Monday, 29 September 2014

Steamed Sugarless Vanilla Cupcakes with Organic Raisins

Finally got down to trying out the ever popular steamed cupcakes. Browsed through the recipes I had saved from the 'Healthy Food for my Baby' FB group & found a super easy one. Preparation including steaming was all done below 20 minutes. I tweaked the recipe a bit myself based on the ingredients I've at home. 

To my dismay, it didn't rise very well in my Tecno 3-Tiers Electric Steamer. The taste was however actually pretty good & I ate 2 out of the 4 cupcakes while my hubby had 1, leaving 1 for BB's breakfast tomorrow. 



I refused to succumb to the failed attempt & decided to do 1 more batch using my double boiler as a steamer. I also doubled the ingredients this time round.

Ingredients (makes 6 three-quarters full cupcakes):

1 cup of organic unbleached flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of cinnamon powder
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO)
4 tbsp of fresh milk (can substitute with breastmilk or formula milk)
4 tbsp of Pureharvest organic raisins
12 pieces of cupcake liners


Directions: 

1. Put a pot / wok of water on the stove to boil.

2. While waiting for the water to boil, mix & sieve the dry ingredients except raisins into a big bowl.


3. Combine the wet ingredients, pour into the big bowl then mix well.




4. Add the raisins & mix into the batter.

5. Scoop 2 tbsp of batter (I'll probably increase to 3 tbsp next time round to get fuller cupcakes) into the cupcake liners (I usually use 2 pieces for each cupcake). 


6. Ensure the water is boiling vigorously before putting the cupcakes onto your steamer stand. Use a kitchen towel to wrap around the lid so that water from condensation will not drop onto them. Steam for 10 minutes under high heat & do not open the lid during the steaming process. Remove when ready & serve warm.

Woohooooo \(^.^)/ They looked more fluffy this time round. My hubby tried one & commented that the texture is better. I taxed 1 mouthful from him but personally, i prefer the earlier ones. This is definitely a recipe to keep & I can't wait to try out other variations using different ingredients. A lil' surprise for my BB tomorrow & somehow I've a strong feeling he'll like it ^.~


Saturday, 27 September 2014

BB's Feeding Tools On-the-Go

One of the things mummies have to prepare for their precious little one's food journey is a good thermal food jar. After reading rave reviews for the brand Thermos, we went down to their counter at Takashimaya to take a look at their selection. I was greeted with superb service from one of their sales assistants who was friendly, knowledgeable but yet not too pushy. 

I settled for the JBG-2000 Lunch Tote as I knew then that I would be doing BLW & had wanted one with separate layers. There are 3 tubs for vegetables (0.4L), rice (0.75L) & soup (0.3L) & it is supposed to keep food warm for up to 6 hours. I usually use this when I prepare pastas with sauces on the go, as I do not want to mix and store them in the same tub, as it would cause the pasta to become soggy.

Tip: Run the cooked pastas under cool water to prevent it from cooking further before putting them in the topmost tub (meant for vegetables). Pour the piping hot sauce into the bottom most tub (meant for soup). Mix them together before serving & your LO will get to enjoy a warm & delicious pasta meal =)


A couple of days later, I went shopping again, this time with my PILs, as the Takashimaya Baby Fair was on. I decided to buy the Stainless King Food Jar (0.7L) too as I believe it would come in handy if I needed only to bring out a single food item. And boy was I right! Seeing how messy BB gets when he self-feeds, we decided against letting him do that when we're out. Thus, purees & porridges are his typical meals on-the-go. This food jar is supposed to keep food hot for 9 hours & cold for 12 hours. The hotness claim was put to test many a times (I've not used it to store cold food as yet and so can't attest to that) & it has never failed me. The best example was at a recent relative's wedding that we attended. His food was prepared & transferred into the food jar at 9.30am. When Daddy-O was emptying the leftovers before washing it that night, he noticed that the porridge was still slightly warm. This was almost unbelievable since more than 12 hours had already passed! Another bonus is that its insulated cover actually doubles up as a serving bowl too.


