time flies when you're being a mum

Time to Eat tagged with 'being Annabel Karmel'

Fun with food and the occasional healthy recipe for baby and mum

14 Mar, 2013

Right. It’s 2 weeks since I started project ‘being Annabel Karmel’ now I’m weaning a baby and I’m actually loving it. I have been really busy making baby food (while working out and on the odd occasion cleaning, of course!) and taking loads of photos, but I’ve got so much to say on the matter that I’ve managed to get bloggers block! I don’t know where to start.

Weaning a baby – being Annabel Karmel

As a recap, here are the rules:

  1. I will make all the recipes that are suitable for Reuben’s age and stage
  2. we will follow the suggested guide menus for Reuben’s stage
  3. I still have to do all the other things I normally do – if this is to be a true test of the practicality of being Annabel Karmel, I can’t go on strike and only make baby food. AK wouldn’t.
  4. at any signs of a tantrum (mine) I must count to 10 and think ‘what would AK do?’ I imagine the inevitable answer will be to smile and make baby food (then clean the house, do the washing and work out).
I’ve discovered I’m terrible at following instructions – even on the first evening I found myself making baked sweet potato and butternut squash (which I then left in the oven too long and only remembered when I heard it exploding – it still tasted LUSH though), when I was meant to be doing courgette. I’ve since given myself a talking to – no more willy nilly cooking without checking the bible.

weaning a baby

exploding butternut squash and baked sweet potato – looks burnt but amazingly isn’t. Lucky old Reuben

I thought I would have one major cooking session and freeze it all up but I haven’t been able bring myself to do it. [Everyday since Valentines I’ve planned to have a bath with the gorgeous ‘bath milk’ from Molton Brown Mike gave me; however, once we’ve had baby bedtime and we’ve eaten, I just can’t be bothered, so I sure as hell won’t be doing any cooking into the wee hours (aka past 8pm)!] What I’ve found though is Annabel Karmel’s recipes are thankfully incredibly easy to do as you go along…

There were a few mornings to begin with when I had a tantrum brewing – “I can’t be bothered to blanch a peach. Why cook?! There’s banana’s in the fruit bowl and sweet potato in the freezer…” – but thank goodness for rule 4, it sorted me right out. As it should because cutting up a parsnip then steaming it for a few minutes literally couldn’t be easier. So, no more tantrums I’m weaning a baby here!

weaning a baby

Parsnip ice cubes and a portion for lunch – I’m finding new uses for the store N feed Nuby breast milk containers!

What I would say is I haven’t been able to actually follow rule 2 yet. This is because despite being half way through this project we’re still working through the ‘fruit and vegetables after first tastes accepted’ recipes! I could have this wrong but he’s meant to try and accept everything before we start mixing it all up together.

Who knew there were so many different fruit and veg?! OK everyone. But when you’re weaning a baby and you break it down like this it seems endless. So before we can get on to the exciting stuff (although I have to admit we have cheated a bit and made home made baby veg stock and then used it in a vegetable medley – which was aMAZing) we’re working our way through all the individual tastes from parsnips to pepper to peaches to plums making sure he will accept them too.

weaning a baby

I ate the puree but what the hell is this? Er…a green bean

These are the tastes/recipes we’ve done since I last posted: avocado (yes-ish), pear (hmm), pear and apple (yes), potato (ok), peas (no), peas and carrot (ok), apple and cinnamon (YES), parsnip (hmm), courgette (yes), cauliflower (hmm), broccoli (yes), plum (yes), peach (yes), peach and banana (yes), peach and strawberries (yes), green beans (yes), mango (hmm), mango and banana (YES), strawberry and banana (YES), red pepper (yes but messy!).

weaning a baby

Is there something on my face?

Tastes to try: cantaloupe melon, dried apricot, peach or prune (I don’t have or intend to buy a mouli…but then I thought AK would though so perhaps I should. After a disappointing visit to my disappointing town centre, I then discussed it with @BryonyTulloch and we decided a sieve might work, which was later confirmed by AK herself – so there you have it no mouli required!), corn on the cob, spinach and tomatoes.

Then it starts to get interesting!

