Ploff (Chicken & Rice)

Have you heard of ploff? It’s a rice dish I grew up on, very common in Russian kitchens and probably my favorite combination of rice, chicken, onions, and carrots! There are many variation of the dish and the main protein is usually lamb but I swap out for chicken drumsticks. The dish taste best when cooked in a dutch oven pot, I’ve tried a slow-cooker, pressure cooker and a regular pot and the dutch oven takes the cake.

The fluffiness of the rice and moist chicken, makes this dish easy for little humans to eat. It takes time and effort but well worth it and know it will be a staple dish in your house! Not many ingredients yet so flavorful, I am excited to hear how your little ones enjoyed.

PLOFF (CHICKEN & RICE)

Prep: 30 Cook: 1 hour Total: 1 hour 30 min
Serves: 6 servings

Best for: Toddlers and babies who are comfortable with texture

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 chicken drumsticks with skin

  • 1 cup of organic basmati rice

  • 1 medium onion

  • 3 carrots

  • 5 cups of water

  • 1 head garlic

  • 3 tbs avocado oil

  • salt and pepper to taste

STEPS:

  • Place chicken drumsticks and a pinch of salt to 5 cups of water, bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 30 minutes (chicken broth).

  • In the meantime, shred onion and carrots and place into dutch oven with 1 tbs of oil, sautee on medium-low until onion is translucent and carrots are soft.

  • Rince rice in cold water and let sit in water for 15 minutes while the chicken broth is cooking.

  • Once chicken is cooked through, remove drumsticks and place on cutting board to cool. Sift the chicken broth to ensure the broth is clean.

  • Collect chicken (remove from bone and skin) pieces and add it to the sauteed onion and carrots. Add the last two tbs of oil and fry on medium for about 8 minutes.

  • Remove water from soaked rice and add to the pot. Stir for a few minutes with a wooden spoon. You can season with salt and pepper at this point. Wash garlic head and cut top off. Without peeling, submerge the garlic in the cooking rice.

  • Add chicken broth to rice mixture and simmer on low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Turn off burner and close lid and have sit for 10 minutes.

  • Fluff with a fork and serve.

TIPS:

  • If you require more liquid to cook the rice through, add water.

  • You can use chicken thighs or chicken breast; if you use chicken breast, add 2 more tbs of oil so that the chicken wont be dry.

Vegetarian Split-Pea Soup

As much as I love hot summer day's, my favourite time of year is Fall, with the crisp air, trees turning colour, and the start of a new school year (not that we are there yet). I often find myself making soup twice a week in the cooler months of the year to help keep our bodies nice and warm. Okay, I need to stop talking about cold days in the month of August but this is all a prelude to my split-pea soup recipe that can be enjoyed all year around but I find I make it more between September - March.

Had the urge to make a hardy soup for Alex and I the other day. And since he took a liking to it and the fact it is packed with vegetable goodness; I had to share it with you :)

VEGETARIAN SPLIT-PEA SOUP

Prep: 30 min Bake: 45 min Total: 1 hour 15 min
Serves: 5 bowls

Best for: babies 6 months +

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup dried split-peas

  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils

  • 1 dried bay leaf

  • 1 zucchini chopped

  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped

  • 1 carrot diced

  • 1 celery stalk diced

  • 2 small potatoes or 1 medium

  • 4 cups of water

  • 1 tsp avocado oil

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • small handful of fresh parsley

 

STEPS:

  • Dice onion, carrots, celery zucchini, potatoes and parsley

  • Saute onions, carrots and celery on low heat with avocado oil.

  • Mix zucchini and potatoes once onions look translucent and veggies seem soft (about 10 minutes).

  • Rince dried split-peas and red lentils and mix into pot with cooking vegetables.

  • Add 4 cups of water and wait until water boils. Once it reaches to a boiling point, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30-45 minutes.

  • Once the soup is ready and the peas and lentils are soft enough that they disintegrate, mix in the fresh chopped parsley leaves.

  • Use an immersion blender to puree the soup (blend as much or as little as you want).

TIPS:

  • For babies just starting solids, puree the soup in blender for smoother consistency.

  • Store in fridge for 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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Zu-Fritters

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So excited to share these delicious zu-fritters with you! Yes, that’s a term I came up with that marries zucchini with fritters and the result is scrumptious. They take time and easiest done with a food processor but worth it once you see your little ones gobbling them up, and not just one. They are soft on the inside with a slight crunch on the outside which are very manageable for new solid-eating babies to chew and swallow.

