Batch cooking for baby- tips and tricks

We are big fans of batch cooking! It’s lovely to know that there is something in your fridge or freezer, cooked by you, ready to simply re-heat when your day has gone crazy. Cooking a week’s worth of food for your baby all at once may seem daunting at first, but it can really help if you are short on time.

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Setting aside a few hours at the weekend to plan and cook food for the week ahead for your little one can make a busy week a lot easier and knowing your baby is getting good quality home cooked, healthy and nutritious food means there is at least one less worry.

Once you have cooked your extra food portions, puree or mash the food to the right texture, depending on the age of your little one. Then cover and set aside to allow the food to cool to room temperature before freezing.  And when you need it simply remove the portion of food from the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw. It’s important to reheat the food thoroughly before serving, and if you are using a microwave give it a good stir before you serve it in order to avoid hot spots.

Make sure not to freeze anything that has already been frozen and discard any of the re-heated food which has not been eaten. As a general rule batch cooked food placed in the fridge should be eaten within 3 days and batch cooked food placed in the freezer should be eaten within 3 months.

Top tips to ensure your fridge of freezer are filled with portions of home cooked food for baby:

  • Make extra portions of anything you can! When cooking an easy meal like spaghetti bolognaise for the family, get into the habit of making extra portions and storing them in the freezer (remember to only add salt to the adult part of the meal)
  • Cook extra Veggies: If you are making vegetables for dinner, cook a few extra for your baby. Separate them out and puree or mash them to your desired texture and store them in the fridge of freezer for later.. You can either serve these direct to your younger weaners as vegetable purees or add the puree sauces to pasta dinners for a bit of extra veggie goodness.
  • Potato wedges and mash: Bake or roast an extra potato or two when the rest of your family is eating. Once they are cooked, mash and pop them in the fridge or freezer for later – instant potato wedges or instant mash! It just needs to be heated up.
  • Mass puree fruit: Cook up large batches of fruit and puree them. You can store these in your freezer and then pop them in the microwave when you need them. Useful for an extra boost of fruit in the morning to add to porridge or cereal, to serve with custard or rice pudding for a yummy lunchtime pudding or to make into a homemade smoothie as healthy afternoon snack. (See our next blog for recipe ideas for home made smoothies for babies and toddlers).

 

  • Using baby weaning pots: In the early days it is useful to invest in baby weaning pots so you can keep your freezer organised. I tried a variety of ways of freezing purees from using the pots I already had (generally too big), using plastic bags (ok but still a little tricky with such small portions) and using ice cube trays. If you are reluctant to buy specific weaning pots, ice cube trays are a good option and work at the start. Despite being more pricey, I found investing in some weaning pots designed for babies did make life  a lot easier (the purees were easier  to remove when needed and the size of the pots were much more suitable for weaning).

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  • Label everything: even if you think you’ll remember you probably won’t! And often one mashed up pot of food can look very similar to another!! Include the names and dates and use up everything within 3 months.

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All our Tickle Buds recipes boxes are designed to make batch cooking easier! Every new recipe provides at least four portions of each meal and there are three to four recipes in each box. Plenty for both the fridge and the freezer! Find our more here.

http://www.ticklebuds.co.uk

Weaning Diaries: Weaning Multiples with first time mum, Ruth and her twins

This weeks’ weaning diaries come from Twin mum Ruth, who followed baby led weaning in order to wean her little boy and girl. Being a twin mum, feeding two little mouths at the same time, was not without its difficulties but seeing how different each child’s weaning journey can be more apparent when you are feeding multiple babies simultaneously as Ruth found out!

About Mum:

I’m Ruth, when I’m not toddler wrangling, I work part time running a debt counselling service for local people. I love food but am not a fan of cooking at all as it stresses me out trying to get everything ready and cooked well/tasting good!

 

About the little ones:

I have twin toddlers who turned 2 in October. 1 girl and 1 boy.

What is the one piece of knowledge you wish you’d known before you started weaning your baby?

That it seems much harder to introduce new tastes/textures after about 1 year old. I probably would have been more adventurous more often in the earlier months.

What helped you the most during your weaning journey?

Having twins made me see that every child is unique in what, when and how much they will eat. My two have different dislikes/likes and it helps to know it’s nothing I’ve done/not done that has made them that way as I’ve treated them both the same!

What did you find hardest during weaning?

It’s soul crushing to prepare amazing food for them that gets rejected and ends up in the bin.

What was the best piece of equipment you found which helped make life easier for you or your little one when you were weaning them?

I love my fill and squeeze pouches. http://fillnsqueeze.co.uk/ Though we didn’t do purees, I love them for minimal mess yoghurt and smoothies that I can make and then decant. Brilliant for taking out and about too.

Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe?

http://www.annabelkarmel.com/recipes/sweetcorn-fritters/ These fritters are easy to make (even for me), freezable, contain VEGETABLES (and can be tweaked for a variety of veg) and my kids eat them every time.