By now, you may have noticed that the sizes of my food jars are not typically the small & cute ones meant for babies. Yes, you can call me a typical Kiasu Singaporean..lolz! I didn't want to be caught in a situation where BB's food intake increased & I would have to buy bigger ones again. I'm proud to say that I have made the right choice. His appetite is not exactly that small & on days when we need to be out from morning / early afternoon till night, the King Food Jar is big enough for me to put 2 portions for his lunch & dinner. In conclusion, at a fraction of the other more costly brands, I've found that both have served me well & I'm confident that they'll continue to do so for many more foreseeable months or even years!

The only thing I feel was lacking in both jars was a spoon. The tote comes with a pair of chopsticks which I haven't used till now. On the other hand, you may be happy to know that the improvised King Food Jar comes with a metal spoon now. Unfortunately for me, I had to buy a spoon myself. I decided on the OXO On-the-Go Feeding Spoon. I like it as it is made from a soft silicon which is gentle on BB's gums & comes in a compact case. Another deciding factor is that it is in a matching blue colour (other colours are available too) to the King Food Jar I bought..hee ^.< The shallow spoon head helps to prevent feeding too much food but I find it a bit too shallow especially when it takes like forever to feed him soup.


In addition, I bought BB the Tommee Tippee's Roll n Go Bib. Its special crumb-catcher, wipe-clean finish & roll-up design for storage are key reasons as to why I chose it.


Last but not least, I also purchased the Fisher Price Booster seat but I shalll share more on it in a separate post with my high-chair. Okie, it seems like he's finally all 'geared-up' for meals on-the-go!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Eggless French Toast with a Twist!

I've been making different varieties of bread for my family almost every weekend since I've gotten my own breadmaker. Yesterday's choice was peanut butter loaf, so naturally we'll be having that for breakfast today. As I walked into the kitchen, I saw the bunch of ripe bananas hanging there and thought that banana should go well with peanut butter. It then struck me that I've seen a simple baked banana recipe which I might be able to use to bake my bread. To my disappointment, I couldn't seem to recall where i came across it even despite googling for it. However, I chanced upon another recipe for a banana toast which I found to be pretty interesting & easy.

Ingredients:

2 pieces of homemade peanut butter bread (or any other bread you have at home)
1 ripe banana
60ml of fresh milk (breastmilk / formula milk)
A dash of cinnamon
1 tsp of extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO)


Directions:

1. Cut each piece of bread into 3 or 4 long strips.

2. Place all the remaining ingredients except the EVCO in a bowl & mash with a fork till almost smooth.


3. Heat up the EVCO in a non-stick pan (I'm using HCP). Dip the bread fingers into the mixture & fry for 1 to 2 minutes with low heat on each side until they turn golden.


Voila! Yet another marvelicious breakfast or snack is ready! I served it with some cottage cheese & organic raisins & both of us absolutely enjoyed it ^.^

Friday, 19 September 2014

My New 'Toy' - The Tecno 3-Tiers Electric Steamer

I was contemplating on whether I should get a 3-tier steamer and procrastinated for quite a while as my kitchen counter was already overcrowded with my existing appliances. Unfortunately for my hubby (heehee), we chanced upon the above mentioned steamer going at a very low price of just $39 (usual price is $89) at Harvey Norman in Parkway Parade. Who could've resisted such a good deal right? Furthermore, as most mummies without any helpers (like myself) would attest to, efficiency is key in food preparation. Therefore, I've always felt that investment in appliances like this and a breadmaker are worthy ones ^.~

Unlike my Tesco breadmaker which I couldn't wait to try out, this new toy of mine stayed in its box for almost 2 months before seeing the light. I knew it would come in useful in time to come & right now's the time! Why only now and not earlier, you may wonder? Well the time is finally ripe because BB has just been "officially promoted" to share our table food & it'll also be time-saving if I could steam a couple of dishes concurrently too. 


