Wednesday 10 February 2010

More baby food, more healthy muffins

It is a hot and muggy day and I have finally got Sylvia to sleep. So I have a little time to share another list with you, following on from the post on a week of firsts. This list is of Sylvia’s new experiences since that post. It is a little over a fortnight but is another impressive list.

I sometimes wish I could remember what it felt like to be a baby trying all these new foods, seeing new face, trying new things. It must feel amazing! Just watching the experience is fun. Here is the list, with some of the food you would have seen in recent posts:

Sylvia’s new experiences:

  • Nut roast – we had nut roast at my birthday lunch and it made me very nervous to try giving some to Sylvia because there is so much we hear about nut allergies but she loved it. I was relieved that she can share nut roast with us because I love it so much.
  • Chocolate cake – after my birthday lunch, I gave Sylvia little piece of chocolate mud cake. I was glad that I had left whisky and coffee out of the mix.
  • Chocolate – while I made the above chocolate cake, a small piece of chocolate cake fell on the floor. I don’t know how it happened but I do know that I turned around and found Sylvia putting a piece of it in her mouth.
  • Dead fly – don’t ask! I sweep the floor and it is amazing what she manages to find once I think it is clean. I am just glad she spat it out.
  • Child care – Sylvia has her first days at child care last week. No tears from her or me. By all reports she was a good girl but is not so keen on their food.
  • Tomato soup – her first taste of cooked tomato. She was not keen.
  • Thai curry soup – begged for some of mine – I gave her carrot and tofu covered in the soup and she lapped it up.
  • Banana, blackberry and strawberry smoothie – just a taste of mine and I let her dip her fingers in once but it seemed there was more on the high chair than in her stomach.
  • Zucchini and rice burgers – she ate it but see Emergency Department.
  • Strawberry yoghurt – she cried and cried and wouldn’t eat it – see Emergency Department
  • Emergency department at the Royal Children’s Hospital – hope this is an experience we wont have to repeat too often. Still not sure if it was due to the egg in the zucchini and rice burgers or strawberry yoghurt because there was nothing in the meal she hadn’t had before but I suspect the strawberry yoghurt and am trying to keep her off dairy and eggs at home til we see a specialist.
  • Crying for a bite of my cake in a café – Sylvia is so well behaved I don’t normally have to put up with such behaviour but I gave her a little bit partly because it was such a sturdy slice I knew she couldn’t bite off much.
  • Rice vermicelli noodles – loved them.
  • Plum jam – only a tiny bit. But I am glad her first jam was home made. I must post about it soon.
  • Drinking from my glass – not much of it gets in her mouth but it makes me smile. Mostly she wants to dip her pudgy little fingers in the water and even drop food in it. Maybe she will be a scientist as she has already found that chopped tomato sinks and cucumber floats.
  • Drinking from my water bottle - loves this too though most of it spills.
  • Couscous – loved this mixed with chopped vegies, a bit of cumin, lemon juice and soy sauce plus some mushed peas and avocado.
  • Carrot muffins – recipe below – she loved these.
  • Being given food by a shopkeeper – the man in an Italian deli gave her a little wrapped chocolate to ‘make a mess with’. I had to eat it – she is too small. Honestly!
  • Eating lunch on a chair rather than in a high chair – this is what they do in child care. I was a little worried but she doesn’t seem to have fallen off yet.
  • Pizza - she wasn't keen.
  • Pita bread – she ate this at child care (but refused vegetable rolls and vegetable chasseur).
  • First attempt to hit guitar strings with clothes hanger – forbidden by her dad. He also is most displeased when he tries to play guitar and she jigs the neck up and down.
  • Curry powder – I made us dal on the weekend with lots of vegetables and red lentils. I chopped all the vegetables and put them in a large stockpot and put a little curry powder in. Then I took a few large spoons of vegetables out for Sylvia to eat with rice. She loved it. E thinks it is the easiest meal he has fed to her. We had a lot more spice and seasoning in ours.
  • Swimming lessons – she loves her baths but was not keen on going under the water in the pool. At least she was laughing by the end of the lesson.
  • Lamington – after her swimming lesson we went to Andre's. She wanted a bit of what we were having. I gave her some lamington and she was fine. As I have said before, I don’t think the allergic reaction that landed her in the Emergency Department was due to egg. If you want to read more about lamingtons, go to Delicious Delicious Delicious to check out all the different takes on the traditional lamingtons people made for Mr P’s recent event.
  • Chia bread – I know that chia is trendy when the local bakery starts making white bread with chia seeds. Sylvia had a try of the sample we were given and seemed to like it.
  • Pudla – I made it last night along with some pumpkin hummus. She ate them both. See below for my baby-friendly versions.
  • Falafel – she stuck her hands in my lunch today. I think she tasted some falafel but mostly saw her pull out lettuce.
  • Gingerbread biscuits – I’d like to tell you these were home made but they were from a packet. However the Organix seems a good brand for kids. She loves them.

