Baby Food Mania

Now that my vegan son is 7 months old I’m making a lot of homemade baby food. It’s healthy and full of nutrients unlike the store bought stuff sold out there. I feed my son REEL food. In my opinion the store bought jarred stuff isn’t quality food. If its able to sit on a shelf in a store for extended periods of time then its pumped with unpronounceable things I will not let my son ingest.

It’s incredibly easy to make homemade baby food. I just use what I have on hand and make sure I’m offering him a variety of yummy options. I usually bake his veggies like squash and boil or steam things like green beans. Steaming is better than boiling them in order to preserve more nutrients but  when I’m in  a rush I’ll boil them because its faster. I reserve some of the cooking water in case I need it when I’m blending it all up. When serving my baby his goodies I add some of his milk to his puree because he likes the added creaminess it provides.

So far my little man has tried peas, green beans, pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, avocado, beets, mango, cherries, carrots, sweet potato, apples and bananas. I’m sure I missed some but you get the picture. He has eaten quite a variety of fruits and veggies along with his brown rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, hemp hearts, chia seeds and coconut yogurt.

His favouite foods are pumpkin and sweet potato. I swear I can feed him pumpkin everyday and he would happily eat it up! I’ll post some of his favourite dishes below which are super easy to make. Even if your busy running around you can still manage to throw these together. Trust me! I have 5 kids and I can do it. The best part is once you make puree the veggies and fruit you can freeze the mixture in ice cube trays and store them in freezer bags for future use with only a few exceptions like avocado. Eat that right away! I love this idea because when I’m on the go I’ll pop a few cubes of different purees into travel containers and they defrost while I’m out doing errands. That way my vegan baby can eat healthy on the go. I just take them out 1st thing in the morning that way they have plenty of time to defrost. I also bring hemp hearts in a container with me to add to his food for extra nutrition and he loves the added taste from them.

What are some of your babies favourite foods? Let me know if you have a special way of preparing it below in the comment section. 🙂

 

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Banana & Avocado puree

Ingredients & Tools

  1. 1 Banana
  2. 1 Avocado
  3. Blender/Food Processer

How simple can this get right? It’s the simple things they will eat up though every time!

Method

  • Just peel a banana and scoop out the flesh of an avocado and toss them into your blender or food presser.
  • Transfer to a bowl and add breast milk or formula to the mixture for added creaminess if desired.
  • Feed this mixture to your little one right away as the avocado in it will start to go brown.

*Note*

Top the mixture with Hemp Hearts if desired.

 

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Baked Acorn Squash Puree

Ingredients & Tools

  1. 1 Acorn Squash
  2. 1 Baking dish
  3. Blender/Food Presser
  4. Optional: Cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice

 

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Prepare a baking dish with about an inch of water in it. Add more later if needed during the baking process
  • Cut you acorn squash in half
  • Sprinkle with a touch of Pumpkin Spice or Pure Cinnamon if desired
  • Place flesh side down into the baking dish
  • Bake for 35 – 45 minutes depending on the size of your squash
  • Allow to cool and then scoop out the squash flesh into the blender or food processer
  • Transfer mixture to an air tight container. I like placing it into glass containers or mason jars.

* Note*

I also like adding hemp hearts to the squash mixture when serving it to my son. He loves the added flavour and texture it adds to his meal. You can also add dash of breast milk or formula to it in order to make it a little creamier.

 

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Chia Pineapple, Mango, Beet & Banana Puree

Ingredients

  1. 2 Bananas
  2. 1/3 Cup Pineapple
  3. 1 small to medium sized cooked Beet
  4. 1/3 cup Mango
  5. 1 tbsp. Chia Seeds

Method

  • Add fruit and the beet to the blender and puree
  • Place in an air tight container or mason jar and add the chia seeds. Combine well.
  • Store in the fridge for up to 5 days

*Note*

My son loves to eat this mixture with a spoonful of unsweetened coconut yogurt with this mixture. Give it a try if your baby enjoys yogurt too.