Weaning Diaries from Mum and owner of Jo’s Healthy Cupboard

This week our “Weaning Diaries” series is from Jo Rae in Scotland who runs Jo’s Healthy Cupboard. Jo makes gorgeous healthy and raw versions of our favourite sweet treats- but Jo’s versions use all natural ingredients, contain no refined sugar and most importantly are good for you!

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We are very excited that Jo will be returning to our First Foods Blog with a monthly post about small healthy changes you can make in your life. We know how hard it is to make time for you, we spend so long worrying about our little ones that there is often no time for anything else.  But looking after you is also super important. Jo’s ideas are all brilliant small changes that are really easy to implement especially on busy days or when you’ve had no sleep and aren’t quite firing on all cylinders! And after trying a few myself they have definitely given me the boost of energy I have needed!

Anyway over to Jo and her Weaning Diaries….

About Mum:  image4

I’m Jo and I’m a mummy, wife, runner, Research Manager and owner of Jo’s Healthy Cupboard, which combines my various interests in health and wellness. I live in the North East of Scotland in a little town called Aberdeen. I’m passionate about inspiring and helping other mums to feel confident and healthy. I started creating healthier versions of classic meals and desserts when I was weaning my son, who is now nearly 5!!! I loved the creative process of thinking about ways to make food healthier for the whole family. My interest in health and wellness expanded from there.

 About Little One:

I have a little boy who is nearly five years old and he is starting school this August. I currently spend most of my time in between nursery and work answering tricky questions like who looked after the dinosaurs and where did human beings come from? When I’m not doing that you’ll find me hunting for tiny playmobil swords!

What is the one piece of knowledge you wish you’d known before you started weaning your baby?

 Keep it simple and don’t worry so much. You’re on a learning journey as much as your baby is.

image2What helped you the most during your weaning journey?

 My friends who were experienced in the weaning process and my NCT chums who were going through it at the same time. Plus, lets not forget Annabel Karmel’s recipe books.

What did you find hardest during weaning?

 It was quite a while ago now but I think it was the freezing and defrosting part.  I like to make things fresh and not plan food too much in advance, so it was something new to me. I learned to embrace cooking in batches and planning meals in advance so that I wouldn’t end up using quick fixes.

 What was the best piece of equipment you found which helped make life easier for you or your little one when you were weaning them?

I had a little thermal flask, which I bought from Boots that I’d use to store homemade soup or porridge if we were going out. This meant that I could always feed the baby without having to wait for someone else to heat up his food.

Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe?

Everything with sweet potato! They are so nutritious and quick to boil or bake. They have a subtle sweet taste and mix well with lots of other things. I used to make a really simple sweet potato and lentil soup for my son when he was around 6-7 months old. It consisted of onion, red lentils, sweet potato and an organic vegetable stock cube suitable for babies. The great thing about this recipe was that everyone could eat it. I would process some of the soup for my son and leave the rest for us.

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If you want to see more of Jo’s healthy recipes see her Instagram and Facebook pages.

WEANING DIARIES: Weaning tips from first time mum and Tickle Buds co-founder Emma Conder

emma-first-time-mumEmma, our co-founder, kicks off our new “Weaning Diaries” and shares her experiences of weaning as a first time mum. We hope this mini-blog will be a place where everyone who is or has been on the weaning journey can help each other with top tips and funny experiences but also share the hard times and help each other with things they learnt. This is the first of many “we’ve been there” weaning experiences so sit back and enjoy the ride!

Please feel free to comment or ask any questions, we want this to be a place where we all swap ideas and support each other!

About Mum:

I’m Emma and I’m a co-founder of Tickle Buds- trying to make the weaning journey easier! I have always really enjoyed cooking healthy food, I love trying new tastes and experimenting with new dishes. In the whirl wind of the first two years, it was really important for me to remember my passion and for it not to get lost in the business of being a first time mum. I wanted my passion for food to be something I could share with my little boy.

About baby:ralph-weaning-first-time-mum

Ralph is now just over 2 years old and currently preparing to become a big brother in January. Eeeekkk!!

What is the one piece of knowledge you wish you’d known before you started weaning your baby?

Don’t stress over the individual meals – the bigger picture is more important.  Just because one meal doesn’t go well it doesn’t mean he’s a bad eater.

What helped you the most during your weaning journey?

Talking to everyone and anyone! Hearing that other parents felt exactly the same way and finding out that all little ones go through fussy phases, definitely reassured me through the tougher days.

What did you find hardest during weaning?

Ideas!!!  I’d definitely have ‘blank’ days where I’d have no idea what to feed Ralph or what to make.  I’d stare into the fridge hoping an amazing meal idea would jump out at me.

What was the best piece of equipment you found which helped make life easier for you or your little one when you were weaning them?

My microwave steamer was my weaning life saver.  I’d never used one before, but now I wouldn’t be without it.  Being able to cook fresh veggies really quickly definitely saved me a lot of stress.

Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe?

 Overnight oats are amazing!! Place equal measures of yoghurt, milk and porridge oats in a bowl and add whatever fruit you have (frozen berries are ideal). Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.  By morning you’ll have a healthy, super-quick and delicious breakfast.

Mummy in a Tutu