How to Save 40 Minutes With a Steamer Blender

Using a steamer blender can save you time (up to 40 minutes) but do you really need one or is it all about keeping up with the joneses?

We actually bought one and here’s our conclusion. It is a convenient appliance to have but it is not something you absolutely can’t do without. Thus, if you are on a budget, there is no need to worry over this. However, if money is not an issue, a steamer blender does add variety to the food stuffs you can prepare and saves you quite a fair bit of time as well. For busy parents, this will be a handy addition to your kitchen.

I will go through the basics of baby feeding and then bring in the steamer blender at a later point, so that you can understand what you can do with it, and how it can save you up to 40 minutes per day.

Baby Diet 101

When should Babies start Weaning?

The first six months of your baby’s diet is going to be either breast milk or formula. Some babies seem to develop quickly and we have parents weaning their babies from the 4th month. Most professional advice points to the 6th month as the ideal time for weaning.

For us, we started somewhere in the 5th month.

The Start of Weaning – What do Babies Eat?

The start of weaning can pose a BIG question mark to new parents. Every baby is different and what seems to work very well for one may not have the same positive result for another.

To help you, we have some free baby recipes (purée) on this site and these are tried and tested by us (our baby!), so do give it a try and don’t be too worried. Feel free to experiment a bit and adjust according to your baby’s palate. A purée is simply cut fruits or vegetables mixed and blended into a mush that makes it easy for your baby to swallow and digest.

Mainly, it involves blending cut fruits with milk or water into a purée. The process is simple, takes less than 5 minutes and you just need a basic blender that is about 500 ml or even less in capacity. It is for baby food, so you don’t really need a big one. 1 litre is an overkill to me, unless you want to prepare more in advance.

The purée is usually the first phase of weaning and probably lasts for 2 months. Once your baby gets older (7-8 months onwards), it is advisable to introduce them to other solid foods such as congee, leafy vegetables, carrots, fish. Blended of course!

Boiling versus Steaming

However, the thing with congee, vegetables, carrots, fish (our baby loves salmon) is that you can’t just blend them straight out of their packaging.

You got to boil rice to get congee and this is a process that takes anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes.

Vegetables, carrots and fish have to be boiled in water before they can be eaten. Especially for carrots, since in its natural state, it is hard and you can’t blend it into fine mush. You would be lucky if the blades did not snap.

The alternative to boiling is steaming and this is best achieved using a steamer blender that retains the vitamins of the foods and also save you time.

What is a Steamer Blender?

A steamer blender is basically a steamer and a blender mixed into one appliance. Sorry for the boring description but this is exactly what it is.

The steamer is a common kitchen appliance, especially for the health conscious who wants their food to retain the nutrients instead of being destroyed by boiling.

In fact, there is quite a market for steamer and most steamers these days come with multiple layers so that you can steam different layers/varieties of food at one go which is really an efficient use of electricity and time. Tefal is a good brand if you are looking for one. However, it is too big for baby food where the quantity is usually much lesser.

Steamed Food: The Benefits

There are many benefits associated with steamed food.

At the very forefront is the fact that steamed food preserves the vitamins and nutrients of the foods. Boiling or microwaving will destroy part of the nutritional value of the foods and according to research, veggies that are boiled or microwaved lose their cancer-fighting properties. Ouch!

Steaming cooks faster than boiling. Surprising yea? I thought so until my memory was jolted by that long forgotten physics lesson that steam contains more heat than boiling water because of its latent heat of vaporisation. Alright, I’m not going further than this but Google it for details if you want to refresh your memory on this.

No oil is required and this is always a healthier option.

Steamed food does not alter in appearance. This is a lesser factor for me personally as I don’t really worry how my food look as long as the nutritional value is intact.

Steamed foods are more easily digestible. This is a plus for babies as their digestive systems are still young.

With steaming, less kitchen utensils are required, saving you time on the aftermath cleaning. Busy parents will appreciate this and that means every parent.

As opposed to rumors that steaming removes the taste from the foods, steamed foods do retain their taste and textures turn out just as good, if not better. I know this because I always make it a point to try a mouthful before feeding it to baby.

