Oven Roasted Veggie Stew

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The fresh produce that I scored at last week’s farmer’s market was the inspiration for this tomato-based stew. We’re talking fresh turnips, sweet potatoes, broccoli and zucchini. I then raided the pantry and searched our refrigerator shelves to find the rest. And voila! a home-cooked meal that satisfied both Paige’s appetite and mine.

Serves 2 adults, 1 baby and even leaves enough for leftovers

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 2 small white turnips, diced
  • 1 small head broccoli (cauliflower also makes an excellent choice), cut into florets
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 28oz can of whole tomatoes (look for one that has a PBA-free liner and no added salt, like Eden Organic), chopped
  • 1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (again, love Eden Organic)
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and chop your veggies.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine sweet potato, squash, turnips and broccoli. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and fresh cracked pepper. Arrange mixture into a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until veggies are tender — about 30 minutes — tossing once, half way through.
  3. While your veggies are roasting, fire up the stove top. In a large sauce pan, saute onions and shredded carrots in remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil — about 8 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent. Add crushed garlic, thyme and oregano; saute for a minute more.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and about half of their liquid. Bring to a simmer and let the sauce thicken a bit.
  5. Add the beans, roasted veggies and fresh chopped basil. Heat everything through then serve.

 

While this stew is a meal in itself, Paige loves it with whole wheat pasta spirals. Actually so do I, and rather than adding salt to my own serving, I just garnish it with extra fresh basil and a healthy dose of parmesan cheese. This mighty stew is also super nutritious. We’re talking vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, calcium, iron and magnesium — all essential nutrients for growing minds and bodies. It’s also high in dietary fiber and a great source of protein, especially when paired with wholegrain pasta.

Gingery Apple Butter

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This is one of my all-time favorites. It’s super simple to throw together and boy is it ever versatile. It works on toast, in oatmeal, swirled into yogurt. Heck, it’s even enjoyed by the spoonful on it’s own.

Ingredients

  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 cup whole pitted prunes
  • 1 generous teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water

 

Preparation

  1. Combine all of the above into a medium saucepan. Cover and bring just to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  2. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring the pot often to prevent burning and sticking. The apples and prunes will soften into a rich, caramel-coloured butter. You’ll know it’s done when the texture is smooth and velvety — no longer chunky.
  3. Remove from heat, let cool, then serve!

 

I like a little texture in my apple butter so I use whole pitted prunes when they’re fresh. If you want a more homogenous butter you can either dice the prunes before adding them to the pot OR you can run the cooled butter through a food processor at the end.

This apple butter freezes exceptionally well. I like to freeze leftovers in little ice cube trays. The little cubes — which I thaw as needed — are perfect for livening up oatmeal, toast, you name it.

Sweet Potato Hummus

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Last post for the weekend! Admittedly this one is a bit of a cheat. It’s what I do when I’m too lazy to make the Sweet! Potato Curry Chickpea Fingers. Here we go:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato, washed and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (use more if you have an adventuresome eater)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (use more if you want the curry flavour to really shine)
  • 1 can unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I like Eden Organic; their can linings are PBA-free)

 

Preparation

  1. Steam sweet potato rounds until they pierce easily with a fork. Let cool then slip skins off. Conserve water from steaming.
  2. While sweet potato is steaming, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, carrots, ginger and garlic with curry powder. Remove from heat once mixture is soft and onions are translucent.
  3. Add chickpeas, sweet potato and onion mixture to food processor. Process until the mixture looks like a thick hummus — you may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. If the mixture is too thick to puree, add sweet potato water, a few tablespoons at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
  4. And enjoy!

 

Told you it was a cheat. But it’s delicious. You can serve it as a snack with veggies or wholegrain crackers/pita/whatever. It also makes a great meal. Perfect for dipping say, steamed broccoli florets (a Paigelet favorite).

Like its more laborious cousin (chickpea fingers), this hummus is loaded with protein, fiber, iron and vitamin A.

I haven’t tried this yet but I will the next time I make it: 1-2 tablespoons tahini plus a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. If you get to it before I do, let me know how it goes!

