Saturday, May 31, 2014

Super Dessert for Babies: Cranberry & Raisins Rice Pudding

The boy gobbled down today's meal so quickly that I knew I had another winner on hand.

Since he had a nice bowl for dinner shortly ago, I thought I will make him dessert instead. It smelt so nice that I tasted it myself. Pass on adult's palate too. Ha. He ate the first serving fast and asked for more, so this mother gladly fed him 10 tablespoons of this nutritionally and calories dense meal. And he had another 2 tablespoons (estimate) of raw blueberries.

1. Organic cranberry: is incredibly high in phytonutrients, antioxidants, anti carcinogenic, optimises the balance of bacteria in our digestive tract. Likely blueberry, cranberry is low allergenic and suitable for babies.
2. Organic Raisins: amazingly high in calories,raisins also provide relief from constipation, electrolytes and polyphenolic antioxidants.
3. Baby Nat basic rice cereal
4. Organic raw wheat germ: should be used more often in our meals. Raw wheat germ is the most vitamin and mineral-rich part of the wheat kernel.
5. Water

1. Blitz raisins and cranberries till it is paste like
2. Add rice ceral, wheat gèrm and water. Add water and stir to delight.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Super Immune Pesto Chicken Pasta

My 3 year old and husband ate tonight's dinner so quickly I knew I have a winner on hand.

Free range chicken breast, diced
Garlic, one whole head
White sesame seeds (I happen to have this at home, would have loved pine nuts)
Lemon Balm (home grown, great for sore throat and cognitive development)
Lemon Thyme (home grown)
English parsley (home grown, super food, best known for its healing property)
Sage (home grown, immune booster)
Teddy bear pasta
Olive oil
Kelp powder
Sea salt
Cottage cheese (optional)

1. Boil pasta. Probably takes 8-10 mins.
2. Blend spinach (90%), herbs (10%), handful of sesame seeds, head of peeled garlic and olive oil.
3. Heat some olive oil in pan. Fry diced chicken breast.
4. When chicken is almost fully cooked, add in blended vegetables puree. Stir for 10 mins or till chicken is thoroughly cooked.
5. Stir in pasta. Season with organic kelp and sea salt.
6. Add cottage cheese if desired. Gives the extra calcium. My girl is a cheese monster and expects cheese with her pasta.

Total time: 20 mins

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Baby friendly Ngau Nam Mein (Beef Brisket Noodles)

Are there times when you don't know what to cook for the family? I was feeling that with the baby today.

Since we are serving organic beef in school today and I thought I will give the same protein to the baby.

I have been missing life in Hong Kong and then inspiration hits me.

I whipped up this dish for the little boss - Baby Ngau Nam Mein.

Radiant organic millet noodles
Organic beef
Steamed cauliflower
Puree of apple, blueberry and guava

1. Boil organic millet noodles which tasted like kuey teow. Cut to desired size.
2. Boil beef till well done, dice fine
3. Steam cauliflower, apple, blueberry, guava. Blend the latter three so they make a nice sweet gravy.
4. Serve all together.

The baby approved and ate about 5 oz easily. And I am a happy mommy. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cannellini and Sunflower seeds Pie

Just baked this pie in school and it was satisfying to hear the children chorus 'I want more I want more'.

Today's snack is low gluten (mainly because I didnt use GF oatmeal), egg free, dairy free and highly nutritious.

Cannellini beans is high in protein and iron, boosts memory and is great for a growing young child. It is buttery in taste and great for adding a nutty creamy texture to the dish.

Sunflower seeds is rich in vitamin Bs, E, calcium and calories. So it is great for sustaining the energy of our active little ones.

1 cup Tapioca flour
1 cup Potato flour
1 cup Oatmeal
1 cup Cannellini beans (partially mashed to retain texture)
1/3 cup Sunflower seeds
Baking powder
1/3 cup soaked chia seeds (to replace eggs)
2/3 cup Olive oil

Bake at 160 degrees celsius for 25 mins.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Shredded Pork Oats Noodles with Avocado & VCO sauce

My two children are blessed with incredibly high metabolism. It's particularly apparent in my baby.

He was born as a chubby baby of 4.1 kg (96%) and 54.5 cm (100%). He shed the fat quite quickly, despite me having more than ample milk supply.

We checked in with his paed periodically and verified there was nothing really wrong. In fact, he was ahead in his milestones. I expressed once and found I could express 3 oz easily after nursing him. Milk looked normal with acceptable level of fat. He nurses direct 10-13 times daily and I think it is fair to estimate a daily milk in take of 30-39 oz, with 32 oz daily as a recommended average.