As shown in the above picture, I managed to steam rice in the bottom most tier, fish & chicken in the middle tier & vegetables on the top-most tier. This is what I would like to call "killing 4 birds with one stone"...lolz! 

Organic ten multi-grains (Simple Natural brand found at most Cold Storage outlets): 4 tbsps soaked overnight in 3/4 cup of water (I found the rice to be a wee bit too wet so I'll probably reduce the water to 1/2 cup the next time round). Steam for 35 minutes.

Steamed corn-fed chicken thigh: 1/3 of a chicken thigh marinated with juice from 1/2 a lime & a dash of fresh-ground black pepper. Steam for 20 minutes

Steamed red grouper: 1 grouper fillet marinated with some black pepper.

Basil organic lady's fingers (okra) & tomato: 1 pack of lady's fingers & 1 medium-sized tomato cut into smaller pieces. Marinate with some dried basil, juice of the remaining lime & some black pepper. Steam for 10 minutes.


The brilliant idea of marinating the chicken with lime comes from a mummy who always uses different fruits as 'seasonings' in the "Healthy Food for My Baby" FB group. Lime juice adds a slight tangy taste to the chicken which makes it quite refreshing. I can't wait to try out some of her other variations using grapes & oranges.

The dish which turned out to be my favourite was actually the lady's fingers with tomato. In fact, I've never cooked lady's fingers before so it was quite a pleasant surprise as to how well it turned out. I will usually make use of what I've got in my fridge to conjur up a meal & I happened to have 1 tomato left. Therefore, i mixed it with the lady's fingers plus the other half of the lime as well as some dried basil (one of the herbs that's commonly added to tomatoes), resulting in a rich basil aroma that yet tastes very appetising due to the sourness from the lime juice.

After finishing all the rice & vegetables, BB actually asked for more = ) In the end, he had almost 1.5 servings of rice, the entire portion of chicken, 2/3 of the fish & 3 servings of vegetables!

Rice Cooker Beef Bowl Rice with Carrots, Eggs & Buttered Broccoli + Unsweetened Green Bean Soup for Dessert

This simple recipe was passed down to me from my MIL when I was pregnant & guess what . . . the entire preparation only takes 15 minutes! 

Ingredients:

300g of organic fresh beef (bought from the Culina counter in Bedok Mall FairPrice Finest), can be substituted by pork
3 cups of water
2 cups of organic short grain brown rice, washed & soaked with water for > 7 hours
3 small carrots, diced
3 kampong eggs, beaten
1 spear of broccoli, chopped into smaller stalks with florets
2 tbsp of sesame oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp of unsalted butter

Directions:

1. Marinate the beef with sesame oil & a generous amount of pepper (I did this 4 hours beforehand).

2. Place the soaked rice together with the water into the rice cooker & cook as per instructed in the manual. Halfway through the designated cooking time, add in beef & carrots and mix together with the rice.

3. Lay the broccoli on a plate & put it in your rice cooker's steam tray to steam for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on how you like it to be done. Remove the cooked broccoli, add the butter to melt over it & mix well.

4. Add in the eggs just before the water dries up & mix it into the rice. Wait for rice to be cooked & serve immediately once it's ready and at it's best.


To counteract the harmful effects of the recent haze, I also prepared green bean soup as dessert for the 3 of us. Green beans help to reduce heatiness & clear our respiratory system. 

Ingredients:

1.5 litres of water
1/2 cup of green beans, soaked with water for > 7 hours

Directions:

1. Bring the beans in water to a boil then reduce the fire to a simmer, stirring occasionally. You can tell if they're ready when the beans start to open up. Do not cook them for too long lest they become mushy and lose their cooling properties. Serve warm.

