My son, Kian

Here’s a snippet of a home video with my son Kian (16 months) having dinner earlier today, that I just had to share with you guys! It’s moments like this that make motherhood truly the very best job in the world!!!


 

 

 
(photo by Everything Between Photography)

My latest baby food recipes and tips for batch cooking.

Hi guys! After posting pictures on my batch-cooking for Kian last night, lots of you were asking for a blog sharing the recipes and tips- so your wish is my command! Kian is 9 months old now, and at 9 months babies enter a new phase of eating and you can experiment a little more with things like couscous, tougher meats and more varied vegetables.

First of all, I always batch cook. As a working-mum with a heavy schedule, it’s the only way, I can ensure Kian eats a healthy and varied meal-plan everyday. Some of you asked if this is fresh enough. Of course it is! You cook it fresh, then freeze it straight away (once cooled down!) and importantly, I put it into individual meal portions, and defrost enough for his lunch and dinner in the morning. (For breakfast he usually has scrambled eggs or porridge with fresh fruit and cinnamon).

Last night, I cooked him both a beef steak dish and a chicken dish (not pictured).

Steak dish

This is a recipe from Annabel Karmel, but I always give it my own twist of things and use what fresh ingredients I have in the fridge. I buy good quality lean and already cut-up beef steak from my local butchers (to ensure it’s clean and fresh). First put potato (I use sweet potato) to boil. Sauté the onions and shallots in vegetable oil until soft, then put half on a foil tray, lay the pieces of steak amongst it then pout other half of the shallot/onion on top. Put in the oven on grill to cook.

Then sauté cut up and washed mushrooms in a little butter for a couple of minutes before adding tomatoes (as in photo above)- but make sure tomato is skinned, deseeded and chopped. Meanwhile mash the potato with full fat milk and a little bit of butter. Then add the meat and mushroom mix to blender- put into portions and put a little mash to go with it on top! Kian ate his first portion of this today and loved it! Full of iron and good stuff! :)

Chicken dish

Cook onion in a pan with a little bit of vegetable oil. Then add chicken (cut into cubes). Once the chicken is cooked through, add all the veg. I added, carrots, peas, broccoli, courgette, spinach and celery. Add some water, put the lid on and let it cook. (you may wish to add different veg at different times, depending on how long they take to cook – for example, carrots cook much later than courgettes). Once cooked and the right consistency (Water should have reduced and it’s a good texture), put into blender, portion into pots and label!

General tips:

  • With things like spinach which is so good for you, buy a heap, cut it up, put into a freezer bag and use it each time you cook. Doesn’t take long to cook and that way it’s always ready.
  • It’s so much easier to freeze in individual portions than it is to cook a big batch and having to defrost a whole lot. Kian never has the same meal twice in a day- I mix it up between chicken, red meat and fish + always veg. You can get the pots above at poundland, 6 for £1. Although note that glass is better than plastic if you can.
  • Some of you asked if I add anything to it when ready to feed it to him. Yes- sometimes I add rice, baby pasta or couscous. Easy to do on the day.
  • I have labels and a marker in the baby draw, and once portioned up, I mark it with an S for salmon (my fish of choice), B for beef (my red meat of choice as less fatty) and C for chicken etc. That way I know exactly what’s in it and what to take out.
  • I also add fresh fruit to his porridge and this can be put in freezer too, to save time. I peal apples and pear, cut into pieces then steam- put in blender (leave bits and chunks) then put into a freezer bag and take out at start of week and use it in a couple of days or so. They can also eat this as a dessert.
  • Don’t make your food for the baby a puree – that’s my personal advice. I have been leaving chances for Kian ever since he was 5 months- they have to learn to chew it and break it down. If you puree for too long, they will not like the bits and chunks – they have to learn!
  • One of you asked for Kian’s solids/ milk routine and what to give when. That’s up to you and the appetite of your baby, but for Kian, his typical routine is: He wakes up, has breakfast at 8am, milk around 11am. Lunch at around 12noon, milk at 3pm ish, dinner at 5pm and milk before he sleeps and 6.30/7pm.

