Wednesday 2 June 2010

Banana Weetbix Muffins for Sylvia

On my visit to the library on the weekend, I borrowed a book called Feeding Fussy Eaters (by Julie Maree Wood with Antonia Kidman). Oh no, I thought, has it come to this that Sylvia is officially a fussy eater! I was comforted by the paragraph saying that they wouldn't bother even giving advice on eating broccoli because not even many adults like it. Well we all love broccoli in this household, including Sylvia. As I am posting a recipe she loved for banana weetbix muffins, I thought it was a good opportunity for an update on Sylvia.

Here is a glimpse of Sylvia with the muffins and her toys. I couldn't take many photos of the muffins with her toys as she was too eager to grab a muffin and tuck in. She is moving at some rate these days: walking, climbing and even running when she sees me come to pick her up from child care. She brings me a book and climbs on my knee to listen to me read it to her. She loves to dig in my pot plants, pull the clothes off the clothes horse where they are drying in front of the heater, put her green woollen hat on her head - and take it off again, hang things on her trolley and when I gave her a toothbrush to do her teeth last week she used it to brush her hair. Her least favourite thing is the vacuum cleaner, which makes her cry. That shows wisdom in someone so young!

She loves to stand in the middle of the room and throw her head back and laugh like a crazy woman. It always makes me laugh, except if I want her to go to sleep. We usually disagree on when she should go to sleep.

We often disagree on what she should eat as well. Here is a new toy shopping basket of toy fruit and veg. She loves them more than her food. Take her her toy pumpkin. She loves it. But she wont eat the real thing. Oh the irony! I thought her eating was on a J curve where she was including more and more in her diet but now I think it was the bell curve where she tried lots of foods and now is rejecting more and more foods.

I have been trying some of my favourite recipes on her lately. She has refused most of the red lentil loaf (too salty?), mexicale pie (she was interested in the kidney beans), and macaroni cheese (she didn't fall for the hidden mashed pumpkin). Well, she doesn't refuse them outright. After a while, she will eat a few mouthfuls and I think I have made a breakthrough and then she refuses them again. There are lots of meal times with lips clamped shut. She has also learnt this is a great time to shake her head to signal 'no'.

I am just grateful she eats broccoli. For now! She also likes tomato, corn, roast potatoes, roast beetroot, pasta with pesto, chickpeas, tofu, fruit, gingerbread, sultanas, tinned baked beans, cheese on toast and scrambled eggs with tomato, cheese and pesto. Looking at this list, it isn't terrible, but she can even refuse to eat these if the whim takes her. Maybe she just doesn't have a huge appetite, though she doesn't seem to eat lots of food. I think I need to try some more noodle dishes and curries, which have gone down well with her.

One reason I spend my days trying to get her to eat new foods is that I want to make sure she gets the right nutrients. It is disappointing to see just how much junk is in some food but I have become a fan of weet bix for kids. (See top photo if you are unfamiliar with the name as I know they go by different names in other countries.) They are 96% whole grain wheat and then some sugar and nutritional supplements. I bought them for her to eat as cereal but Sylvia wasn't keen on them though she occasionally eats them dry. I understand. When I was young I loved weet bix in winter with warm milk and brown sugar. But now the idea of eating them soggy with milk is not at all appealing.

A lovely person did a search for recipes with weet bix that turned up in my stats and inspired me to search for weet bix recipes. My mum had a few recipes with boxed cereal in it when I was young so I found the idea comforting and the added iron, calcium etc made it seem a good way for Sylvia to get some nutrients into her. I found a recipe for Banana Weetbix Choc Chip muffins.

I left out the choc chips and added a little molasses and spices to give it a gingerbread flavour, something that Sylvia seems to love. The recipe is not overly sweet, and most of the sweetness comes from the banana. They also have a malty flavour that make me nostalgic for childhood breakfasts. The muffins were great for my lunchbox and a big hit with Sylvia. She particularly loves being able to choose her own muffin from the tin. Little Miss Independent!

