Monday, January 31, 2011

Puree Monday - Kiwi-Nana Mash

This is a perfect bebe food recipe and so easy to make... It actually takes less than two minutes (yes, I timed it).  Bebe B adores it and it makes a perfect mix-in for her oatmeal or yogurt.  The kiwis are tart but mixed with the mild, sweet banana it’s sometimes more palatable for tiny taste-buds!  Kiwis are very low on the allergen risk scale but they are acidic and like any acidic fruits introduce slowly and watch your bebe for signs of reaction like a diaper rash.  If you do notice this it’s best to consult your pediatrician and wait a month or two before trying to introduce it again.

Kiwi-Nana Mash - 8 Months+
2 ripe kiwi fruits
1 ripe banana
pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Peal the banana and break it into four or five pieces over a small bowl, Slice one end off each kiwi and use a small metal spoon to scoop out the insides from the brown fuzzy skin (you can peal them but this way I have found is fastest and easiest) and dump them in the bowl with the banana.  Add the pinch of nutmeg and using either a potato masher or a large wooden spoon mash up the mixture till you reach your desired consistency.  It will be a little chunky but because it so soft it’s a great mix to get your bebe used to different textures.  You can puree it in a food processor or Beaba babycook, just be aware it will get very thin, almost soup consistency.  This recipe will keep up to 2 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. This recipe will fill about 1 ice cube tray (10-20 servings).

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Little Letters Soup

Right now Bebe B is hard at work mastering the art of silverware.  To be honest it really hadn’t been a priority for us before now because it was just so much easier for her to eat with her fingers but she loves yogurt, oatmeal and soup so we are focusing more on utensils and attempting to get more food in her tummy than her’s a process.  This is a great soup for little ones learning to use a spoon to feed themselves.  It’s thick and easier to scoop than a more broth like soup might be.  Plus the alphabet letters add in an element of learning, which is always a plus.  Bebe B was proudly pointing out her favorite letters to me and saying cute things like “I need to eat that W”.  Bebe B named this recipe after one of her favorite books which she calls “little letters”.

Little Letters Soup - 12 Months+
1 cup of alphabet pasta 
water for boiling
1 small leek
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
2 small potatoes
1/4 cup bebe stock or vegetable stock
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup almond milk (or soy)

Begin by bringing water to boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the pasta and cook till tender (about 8-10mins), drain and set aside.  Clean, peel and cube the potatoes.  Clean and rough chop the leek.  Add the potatoes to a medium saucepan and fill with water until the potatoes are covered.  Bring pot to a boil and cook the potatoes for about 10-15 mins, adding in the leek for the last 5 minutes.  Drain the water from the potatoes and leek then puree them together with the garlic in either a food processor or Beaba babycook.  Once smooth add the veggie puree back to the saucepan.  Add in the stock, salt, paprika and milk.  Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add in the cooked pasta and cook for another 5 minutes or so.  Serve warm. This recipe will keep up to 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. This recipe will fill about 2 ice cube trays.  

This recipe is dairy-free and vegan.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cinnamon Plantains

This recipe is easy and so yummy!!  Perfect for a snack, dessert or even a dinner side.  Omit the honey and you can give this treat to bebe’s under age one that are eating finger food or mash them up and serve with a spoon.  Bebe B gobbles these up and so do I.

Cinnamon Plantains - 12 Month+ (or 6 Months+ without Honey)
1 large plantain
(It’s okay if they are a little black, unlike bananas
 this doesn't mean they are over-ripe)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp olive oil
1-2 tsp honey

Peel and slice the plantain.  Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat.  Sprinkle the plantain slices with cinnamon (both sides) and gently add to the pan.  Cook for a few minutes then flip using a spatula, tongs or a fork (I find silicone tongs work great).  Allow them to cook for a few minutes on that side.  Remove from pan and set on a towel, paper towel or napkin to absorb some of the excess oil.  Drizzle with honey and serve.  PS. Make sure you don’t skip the cooking step, unlike bananas, plantains are not really edible raw.  

Wondering what a plantain is?

These potato-like fruits are a fixture in South and Central America, as well as other tropical areas. They are longer, thicker, and more bland in flavor compared to the standard sweet banana — and, unlike dessert bananas, plantains must be cooked before they are consumed.
At their green and yellow stages, plantains are often used in savory dishes and frying, baking, and boiling are only a few of the ways in which they may be prepared. The fruits are also utilized at their ripest color, black, when they are used in sweeter dishes.  As they ripen the plantain’s starch turns to sugar, so the riper the plantain, the sweeter.

