Monday, August 6, 2007

Recipe Ideas from Marvellous Mums

A few months ago I started a morning tea at my house on a Monday morning called Marvellous Mums (MM). I will host one about every 6-8 weeks. I simply did it for mums to come along and relax while their kids played. It will hopefully enable newer mums to connect with others who are more experienced but also strengthen friendships and expand people's support network. Most of the children’s ages range between newborn and 4 years old.

The first morning tea was a really positive morning with lots of people who I knew from different circles meeting each other and some realising that they also had people they knew in common through sporting, church or social groups. It’s different to Mother’s Group in that the children are not all the same age and it is not every week.

Each mum brings along a plate of food to share and we sit back with a hot cuppa and chat about stuff. The first morning had a ‘You are special’ theme with a poem and cookies handed out at the end and the last one had a ‘food for babies and toddlers’ focus with a laminated page of recipe ideas and a lolly bag for each mum.

Here is a copy of the recipe and food ideas that I handed out:

Okay so it seems a lot of us aren’t confident in the kitchen or have children that are very picky eaters. Below are some websites with useful food information and recipes. There are also a few “tried and true” ideas from other Marvellous Mums that will hopefully make feeding your baby/toddler a breeze.

The Yale Guide to Children's Nutrition Status, by William V. Tamborlane, M.D. suggests the following to help make mealtime more productive and less stressful for everyone:
· Prepare relatively simple meals
· Present the child with small portions on a small plate.
· Allow the child to ask for more food and drink.
· Praise the child for trying new foods and for exhibiting appropriate
behaviour at the table.
· Use mealtime as a time to discuss positive things such as good deeds, good behaviours or nice work done that day.

After the initial weaning process and as your baby gets older (8 months +) you can introduce a wider range of foods. Have you tried any of these variations?

* Mashed avocado and cottage cheese
* Pureed potato, baked beans and grated cheese
* Porridge with pureed fruit
* Fish with potato, carrots and cheese
* Pasta, chicken, tomato and cheese
* Pureed apple, pear and banana
* Mince meat, rice, pumpkin
* Broccoli, cauliflower and cheese sauce
* Chicken, potato and cheese sauce

One MM suggested:
Cut up any hard vegies your child is not allergic to like pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, carrots, swede.
Put enough water in pot to cover vegies.
Bring to the boil, then simmer until all the vegies are soft.
Vitamise this vegie mix and put into ice cube trays.
This makes a great back drop for any meal.
You then add any other frozen cubes you have made like rice, peas, chicken, cauliflower and make it into any combo you like. It simply adds a yummy ‘pumpkiny’ flavour to other vegies and pasta etc.

Someone else suggested:
You can also make up small freezer meals using a combo of vegies, a carb (rice, pasta, lentils or cous cous) and a protein (lentils, fish, meat, chicken). Just keep changing the combinations round, steam / boil and divide. Add some gravy or tomato puree (low salt) or white sauce over the divided meals or leave plain for self-feeding prior to be able to master cutlery.

SMOOTHIES “On days when my toddler wouldn’t eat…”
One sure thing that we found was making smoothies. They are another easy way to get fruit and other nutritious foods into your child's diet. All you need is a blender and a few simple ingredients. You can use your choice of fresh fruit, frozen fruit such as berries or bananas (peel before freezing), blend with fruit juice or add milk, yogurt, or frozen yogurt for a creamier drink and a dose of calcium. Apparently you can freeze leftovers in icy pole moulds for another snack too.

We have started asking for our toddler's help putting toppings on the pizza, getting the vegies out of the fridge to put on the bench, putting food in the saucepan etc and generally watching/ helping when the evening meal is being prepared. We also get him to set the table, carry the placemats and coaters etc. Involve your Toddler in dinner preparations as much as possible. Your dinner will soon become his/her dinner as they take pride in being able to help.

Serve the same dinner to your Toddler as the family is eating and add a favourite food on the side. There is no need to prepare separate meals for your Toddler every night and doing so will make future meals more stressful for you and your Toddler as you try to cross him over to eating the family meal.
Grazin' is an important and even necessary part of your Toddler's food repertoire!
Have you ever noticed that sometime around mid-morning, maybe between 10am and 11am, that your Toddler begins to enter "meltdown" mode? Toddlers are prone to blood sugar swings and need refuelling to maintain themselves more often than we may realise. To help combat the "meltdowns" and keep your Toddler on an even keel, let him graze as needed. The only limitation with grazing is that you should not let it interfere with regular meals!

More MM suggestions:
This can be used in so many different ways. As a base for tuna mornay, with macaroni, mixed with vegies etc.
15g Butter
2 tsps Plain Flour
1/2 cup Milk
2 tblsps Grated Mild cheese
Melt butter in a small saucepan, then mix in plain flour and cook for 1 minute.
Pour in milk and stir continually, stir over low heat until smooth.
Continue to stir until sauce thickens, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes then add grated cheese.
Makes about 1/2 cup cheese sauce.

Either peel, core and stew apples or just buy the tins of 100% bakers apple from the tinned food section at the supermarket. Blend or mash and freeze into cubes.
Then add a cube to your vegetable mixes to add a hint of sweetness to the meal!

On a dry biscuit or toast, instead of butter, use philly spread, avocado or Kraft cheese spread.

Add Kraft cheese spread to a lunch/dinner dish, which is perhaps too bland, too watery or too hot. Straight form the fridge this creamy cheese spread cools a meal down very quickly and it’s yummy too!

Natural yoghurt added to pumpkin, sweet potato or other vegie combos also adds a new and interesting flavour - and it’s a great healthy addition too!

Karicare thickener can be added to pureed vegies to take away that ‘watery’ texture and make them smooth. Try it!

Offer dips and sauces with your Toddler's dinner - tempting and very easy to toss on the table!

Layer instant vanilla pudding or yoghurt, blueberries, and toasted oat cereal in a clear glass for a parfait.
Toasted, lightly buttered, cinnamon bread and some diluted fresh juice.

Thinly sliced strips of chicken breast
yogurt - plain
crushed cereal - shredded wheat, cheerios, corn flakes or honey oat cereal

Roll chicken strips in yogurt then coat with crushed cereal of your choice.
Bake on lightly greased baking sheet at 200 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.
Serve with a dipping sauce and the family vegies.

Makes 48
4 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1/4 cup vegemite
3 cups grated tasty cheese
1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 220C. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper. Place the pastry, 1 sheet at a time, onto a chopping board. Spread vegemite over pastry. Sprinkle cheese over vegemite.
2. Starting from the edge nearest you, roll up pastry, 1 sheet at a time. Be careful not to roll the pastry sheets too tight.
3. Cut each roll into 12 equal portions. An easy way to do this is to cut each roll into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3.
4. Place scrolls, cut side up, onto baking trays, allowing room for spreading. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry is golden and cheese is melted. Allow cooling for 5 minutes on trays before transferring to a wire rack. Serve scrolls warm or cold.

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