Hope this has been useful! Tweet/ instagram me and let me know how you guys get on! @Melody_Hossaini

x

Finished Product! Pasta Bolognese

Last week I implemented Kian’s first week of solids food plan- see last blog with meal plan details:  http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2015/04/weaning_mealplan/ My favourite meal we made was the Pasta Bolognese- simple, healthy and tasty! It’s also a really great way to introduce red meat (iron) into the meal plan.

Ingredients

The recipe is inspired by Annabel Karmel with my own little twist on it!

Heat a little oil in a pan- sauté onion, garlic (crushed), carrots (raw, peeled and grated) mushroom (thinly diced) and celery (finely chopped) for 5 mins. Add 120g lean minced beef and sauté until browned (keep stirring and break the meat into small pieces). Stir in 3 tomatoes (skinned and chopped), a little tomato puree and some chicken stock (see my last blog on how to make it- http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2015/04/weaning_mealplan/) Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Transfer the mixture to a blender to a smoother consistency (but not too much) – I also added some fresh herbs (parsley) before blending.

I served Kian this with baby star pasta (can get this at most places- I got mine at Tesco) and also served a portion with rice for him. He liked both and a great way to introduce meat into his diet.

Before going into the blender


Exploring Solids For The First Time!

Food, glorious food! This is my Weaning Part 2 blog, sharing Kian’s first week meals of solids!

Food becomes a part of our everyday life, almost automatically. It also bring with it a social occasion – going out for dinner with friends or sitting round the table for a family meal and catch up. Yet, it’s so new to little babies who have only been used to milky liquid and not yet familiar with the texture of solid food – they have so much to learn! How to accept food, to pick up food themselves, to chew and swallow and much more!

At the same time, babies need protein, carbs, iron and all that good stuff! Having a baby is completely new to me- had never been around babies before Kian, so weaning is another unknown world to me. It was also strange that my little nini would eat ‘grown-up’ food like chicken! Was thinking, how will I also have time to get 3 meals a day into the already busy schedule?! But I got my head around it (and still exploring!) and here’s what we had in our first week meal plan:

Breakfast (at 9 o’clock)

I tried a couple of breakfast options in his first week. His favourite (which he ate up- and wanted to even eat the bowl!) was Aptamel porridge mixed with ripened bananas, apples with a sprinkle of cinnamon! It’s really lovely! The porridge is full of its own vitamin etc. You simply mix it with water (which gives you the softened texture), mash the banana a little. The apples have to be peeled, take pips out, cut into pieces, steam them then put them into the blender (but don’t make it super smooth)- mix it all together. It’s delicious and so nutritious. The other thing we had for breakfast was scrambled eggs (made with butter and cooked through) with cottage cheese and pineapple pieces.

Lunch (at 12.30pm)

We had a mix of chicken, fish and beef for meats, with rice, pasta, eggs and lots of veg!

For fish- he had white Basa fillet and salmon. You have asked me how we cooked it. The white fish, I put in foil and cooked in oven with a few drops of oil. The salmon I put in microwave. He had this with sweet potato and lentils.

While I am on the lentils- it’s a great thing as it’s packed with Iron which is so important for babies, who can sometimes develop an iron deficiency. You can do this in lots of ways, but I simply boiled it mixed with carrots and celery and put it in the blender.

Also for lunch, when they are full of energy, it’s a good time to practice the baby-led weaning and let them feed themselves!

One of our fave lunchtime

I like this meal for that: Cucumber sticks (peal it, cut the seeds out) but make them long so they can hold it, with the lentils mix and some avocado on the side. It just works and all different textures!

Dinner (at 6pm)

A favourite is a chicken dish: boil chicken in water with veg like carrots, sweet potato, leek, onion and celery- then put in blender. He had it with a mix of rice, on its own and pasta. It’s healthy and yummy! A good tip is also if you just take the liquid, you can use it as stock for other meals, and if you make a lot, you can add salt, pepper etc and turn it into a soup for the family too (no salt for babies though).