Unboxing of a Steamer Blender

For this unboxing, I am just going to show the steamer blender we are using right now for our baby. It is from Tommee Tippee and you can find details of this product from Amazon.

The package came with 2 small food containers and a stirrer which is used to mix the blended food.

Then, we have the steamer blender itself which comes with a 500 ml steaming/blending container. We have never filled it to the brim with food but if you do, 500 ml is enough for a few days. You would need more food containers to keep them refrigerated. So far, we have never gone beyond 2 days. In other words, whatever food that is prepared has to be consumed no later by the following day. We think this is healthier.

Using the Steamer Blender

To use the steamer blender, just pour 450 ml of water into the water container on the top left hand side. This water will be used for steaming the food.

No idea how much is 450 ml? No problem, just pour sufficient water into it. You will be able to see the water level and as long as it is not too low or overflowing, that is fine.

Next, cut the foods into smaller pieces and put them into the steaming/blending container.

Yes, you can use it as a blender and start blending right away. For fruits which are generally soft, there is no problem but if you are preparing carrots, you definitely want to steam first to soften them before blending it.

Tip: Make sure you put the steaming/blending container in the right direction (with handle pointing towards you). You can actually put it in the opposite direction and if so, it won’t work and will produce a beeping sound when you try to operate it. The other thing is to ensure you lock the container in place by turning the dial to lock position. If you forget this step, it will not start too.

With the steaming/blending container in place, just set the function (either steam or blend or both) by pressing the steam or/and blend button and setting the time for each.

We suggest for steaming, you go with 7-8 minutes per session and do it again if you feel the food is not soft enough. The maximum time is 30 minutes per steaming session.

One thing we notice with steaming is that it randomly dispenses a lot of water into the container, making the steaming less efficient since foods that are submerged in the water do not experience the effects of steaming. That’s why we suggest 7-8 minutes per session. If there is too much water in the container, you can at least empty the water and run the next steaming session. So far, 2 sessions of 8 minutes work very well for us and we are using it to steam fish, beef, carrots, vegetables.

We have researched online and unfortunately no one seems to have a clue on why water is randomly dispensed into the container, submerging the foods. In fact, we returned the first steamer blender thinking that it was faulty but the replacement set has the same issue, so we conclude this is a flaw in the design. Other than that, the Tommee Tippee steamer blender works like a charm and really saves us precious time.

Rice to Congee 

We prepare congee for our baby and prior to the steamer blender, this is a process that will take anytime from 30 to 40 minutes to boil the rice until it becomes congee. During boiling, our feet are glued to the kitchen for fear that it will be over-cooked and charred, which actually happened before not once but twice.

Thus, it is quite an ordeal to prepare congee and we painstakingly take turns to do it for two months until we conclude that our time can be better used elsewhere. A food processor maybe? The decision was quick this time round.

So here’s the big revelation. It was mainly because of congee that we decided to get the steamer blender.

So, can it really steam rice until it becomes congee?

Yes it could but the end result cannot be compared to boiling which produces a nice gluely texture. As such, we have to say it didn’t really meet our expectation fully.

Do You Really Need a Steamer Blender?

It really depends on your needs. The steamer blender is a great time saver and while it did not achieve the congee effect we were looking for, it is helpful for steaming other combination of foodstuffs including fish, beef and especially carrots. Carrots are by nature quite hard and the conventional way is to boil them in water for a good 15-20 minutes before they soften. With a steamer blender, it takes roughly the same time (16 mins or two sessions of 8 minutes) and best of all, I don’t have to stand and watch over the boling pot.

So here’s the recommendation. Tommee Tippee is a great brand and we are using it on a daily basis. It operates very easily and maintenance is just as fuss-free. If you like, you can check out the latest price and availability on Amazon. We got ours’ on Amazon UK and believe it or not, it was 50% off the usual retail price. Perfect timing, I say.

Last but not least, are you worried about your kitchen real estate being taken up by another appliance? Here is a picture so that you can see how compact it is. That’s my 11 inch Macbook Air.

It’s Time To Give Your Baby A Boost

By the time babies reach 8 to 9 months, it is probably a good idea to give them a boost! I mean, booster seats. What are booster seats?

Booster seats are add-on seats to normal adult chairs so that your baby can sit on it and enjoy meals together with the family.