Then the only logical left is his high latent metabolism fueled by the fact he is very active.

This is where it gets contentious. Some parents would say, "my child is slim because he is active" and leaves it as that. I am of the school of thought that if a child has a higher base metabolism, then for each activitity he does, he would burn more calories. Now coupled with the fact that he is more active than the next child, doesn't this child need a higher calories count per day to survive? In order to gain weight, this child will need to consume more calories than his body daily requirement.

My objective is less of getting my children to gain weight. My objective is that I am feeding my child as much as he needs to grow optimally. I want my child to realise his potential. 

Now the usual approach to baby weaning has been the nutrition / puree approach. However, comparing like for like of an apple versus rice, the former contains less calories. The puree approach using fruits is also more likely to create sugar high and low in babies. Therefore, our mothers and grandmothers were doing something right after all with the porridge base approach to baby weaning!

The meals I designed and prepared for my own baby, babies and bigger kids in school tend to be carbohydrates and good fat based. Over 50% of a child's calories should come from carbohydrates.

Tonight's dinner for my 9 month old baby is organic oats noodles (egg free), boiled shredded pork, a chunky avocado, VCO and Singo pear puree as sauce. High in calories, fat and iron. The baby gave his stamp of approval and ate really quickly.

Dessert was Australian mango (diced) and egg free white bread (1.5 slices). Then he nursed and slept. His hearty appetite made my day in a way I guess most mommies can relate to.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Avocado, Chicken, Potato: Baby version of a club sandwich

The baby loved what I prepared for him today and so I thought, best jot it down so I can make again. Haha.

Poached and diced chicken, chunky boiled pink potato without skin, avocado, steamed pumpkin, with blended green peas and brown rice. And a dash of VCO.

High in calories, good fat, diverse range of vitamins.

He ate 10-11 tablespoons eagerly. I am a happy mommy.

15 mins Immune Boosting soup

The husband came home from work feeling under the weather. It appears to be viral, considering the symptoms came on quickly. His head feels woozy, congestion builds up quickly and I know just the thing to whip up for tonight's dinner.

Soupy stuff is great when you are under the weather and your digestive system starts slowing. Plus it hydrates the body when your body has to work harder to get you better. Loaded with crucial vitamins and anti oxidants, think of this soup as your imported soldiers to help your immune fight whatever it is fighting.

Cauliflower (decongestant, thins mucus)
Red capsicum (decongestant, thins mucus)
Purple carrot (high in beta carotene, anti oxidants)
Celery (decongestant, thins mucus)
English parsley

1. As with most phytonutrients, I like to use as little heat as possible. In this case, I chop up the ingredients, fill with just enough water and chicken stock to cover and blend using a hand blender. You can easily blitz up in a food processor beforing transfering to a pot.
2. Bring to boil. I boiled for 10 mins. You can probably get away with less if your chicken stock is flavourful enough. The longer you boil, the sweeter the soup is from all the vegetable. But the heat kills the nutrition.

That's it. Easy peasy dish which takes them 15 mins to make. I will be serving with brown rice as a soupy rice main course, and grilled salmon as a protein.

I keep aside some portions for the baby. I don't fill up the jars (meant for freezing) so I can add carbohydrates and protein in later. This allows me to vary the menu for the baby easily.

Friday, May 16, 2014

High Iron Pasta for the family, including the baby

I try to cook every meal for the family. Cooking nutritious meals for my child is probably one of the reasons I set up a school, ha. I am often asked how do I find time to cook when I am working? I don't know, I find eating out takes up more time. Slow cooker is my best helper for soups, stews, braised meals etc. But sometimes I prefer to cook certain ingredients only briefly to preserve as much nutrition as possible.

Anyway, here's a quick pasta I whipped up last night. My version of Beef Bolognaise with English parsley, lentils, millet, red capsicum, spinach, tomato and pasta of course. 

Do you know
- Spinach, lentils and beef are high in iron, but iron is best absorbed if taken with Vitamin C? Tomato and red capsicum contain Vitamin C and pairing these food together help the body utilise iron better.
- Red capsicum is a decongestant, thins mucus and phlegm and has anti-cancer properties.
- Lentils are legumes, packed with fiber and protein. My favourite thing about this is that it stabilises blood sugar and is awesome for young children. It evens their sugar level and prevents mood swings from sugar high sugar low effect.
- English Parsley has wonderful healing properties, and I love it so much I have it growing t home. It purportedly neutralises carcinogen, is packed with anti-oxidants nutrients and vitamins B, C.

