Monthly Archives

April 2016

Braised Beef Cheeks for Joan

April 22, 2016

Ben and I have clogged our phones with photographs of Joan eating. Our baby girl is completely serious when it comes to food, and each day we are joyfully entertained as she learns to feed herself. We decided to go the Baby Led Weaning route, which to us meant that after Joan turned 6 months and showed signs of developmentally being able to manage food, we started providing an array of textures and flavours (in the hope that she will be an adventurous eater later on) and let Joan feed herself. And she’s really taken to this whole eating and self-feeding business. We eat our meals as a family and don’t force her to eat when she doesn’t want anything, rather we trust and respect her intuition (Joan is driven by instinct and is much smarter than us in this way). Though rarely will she refuse food, as our baby is sincerely obsessed with eating. When she likes something, she cannot get it in fast enough. “Finish what you’ve got in your mouth, Sweetie”, is commonly uttered at our dining table. When something is not particularly delicious (plain porridge or rubbery scrambled eggs), Joan will stare at me for a long while, as though letting me know that I’ve done better and to please not serve this again. I take note.

Our baby likes flavour.

Porridge with banana and (pureed) blueberries, steamed carrots with peanut butter, roasted pumpkin with curry powder, wedges of farm-fresh canteloupe, yoghurt with quinoa, omelettes with garlic and beetroot, banana pancakes and meat…ohhhh, she adores meat. At the end of Summer, while we were revelling in farm-fresh sweet corn, I served Joan chicken and corn soup (homemade broth simmered with corn, blitzed until thick enough to eat, and topped with shredded chicken). Baby girl proceeded to ecstatically grab handful after handful, shoving it in her mouth before she’d even begun to chew. And when we moved her plate closer to help her to reach with ease, she cried, fearing we were taking her plate away. Joan also loooooves lamb, just like her mumma. Over Easter we went to our friends’ house for dinner and Joan loved the slow-roasted lamb that was served (side note: that is my absolute favourite dish). She devours all she can out of the cuts we bought from Colin and Sally, including preservative-free sausages that were super tasty and intensely meat-flavoured (what a nice surprise to have sausages that taste like meat!), if not a little tough for her to eat without teeth (note: I removed the casing before giving them to Joan). Still, she will suck all the juice out of the sausages and other cuts she cannot chew and swallow and have a blast, sometimes gagging, happily and calmly so, along the way. We make sure to stay calm too and let Joan figure it out if she’s gagging (the first few times were scary, but babies are so smart, they know what to do), however it usually only happens when learning how to manage a new texture (something hard like toast or those sausages) or if she takes too much at once. Regardless, I make sure Ben is home with me when introducing a possibly challenging food for Joan, just for my own peace of mind. Lastly, I’ll note that we did a first aid course before bubs was born and refreshed ourselves of the information prior to her starting solids, and I definitely recommend all parents and grandparents do the same. But back to meat…yes, baby girl loves red meat, beef included. Before we bought that 1/2 lamb from Colin and Sally’s I bought meat from our local shops that stocked delicious, 100% grass-fed beef. I found myself reaching for the beef cheeks and making this braised dish again and again, so I thought I would share the recipe with you. Joan goes nuts over slow-cooked beef cheek, whether simmered in broth like this recipe or a tomatoey ragu. It’s a cut that positively melts into nothing, so she finds it very easy to gobble up. I usually thicken the broth/sauce with potato, extra carrots or sometimes quinoa, which helps her get all the cooking juice goodness. Joan will clean her plate whenever we serve this meal, Ben and I do too, though baby girl will also paint her eyelids in beef juice and inhale it through her nose with gusto. Yes, we’ve been using a mini nasal aspirator to extract food most days. It appears she just cannot get enough and I don’t blame her, it is rather scrumptious.