Advantages of Booster Seat

There are several advantages for using a booster seat instead of leaving your child in their cot at every meal time.

First, it is a time to bond. The baby is close to the parents and siblings and this helps him/her to feel connected. While there doesn’t seem to be any statistics supporting this, families that dine together turn out to be more closely knitted. The best time to start? As soon as they are able to sit upright on their own which is usually around the 7th month onwards.

Baby can learn how to eat on their own. Actually, this is just partly realistic. Our experience with our own baby and from observing that of others is that it is a wonderful time for babies to play with their food. Expect a full mess thereafter leaving poor mom or dad to clean up. But hey, that’s part of the joy of parenting! Nevertheless, this process of playing with food is part and parcel in learning how to handle food on their own eventually. No Mess No Gain!

Portable and hygienic setup for your baby. By getting your portable booster seat, you can bring it around when you visit a restaurant and your little one can take his/her own seat without concern over using the common baby high chair that cafes and restaurants provide.

Are There Any Cons?

In our opinion, a portable baby booster seat is a good investment.

Some may worry that the baby will outgrow the seat fairly quickly. While this is true, it is safe to assume it is suitable for use up to 2 years old.

It depends on how fast your baby is growing in height and width. Most babies within 2 years of age fit into the booster seat.

HOWEVER, you do have to select the RIGHT booster seat.

We actually visited our nearby department store to test out a few models. On Amazon, they all look great but it was a blessing that we tested them before making our final decision.

As it would turn out, one of the brands we were originally eyeing turned out to be rather fllmsy and a tight squeeze for our baby. Had we ordered directly from Amazon, we would be in for a rude shock and probably have to go through the hassle of returning it for a refund.

So here’s our recommendation after testing it thoroughly. We would recommend to any parents the Chicco Pocket Snack Booster Seat. I provide the link for Amazon and this is the exact same model we got for our baby. You have the option to choose other colours (green, lime, dark grey). We went for the Lime as my wife has a thing for things in lime colour and that was the end of the dilemma…

The Chicco Baby Booster Seat comes in a compact box, which we self collect from a nearby collection point.

Materials & Setup

Setting up the booster seat is fuss-free and won’t take you more than 2 mins. There are no screws to worry about and the main body is made up plastic that feels robust.

At the bottom are the x-wing support which comes with rubber stubs at the 4 corners. The rubber stubs provide excellent friction and grip, which ensure the booster seat does not slip around.

On top of that, there are 2 safety belts that help to fasten the booster seat to the chair, making it really secure.

The overall material is plastic and is great for cleaning because this is one product that your baby will mess up every time.

The tray in front provides a comfortable area for your baby to doodle on and to eat / play with her food. Depending on your baby’s size, the tray’s distance from the back rest can be adjusted to create the right fit.

That’s it for this review.

Hope you enjoy the read and if you have a question, please leave it in the comments below.

Staying Dry And Keeping Warm

If you live in a region where the weather is unpredictable, you may be fretting over whether to bring that rain cover for your baby stroller.

A stroller raincover is not heavy but when you are traveling with a baby, the logistics just add up and before you know it, your diaper bag is cramped full of “what if baby needs this” items.

We share why it is still a good idea to put that raincover as part of your baby travel essentials.

It All Started…

Stroller with rain cover attached
An All-Weather Solution

with our recent outdoor experience. We live in London and the weather forecast on that day says it will rain and indeed it rained but just briefly.

Thus, the moment we stepped out of the house, we were greeted by a sunny weather and a very nice breeze. Summer time in London is best if you want to come here for vacation.

Anyway, we reached our destination and to our surprise, it got very windy and temperature also dropped by a few degrees. We had our coats on and that was fine but poor baby was fidgeting in her stroller as the cold wind hit her smack in the face and body.

That’s Where The Rain Cover Comes In

It was a spark of inspiration but we decided to put on the rain cover and use it as wind shield (windbreaker effect) instead.

Immediately, our baby was enclosed in the warmth of the stroller and fell back to sleep. We carried on for the rest of the afternoon in that manner.

Since that incident, we have always kept the raincover attached to the stroller’s canopy and if it rains or gets windy, we latch it to the front of the stroller to keep our baby dry and warm.

