Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beaba Babycook time!

Actually tonight it’s about the Beaba “Mum Cook Book.” Now it’s been a full year since I’ve used this thing for anything other than steamed carrots, so I had to relearn some of the basics.

While some of us BiB mamas were doing our research at the latest ABC convention, we spent time speaking with the people behind the Beaba products. We’ve carried the Babycook, and accessories in the store for quite some time, and were thrilled to see them start to introduce additional uses for their main seller. We looked through the “Mum” and “Toddler” cookbooks while we were with them and knew right away they would be a great addition to our store…and also my kitchen.

My child never went hard-core into purees, so I missed a big portion of what I was excited about having the Beaba. Adding spices and different flavors together was appealing to me, but when your kiddo liked to live off of tofu chunks and steam carrots for about 3 months, the notoriety of the Beaba wore off fast. I’ve been told if I start to utilize some other Beaba recipes then perhaps my boredom of the Beaba will turn around.

Tonight, we will be making a recipe out of Beaba Mum Cookbook: “Middle-Eastern-style veal meatballs” Quick disclaimer…I’m using chicken instead of veal. First problem is that while writing this thus far I forgot to time the steaming portion of my quinoa. Oops!

Step 1: Fill the reservoir of your babycook with 3 measures of water. Put the bulgur (I’m using quinoa) in the babycook rice-cooker accessory and cook for 20 minutes.
-I just checked it after the first steam session was complete and quinoa was not at all cooked.
-After second steam session quinoa was cooked perfectly.

Step 2: In the meantime, cut the meat into chunks and peel the onion. When the bulgur (quinoa) is cooked, chop the onion finely in the babycook bowl. Add the meat, spices (cinnamon, cumin, turmeric) fresh cilantro and honey. Process again and transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the whole egg and the bulgur (quinoa) and mix it all together.
-Really? Raw meat in the processor?
-I skipped this since I was using ground chicken instead of chunk veal. Just threw it all in a mixing bowl and had my sous chef/husband mix it up.
 Step 3: Make a dozen walnut-size meatballs. Shallow fry them in olive oil for 10 minutes, turning them regularly.
     -Thinking coconut oil would have been better. Apparently my idea of a walnut is tennis ball so they are taking a while to cook. Olive oil is breaking down too quickly. Again, nice to have the sous chef around for the splattering parts so I can sit and type.
-Smells really ridiculously good in our kitchen right now.

Step 4: Decorate them with chopped cilantro and eat.
-Half of the first batch has already been consumed. Delicious.
-I would add salt and pepper.
-Husband said he is using this idea to make breakfast sausage this weekend. Chicken, quinoa, egg and sweet/savory spices will rarely taste bad combined together.

Blending everything in the Beaba would have been really easy. I will say that using the babycook rice-cooker does make that part super simple. Not that quinoa is difficult to cook on the stove, but with a little one running around it’s a whole lot easier to place it in the Beaba and just let that turn off automatically. All in all we (sous chef and I) are giving this recipe a 5 out of 5 babystars.

Ingredients: Simple and available most times at home

Cooking: Easy to follow and worked well with Beaba and stove

Taste: Pretty good for using low fat meat, and held together well

Good for: All in house - kiddos and caretakers

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Signing with Baby A

My 8 month old and I recently began attending the new session of Sign4Baby taught by Joann Wooley.

Each week, Joann picks a theme to focus on such as family, colors, etc. She begins the class with a “Welcome” song which really gets the babies excited! There are toys for the babies to play with that coordinate with that week’s theme. Joann goes over signs using books, music, and the babies.

The one thing I really liked about the first class was how Joann told us not to focus so much on learning every sign she showed us, but to focus more on our communication with our baby and which signs would best suit them individually. For example, many of the babies are signing “dog” in our class, however, we don’t have a dog so I am not teaching that sign to Baby A right now.

Joann told us to start by picking 3-5 signs at first and then to gradually introduce more as fitting. So far, WE sign bird, water, milk, all done, book, clapping, and bye bye to Baby A. She can sign milk and wave bye bye. She also has been “air” clapping for quite some time. I wave both my hands at her when she does a good job or we are excited about something and now she can do the same when we say “YAY!”. We have only been signing new words to her for about two weeks so I know she will start picking up on more soon!

I am so glad we are attending this session of Sign4Baby. We have a signing book that Baby A received for Christmas and I have searched for signs online before, but it is very helpful to learn how to correctly sign with my baby. Joann is so sweet and animated with all of the babies in the class. I love how she brings her touches of attachment parenting to the class as well. It is eye opening to realize how babies really want to communicate with you at such an early age and how signing is the perfect way to help them do that. I know that signing is going to help us a lot when Baby A is a toddler and cannot find the right words to describe her frustration. If you were thinking about attending a class, do it. You won’t regret it. J ~Ali