Archive for October, 2010

October 29, 2010

Baby’s First Veggie Puree

So your little one is about 6 months old and is looking to try some puree! What an exciting time when you can start to introduce new flavours and foods. But remember to keep it simple at first and introduce new things slowly. Always supplementing with breast milk or formula for the majority of meal times at this stage.

Here is a quick and easy puree that you can start your little one off with. I’m using carrots but you can do it with potato, sweet potato or turnips.

Ingredients
4 medium carrots

Wash and peel carrots, then cut them into even sized slices. Steam them by placing them in a colander and set it over boiling water. Cook them until very very tender – about 15 – 20 minutes. Puree until smooth, add a little of the cooking water to get the best consistency. Serve luke warm.

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October 26, 2010

Quiche

Quick, easy and full of protein – Quiche is a wonderful meal. It is extremely easy, versatile and freezes well. This makes it a great item to make a head of time, freeze and eat on busy nights, which can be most nights after baby arrives! Here is my basic recipe for protein packed Quiche – just waiting for your personal touch.

Ingredients
1 pie crust unbaked – from scratch or store bought
2 cups rehydrated red lentils
1 – 2 cups veggies sliced or chopped – get creative! Mushrooms, asparagus pieces, peppers, spinach… its your call
3-4 handfuls of grated cheese such as mozzarella, cheddar, Colby or swiss
4-6 eggs
1/4 cup skim milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Place your unbaked pie shell on a cookie sheet. Layer the bottom with the rehydrated lentils. If using canned make sure you rinse and drain well. Cover lentils with cheese and veggies until they reach the top of the pie shell in an even layer.

In a cup or bowl mix eggs and milk with a touch of salt and pepper. Start with 4 eggs, add them to the pie crust if the level of liquid ingredients reaches the top of the crust stop here – if you need add 2 more eggs.

Cook in a 350 degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until egg has set all the way through. Serve  warm or allow to cool completely, place in an air tight container or freezer bag – remove the air and freeze. Thaw then heat to serve.

*** Update***
For those looking on tips to rehydrate lentils check out my posting on Simply Fresh: http://simplyfreshottawa.com/2010/03/29/dried-beans/

October 25, 2010

Salmon Cakes

Salmon is a great source of Calcium, Protein and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. While it is important to try to avoid fish with high levels of Mercury while pregnant, canned salmon is perfectly safe. Just try to limit your servings to a couple of times a week.

Ingredients
2 large baking potatoes
2 cans salmon – large bones removed, smaller ones left in for added calcium
Salt and Pepper
3 green onions thinly sliced
1 egg lightly beaten
Handful of fresh dill, chopped
Olive oil

Steam or boil potatoes until tender. Mash using a potato masher. Allow to cool slightly then add to a large bowl with remaining ingredients adding salt and pepper to taste.

Mix well together and form into 4 large patties. If mixture seems too wet add a handful of breadcrumbs.

In a large skillet heat a splash of Olive Oil and fry salmon cakes until golden brown on the outside and heated through the middle. Serve warm.

October 22, 2010

Chili

Packed full of fiber and protein beans are a great way to get loads of vitamins and nutrients into your diet for only a few calories. And what better way to eat beans than in a hearty veggie chili?!?

Ingredients
4 cups rehydrated or canned beans that have been rinsed well – get a variety such as red and white kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans and chick peas
1 can of no salt added whole or diced tomatoes
1/2 a butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed
1/2 red onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped, seeds and membrane removed
2 cups homemade veggie broth
2 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP garlic powder
2 TSP cayenne pepper – optional

Combine all ingredients into a pot or slow cooker – make sure beans are soft if you have rehydrated them and do not drain the canned tomatoes, add them in liquid and all.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer if cooking in a pot on the stove and cook for 2-3 hours. If using as slow cooker cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4.

Add more liquid if chili starts to dry out during cooking  – sometimes rehydrated beans absorb more liquid as they cook.

Serve warm with whole wheat bread or toast. Top with a little light sour cream and cilantro for added flavour and calcium.

If you’d like to add meat for added protein and B vitamins brown 1/2 to 1lb of ground turkey or lean ground beef in a pan and add it to the mixture along with the other ingredients.

October 20, 2010

Before You’re Pregnant

You may think that just because you aren’t pregnant yet there isn’t anything you can be doing to get ready for baby – wrong! Here is a quick list of things you can do before you even get pregnant to help the process along and make it a better experience for you when you do finally get that bun in the oven!

  • Get a preconception check up – a physical exam will pick up any medical problems that need to be addressed before or monitored during pregnancy
  • Start looking for a prenatal practitioner – it’s easier now than when you are on a deadline to find someone
  • Visit the Dentist – believe it or not pregnancy hormones can aggravate gum and tooth problems, so now is the time to have any potential problems dealt with
  • Take a look at your family history of both you and your partner
  • Take a look at your pregnancy history
  • Ask your doctor if genetic screening is recommended
  • Get a blood test – you can get a head start on some of the testing they run once you are pregnant with a simple blood test to test for things that may need to be monitored later such as anemia
  • Get treated for any condition that such a test turns up now – it is easier to take care of before you conceive