 

 

A Dad’s Guide To Big Wheeled Strollers

My wife and I spend most of our time in concrete jungles, wheeling our little one around. Today, we want to discuss about baby strollers. It is our belief that getting the right stroller requires a thorough examination of your environment and needs as a family.

As a brief background, we have lived in Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and just recently, we relocated to UK.

Thus, we pride ourselves on being qualified parents-on-the-move. Seriously, we hope we don’t have to move that often but that’s for another blog sharing.

Though all of the above are high-buzz cities and weekends are thronged with people, navigating in each of them with our baby takes on a different experience. What works very well in Singapore and Hong Kong may not always be the ideal choice for our baby elsewhere.

Big Versus Compact: Which Is Better?

If you are living in cities such as Singapore or Hong Kong where the streets are super congested, a compact (yet sturdy) stroller is the thing to go for.

Even on weekdays, there is hardly space for our baby stroller to navigate around easily and if you are taking the tube (MTR), getting the stroller onto the train is a herculean task punctuated with many “Excuse me, I’m sorry” and awkward stares from commuters who wonder why you need to take the tube at that particular timing.

Our conclusion for this segment is straightforward. Any time you are in a congested city like Hong Kong (we find Hong Kong’s congestion to be a notch worser than Singapore), a compact stroller is much more convenient.

Nevertheless, we won’t sacrifice safety for convenience. In our opinion, two strollers stand out in this compact category. Read our reviews on BabySing iGo and Babyzen Yoyo+. Both are compact, lightweight yet do not cut any corners on comfort and safety.

We have been using them interchangably for Hong Kong and the Babyzen Yoyo+ is even compact enough to fit into a flight overhead storage though I would prefer (after numerous traveling experience) to check in my stroller.

Flights these days are often overloaded and it’s not surprising to find your carry on luggage squashed against other passengers’ luggage as everyone struggles to lug everything onboard.

In crowded cities, SMALL (Compact) is King!

Any Room Then…For Big Wheeled Stroller?

As the world we live in gets increasingly congested, it seems a natural choice to go for compact strollers.

However, as you walk into any baby stores, it is not surprising to see big wheeled strollers that remind me of bulldozers or heavy duty tractors.

I used to ponder over their necessity because in my mind, a baby even up to 2 years old is not a heavy load to transport around and those humongous wheels seem much like an overkill.

That was my thinking a month ago until I reach UK where the terrain is a good mix of smooth mall flooring and stone pavements. With mall, there is never an issue as all wheels (big or small) go well on it generally. However, it’s the stone pavements that are posing a challenge.

Talk About A Bumpy Ride!
No one likes a BUMPY ride, not even the cat!

This brings the big wheeled stroller into the picture.

With pavement such as these, smaller wheeled strollers bump around a lot more and sometimes even get…trapped

There is no doubt with normal sized wheels, one can still push the stroller around. Apart from the bumpier ride, there is also the occasional ‘trap’ as the smaller wheels get caught in the grooves between the stones or stuck in the rut while trying to surmount the curb.

This may not be an issue if you are moving along slow and easy in the suburb but if you are in the city centre especially trying to cross a stone-paved road, it is a risk I would rather not take.

With a big wheeled stroller, such problems are avoided. Be it 3-wheel or 4-wheel, bigger wheels translate into a smoother ride as the wheels roll over grooves easily and also mount the curbs with little resistance, very much similar to what a Jeep Wrangler does to rough steep terrain.

3 or 4 Wheels?

This depends on your need. Are you the type who would enjoy going for a jog with your little one? If so, the 3-wheel drive is the perfect match.

Personally, I prefer the 3-wheel stroller as it gives a more streamlined effect and easier to manoeuvre when compared to the 4-wheel stroller.

However, this is really dependent on the make of the stroller. I can’t say all 4-wheel stroller are harder to manoeuvre. This would be too much of a sweeping statement to make!

Type Of Wheels To Look For

You can’t customise this but it is good to know what are the different types of wheels out there.

By types, we are referring to the make/material of the wheels. This is important because similar to a car, the wheels determine factors such as comfort, maintenance and also durability.

