What Mijo ate today

It can get redundant planning meals for a toddler, even if they’re not a picky eater. I personally eat basically the same thing for lunch daily, for sometimes months on end without ever tiring of it- but that tactic rarely goes over well with kids of any age! To keep from getting in a rut I’ve decided to blog our lunches for reference.

For mijo I try to keep the lunch mess minimal, and have several small things to offer- if one item isn’t well received at lunch, there’s still plenty of other things to go around. For example, today he wasn’t digging the bread of his sandwich, but happily ate its contents as well as his sides. Lately, mijo has really been into mushrooms-fresh or cooked, cucumber slices, oranges, and as always, hummus! 

  

Today’s lunch was a tiny tofu sandwich, cucumber, mushrooms, freeze dried strawberries, and plenty of hummus! I used one slice of organic multigrain bread (Costco!), spread with (more) hummus (note: I’m out of veganaise, mustard, etc) and leftover guacamole, with a slice of seasoned tofu, and a sliced up cherry tomato for the sandwich.  

 

Earlier for breakfast I made smoothies and mijo had his with some mini blueberry oatmeal muffins. I made the muffins awhile ago and froze them for quick snacking.  

 

Today’s smoothie had

  • 1/2 cup cascading farms mixed berries
  • 1 banana 
  • 1/4 coconut yogurt
  • 1/2 tbsp hemp seed powder
  • Almond milk 

The adults also had smoothies, as they’re kind of fantastic for drinking while chasing a kiddo. 😉

Baby led weaning, vegan toddler style

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At 16 months, 8 teeth, and one molar we’ve gotten quite adventurous with our textures.
Current favorites are hummus and avocado sandwiches, and tacos! A single corn tortilla warmed until soft is perfect, and can hold a few tablespoons of minced veggies stuck together with a tablespoon refried beans.
Freeze dried fruit, veggies, and ‘Snapea Crisps’ are fantastic for kids with a pincer grip.

FFV’s Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Tonight I was saved by a pie.

Not really, but it did fill a void in my soul belly.

I spent my thanksgiving with my inlaws, and none of them are vegetarian, let alone vegan, so unless I pack it in, I go without.
This year, we ordered vegan meals from the co-op, including pie, but I missed making, and serving one. After mijo’s bath, as my husband was putting him to bed, a sudden urge to bake came over me. “I think there’s a recipe for no-crust pumpkin pie on the fat free vegan blog”, I thought to myself. “I know I have pumpkin, and tofu, so I’m gonna bake”, I told my husband.
I deviated from the recipe to suit what I had on hand, but I tell ya, this is some damn fine last minute pie.
Impossible Vegan Pumpkin Pie
“Impossible pie” creates it’s own crust as it bakes, making it fantastic for those who either can’t create a good pie crust, or, when you decide at 8pm you’re going to make a pie but can’t be bothered to make a crust. Ha! My pie was a tad thicker due to my use of tofu rather than milk, but I wanted to make sure my pie was firm, and not mushy, as some readers of FFV commented.
Honestly, I didn’t miss the crust!
Substitutions used:
12 oz firm organic Mori nu tofu instead of almond milk
1/2- 3/4 c agave nectar instead of sugar
no water with my egg replacer
1- 15oz can organic pumpkin instead of DIY baked squash
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice instead of individual spices

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Sugar free, Gluten free, Mango Carrot Sunshine snack muffins.

I’ve been trying to find snacks for mijo to munch on between lunch and dinner; until the great tooth-splosion of October, he had only two teeth (8 now) and couldn’t bite through most firm veggies- this meant no hummus and ________. He also was getting a lot of fruit with his meals as it was, so I was searching for something else. Something with substance, but not just empty calories, like rice puffs. Something not too messy, and something that I could make ahead.
The idea to make a snacking bread hit me while seeing what I could find at the co-op. There is a brand of toddler snacks called ‘Ella’s’ and they make something called a ‘nibbly finger'; it’s essentially a hard piece of oatmeal made with dates, and apple juice, so I figured I could make my own. I’ve made several versions of this bread, and it’s really enjoyable. I stick to ingredients that are sweet enough on their own so that no sugar or sweetener is needed. Sometimes, like with this version, I added chunks of fruit for more oomph, but the base recipe is great as-is. We often toast this lightly and smear it with mashed avocado for extra fun- even when fruit filled! These are definitely baby led weaning friendly, just make sure you finely dice the mango so there aren’t any big pieces floating around.
Feel free to use whatever ripe fruit you have on hand for the purée- it’s your sweetener and your binder so make sure it’s really ripe! I’m not trying to pull a ‘sneaky chef’ thing here by including shredded carrots- they’re actually very sweet, especially when baked and taste great, and look great, with the mango. But, if you are looking to sneak more veggies into your kiddos diet, this in my opinion is nicer that trying to cram black beans into chocolate cake ;) I was going to add shredded coconut and raisins to this, but forgot- but I bet they’d be great add-ins!
I opted to make a larger recipe to make 24 muffins, so you can freeze easy to thaw portions- but, feel free to make this in two loaf pans, or two 8×8 brownie pans. Regardless of the vessel, this will be dense.

