Red lentils puree

Lentils are definitely a “ohh, yes” ingredient for babies for several reasons: they are loaded with proteins. If your baby is not yet into meat, lentils are a wonderful vegetarian solution to give proteins to your little one. They are very very rich in iron. Iron is essential for your baby to keep blood and brain cells working. By the age of 6 months the natural storage of iron in your baby’s body (the one you gave him at birth) will significantly be reduced and that’s when you will need to increase it through food. In addition to that lentils are very creamy (babies love it!) and easy to cook (moms love it!).

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Why red lentils and not other varieties? They cook faster and they almost dissolve once cooked in a smooth cream + they tend to cause less gas as other lentils.

When to introduce in your baby’s diet lentils? At around 8 months. As they are very rich in proteins and fiber they might be difficult to digest for a 6 months baby.

Let’s start with the fun part: this is all you will need for 4/6 baby meals

red lentil puree ingred

Procedure:

Prepare the veggies. Peel the carrots and chop them in small pieces, slice the half onion in small thin slices.

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Add the carrots and the onion in a medium size sauce pan. Add the garlic clove and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. If you want to prepare a good homemade vegetable broth click here.

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Turn the heat on at medium and cook the veggies for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. You want the vegetables to get tender and half cooked.

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Add the red lentils, the remaining vegetable broth, the fresh tomatoes chopped and the tomato paste.

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Stir and wait up until the soup is bubbling. That’s when you will need to reduce the heat at minimum and let the soup cook for 20/25 minutes, not covered and stirring occasionally.

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Basically you want the soup to cook and absorb the broth.

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Turn the heat off and add the basil leaves.

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Why I particularly love this recipe? Because it can be a lovely meal for the rest of the family too. At this point, once the lentils are cooked, you can remove the portion that you want to transform in a baby puree and add some salt + oil of olive + parmesan cheese grated to the rest of the soup. The adult lentils soup is ready!

For the baby puree keep going using an immersion blender as I did or placing the lentils soup in a regular blender. Mix everything up until you will reach a smooth and creamy consistency.

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Add the parmesan cheese grated, the Extra Virgin oil of olive, stir and enjoy!!!

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You can store the baby food in small containers and refrigerate them in the fridge for 3 days or freeze them for 4 months. My little Alex really enjoyed the puree!!

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posted on September 24, 2014

Cannellini beans, zucchini and feta muffins

When it comes to picky eaters I have quite an experience ;-) My little adorable Luca is going through a phase of “I do not want meat, mommy!” and not even the beloved Italian meatballs with tomato sauce will appeal him. Meat equals proteins and if he doesn’t want to eat meat I have to find another way to offer him proteins. That’s when my creativity comes to help.

The cannellini beans and zucchini muffins with feta cheese have been a surprisingly appreciated substitution for a meat meal. Kid happy + mommy happy! It’s vegetarian and gluten free at the same time!

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They are tasty thanks to the feta cheese, soft and creamy thanks to the cannellini beans and moisten thanks to the zucchini. In addition to that between the eggs and the beans they are loaded with proteins!!

That’s all you will need for 12 muffins:

cannellini muffin ingred

PROCEDURE:

– Wash the zucchini, cut the edges and grate them in small flakes with an hand grater or with an electric one.

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Place the zucchini in a colander to naturally drain their liquid. Adjust with a pinch of salt on top: it will help the zucchini to loose their water. Set it apart for 30 min.

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Meanwhile place the chopped half onion and the garlic clove in a blender and blend everything for 30 sec. Try to reduce the onion in very small pieces, the smaller, the better.

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Add the cannellini beans previously removed from the can and washed under running water. Blend everything in order to obtain a nice creamy mix.

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Take a medium size bowl and add the cannellini beans mix and the eggs. Stir.

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Slowly add the rice flour and mix in order not to form grains

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Add the parmesan and stir

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Add the feta cheese and the zucchini. If the zucchini look still kind of watery to you, drain some extra water with your hands and add the zucchini to the mix. Stir everything.

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Using a silicon cupcake mold, place two generous tablespoons of mix in each hole and fill it. As the muffins do not have any baking powder inside they will not raise a lot. Bake the muffins in the pre-heated oven at 350 F. for 45 minutes. Let them cool down and enjoy! I think that they are best if served warm.

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Enjoy!

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posted on September 19, 2014

Apple cake – gluten free

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When it comes to apple cakes my mind goes back to my childhood when my mom used to prepare an amazing apple cake: soft, high and beautifully golden. As I love to try new options and recipes, I decided that I wanted to have the same fluffy and soft cake that my mom prepared, but…gluten free. With few modifications here and there I’m happy to share with you my gluten free apple cake. The kids loved it and I really hope you are going to love it too!!

This is all you will need for a regular size (6/8 portions) cake:

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Are you ready? Let’s start together:

– Take one apple (I chose Fuji ones) and peel it. Slice the apple in very thin slices.

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– Place the apple slices in a bowl and squeeze the lemon juice on top. Toss with your hands the apple slices so that the lemon juice will cover evenly all the slices. Set it apart.

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– In a kitchen mixer add the butter cut in small cubes (the butter should be soft, room temperature) and the sugar. Let the mixer work for 2 minutes at low speed in order to create a nice cream.

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– While the mixer is working divide the egg yolks from the whites.

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– Place the eggs white in a medium size bowl, add a pinch of salt and with an electric whisk beat the eggs white untill stiff and dry. Like this:

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– Go back to the mixer. The butter + sugar should be nice and creamy. Add the egg yolks, the yogurt and the vanilla extract. Let it work for 1 minute.

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– Add the baking powder to the rice flour and slowly add the dry mix in the mixer, one teaspoon at the time.

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– You will obtain a thick and smooth dough

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– Slowly add the stiff egg whites to the mix with a spatula or a spoon, not with the mixer or you will lose the fluffy effect. The thick dough will transform into a fluffy cream.

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– Add the apple slices and gently mix.

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– Transfer the mix in a springform cake pan. If the pan is in silicon you do not need to grease it. If it is a standard metal/aluminum pan you might want to grease it with some baking spray or butter.

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– Final decoration: slice the remaining apple in thin slices, leave the peel (it’s more beautiful!!) and decorate the surface of the cake with the apple slices.

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– Bake the apple cake in the pre-heated oven at 400 F. for 45 minutes. Let it cool down for 5 minutes and enjoy!!!

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posted on September 11, 2014


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