Cauliflower is in season during October and, once cooked, is a fantastic vegetable for puréeing and also for finger food while weaning. This cheesy cauliflower mash is a baby’s version of the classic dish, cauliflower cheese. It can also be used as a delicious alternative to potato mash in adult meals!
This recipe is for a large quantity to make the mash in bulk for freezing in ice cube trays or any other container of your choice, or to use straight away. You can defrost the cubes of mash and use in the Super Squish pouches for easy food on the go.
1 cauliflower head
1 tablespoon of butter (or to taste)
1 and a half handfuls of grated hard cheese
Add a little water to a pan with a tight fitting lid. Add the whole cauliflower (without all the leaves) and allow the water to boil, then turn down to a simmer and steam the cauliflower until it is very soft. I check by piercing the cauliflower with a knife. Just make sure that the water doesn’t run dry!
Once the cauliflower is cooked, drain the water from the pan and break up the cauliflower with a fork. Add the butter and cheese and using a handheld blender blend the mash until it has a very smooth, creamy consistency. You can add a little water if you need the mash to be less thick.
When I decided to do the seasonal smoothie campaign I wanted to focus on creating smoothies that are predominantly made up of vegetables with just a bit of fruit thrown in for sweetness.
While there is nothing wrong with all fruit smoothies, I’m trying to be more careful about how much sugar my 3 and a half year old has during the day. There is less sugar in a predominantly veggie smoothie than one that is mostly fruit, so that ticks this box. Also, this type of smoothie is a fantastic way to get additional vegetables into him without him knowing! It goes without saying that the smoothie had to be enjoyed by my 3 and a half year old. I wanted him to ask me for more when his glass was empty! Quite a challenge to say the least. I’m pleased to say that this smoothie passed the test!
There is an abundance of seasonal veggies in October. The most obvious of them all is, of course, the pumpkin. However, I’ve chosen to focus on one that tends to be overlooked – the cauliflower. My mission was to make a cauliflower smoothie! I don’t think you can be ambivalent about cauliflower – either you like it or you don’t! It isn’t one of my favourite veg and I don’t cook it often, so it was a challenge to come up with a smoothie recipe that made it the star. The great thing about adding cauliflower to a smoothie is that it has a rather bland flavour, and therefore can be used to bulk up smoothies without affecting the flavour too much.
Seeing as beetroot is also seasonal (and I had some left over in my fridge) I decided to throw that in too for a bit of vibrant colour. Avocado may not be in season, but I was looking for something that would add a creaminess to the smoothie. It worked brilliantly!
70g fresh beetroot peeled
half a ripe avocado
2 small very ripe bananas (one large banana would work fine)
15 frozen raspberries (any frozen berries)
a small handful of ice
350/400ml unsweetened almond milk (my favourite brand is the Rude Health almond milk (a mixture of almond and rice milk), as it is naturally sweeter due to the addition of rice milk). Add milk to taste and to get the consistency you prefer.
Blitz and enjoy this yummy cauliflower smoothie!
This should fill about 5 Super Squish pouches, with a kiddie-sized glass left over for drinking straight away.
Maybe some of you have children that love beetroot. Mine does not. Not at all.
I even tried to get him to try beetroot juice once thinking that the gorgeous bright colour would make it palatable. It did not work at all and he refused to let the glass get anywhere near his lips! Off the record, I love love love beetroot juice and all things beetroot, so I can vouch for the deliciousness of the juice! So, in my quest to make the humble beetroot something that he would eat, I resorted to blending it into a smoothie. By the way, I initially tried apple instead of banana in the recipe and it wasn’t accepted by the 3.5 year old….
Fresh beetroot is in season at the moment, so should be readily available if you feel like giving this recipe a go.
1 large ripe banana (try and get a very ripe banana to sweeten the smoothie as much as possible)
about 50g raw beetroot (peeled) – stains your fingers so watch out!
30g frozen raspberries (any frozen berries would work fine)
180 – 250ml freshly squeezed orange juice (or watered down according to your preference)
Bomb all of the ingredients in the blender and whizz till smooth. The colour is gorgeous!
(By the way, I initially tried apple instead of banana and it wasn’t accepted by the 3.5 year old)
Fills about 2 pouches with a little to spare (depending on how much liquid you add to taste)
TIP: I kept the smoothie in the fridge overnight and just blended it again the next day before drinking.
I’m think I’m a tad obsessed with avocados at the moment! I’ve become a pro disguising them in all manner of foods to get my 3 year old to eat them.
My latest triumph is a variation on the monkey juice smoothie – think green boost smoothie – full of spinach and avocado. A very simple variation and one I almost didn’t post but, as I think it is one of the yummiest smoothies I’ve tasted in a long time, it had to be shared. The avocado gives it a thicker consistency than normal. If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine it’s a double thick milkshake! Almost…
How to make the smoothie:
Take the ingredients for the monkey juice smoothie and simply add half an avocado and a few extra blocks of ice. If the banana is really ripe it will help to sweeten the smoothie. You could also add a little honey or alternative sweetener to taste.
I grew up in South Africa in an area where it was commonplace to see avocados the size of an average side plate, not the teeny varieties that the shops tend to sell!
One of my fond childhood memories is of my dad, heading off to the trees at the bottom of the garden with a special long stick, to go and collect the massive fruit during avocado season. We’d have to get to them before the monkeys did! He’d bring his haul into the kitchen, where we’d devour the ripe ones straight from the skins! So my love affair with avocados started very early in life. I definitely can’t say the same for my son, who refuses to eat them. As they’re a great source of healthy fats and loads of other good things, I have tried to disguise them in a few ways, including homemade ice cream (my own concoction, which was rather disgusting!) but without success.