There are 4 major types of wheels.

The Eva wheel is made of a material that is maintenance free. By maintenance free, we refer to the fact that you don’t have to do anything (such as inflating air) to keep the wheel going. It works best for smooth terrain such as malls and city streets.

Then, we have the Aerotech and Aeromaxx. Both offer the comfort of air-filled tyres (with some form of shock absorption) without the need for maintenance either.

At the pinnacle of comfort, we have the air-filled tyres. These are rubber tyres that are air-filled and they offer the BEST cushioning for any bumpy shocks. The flip side is that they have to be maintained by inflating air and keeping the pressure at the optimal level.

3-wheels stroller with air-filled tyres for the best riding comfort

Conclusion

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself prior to making this important purchase:

  • What kind of terrain am I going to use the stroller for (most of the time)
  • How is the environment like (in terms of traffic, congestion problems etc.)
  • Are you fitness-oriented and plan to bring your little one together for jogs
  • How much storage space would you need. Different strollers come with different storage capacities
  • Do you plan to take public transport often?
  • What is your budget

We have been talking about wheel size. The size of wheels is directly correlated to the overall size of the stroller. As such, you want to make sure you get a stroller that can fit onto the type of public transport you normally take.

While most trains and subways do not have any issue for a stroller to board it, buses may be more challenging due to the limited parking bay for strollers. Too big a stroller may hamper your manoeuvrability.

Whether it is a big or compact stroller, you need to analyse your needs and get the type that fits your environment and lifestyle.

And yes, this is an important purchase and worth every investment because you really will use it a lot.

 

We’re Not Into Toys But I Want to Introduce Sophie (la Girafe!)

Pin me if you like Sophie la Girafe!

When we have our first baby, I was firmly determined that I would not invest in buying any toys for her.

Not that my heart is made of stone nor that I was trying to stinge. We love her and we just didn’t feel toys contribute that much to a child’s development but just try telling this to Mattel, Hasbro or Bandai. 🙂

Toys are important for a child's development

In any case, in the months that follow, we stuck to our resolution and didn’t invest in any toys. A few close friends noticed our baby’s pouting face and weakened by that, proceeded to gift us with more toys than we can imagine.

The toys are all stacked nicely in one cupboard and occasionally we pick a few pieces for our baby to play with.

The Concept of Toys

And here’s our discovery about toys and probably what it meant to a child’s development.

There is no need to over indulge in toys. Yet toys play an important role for a child’s development especially when they are very young and cannot express with words.

Try putting a toy in your baby’s reach and you notice it’s not just the brightening up of her tiny face as she giggles and grabs it. In the next few minutes, watch and observe as your baby fiddles with the newly discovered object.

Toy or not, it’s not important to the child. What’s interesting to them is the new experience.

At formative years (0-3 years old), they are naturally curious about things and will absorb like a sponge.

I have given our baby different types of toys from soft toys to picture books. We noted her response to them and interestingly, she would play with it using her chubby fingers, turn it around and around. And until she’s fully satisfied she has ‘explored’ it fully, then will she turn her attention to something else.

Our conclusion of the matter is that toys matter to a child’s development NOT because they know it’s a toy. The term holds little relevance to the young one.

To them, it is about experimenting and learning a new thing and such is the beauty of life which we should all cherish – the curiosity to learn.

Toys fulfil this particular need for children well because they are often designed with their safety in mind. You can give your child a cup and she would be happy as well but we fear she breaks the cup and cuts herself. Hence TOYS are born.

And yes, before I forget. The gist of this post is to share about Sophie.

Who’s Sophie?

Well, a picture tells a thousand words. Here is a picture of Sophie.

Size of Sophie la Girafe relative to an A4 sized IKEA Magazine
Sophie is about 60% of an A4 Magazine’s length

I am sure for parents, Sophie la Girafe is not unfamiliar.

You have seen her in the baby section of department stores. Soft and made of rubber safe for baby use, it’s an immediate favorite with parents and babies.

We got this as a gift from our relatives and after watching our baby play with it for a couple of days, we can say this is a very well designed product (toy) and is absolutely safe choice if you want to get it for your child or gift somebody.

