Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Green Moong Dal n Spinach Kichadi

And I am finally back and writing here again! I thought I will never get a chance to. Well, with a kid as active (read hardly sleeps) as this one (with an exceptional love for the 'laptop'), it is tough to sit down and write a blog post too! Anyways, since I am posting today, I decided to do one of my favourite, as well as Athyn's favorite lunch recipe, THE GREEN RICE as we call it - is an easy to make, very healthy n balanced, yummy green moong n rice based pongal / kichdi. I do add all the vegetables I can in this, although Spinach / Palak takes prime importance as it blends awesomely with the rest of the ingredients.

Method to make Green Moong Dal n Spinach Kichadi

1. Wash, peel and cut all the vegetables you like to add in the kichadi - I add potato, pumpkin, ash gourd, carrot and raddish other than the spinach)
2. Wash the spinach twice or thrice and chop into fine pieces.
3. Add rice and green moong dal in 1:1 ratio (unlike in normal pongal with lesser dal).
4. Mix a pinch of jeera powder, hing and turmeric powder.

5. You can also freshly grind jeera and black pepper and add, if baby is old enough.
6.  Don't forget to add a generous amount of ghee
7.  This will need 4 times water (say 2 spoons of rice-moongdal mix will need about 6 to 7 spoons of water considering what vegetables you have added, some give water out by themselves)
8. Pressure cook for 30 to 40 minutes (or till almost 10 whistles)

You can give it a mix and serve for toddlers (and in fact adults in the family too, i love it and my mom loves it too!). For babies, you can hand mash it and feed (which is easier to do if you cut the veggies in chunks and not small bits initially - saves a lot of time too).

Just be careful about the whole moong dal skin peeling off, it could be a choking hazard for really young babies. It is also very heavy on the tummy so preferred for lunch than dinner, do not overfeed either.

You can choose to add turmeric powder, cumin powder and hing (asafoetida) if you are giving it to your baby already. It is completely harmless and in fact good for the stomach to add these after 7 months.

I think this is the quickest nutrition-packed (protein, iron and fiber rich), yummy meal I have ever made and has become a regular household lunch on mondays to kick start the week with loads of energy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rice and Yogurt Dessert

How about a dessert for a baby who cannot have sugar or egg or flour or milk? Here is a quick and easy rice dessert that gives the energy for the day while being awesomely yummy like a dessert (while you can also cheat them with a cup while you are having an icecream).

Of the million ways I tried to bring in curs (yogurt) into Athyn's diet, this is one that has closely worked. He somehow knows it by the smell every time, this desserts hides the smell pretty well!

Method to make Rice and Yogurt Dessert

1. Pressure one 3 tbsp broken rice (arisi upma rava) along with a fruit or two of your choice (apple, mango or avocado / butter fruit work best)
2. Blend in a mixer the cooked fruit rice along with homemade thick curd and a good amount of butter.
3. Make sure the curd is well set and not even slightly sour.
4. You can add sugar if you have started it for your baby, while blending. There is no better taste than butter and sugar blended well together I would say!

But simply the sweetness from the fruit (baked so tastes better) blending with the butter and curd gives a super smooth n awesomely sweet dessert ready for your baby to indulge in, even when under one year of age n is not on sugar yet!

PS: You can avoid the butter altogether too if your curd is made butter and rich by itself. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mixed Fruit Jam Recipe

Here is something all of us love, kid or adult alike! Why deprieve the baby of it just cos he cant have sugar? So I make this truly yummy (trust me on this, we haven't bought jam in our house since months now!) and of course far healthier than jam easy to make recipe. It is sweet, it is an awesome side dish for bread or roti or just about anything as it makes baby eat more of the main dish and it is a one shot at getting all the 4 or 5 fruits for the day in :)

It also comes in handy on the days when Athyn wants to eat only biscuits (its a trend that occurs once a week or so :P) - at least some fruits go in along with the biscuits.