The highlights thus far have definitely been the fruity things and not just for Reuben. The minute I got over my peach blanching tantrum was an enlightening moment. Pureed peach. What a joy to behold! And here’s how you do it Annabel style (with a happy little Hannabel twist at the end!).

Weaning a baby – Peach Puree

1. Score a cross into the side of the peach

2. Put the peach into a pan of boiling water for 1 minute (I always forget and end up leaving it for longer)

weaning a baby

3. Plunge into cold water

4. Remove skin and stone, and blitz!

weaning a baby

(5. Keep some to one side for a baby food Bellini)

weaning a baby Cheers! 

Updates on twitter and Instagram are with the hash tag #beingannabelkarmel – come join me (so I look like less of a loser!)

Baby led weaning recipes


07 Mar, 2013

Yesterday I FINALLY got Reuben a high chair. I feel like a terrible person because a) I’ve been feeding him either on a bouncy chair or in him bumbo (both of our preference is the former) and b) for that reason I’ve not been giving him hardly any finger food. The mess, oh the mess! So now we have a high chair, today we’ve been trying out some baby led weaning recipes.

Baby led weaning recipes

Hello, I’m cute

Before I get onto that though…just because I haven’t blogged about it, does not mean I’m not ‘being Annabel Karmel’ – in fact I have been positively channelling her. For the past week and a bit I have been a baby food making machine all whilst working out AND I even did a bit of cleaning! AK would be proud of me. I’ve been hash tagging my progress tweets with #beingannabelkarmel – please do tweet me your attempts at baby food prowess and use this hash tag so others can see!

I have to say, I’m actually really enjoying it. Much like Ellie said in her comment on my first weaning a baby post, I’m enjoying weaning a lot more than just milk feeding, which in general I never got the hang of – when to do it, how much, etc, etc! So food is good. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Got it.

I’ll do a progress report soon, but today I wanted to share some photos of Reuben in his new high chair, sort of eating. Because in my humble opinion, he looks adorable!!

So, back to baby led weaning recipes…

What I know of baby led weaning is you’re meant to give your baby things on a tray and let them ‘play’ with it. Smear around, mash into their hair, eyes and ears, and throw on the floor. During this process they might eat some. I’m not overly keen on the idea of this kind of mess – mud, yes, paint, yes, food, no. But it’s good for hand eye coordination, it’s simple, and teaches your baby to chew so we try it, don’t we?

Previously we tried the Nuby Nibbler feeding net. I like the Nibbler, this is my kind of finger food. You put food in the net, and it contains the mess! Reuben knew exactly what to do with it too – here’s a vine (i.e. 7 seconds!) of him on his second attempt at using it. Piece of cake (well banana).

A Nuby Nibbler Vine

Today as a first attempt at baby led weaning, Reuben had peas (which he smeared around and pushed to the corner of his tray, and then threw on the floor), broccoli (which he picked up, studied for ages and did put to his mouth but I’m preeeeetty sure none actually went into his stomach, and then threw on the floor), a bit of cheese (which he poked and squished, and then threw on the floor), and some banana (which he mashed about the tray, put in his mouth, and then threw on the floor). It was fun though!

Baby led weaning recipes

Cheese – there’s no way this is going in my mouth but I’m willing to mush it up a bit

Baby led weaning recipes

Broccoli stalk – Mmmm, OK, I know just where to put this…the floor

It seems, however, I’ve got baby led weaning recipes all wrong though. It’s not just steamed veg and bread sticks. There are websites (and books no less) dedicated to proper recipes – I’m talking beef casserole, chicken soup, and mushroom risotto! I’ve got a pal who’s baby has recently rejected the spoon and she’s having to go whole hog baby led, so, the fact such recipes exist is good news for her.  And, here’s a few sites if you fancy giving it a shot too…

1. babyledweaning.com – Lunch and dinner recipes

2. littlegrazers.com – Recipes including a few pictures to whet the appetite

3. babyledweaning-blog.blogspot.co.uk – Free ebook – 100 baby led recipes


…I’m not quite sure I’m ready for that kind of mess yet though so let me know how you get on!