What Sophie la Girafe can do:

  • It can squeak! (Make some noise to attract baby’s attention) Over time, your baby will learn how to squeeze it to produce the squeaking sound. Our baby bursts into joyful laughter the first time she successfully did this!
  • Made of safe rubber, it is a great stand-in for teething period (around 8-10 months of age) and can soothe the sore gums
  • Easy to grab and handle by baby, no sharp edges that might hurt your baby’s delicate skin (Our baby steps on Sophie…oops…from time to time as she crawls around the playpen)

As mentioned, we are not into toys for our baby and though we have relented a bit in this category, we are selectively cautious with the choice of toys.

Sophie la Girafe is one of the toys that comes with great functionalities and most importantly, safe for baby use. If you are pondering what to get for your baby, we recommend it.

There are counterfeits online. To be safe, here’s a link to the original product on Amazon. You can get yours’ with FREE Delivery from Amazon, depending on your location.

 

Baby Food Recipe For A Smooth Bowel Movement – Blueberry Smoothie

There are different fruit smoothie you can let your baby try.

Banana is always a hot favorite with most children. I guess it has to do with its taste. It’s sweet and believe it or not, children learn to love sweet things from a young age if you allow them to try.

However, with fruits like avocado and banana, there is a tendency for the poo to come out in thicker paste-like texture.

Watching our baby grunt as she tries to move her bowel, we didn’t think she was enjoying it too much.

The first remedy is to blend the banana or avocado smoothie using more water or milk. This will create a more liquid smoothie and does help in bowel movement. The poo is more liquid and less paste-like.

The second way is hydrate. Try feeding your baby water in between meals. This also helps to keep the bowel movement smoother.

The third method has to do with changing the fruit smoothie. There is no need to chuck banana or avocado out of the window but you may want to experiment and do a bit of mix and match using other fruits.

Our recommendation is blueberry.

Using blueberry and milk, we concocted a simple blueberry smoothie that has proven to be very effective for digestion and easy bowel movement.

In fact, our baby was all smiles when she was pooing and did not have to grunt her way through.

Simple Blueberry Smoothie Recipe

  • Wash and put into the blender around 15-20 blueberries
  • Add milk (40 ml)
  • Blend it for 1 minute

Depending on how liquid you want the mix to be, adjust the number of blueberries or milk accordingly. There is no hard and fast rule on this.

Here’s a sample of how it looks like (Before and After Blending)

Oh, I forgot to mention we added brown rice cereal as well. That’s the creamy powder you see in the picture above. Not mandatory but we think it helps to make the mix even more nutritious.

The blueberry smoothie is a great addition to your baby food variety if you have not tried.

We ‘tested’ it on our baby and the result is delightful. Well, some babies may not like them especially if the blueberries tilt towards the soury end.

The issue is that we can’t tell if the blueberries are sweet or sour until we have tried them. In most cases, it is usually a mixed bag.

The whole thing is very cost efficient. We get our blueberries from a nearby mall and they sometimes go as cheap as 3 bowls for just £1!

What’s your experience with blueberry for babies? We like to hear from you and if you find this article helpful, we appreciate you show us some love by sharing it!

 

 

Avocados For Your Baby. Make Sure To Have Your Camera Ready

Avocados are one of the best fruits for your baby once they turn 8 months old. Well, that’s what most websites say. We gave it to our baby when she’s 7 months but again, it is not a race against time or who can eat avocados earlier. In our earlier blog post, we spoke about solid foods.

When Is The Best Time To Give Solid Foods To Your Baby?

Most suggest 6 months but a walk to your nearest super mart indicates most baby-friendly cereals are for 4m+ and above. In other words, 4 months old is the general guideline.

Our advice is to observe your baby’s reaction to solid foods. Do they take it well or try to spit out everytime you try? If it’s the latter, you want to hold off for a while longer. Maybe they are not ready yet. The other thing to note is their poo. After taking solid foods, expect more poo than the usual.

Unless you are feeding very SOLID foods (meaning highly concentrated with little water / milk in it), the poo should still be rather liquid in nature instead of coming out in solid clumps. That occurs when baby is really taking in solid foodstuffs like the way adults do.

Why Is Avocado Great?

