Since before Finn was born, I’ve been interested in recipes that I can make for him as he grows and is better able to eat solid foods. Now that he’s 10 months old and rapidly approaching the picky toddler years, I’m enjoying his current very UN-particular eating habits! This kid eats anything. And then smears it all over himself and the table. And throws things on the floor. And mostly I don’t mind! I’m just happy to watch him discover and taste new foods, pretty much every day.
What follows is a recipe that came from a cookbook specifically designed for growing babies and their parents too (The Baby Led Weaning Cookbook). These chickpea patties, or as I call them, Baby Falafel, are great for both little ones and adults alike. They’re palm-sized, great for a healthy snack or lunch on the go, and have been Finn-approved (but to be completely honest here, most foods are Finn-approved).
Better yet, they’re freezer-friendly, a bonus for tired parents. Instructions on how to prepare these for immediate consumption or for the freezer are both found below.
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped in quarters
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- juice of ½ lemon
- handful fresh parsley
- pinch of ground black pepper
- 2-3 tbsp plain flour (spelt or other non-wheat flour are fine here)
- Place all ingredients except the flour in a food processor and blitz until thoroughly incorporated. Some chunks are okay - this doesn't need to be completely smooth.
- Coat your hands with flour (and sprinkle some flour on a plate) and start scooping out the mixture, one handful at a time, to make small patties, about the size of your child's palm (about half the size of yours probably?). Place the patties on the floury plate until you have about 12-14.
- Heat some sunflower or canola oil in a frying pan and cook the patties for a few minutes on each side, until slightly golden.
- Enjoy right away!
- Or, if FREEZING: allow the cooked patties to cool, then wrap in parchment or wax paper and place in a large ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, microwave or pan-fry until warmed through.
Since having Finn in July, I’ve gotten to know many other new mamas in the past year. And all of a sudden, those babies are turning ONE! It’s hard to believe how quickly a first year goes by (and yet, how very slow it feels in the moment). I’m attending my first FIRST birthday party this weekend and decided to bring along these delectable cookies in celebration of my dear friend’s baby girl. The recipe comes from the LEON Baking & Desserts cookbook, one of my personal faves from England, along with the other Leon cookbooks available. All are terrific.
These cookies are gluten-free, egg-free, and contain no processed sugars. Plenty of butter though, which gives them the perfect gooey cookie middle.
Make these if you feel like celebrating along with me!
- 2¼ cups gluten-free oat flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup maple syrup
- ½ cup organic unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
- Heat the oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Mix together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl (including the chocolate chips).
- Mix together all the wet ingredients in a small bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until they are well combined, but do not over-mix.
- Drop spoonfuls of the cookie dough on to the prepared baking tray. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
- Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, and allow the cookies to cool on the tray for 1 minute before transferring to a cooling rack.
I’m completely guilty of being nosy when it comes to food – I love checking out people’s shopping carts full of groceries, or what lies inside the fridge or freezer of a friend’s house. (I’m nosy but not judgmental, I promise! It’s a fascination…)
Anyway, there must be other weird people out there like me so I thought you might like to see what’s going on in our fridge and freezer this week. The contents don’t change much week to week, especially now – but I imagine as Finn grows bigger and hungrier for real food, we’ll have to stock all his favorites! (His faves right now: blueberries, strawberries, avocado, eggs, sweet potato, mac & cheese, hummus, Happy Puffs, teething crackers)
So here we go… and apologies for the crappy phone pics!
TOP SHELF: organic cream cheese, plain YoBaby, pine nuts, Trader Joe’s hummus, greek yogurt, organic almond butter, organic tahini, maple syrup, pizza sauce, homemade purple cabbage salad with Trader Joe’s tahini sauce (SO GOOD – just those 2 ingredients mixed together)
MIDDLE SHELF: Martinelli’s sparkling cider, strawberries, Ezekiel tortillas, half an avocado for Finn, cut up mango, leftover frittata, Trader Joe’s goat yogurt, cooked sweet potato (in the foil, for Finn), organic tofu, ground up flax, Medjool dates
BOTTOM SHELF: farm eggs, whole wheat bread, cooked apple oatmeal fingers for Finn, sun dried tomatoes, cooked organic mac & cheese for Finn
CRISPER DRAWERS: organic spinach, organic carrots, celery, organic bok choy, organic salad greens, cucumber
DELI DRAWER: tofurkey, Trader Joe’s turkey, chicken sausages, organic tempeh, manchego, pecorino, Trader Joe’s Spanish cheese sampler, goat brie, cheddar (we like cheese…)
TOP SHELF: black truffles from Italy (a gift), Thai green and red curry pastes, Bonne Maman raspberry and apricot jams, Gerber Soothe probiotic drops (awesome when Finn was 2-3 months old)
MIDDLE SHELF: honey mustard, pineapple chutney, yellow mustard, blueberry jam, organic mayonnaise
BOTTOM SHELF: beers, white wine, lemons, limes, ginger
TOP SHELF: organic butter
MIDDLE SHELF: coconut water, Boddington’s beer, Fever Tree tonic, organic ketchup
BOTTOM SHELF: raw milk, OJ, sparkling water
And in the overpacked freezer…
Above: Trader Joe’s shrimp gyoza, mango sorbet, coconut ice cream, Trader Joe’s grass-fed beef patties, brown rice bread, gluten-free pizza crusts, english muffins
Below: Ezekiel bread, various coffees for Phil and guests, Dr Praeger’s veggie burgers, Welsh tea cakes and soda bread, almond gelato, organic spinach, berries, organic corn, homemade vegetable stock cubes
A total mess! But we have a newfound appreciation for our freezer since becoming parents.
