Fresh ideas for Weaning: A super simple, healthy green veg risotto

It’s the start of a new week and the sun’s out, so we thought we would share one of our favourite spring vegetable recipes: a lovely nutritious risotto that is really quick and easy to make!

This has become a staple in our house, my twins really took to it from about 8 months. It’s a super easy dish to make and it looks lovely and bright when it’s cooked making it an exciting new prospect for our little foodie adventurers. And for our baby led weaners, keep some courgette aside – courgette sticks are perfect for tiny fingers.

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Ingredients

2 Courgettes
2 Spring Onions
100g Arborio Rice
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
Fresh Parsley
85g Peas
25g Grana Padano Cheese

Method

Chop the courgette in half and then length ways into sticks.  Chop the remaining half into small, baby bite-size pieces.

Either in a steamer or in a pan with a little water, cook the courgette sticks for 5 minutes, or until soft. If cooking in a pan with water, drain well.  Set aside – these will be finger foods.

Meanwhile, finely slice the spring onions, discarding the root but using most of the green tips. Heat a little oil or butter in a pan, over a medium heat and gently fry the onion until soft. Add a little more oil or butter to the pan and add the rice.  Stir for 2 minutes until it turns opaque.

Dissolve the vegetable stock cube in 500ml of boiled water. Add a ladle of the hot stock to the rice pan and stir continuously.

Once the stock has been absorbed by the rice, repeat the process with another ladleful of stock. Keep stirring and adding stock until ⅔ of the stock has been absorbed by the rice. This should take around 10 minutes.

Finely chop the parsley including the stalks and add it to the pan, along with the chopped courgette and the peas.

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Add the final ⅓ of the stock, a ladleful at a time, and gently cook until each ladleful of the stock is absorbed and the rice cooked through.

Grate the cheese and add ¾ to the risotto and stir to melt. Remove from the heat and serve each portion of risotto with a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and the courgette fingers.

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ENJOY! If you try out this recipe we would love to know what your little ones think of it. Share your photos with us on Facebook or Instagram!

Homemade Toddler Snacks – Switching processed for unprocessed

It’s BLOODY HARD WORK being a mum! This week I’ve had several mummy fails including sending my husband and son to a birthday party two hours before it started…. AND making spinach scones my son refused to try!

We do our best as mums but we spend too much time worrying about the things we do wrong, the latest research that says energy light bulbs are dangerous or rice cakes aren’t good for us, or we shouldn’t leave our babies to cry….

Let’s STOP right there and think about what we are doing right for our little ones. Think about five things you’ve done today that are positive and write that STUFF down.  Remind yourself that you’re an awesome mum right here, right now!!

Now, lets think about what we can do more of, instead of berating ourselves for the things we need to do less of. My purpose on TickleBuds is to focus on the small things we can do to make life a little healthier and tastier for our families.

This month, it’s about the ‘snacking’. Lets face it, snacking is an important part of the day for most little ones… It’s part of their routine and keeps their energy levels up until their next meal. My son is 4 and he has 1-2 snacks a day (as long as he’s eaten his main meals). These usually happen mid morning and if he’s hungry early afternoon.

chopped banana and almond butter snack

I try REALLY hard with snacks to offer my son things like fruit, natural yoghurt, dried fruit and nuts, humous, homemade nut butter, and oatcakes. These are options that I know he likes but don’t contain vast amounts of ‘added sugar’.

Don’t get me wrong he also enjoys a treat from a packet such as pom bears, or a barney bear now and then!!! Why is everything a bear?? BUT there’s no substitute for homemade snacks, using whole food ingredients. I want you to know it’s actually really easy AND you know exactly what you’re putting in the snacks you make!!

When I was little I loved things like chocolate spread, pop tarts and frosties but I’ve steered clear of these with my son because I know it’s up to me to help him make better choices and not always resort to something in a packet because it’s quick and easy.

Something I wanted to recreate recently was “nutella” after my son saw it in Sainsbury’s and asked if he could have some. With a whopping 227g of sugar in a 400g jar. That’s more than half the total ingredients weight!!! Plus a massive 8.5g sugar in a 15g tablespoon I wasn’t going to start that habit!!

I set myself a challenge to make my own “nutella” sweetened naturally with dates and a small amount of maple syrup. These are the results, which both make delicious toddler snacks!

Chocolate “Hazelnutella”

Ingredients

150g whole hazelnuts

1 mug of soaked dates

3 dessert spoons coconut oil (melted)

2 dessert spoons cacao powder

1 dessert spoon of maple syrup

2 dessert spoons of water

ingredients for homemade chocolate spread

Add the nuts to the food processor with the cacao powder and blend for a few minutes until the nuts are a crumbly consistency but not quite a powder. Then add dates, coconut oil and maple syrup and blend again. Check the consistency and add water if needed. You want it to be a thick consistency but not so hard that it won’t spread. Transfer the mix into an old jar or pot with a lid and keep in the fridge. It will last 5-7 days in the fridge.

We like to spread our chocolate spread onto oatcakes, rice cakes or chopped banana.

 

Chopped banana and almond butter

 

Another favourite snack, which doesn’t even require the food processor, is chopped banana with almond butter or peanut butter. My son regularly asks for this. The bananas are sweet and the almond butter adds a little crunch and it’s a fun snack. Almonds are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and they provide energy for these busy little people.

**To check out more of Jo’s healthy living ideas and recipes visit her Facebook Page**

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