First of all, avocado is a fruit and very nutritious. They are high in potassium, fiber and comes with a generous dose of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which are excellent for heart health and protection against chronic diseases. Start with a bit of avocado. The first time we used up a whole avocado split into 2 feeding sessions and it was a bit too much.

I would suggest half a avocado. Mash (Blend) it up with milk and brown rice cereals. Serve half of it and keep the remainder in a container and place it in the refrigerator for later consumption.

Step 1: Cut the avocado into halves
Step 1: Cut the avocado into halves

 

Step 2: Blend it using a mixture of ingredients comprising of the cut avocado slices, milk and brown rice cereals
Step 2: Blend it using a mixture of ingredients comprising of the cut avocado slices, milk and brown rice cereals

 

Step 3: The Blended Avocado Mix
Step 3: The Blended Avocado Mix

 

Step 4: Separate the avocado into 2 food containers for separate feeding sessions.
Step 4: Separate the avocado into 2 food containers for separate feeding sessions.

 

Why The Camera?

The first time our baby tried avocado (or any other foods) is classic. We regretted not having our phone camera ready for that priceless moment.

Let’s just say it is an expression of newfound delight mixed with genuine shock. We burst out laughing and missed the photoshoot moment. Essentially, anything new for your baby might be greeted with the same or more extreme facial expression. So far, we have tried fruits such as banana, apple, avocado, grapes. Banana is her favorite and the aftermath is a healthy dose of poo.

We think it is a good idea to prepare banana puree once a week for a perfect detox with all that poo that comes out.

Anyway, keep your phone camera or Nikon ready for those precious moments of fun!

Letting your baby try out different foods is a rewarding effort for training them to become natural foodies (and not the dreaded picky eaters!) While 4m+ is a general guideline, we think it is prudent to use that as reference and always check against your baby’s reactions. Are they enjoying it, spitting it out and if they are taking it in well, does it affect their digestion (and poo)?

Preparing Apple Mush for your Baby (This takes less than 3 mins!)

Apart from milk, it’s good to expose your baby to different foods. This can be done from 4m+.

To start you off, this is a quick recipe for preparing apple mush for your baby.

It’s really simple but there are some things to take note.

  • Cut the apple and make sure its skin is shaved off. Try to use a ceramic knife as a steel/metal knife causes browning of the cut fruits faster! (There is no way to prevent browning. With a ceramic knife, it merely slows it down but you want to do that if you can.)
  • Depending on your baby’s appetite, decide on the amount of apple to use. We use 1/4 of an apple.
  • Cut that apple slices into smaller pieces so that it can blend quickly. This is important because if the apple takes too long to blend, it will cause it to oxidise. Oxidise = turning dark yellowish. Taste may remain unchanged but it may not be good for baby
  • Add a bit of water (10ml or so)
  • Add brown rice cereals (2-3 tablespoons)
  • Blend and serve immediately

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For quick reference, these are the product(s) mentioned in this article:

Parenting Tip Ep 15: Bring home the Michelin restaurant and not have to worry about baby logistics

After the birth of our baby, we hardly go out for meals. In fact, the first 2 months were really a period of confinement. Physically I was recovered and ready for buffet. My confinement helper has a different take on that but anyways…I didn’t go out much and if I did, it was for casual strolls around my apartment.

I missed the pre-baby days. As one friend would candidly put it, “How I wish I can stuff the baby back into my tummy!”

My husband didn’t get it and to add to it, he wasn’t a foodie either. Thus, he is getting along fine munching on the same food day in day out.

As for me, I was going a bit crazy and thoughts of food keep dropping in. Just to set the record straight, I enjoy food but not someone who goes food-hunting. BUT TWO WHOLE MONTHS is just way too much. I feel like a prisoner of baby.

It is a challenge to go anywhere as baby has to be fed once in every 2 hours…3 hours is max interval and we tried not to test that limit too often. We drove but it doesn’t help. Just getting baby in and out and down to the nearest cafe/restaurant to and fro is already an hour plus. Furthermore, many restaurants which we used to frequent are popular and crowded. Long story short, not easy to find an eatery which caters to baby strollers…for better understanding, we were living in Hong Kong then.

