She’s not the enemy…

…in fact she’s very handy.

That Annabel Karmel, she’s very useful you know.  I could have gone down her route for the easy life when approaching solids – for buddha’s sake she’s got weekly meal planners.  The organising is done for you. What’s not to love?  But I like stressing myself out staring in the fridge at the tumbleweed behind the halloumi & yogurt & almond butter and deciding what to give Dominic for dinner so I chose baby led weaning!

But in all seriousness, having been given not one but two copies of the Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner book by one mum I trust muchly (my sister) and  by a friend whose friend has recommended it as a new mum gift, I knew there was something to it.  So we refer to it relatively often – I had some purees dutifully frozen near the start for get-some-food-into-him style days, which I ended up offering on pitta.   More recently I’ve found it comes into it own once you read the recipes that just end in ‘and now puree it’ and then, just don’t puree it.  We’ve been using the 9-12 month recipes recently, ooo, controversial.  For the most part her food is parent friendly too (but not diet friendly, she loves butter & cheese – no matter in this house, we don’t do dieting).  This is important to the baby led weaner.  Monkey see, monkey do.  Like with the apple.

So, in the past week, I’ve made Cottage Pie and Popeye Pasta.  The former was okay, the latter a big hit.  The cottage pie was our fault really.  Mark did a dash into the supermarket on the way home and in lieu of Linda McCartney mince (preferred over quorn mince in this house) had to get Quorn Beef Style Pieces.  Bleurgh.  Like dog food with the jelly gone.   Well, I can only vouch for that in a visual sense.  Anyway, the flavour of the food and the cheesy mash on top was good, so I’ll definitely try it again with the proper veggie mince in.  If such a thing can ever be deemed proper.

The next one up was Popeye Pasta, specifically given the thumbs up by Dominic’s two elder cousins, Ella & Ríodhna, both connoisseurs of all things pasta.

He cannot get it into his mouth fast enough.  Because I can’t leave things well enough alone, we had some sauteed courgette also. Some was eaten, some was frisbee material.  I doubled the recipe amount in order to feed us 3 & have leftovers for Dom the next day.

At the weekend his intrepid father brought him for a night out at Oma & Opa’s. After meat experiment number one, he hasn’t actually had any more since, so Mark decided to make him a salmon with chive sauce number.  I’m told it went well, though I have no photo evidence.  The leftovers didn’t go down well the next day anyway, with anyone.  Dom removed it all from the bowl but wouldn’t eat it.  I think he was just tired.  Anyway, in it went to the cats bowls who regarded it with suspicious til we got rid of it 3 hours later.  I wasn’t having fish sitting out in our kitchen. I think they’re too used to a veggie house and do not know the marvellous world of scraps.  That’s got to be a major cat owner flaw.


Le Crunch

ooo, juicy!

Some days he surprises me and I realise he’s actually more ready than I knew for new foods. I was eating my apple while he was having his lunch when he spotted it, threw down his spoon, and started whimpering and stretching in my direction. So instead of cutting him a wedge like I usually would I just took another big bite for myself and handed it over. He spent ages over it, gnawing at bit with skin and on the exposed bits I’d left. He rolled it around and tried holding it different ways. Since then I have to hide my apple til I’m finished as much as I want then I let him at it.

I was tempted to title this post ‘Take that Annabel Karmel’ but the next post would contradict that entirely…

wow, food under one really is for fun.

Just in case you think its all sad face & lying down during eating…Dominic had the biggest fit of giggles eating clementines the other day. Okay, so I was encouraging him…  He really does love clementines mind.

Full of ennui

Organix courgette & chicken with wholegrain rice. Sounds nice eh?  I bought a few readymade thingys for Dom for handyness – for holidays like when I was in Mayo with mum and for various busy days.  I haven’t had any success with them at all.  Trouble is I can’t taste them all to work out it if it’s nice at all (non-veggie ones obvs).  This one looks okay – I can see the actual food, its quite lumpy.  He’s refused it being offered about 4 times now hot or cold.

Ella’s Lentil & Vegetable Bake. Wasn’t gone on this either.  It’s much smoother than the Organix thing though both are 7 months plus.

That’s all I’ve tried him with in fairness.  I don’t mind really when he refuses bits and pieces of our food, I can always adjust a recipe, and I know there’ll be trial and error. I’d like to hit on a couple of the decent pre-made ones that he likes for my own sake but I don’t want to have to go buying all round me only to be rejected.  Also we went to the cinema & did a few messages in Dundrum today so we had to stop for lunch.  I had to pack snacks, pieces of apple, cheese & mango as well as the Organix dinner because I wasn’t sure he’d take it.  Kinda defeats the purpose.

first refusal

Ah cosmopolitan Ireland.  Full of unseasonal asparagus and soya this and soya that, and most importantly sun dried tomatoes.   Well not for young Dominic.  Nose was turned up at a pilaf type dinner (we do a lot of makey-uppy recipes) with wild red rice, courgette, onion, green pepper & sundried tomatoes.  I am going to try him on tomato-less leftovers as I think the sharpness (may have been too salty in hindsight, they were the rehydrated ones rather than in oil ones) of the tomato put him off the whole thing.  He tucked into an oatcake & a couple of segments of clementine instead.

Not without a bit of drama first though.

nom nom nom pasta

This week I have been mostly eating pasta with my dinners.  Me and mama and dada and oma and opa are going on a plane to italy soon so mama says i’m in training.  i don’t know where italy is maybe its near mammó’s house or maybe auntie lisa or emma’s houses?  i’ll see when i get there.