I also cooked Kian his first pasta bolognese with beef (another iron-rich source)- it was delicious and he loved it! Will share the recipe in my next blog! Keep an eye.

Tip:

If you’re busy like me and thinking, I just don’t have the time for all this (especially if you are working alongside all of this, like me) then don’t worry, I thought the same thing, but once you get into it, you will make it work! The key is to batch cook and be clever with what you put in the fridge ready for his meals that day and next, and what you put into the freezer. I love those amazingly sized plastic containers! I bought 6 for £1 in pound land and love the colours they come in (so can colour coordinate which is chicken, beef etc).

Perfect portion size container for batch cooking

 

 

 

 

 

Reading – central to education, communication, development of imagination and language! Here’s my blog on how to help your baby to love reading too.

From a young age, I was passionate about reading. I was the first person on both sides of my family to wear glasses as a child (aged 12), due to the many hours I spent over books! Therefore, it’s no surprise that when I knew I was having Kian, one of the things I looked forward to the most were reading time together.

Firstly let’s look at the benefits of reading to babies- because after all, they can’t actually read yet:

  • They like listening to your voice
  • They like looking at bright colours and pictures
  • Helps them with their development- hearing different words
  • They like quality time spent together and sitting against your chest
  • They like touching things and exploring
  • They’re more likely to enjoy reading later in life if they become familiar at a very young age

Now at the age of 4.5 months, he holds his book himself (did it for the first time yesterday!), turns the pages and recognises different books. This isn’t because he’s more intelligent than other babies, but simply learned behaviour. Here are some of the things I have done with Kian, that may help to support your baby to enjoy reading:

Kian - The first time he held the book himself

  • It’s never too early to start! – I read Kian’s first book to him when he was 7 days old. They can’t see very well then yet, but they can enjoy hearing your soft voice, especially if you read something to them that rhymes.
  • Do it in stages – Firstly simply read, secondly let them look, thirdly show them and finally let them do it themselves. So for example, with Kian, when he was a little newborn, I held him to me as I read and told him stories. When he could see better, I would show him the book, then let him watch as I explained about turning the page and would repeat things whilst showing him things on the pages and turning each page. Thirdly, I would hold his little hand in mine while I held the book and turned pages. And fourthly, let them have a go- you’ll be amazed at how quickly they learn and want to hold the book themselves and will turn the page (even before you’ve finished reading it!)
  • Get them to interact - It helps if you get them to interact with the books before they learn to turn the pages and hold it themselves. A couple of ways to do that, which is also fun for them, is to get a book which has a button to press which makes a sound. My mum got Kian books which make a cat ‘meow’ sound. He learned really quickly to press the button himself. The other way is to get a book which has different textures on each page for them to touch and explore, which also aides their development.
  • Sit on your lap – For them to get used to holding a book, it helps if you sit them on your knee so that they’re looking at the book the way they would if they were reading it themselves.
  • Foreign language –  If, like me, you’re teaching your baby a second language, reading provides a great opportunity for them to hear that language and interact with it. I speak Farsi with Kian and ‘read’ to him in Farsi, regardless of the book.

    Bedtime reading with Kian

  • Make it up! – Don’t be afraid to make up your own stories. One of the most valued memories from my childhood bedtime reading, were my aunt making up funny stories we could relate to that were about children our own age. Obviously babies are too young to make those connections, but I do believe that we can plant seeds when they’re really little, so I tell Kian stories that I make up myself about kindness. I tell him about children who stand up for those being bullied, I tell him about the boy who found a lost cat and helped it, I tell him about the boy who spoke to his teacher about drawing secret friends and doing something kind for them that week, I tell him about the boy who had special powers and used it to defend those who couldn’t defend themselves, and the boy who helped the environment with exciting projects in his community! (Yes, the social entrepreneur in training!)

Whatever your do, have fun and enjoy the special quality times with your baby!

Have a look on my blogs for other baby blogs. Tweet me your thoughts and how you get on with reading with your baby @Melody_Hossaini.

Melody x

(For all enquiries email: info@inspirEngage.com)