There’s no ‘I’ in team.

This is post is just one in a series by some of the Irish Parenting Bloggers group.  We’re celebrating!  Two of our members are having baby girls early this year – one has arrived (Aine of Andmybaby – on leave at the moment!) and one is to come (Lisa of  Best of luck girlies!  So for my part in this virtual baby shower – being the mama of 2 boys myself – I want to share a mama’s view of big brotherhood.

Surrounded by maleness so far, in partnership with your husband you have kept safe a Tasmanian devil of a small boy with its’ non-stop twirling, whirling, flinging itself off sofa edges, precarious chairs, the tiniest of steps…  I don’t claim your wee lass won’t do that too.  But not now.  Now is the time to drink her in, her rosebud lips, her button nose, her small mewling and load roars and her nuzzling at your breast.

Boys wreck your house, girls wreck your head – so the saying goes.  I think both genders can manage a good line in destructive physical or emotional activity.  But still, not now. Now she just has needs, and she needs you.

That little boy? He will be her chief tormentor, her fiercest defender.  She will light up for you, with gurgly smiles.  But she will light up quickest for him, the sight of him appearing in her field of vision will cause expectant giggles.  You will spend all day and all night tending to her, and to him, and sometimes they will only have eyes for each other.  He may hurt her with his love, he may throw himself across her small body – such is the weight of his love he must express it with wrestling.  Your patience will be tested as you pry the adoring elder sibling off, waiting to see if little one is happy or sad.  She will undermine your need to discipline him, by laughing, and you find you cannot scold.

And then you realise, you’ve created a team, and you are their biggest fan, and their trusted coach.

xx to Lisa & Aine!

My Countdown Conundrum-style letter for today, is (Give us a consonant please Carol) T. When the girls have all the letters from all the posts they get to jumble them up and receive a smashing baby shower pressie.

Yesterday’s post came from Kate at The Nest, tomorrow the shower will end fabulously with Amy at The Daily Muttering.

Other posts can be seen at all the links below.  There’s a beautiful mix of funny, touching, spiritual & political so I recommend putting the kettle on and reading the many and varied voices of the Irish Parenting Bloggers community:

Mind the Baby

Wonderful Wagon

That Curious Love of Green


My Internal World

Awfully Chipper

Go Dad Go

The Dare Project

The Clothesline

Dreaming Aloud

Kate Takes 5

Ouch My Fanny Hurts


Musings of a Hostage-Mother

Wholesome Ireland

Beany burgery goodness!

Phew! I’ve done this whole weaning before, I know it works.  Still there are moments of doubt.

I persist, and most times a little food goes in, every few days finding something he genuinely is interested in.  Like with all things baby, no two are the same – Dom ate noisy slurping fistfuls of porridge by this age, Theo passively watches us eat breakfast (it seems Dominic is my son when it comes to the most important meal of the day, and Theo firmly Mark’s).

a handful
a handful

Some days he ignores what’s in front of him, others he prefers the bowl to the contents. But today, at lunchtime he ate a whole mini burger, and some wholewheat pitta on the side. I squished it down a bit then he patiently scooped up pieces. He spent the longest time eating I’ve ever seen, returning to the plate again and again.  I can see his methods improving too – a flat palm on the food, a fist clenched, then turned and opened flat against his mouth, or sometimes using his other hand to pick pieces out of the proffered palm.

I say burger – I mean kidney bean & walnut burger.  Inspired by an online buddy I went searching for veggie burger recipes yesterday. My imminent return to work means we need to get more organised in terms of meal planning – this recipe makes the cut!

Oooo colouredy!
Oooo colouredy!

The blog I got these from – The ‘V’ Word – has excellent tips for making veggie burgers in general. Anyone who’s tried will know it can be difficult to get the consistency right and to stop them crumbling on the pan. Worth bookmarking for that section alone! Below is the recipe using my adjustments.

400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, shredded & squeezed dry
1 small carrot, grated
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped walnuts – chop really finely for baby
1/2 tsp. black pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Some cayenne pepper, to taste
1 Tbs. soya sauce
½ cup wholewheat bread crumbs
1 Tbs. rapeseed oil

Smash beans in a bowl with a fork until slightly chunky. Add the onion, carrot, scallions, walnuts, all the herbs & spices and soya sauce and mix well until all the ingredients are incorporated.  Skip the nuts if you haven’t tried them with your little one yet and you have a family history of nut allergies.  If not, go right ahead and put them in there.  I picked larger bits out of T’s just because I forgot to chop them finely enough. 