Both are indeed comfort food at their best, quoted from my hubby. Even my hubby is getting used to eating food with its natural taste (^.^)b

'Rice' to the Occasion for my 13M 27DO BB

BB hasn't been himself in terms of his usual feeding recently. He would have only a few mouthfuls before refusing to open his mouth for more. More often then not, I would have to play & coax him to eat more but nevertheless he's still having lesser than his usual serving. A few of the other toddlers in my "July 13 Mummies" group were also showing similar symptoms of food regression. Thus, I concluded that they were most probably teething & thus didn't have much appetitie. 

Since it was likely to be a passing phrase, I wasn't too concerned about it. However, I noticed subsequently that he would eat more whenever food which offered more "texture", such as pasta, was fed to him. With this observation, I arrived at another conclusion - he may be tired of having the usual porridges (even the sight of them turns Mummy off now..lolz) & instead is craving for more interesting foods instead. Hence, I present to you his lunch menu for yesterday ; )

Steamed organic mixed grains rice: 1 tbsp each of buckwheat, red lentils, millet & quinoa (pre-mixed by me) & short grain brown rice soaked overnight in 3/4 cup of water which is then steamed using my new steamer (review will be shared soon so stay tuned).

Steamed cod with fresh shiitake mushrooms: 1 thawed cod fillet marinated with a dash of fresh-ground black pepper, topped with 3 small shiitake mushrooms (sliced) & steamed for 15 minutes.

Kampong fried eggs with organic French beans: 1 packed of French beans, washed & diced. Heat a bit of EVCO in a non-stick pan (I'm using HCP) & stir fry the beans on medium heat till they soften & turn a darker green. Spread evenly over the entire pan before pouring 2 eggs beaten with some black pepper over them. Let the egg cook for about 1 to 2 minutes till slightly golden brown then flip over to the other side & cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Red cabbage with yellow onion soup: 1/2 of a red cabbage, sliced into 0.5cm thickness with 1 onion cut into halves & add all of it into a pot with 1 litre of water to be boiled at a medium fire for a minimum of 30 minutes.


So, did my lil' food critic find these dishes to his liking? YES, he loved them & opened his mouth enthusiastically bite after bite. Yippeeeee! Eating BB = Happie BB & Mummy \(~.^)/ 


I was a bit apprehensive initially as my boy doesn't like foods that are too bland & I didn't use any salt or soy sauce during the cooking process. Fortunately, I've taken that into account & used the natural taste of the ingredients to enhance the overall flavour. Cod already has a stronger "fish taste" to it & the aroma of the shiitake mushrooms complement it perfectly. I believe you'll definitely be seeing more of these nutritious & flavourful fungi in my home cooked dishes.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Weaning from 6MO

The list of foods you can consider giving your 6MO baby is as follow:

Cereals - barley, oats, rice

Fruits - apple, apricot, avocado, banana, mango, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, prune & pumpkin

Vegetables- acorn / butternut squash, carrot, green beans, parsnip, peas, sweet potato & yellow squash / zucchini 

Dairy - plain whole milk yogurt

There's a new school of thought when it comes to weaning known as Baby Led Weaning or in short, BLW. I first saw it in practice when a girlfriend of mine gave her then 6MO gal a slice of apple to gnaw on. As the date drew nearer to the recommended weaning of 6MO for BB, I started doing more research online & I stumbled upon it again. Upon reading more about it, I decided to give it a try but decided to adopt a two-pronged approach. I would let BB explore & 'play' with his food but would feed him some purees if he still wanted more subsequently.

2 weeks before he turned 6MO, I started spoon-feeding him some breastmilk to test if he had lost his tongue-thrust reflex as well as to let him get used to drinking from a spoon. He showed more & more signs of readiness & with advices from some experienced mummies, I decided to start him off a few days short of him reaching 6MO.

His first encounter with solid food was actually avocado mixed with breastmilk. Avocado is one of the best food for babies as it has a high nutrient content & good fats too. I'm actually blessed as my boy turned out to be a food lover just like his parents & he accepted it readily. 