Now that Sylvia is eating more of the food we eat, I am modifying some recipes to be suitable for her. My mum tells me I can’t give her much in the way of sugar or salt. Every obedient, I am taking this into account. It can’t hurt us to reduce our intake of either.

Recently I made some carrot muffins, based on Ricki’s parsnip muffins. Her recipe are always healthy and delicious. I grated the carrot in front of the Australian Open tennis final, watching Andy Murray cry at defeat while Sylvia stood in front of the television and banged it with a little toy. I only used ¼ cup maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, which seemed restrained. They didn't taste very sweet. E wanted them with icing, so I iced a few. I was pleased to see it was carrot cake day on the week I made them.

Mum said they had too much sugar for Sylvia. So I tried again but used apple puree instead of the maple syrup and sugar. This time they were barely sweet but full of fruit and I really enjoyed them. So did Sylvia. I would tear them up into chunks but she was quite happy to grab a chunk from a muffin if offered one. I suggested that E had them with cream cheese and jam rather than me icing any. I can’t remember if he did.

It is strange what Sylvia will love and what she rejects. I was surprised she didn’t want any tomato soup but lapped up the thai curry I was eating. She is not keen on cheese but love tofu tossed in a little soy yoghurt. Her favourite salad vegetable seems to be cucumber, which amazes E and I because we hated it as children. I also expected she would love the regular wheat pikelets I made and reject the strong tasting chickpea flour in pudla but again she surprised me.

I made some pudla for Sylvia last night. It was full of peas and pumpkin, which are among her favourite vegetables. She loved it. We ate the rest of them with salad for dinner. I topped them with some mashed pumpkin, beetroot chutney and yoghurt.

I also made more pumpkin hummus. E and I love this dip. I am always struggling for something to put on Sylvia’s bread. Peanut butter seems too risky. Promite seems to salty. Jam seems too sweet. Honey is dangerous for babies. Sylvia is not keen on cheese. I am so relieved at least she likes hummus.

I have modified it like the other recipes below. I left out cumin, parsley and spring onions because I didn’t have much energy. If not making it for Sylvia, I would probably put a little more soy in it. However, that is a small sacrifice to make so that I know she is eating good food.

Fruity carrot muffins
adapted from Diet Dessert and Dogs
makes 12 muffins

  • finely grated zest and juice of one large orange (it should be about ½ cup juice)
  • ¼ cup apple puree
  • 1 medium very ripe banana, mashed
  • 3-4 carrots (about 250g), grated
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ cup wheatgerm
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarb soda

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Place zest, orange juice, apple puree and oil in a medium mixing bowl. Lightly whisk with a fork. Add flours, wheatgerm, spices, baking powder and bicarb soda. Mix until just combined. Spoon into muffin papers. You might want to smooth the tops a little as they don't smooth out much while baking. Bake for 30-35 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Pea and Pumpkin Pudla
adapted from my previous pudla post
makes 10-12

  • ½ cup besan (chickpea flour)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed in microwave and lightly mashed
  • ½ cup mashed pumpkin
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • oil for frying

Mix all ingredients together, except oil. Heat non stick frypan over medium heat. Add a little oil – use a silicone brush to spread about the pan. Drop dessertspoonfuls on hot surface and cook till mixture is starting to look cooked (drier rather than gooey). Flip over and they should be golden brown on the side facing up. Cook another minute or two until golden brown spots appear on the underside and the batter is cooked through.

