Friday, September 28, 2012

baby noms: chickpeas and root vegetables

the chickpeas in this dish give it a creaminess, which is right up arty's alley. it's got real substance to it.

chickpeas and root vegetables


1 cup dried chickpeas
1.5 cups diced root vegetables (i used sweet potato and carrot)
1 small onion
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp ground coriander seeds


  • soak chickpeas in water overnight to rehydrate. they will expand when you do this, so make sure you use a bowl that holds at least twice the volume of chickpeas you put in there.
  • place stock into medium saucepan and bring to gentle simmer
  • in a small saucepan, sautee onions until they have started to go shiny and clear.
  • add onions and remaining ingredients to stock, and continue to simmer, covered, until all ingredients are tender.
  • puree or roughly mash depending on where your baby is up to!

family portrait

i don't think i actually have any words to go with this picture. i just wanted to share it.

28th july, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

a beautiful day at the tulip festival

the other day, we took arty to the spring tulip festival. he'd been sick with a cold for a few days, and we were all getting cabin fever, so a day out was just what we all needed.

tulips photographed by arty's oddmother,
 josie, who joined us for the trip

s-j and i  

arty and his mummy 

arty on the throne in the fairy grotto 

tulips yet to open

it was a lovely day to wander about in fields of bold tulips, fragrant daffodils, and other beautiful blooms. arty enjoyed the change of scene, and we all felt much better to have gotten out in the mountain air.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

baby noms: appleberry puree

this isn't so much a recipe as a general suggestion.
we always like to have some appleberry puree in the freezer for arty, because it's a great addition to a lot of meals. for example, our standard go-to breakfast is generally to defrost a few cubes of it, then add a tablespoon of unsweetened natural yoghurt, and a few tablespoons of rice cereal. he scoffs it every time.
this is what i normally do:

appleberry puree


3 large apples, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup blueberries
2 or three tablespoons of water


  • place all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook, covered, over low heat until tender
  • puree and pour into ice trays 
  • store in freezer for up to three months (ours never lasts this long because it gets eaten up!) 

it's best to use a sweet apple like pink lady or fuji, because tarter ones such as granny smiths can be a bit too sour for little ones.

i've varied this recipe by using raspberries or strawberries instead of blueberries. the strawberries are sweeter, so they're a good option if you have a sourer apple.

i sometimes add a banana (uncooked) at the pureeing stage, and this makes it even more nutritious and substantial.

it's nice to use a combination of pears and apples too, just to mix things up a little.

fresh berries can be very expensive, so it's perfectly legitimate to use frozen ones. they're generally much cheaper, but still good quality.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

dear arthur: eight months

my darling! you are eight months old!

those teeth that you've been working on since last month are still lurking just below the surface of your gums. it seems like you've done nothing but drool all month, and they're still eluding us. not fair.

the biggest change this month has been to your sleeping patterns, and bedroom arrangements.
we were getting to the stage where your mummy and i were only getting a few hours sleep a night and we couldn't go on like that any more. i asked my mothers group for advice, and one of the mums recommended a sleep specialist who had helped her with her son. i'll write about the whole experience in more detail in another blog post, but the upshot is, you are now sleeping in your cot in your own room all night long, and napping in there three times a day. we are all so much happier.

you are so very close to crawling now! you are able to get up onto your hands and knees, and you rock back and forward as if you're about to take off. i hope it won't be long before you do, because you're getting pretty frustrated at your lack of forward motion.

with coaching from your oddmother, you have remembered how to do a high five (your mummy had you doing them a little while ago, but then you stopped). if someone holds their hand up and says 'high five' you put your own hand up too. it's pretty gorgeous.
you've also just started waving. you stretch your little arm out, and open and shut your hand. when you did it at your oma this week she was so pleased.

you have started saying "mumumum" to your mummy and i when you want something, or when you're sad. it's not quite the same as calling for us, but it is your word for "help me" or "comfort me", and it is so wonderful to hear!

you have mastered the ways of the sippy cup this month. first you learned how to pick it up in both hands, and then that you had to tilt your head back in order to tip the water into your mouth. you now have it with you whenever you're having a meal, and you often pause to have a little drink in between mouthfuls. it's really great to see you begin to exercise some autonomy in that way. you're taking your first small steps towards independence, and that makes me so proud!