Ingredients:

1/2 of a ripe (brown & slightly soft when pressed) avocado, mashed
Breastmilk (or formula milk)

Directions:

1. Mix some milk bit by bit into the avocado till you get the desired consistency (mine was quite watery for the first try & I gradually thicken it for the next 3 days).


I also followed the 4 days rule when introducing every new food to check for any allergies & it always seemed like an eternity >.< For his first month on solids, I only managed to introduce 5 foods, namely avocado, butternut pumpkin, sweet potato, peas & oats, to him (partly he was unwell during the CNY period so I stopped his food intake temporarily & instead directly latched him throughout).

Ingredient & Direction:

A small piece of organic butternut pumpkin, diced & steamed by my Avent Combined Steamer & Blender.
(Note: easily squashed)




Ingredient & Direction:

A small Japanese sweet potato, cut into long strips, steamed & half blended by my Avent.
(Note: may be a bit dry so get ready some water to feed in between)




Ingredient & Direction:

A small handful of Watties frozen peas steamed & half blended by my Avent.
(Note: add a bit of room temperature water for it to be blended more smoothly)



Ingredients:

1 tbsp of blended organic rolled oats
1/4 cup of breast / formula milk or water
1/2 avocado, 1/4 sliced & 1/4 mashed

Directions:

1. Oats cooked as per normal. 

2. Add in mashed avocado, mix & serve warm.

Baked Banana Custards

Another no-hassle yet delicious banana recipe to share (adapted from Wholesome Baby Food).

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup breastmilk (or formula)
A pinch of cinnamon (may substitute with ginger or nutmeg too)

Directions:

1. Place all the ingredients into food processor (I'm using my Avent Combined Steamer & Blender) & blend until smooth but not runny & thin (can also hand whisk if you want to do some workout..hee).

2. Pour mixture into silicon cupcake molds (mine are from Diaso) / ramekins & bake at 175°C for about 20 minutes. Check every 5 to 10 minutes as the time can vary depending on the consistency of your mixture. It's supposed to split like a custard pie does when finished but mine didn't. It's done when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into its centre.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Natural Remedies for Runny Nose & Cough: Cut Raw Onions & Double-Boiled Asian Pear

Recently, I keep hearing of my friends' little ones falling sick and so I thought I'd share a natural remedy which I'd learnt from one of the mummies from the "Healthy Food for my Baby" Facebook group. During CNY, my boy was down with a very strong virus attack. His stuffy & runny nose couldn't stop dripping & he was coughing quite badly too. After 2 visits to his paediatrician & almost completing his course of medication, he didn't show any signs of recovering. 

I then decided to try out some natural remedies & to my relief, they worked! After he had fallen asleep, I cut some raw purple onions & placed them near to him. Believe it or not, he could breathe much better that very night! I continued the treatment the next day during his nap again. Word of caution though: the strong pungent onion fumes will difuse throughout the entire room : / My hubby hated it but tolerated for the sake of our boy. Thank you, my dearie ;*


With the positive results from the onions, I was also encouraged to try a new food therapy for him - double-boiled Asian pear, which actually helps to nourish the lungs.

Ingredients:

1 Asian pear, sliced (was advised by my mum subsequently to peel off the skin).

Directions:

1. Place the sliced pear into a ceramic pot. Put the ceramic pot into a bigger pot of water to double-boil for 2 hours.

2. Feed some pear as well as some of the pear essence that is secreted during the double-boiling.


BB really started getting better & recovered in no time. It even helped to ease the process of feeding medicine to him. He can accept the taste of paracetamol but not for the others & will struggle & keep his mouth shut whenever we try to feed them to him. As a last resort, I added some of the pear essence into his medicine & he drank them up without any resistance. The sweetness probably made it more palatable ~.^

I've since shared this with many of my mummy friends & some of them have remarked to me that it's truly indeed effective. In fact, it has become one of our favourite homemade dessert. Given Singapore's hot weather all year round, I think it helps to cool our bodies down too. Now, I'll prepare it for supper almost fortnightly, with an added Chinese almonds for our "adult" version.