Method to make Mixed Fruit Jam 

1. Peel and cut an apple into small pieces.
2. Add papaya, mango, banana and whichever fruit you would like to add.
3. Bring in at least 3 to 4 pieces of musk melon (cantaloupe), this ensures the sugary and sticky jam-like feel.
4. Steam for 20 minutes or pressure cook for 3 whistles 
5. Hand mash very finely or just give a quick blend

I have used more of mangoes as I love the taste of it with mangoes, Try to use really sweet fruits, check for sweetness before you add them. This works as a great evening snack in itself if the baby is 6 or 7 months. You can dip butter toasted bread or roti in it for older babies. You can also simply add it to the baby's rice / wheat cereal too!

Excuse the bad pictures, its impossible to dress up the food and click when a hungry baby is pouncing at the plate :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Spinach and Papaya Puree

What do you do when your baby is low on iron while being exclusively breastfed (formula-fed babies have an iron-fortified advantage, breastmilk lacks the iron), hates orange juice (vit c helps absorb iron) and over that the iron drops make him constipated? Well I came up with this magic potion!

This Spinach-Papaya Puree is a definite relief from constipation and a great source of iron especially for vegetarian babies. Papaya is fiber rich and was recommended by both my mom and the pediatrician for relief against constipation, when asked to stop using the iron drops. I was very worried to stop the iron drops knowing he has a low count through blood work. So I made up my mind and ensure he gets greens in his everyday diet. I add at least a handful of spinach to his Kichdi everyday for lunch.

But somedays that just wont do. When more is needed, the puree form has to come in. Although Athyn is not a big fan on purees, this one is a hit with him, am guessing cos of the sweetness Papaya brings in.

Method to make Spinach and Papaya Puree

1. Take a handful of Spinach leaves and double and triple wash them.
2. Wash, peel and cut Papaya, use about 4 to 5 big pieces.
3. Chop the Spinach roughly and place it along with the Papaya for cooking.
4. Add minimal water and pressure cook for 15 to 20 minutes or 3 to 4 whistles.
5. Remove from flame and throw in some cheese (optional) while it is still hot
6. Once the cheese melts and cools down, blend the mixture along with sweet lime or orange juice (made with 1 part juice and 10 parts water) as this helps absorb the iron from the spinach, or just (previously boiled and cooled) water, until it is pureed well.

Serve this directly for 7 months+ babies. For older babies and toddlers, you can serve it along with roti, idli, dosa or spread on bread. You can also add it to nestum / cerelac or cooked oats.

If you do not want to add cheese, add other ingredients like dates and apricots while pressure cooking to enrich the flavor as well as the nutrients.

Be aware, too much spinach causes diarrhea in some babies. Moderate the quantities according to your baby's digestion patterns.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Simple One-pot Dal Khichdi

This was Athyn's regular lunch until recently. Now that he has a lot more variety, still most days of the week he has this, now with a little rice added to it though. Dhal Kichadi is a one pot meal most moms gives their baby once they turn six months old. This was given on prescription to him by the doctor starting 6 months. We were asked to add each vegetable one by one every 3 days and make sure he gets a complete balanced nutrition. Although any dal (lentil) is good to start with Moong Dal is the best for digestion.

A simple short cut to reading up on nutritional value of all vegetables is to pick a vegetable from each color, it does the job of making sure all the nutrients are in. Although I always believe in doing my research and keeping up-to-date on the knowledge front when it comes to baby, this trick I learnt in my pregnancy classes comes handy always.

So I add a variety of vegetables, started with carrot, pumpkin, ash gourd, potato, spinach, radish and tomato, one by one and by 7 months he was eating a good amount. I still add all of this everyday. Sometimes I have added Papaya or Apple too to give it a natural sweetness, although Pumpkin and Carrot does the job most times. Initially I gave him just the kichdi with vegetables, then added potatoes to it, slowly introduced broken rice (sold as rice rava) instead of potato and now (after 8 months) I use regular rice with it.

