sweet potato & chick pea curry

curry

curried sweet potatoes & chick peas

Here’s a meal that comes together pretty quickly but tastes like it’s been stewing on the stove all day. The aromas of the spices warm your house without scaring away the kiddies (it’s not spicy at all!). Make some basmati or plain rice to eat alongside this delicious hearty stew.  My little ones (now 3 and 1) love sweet potatoes so this one was a winner in our household.  You can actually serve this as baby food (mild warmth from ginger but not spicy! plus ginger has great benefits for the tummy) – just make sure to remove ginger pieces and gently smash the chick peas and sweet potatoes with the back of a spoon so that it is soft but still has a bit of texture.

It’s a great stew that freezes well and is perfect to pull out at a later day for a quick lunch when you’re in a crunch.  We actually served left overs to some friends the other night and they loved it so much I decided to post this recipe.

prep: 10 min    cook: 1 hr    yield: 6

what you need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 can chick peas (540 mL)
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (homemade best!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • *optional if serving to adults only – you can add cayenne or red chilli flakes
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil (or other cooking oil)

what to do:

  1. Wash and peel sweet potatoes and chop into bite size chunks.
  2. Remove skin from garlic and shallots, then chop finely. Remove skin from ginger and thickly slice.
  3. Drain and rinse chick peas with cold water.
  4. In a large pot (preferably a dutch oven or heavy soup pot), heat up oil on medium.
  5. Add shallots and ginger, sauté until fragrant. Add garlic and spices. Be careful not to burn the spices and garlic, continue stirring and add a little bit of oil if it seems too dry. Once you smell the fragrant aromas, add chick peas and sweet potatoes, stirring to mix.DSC_0063
  6. Immediately add your 3 cups of liquid. Stir to combine, then close the lid. Turn the heat to high then once it comes to a boil, turn it down to simmer for 45 min.
  7. When serving, be sure to remove the ginger pieces so that no one gets a big bite of ginger. Serve with chopped cilantro on top, alongside rice. Enjoy!
my little helper

pie pie the sous-chef

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baby’s salmon & lentil rice porridge (aka congee)

a complete meal for baby

a complete meal for baby

Rice porridge (otherwise known as congee or muai) – is the boss’ favourite meal. When my mom visits she always makes a big pot of it for her and it’s gone within a couple of days.  I know other babies like it too, because I usually bring a jar of it with me just in case I’m in need of something to feed the boss and her little friends try a bite and want more! It’s actually also one of my favourite meals (see slow cooker congee). The great thing about rice porridge is that the combinations are endless – and to me, as long as there is some protein, some veggies that bring sweetness, fibre, and good nutritional value – then that’s perfect! Traditionally the base of congee is white rice, but in this recipe I substituted half with lentils, which gave a bit more texture, fibre and nutrition.

You can also make this same recipe in the slow cooker – place all ingredients in the cooking vessel and set on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

prep: 10 min   cook: 1 hour   yield: about 12 mason jars

what you need:

  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils
  • 1/2 cup short grain rice (I used a mix of brown and white)
  • 6 asparagus
  • 1/2 large sweet potato
  • 3/4 cup green peas (I used frozen)
  • 1 portion of cooked salmon (about 4 oz or so) – I used left over BBQ’d salmon from last night’s dinner
  • 5 cups of water

what to do:

  1. Rinse rice and lentils well, then drain.
  2. Place rice, lentils and 5 cups of water in a medium or large pot. Cover with lid and place on high heat to bring to boil.
  3. While you are waiting for your water to boil, prep vegetables by washing thoroughly, trimming asparagus ends, and peeling sweet potato. Chop sweet potato and asparagus into small baby bite size pieces (about the same size as the peas). Set aside.
  4. Flake salmon using your fingers – I like to use my hands to do this part to ensure that any fish bones get removed.
  5. prepped  Once your water comes to a boil, add the prepped bowl of salmon and veggies to the pot and then lower the heat to medium-low for a simmer.  It will need to simmer away for about 45 min – 1 hour, but set a timer for 20 minutes to come back and give it a good stir. You will know it’s ready when most of the water is absorbed and it is an oatmeal type of consistency – don’t worry if it seems a little soupy, as it cools down it will thicken even more.congee
  6. Remove from heat and remove lid, then allow to cool before transferring to storage containers. I use mason jars and glass containers, so it was okay that it was still warm when I transferred it.DSC_0608

*If you are enjoying it yourself or serving it to an older child/toddler, feel free to season it lightly with a little bit of salt & pepper, or a tiny drizzle of soy sauce on top.  When I eat this, I also like to top it off with chopped green onion and cilantro for garnish. Enjoy!

the boss

like clockwork, the boss eats a whole jar at 5am!