These are a great way to get your little-ones eating vegetables in its non-veggie form. I will post many variations of these fritters in the months to come but these were such a hit with Alex that I had to share immediately! I also need to mention that Alex isn’t a fan of zucchini’s in general, we’ve tried purees, in soups, and grilled, and he won’t take to any of them. But we certainly found a winner with these zu-fritters and find we don’t have much left over once we all have had at least two over dinner time. I recommend doubling the ingredients if you want to have leftovers for lunch the next day. 😊

 

Zu-Fritters

Prep: 30 min Bake: 30 min Total: 60 min
Serves: 9 zu-fritters

Best for: Toddlers and babies who are comfortable with texture

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large or 3 medium zucchinis

  • 1 egg

  • ½ cup flour (can substitute almond flour)

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • 1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves

  • ½ cup of white cheddar cheese

  • 2 tbs of olive oil

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp pepper

 

STEPS:

  • Grate unpeeled zucchini in food processor or use a large hole box grater. Place grated zucchini in a strainer with salt for at least 30 minutes to allow excess water to drain. Mix it every so often to ensure you remove as much liquid as possible.

  • Preheat oven to 400⁰ Fahrenheit and line a tray with parchment paper, drizzle olive oil.

  • Transfer grated zucchini and remaining ingredients into a bowl (flour, egg, salt, pepper, baking powder, crushed garlic, cheddar cheese), and mix well. I like to use my hands to ensure the mixture is well combined.

  • Scoop out about half a handful of the mixture, roll into a ball and then flatten it with your hands to make a round patty shape, should make nine zu-fritters.

  • Bake the zu-fritters until golden brown (15 minutes per side).

  • Best served warm out of the oven.

Kid approved yogurt bowl

I recently came across a delicious yogurt brand that I can likely be a spokesperson for since I can’t stop telling everyone I speak to about it. It’s called Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt and I can’t express how tasty it is and how great it feels to feed Alex high quality, grass-fed yogurt. After reading their valued principles and story, as well as trying their high-quality product, I’ve replaced my yogurt brand to theirs!

Alex gets some sort of yogurt snack or what I like to call a dairy bowl daily. I know that it is high in protein and rich in calcium which is important for his growing bones. The one thing to watch for is the sugar content in the flavored varieties. I like to buy plain whole milk yogurt and add in fresh fruit to sweeten it to his liking. I also enjoy that it is quick to put together for breakfast or between meals so it’s great for those rushed mornings or on-the-go snacks.

The following is a delicious yogurt bowl that really can be mixed with any fruits of your choosing but I and Alex both love this combination. It is also great to use locally grown, in-season fruits so we use a variety throughout the year - we have delicious nectarines and peaches in season right now, so it’s the star of the show.

PEACH YOGURT BOWL

Prep: 5 Bake: 0 Total: 5
Serves: 2 bowls

Best for: 6 months+

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of natural plain 100% whole milk, grass-fed yogurt

  • 1/2 nectarine/peach

  • 1/2 banana

  • 2 teaspoons hemp seeds

  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

STEPS:

  • Peel and cut ripe peach/nectarine and banana into small digestible bites

  • Mix all ingredients and enjoy!

TIPS:

  • Blend ingredients for smoother consistency for babies who are just starting solids.

  • You can use other in-season fruits and mix -ins.

  • Turn this into a smoothie by adding 1/2 cup milk of your choice.

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Hey there! and Welcome!

Thanks so much for taking the time to check out my blog. I am so excited to have you here and looking forward to starting my blogging journey with you. I’ve always enjoyed cooking but my real passion lies in modifying recipes for healthier versions and now altering it to be baby and toddler friendly. Although my recipes are catered for little ones, I find that most are enjoyed by the whole family.

From watching my mom and babushka cook from a young age in a traditional Russian style kitchen to making my own versions of their food and exploring other cultures in my own, I much enjoy watching my family eat the food I prepare and actually eat it! I won’t lie, lately I’ve been catering to my one year old’s palette and avoiding spicy foods that both my husband and I enjoy but I do try to expand his taste buds by introducing different herbs and spices such as cumin and coriander.

As you’ve read from my site name, you know that my little boy is a captious eater and textures and flavors have been a challenge. Even with eight teeth he has had a lot of trouble with textures and just recently overcame that. In this blog, I plan on sharing all the recipes that have been a success at our kitchen table and I hope they work for you! The majority of my recipes will be quick and easy as I know that as a parent/caregiver, time is not on our side.

My goal is to get our little ones eating nutrient rich foods (breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner) and establishing healthy eating habits at an early age. Join me on my journey as I share my creative and delicious healthy recipes for babies (6 mos +) and toddlers.