a pancake mixture).

If making for a toddler, add the paprika, cumin and season to taste.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a med-low heat, spray with cooking spray or use a drizzle of olive oil.

Drop small spoonfuls of mixture into the pan (don’t overcrowd the pan to make turning them easier), flipping them after a few minutes when they’re golden brown and cooking the other side. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Leave to cool a little (they’ll firm up a bit as they get cooler). Serve with yogurt to dip them into.

Variations:

  • Use sweet potato instead of butternut squash
  • For toddlers, try some different spices such as ground coriander
  • Add some fresh coriander to the mixture

What other soft foods do you like to make for your little ones, especially when they don’t yet have teeth?

French toast soldiers (sugar-free)

Breakfast. I’m never that creative with my own so I guess it’s logical that I struggle to be creative with Nicholas’. Mashed banana and yogurt has been our staple since his early days of weaning. He still eats it about three times a week, it never fails (he starts chanting ‘nana!, nana!’ as soon as I pick up a banana), and I can prepare it while still half asleep. But regardless of whether or not he gets bored of it, I get bored preparing it and also feel guilty that I should be giving him more of a variety of food to start the day.

In the early months of weaning I did grated apple, grated pear, grated apple and pear (!), and baby porridge. I don’t know why I never thought of French toast then. Slightly crispy on the outside, and lovely and soft inside, it’s certainly something a baby can tackle with their super strong gums, and a great baby-led weaning food. It’s also a nice way to introduce baby to other flavours like cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.

Thanks to Once a Month Mom, I discovered you can freeze French toast after you make it (saves you throwing away the unused egg mixture), make it into kabobs, and, more surprisingly, you can hide vegetables in it (she adds butternut squash puree!). I haven’t tried adding vegetables, but I have tried adding some mashed banana and also applesauce to the mixture before dunking the bread and these additions both work well.

You can dunk your soldiers in applesauce or a warm berry compote, drizzle with golden syrup or maple syrup, or serve them with fruit on the side (raw or stewed). Nicholas seems to like them as I do – plain with a drizzle of honey.

FRENCH TOAST SOLDIERS (SUGAR-FREE)

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Makes 1 toddler serving
Freezable

1 slice of bread, cut into 4 or 5 ‘soldiers’
1 egg
1 tbsp milk
a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg
1 tsp honey (optional)
a couple of drops of vanilla essence (optional)
1 tsp butter

In a bowl large enough for your ‘soldiers’ to lie down in, lightly beat the egg, milk, and cinnamon or nutmeg (and honey and vanilla, if using).

Lay your ‘soldiers’ in the eggy mixture and let them soak on both sides while you heat the butter in a small frying pan over a med-low heat.

Fry the bread for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown.

Variations:

  • add mashed banana or applesauce (or even pureed butternut squash or sweet potato!) to the mixture before dunking
  • use cute cookie cutters to make different shapes of ‘soldiers’ to surprise your little one