Egg allergy? Muffins it is then.

Watching the Little Mister eat anything I’ve made for him gives me an undeniable sense of satisfaction. Watching him eat anything at all is pretty uplifting, granted, but nothing beats watching him take to his mouth a morsel made by his mama.

It only 11 months, yes, but now that gag reflex is gone, the Little Mister is able to eat lumpy food, and even chew on bits of bread and crackers. He’s still being fussy, and I’ve not yet mastered getting him to feed himself anything other than bread and crackers, but we finally have progress. For the last two mornings he’s finished his banana mashed with weetabix. And he’s had about half of the lunch and dinner I’ve served up. Meat mixed with pear, apple or mango? Check.

I gave up slaving over my fancy baby food cooker months ago when the only thing he would eat out of it was pureed fruit. But this morning, buoyed by the success of an empty breakfast bowl, I cooked for Little Mister.

A couple of weeks ago, we tried to give him scrambled eggs. After he refused to eat them, he came up in a scary rash and hives around his mouth. I panicked and Skyped mum. I had an egg allergy too as a baby, but grew out of it.

So, after a little help from google, I made some egg-free, sugar-free banana muffins, adapted from a recipe I found online here. We had lunch out, at Te Papa today. The Little Mister ate almost half a muffin before throwing the rest on the floor. (Yes, I was so happy I wanted to tell everyone around me what had just happened, but I restrained myself and just gave my baby the biggest slobbery kiss ever.) Try them for your little ones, they are yum and oh-so-easy:

Sugar and egg free banana muffins:

In a bowl mix the following ingredients. Then, place a big spoon of batter into a 12-hole greased cupcake tin. Bake for about 20 mins on 170C. Makes 24.

1 cup rolled  oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 cup prune and apple puree (which I’d prepared earlier in the fancy baby cooker – just call me Nigella.)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
tiny drop of vanilla paste
2 large ripe bananas, mashed well
1 1/4 cups water

banana muffins

And here they are

White Chocolate and Banana Muffin Goodness

OFTEN in a bowl on the kitchen bench, are a bunch of very ripe bananas. Next to them there’s also usually half a banana still in its skin. Its other half has been mashed and offered up to the Little Mister – to reject or eat a very small amount of as he sees fit.

Through the winter, once we realised the Little Mister would eat bananas more often than any other food we gave him, the unmashed half or three quarters went on our porridge. But it’s summer now, and we keep getting half peeled bananas sitting on the bench for too long. So, I channeled my inner domestic goddess today and decided not only to find a way to use up these endless half bananas, but also to start trying to use up some of the pantry fodder I’d rather we have already consumed than throw out come leaving day.

Lucky Auntie Jane just arrived as the result was pulled out of the oven, and Tony soon came home to a kitchen filled with the yummy smell of baking. After a cuppa, I pondered freezing some of the banana and white chocolate muffins we’d had, but both of my guinea pigs said there wouldn’t be much point – they would be eaten before we needed to think about freezing them. Test passed.

But just as important as being scrumptious and a successful way to use up bananas, the muffins were super quick. From getting the ingredients off the shelf to pulling them out of the oven, they took less than half an hour. So, while the Little Mister slept, I had time to bake delicious treats, have some lunch, drink two cups of tea, empty and unload the dishwasher, wash and sterilise his bottles, do the baking dishes, clean the kitchen, sit down and have a natter with Auntie Jane, and revel in my momentary incarnation as a domestic deity. They’re basically the perfect recipe:

White chocolate and banana goodness

2-and-a-half ripe bananas

125ml rice bran oil

2 eggs

250g high grade white flour

100g brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

175g white chocolate melts, buttons or chips

Mix flour, sugar, and baking soda.  Beat the egg and oil together, and add it to the mix. Mash the bananas and add them in too. Mix. Stir through the chocolate. Spoon the mixture into 15 muffin cases and bake for 20 mins on 200 degrees. Bask in domestic goddess vibes for rest of they day.

I found a version of the recipe on this blog here which also used a teaspoon of baking powder. Oops, I forgot to add it in – but they were still delish.

Enjoy x

Banana-stained Success

TWO MONTHS might be the magic number. That’s how long it took, of trying every day, for the Little Mister to take formula. And that’s how long it has taken, of trying every day, to get the Little Mister to eat. Now, at nearly seven months, I can say he has had his first real go at solids.

