Too Hot for Porridge

IMG_5879.JPGHas anyone mentioned that its been rather warm in Britain this week? Pre- motherhood I could never understand people that would sit, fanning themselves in a vastly over the top fashion, moaning about heatwaves (summer, I think they call it in most places, but that’s not nearly dramatic enough for us Brits)! I live in Wales and despite what my husband says; it rains here, a lot! So for me the odd warm day came as a lovely surprise, and it didn’t matter if the bedroom was a bit warm, or the butter had melted over the kitchen worktop because I could sleep the next night, and I would have plenty of time to clean up the butter pool. Post- motherhood however, my feelings towards these balmy  roasting days has changed! I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times in the last 72 hours I have googled ‘how to cool a baby down without air conditioning’. We have dunked poor Will in bowls of water, he’s hasn’t worn clothes for days (brilliant for my washing pile) and my husband and I have been taking it in turns to stand by the chest freezer with the lid open. But the facts remain the same; its hot, and its totally out of my control!

One thing I can control though is food, or more accurately, breakfast. We usually have porridge as its filling, suitable for everyone, quick to make and cheap. A perfect meal in my humble opinion, but not at all summery. So I set to work creating a recipe for overnight oats that would be suitable for Will as well as us adults. Its hardly a recipe, more a combining of a few ingredients, but the key to making this baby friendly is simply to make it a little more milky than usual, and to use fruit that is pureed rather than whole berries. The quantity below is for 1 portion for a baby (although it obviously depends on how much of an appetite your little one has). My husband and I had double the amounts written with 20ml less milk to make it less liquid.

Ingredients

  • 2 inches of banana, mashed
  • 2 level desert spoons of porridge oats
  • 50ml of fruit puree, I used blueberry and cherry
  • 50ml milk (almond milk, cow’s milk and soya milk are all lovely)
  • pinch of cinnamon (or a few seeds from a vanilla pod)

Method

  • Mash banana and add to the base of a small jar
  • Add the porridge oats and the cinnamon
  • Add the fruit puree
  • Top with milk and close jar
  • Leave in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next morning

You can stir it together before serving but I don’t as Will responds really well to having different tastes and textures throughout a meal. For younger babies, blend the porridge oats until you get your desired texture before adding to your jar; I use a milling blade on a Nutribullet.

So there we are, porridge with a summer makeover! What are your favourite overnight oat flavour combinations? And if anyone out there does have any tips for making heatwaves with babies more tolerable I’d love to hear them!

 

 

 

 

Banana BiscuitsĀ 

Hands up who hates teething? It’s horrid to watch your little ones in pain, frantically chewing on anything they can get there hands on (including your hands… or worse!). Will now has 6 teeth, and with each new one that arrives I feel we manage it a little better. It obviously still hurts him, but I am recognising the signs faster and acting accordingly. We have tried lots of things; some have worked whilst some have been catastrophic failures. I was convinced that homemade ice lollies were going to be the answer; they most definitely were not, he hated that they were cold and screamed every time he licked them!

One thing is that did work however was an emergency rusk a friend gave me during one particularly stressful cafe visit when Will just wouldn’t settle. He nibbled on it ferociously and it really seemed to help with those pesky teeth! While I see nothing wrong with Will having the odd rusk or bought baby snack, I would always prefer to make my own. Baby snacks definitely have their place but if I can make an alternative I will. With this in mind I set to work creating a teething biscuit that was effective, tasty and nutritious. After lots of trials I came up with this dairy free, sugar free recipe that only has 4 ingredients and is incredibly quick to whip up in even the most micro baby nap!

The biscuit has a dense, chewy texture rather than a brittle melting rusk. This makes it easy for babies to gum and chew. Now Will has some teeth he bites little chunks off and gums the rest. It’s a very simple recipe that uses ground porridge oats in place of flour. The sweetness comes from banana so make sure you use a ripe one. Obviously, this biscuit isn’t a chocolate hobnob, it’s healthy, and I wouldn’t dunk one in my tea. But to a baby who likes bland, naturally sweet food they are perfect.


