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.
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.
Yep, I’m still pregnant. I really really hope I don’t have to say this for too much longer! For now, though, the little one is staying put. We were sort of hoping Phil could celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday as a new dad, but junior has other plans.
So, to distract ourselves from the waiting and watching and wondering, we baked a delicious dessert using beautiful fruit from the weekend farmer’s market.
I’ve used strawberry and rhubarb before to make a truly delicious raw dessert. This, however, is something different, but with very similar flavors. It’s best enjoyed with a dollop of something creamy. Yogurt? Ice cream? (Speaking of ice cream, I cannot wait to try this vegan ice cream place in Boston! A pregnant friend of mine has been raving about it!)
Anyway, here’s a tasty crumble to tide you over, whether like me you’re waiting for an imminent arrival, or you’re just in the mood for something summery and sweet.
Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat free summer
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
For the Filling:
- 3-4 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- 1/4 cup corn starch or arrowroot starch
For the Topping:
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Combine all filling ingredients and spread out in a baking dish.
Combine all topping ingredients and mix until coated in coconut oil. Sprinkle over the fruit filling in the baking dish.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and topping is browned slightly.
Serve warm with a dollop of yogurt or ice cream. Or leave to cool and keep in the fridge for a cool sweet treat!
There’s a lot going on around here. My baby is due in just over a month and we just bought a house, moving in next week! Hence, a lack of recipes, let alone blog posts.
But every so often, when time allows, I get a strong urge to bake. It’s therapeutic in the same way someone might enjoy painting or singing as a way to de-stress. The simple act of combining ingredients to create something delicious that can be enjoyed for a few days afterward (depending on your level of self-control!) always seems to take the tension away, at least for a little while.
This recipe came from one I found on Pinterest, from a blog called Ambitious Kitchen. They were originally designed to be blondies (i.e. brownies without the chocolate) but I couldn’t find the right baking pan the first time I made them, so they became cookies instead.
The brilliance of these cookies/blondies/whatever you want to call them are in the ingredients. No flour is used. No sugar. No eggs or dairy. You rely on your food processor to do most of the work for you and combine a few items you most likely already have in your pantry or fridge.
With a base of chickpeas and peanut butter, these cookies stay pretty chewy and gooey in the middle. Almost like cookie dough. Pretty decadent.
They’re the perfect comfort food for an early summer filled with excitement and anticipation!!
I’ll be back as regularly as I can – in the meantime, take good care and have a look through my recipes page if you need some inspiration!
Chewy Chick-PB Cookies
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat free cookie
Ingredients (6 large cookies or 9 squares)
- coconut oil, for greasing the pan
- 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (a little oil separation is good)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease either an 8×8 baking dish or a 6-cup muffin pan with coconut oil.
Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy. Add in some melted coconut oil if the mixture is too dry.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
If using a square baking dish, pour the mixture straight in and spread around to evenly distribute.
If using a muffin pan, scoop out the mixture with an ice cream scoop to distribute among the 6 cups.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Carefully cut the cakey batter into 9 squares in the baking dish (or simply remove from the muffin pan) and leave to cool for 15 minutes before enjoying!
As you read this, I’ll be on the tropical isle of St Thomas, soaking up some much needed sunshine before our baby arrives in June! And with that warmth in mind, I thought I’d offer you a salad recipe that requires very little effort and time but is worth making any day.
Even if it’s still Arctic temperatures where you are (and believe me, that’s how it was when the above photo was taken), you’ll feel a little lighter and brighter when you make this salad. The idea here is to keep everything simple and green, combining a decent amount of leafy greens, a bit of protein, and some healthy fats, along with some great flavors in the dressing.
Making your own salad dressing requires nothing more than a little glass jar (next time you buy capers or olives, wash out the jar and keep it!) and some everyday condiments I know you have already! If you made too much for this one salad, which happily serves two, keep the rest in the fridge for another salad.
Romaine salad with avocado and pumpkin seeds
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Keywords: raw salad gluten-free nut-free soy-free sugar-free vegan vegetarian wheat free
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 head of organic romaine lettuce
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- handful green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 tsp German mustard
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and ground black pepper
Slice the romaine into 1-inch strips and throw in a big salad bowl. Cube the avocado flesh and add that to the romaine, along with the pumpkin seeds.
Make the dressing in a small glass jar by combining all ingredients, placing the lid on top, and shaking vigorously for a few seconds to incorporate.
Just before serving, toss the salad with the dressing and serve!