Until this morning, when I made my new ‘avo fab’ vegetable smoothie, which was wolfed down by the adults and little kid in the family, much to my surprise!
I wanted to make a yummy smoothie that was predominantly made of vegetables as we had an abundance of them in the house. I wasn’t sure if that was going to work, but it did!
Here’s what went into the smoothie:
– 1 courgette
– 1 carrot
– half an avocado
– about 300mls of freshly squeezed orange juice
– handful of ice cubes
I have an orange juicer so made my own juice, but you could easily substitute with freshly squeezed shop bought orange juice (not made from concentrate).
I didn’t bother peeling any of the vegetables but roughly chopped them up and blended everything together. You can experiment with different quantities of the various veggies and the amount of orange juice you add, until you get the taste and consistency that you enjoy.
I found that if I added less orange juice, there was a definite avocado aftertaste which I was trying to avoid. You could probably add less orange juice if you added an apple to the mix and topped up the liquid with cold water.
This made enough for about 4 Super Squish pouches, or enough for 2 adult-sized portions and a little kid-sized one.
If you’re not popping this into pouches, simply pour into glasses, add courgette slices for garnish and you’ve got a fun addition to breakfast!
I don’t think there is a ‘one size fits all’ approach to weaning. My little one is now 3 and a half, so I’ve left that stage long behind me but I remember it well. My son was one of those kids who would eat pretty much everything, a lot of it, and from a spoon. Friends of mine had little ones who wouldn’t. Plus, you also have to factor in the fickle nature of a weaning baby whose like (or dislike) for certain foods and they way they are fed to him/her seems to change with the wind direction! Random and unanticipated!
When I was weaning my son, I used a multi-prong approach which worked for both of us: sometimes chopped food for self feeding, sometimes food pouches, sometimes ice cubes of puréed food defrosted and mixed together etc.
I wish the Super Squish pouches were around then. Which lead me to have a think about how I would have incorporated the pouches into the weaning process, especially in the very beginning. If you go the puréed food route (which I appreciate doesn’t suit or work for everyone!), you typically introduce small amounts of food and different flavour combinations in the early weaning stages.
With this in mind, I puréed cooked apples and cooked pears separately then spooned them into ice cube trays. Each cube was about 15mls/ 1 tablespoon. This makes it easier to know how much your little one is eating.
Once they were frozen, I popped them out and decided that I wanted to mix the pear and apple flavours together. I put 2 of each into the Super Squish pouch and let it defrost. I then squished the pouch a bit to mix up the contents. Voila! Apple pear combo. Obviously you can add any number of ice cubes and combination of flavours as your baby’s appetite grows.
Remember to really make sure you seal the zipper – I didn’t the first time I did this and had purée everywhere once the cubes had defrosted!
Fantastic – now I had my choice of blended food in a pouch! Ready to go.
I stored the rest of the ice cubes in labelled ziplock bags and popped them in the freezer. I used to make lots of different types of ice cubed purées (fruit, vegetable and stock cubes) in advance, bag them and have them ready in the freezer when I needed them. Easy peasy!!
Obviously, you could also fill up the pouch with puréed food and feed it to your baby in a few sittings.
The pouches are versatile and you can make them work for you no matter which stage of childhood your little ones are in!
We tested the strength of the Super Squish pouches this week.
I knew that they were strong and have never leaked while I’ve been using them, but we felt that a little ‘scientific’ experiment was needed to help verify this. We filled a few pouches with some yummy fruity yoghurt smoothie and my little 3.5 year old super kid jumped on one of them. Result = no spillage of it’s precious contents or breakage of any kind! Have a look at our experiment……
If it had spilled, it would have been a huge waste of the delicious smoothie inside – I called it ‘Fruity yoghurt surprise’ because I threw in whatever fruit I had in my fridge at the time that needed eating. SURPRISE!
If you want to substitute other fruit, I would keep the banana as a staple, but find other alternatives for the pear and the strawberries.
This is a great quick morning breakfast fix (you could add some oats, ground flaxseed or oat bran for a bit of extra staying power) or perfect for a lunchbox treat.
about 100g of fresh strawberries
a cup of (organic) full fat greek style yoghurt (I would imagine that a dairy alternative would be equally yummy)
enough milk to make it into a thick milkshake consistency (added as I went) – you could add a milk substitute such as unsweetened almond milk
then blitzed it all together until smooth.
It filled 3 Super Squish pouches with extra for me to drink as a reward.
In celebration of the glorious sunny weather yesterday, I decided to whip up a monkey juice smoothie, but I found that I only had enough ingredients for half the usual amount. So, in slight desperation, I searched in the freezer and fortunately came across a bag of frozen cherries! I can’t remember buying them but, at that moment, I was really glad I had.
I added about a cup of frozen cherries to about half of my Monkey Juice smoothie ingredients, blended them together and then added a bit more almond milk to get the consistency I wanted. Voila! An awesome, refreshing, icy cherry smoothie. Delicious! You could of course add any frozen berries – it would work as well.
This smoothie was named by a friend of mine while trying to convince her 3 year olds to try this nutrient packed yummy smoothie! It did the trick, the littlies gulped it down and the name has stuck in our house.
It’s great for little kids and bigger ones (including grown ups!) too. It can be made dairy free or gluten free if you use suitable milk alternatives like oat milk, soya milk etc.
two large handfuls of baby spinach (or one kale and one baby spinach)
a large banana (can add an extra one if you want to – this will make it sweeter)
250ml of milk (or milk alternative)
4-6 large ice cubes
Optional – a tablespoon of flax seeds, a few soft dates/a teaspoon of honey or alternative sweetner
Put everything into a blender, whizz and drink.
Fills about 4 Super Squish pouches.