Cauliflower

Cauliflower gets a bad rap for being boring, and quite frankly lives in the shadow of its green counterpart, broccoli. Which is too bad because it’s actually pretty versatile and delicious (nutritious too if you can believe it)! Kian loves it sauteed with a little butter and garlic. Over the summer, we love to toss it in olive oil and spices and throw it on the grill. Try it – it’s incredible!

cauliflower_grilled

1/4 cup olive oil. 2 tsp seasoning salt. 2 tsp smoked paprika. Toss and grill (in a bbq grill basket). Thank me next summer!

I had half a head of cauliflower in the fridge, with wishful thinking that I could still grill it on my patio, basking in the sun in some short shorts… But it was bloody cold and windy today (hello, fall weather!), so instead, I decided to finally jump the bandwagon and try this insta-blog-hyped-up cauliflower alfredo sauce. And I must say, it’s pretty good! Use it with pasta, rice, or over roasted vegetables!

Ohhhh yah.

Ohhhh yah.

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 – 3 cups cauliflower florets (I used half of a large cauliflower)

1/4 cup unsweetened and unflavoured non-dairy milk of choice (I used coconut milk)

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Pasta of choice (I used one box of run-of-the-mill penne)

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

Chopped vegetables of choice (I used a red bell pepper, a small zucchini, and 2 carrots… though peas and/or kale/spinach would work nicely too!)

 

  1. Add cauliflower florets in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for another 5-10 minutes until tender.
  2. While this cooks, prepare your vegetable medley. Sautee with olive oil and garlic in a separate pan until lightly browned.
  3. Drain cauliflower and place in a high speed blender (I used my trusty Nutribullet). Add the milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Use the now-empty large pot you used for the cauliflower to bring your pasta water to a boil. Add your desired amount of pasta and boil for the time instructed on the package. Drain pasta.
  5. Add cauliflower sauce back into the pot and add the drained pasta and sautéed vegetables. Heat over low-medium until heated enough to your liking. Salt again to taste.

**To baby-ify this recipe, I cooked up some orzo and chopped the sauteed vegetables a bit finer… then tossed it with 2 tbsp of the sauce .

How do you like to prepare cauliflower?

 

Reading Roundup! – August

Kian is all over books these days. He’s become quite attached to some of them, carrying them around, “reading” them while he eats, and urging me to sit on the floor with him to go over them… and over them… and over them again and again. And I don’t mind. He doesn’t watch TV, so I’m glad he’s urging me to read and not put on a DVD or something.

Anyway, you quickly realize how important it is to find age appropriate books for your child once they really start to pay attention to them. I remember receiving the book “First 100 Things That Go” when Kian was born, and just looking at it I thought, “this book is awful! How am I supposed to read this?”. But now that Kian loves to point at things, and LOVES cars, trucks and wheels, it’s his absolute favourite book! So there’s my first recco…

by Sarah Creese

 

 

Speaking of cars and trucks, I found this at the library and I can tell you that just this morning I read Trucks Roll 4 times in a row, and he still cried when I put the book away… The illustrations are big and bright, the rhythm of the text is easy and fun to recite for parents, and if your kid loves wheels as much as mine does, there’s plenty to point at in here…

trucksroll

by Craig Frazier (Illustrator), George Ella Lyon

My husband denies loving this book, but he often reads it to Kian in his best “trucker” voice and they both get really into it! He’s even started to quote it in daily life (there’s a glossary of truckin’ terms in the back). It’s probably a better book for pre-schoolers, but there’s plenty for your toddler to look at and point at in this book (great retro style illustrations), and you’ll learn a few things too through the “trucktionary”!

by Jamie Swenson

by Jamie Swenson

Ok and now for 2 books that have nothing to do with wheels… We got these 2 books as gifts on Kian’s first birthday, and he’s really grown to love them! Again, lots of things to point at in this wonderfully illustrated pair, and you’ll probably find yourself singing some of the pages instead of reading them… In fact, it’s a great way to introduce your little one to the songs and get them dancing!

by Cedella Marley, Bob Marley, Vanessa Newton (Illustrator)

by Cedella Marley, Bob Marley, Vanessa Newton (Illustrator)

by Cedella Marley, Bob Marley, Vanessa Newton (Illustrator)

by Cedella Marley, Bob Marley, Vanessa Newton (Illustrator)

What are some of your child’s favourite books?

 

The last bag

Today marks the day I used Kian’s last frozen 2oz bag of breastmilk.

March 22, 2014. The last time I ever pumped.

March 22, 2014. The last time I ever pumped.