Child-friendly Pumpkin Hummus
adapted from here and here
makes a couple of cups

  • ¼ medium butternut pumpkin
  • 400g tin of cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup tahini
  • juice of 1½ medium lemons
  • ½ clove garlic, finely chopped
  • splash of tamari

Peel and chop pumpkin. Place in tub with a vent or a lid not quite on so there is room for steam to escape. Microwave for a few minutes until pumpkin is well cooked. Check every 30-60 seconds. Drain off any water that has been released from the pumpkin. Use a fork to roughly mash the pumpkin.

Place pumpkin and remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add a splash of water if it is too thick.

Check seasoning and adjust to taste. You could also add some cumin, cayenne, parsley or spring onion, depending on whom you are making this for. It will keep in a tub in the fridge for a week or two.

On the Stereo:
Elastica: Elastica


  1. I think its wonderful how much care you take in preparing her food. It sounds equally delicious to me too. She must be a very adventerous eater

  2. Isn't that interesting what she likes! You always hear that kids don't like spicy or strong tasting things but there's Sylvia begging for a taste of curry soup!

  3. Such a huge list of firsts! Wow, she is really open to so many new flavors and textures (dead fly?!!!--sounds like something my Girls would do!) ;) And how funny she didn't like the pizza--I guess it really is an acquired western taste.

    I'm not sure why your muffins were so sweet--my hubby tells me they're not sweet enough for his taste (maybe the carrot instead of parsnip added more sweetness?). I think I'd probably like them better your way. And I definitely would like that pudla.

  4. Congratulations to Sylvia (and you) for more adventurousness! I definitely want to try these muffins - I like muffins that aren't too sweet, and think these would work admirable with oatmeal of yogurt :)

  5. What a great post Johanna! I really loved reading what Sylvia goes for and what she refuses. It's brilliant that you put so much care into her meals and that she is exposed to a wide range of flavours.

  6. Some great child-friendly recipes here. I would love to know how a baby thinks and feels when they try something new - fascinating.

  7. Thanks Katie - I always feel terribly disorganised in feeding Sylvia but glad it seems like thoughtful cooking

    Thanks Lorraine - I was surprised about her love of curry because I thought it would be too much spice - I guess we have to let kids decide for themselves (within reason of course)

    Thanks Ricki - it is funny what is an acquired taste and what she likes immediately - and your muffins weren't too sweet - my mum just thinks Sylvia shouldn't have much sugar in her diet - I mean to try the parsnip some time too so will be interested in the difference

    Thanks Hannah - I can confidently confirm that these muffins are great for a quick breakfast when in a rush :-)

    Thanks Niki - I hope that being exposed to a wide variety of flavours is like the scattergun approach - sylvia must like some of it - but seriously I want her to enjoy good food with us

    Thanks Cakelaw - I sometimes think that the main design fault with babies is that they aren't born talking so they can tell us what it feels like - and what they want :-)

  8. i always read your blog and just wanted you to know that i tried the muffin recipe this morning and it's an absolute winner. thanks so much.

  9. Holy moly - that's a whole lot of new experiences for a little girl! Surprised she took to the Thai curry so well; glad she survived the emergency room, and VERY glad she spat out the fly ;-)

  10. I wish I learnt that many new things so fast! I'm impressed Sylvia likes such a big variety of flavours - yay for the little tofu-lover! The muffins look great and I am in the market for a carroty healthy muffin. I'm going to be giving this a try tonight! I like the adapted pudla too - you're so great making so much healthy stuff for Sylvia :)


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