run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Weaning with veggies

I'm waiting (with fear) for the day this changes, but right now tiny man is a fantastic eater. Much less fussy than me (which isn't saying much) - I'm yet to find something he won't seize with his chubby fist and pop into his mouth. (This almost included a worm in the garden, but I leapt faster than than a jaguar and stopped that source of protein getting in).

Anyway, I didn't do a huge amount of 'research' at the start of the weaning process, or have a big philosophy (I totally failed to vote either baby-led weaning or spoon-feeding in what seems like a serious 'competitive parenting' issue - just got stuck in). See my Slacker's Guide to Weaning with the best gadgets and gizmos here- and a follow-up here.

But I did read somewhere that breastmilk and formula was so sweet that it's savoury flavours that babes have to get used to with their first tastes. So for the first month or so, it was veggie purees that tiny man tasted.

When Ella's Kitchen - the guys behind those lifesaver pouches - got in touch about their Veg for Victory campaign, promoting the virtues of veggies - it struck a chord. Not just because they like a pun as much as me (step forward, Sir Weanston Churchill). 
The idea is, try a new veg a day - and accept that it can take up to ten tries for a tiny one to fall in love with a food.
Ella's sent over a box of delicious organic veggies with the challenge of making a week's worth of imaginative yummy meals - and this is how we got on. 
Exciting veggie box and Ella's meal-planner
My baby-cooking style tends to be either finger food (mostly soft-steamed veg and chicken / fish / bread / cheese etc for tiny man to gobble from his highchair tray, or stew/pie-style meals where I can make a whole bunch in one go. 

So what did we cook?

Day One: lunch was a chickpea shepherd's pie. I'm always worried about getting enough protein in, so chickpeas are a good call. I cooked them with tomato passata, mushrooms, chopped-up spinach, sweetcorn, parsnip, peas, and made a topping of mashed sweet potato with cheddar, grilling the whole pie and then slicing up leftover portions for the freezer.
Dinner was tiny houmous sandwiches, with chopped up cherry tomatoes, cucumber, peas and steamed carrot slices (I love this Avent machine for steaming / weaning)

Day two: today's lunch was fish pie. I hate fish, but it's such a healthy food I want to make sure tiny man gets a lot of it. Still, I find it easier to cook/feed when it's mixed with other foods, so during nap time I bulk-cooked some fish pies and froze them in ramekins. All I did was drop a salmon fillet into the Avent steaming machine with some courgette, a little garlic, basil, parsley, and onion. Once that was cooked I topped with potato mashed with butter and grilled the pies.
Dinner was pasta (I use soup pasta, it's small enough to easily slip down) with a cooked sauce of onions, tomatoes, mushroom and sour cream.

Day three: cauliflower cheese for lunch! I love this as I can make it for me too. We were in a hurry so it was a microwave job: melt butter, cheddar, cornflour and milk in a microwave whilst cooking pasta and cauli (can do this in the same saucepan). Stir in a tiny bit of mustard if liked - then mix the two together. Dinner was a baby version of fajitas: mixed steamed vegetables (sugar snap peas cut up small, courgette cubed, green beans steamed into a paste) with grated cheddar and black beans spread in a wrap, cut into very small pieces.
Cauli cheese .. yum
Day four: we grown-ups had a roast for dinner the previous night, so it was roast chicken, roast potatoes and steamed veggies for tiny man: he loved the suede.
Dinner was couscous with chopped tomatoes, herbs, mushrooms and chunks of butternut squash.

Day five: we were out in town and tiny man was teething. He always prefers purees when teething so I grabbed a tomatoey pasta Ella's pouch.
Dinner was fish pie again. We made a yum secret-veg smoothie for dessert: frozen berries (easy Tesco packs) with spinach, kale and plain yogurt. 
Day six: risotto leftover from our dinner was tiny man's lunch - I cheated and used a supermarket pack of frozen mixed veg, adding fresh green beans and making it creamy thanks to a dollop of marscapone.
Dinner was chunks of avocado, sweet potato, houmous and breadsticks.

Day seven: the veggie challenge has gone so well - it's nice to make sure we're getting enough veg in every meal. We finished the challenge with another portion of chickpea stew for lunch - it's really yummy.  
Dinner was my usual knackered-mum fall-back: scrambled egg, toast, tomatoes and mushrooms, with avocado.

* This post was inspired by Ella's Veg for Victory campaign, who sent a box of veggies, but all cooking was my own.. (sorry tiny man).
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