This recipe is vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Puree Monday - White Risotto Puree

This is a wonderfully creamy recipe that your bebe(s) will love!  Bebe B loves any type of rice dish and this was always a favorite.  The Arborio rice is what make it so rich and creamy.  Full of healthy goodness and a great new taste for little ones.

White Risotto Puree
1 cup Bebe Stock or water
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 (small) head cauliflower
1/2 (small) leek

Bring the stock or water, rice and oil to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and continue cook, stirring often, until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice (about 10-15 minutes).  The rice should be thick and creamy.  Set rice aside.

Clean cauliflower well and cut into small to medium size florets. Clean and chop the leek. Steam the florets and the chopped leek together in either a steaming basket on the stove or in the Beaba babycook.  If using the babycook fill water to the 2 mark for a full basket.  If steaming on the stove use about 1-2 inch of water and steam for about 10-12 minutes.  Allow the veggies to cool to for at least 5 minutes then puree till a smooth and creamy consistency is reached.  You may need to add a little Breast Milk or water depending on the texture you desire.  

At this point you can either stir the pureed veggies into the rice and serve or add the rice to the food processor or babycook and puree it all together till your desired consistency is reached. 

This recipe will keep up to 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. This recipe will fill about 3 ice cube trays (15-30 servings).   

White Risotto Puree, frozen cubes

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Dip

This is one of my newer recipes but so far it has been a huge hit at my classes and with Bebe B.  In fact one parent at my last class had a look if disgust when I said we were adding coconut but she ended up loving the dip! Savory with just a hint of sweet.

Snow Dip - 10 Months+
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
½ cup cream cheese
1 cup Asiago, Romano or Parmesan cheese (shredded)
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tbsp. finely chopped celery
1 tbsp. nutmeg
3 tbsp. shredded coconut (unsweetened)

Add the yogurt, cream cheese, shredded cheese, chives and celery to a food processor.  Blend together until well combined.  Scoop the cream dip into a bowl and stir in coconut and nutmeg.  Serve with veggies and pretzels!  This recipe will keep for about 4 days in the fridge or up to 2 months in the freezer.  

This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Puree Monday - Cranberry Mousse

This is a great recipe for little ones.  The great thing about cranberries is that unlike other red berries such as strawberries and raspberries they carry a very low risk of allergy, they are actually related their mild cousin...the blueberry.  They are acidic though and like other acidic fruits (i.e. pineapple) it’s good to take it slow when introducing it to your bebe.  Bebe B never had any reaction and has been a cranberry girl since she was about 10 months...loves them still.  This puree is light and airy and not too tart...perfect for tiny taste-buds!  Oh, and did I mention, cranberries are good for you too...full of antioxidants, vitamin C and recent research shows help fight of (harmful to the body) bacteria.  Go Cranberries!

Cranberry Mousse - 10 Months+
3/4 cup whole cranberries (fresh or frozen defrosted & drained)
2/3 cup water
1 ripe banana
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Additional breast milk or formula if needed

Add the water to a medium saucepan and bring just to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add the cranberries.  Allow the cranberries to cook for about 10-12 minutes (uncovered) stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat.  Allow the cranberries to cool for at least 10 minutes.  If desired, push the cranberries through a mesh strainer or sieve to remove the skins (as your bebe gets used to chunkier textures you will no longer need to do this).  Puree the cranberries, banana and yogurt together in a food processor or Beaba babycook. until you reach a mousse like consistency.  You may need to add additional breast milk (or formula) if needed. This recipe will keep up to 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.  This recipe will fill about 3-4 ice cube trays (15-40 servings).

This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

These have been christened (by Dee) to be my best blueberry muffins yet.  I’m going to have to agree with him, they are fab!  Bebe B loved eating them almost as much as she loved making them.  Her favorite part of making them, oddly enough, was putting the liners in the muffin tins.  I used defrosted (365 Organic Brand) wild blueberries this time but am looking forward to making them with fresh blueberries in the future.  They make a great snack or breakfast.  In fact you can pop a few in the freezer (individually wrap them to prevent drying out) for easy weekday breakfasts.  

