Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bread Heels & Baby Feeding

I've never understood why small children & babies dislike having their faces wiped so much. 
I can understand why they don't want you messing with their nose - after all, how would you feel if someone tried to pick your nose?
But on the faces front, I don't get it.  I would feel better after having sticky crud removed from my chin.
I've been ruminating on this topic lately as we will soon be faced with introducing solids to the munchkin.  This, of course, will necessitate much face wiping.
We've purchased a high chair, and have been sitting her in it with a spoon & some toys at meal times.  So far, she seems to like it.

As for the idea of actually getting food into her face, well, frankly, I'm a bit frightened.  I also don't want to have to spend ages every week making purees. 
This has brought me to research baby-led weaning (ie. minimizing the purees and just giving your kid actual food).  You can see how this approach is appealing from a time saving standpoint.  Just make sure there's some veggies/meat/etc appropriately cooked through, and in a form easy for the kid to grasp, and let them have at it (with supervision of course).
Anecdotally, babies fed this way seem to be less likely to become picky eaters.  Since my partner & I enjoy trying different cuisines, this also seems awesome to us.  I like the idea of being able to cook whatever & have her eat at least part of it.

Speaking of cooking whatever, last night I made a Greek-inspired strata.  I don't like eating the heels of bread loaves, but I also dislike wasting food.  So, I usually put them in the freezer until I have a bunch, and then I make a strata.  It is a convenient way to use up stale or leftover bread.
You will need:
a 2 quart casserole dish (greased)
5-6 cups diced, stale or toasted bread (about 10 pieces of a standard store-bought loaf)
2 cups milk
4 eggs
veggies, cheese, spices, etc to throw in.  The version I did last night had:
1/2 one large cooking onion, diced
8 quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 packet of frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed to get rid of the extra liquid
lots of feta cheese
some sliced mushrooms because they needed to be used up
oregano, thyme & pepper

Toss the onion, tomatoes, mushrooms & spices in your casserole (Hey! I remembered to take pictures!).

Add your spinach and cheese

Then add your bread cubes.  Beat your eggs & the milk together, and pour over top.

Then, stir everything up in the dish so it is well mixed.  Put it in the oven, uncovered, at about 325-350F and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

The bread will soak up the egg & milk mixture, and everything will get all puffy & chewy & wonderful.  If you like, before you put it into the oven, you can sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs or Parmesan.  Then the top will come out all crunchy & delicious.

The best thing about strata is that you can adapt it to any flavour profile you like.  Having people over for brunch?  Fill it with cheddar, diced bell pepper, onion and diced potatoes (and if you like meatiness, you could also add bacon or breakfast sausages).  Fancy dinner?  Fill it with Gruyere & asparagus & mushrooms.

Hopefully, baby will be able & willing to enjoy strata when I make it next.


  1. You've inspired me. I also dislike bread heels (they are referred to as the "bread bum" at our house). I never know what to do with them though, so they end up in the compost. Which is especially frustrating now that I've started making our own bread again. SO... I've now got the heels of two loaves cut up in cubes in my freezer waiting to be turned into something delicious. :)

    (yay for posting semi-regularly!)

  2. Yummo!
    I did the demand thing and let my kids build interest in solids at their own pace. It worked great with my second and (as I might have mentioned before)with my first I listened too much to everyone I thought knew better and nothing seemed to go right.