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Happenings, 15.4.16

April 15, 2016

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DOING: lounging next to Joan while she has a nap. It’s 1:31pm on Thursday 31st March. I should have documented this for While The Babe Naps with a snap…ah well. I’ve got the white noise app playing on my phone and if I go to take a picture, the noise stops, so it’s not worth it. She’s been asleep for about 10 minutes. We’re lying in our bed, having given up on cot naps. Joan still falls asleep in my arms and when lowering her into the cot (which needs to be on the lowest level because little miss is already pulling herself up), she wakes and not fall back asleep. Every time. The bed is easier for us both. We are in a bit of a transition stage, where I want her to know that I’m still here, but she can nap in the bed by herself and it’s all good. This involves a bit of hanging out by her side until she’s in a deep sleep and I can sneak off. But not too far!! As before she even wakes fully and knows who she is, she has rolled over and is crawling. It’s risky business. I need super high bed rails. Tell me, is that a thing?! Google searches have been fruitless…
HEARING: womb noises via this app. We’re white noise fans over here. Joan doesn’t need it to sleep, but it helps block out the noise of me typing and any knocks on the door.
COOKING: We recently purchase 1/2 an organic, completely grass-fed lamb from Colin & Sally (after a blog reader kindly suggested their produce), and we are absolutely loving it. We are thrilled to be feeding our baby girl (and ourselves!) such quality meat, and to be supporting a family farm. We love it because the health benefits are significant (I try to always buy organic animal products), the animals are treated far better than mass produced meat, and the flavour is incredible. And though it was expensive upfront, the actual cost per kg is ridiculously low compared to what you buy in the supermarkets or butchers for small portions. We will most certainly continue buying meat from these wonderful folk (they also farm cattle so we can buy beef). Oh, and it takes up far less freezer space than you might imagine when you receive it all portioned up.
EATING: besides lamb, eggs! We introduced Joan to eggs when she was around 7 months old, in small bits over a few days – scrambled eggs, frittata and banana pancakes (without the salt). Joan tolerated them well and is handling increasingly challenging textures. I feel a bit more free with what she’s eating, like we can move away from the practice of altering our meals to be more Joan-friendly, to basically just eating the same thing as a family. We’ve cut down our salt usage for the little one (I’m a bit of a salt-fiend) and she’s yet to try rice and quinoa, but beyond that she’s eating veg, eggs, nut/seed butters and ground nuts, yoghurt, oats, fruit, chicken and red meat, and it’s a whole lotta fun. She’s even tried some of her Pa’s famous homemade sourdough, made with mainly spelt flour. We toasted some strips and she munched on them with avocado. I’ll be sharing some recipes that she’s loved in the coming months (I want to remake a few dishes and actually take note of the specifics for you all), including slow-cooked beef cheek and chicken soup. We’ve also been eating lasagne, this delicious slab that my mother-in-law brought over, and the leftovers!

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Everything date balls

April 8, 2016

Lately I’ve been making the same date balls over and over again. “Date balls, really? How boring. Like we need another recipe.” I know, I hear you. But they’re everything I need right now, with a small child who is moving moving moving and a house that is so far from fully childproof that I cannot leave her alone for a second (we’re working on that).

In lieu of drinking coffee all day long, it’s food like this that keeps me going. And I’m not sure what it is about these particular date balls, but I’m finding them to be incredibly satisfying and energy-giving. If I pop a couple of these babies I am sure to power through until Ben gets home around 6:30 to help me with the whole dinner/bath/bed rigmarole. Anything that helps me greet him in a manner that reflects my true feelings (that he is my best friend), rather than “What the heck took you so long?” is always appreciated.

everything date balls


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While The Babe Naps

April 5, 2016


Good morning!

Thank you for being sweet and leaving comments here and on instagram about my new site. Honestly it doesn’t require a grand reveal or hype, I haven’t laboured over anything, nor will it take up much of my time in the future. Rather, it’s simply a place for me to share and connect with others, and maybe snoop a little. Let me explain.

The website is called While The Babe Naps, and it will be here that I will share a snap every so often, capturing what I am up to in that moment while Joan is sleeping. The concept extends from the post I wrote on self-care, encouraging us all to make sure we are doing little things for ourselves, things that help us feel good and full and bright (or as good and full and bright as possible in our current reality, whatever that may be). You can read more on, I won’t explain much more now, as it’s all there, and I’m currently in a bit of a rush to get to the shops and buy some baby Fess (“for little noses” – too cute!). But I wanted you to know what my new site is about and to ask you to send me your submissions! I want to see what you’re up to while your babies nap. My hope is that While The Babe Naps will be a place to show what people from all over the world are doing during those sleepy minutes. And that’s it! I won’t be pitching for individuals to contribute beyond this callout (though I may bug my friends – you have been warned!!), as doing so feels very inorganic to me. Honestly I’d rather spend my time leisurely reading or cooking – you know, living what I’m harping on about. Instead I plan on relying on the fact that many of us like to feel connected and see what others are up to, especially those of us who stay at home with babies, and so perhaps, hopefully, you’ll feel encouraged to send me a snapshot of your reality via a photograph and a few words. As well as mums, dads, grandparents, aunties, uncles, nannies, this also extends to people with older kids who aren’t napping anymore. You will hopefully have a few moments for yourself when your little one is alseep, whether in the morning or at night (hopefully both) for you to practice a little self-care. The truth is that for many people, work and emails and study are pressing and need attention, I get that, however I’d still love to see a picture. And who knows, maybe by scrolling through the site you’ll feel encouraged to make a cup of tea and a snack to eat while you’re working? That’d be nice. And for those naps when all that awaits us is washing up, I say screw it! Have a shower, make yourself some hot cocoa and bake a batch of granola instead. And take a photograph of it. I want to know what is going on in your world.

I’m truly quite excited to see who I might hear from. Though if you see my posts often I suppose that will mean I’ve had a lull in submissions and need to fill that space…and that’s cool, you all know I love to journal and this is simply another space for me to do just that. Below is my first contribution, taken a couple of months ago, shortly before I had the idea to share these moments. Over on the website you’ll find a more detailed post than this, so do head over there, but the format below is what I’ll be sharing in every feature – WHO, WHEN, WHERE & WHAT. It’s as simple as that. What excites me is how my when, where and what will change over the seasons, as my baby grows, as the novelty of having time to myself wears off (wait, does it ever?), as I go back to work, as life happens… it won’t always be crackers and a book, but for now, this is my world.

Friends, I’d love to hear what you’re up to while your babe naps.

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