1. Heat olive oil and add in chopped garlic and onions. Boil pasta separately.
2. Add lentils, millets and ground beef. Season with salt if you wish. I don't add any salt.
3. Add canned tomato pomodoro, red capsicum and finely chopped English parsley. Add two cups of water.
4. When beef is cooked, add in chopped spinach. I turn off the flames as soon as the spinach wilt because I don't want the high heat to kill the nutrients. Actually the whole cooking process probably took me 20 mins or less.
5. Serve with pasta. 

Yes, this portion is for my 3 year old girl. She has a hearty appetite and is blessed with a high metabolism.

When I am prepping ingredients, I like to put aside those that is suitable for my baby. Food high in iron is added bonus for breastfed babies. In this case, I set aside the pasta (boiled a little longer so they are softer), spinach, red capsicum, onion, garlic and millet. I dropped them into the boiling water after I scooped out the cooked pasta, did a quick hand blend when cooked. My 9 month old baby has moved on to chunky food and loves this. He ate 8 tablespoon (4 ozs) easily and I am a happy mother. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

High Iron Biscuits for Baby

Since I am an early waker, I thought I will bake a new batch of biscuits for the baby. House smelled so good, reminiscent of CNY, and the baby kept smacking his lips, saying mam-mam and pointing to the cooling biscuits. 

So satisfying when his face broke into a smile when the first biscuit melted in his mouth. 

80g unsalted butter
80g Virgin Coconut Oil
2 teaspoon soaked chia seeds
120g corn starch

40g self raising flour
40g ground organic oatmeal
40g raw organic wheat germ
40g ground organic sesame seeds
120g ground dried organic apricots (Make sure to choose the dark brown ones. Light orange dried apricots contain sulphur)


1. Melt butter, add in VCO and soaked chia seeds
2. Grind oatmeal, wheat germs, sesame seeds and dehydrated apricots till fine so they will melt in the mouth and minimise choking hazard.
3. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. 
4. Bake at 175 degrees for 9 minutes. My biscuit is about 2.5 cm in diameter before baking.

This batch is dairy free for those who didn't want milk powder, sans the butter of course. Do note that VCO, chia seeds and sesame seeds may be highly nutritious but maybe allergenic. Best to do a separate test with babies before serving. My baby is a 9 months old fusspot, with an incredibly high metabolism and no allergies, so my main objective is to feed him as much nutrition and calories as possible within any small window of opportunity. This version of the biscuits is also favoured by Daddy and big sister.

Weight Gaining and Appetite Increasing Biscuits

Decided to direct my angst to a productive cause, and cook something for my picky eater of a son. Recently, all he wants is finger food. I feed him small pieces of fruits like sliced avocado, egg yolk, sliced beef AND his favourites are the biscuits, puff variety. He goes through so much a day.

Even though they are organic, I look at the ingredients (flour, skimmed milk powder, butter typically) and don't feel quite at ease that I am not in complete control.

At the same time, two other parents asked me for my opinion on pediasure for their picky eaters. I was advising one that pediasure's main ingredient is really cornstarch,why pay so much to feed your child corn starch. Then inspiration struck.

Here it goes - My baby friendly biscuits which has the texture of a shortbread. It offers the crunch factor that older infants like and it melts in the mouth right away. It is high calories (great for gaining weight), high in calcium and I was cheeky to use Appeton's lysine to give the biscuit an orange flavour. The more the child eats, the more he or she will eat. Heehee. My little fussy bossy eater eats one row of the biscuits at one sitting, so I am a happy mom.

120g unsalted butter
2 teaspoon of Virgin Coconut Oil
240 g corn starch (this is why the biscuit will melt in the mouth)
120 g self raising flour (can substitute half with ground millet or ground oats)
120 g of Bellamy organic full fat milk powder
1.5 teaspoon of presoaked chia seeds (this is the binding agent)
Pinch of baking soda
0.5 teaspoon of orange flavour lysine (optional, debatable if lysine increases appetite anyway)

1. Melt butter, add VCO oil and lysine
2. Add in dry ingredients. If the dough is wet, add more flour
3. Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for 10 mins. Each of my biscuit is about 2 cm in diameter before baking.

Melt in the mouth biscuits

Food that gets rid of phlegm

My 9 months old baby started the sniffles and I could hear the phlegm building up.

Congestion in a young baby is a mother's nightmare because he only knows how to breathe via the nose. If the nose is blocked, everything comes to an abrupt halt. Can't breastfeed. Can't eat. Can't sleep. What's worse is the phlegm tickling the throat, and triggering the body's natural response to cough it out.

To get rid of phelgm, there are 3 things to keep in mind. 