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins - 10 Months+
1/3 cup turbinado sugar (or raw/ organic sugar)
1/3 cup raw honey
4 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance (softened)
1/3 cup apple puree or applesauce (unsweetened)
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp pure vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or defrosted, drained frozen)
1 tbsp flour (if using defrosted berries)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line or grease muffin tins.  I like to use baking liners, it’s just easier.  In a medium bowl cream together sugar, honey and butter.  There may still be some tiny clumps of butter, this is fine.  Next stir in the apples, eggs, juice and vanilla.  In a separate bowl mix together flour (1 3/4 cup), oats, baking powder, salt and nutmeg until well combined.  Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir just until combined.  If using defrosted berries make sure they are well drained and add the tbsp of flour, stir till they are coated.  Fold in the fresh or flour coated defrosted berries gently.  I use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin cups, which works perfectly and has greatly reduced my spillage!  Bake the muffins in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.  They should be golden and a tooth pick poked in the center of a muffin should come out clean.  Makes about 1 1/2 dozen full sized muffins or 32 mini-muffins.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cinnamon Snowman Biscuits

Here is a snack that is perfect for getting little ones involved in the kitchen!!  They will
have just as much fun making them as eating them.  The perfect treat to cheer up the
dreary days of winter!

I recently made these in my Bebe Chefs class, and they were a huge hit!  Bebe B and I
also made them a few weeks ago and they were so much fun.  We both managed to gobble
up an entire snowman.  I used yogurt cheese on mine but dairy-free cream cheese
substitute would work as well.  Most importantly, have fun!

Cinnamon Snowman Biscuits - 12 Months+
For Biscuits:
1 1/2 cup flour (plus extra for dusting)
1/2 teaspoons organic sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 1/2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small chunks
½ cup + 2 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon honey (raw if available)
1 cup cheddar (shredded)

Ideas For Decorating:
Cream Cheese or Yogurt Cheese
Shredded Carrots

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon into a medium bowl. If using a sifter you may need to push organic sugar through as it is a bit courser.  Next add the butter and use your fingers (if you have a pastry cutter you can use that too) to work butter into the flour until you have a course meal, with pieces no larger then pea size.  Stir in most of the milk (reserving about 1 tbsp), honey and cheese, just until mixed.  Knead dough briefly on a lightly floured surface, just until it holds together. Coat a rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough to about 1/3 inch thick. Cut little biscuits out with any cookie cutters you like (we use a snowman). Place biscuits on un-greased baking sheets. Brush the tops of biscuits with remaining milk and bake until biscuits are golden, 10 minutes.  Some fun options for serving include decorating them (ingredient ideas above), serving them with peanut butter or honey butter!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Roman Candle: Restaurant Review

Dee and I are always on the look-out for “New York” style pizza, having met in NYC we both have a love for thin crust, by the slice pizza.  Last month we decided to check out The Roman Candle Pizzeria, having heard good things about the local chain.  After a quick glance at their website I read this: 
“The Roman Candle is a traditional neighborhood pizzeria.  Daily, we serve families, students, and professionals the best, freshest pizza in town.  We care about our ingredients.  We make dough each morning from the finest flour, grate fresh Wisconsin cheese everyday, and cut our Romas and onions by hand.  You’ll get the widest variety of pizza toppings anywhere in Madison, and we feature locally sourced ingredients.” 
I knew it was worth a try.  We had some Holiday shopping to do on the west side of town so decided to try out the Middleton location.  We walked into the cozy little joint which was bustling with people and families enjoying food.  As we were sitting down to eat Dee began to look over the menu and our conversation went a little something like this...
Dee: “Ohh they have those Organic Valley milk boxes for B! Wait they have beer and wine for us!!!”
Me: “You had me at Organic Valley milk boxes for B!!!”

Needless to say were were very pleased with our experience and will go again.  Bebe B had the noodles with broccoli, fresh fruit and a breadstick, which she adored and gobbled up at record speed.  Dee and I both ordered made to order slices.  I loved that we could create our slices however we wanted from he ingredients on the menu.  I think my BBQ sauce chicken and broccoli combo was the best!  The staff was friendly and the prices were fair so overall...2 big thumbs and 1 little thumb up from us!

Footnote:  This is a completely unbiased review, I received no compensation for this review.  We paid for our meals ourselves.

1054 Williamson St. 

1920 Parmenter St.

2685 Research Park Dr

UPDATE: RCP also has a mini location inside the Madison Children’s Museum.