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Madison is loving food.  I’m doing Baby Led Weaning, which actually should be called Baby Led Eating.  It’s been going so well so far.  Madison seems to be loving it.  It’s fun for all of us, and it’s really easy, too.
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Basically, here’s some information from the website:

“Baby Led Weaning, quite simply, means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.”

 

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“You just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t. (But they do, really they do).”

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Madison really likes being involved in dinner.  She really enjoys participating in meals and getting to eat at the same time that we’re eating.  I don’t always give her exactly the same foods that we’re having – if something is really sugary or salty, I don’t give it to her.  So mostly she just has fruits and vegetables plus she’s tried steak, bread, and yogurt so far (obviously).

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I tried giving her a piece of apple and she loved sucking on it, but when I gave her a piece of cooked apple, she really enjoyed it because it was mushy enough for her to actually eat it.  The carrots and broccoli she’s eaten have also been cooked so they’re soft enough for her to eat.

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I think it’s also good practice for her to learn how to eat off of a spoon.  Of course it’s all very messy at this point, but she has to learn some time, so I figure she might as well start practicing eating on her own now so that she’ll be able to feed herself and learn to be less messy sooner.

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Plus she gets to experience the full sensation of different foods including their different shapes, textures, and different ways of being prepared as opposed to only eating everything of the same mushy consistency off of a spoon.  Ultimately, I hope that this will prepare her for being an open-minded eater since we plan to expose her to everything we eat, as long as it’s healthy, so she’ll grow up eating Indian, Mexican, Italian, vegetarian, meat, etc. instead of only eating baby food out of jars.  (Oh and baby food in jars is pricey, so this is much more cost effective, too!)  I think it’s important for her taste buds to be exposed to a variety of tastes, textures, and spices early on so that she has a chance to explore food and learn to enjoy a wide variety.

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“That’s the essence of Baby Led Weaning. No purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos… just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family.”

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So far it’s going great.  Madison seems to be loving it, and it’s super simple for us.  And I believe in the research I’ve read that says that up until one year old, breast milk contains all of the necessary nutrients and is still the most important food, and all that she really needs, so eating regular food is just a fun learning experience, but I’m not worried about her getting in all the food groups every day or anything like that.

And here she is in action 🙂

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I’m back! Hopefully I’ll be able to post more now that Madison is 5 months old and we’re on a bit more of a regular schedule… She’s slightly more independent.

Talan is turning seven years old on Tuesday.  This weekend I made him a Birthday cake, and we’re going to celebrate his Birthday tonight with cake and presents. It’s just going to be the three of us – no cake for Madison yet – so I decided to make a mini cake since we don’t need all that leftover cake sitting around our house for us to eat all week!

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I used two of my glass Pyrex storage bowls to be mini cake pans, and they worked out OK.  I had a hard time figuring out the baking time though.

Mini Chocolate Chip Layer Cake

1 1/4 cup plain flour

1/4 cup cake flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1 stick butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup buttermilk (1/2 T white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to make it 1/2 cup)

Baking Directions

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease 2 small round Pyrex dishes or cake pans, and line the insides with parchment paper or foil, then grease again.

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Sift flours, baking powder, and baking soda.

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Remove 1 Tablespoon of sifted mixture into small bowl, and toss with chocolate chips.

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Cream butter.  Add sugar in 3 additions, beating 1 minute after each portion is added.  Add in egg and beat 45 seconds.  Mix in extracts.  Alternately add in sifted mixture in 3 additions with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with sifted mixture.  Scrape down sides of mixing bowl to ensure even mixing.  Stir in chocolate chips.

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Spoon batter into 2 baking pans, spread evenly, smooth tops with rubber spatula.  Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake turns out clean.  Baked cake should pull away slightly from sides of pan.  I don’t know how long the cake has to bake because I took mine out way too early and had to keep sticking it back in until the centers were done.  Maybe 40 minutes?

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I cut off the tops of the cakes to make them flat across the top (which was how I discovered they weren’t finished baking in the middles!)

Butter Cream Frosting

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1-2 T milk

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Directions

Cream butter in stand mixer.  Add in sugar, beat until fluffy.  Add in extracts and milk, beat for another minute, adding more milk if necessary for spreading consistency.

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I actually used the above recipe to spread white frosting over the top, sides, and middle of the whole cake, and then I made another batch of frosting to dye and decorate the cake.  The dyed frosting was probably about twice as much as  I needed, so I could have just made half as much for decorating.

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I think the sides turned out looking really nice!  I need to work on my writing skills though.  That part isn’t as great looking.

I was just browsing around on Pinterest, and saw this recipe for homemade microwaved potato chips.  It really sounded kind of unbelievable to me… I feel like a lot of times I don’t trust these *amazing* Pinterest recipes to be as awesome and simple as people claim.

I had a couple of potatoes sitting around, so I tried it out!

Here’s the recipe.  Her description says that she used a mandolin to make hers extra paper-thin, which I would like to do in the future because mine ended up being thicker than I’d prefer.  But I don’t own a mandolin, and don’t even know what one is.

I basically followed her recipe.

First I rinsed off the potato and then sliced it up as thin as I could with my knife.  Then I put the slices in a ziploc bag and drizzled in some olive oil and sprinkled in some salt.

I didn’t measure out the amounts of olive oil or salt, I just kind of guessed.  I massaged the potato slices around until it seemed like they were all pretty evenly coated with the olive oil and salt.

Then I placed a single layer of slices on a plate.  I started out with a small/medium sized potato, and it took 2 plates to fit all my slices.  If I’d been able to slice them thinner, it would have taken even more plates.

The recipe said to microwave for 2-3 minutes on each side.  I ended up microwaving for 5 minutes on the first side, then flipping them all over and microwaving for about 1 more minute on the second side, so I guess it worked out to about the same time.

The recipe said they’d crisp up even more once they came out of the microwave, and they did.  They are very crunchy for sure!

I honestly don’t even like potato chips that much, but I was just curious to try this recipe since it sounded so simple, and because I know other people in my house love potato chips, so I thought this would be a nice way to make some that are healthier.

This is basically the same way that we make our french fries already – same ingredients I mean, just cut to look like fries and baked in the oven.  My chips didn’t turn out nearly as picture-perfect as the ones in the original recipe.  Maybe that’s because she was able to slice hers paper thin and that made them brown up differently into that nice even golden color?

Who knows.  I’d say overall these are a success though.  If you’re a fan of the crunchy natural type potato chips, you’re pretty much guaranteed to like these.  They are a bit labor/time intensive considering you have to microwave each plate for around 6 minutes, and the amount of chips per plate is not very much.  So if you were trying to make enough chips for 4 people to have with lunch… this could turn into a 30-40 minute project depending on how many potatoes you used and how thinly you sliced the pieces.  But at least most of the time is just spent in the microwave so you can do other things while that’s happening.

So anyway, check out that original recipe if you want her details on how to make these.  One thing that I just noticed was that she said to spray the plate with cooking spray first.  Oops, I forgot that step.  Mine did stick to the plate a bit, and I had to peel them off to flip them over, but none stuck to the point of being un-pealable, so it is possible to do this without the cooking spray as well.

And I’ll conclude with a picture of me, very pregnant, officially 38 weeks along (9 months plus 2 weeks), which means I am now well into the phase of “she can come any day now.”  And I am very much hoping that she WILL come any day now!  Because hauling this bowling ball around all the time is getting uncomfortable!