baby led weaning recipe

You think THIS is messy?! You wait…

25 Feb, 2013

Now Reuben has turned 6 months, it’s full steam ahead with project weaning a baby and, thus far, we’ve been trying a combination of baby led weaning recipes with some mushy stuff. He’s loving it and only a crap ice cube tray from ASDA has been harmed in the process (they really are only made for water!)…

weaning a baby

Swede ice cubes. Do not put in Rum and Coke

A couple of years ago I watched Julie/Julia the film about a woman who decided to make all 536 recipes in Julia Child’s catacomb of a cook book – Mastering the art of French cooking – in 1 year. I loved it so much my mum said I should really read the book. There was a lot more emphasis on the process Julie went through. She made a few dishes in the evenings and then blogged about it the next day. I was really inspired by her and this book is in fact the reason why I started blogging. She got to quit her job and become a writer!

I’d forgotten all about the book until I saw Alice’s first Vlog. She said, whilst feeding gorgeous baby Hux, “not even Annabel Karmel has time to be Annabel Karmel”.

This had me thinking about 2 things. Firstly, apart from the 2 leaflets the health visitor gave me when she came over to talk about weaning a baby, I hadn’t read a proper book about weaning Reuben. Apart from sleep, which I take VERY seriously, my approach to motherhood is fairly laid back. We have no allergies or eczema in the family so Reuben is low risk when it comes to food… I knew which foods to start with so we did just that. I hadn’t thought about the next stage though…the poor lad is going to look tangoed if he has any more orange root vegetables! So, Alice prompted me to actually have a READ (one of my new year’s resolutions), and I may as well read Annabel Karmel since she’s the only one I’ve heard of.

Reuben trying papaya for the first time at 6 months…featuring the critically unacclaimed Papaya song (in the words of my pal, Cath, ‘that song is shit’. Thanks buddy!)

Secondly, this reminded me of Julie/Julia. There isn’t a chance in hell that I’d try making even one of Julia Child’s recipes at the moment but surely I could handle some baby food?!? Maybe I could do my own dumbed down version of the Julie/Julia Project. [The Hannabel project, if you will. Maybe not, sounds a bit too Silence of the Lambs and I could do without the link to cannibalism!]

Weaning a baby…

Since then I have bought the AK book (Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner) and having now read it I’m going to have a go at being Annbel Karmel for a month! The rules will be thus:

1) I will make all the recipes that are suitable for Reuben’s age and stage

2) we will follow the suggested guide menus for Reuben’s stage

3) I still have to do all the other things I normally do – if this is to be a true test of the practicality of being Annabel Karmel, I can’t go on strike and only make baby food. AK wouldn’t.

4) at any signs of a tantrum (mine) I must count to 10 and think ‘what would AK do?’ I imagine the inevitable answer will be to smile and make baby food (then clean the house, do the washing and work out).

I imagine 2 possible outcomes. The first is I’ll have a meltdown and never cook again or I’ll become a domestic goddess and start baking (but not eating of course) cakes.

First tastes list for first stage weaning:

Vegetables: Sweet potato, swede, potato, carrot, butternut squash, pumpkin, parsnip

Fruit: Apple, pear, papaya, banana

So far Reuben has tried all of the ‘First tastes’ foods and suggested recipes apart from apple and cinnamon (apple cooked with cinnamon – remember to remove the cinnamon before pulverising!), pear, 3 fruit puree (a combo of pear, apple and banana), parsnip and potato. So he’ll try these over the next few days and then get started on the “after 1st tastes accepted” meal planner on Thursday.

At this stage, it’s pretty damn easy to make the foods up. You peel and chop, then boil or steam, blitz with either water from the pan or milk (breast or bottle) and voila. Or you can add some more milk and baby rice to make it even more palatable for babby.

A vine I made this morning – preparing pear puree!

I think the main problem will be the amount of variety AK suggests – our fridge has never seen so many different fruit and veg at one time (all in danger of going off very soon) – so preparing the different meals will be time consuming. However, generally her recipes make around 4 servings and are nearly all freezable. We’ll see how long it takes to make the first couple of days meals, and how long the other servings last for us.