Mango Carrot Sunshine Snack Bread
Makes 24 muffins, or two loaves.

3 c regular rolled oats ground into a coarse flour- I used my food processor
1 c almond meal
1 c sorghum flour
1/4 tsp xanthan gum, optional
1/4 c chia seed or flaxseed, ground
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c puréed fruit, such as banana, apple, pear, or strawberries
1 c unsweetened coconut yogurt
1 c ground carrot
1 mango finely diced
1 1/2 c water
Preheat your oven to 375 and line two 12 count muffin pans w paper cups.

In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients.
In a second bowl mix all wet ingredients, mango, and carrot. Add the wet to the dry and mix well. The batter will be very thick. Portion into 24 muffin liners and bake 20-30 minutes or until the tops feel firm to the touch. Cool before freezing.

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*this post was made on my phone, so excuse any formatting errors 😸

Gluten Free, Vegan Smash Cake with Chocolate Avocado Mousse

vegan agave vanilla smash cake

vegan agave vanilla smash cake

We celebrated A’s birthday a week early, as his actual birthday falls on Labor Day this year; I wanted to make him a cake, but I wanted to avoid dousing him in sugar just because he happened to make a trip around the sun; until his birthday the sweetest thing he had was fruit, and I kind of wanted to keep it that way. My compromise was to make an agave sweetened cake, and use avocado mousse for the frosting. It was healthier, and In my opinion- tastier! I’m not a huge fan of super-sweet sweets, so this cake really hit the spot for me, too!

 

Vanilla Agave Smash Cake

makes 2, 6-inch cakes

adapted from Tatiana Amico

2 cups Namaste Foods Gluten Free Flour Blend

1/3 c coconut oil, warmed to liquid, can be swapped 50% for apple sauce

1/2 c Agave Nectar

2 tbs ground chia seeds mixed with 1/2 c warm water

1/2 c almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

 

Preheat your oven to 350

mix all wet ingredients together, and in a second bowl mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly. Combine the wet with the dry, and gently mix until smooth. Pour into 2, 6-inch cake pans and smooth the tops. Place in the center rack of your oven and bake until light gold, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean- about 20 minutes. Invert on a cooling rack, and cool completely before frosting.

 

Avocado Mousse

2 firm-ripe avocados, halved and pitted

1/4 c agave or to taste

1/4 c coconut cream (scoop from the top of an un-shaken can of coconut milk)

1/3 c cocoa powder

Puree your avocados until smooth- I used a food processor for this. Once smooth, add the chocolate, coconut, and agave, and sweeten to taste. This gets even firmer when chilled. 

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It’s that time of year, again!

VEGAN FOOD AT THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR!.

I figure what better time to crawl out from under my postpartum rock than in time for the Minnesota State Fair? I scoped out the new food vendor list  and didn’t see anything that looks suspiciously vegan- maybe chilaquiles done naked? Regardless, I plan on making my yearly pilgrimage to the deep-fried, farming mecca of the midwestern world- this year with a little dude in tow!

Baby Led Feeding, and life with an 8 month old

So… It’s taken me almost 2 months to finish a blog post :)

