Baby food on the run

While I try to make all my daughter’s food from scratch using organic, locally sourced fruit and veg, this is not always possible. Sometimes I am caught away from home longer than expected, or taking a long trip, or just run out of time to make something. Whatever the cause, it’s good to know that we have some great products available for us health conscious moms.

Firstly, there are some good raw goodies you can buy and feed straight away:

  • A banana makes a great out and about snack. It comes in its own wrapper and needs no preparation. Just peel and give a piece to your child to gnaw on, or if they prefer purees then just mash a bit and feed it
  • Avo is just as convenient as bananas and are packed with B vitamins and healthy fats
  • My daughter LOVES strawberries. They’re easily portable, easy for her to hold and require no preparation
  • Cherry or rosa tomatoes cut in half
  • Sliced pear

There are also some really healthy pre-prepared options available for us SA moms:

Squish

This product comes in a pouch with a screw top so it’s resealable. You can squeeze the pouch onto a spoon or directly into baby’s mouth – great for car trips! The fruit pouches are pasteurised but not cooked and they taste delicious. There are 2 ranges – Squish, which is all fruit and Squish Baby which is suitable for babies 8 months and older and introduces interesting flavour combinations. I love that there are no fillers and additives, no salt or sugar. My daughter loved all of them and my older kids liked the fruit smoothies as well. This is a wonderful, proudly South African range!

HiPP

HiPP is a UK brand that has been around for more than 50 years and is now available in South Africa. All their products contain certified organic ingredients, meaning they are pesticide and synthetic fertiliser-free, GMO-free and farmed sustainably. Because these products come from the UK, their labelling is slightly different from SA products. You will notice that the jars are labelled ‘4+ months’. Here, we recommend exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months so use your discretion when introducing solids.  The Hipp range includes jars with some lovely and interesting flavour combinations, as well as a range of cereals.  The cereals are all sugar-free but be aware that some of the jars contain sugar. My daughter really enjoyed the jars, especially the Red Fruit and Apple Compote (which is delicious and sugar-free).

Holle

Holle is an organic baby food company based on the Swiss – German border. The production of infant milk formula and grain products takes place in Germany. The baby food products are produced in Switzerland. The grain is grown from rich, pesticide-free and herbicide-free soil that has been nourished and prepared organically. In South Africa, their formula and cereal ranges are available. My 2 favourite cereals from the range are the Millet and the Spelt cereals. Spelt is easily digested, low in gluten and higher in protein than wheat. Few people are allergic to millet and it is very high in iron, which makes it an ideal cereal for vegetarian babies. This is definitely my daughter’s favourite. Again, these products are labelled according to European standards so most are labelled for use from 4 months.

*I was not reimbursed for this review. I received products from the companies mentioned above

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If the shoe fits…

Image Pitta-Patta Strappy White shoes

When I found out I was expecting a girl, after having 3 boys, one of the things I was most excited about was buying shoes! What I soon realised is that not all baby shoes are created equal and some can be downright bad for baby’s feet. So what should you look for?

According to Pitta-Patta  “shoes must have flexible soles to give little growing feet the perfect environment to develop and strengthen while learning to walk, in a nutshell “ No support is all they need”. Little feet get really hot because they exert a lot of energy, so it’s important that the shoe allows the feet to ‘breathe.’ A shoe made with unlined leather is ideal for a baby and toddler. So at Pitta-Patta, all our shoes are unlined, (so they absorb the moisture and then keep the feet cool), and they sport a soft, flexible, slip-resistant suede sole.”

Not only are these shoes good for baby’s feet, they are ADORABLE! And their boy styles are just as cute. Pop over to their website to check out their range

*I was not reimbursed for this review. I received a pair of shoes from Pitt-Patta

Busy Mom Recipe of the Week: Lentils 3 ways

I LOVE my slow cooker. I think it is the best invention for any busy mom. I use it at least twice a week – pop ingredients in in the morning, turn it on and when you get home, voila! Dinner is made. It is fantastic for pulses (which I always burn on the stove top). You can cook one 500g bag of beans or lentils and create 3 different meals from it that the kids will love.

To cook the lentils:

  • Dice 1 large or 2 medium onions and cook in a little olive oil until glassy. Add some minced or chopped garlic and mixed herbs
  • Place onion in a slow cooker with 2 grated carrots, one diced tomato or a can of chopped tomatoes, 500g dry *lentils, 2 stock cubes and 1 kettle of boiling water
  • Cook on high until lentils are soft and gravy is thickened (I usually put the slow cooker on at around 8am and by 4pm they are done. Beans will be done by 6pm). 

Lentil Bolognaise

Mix one third of your lentils with roast tomato pasta sauce and spoon over spaghetti. Top with grated parmesan.

Lentil, Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna

Saute some shredded spinach or chard and a finely chopped onion in some butter. Don’t overcook – spinach should just be bright green and wilted. Mix with ricotta or smooth cottage cheese. Spread a layer of lentils over the bottom of a lasagna dish. Top with a single layer of lasagna sheets. Spoon spinach mix over and top with another layer of lasagna sheets, followed by lentils and lasagna sheets again. Either top with cheese sauce or roast tomato sauce. Bake in the oven at 180*C for 40min. Allow to stand for 10 min before serving.

Cottage Pie

Saute one onion and dried sage in a little olive oil. Add one box of dried soya mix (or mince if you want a meat version). Add water according to instructions on the box and cook. Mix in leftover lentils and 250g frozen peas. Place in an oven-proof dish. Top with a layer of mashed butternut and then mashed potato. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and grill until lightly browned

*You can follow the same basic recipe with dry beans instead of lentils. Use thyme instead of (or as well as) mixed herbs. Serve with basmati rice and roasted butternut. Use leftover beans to make refried beans for tortilla wraps. Top with roast tomato sauce and cheese and bake for 20min. Serve with shredded lettuce, diced tomato and guacamole