Method to make Moong Dal Kichdi

1. Wash three small tsps of moong dal and let it soak in water for few minutes while you cut the vegetables. (It is said that it helps remove the gassy-ness off it)
2. Wash, peel and cut the vegetables - add two to three pieces of at least 4 vegetables in a day
3. Wash the Spinach very well and chop finely.
4. If adding Tomatoes, deseed and peel the skin off, use only the flesh
5. Bring in 1/2 a teaspoon of ghee n optionally - cumin powder, turmeric powder, hing, etc. (I started adding these after 7 1/2 months but not regularly)
6.  Bring in rice if you are using, 6 small tsps (2:1 ratio with the dal).
7. Add enough water to cover the entire lot. Use limited water if using water vegetables like ash gourd that will give out water by itself. (you can also measure 3 times the rice and dal quantity and use, although it is only through repeated cooking I could get the right amount of water required with each vegetable combo)
8. Pressure cook for 35 to 40 minutes or 10 whistles whichever is sooner.
9. Mash with a hand masher when warm, so that it does not require blending. There is absolutely no need to use a mixer or blender even if baby is as young as 6 months. 

Try to keep the Kichdi at a proper consistency after mashing. Alternatively, you can remove the excess water if any before mashing and add it if necessary. This helps to make sure the Khichdi is not too dry for the baby to swallow or too watery to make big mess! Trust me, the more watery the more messy it is to feed, especially cos our babies are as curious about the texture of the food they eat as the taste :)

As your baby grows older, you can increase the quantity of rice and dal in the same ratio. Substitute Moong Dal with Toor Dal too.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Beetroot Jam / Chutney

This is one of my favorite 'inventions'. Technically you can give beetroot gradually after 6 months, say by 7 months or so. Although it is sweet, it has a raw-ish taste to it that makes it impossible to give it alone most times, unless you cook it really well and make sticks, which I do sometimes when all Athyn wants to do is bite and eat.

Yea so sometimes he is very cranky, I guess every mommy knows those tantrum days, teething or not! Those days, the one thing that really works for me is making him believe he is eating what am eating. Keep away his bowls and spoons and feed from my plate. Try it, it works most times, else head for a cold teether anyway! Or all of us sit with him and eat, he is very proud to share the family dinner. This beetroot chutney comes in handy when feeding idli and dosa. Psst... once i dipped a whole idli in this chutney all over and gave it to him as 'red' biscuit and he loved it :D

Method to make Beetroot Chutney

1. Wash and peel a beetroot, cut into 5 to 6 cubes.
2. Wash and peet a carrot, Cut into 5 to 6 pieces.
3. Steam for about 20 to 25 minutes / Pressure cook up to 4 whistles
4. Blend along with very little water.
5. Serve with idli, dosa or roti

Method to make Beetroot Jam 

1. For the jam, steam an apple instead of carrot, along with the beetroot.
2. Cut the beetroot into smaller pieces than the apple (apple cooks faster) 
3. Reduce the steaming time to max 15 to 20 mins lest the apple becomes tangy
4. Blend to get a cutesy pink puree as sweet as any other sugar-loaded jam.

So the Beetroot jam can be had as a meal in itself. It is very filling if you use a whole apple and whole beetroot. Apple is one the best first foods. If using for breakfast, you can even add beetroot and potato together, it has a very unique taste and is full of energy.

But if you are serving with dosa or bread, do wait until 9 months or whenever your baby is ready.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tomato-flavored Sooji Kheer / Upma

This one came out of an experiment with adding taste to simple rava (sooji) upma while not adding salt. I usually add some vegetable or fruit to make his food tasteful without the need of salt or sugar, but here I get stuck. I know babies have no taste of salt and it does not matter to them but somehow the idea of bland sooji kheer (porridge) seems boring right?

So I started out flavoring the water that I use to make the Upma and was amazed by the result. The smell in the kitchen after making this Upma is divine! It is sooooo tempting that you wanna eat it yourself. Well the best part is when I did, I absolutely didnt feel the need for salt in it even for me!

Method to make Tomato-flavored Sooji Upma / Kheer

1. Wash and deseed a couple of juicy tomatoes
2. Boil them in water for few minutes.
3. Mash and squeeze the juices out of the tomatoes and strain.
4. Boil the tomato-flavored water in a fresh pan
(make sure the water is in 1:4 ratio with the sooji to be used)
5. Add Jeera (cumin) powder, hing (asafoetida) and ghee.