Sweet! Potato Curry Chickpea Fingers

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They kinda look like chicken fingers only they’re way better for you. I started making these for Paige when she was about 7 months old. I had a fridge full of sweet potato puree and it turned out the kid didn’t want to be spoon-fed. Go figure. So I put on my thinking cap and came up with this fun finger food.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato, washed and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (use more if you have an adventuresome eater)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (use more if you want the curry flavour to really shine)
  • 1 can unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I like Eden Organic; their can linings are PBA-free)
  • Approx. 1 cup your choice of: unsalted whole wheat breadcrumbs, ground oatmeal or baby cereal. I use whatever I have handy

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Steam sweet potato rounds until they pierce easily with a fork. Let cool then slip skins off. Conserve water from steaming.
  3. While sweet potato is steaming, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, carrots, ginger and garlic with curry powder. Remove from heat once mixture is soft and onions are translucent.
  4. Add chickpeas, sweet potato and onion mixture to food processor. Process until the mixture looks like a thick hummus — you may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. If the mixture is too thick to puree, add sweet potato water, a few tablespoons at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
  5. Transfer puree to a mixing bowl and start by adding a ½ cup breadcrumbs, ground oatmeal or baby cereal. Stir to combine – you want the texture to allow you to form the mixture into 1 inch-long ‘fingers’. Add more crumbs/oats/cereal, a little at a time, until you reach the desired consistency — it all depends on the thickness of your puree.
  6. With your hands, roll mixture into 1 inch-long ‘fingers’. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheets and bake in oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until the tops of the fingers turn a light golden brown.
  7. Let cool then serve!

 

These little numbers have a lot going for them. They’re high in protein, fiber, iron and vitamin A. I like to serve them with steamed broccoli for a boost of vitamin C. If you make them with breadcrumbs and up the spices, they’re something the whole family can enjoy.

These guys freeze super well and are great for lunch, dinner or snacking.

Creamy Cucumber Salad with Garden Herbs

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Paige LOVES cucumbers and this shredded cuke salad is perfect for those among us with few teeth! It’s also super speedy to put together so mom loves it too.

Recipe makes enough for baby plus 2 side-salad portions for mom and dad.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped chives
  • 3 heaping tablespoons full-fat Greek yogourt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste

 

Preparation

  1. Coarsely shred the cucumber using the larger sized holes of a cheese grater. Allow shredded cucumber to sit in a colander while you chop the fresh herbs.
  2. Whisk together herbs, yogourt, olive oil and apple cider vinegar in a medium-sized bowl. Press shredded cucumber into bottom of colander to remove any excess liquid. Add cucumber to dressing and toss to combine. Add fresh cracked pepper to taste.

 

While salt isn’t recommended for children under 1, it sure is tasty for the rest of the family. Just set baby’s portion aside and salt the rest to taste.

Cucumber isn’t exactly nutrient dense but this recipe does have some nutritional value. Greek yogourt is high in protein and you’ll also get some vitamin B-12 out of the deal. Plus, it’s oh-so-refreshing.

Royal Blue(berry) Quinoa Porridge

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A round of applause form our official taste-tester.

A round of applause form our official taste-tester.

Admittedly the bright purple hue of this porridge is a little off-putting to most adults but WOW, is it ever a sensory explosion for little kids! The bubbly quinoa texture is delightful for tiny fingers and mouths and the fresh blueberries add a pop of colour and juicy flavour.

This morning cereal is a welcome departure from our everyday oatmeal but it also takes more time to make. Save this guy for the weekends or those mornings when junior gets up at the crack of dawn.

Makes 2 adult-sized and 1 pint-sized portion.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup royal quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon each, ground cinnamon and cardamom
  • 4 handfuls fresh blueberries
  • 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite fruit puree to sweeten (I used prune. Genuine maple syrup also does the trick)

 

Preparation

  1. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer, add ground flax seed and spices
  3. Once mixture begins to thicken (after about 5 minutes), add blueberries and fruit puree (or other natural sweetener)
  4. Continue to cook on low heat for another 10-15 minutes or until mixture holds together nicely. Remove from heat and serve.

 

This hearty breakfast cereal is like health in a bowl. With quinoa as a main ingredient it’s packed with protein, iron and healthy B vitamins. Blueberries provide a healthy dose of vitamin C (which helps with iron absorption) and the ground flax seed is rich in fiber and Omega-3s.

Oatmeal & Banana Molasses Cookies

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We’re on the go so I’m always in need of nutritious snack foods to keep hunger pangs at bay. Since these guys are chock-full of whole grains, fruit, and iron-rich blackstrap molasses, I’ll throw a couple in my day bag when Paige and I are out running errands. They’re a more nutritious alternative to store-bought baby biscuits. Plus, the whole family likes to nosh on them.

Ingredients

    • 2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
    • 2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • scant ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
    • 1 overripe banana, mashed
    • ½ cup coconut oil
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 4 tablespoons black strap molasses
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ½ tsp each: ground cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg
    • ½ cup chopped pitted prunes (optional)

 

Preparation

      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
      2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.
      3. In another large bowl, beat the eggs then mix in mashed banana, coconut oil, molasses and vanilla.
      4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir until evenly combined. Fold in chopped prunes. Roll the dough into small balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
      5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely.

 

These guys freeze super well. You can remove them from the freezer 30 minutes in advance to serve at room temperature, or serve them directly out of the freezer as a treat for tiny teethers.