A year ago, I didn’t think I’d feel emotional over it, but I’m realizing that this is bringing to a close a chapter in my journey as a mother, and ushering him into toddler age. I have to say, it’s a bit sad. Breastfeeding didn’t come easy to us – Kian lost a lot of his birth weight in the first week of his life because he wasn’t quite latching on correctly. So we supplemented with formula for a few days while I pumped and made frequent visits to the breastfeeding clinic. I had blisters, cracked nipples, clogged ducts… and months later when those first few teeth came in, it was a whole new ballgame. But we persevered and I’ve come to enjoy the time we spend together while nursing.

Breastfeeding bridesmaid.

Breastfeeding bridesmaid.

Funny, because I was always the single lady who said that I’d stop breastfeeding as soon as Kian got his first tooth. Now he’s got 8 and I’m still nursing every morning and at bedtime, and well… I’m going to miss it once we stop.

IMG_6439

There was a time when I wished it would end, and now I feel like the time has come much too soon.

 

 

Oatmeal

Every morning Kian has a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. In fact, his bowl is so big it’s often much bigger than my own. It still blows my mind how much this kid can eat!

Mostly he'll let me feed it to him with a spoon...

Mostly he’ll let me feed it to him with a spoon…

But mostly he'll want to eat it with his hands and style his hair with it...

But mostly he’ll want to eat it with his hands and style his hair with it…

It’s a super easy and nutritious food to feed your baby, since oats are high in fiber, calcium, protein and even some B vitamins. Here’s the simplest instructions for cooking rolled oats on your stovetop:

BASIC ROLLED OATS RECIPE

A giant bowl of oatmeal.

A giant bowl of oatmeal.

RATIO for OATS to LIQUID – 1:2

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups water, milk or a combination of both

**Generally, if I make a pot of oatmeal just for Kian, he’ll have 1/2 cup of oats, to 1 cup water.

– Bring water to a boil. Add in rolled oats and stir.

– Lower heat to medium and stir occasionally until oats reach desired texture and consistency.

 

And that’s it! But now comes the fun part… Dress your oats up – the possibilities are endless! So you and baby are never eating the same ol’ thing. Try some of our favourite combos:

DRIED FRUITS and BANANAS (as pictured above) – add in raisins and chopped up dates along with the oats when your water is boiling (to rehydrate the fruits to make them easier to chew). Add banana slices when the oats are fully cooked. Top with unsweetened almond milk.

MANGO and COCONUT – after the oatmeal is cooked, add in chunks of mango and unsweetened flaked coconut. Top with coconut milk.

APPLE CINNAMON – add in peeled and diced apples and raisins to boiling water, along with your oats. When oats are cooked, sprinkle in cinnamon. Top with rice milk.

SPICED PUMPKIN/SQUASH – when the oatmeal is halfway through cooking, add in 3-4 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin or squash. Stir until combined and add in 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla. Feel free to add in any sugar to taste, though I generally sweeten oatmeal with chopped dates. Top with soy milk.

APRICOTS and YOGURT – after oatmeal has been cooked, stir in 2-3 tablespoons of apricot puree and 2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt.

How do you like to dress up your oats?

 

Chia Seed Pudding

I must admit, I’m late to jump onto the chia seed bandwagon. I’ve seen them on the shelves of my local health food store, and all over posts in blogs and on instagram, but I only just got around to buying some last weekend. What took me so long? Ch-ch-ch-chia! I did a little reading (read: google’d) on chia seeds for babies, and the opinions seem to be split. Some think they’re good for baby, others think they’re not as good as they are for adults so why bother? Kian eats chia seeds by default if they’re in my food. I haven’t started to continually add them to his meals, but I probably will, because as a vegetarian, chia seeds have so much great stuff in them! They are high in protein, have a high density of omega-3 fatty acids, are full of antioxidants, and have 3 times more calcium than a serving of milk! Like I said, what took me so long?

I used Prana Ground White Chia Seeds.

I used Prana Ground White Chia Seeds.

I read somewhere that the best way for baby to get the nutrients from chia seeds is for breastfeeding moms to eat them and transfer all the goodness through breastmilk. So if you need any other excuse to eat this yummy chia seed pudding, feel free to tell yourself you’re doing it for the ramped up boob juice, and not because it’s incredibly delicious…

OMG. So good.

OMG. So good.