What’s always in your fridge and freezer?
We’re back in Boston after a wonderful warm week away in Florida. Seriously, that trip couldn’t have come at a better time. This winter has been brutal, particularly since Finn and I are both getting major cabin fever! But spring is just around the corner, so I’m trying to think about my favorite foods of the colder months and look on the (snowy) bright side. Something I haven’t made all winter: BAKED POTATO. Why not? I guess when I think about making potatoes, I usually jump to sweet potatoes and roast them up with some fish. I also associate baked potatoes with long cooking times (which is true – they take about an hour in the oven) but it’s not like it’s a labor-intensive hour. You poke a few holes in them, throw them in the oven, and leave them alone. My son can’t be left alone to play longer than 10 minutes, so you might say a baked potato is easier than a 7-month-old. But that would be a pretty weak analogy.
It’s pretty easy to make a meal out of a baked potato. In England, “jacket potatoes” are a familiar vehicle for all manner of toppings that make a tasty and filling lunch. It’s not just sour cream and chives over there. Baked beans and cheese, for example. Or tuna and cottage cheese (woof).
Last night, as Phil and I embraced the fact that winter isn’t over, we settled in for a really satisfying and comforting dinner: baked potatoes with tomato sauce, cheese, and spinach, topped with a fried egg. Sounds simple? That’s because it is. And I’m totally having it again for dinner before the warm weather sets in (so hopefully not more than once…?)
The following recipe is loosely based on an article from the always fabulous, always miniature, Everyday Food magazine.
Fried Egg Baked Potato
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 2 baking potatoes
- 2 tbsp butter or Earth Balance spread
- 4 tbsp tomato sauce (we used a simple jarred pizza sauce that we had in the fridge already)
- handful of organic baby spinach leaves
- 1/3 cup grated manchego cheese
- 2 organic eggs, gently fried
- ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425F. Poke the potatoes a couple of times each with a sharp knife and rub the skins with olive oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven for about an hour, or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork.
Everything else can be prepared when the potatoes are about 5 minutes from being done.
Once cooked, place the potatoes on 2 plates and slice open down the middle. Let the butter melt inside before sprinkling on the cheese, spooning on some sauce, stuffing in the spinach, and topping with the fried egg and some grated black pepper.
Cooking when you’ve just had a baby sometimes feels like the very last thing you want to think about. And here I am, with a 7-month-old baby, and still struggling to get dinner on the table most nights! So Phil and I stick with the dinners we feel comfortable making, week in and week out. Eventually there will be room for creativity in the kitchen once again. But for right now, we’ve found what works for us. It’s funny, but the idea of dishes you make over and over again, recipes you know by heart, is something I always envisioned I’d do when I became a Mom. It might be a far cry from the way I cooked before, but hey – most things change when you have a kid!
One such dinner we’ve got memorized is a delicious Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad that is slightly adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest. We have probably made this for dinner once a week for the past 4 months. It’s that good. And that EASY.
And its ease is precisely why it’s the perfect dinner for new parents. It only requires a few ingredients, takes about 15-20 minutes to make, and gives you plenty for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day (which we always enjoy).
The adaptations we made to Mollie’s original recipe:
- Added grated ginger to the sauce
- Used wide rice noodles rather than vermicelli-style
- Added red bell pepper
- Cooked tofu
Are there any go-to dinners you make every week?
Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Keywords: saute boil salad entree gluten-free vegan vegetarian wheat free
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 cup organic peanut butter (smooth or chunky, your choice)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 tbsp brown rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 14 oz extra firm tofu, cut into bitesize blocks
- 1 lb wide rice noodles
- 1 cucumber, cut into thin strips
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 6 scallions, finely sliced
- 3/4 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
- handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Make the sauce: combine the peanut butter, boiling water, vinegar, garlic, ginger, honey, tamari/braggs, crushed red pepper flakes and sesame oil in a small bowl. Whisk well and pour over the noodles.
Toss the cucumber, pepper, and scallions in with the noodles and sauce.
In a large frying pan, heat some coconut or sesame oil and cook the tofu for a few minutes until lightly browned.
Serve the noodles with a few cubes of tofu and a generous sprinkle of peanuts and cilantro.
Keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days.