Ingredients

This makes 12 small biscuitsĀ 

  • 100g porridge oats
  • 100g banana (roughly 1 medium banana)
  • 30ml rapeseed or coconut oil
  • Tsp cinnamon

MethodĀ 

  • Preheat oven to 180c and place greaseproof paper on a baking tray
  • Grind the porridge oats until you have a fine flour. I do this using my nutribullet with the milling blade attached
  • Mash the banana until you have a banana pulp
  • Add the oat flour to this along with the cinnamon and oil
  • Stir and then use your hands to make a dough which should easily roll into a ball
  • Roll little balls of the dough, about the size of a walnut
  • To make oval biscuits roll your dough balls into sausage shapes and then flatten on to a baking tray covered in grease proof paper. They should be about half a cm thick.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-14 minutes (depends on the thickness of the biscuit) until they are golden brown and firm but with a little give when pressed
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack before placing in an airtight container


These can be frozen raw, just cook for a few extra minutes.

Will chomps happily on these, they provide some teething relief for him, and I know he’s eating something nourishing and healthy. For me this recipe is a total winner!

I’d love to hear if you try these or if you have any teething remedies of your own?

Butternut squash, Courgette & Tomato Frittata

One of the most brilliant things about living in Pembrokeshire is having beautiful beaches on the doorstep. When Will was a newborn I had this brilliant notion that a walk at the beach with all that ‘sea air’ would make him sleep… needless to say it absolutely didn’t work! He seemed to sleep through the walk and wake as soon as I tried to put him in the car! In the last couple of months however, Will has really started enjoying the beach, so as soon as the sunshines I pack up our things and off we go! 

Today I have been to Saundersfoot  beach with a friend of mine and her baby girl who is only a week younger than Will. We decided to take a picnic and make a day of it. Now; it wasn’t quite as idyllic as it sounds. Will crawled off the blanket and put a fistful of sand in his mouth almost as soon as we arrived, whilst my friends little girl was too scared to even touch the sand; really conforming to girl, boy stereotypes these two!

The picnic food itself however, was a great success! As well as some finger sandwiches made of tuna and avocado, and some banana pancakes, I made some mini frittatas. I love making frittatas as finger food for Will because they are so versatile; you can literally put any vegetables or fruit in them and they are great hot or cold. These ones were made with butternut squash, courgette and tomato. I would normally add some cheese on top to increase the fat and dairy content but these were dairy free as my friends little girl is intolerant to cow’s milk. The end results were delicious regardless. 

Ingredients

This makes 12 mini frittatas, perfect size for little hands. 

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 20g courgette, grated weight
  • 20g butternut squash, grates weight 
  • 6 cherry tomatoes 
  • Butter or oil for the baking tray 


Method

  • Preheat oven to 180c
  • Grate the raw courgette and butternut squash and pat dry with some kitchen towel (no need to be too thorough)
  • Chop and de-seed the cherry tomatoes (the seeds are too watery)
  • Add the vegetables to a frying pan with a little butter or oil and soften slightly, 5 minutes will do.
  • Crack and whisk 3 eggs
  • Grease baking tray and using a teaspoon, add the vegetable mixture to each cup
  • Pour egg over each one until the cups are full
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until they are golden and cooked through
  • Leave to cool slightly before removing from tray.

These can be enjoyed warm or cold. They also freeze brilliantly, just pull out a couple of hours before you want to eat them. Other flavour combinations I use are pea and mint, courgette and spring onion or sweet potato and red pepper; the possibilities are endless. They are a great family- friendly meal that’s fast to make. The only downside I found to these today was that sand sticks to them, but then again, what doesn’t sand stick to?!

I’d love to hear your favourite vegetable combinations for frittatas!