  • Update your immunizations
  • Get chronic illnesses such as diabetes or a heart condition under control and be sure you have your doctor’s ok to become pregnant
  • It is recommended that anyone who has been using hormonal birth control stop using it a few months prior to conceiving – use condoms in the mean time. This allows your system to go through at least two normal cycles. If you have a IUD have it removed before trying. If you are on Depo-Provera shots you may have to wait up to 10 months to become fertile again, plan accordingly
  • Start eating well! It is never too early for a nutrient rich diet
  • Take a prenatal vitamin
  • Get your weight in check – if you are over or under weight it can be harder to conceive
  • Get into an exercise routine that will keep you healthy but wont over do it – ask your doctor for advice on how much is the right amount
  • Check to see what medications you currently have or are taking that are unsafe during pregnancy
  • Cut back on caffeine and alcohol – no need to stop with caffeine when you are pregnant, just cut back to 200mg a day. Alcohol doesn’t need to be cut out entirely until you become pregnant
  • Quit smoking – it not only affects the health of your unborn baby but can hinder conception
  • Figure out any work issues – if you are planning to find a new job it might be best to do so before you get pregnant to give you a chance to get settled and used to a new routine before baby is on board
  • Become familiar with your monthly cycle
  • Relax!

*This list is based on the one provided in Chapter 1 of What to Expect When You Are Expecting.

October 19, 2010

Wheat Teething Cookies

These teething cookies are great to give your little one to gum on while their new set of pearly whites come in! As when giving your child any kind of small food you should watch them carefully while they eat it. These cookies are best introduced between 8 to 10 months of age.

Ingredients
2/3 cup milk
4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 cup plain, untoasted wheat germ 
3/4 cup whole wheat flour

Beat together the milk, butter and sugar. Stir in the wheat germ and enough flour to make a dough. The dough should be sticky and harder to work with than normal cookie dough – this is normal and will result in harder cookies for baby to gum on.

Knead until smooth, about 8 to 10 minutes. Pinch off balls of dough and roll them into sticks. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until browned and hard.

October 18, 2010

Cheesy Mushroom Crepes

Making sure you get higher amounts of calcium is key during and after pregnancy – especially if you are breast feeding. These cheesy mushroom crepes are a great way to keep the calcium coming!

Ingredients
1 box of cremini mushrooms – or Portobellos
2 TBSP butter
1 TSP garlic powder
Pepper
2 TBSP all purpose flour
1/3 cup skim milk
3 TBSP parmesan cheese
1 hand full grated monteryjack cheese, mozzarella or cheddar work well too

Crepes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 TBSP melted butter

Clean and slice mushrooms. In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat, add garlic powder and a bit of pepper. Add mushrooms once butter has melted. Allow mushrooms to cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add flour, milk and cheeses. Turn burner to low heat and allow mixture to reduce to a sauce like consistency.

For the crepes mix all crepe ingredients together to form a watery batter. Heat a skillet over medium heat, spray with a little oil or melted butter to keep the crepe from sticking. Add batter to pan – approx. 1/4 cup per crepe – and turn pan so that batter covers the entire bottom of the skillet in a thin layer. Allow to cook 1-2 minutes or until edges start to dry out. Flip and cook 1 minute more on other side. Set crepe to the side until you have finished all of them.

Stuff crepes with a couple spoonfuls of mushroom mixture, fold and top with a little extra grated cheese if you like. Enjoy!

October 16, 2010

Date Pecan Cookies

Nuts such as pecans are packed with protein and folic acid making them a great snacking item for those who are pregnant or looking to become pregnant. Folic Acid is a key nutrient that women should increase their levels of even before becoming pregnant. It helps fight against pre-mature babies as well as spinal and brain birth defects. Making these cookies a delish way to stay healthy.

 

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup whole wheat all-purpose flour
1/2 TSP baking powder
1/4 TSP salt
1 package (8 ounces) pitted dates, chopped
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup icing sugar for rolling *optional

In a mixing bowl beat sugar with eggs until fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Blend dry ingredients into the sugar mixture. Fold in dates and pecans. Spoon batter into a greased 8-inch square pan; bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and stir immediately with a wooden spoon.

Let cool completely, then roll mixture into 1-inch balls. If you like, put icing sugar onto a plate and roll pecan date balls until coated.

*Inspired by an About.com recipe

October 13, 2010

Halloween Costumes

We all know that a baby’s first Halloween costume is the cutest thing ever. But don’t let the fact that your little one is still on the inside keep you from having a killer costume this fall! Here are a couple of great ideas I came across so that you do not have to resort to being ‘Juno’ or ‘Pregnant Nun’ though those are pretty cute ideas too!

 

October 12, 2010

Indian Chicken and Tomatoes

This recipe came around while I was trying to make a lighter version of Indian butter chicken, but didn’t have all the necessary ingredients. It definitely isn’t butter chicken but it is really tasty! There are also some great nutritional benefits from the brown rice such as fiber, tomatoes (folic acid) and chicken (protein). This dish can easily be made veggie by omitting the chicken but add some beans or lentils for added protein.

Ingredients
1 TBSP butter
1/2 onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh grated ginger
1 TSP chili powder
1/2 TSP ground cinnamon
1/4 TSP turmeric
1 can of no salt added whole or diced tomatoes
Roast chicken, cooled and pulled into bite sized pieces – no bones or skin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Brown rice

Melt butter in a skillet on medium heat. Cook onion, garlic and ginger 2 minutes or until onions start to soften. Add spices, cook one minute more. Add tomatoes with their juice. If using whole tomatoes use a fork to break them into pieces. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.

Add chicken and simmer 10 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve over prepared brown rice.