So here’s a gluten-free, vegan one for the mom’s (and dad’s, and probably older kids who like pudding, but you don’t want to serve them that boxed junk…):

Chocolate Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

1 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk)

1/4 cup chia seeds

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sweetener (I used agave, but you can use maple syrup)

dash of cinnamon

pinch of salt

Put all of the ingredients into a glass jar with a lid, give it a stir to make sure the chia seeds don’t clump together, then put the lid on. Shake it. Shake it. Shake it like a polaroid picture, until it is well combined. Stick the jar in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour, up to overnight, shaking occasionally. Serve chilled with your choice of toppings, ie. berries, bananas, nuts, shredded coconut, dried fruit, etc. and enjoy!

How do you use chia seeds?

Finger foods – Kiwi

I started serving kiwi to Kian when he was about 8 months old. At first, I tried throwing the fruit into my Nutribullet. BAD IDEA. FYI – never do this. The blender broke up the seeds and made things incredibly sour (oops!). So instead, I just mashed it up with a fork and mixed it in with other fruit (mostly banana, but also pear, mango, or apple puree work well).

photo 1

When a kiwi is ripe, it’s soft and very sweet. It’s also a great source of dietary fibre and loaded with antioxidants, making it a great addition to your baby’s fruit rotation. The hardest part about kiwi’s is the waiting period before they ripen. An unripened kiwi is hard and sour, so you’ll be happy you waited patiently… and sad if you cut into too early.

photo 2

If you see them in your supermarket, try “Italian kiwis” or golden kiwis. You guessed it, they’re golden inside, instead of bright green and a lot less furry on the outside. The taste is fairly similar to the green ones, but they’re much softer and sweeter. So if you’re worried about kiwis being too acidic, or not being soft enough for your little one to gum, try these kiwis first, because they literally melt in your mouth.

photo 3

Once Kian started with finger foods, I would cut up his kiwi into little slices and serve it to him in a cup so he could scoop them out with his hands. Beware though – those little kiwi seeds are a lot like sparkles – you’ll be finding them stuck to your skin hours after you thought you’ve gotten rid of all of them! Well worth the trouble if you ask me…

photo 4

How do you like to serve your baby kiwi?

Finger foods – Papaya

One of the most common questions I see repeatedly pop up on my online mommy group/forums is, “what finger foods do you feed your LO?” Usually followed by some comment about how terrified the mother is of having her baby choke. Which I can relate. I was (still am) afraid of the same thing!

"What's the big deal? I just got a hairball stuck in the back of my throat". Note to parents: Vacuum diligently. You never know what baby might swallow!

“What’s the big deal? I just got a hairball stuck in the back of my throat”. Note to parents: Vacuum diligently. You never know what baby might swallow!

But when Kian started to eat solids, he really hated anything with texture. I had to puree everything super fine, which wasn’t hard with my NutriBullet, but still, he’d just gag and spit out anything that had the slightest hint of texture. Same with finger foods. And if he did manage to eat whatever it was, his poor little tummy couldn’t handle it and he’d throw it up not long afterwards. So we introduced finger foods slowly. I was in no rush to get him to eat solids, and I’m glad I didn’t force it or worry over it… because now he’s a little ravenous monster who happily eats anything and everything!

See what I mean...

See what I mean… Kian loves crackers!

One of the first fruits he started to eat whole was papaya. A ripe papaya is as soft as a ripe banana or avocado, so it’s very easy to gum or chew with few teeth. It’s packed with vitamin C, A and E, and will help to aid in baby’s digestion. To prepare a papaya for your baby, all you need to do is slice it in half, de-seed it, peel it, slice and/or dice it. Cut it into slices and keep it stored in tupperware in your fridge. You can puree, or as a finger food, chop those slices into small pieces and serve to baby. I’ve tried to give Kian whole slices, and he’ll take reasonable bites if I’m holding onto it. But if he’s holding the slice himself, he will try to stuff the entire thing into his mouth… So take heed! I prefer little chunks he can pick up. Papaya Don’t be afraid of papaya if you’ve never bought one before. Often they’ll be green and slightly yellow when you buy them at your grocer, but let it ripen on your countertop for a few days until it is mostly yellow. The inside should be a bright pink/orange colour and soft to the touch. If you’re apprehensive to buy one, sometimes stores will cut them in half (like pictured above) and sell them that way, covered in plastic wrap. That way you can see that the papaya is already ripe and there’s no guessing whether or not you’ve bought a good one. photo 1-2 I sometimes puree an entire papaya and freeze it into cubes. It’s a great addition to any fruit mixes you plan on making. Mango, pineapple, bananas, peaches. They all mix well together, with a dollop of yogurt too. But these days, Kian usually eats it in chunks for his afternoon snack. photo 3-2 How do you like to serve your baby papaya?