The Secret Recipe from my brother…

I love cooking but for a family of two (now three), it was difficult to whip up something elaborate just for a meal. Thus, we often take our meals outside.

Then my brother shows me his secret recipe and cooking skills using a slow cooker and an auto spin halogen cooking pot.

The output is delicious lamb shank that tastes as good (if not better) than what’s sold at the restaurants. I dare say the recent meal we had easily rivals the best out there and probably for half the price…though there is quite a bit of washing up to do. My husband is good at washing, so…it’s not an issue 🙂

First, let me show the final product.

These taste really good! Michelin level I say!

I have to give credit to my brother for showing us how he did it. He prepared it in one afternoon. Actual time is 90 mins for slow cooking and another 30 mins or so for the final touch using the auto spin halogen cooking pot.

I am going to walk you through the steps so that you can also prepare your home-cooked Michelin dishes. Suitable for everyone and especially so for the confined parents.

Step 1: Put the lamb shank (or other meat) into the vacuum zipped bags

For this recipe, we cooked lamb shank but you can experiment with other meats. The first step is to put the meat into the vacuum zipped bag.

I hear you asking. Why don’t you put it into the water?

Two reasons. First, the slow cooker can become really oily if you put it in the same container of water. Second and more importantly, if the lamb shank is slow cooked while it is immersed in water, it will lose part of its flavour to the water. The idea of the vacuum bag is to keep the taste and nutrients intact within the meat. (i.e. it is not lost to the water)

The zipped bags come with an air valve at the corner. The purpose is for you to vacuum out the air from within after putting in the meat. This helps to keep the meat in close contact with the heated water, allowing it to be cooked. Otherwise, it may be really slow…

Vacuum Bags for the Lamb Shank
You need two vacuum bags with a mini vacuum to extract the air from within

Step 2: Slow cook for 90 mins

Depending on meat type, you want to slow cook it for around an hour at least. We did 90 mins for our lamb shank and it turned out…perfectly!

There is nothing you need to do while it is being slow-cooked. Just leave the zipped bag (with lamb shank) inside the pot and the precision (slow) cooker will do the trick.

ANOVA Slow Cooker
The ANOVA precision cooker in action. The red pot is sold separately, you can use any pot

Step 3: Bring on the Auto-spin Halogen Cooking Pot (Optional)

The purpose of the auto-spin halogen cooking pot (what a mouthful of words!) is to give the lamb shank a bit of crispyness to it. It creates the barbecue effect but in a healthy way as heat is evenly spread over the entire chunk of meat (wrapped in aluminimum foil). There is no charring on the meat, so you get your barbecue fix without causing greater burden to your health.

Auto-spin Halogen Cooking Pot
This is a cool appliance, it auto-spins and gives off light. From a certain angle, it looks like a spaceship from Star Wars

I listed this step as optional as you can still enjoy your lamb shank or other meat without it but imagine eating a bag of french fries without chilli or ketchup. Enjoyable but not epic, as they say. With the auto-spin halogen cooking pot, it provides the finishing Michelin touch.

Try it, I guarantee you will love it!

The above recipe works well for most kinds of meat. Lamb shank is our all-time favorite but you can experiment with different meats.

Oh, there’s one more thing. The sauce.

My brother concocted the sauce using a combination of herbs (basil), garlic and olive oil. Mix these ingredients together and cook them in a frying pan for a few minutes. After that, use this sauce to go over the meat before you put it into the vacuum bags. I am jumping around a bit but I forgot to mention that prior to applying this sauce, the meat should be marinated with Mustard. We use the Traditional Dijon Mustard which you can purchase conveniently from any super marts.

This can be bought easily from any department store

 

The Sauce
The secret is actually…in the sauce!!!

I think I covered everything for this simple to execute recipe. If my husband can do it, so can you. LOL

Let me know if you have any questions about the equipment or steps in my recipe. For quick reference, I am listing out the appliances, items mentioned in this article so that you can find them easily.

…I cannot communicate taste with words but the lamb shank really turned out very well. We attacked it with vigour and within minutes, the whole plate was gone. Our baby looks on from her crib…wondering when she can join in.

Happy Cooking, Happy Family Time minus all the headache of baby logistics!

Products mentioned in this article