Add the bread crumbs little by little while mixing with your hands until you have the desired consistency. The mixture should feel firm and stick together well. Refrigerate the whole mixture in the bowl for at least 30 minutes.

Form the patties using your hands or a scone cutter.  This made 4 medium and 4 kid size burgers (the recipe states it makes 4 large)

Heat the oil in a large non stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until browned on each side. Each side may need about 5 minutes. You may need to flip the burgers carefully several times to ensure the inside gets cooked while the outside doesn’t burn.

Serve in wholewheat pitta with some mashed avocado or your favourite burger toppings.


Liked, and shared


As I once again loaded up the recipe for banana pancakes on the blog this morning, I noticed the date on the post – jan 28 2011 – more than 2 whole years since I last raved about them on here. Honestly you would think I’d know it off by now.

This morning I decided I could mention them again as I looked at my new family configuration enjoying making and eating them. Dominic did his one handed egg cracking trick and enthusiastically mashed the banana. He also licked some spilled flour off the countertop. I didn’t teach him that. Theo gobbled up strips, some dipped in berry juice, some plain, some in yogurt. I forgot to put a bib on…

They have easily been the most liked & shared recipe – and not just in a Facebook sense, in a real sense. Sisters, new mums, friends over for brunch, other bloggers, Facebook groups, tweets.

They’ve been adapted (apple sauce, flavoured yogurt, wholemeal flour) and enjoyed by mums, dads, regular human adults and kids.

So it’s Saturday morning…raise your mug of coffee – to weekends & to pancakes!
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That’s why we don’t eat animals. Recruitment drive.

I’ve been writing this blog for a couple of years now, and theres only so many baby/toddler/preschool straight up food posts I can write.  I kinda boxed myself into a corner with the subject matter.  So if you don’t mind terribly, from time to time I may write about something else.  Probably food, or parenting, or health and nutrition based – I won’t stray too far.  I did this before here, shortly before I had Theo I’ve done some guest posting in my time, most notably here on the fabulous MindTheBaby blog.

Bringing home the bacon…

Given my last post was about the cooking of the flesh, I thought the following exchange was worth recounting.  I don’t cook meat, I don’t touch it where possible.  In my 17 years as a vegetarian, and my 10 years with meat-eatin’-Mark, I’d say the most I’ve done it turn a rasher on the grill for him.   And for the child, I’ve put some cooked turkey in a sambo.  Okay, I didn’t ‘cook’ any flesh with the croquettes, I opened the tin of tuna, but sheesh, that was rotten enough.  And no, not baby steps…this is not something that will be progressing!

I’m not forcing my ways on anyone, but I’ll raise kids more accustomed to cooking tofu & lentils than burgers & sausages (unless they’re Lovely Linda McCartney’s), and then they can make their own call.

So, the other night, we were reading the gorgeous ‘Where The Wild Things Are’
DOM ‘We don’t chase dogs’.
ME ‘No we don’t.  Not dogs or cats or any animals.  We have to be nice to animals.’
DOM ‘Yes.’
ME ‘Mammy is so nice to animals she doesn’t even eat them.’
DOM ‘I don’t eat animals.’
ME ‘Yes you do.’
DOM ‘No I don’t.’
ME ‘Yes, mammy doesn’t eat animals, but Daddy and Dominic do.’
DOM ‘No we don’t!’    (*giggles likes eating animals is the maddest thing on earth which it is*)

It struck me that though chicken meat is called chicken, and turkey called turkey, and most fish flesh generically called fish, that wee Dominic may not have made the small ‘from farm to fork’ leap required in his mind.  He poked the bacon that came with his french toast in a restaurant the other day and though he knew it was a rasher of sorts, he asked me “What’s in this mammy?”

Where will this lead dear readers? Where will this lead…

Puttin’ up The Dinner: sweet potato tuna croquettes


Mama cuts up colouredy things while I sit in my chair and shout at her.  And then she puts things in the hot-hot-hot water and then puts it all together and that’s called dinner and we all eat it and I throw a bit aswell.