you're continuing to grow so big and strong.
i have to carry you on my back in the sling now, because you're too heavy to go on my front. you seem to like bouncing along that way, looking around at all the things that are passing you by.

you're also facing forward in your car seat, which is great for all of us. you get to see where you're going, and keep an eye on where we are, and we can use the front seat of the car again. everyone wins!

all in all, it's been a good month. you didn't escape another winter cold, but you're coping with it very well, and seem to be well on your way to recovery.
you're learning and changing, and growing every single day, and it is such a joy to behold. thank you for being my gorgeous, sweet, clever little man.
i love you with all my heart,

mama xxx

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

new look!

the lovely, and prodigiously talented ren has designed a new look for the crowned finch:

we think it is about fifty kinds of awesome, and we're sure you'll agree!

Friday, September 14, 2012

baby noms: pork with sage and sweet potato

our sage is coming back to life after dying back over the winter, so i thought i'd use some in some of arty's dinners.

 pork with sage and sweet potato


1 cup sweet potato, scrubbed and diced
100g pork mince
1/2 tbsp fresh sage, finely sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil

  • place sweet potatoes in a small pan of water and boil until tender. reserve some of the cooking water when they are done.
  • meanwhile, heat oil in another small pan, and sweat onions over medium heat until they start to go translucent
  • add the sage (it will smell so good!) and continue to sweat for another minute
  • add pork mince, and cook until the pork is cooked through and has started to brown slightly
  • place sweet potatoes, and pork into blender and puree. add some of the sweet potato cooking water to adjust texture.

this puree smells genuinely delicious, and is a great protein hit for your baby. it's also a good way to begin to introduce the newer flavours of herbs to their palette. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

closeness without breastfeeding

breastfeeding naturally necessitates an extreme degree physical closeness between a baby and the person feeding them. this can actually get quite exhausting and overwhelming, and lead to a feeling of being 'touched out', but it also gives an opportunity for precious bonding.

there are many who privilege this form of bonding over all others, but it can still be developed and enjoyed when breastfeeding isn't part of the parent/child relationship.

here are some of the things we do to enjoy closeness with arty:

  • snuggle time. some of my most precious moments with arty have been snuggle time where we will lie chest to chest, his head resting on my arm. sometimes we'll have little 'chats' where we coo and babble at each other. sometimes i'll sing softly to him. sometimes we'll both fall asleep like this and we'll share some nap time. we share each other's space, and relax together, and it's really lovely for both of us.
  • babywearing. we've made good and regular use of our ergo carrier since arty was born. til very recently we'd wear him facing inwards, chest to chest again, and he would often relax so much that he'd fall asleep there. he's just getting to the stage where he's a bit heavy to be carried on the front for very long, so we've switched to the back. i can report that having a baby blow raspberries on your back is a very odd, and genuinely excellent sensation.
  • bathing together. we don't do this every day, but from time to time we will have a shower or bath with him to make the most of that skin-to-skin time that is so important for attachment. 
  • making the most of all the little opportunities to demonstrate affection. it's easy to get caught up in getting from one task to another when you're busily trying to raise one person, and be a functional person yourself, but i try not to let a chance for a cuddle, a kiss, or a moment of closeness go by. tummy kisses while we're on the change table, a big cuddle before being bundled into the car, or just sitting quietly together when he's all relaxed after a bottle, instead of putting him straight down for a nap and moving on to the next thing. each day holds hundreds of chances like this, and it's a privilege and a joy take them!

breastfeeding is indeed a unique and intimate relationship, but it is not the only route to a strong positive bond between parent an child.

Friday, September 7, 2012

baby noms: pumpkin and brown rice

this is a nice filling dinner that should help keep a baby full and satisfied for a long sleep.
you can use other rice if you don't have brown rice, but brown rice has more nutritional value, and adds a unique nuttiness to the taste.

pumpkin and brown rice


1/3 cup of brown rice
2 cups butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced
1 cup button (aka 'pattypan') squash

  • place rice in small saucepan with 2 cups water, bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for approx 20 mins
  • while rice is cooking, boil pumpkin and squash until tender
  • place rice and veg into blender and puree until smooth

suggested variations
  • bake the pumpkin in it's skin and scoop out to puree for a richer flavour
  • cook rice in chicken stock instead of water for a more complex and svoury flavour
  • to introduce new textures to older babies, puree the pumpkin and squash, and then stir in the rice afterwards