6. When the bubbles form, slowly spread the rava  into the boiling water.
7. Keep in lowest flame and let it cook.

Serve it warm to baby, they love it. It hardens when cold. You can increase the water ratio if you want to feed like a porridge. You can even add little pepper and turmeric powder if you are giving your baby. But i think its the cumin, hing and ghee combo that makes it smell and taste so yumm.

Some people start rava / sooji right after 7 months, but in case of tomato, do the 3 day test for sure, cos it is a known allergen in many people (especially if one or both of the parents / siblings are prone to allergies). And about the spices, its your call again, cumin is very good for digestion and I started it a little before 8 months or so. You can wait until 8 or 9 months or until you feel your baby is ready.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Green Beans, Pumpkin and Cheese Soup

Hi all! So the blog has kick started well, with a much better response than I expected! So am all enthused to spend the lil my lil brat allows for me in the day (rather night) to spend on baby food blogging now.

Athyn is not much in soups or any liquid food for that matter, he's big time biter and wants to eat like us. But loved this one soup, i think its the cheese flavor. Green beans has been one thing that I am not able to get into his diet at all. It does not mash along with other vegetables during lunch time (dal kichdi with mixed vegetables) and when blended with water (or even BM) tastes kinda bitter. Even the Gerber beans is yucky (with and without rice). So in an effort to somehow get green beans in his meal, randomly came up with this soup and it was a success!

Method to make Green Beans, Pumpkin and Cheese Soup 

1. Wash and remove the strings out of both sides of  the beans (French Beans).
2. Cut into 3 or 4 pieces each.
3. Wash, peel and make 4 or 5 cubes out of the pumpkin.
4. Add any hard cheese of your choice (I used the cheese slices you get in Britannia / Amul)
5, Use previously boiled and cooled water to blend the same.
6. You can use a scoop of oatmeal to make it a thick soup, it adds to the flavor amazingly.

Be very careful about the Cheese choice. Cheddar is always the best option. Other than which hard cheeses like Gouda is okay for babies, but sometimes they are too elastic-ey for them to chew on and swallow. Avoid soft cheeses like blue cheese until baby is one year at least.

If baby is less than 8 months, you can make the soup without any cheese and add unsalted butter instead, its tasty in its own way.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sweet Potato Puree

Here I begin one more blog on food. Something that I hope will help a lot of mommies like me wanting to feed their baby the best, while it is both yummy and healthy, and most of all appropriate. Small snippets from my experiments with nutrients and tastes based on my baby's love - hate relationship with food and of course the extensive gyan I picked up from where else but the internet!!

So to give it a sweet start, this is a simple recipe made with sweet potato (chakravali kizhangu), considered one of the best first foods when starting solids to six month olds! Although my son had carrot as his first food, this one was one of the first few that was welcomed with much enthusiasm. Babies love sweet potato. It is one of the most natural sources of sweetness for those lil tongues used to the sweetness of breastmilk alone for six whole months. Plus it serves awesome for that extra energy when only one solid food a day is given or as a breakfast to kick start the day with a good carbohydrate meal. It is easily digestible and contains vitamin b6 and c, beta-carotene, iron and potassium.

Method to make Sweet Potato Puree 

1. Wash and cut one sweet potato into half
2. Place in a steamer (or a small bowl that is partially covered)
3. Pressure cook up to 3 or 4 whistles (or steam for 20 minutes)
4. Peel the skin and blend with little water.
5. Alternatively, you can use raisin water too. (soak a handful of raisin overnight or at least for 3 hours, boil it and strain it, you can use the water to make any fruit or vegetable puree, this helps relieve constipation)

If your baby is over seven months, you can give multiple fruits and vegetables. Try steaming an apple along with the sweet potato and make a puree. It adds a little zest to the puree while the sweet potato takes away the tangy flavor that babies hate in an overcooked apple puree. Makes a winner combo!