Sometimes Dada makes dinner, when Mama says she sounds like Mammó used to saying “I just wish for once someone would put a dinner up in front of me”.  But when Dada was going to make my food instead he had to work hard in his office and then Mama had to make it for all her boys instead.

Mama said Yuck Yuck Yuck and opened the smelly tin of pink stuff and gave some to the meooowss.  Then she made the spuddies and she made spuddy-spuddies and the orange ones I love too, and she mashed them all together. She mixed it all up and made it bready on the outside.

Then Dada arrived in and me and the Dom-bomb and him ate them all up. It was my first time having them but they eated them before lots. Dada said he mixes an egg in too when he makes them.  Mama had sadface and made her own din-dins.


Tuna Croquettes (adapted from the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook)

2 large potatoes (I used 1 regular, 1 sweet)

185 g can tuna

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp butter

1/2-1 cup breadcrumbs (2 slices of wholemeal whizzed up in blender)


1. Steam or boil potatoes.

2. Preheat oven to 200c and lightly grease a large baking sheet.

3. Drain the tuna and break it up.

4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and mash them and add the tuna. Add the lemon juice & butter and mix.

This is where the husband adds in an egg – mine were a bit squidgy, which might have been the sweet potato, but he reckons they bind better with the egg.

5. Shape the mixture into small sausages then roll each one in the breadcrumbs and put on the baking sheet.

6. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

Rusks. No really.

First little boy never had a rusk.  I remember too well eating Liga and Farley’s Rusks as an older child myself, snuck into the supermarket trolley as a comforting treat and I recall it was the sugary sweetness of the latter I loved so much.  I just kept things like rice cakes to hand.  I had a wee google of them there, and now they splash all sorts of ‘Wholemeal!’ and ‘Reduced Sugar’ claims, but to that I say a big fat hmmmmmm.  I think I’ll be sticking to my Organix snacks for treats when that time comes.

Then a few weeks ago at lunch in our friend Jennifer’s house, she brought out home-made rusks.  Well, duh!  Why didn’t I think of that!  She originally found the recipe on a forum, but adjusted it a little.


Semolina is an ingredient that I associate with 80’s kids TV  & magazines – school lunches in Grange Hill and my weekly Bunty – but I searched it out in the baking section.  I actually wasn’t even sure what it is.  Since then I’ve found the most tasty of uses for it – Roasted Spuds ala Nigella (hold the goose fat!)

You could leave out the maple syrup in this altogether, or use agave.  I had maple syrup in the fridge though, and figure maybe .5ml went into each rusk, so I’m gonna get over that!  It’s not exactly a slippery slope to Wham! bars from there.

I made them a bit smaller, maybe my thumb-sized, so I got about 25 from the recipe.  I would ask that my thumb be inducted into an official measurement book of some sort now.   Because of this, they also cooked in about 18 minutes, though my oven tends toward hot, so keep a close eye.

Banana and Cinnamon Rusks: 
50g wholemeal flour 
100g plain white flour
75g semolina 
1/4 tsp of cinnamon. 
1/4 tsp of ground ginger 
75g butter
1 medium ripe banana 
1 tbsp maple syrup

1/ put the flours , semolina , spices into mixing bowl and rub in the butter

2/ mash the banana well and stir in the maple syrup . Add to the mixing bowl to make a smooth , pliable dough

3/ roll out onto lightly floured surface and cut into shapes with biscuit cutter. Roll each one up to make a cigar shape . 

4/ Brush with an egg and place on lightly greased baking tray in an oven preheated to 200 degrees Celsius for about 25 minutes until golden and firm 

These keep well in an airtight container for up to 5 days or can be frozen .

Given their small size, they defrost really quickly.  I took out 3 one afternoon and an hour later Dominic requested something to eat.  I chanced my arm and offered him a ‘biccie’.  He ate all 3, and I took more out.  I can defrost them at a really low wattage in the microwave in about a minute either.

So, a rusk that babies love, preschoolers think are biscuits and have next to no sugar?  Winner!  Now, if anyone could point me towards a recipe to make recreate Liga…