You can see that she doesn't always eat in her high chair. Meals are usually eaten in her high chair but she is so slow that I have started to give her some snacks when on the ground to avoid her spending the day in the high chair. She has a little part of the tv table that has become her feed station.

I am now keen to try other weet bix recipes. I tried another one yesterday from the Feeding Fussy Eaters book. It was a fibre laden cheese biscuit. The recipe said it was low on salt but I didn't understand why it needed some much sugar. Sylvia quite likes it so I have included the recipe below as a work in progress. I hope to try it again. As well as being too sweet, they are incredibly crumbly and it means she had to eat these in the high chair to catch all the crumbs. But they seem to be a nutritious snack.

To help me try more weetbix recipes, here is a list of some links to recipes to try:

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Rhubarb and Raspberry Smoothie
This time two years ago: Eggless Chocolate Cake Misadventures
This year three years ago: Pancakes of Frankenstein

Banana Weetbix Muffins
Adapted from recipe by Artarmon Public School in Delicious Feb 2003, via
Make 12 regular muffins (I made 45 mini muffins)
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 Weet-Bix, crumbled
  • 185ml (¾ cup) soy milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 80g (4 tbs) margarine, melted
  • 225g (1½ cups) self-raising flour, sifted (used ½ cup wholemeal flour)
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional - I didn’t use)
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with papers or grease or use silicone. (Or use mini muffin pans if preferred.)

Grease a 12-hole muffin pan. Mix mashed bananas, crumbled weetbix and milk in a large to medium mixing bowl. Set aside for about 10 minutes.

When weetbix are softened, stir sugar, margarine and eggs in with the banana mixture. Then add flours and spices and stir until just combined.

Spoon into muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

High Fibre Cheese Biscuits (work in progress)
Adapted from Feeding Fussy Kids
says it should make 20 but I think I made 12-15
  • ½ cup plain wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp raw sugar (next time I will reduce this to a pinch)
  • ¼ cup wheat bran
  • ¼ cup weetbix (about 1 brick)
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 60g nuttalex or butter
  • 1 tsp milk (original recipe said 2 tbsp)
  • ½ cup grated cheese
Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and rub in the nuttalex or butter. The recipe says to add 2 tbsp milk to bring the dough together but I found mine came into a ball without any additional liquid so I just gave it a token 1 tsp but wonder if I should have added more as the resulting biscuits were very crumbly.

Roll out to about 1cm thickness on a floured board. Sprinkle with grated cheese and use rolling pin to press them into dough. Cut into small squares and transfer to a greased tray (I used my silicone mats to line my tray). Bake at 180 for 12-18 minutes. Cool on tray.

On the Stereo:
The Forsyte Saga: Music from the tv series composed by Geoffrey Burgon


  1. I really like it when you give us updates on Sylvia. She sounds like an utterly charming little baby!

  2. Wonderful fun update on Sylvia!

    Years ago we discovered weetabix and loved them. Actually can get them in Dallas! That was a surprise.

  3. I read somewhere that toddlers are genetically programmed to only want to eat high fat foods so they can get the calories in. I am not sure it this is true or not. You sound quite relaxed about it all which is probably the best thing to be. What they eat is the only thing that a toddler really has any control over in their life so it is not surprising that so many of them assert themselves over food.

  4. Sylvia is adorable - and her diet sounds so much better than most children's, and even me! I like both Weetbix recipes. I have Weetbix every morning for breakfast - soggy with warm milk - and I love it, especially in these colder months.

  5. You had me at malty, molasses, and spices. :) And you've reminded me that when I was younger, one of my favourite ways to eat weetbix was split in half then sandwiched with butter (well, I think it was becel) and vegemite.

    Really enjoyed the update on Sylvia too - I know it sounds trite to say this, but she's growing up so fast! Looking at that list of what she eats, I really think you should be proud of her and yourself - it's pretty adventurous compared to what a lot of toddlers eat. Well done all, I say!