I don’t know what happened to change things today, but I’m notching it up as a success. Breakfast went as it does everyday. Milin refused his puree. (Today it was pear.) He pursed his lips, arched his back, and tried to squirm out of his high chair.

At lunch, he threw his rusk ceremoniously on the floor, reached for my salad, and started drooling. Caught short with none of my fancy creations defrosted, I decided my balsamic-drenched quinoa and raisin bowl wouldn’t be the safest thing to try him on, so I mashed up a banana.

The Little Mister allowed me to guide the spoon into his mouth. He probably ate almost a tablespoon worth. At last.

Perhaps not-so-secretly, I have spent the last month or so gazing enviously at other mummies as they feed their babies. I’ve wanted to join in with Milin. I’ve watched studiously for tips – what have I been doing wrong? I’ve taken books out of the library – and renewed them because if I read them a second time I might figure out some answers. I’ve ordered my baby-led weaning book – and still plan to do a little of this, because my boy clearly prefers feeding himself.  And now, finally, (unless this was a complete one off, but I’m being optimistic), I can start making the meals I’ve been eyeing up in Annabel Karmel’s book that has been gathering dust on the shelf. I’ll hopefully also stop being consumed by this obsession that is centred on getting the Little Mister to eat.

And if the first month of his life was milk-stained, this seventh month may be characterised by the brown smudge of banana. It’s horrible.

I know babies aren’t tidy. Our house is already filled with Little Mister themed clutter. And I know it’ll get worse once he’s mobile and pulling things off shelves. But the mess that comes with eating is going to take some getting used to.

We both learned something today. The Little Mister learnt that eating off a spoon really isn’t that bad. In fact, he almost grizzled once the banana was all gone. And I learnt never, ever, to feed him banana while he is wearing his cutest cardigan, and while I am wearing cashmere.

Post banana high

In other news, because I know there is more to life than solids and my obsession with them will now wane, the Little Mister is getting pretty good at sitting up.

Chicken with butternut squash and tarragon

There’s a meal I want to make for Milin. It’s chicken with butternut squash and tarragon. The thing is, there’s still no point.

The recipe is from one of my many library books on feeding babies. There’s two categories of books. Half are about how to introduce solids, while the other half are mainly made up of recipes.

There is plenty in Annabel Karmel‘s Top 100 Meals in Minutes that I want to make. Most of it looks pretty good. Even Tony found himself flicking through it this evening. He thought the oriental cod balls with plum dipping sauce looked good enough for adults. (Toddler section, not infant.)

I like the look of the chicken though, which is age appropriate for the Little Mister, as Annabel tells me it’s suitable from six months. Here it is:
Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan. Add 100g of onion and saute for 5 mins. Add 100g of squash and 100g chicken breast and fry for 1-2 mins. Sprinkle over 1tbsp of flour then blend in 100ml of milk. Bring to boil, stirring until slightly thickened. Add 1/8 tsp lemon zest and 1tsp lemon juice, cover, and simmer for 10 mins. Puree, then stir in 1tbsp grated parmesan and 1/8tsp tarragon.

Yum.

But, despite our week break, Milin is still refusing to let me put a spoon in his mouth. I’m still trying every morning. We sit down together and “eat” breakfast. Sometimes, it doesn’t end in tears. Everytime, it involves me playing no end of games and Milin pursing his lips and turning his head away as soon as the spoon gets near him. Occasionally, I manage to sneak a little in when I catch him off guard. Tony’s better at this than me.

I know, that eventually, he’ll have to eat. And, just like we did with formula, we have to persevere and we’ll get there. But in the meantime, it’s making me weary.

It’s not just that I want to fill Milin’s freezer shelf with yet more fancy concoctions he’ll reject. (I have missed trying out new recipes though.) It’s not, either, that I’m particularly worried about him not getting the goodness he needs. (Because the books seem to say that until they’re one they are getting what they need from milk anyway.) But, it is that I want him to enjoy food. I don’t want us to have a wrestling match over the spoon each day, or a game that ends in us both being frustrated and at least one of us in tears. I want the Little Mister, who really is just a very little one, to want what’s on the spoon. And to enjoy it.

I’m quietly impressed with how long Milin has kept up this food refusal thing for. I get it now though. He’s strong willed and not going to do anything unless he chooses to do it himself. Which is hard, when I’m doing everything I can to try and get him to do something he simply doesn’t want to do. I just hope he decides he feels like eating some real food soon.

Other than rusks, that is. He loves, loves loves, rusks. Even more than he loves his toys. Maybe.