1) Mucus and phlegm creation needs to be reduced. Dairy products and sugar are the two biggest culprits in phlegm creation. You need to limit or eliminate such food to slow down the creation.

2) Dissolving or thinning the phlegm. Drinking plenty of fluids thin the mucus. Food such as cauliflower, red capsicum, celery, asparagus, onion, garlic, ginger help to dissolve mucus too.These are natural mucalators. There are synthetic ones you can get from pharmacy but not that I will feed that to my children.

3) Dispelling the phlegm. I said earlier the body coughs to get rid of the phlegm. But our children do not how to spit the phlegm out. Instead, they frequently trigger the gag reflex and end up vomiting when coughing.

What I find work best is focus on 1) and 2), then the phlegm is controlled enough for the child to swallow and poop out. I get a lot of satisfaction when my baby poops out mucusy slimy poop. Haha, the avenues a mother derives satisfaction from!

An additional tip for sleeping at night with a phlegm cough is to let the child sleep on an inclined angle. When we sleep at night in a horizontal direction, the backflow of the phlegm and the accumulation of the mucus at the head worsens congestion. Sleeping elevated helps mitigate this. Using a diffuser with a decongestant essential oil such as eucalyptus and lavender help too.

Here's a meal that reduces phlegm and helps combat flu. Cauliflower (50%) rice porridge (15%) in chicken broth (15%) and poached chunky salmon (20%). Salmon contains anti-inflammatory properties and protein, which are essential in the recovery process.

- Salmon fillet, choose the tail end which is the part of the body which contains least mercury
- Organic cauliflower
- White rice porridge (white rice is easier for digestion when one's body is under the weather. By all means, use other grains)
- Home made chicken broth. Baby friendly with only antibiotics free chicken, no salt

1. Poach salmon fillet. Mine is loosely flaked because my baby likes textured food.
2. Steam cauliflower. Steaming helps retain heat sensitive vitamins. Mash with fork or with a food processor.
3. Heat rice porridge, add in home made chicken stock. Please see separate recipe for my porridge.
Poached Salmon, Cauliflower mash

I fed this for dinner and didn't hear a single throat-tickling cough all night. Thank God.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wheatgrass, Parsley, Kelp: Butter & Herbs Pasta

My little girl and I love butter. Luckily for her, she is blessed with extremely high metabolism. Me, not so blessed. -wink-

Here's a recipe for a butter & herbs pasta I like to whip up for her. Extremely nutritious, amazing immune booster and guilt free. Adults friendly too.

Done in less than 10 mins and super nutritious. 50% of the calories of a young child should be derived from carbohydrates. 

Organic pasta
Butter - I don't use organic but I always make sure it is from Australia
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)
Organic wheatgrass - finely chopped
English Parsley - finely chopped
Chia seeds - a dash
Organic white sesame - a dash
Organic Kelp - for taste (Kelp is a seaplant whose benefits are numerous and include thyroid health, increased immunity, weight loss, iron and mineral supplementation and cancer prevention)
Avocado - mashed and added for a creamy sauce

1. Boil organic pasta in a separate pot for slightly less than the required time. I tend to skip salting.
2. Melt butter, add VCO
3. Add the wheatgrass and English parsley. Try not to overcook these as they get bitter.
4. Add in pasta and avocado. Stir thoroughly
5. Add a dash of kelp for taste
6. Remove from heat, add chia seeds and white sesame before serving. I have been introducing glass and ceramic crockery to my three year old because I think it is time she learns to handle fragile items.

Wheatgrass, English Parsley & Kelp: Guilt-free Butter & Herbs Pasta

Dance like nobody is watching

I love writing but have never been comfortable writing for an invisible audience and freak out here when I found viewership jump. It was easy to stop, because I have another avenue to write. But that blog operator closed. I missed writing.

I love cooking and baking for children. I work with young children, and I find picky eaters a challenge I cannot resist. Friends often ask me for my recipes and I find myself repeating often on Facebook and whatsapp. During the two years I have not written here, I have recipes that were published in BabyTalk magazine. 

When I was young, I danced and performed. Dancing brings so much joy to me, as I move in unison to the music and my dance-mates. As you lose yourself in the moment, you are performing an art. If you are dancing for an audience, you are not never fully in the moment anyway. So it is with this spirit that I shall post here. This will be a good avenue to share recipes and I hope I can help fellow mothers. 

The posts shall be mainly about wholesome and original recipes for children. Extremely nutritious, healthy, wholesome meals which utilise super ingredients. I am not technically trained, and am terrible at following recipes. So what you would expect are out of the box meals, literally since I do not like processed food.