 

Hope your baby enjoys this healthy grub! Even my 12 year old will ask me if he`s done with his food. She’s the clean up crew who wants to eat up all his yummy leftovers! Ha Ha!

 

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Crispy Chickpeas!

chickpeas

Here is a super easy snack recipe that you can make anytime. It’s a protein rich snack which will also keep you full and satisfied. I currently have a chickpea obsession and have been adding them to so many dishes. I love them in my green salads as well as my pasta salads.

If you want a yummy snack on the go then these crispy chickpeas are awesome. You can add whever seasonings you like best and play around with the flavours you enjoy best. They can be stored in mason jars which is great for healthy snacking on the go! I even bring these to my childrens swim class. The kids enjoy them which makes me super happy. Let me know what seasoning combinations worked well for you in the comments below. Happy Healthy Snacking!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 3-4 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp.Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black  pepper

 

Things you will need:

  • 2 cookie trays
  • Parchment paper
  • Paper towel or a dry dish cloth
  • 2 medium sized bowls

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Line your cookie trays with parchment paper and set aside
  3. Open your cans of chickpeas, drain and rinse them
  4. Pat dry the chickpeas well
  5. Transfer chickpeas to a bowl
  6. Add 3-4 tbsp. of olive oil and salt to the chickpeas and toss well
  7. Divide the chickpeas and add them to the cookie trays
  8. Bake for 35 minutes, making sure to give them a mix a few times during the baking process
  9. After removing them from the oven place them into a bowl with all your seasonings and toss well
  10. Transfer to mason jars or containers

 

Note:

  • Baking time may vary so keep an eye on them in the last 10 minutes.
  • As far as seasonings go you can add whatever you prefer or have on hand.
  • You can use less olive oil if you prefer but your chickpeas may not be as crunchy
  • These can store well for a week in your mason jars

Other Seasoning Suggestions:

  • Lemon Pepper seasoning & Himalayan salt
  • Habanero pepper salt & chili powder
  • Cinnamon, cane sugar or coconut sugar and using coconut oil instead of the olive oil

 

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Happy Munching! Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

 

Black Bean Lettuce Wraps

I tend to eat lettuce wraps a lot! Why??? They are so easy to throw together super fast and most importantly they are incredibly healthy! See fast food CAN be healthy!!! I like to use black beans because they are my favourite bean but you can use what ever bean you prefer. The picture below is of a super plain wrap because that bean mixture was made for my 9-year-old who wanted just beans & hemp hearts. I like to add bell peppers, shredded carrot and sprouts if I have them on hand to my wraps. The beauty of these wraps is that you can pretty much use any veggie you have on hand or that needs to be used asap in them. Another bonus of lettuce wraps is that they are kinder to your waistline compared to wolfing down a bunch of tortilla wraps. Go ahead and wolf these down though because they are delicious and healthy … no guilt required! 🙂

 

Simple Black Bean Lettuce Wraps

Simple Black Bean Lettuce Wraps

 

 

Black Bean Lettuce wraps

You will need:

  • 1 can of black beans
  • garlic
  • apple cider vinegar
  • hemp hearts
  • salt & pepper , I use Himalayan pink salt
  • parsley
  • lettuce of your choice, *Boston/butterhead lettuce is a great choice because it holds the bean mixture well. I’m inserting a picture I found of Boston Lettuce in case your not familiar with this type of lettuce.*
Boston Lettuce

Boston Lettuce

 

 

Bean mixture:

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed really well
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 2 TBSP hemp hearts
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh torn up parsley
  • 2-3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
  • Veggie/veggies of choice, I usually cut up 1 large bell pepper and grate 1/3 cup carrot

Add all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. The longer you let these ingredients sit the better your bean mixture will taste! I sometimes make it the night before and keep it in the fridge.

 

Method:

  1. Pre wash & dry your lettuce leaves. Make sure they are nice and dry!
  2. Add your bean mixture to the lettuce. If you’re using the Boston lettuce it acts like a cup so it’s really easy to fill up.
  3. Top with more hemp hearts
  4. Eat them all up!!! Without any guilt I might add! 🙂

 

NOTE: I also sometimes add some brown rice or quinoa to my wraps which makes them a little more filling when I’m enjoying them for dinner. Give it a try! You will love this addition!