baby’s pear & mango chutney

baby's chutney

gently spice infused fruit cup

This baby food smells so good and tastes so good…you’ll want to eat it yourself! For sure this beats a store-bought fruit cup. Chutney is an aromatic delicious condiment that originated from India and is usually some sort of fruit that has been cooked with spices to give it a fragrant intense flavour. This baby version uses only 3 spices and is gently infused so that it will just get your baby started on some new flavours without overwhelming the actual taste of the fruits. Be sure to save any extra liquid after the cooking process – it will be full of flavour! – and it can be used to sweeten up yogurt, oatmeal, or blended up in a smoothie.

prep: 10 min   cook: 3-4 hours (slow cooker) or 45 min   yield: 6 small mason jars

what you need:

DSC_0532DSC_0530

  • 3 pears (I used anjou pears)
  • 1 mango
  • 3 thin slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 cardamon seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup water

what to do:

  1. Wash fruit and peel. Dice fruit into small chunks. Place into slow cooker pot.
  2. Peel ginger (the easiest is to use the side of a spoon and scrape off the peel) and cut 3 thin slices. DSC_0533Lightly smash cardamon seeds with the side of a large knife, to expose the little seeds within it. Place cinnamon stick, cardamon seeds, and ginger slices into a spice bag (don’t have one? make your own with cheese cloth and string!).
  3. Place spice bag into slow cooker with the fruit and pour water over everything. Make sure the spice bag is nestled down under the fruit and in the water.
  4. Cook on lowest setting for 3-4 hours.

    slow cooker

    can you spot the spice bag?

  5. Remove lid and allow to cool. Once it’s cool enough to handle, store in mason jars. Enjoy!

*If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can make this on the stove top. Simply put ingredients into a pot with a lid on, bring to a boil then turn it down to medium-low heat and keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally and adding water if required (to avoid burning) – should take about 40 minutes or so.

baby’s blue apple pie

baby's pieThis is so easy to make and has great blueberry flavour. Adding cinnamon gives it a pie feel and of course will be enjoyed even more by your baby! Cooking the apples helps to intensify their flavour and will give it a longer shelf life (in your fridge of course). It smelled so good even sweetie pie pie (my toddler) had some! Usually she is very adamant that the mushy stuff is for “babies only…I’m a BIG girl”…but this time I guess she made an exception:)

what you need:

prep: 5 min   cook: 15 min   yield: about 5 small mason jars

  • 2 small granny smith apples
  • 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp water

what to do:

  1. Wash apples thoroughly and peel if desired.  Since I bought organic apples this time, I kept the peels on.
  2. Remove apple cores and cut into bite size chunks, then place in a small pot with water and cinnamon and cook on medium, for about 5 minutes.  Turn it down to medium low for another 5-10 minutes, just until apples are fork tender.
  3. Mix apples with frozen blueberries (which will bring cool them down fast) – and blend into a smooth puree or just pulse a little for a chunkier texture.  Because I left my apple skins on, I went for a smoother puree. The mixture may seem a little liquidy but it will firm up (almost like a jam) after it is completely cooled and refrigerated.
  4. Store in mason jars in the fridge, or freeze for future use.

baby’s first curry

baby's first curry

vibrant turmeric

I know what some of you might be thinking…”whoa, curry for a baby??” but keep in mind it is very mild and none of the spices in this recipe are actually spicy! I like introducing new flavours to my baby (the boss) because I think it’s important for her to develop her taste buds and be open to lots of different kinds of foods and cuisines. Plus, many of these spices and aromatics have lots of natural health benefits. For example, turmeric has been shown to have several positive effects on our body, ginger can sooth upset tummies, and it has long been known that garlic and onions can help boost your immune system. Giving your baby exciting new tastes instead of bland purees while boosting her health is a great way to start solids!

prep: 10 min   cook: 20 min   yield: 5 small mason jars

what you need:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 cup cooked chick peas
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 thin slices of fresh ginger
  • 1/2 small cooking onion
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper *optional

what to do:

  1. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Wash and peel sweet potato, then cut into half inch discs.  Place them on the cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil all over them, season very lightly with salt and pepper, then move them around so that all sides get coated.  Place into oven, middle rack, and bake for about 7 minutes per side (until fork tender, and just gently golden browned).
  3. Smash garlic, dice onion, and cut ginger into thin pieces.
  4. While your sweet potatoes are roasting, heat up 1 tsp oil in a small frying pan (medium-low heat).
    saute

    sautéing

    Sauté garlic, onions and ginger until softened, and onions are almost translucent.
  5. Add the ground spices (cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric) and at this point if the pan seems to dry add a little bit more olive oil.  Once you smell all the aromas coming together, turn off the heat.  This should only take about 30 seconds or so.
  6. While the onions cool, blend chick peas until smooth. Then add onion mixture and blend until a fine purée.
  7. Sweet potatoes should be about ready now – remove from oven and allow them to cool just until they are ready to handle.  You can add them to the puree and blend – or, if you want more texture, simply mash them gently with a fork and then add them to the chick pea mixture, then store into mason jars. You can keep this in the fridge for a few days or freeze them in smaller jars to pull out for meals later.
the boss munching on a roasted sweet potato disc

the boss munching on a roasted sweet potato disc