  6. What great muffins! Who knew the humble weetbix were so versatile!!!!

  7. Sounds like she is deciding what she does and doesn't like. I think its wonderful how much she does eat and how attentive you are with her food. The muffins are a great idea

  8. She looks like she is getting so big! I think it sounds like you do really well with her diet, sounds like she gets lots of vegies & healthy foods.
    This post has given me the biggest craving for weet-bix!

  9. Thanks Lorraine - I agree but am very biased

    Thanks Tanna - am pleasantly surprised to find you can buy them in dallas

    Thanks Helen - all the books and experts say that babies should only be given the full fat dairy etc - not sure if they notice the difference but I can tell you that they are able to control more than food - I try to be relaxed but when rushing out the door to work it isn't always easy

    Thanks Cakelaw - Sylvia's diet is not too bad but she is so fickle that one day she loves chickpeas and the next I have stocked up on them and she is just throwing them on the floor

    thanks Hannah - I used to love weetbix with butter and vegemite or peanut butter - always loved a savoury breakfast - her diet is probably not too bad but I think I expect a lot of her some times as we eat so much different stuff in this house

    thanks Lisa - when the baby rejects weetbix with milk is is great to find there are other ways to serve them

    Thanks Katie - you are so right about her trying foods and she is also trialling how she acts with us too which don't always mix well with eating well

    Thansk Vicki - hope you have some weetbix on hand (otherwise I have plenty left to share!), she is getting so big so quickly - must be all the (hidden) weetbix :-)

  10. I am very excited about these muffins - in fact, I think I will make some tomorrow. Poppy is also quite a picky eater - although the two thing she will never refuse are cheddar cheese and STEAK! She also likes broccoli (especially the stems), but, like Sylvia, she will eat something with great gusto on one day and then completely reject it the next. One easy recipe that is usually a success is a frittata/omelette with lots of spinach or grated zucchini in it. A good way to get loads of greens into her. Every mealtime is an adventure here, with lots of food being thrown imperiously onto the floor!

  11. I had to laugh at "we disagree about when she should go to sleep"--I'm sure most kids would stay up all night if their parents let them! But I can see why it bothers you that she won't eat pumpkin, considering how much you love it! Though I must say, the list of foods she WILL eat is huge--so no worries there. :) The muffins sound good--I wonder what the Canadian equivalent of Weetbix is?

  12. Thanks Nicki - love your ideas - makes me think I need to try a zucchini slice which is as close as I get to fritattas - wonder if Sylvia would like it - Sylvia is fickle like Poppy - it is so frustrating - that is why they have to be so cute so they can get away with it :-)

    Thanks Ricki - she does have a lot of food she likes but on any one night it is probably much smaller due to her constantly changing likes and dislikes! But I would love pumpkin to be on the list. I was pleased she ate some pumpkin scones tonight but I tried the sneaky mashed pumpkin in baked beans and she was not impressed - but who doesn't like scones! Am sure they are other cereals you could use instead of weetbix such as all bran if you have that - I know we also have one cereal called Vita bix that is similar bricks of flaky wheat cereal.

  13. I don't often bake with cereals but it's definitely a great idea! I love her basket of plushy fruit - so cute.

  14. Well, I did the muffins as tiny little mini ones, and they were delicious! Took them to mothers' group, where they were enthusiastically devoured by big and little people alike. Poppy scoffed one but all subsequent offers have been hurled to the floor! I varied the recipe a little - no molasses or spices (apart from cinnamon) but I included some chopped sultanas which were very good.

    Frittata recipe: beat one large egg with some finely grated zucchini or frozen spinach (say about 80 grams) and a thin slice of cheddar cheese chopped or grated. Pour into lightly oiled small omelette pan, and after a few minutes fold in half with a spatula. The resulting semicircle is then flipped a couple of times until both sides are golden and omelette is cooked through. Put on a wooden chopping board and cut into fingers. When cool, these hold together nice and firmly, and fit very well into a little person's grabby fist!

    Two other things that Pop Pop likes to eat, and which are good protein-wise: mung bean and lentil dhal, and lentil, potato, carrot and lemon soup. But when she throws that stuff around... well, you don't want to look too closely at our floor!


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