 

Enjoy!

Healthy Strawberry Quinoa Bake

This is one of my most often made recipes at my house. LOVE it! It’s crazy fast and easy to prepare too! Everyone who has eaten it can’t believe it’s made with quinoa. SURE IS and it tastes soooo good!

I add 2 TBSP of maple syrup to my recipe below but you can add an extra one if you enjoy things more on the sweeter side. You could also substitute it for agave if you wanted. One of my favourite things to throw into this bake is protein packed hemp hearts because it adds a bit of a nutty flavor to the bake. I often eat this strawberry quinoa bake for breakfast. Hey why not? It’s full of super healthy ingredients so I feel good about enjoying this yummy treat in the morning. See healthy can taste fantastic!!! 🙂

 

 

A slice of Strawberry Quinoa bake

 

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 Cup Quinoa Flakes
  • 1 TSP Cinnamon (I sometimes add more though :))
  • 2-3 TBSP Hemp hearts
  • 1-2 TBSP Dried Coconut flesh (I use Coconut Manna by Nutiva)
  • 1/4 Cup melted Coconut Oil
  • 2 Cups chopped Strawberries
  • 2-3 TBSP Pure Maple Syrup
  • 3 TBSP Flaxmeal (ground flax seeds)
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

 

 

Method:

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 F

2. Add 1 cup of quinoa flakes into a baking dish (I use a round glass pie plate).

3. Mix in the cinnamon, hemp hearts and flaxmeal.

 

 

Quinoa Bake

 

 

4. Next add the 2 cups of strawberries and the dried coconut flesh.

 

Strawberries

 

 

 

5. Pour in 2-3 TBSP’s of pure maple syrup and the 1/4 cup coconut oil and give it a good mix.

6. Even it out in the baking dish and pour 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk on top.

7. Pop into the oven for 35 minutes at 350

8. Once Baked and removed from the oven allow to fully cool before cutting because it needs to set! If your in a hurry like I am at times scoop it into a bowl and eat it hot in a bowl.

 

Enjoy!

 

Strawberry Quinia Bake

 

Portuguese Style Fava Beans

One of my favorite comfort foods that I grew up with is Fava Beans! I always have  a bag of frozen green fava beans in my freezer because it’s a great fast dish to whip up. This is my go to meal when I have no idea what’s for dinner! Traditionally Portuguese sausage is cooked with the fava beans but because I make mine vegan I omit that. They do however have Vegan sausages on the market these days and you could add one to this dish if desired. If you’re adding it then cut it up and add it to the onion and garlic saute. With or without I think this dish is fantastic!

 

Here’s the super easy recipe …

 

Ingredients:

  • Garlic, I use a lot 🙂 … like 5 cloves minced but you can use however many you like
  • 1/3 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sprinkling of chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp of pureed hot red pepper paste (optional)
  • 1 bag of frozen green Fava Beans
  • Add desired amount of paprika, Himalayan salt, & black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of dry oregano, I dry my oregano from the garden & use it all winter long 🙂
  • 5 cups of liquid (water, veggie broth or you can combine both)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Method:

  1. In a large pot with olive oil add the onion and saute
  2. Add in garlic, chili flakes & red pepper puree if you’re using it
  3. Toss in the bag of frozen fava beans
  4. Give it a mix
  5. Add liquid and spices and dry oregano
  6. Add in wine if you’re using it
  7. Cook at a medium heat for about 30 minutes covered, stirring from time to time
  8. Adjust seasoning and see if you need more salt or pepper
  9. Throw in the fresh parsley for the last 5 minutes of cooking
  • Serve with Bread for those who enjoy to dip it into the yummy sauce!

Note: I prefer my fava beans not to be too over done! If you prefer them to have a softer texture then cook an additional 10 minutes or so. Give one a try at the 30 minute mark and see if the texture works for you.

 

Fava Beans