Baby A is already 8 months old, and has become an exuberant, chatty ball of chub that never ceases to amaze me. These past 8 months have been a never-ending roller coaster; we’re teething (but no teeth yet), rocking, rolling, army-crawling, and eating food with the best of them. We decided to do “baby led weaning” (or as I like to call it, baby let feeding, as the definition of weaning differs here vs the UK which can confuse people) when it was time to introduce solids. Our pediatrician is pro BLW which we were glad to hear. With BLW, instead of purees we give A large chunks of super ripe or steamed foods so that he can learn to chew first, and then learn to swallow. It’s super easy to do as there’s minimal food prep involved (yay!), and it’s teaching A how to chew and move food around his mouth before swallowing, so it may reduce his risk of choking (double yay!). And of course it’s ridiculously cute watching a baby devour a kiwi. I’m amazed at how quickly he got the hang of things; in the beginning he’d use his gag reflex a lot as he practiced moving food around his mouth, but now he rips through things and actively chews and swallows! We have given him some super mashed foods when caregivers who aren’t familiar with BLW have fed him, or when we were out of large pieces or produce- we just left the food super chunky so that he can still chew it. When spoon feeding, we use a Num Num Dipper spoon so that he can still feed himself. It’s pretty simple; you dip the spoon and hand it over, and the baby takes care of the feeding part. Baby A has yet to refuse or dislike something we’ve given him- Babies have a heightened taste for sweet, and most of the things we’ve given him fall under that category, so everything has been agreeable so far. Once he develops his pincer grip I’ll be able to give him beans and peas. * As of recently I’ve been giving him beans to help him practice pinching, and I can’t help but pop one in his mouth for him, he LOVES them so much!

One thing I love about BLW vs spoon feeding is that A doesn’t get angry or frustrated when feeding himself like he does waiting for me to load up a spoon to give to him. I also can’t help love how simple food prep is; pop a couple things in the steamer, grab a couple extra fruits at the grocery store, and boom: done. Only a few friends have been apprehensive when they learned what we were doing, “You don’t cut the food up?! What if he chokes?”, but once they actually watch A eat, they quickly realize how much control he really has, that he is actually chewing/gumming the food, , and how big the pieces really are in relation to his mouth. For example, If I were to give pieces of bell pepper, I would cut a pepper length wise from stalk to end, and leave the strips 2 inches wide. Also, since babies receive the bulk of their calories and nutrients through breastfeeding or formula until their first birthday, you don’t need to obsess or worry over how much food your baby actually swallows when first starting out.

Foods we’ve given thus far;

Chunky Mashes:

Avocado – too hard to eat with hands for the first month

Steamed carrots mixed with curry, and cashew butter

Sweet potato with curry and cashew butter

Butternut squash with- you guessed it- cashew butter and curry powder! I swear I’m trying to get the kid hooked on indian food early.

Steamed Foods:

Apple halves, sprinkled with cinnamon and steamed until soft

Bell Peppers, cut lengthwise and left several inches wide

Broccoli, large florets with plenty of stem

Cauliflower, same as broccoli

Sweet potato, roasted or steamed, skin removed. large half moons as thick as his fist

Black beans, whole, unsalted

Pinto beans, whole, unsalted

Raw Foods:

Melon, long slices one inch wide

Seedless watermelon, large wedges

Banana, half at a time. *these can be constipating, so don’t give too many in a week

Avocado, a third of an avocado, peeled

Champagne mango, roughly half at a time, excess peel removed as needed during mealtime

Pear, half at a time, cored

Peach, half at a time, skin removed

Strawberry, whole large berries * our pediatrician gave the a-ok on all nut butters and fruits

Roma tomato, half of an egg-sized tomato at a time. *these can give kiddos a raw tush, so don’t do too many in a week.

Kiwi, peeled, cored and left whole. I though kiwi would be too tart but A gobbled one down in 30 seconds!

Other:

Unsweetened plain coconut milk yogurt

His first veggie- Broccoli!

His first veggie- Broccoli!

Showing off his "num num dipper"

Showing off his “num num dipper”

*sigh Mango

*sigh. his hair
Mango

We don’t plan on giving any grains to Little Dude until he’s a year old, which is already in four months (*tear). I’ve read conflicting info on whether or not grain intolerances can be prevented by waiting, but since it’s been proven that rice cereals and other grains don’t cause a baby to sleep better, longer, or have prolonged satiety, I’m not going to worry about them til later. He seems more than thrilled with his fruits and veggies, so I’ll enjoy his exuberance while it lasts.

When we first started BLW, he was nursing or getting expressed milk in a bottle every 2-3 hours, with one solids meal at dinnertime. At 8 months, he’s getting two solids meals a day; one between nursing/bottles in the early afternoon, and another at dinnertime. I plan on adding in breakfast around 10 months, and between meal snacks after a year. My plan is to nurse Baby A until he self-weans, so depending on teething, growth spurts, etc, his nursing schedule will fluctuate. Some babies will still nurse several times a day, others might only before naps or bedtime, so we’ll see what happens!