Mama said already about my lentil lasagne.  Yesterday dada made penne with peppers & onions & pesto & creme fraiche (I had to ask mama to spell that bit for me) and I nommed it all up.  Then today we met Fiona & Rachel at lunchtime after me & mama’s bootcamp (it was windy i had my wintery hat on) and I ate more of that again and some broccoli.  I touched the waitress on her bottom while she asked some men what they wanted for their lunch.  Mama and the girls had a good laugh but told me that I couldn’t always get away with that.  I don’t think the waitress minded, I might do it again.

This evening then mama made spaghetti bolognaise.  Some women called Linda McCartney left her mince in the freezer and mama used it, I hope she doesn’t come looking for it.  Dada thought I needed a spoon.  No way.  Sure what else are my handies for?

– Dom

consumption management 101 – making improvements

I was away most of last week, and have found myself getting a bit irritated when I don’t manage Dominic’s food intake well.  Let me rephrase – baby led weaning isn’t really about management, but presenting of opportunities and I feel that I haven’t been offering him the opportunity to eat at the right time always.  We’re in the middle of weaning from breast to bottle, and have settled into a rough routine of 2 breastfeeds & 2 bottlefeeds most days (sometimes more).  Seeing as we don’t have much of a fixed routine for anything feeding can be a bit haphazard – milk feeds run late, then he’s not hungry for solids, then I offer lunch late. While we were away, we might have been out and about in the car, and while me and my mum ate lunch, he was only due a bottle. Or we’re not organised enough in the evening and I end up making do for his dinner and we don’t all eat together. Making do is usually natural yogurt and or a fruit pot.  I think this would be fine if we were doing a good structured ‘protein lunch’, but I’ll be conscious he might only have had a couple of nibbles on a bit of cheese or toast at lunchtime. There’s the added pressure then, when you’re trying to prove something to someone (that blw is a good idea) and you can’t seem to get him to eat at all.  Repeat to self – he’s not eating up for me, he’s eating for him.

So this weekend, I resolved to do better. The freezer is our best friend. I made my very first lasagne, ever. People often find it odd that a vegetarian doesn’t make veggie lasagna’s often, but for years it was about the only thing on offer in restaurants. (Now its wild mushroom risottos & goats cheese tartlets…don’t get me started) A few weeks ago I made lentil bolognaise and had frozen enough to make up the lasagna. This is the recipe I used, but I added a layer of passata into the mix also. I’m not sure how authentic that is, but I love the sweet tang of tomato, and it was a nice contrast to the bechamel. I didn’t realise how easy bechamel is to make, now I can’t believe you can even buy a jar of the white stuff. In the interests of full disclosure, Mark did spoonfeed some of it to him for lunch as I’d been a bit worried about Dom’s weight gain. (This happens sporadically and after a good days eating, sense has kicked in) After a few spoon swooshes and aeroplane noises, the mouth started to clamp shut.  He won’t put up with that for long – he’ll watch your act for a bit, but as the spoon comes close he bats it away or wants to grab it himself.  But we weren’t in any hurry, so I just sighed and dumped the rest of the food out onto the tablecloth, kinda expecting it to hit the floor momentarily. But in it went – mushy strips of pasta coated in sticky sauces and lentils.

On a roll, and after planting snowdrops & crocuses (croci?) and baking banana bread (yes! really!), I decided to try soup for the first time today.  I make soup relatively often, but having had a reasonably good summer, this was the first batch in a while.  While I can’t automatically turn to the Annabel Karmel recipes,  I have a few reliable sites I look at for ideas (links on left) and My Daddy Cooks is always good for a laugh and for inspiration.  I’d thought of soup for him before, but just wasn’t sure how to get it into him – I like to avoid doing too many pre-loaded spoons.  This soup video had me foraging in the fridge, and I ended up with carrot & parsnip soup with potatoes for bulk.  I needed it to be thick to have any chance of it going into Dom’s mouth.   I used big hunks of brown bread, so they’d hold together nicely when soup-sodden.

The wee fella was having a bit of a meltdown by the time the whole lot was ready and cool enough for him.  He was only up a while from a nap, and he’s quite predictable compared to a couple of months ago in terms of his milk feeds.  Not even the sight of the 2 cats playing with a feather in the back yard could quiet him.  I can only come to the conclusion that he may have finally made the link between hunger & solids – if this is the case then great (but I won’t get away with skipping meals anymore!)   I wish I could capture the face he makes when he tries something new.  His whole face screws up like he’s eating lemons, and he’s really unsure and then just when you think you’re going to get a spit out, it’s like: hang on, this is the weirdest taste/texture ever, but wait!  I LIKE it. And in he tucks.

Given the gusto with which he tackled his soupy dippers, I’m guessing he’s into the whole soup thing.  Good thing too, there’a about 5 cups of it going in that blessed freezer tonight.

So I’ll leave you with this thought – every joyful moment, every new meal Dominic gobbles up,  is marred only by the thought of the clean up afterward. Curses… I wonder can you train cats like house-elves?

– Jill

about time

My mammy eye went off the ball there for a minute.  Dom has 5 teeth, and before now I didn’t really think about the whole oral hygiene thing that hard.So today, he acquired his very first toothbrush.  I thought there might be a gagging and general annoyance when we tried it out, but turns out baby led weaning has yet another plus!  After a good examine of it he stuck the brush straight in and gave his gums and 5 toothypegs a good going over.  I guess he’s so used to managing the spoon himself now that it didn’t seem that different.  Except without the foody goodness.  Good thing I’ve carrot soup on the go now to remedy that…

– Jill