Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Annabel Karmel's First Meal: How It Helped Me.

I have slacked a lot in the cooking department, particularly nutritious home-cooked meal for my little darling. Although I have always cooked for her since the start of her weaning period, I remember being extremely lazy since we all came home from our UK vacation after we discovered tasty organic jar food which she totally loved! Guilty :D

But I think enough is enough... she has grown so much and I don't think turkey sandwiches or that favourite chicken rice from the nearest restaurant or even that plain fried chicken with plain rice she loves to eat or that occasional fast food just cut it. I hate to think that I've started so well on her diet plans with constant vegetables included in her meals get spoilt due to my laziness, making her picky in the things she eats.

Plus, I've been relying too much on just one recipe book before that I couldn't find the other one that would help me immensely at this stage when she should be given a more wholesome experience to her meal times. Thank god, I finally found it and I am so glad to note that it was definitely a priceless investment as it could still be used after almost 2 years...

i was so proud to own this piece of book that i bought from Kinokuniya online book store in November 2008.

This book is nothing to a local book allegedly written by a local celebrity which several moms rave about. First of all, this book isn't written by a celebrity but a trained Cordon Bleu cook who is also a leading children's food author. She shares firsthand experience with her three kids and her over 200 recipes are tried and tested by a panel of babies and toddlers, not just her children. And the fact that she's a trained cook, makes it natural for her to impart her knowledge in nutrition and provides valid nutritional advise for a balanced meal, everytime. The book is not like a story book that you can finish reading in 2 hours but one that you'd keep referring to because it is so nicely segmentised and spans for when your baby's 6 months til she reaches age 7.

Of course, I don't just love Annabel Karmel for the recipes she provide for the benefit of my baby but through the experience of preparing Jada's puree, I discovered that the meals could even be enjoyed by the entire family, with just a hint of additional salt or pepper. They are oh so delicious!

As you can see, the book is nicely segmentised for different age groups but she doesn't just go into recipes immediately. At every segment, she would explain the challenges, the tools and what to expect out of a toddler at a specific age group. There is even tips on healthy eating where you'll get valuable advise on how to reduce obesity and obtain a balanced diet for your children. And again, I'd like to reiterate that these sections are covered at every age group, not just in one general introduction section. Therefore, you'd learn of your baby's changing needs in different age groups, the importance of including fruit and veges, and how you'd want to include them in your baby's meals. Heck, there's even a small section on brushing your baby's teeth!

There's information on BRAT diet when a child is sick, which I find it very helpful when Jada fell sick 2 days ago. It was easier when I was breastfeeding her since breastmilk would always provide a good nutrition when a baby's appetite decreases but now that she's weaned off me totally, it can be a little worrisome when she rejects almost everything I feed her. So, that one's pretty much solved already :)

I especially loved the section on kitchen basic because I didn't cook much and has little knowledge on what's necessary for the preparation of a baby's meal or what to stock my pantry. When I googled up information, there were too many things in the market that made it sound like you need every one of them but through this book, I learnt the wisest options according to my cooking needs.

Before, I had a friend who told me how she'd serve her baby one ice-cube portion of frozen home-cooked puree but I had no idea what she was talking about... I guess more often than not, most mommies would relay their experience as if I'd already know what they're talking about. Through this book, the detailed description and images made it clearer to me on how things can be done and the guildelines of freezing baby's food.

Without this book, I would always thought finger food would be those teething biscuits suitable for a baby. But through this book, I learnt that there are just so many types of ideal finger food that I can vary and alternate for the entire 365 days of a baby's annual growth just so that she doesn't get bored with the choices of food presented to her. More importantly, I feel that it is our duty to provide as many different tastes as possible for her (within our means) so that she could explore different types of food in her lifetime and does not become a picky eater.

For the section on 2-3 years, I love that I can choose different types of food for her meal time... I mean, not only they're segregated into snacks or chicken or pasta, etc. but this section also include fun ways to prepare a meal to make meal time interesting for your children. After all, children at this age can be very playful. Therefore, grabbing your child's attention to want to eat rather than concentrate on just play or watching tv can be minimised with creative ways of preparing their dishes, if that is necessary for you, and time is on your side.

Everything in this book is so well organised. I love it to bits. Each recipe would tell you an estimation of the preparation and cooking time, how many portions you are able to make and whether the dish is suitable for freezing so that you can serve it again after a few days. Most importantly, it gives you an idea of the nutrition that your child will receive from the particular dish... the most important factor that brought me to purchasing this book.

Seriously, if you have the passion to cook for your little darlings but especially because you've only started to pick up cooking, this book will be a great help. It even has basic stuff like recipes for dips, stocks and soups, that you could either get from a can in your local grocery store or you could even experiment at least once in your lifetime on how easy it really is to make them... and, very delicious too! From then on, I will not guarantee that you would rather slave yourself in the kitchen than stock up on canned food, unless of course, you'd just buy them for emergencies, like moi ;P

And if you're really blur about what to feed for your child, the book has a detailed Menu from page 180-187, where suggested recipes for your child's meal plans are presented clearly, in case you need more pointers on what to serve your child. It lists down Day 1 - Day 7 and what you can serve for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. There's even one dedicated page on snacks and party food, to help you plan any sort of parties for your little angel.

Since I found this book again about 10 days ago, I've made about 4 dishes (I didn't take any pictures of 2 of them, though)... I realised that the recipes in the book are mostly very easy to make (as in minimal cooking time) and that the ingredients are fairly easy to find as you could also substitute certain ingredients for other types of the same family, which you will learn as you go along.

This is called 'Fillet of fish mornay with vegetables' - a recipe for 9-12 months. But instead of having to puree it, I fed Jada as is. Look at how colourful it looks, with peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and leek.

This one may not look very appetizing when captured in this photo but I tell you, it tastes marvellous! I made this 'Cream of chicken soup with sweetcorn' on a whim when I saw that Jada was still down with fever and refused to get up by 9am yesterday. I prepared the ingredients and was done in an hour, which included having the concoction processed in a blender. She got up around 11ish, drank heaps of plain water and was already really hungry by the time I bathed her. Gladly, her temperature was already back to normal and she and I, had a healthy, tasty and filling lunch :)

Seriously, many friends have asked me on what they should feed for their weaning 6-month old baby and I would tell all them to get these books by Annabel Karmel. You'll fall in love with the books, even if you don't fall in love with cooking ;P

1 comment:

FairyGodmother said...

have always wanted to buy this book, but some of my girlfrieds say that its just a fad.

me stoopid for listening and confirming the peer pressure.

especially since Rashard is a picky eater, i think i shall be visiting Borders soon.