Mini Piccolini! a family lifestyle blog

Cooking for Baby

March 25th, 2015

It may not be the cookbook that I would take with me to a desert island, but it is definitely one of the most-used cookbooks in our kitchen. I bought Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes before Alec started on solids, way back in the day, and I have cooked from it a lot since then.

Today I made roasted red pepper and goat cheese purée for Léonie’s lunch. It’s the third time I’ve tried this recipe with my babes, and to be honest, none of them have really loved it. But I love that they get to try such a wide array of flavours, textures and spices right from the start.

My friend Kacey once said “Alec eats better than I do. Even on date night”. It was an exaggeration of course. But I do love the variety of food that my babies eat, and the fact that it’s all fresh and un-processed and almost completely organic. It feels right to me that I don’t mind tasting their baby food, and that it tastes good, even to me. It’s something that I am proud of.

But that doesn’t mean that it has always been easy.

When I started Alec on solids, I didn’t really know what to make him, beyond the basic first purés. And the logistics of making my own baby food have been both harder and easier than I anticipated. Especially with my second and third children, I probably wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t have some of the tools I have had to make it all easier. This book is one of the things that really made it easier to cook for my babies. The recipes are fun and adventurous, but easy and delicious.

If you have a sauce pan and an immersion blender, you can make the baby food in this book. It’s made me cook with ingredients that I’d never even heard of (amaranth!?) and make things I never would’ve considered before (homemade stock). And many of the toddler recipes I continue to make for the entire family and we all love those meals.

I have a Béaba Baby Cook and a ton of other baby food paraphernalia that I use a lot too, but for a new mom who wants to make her own baby food but maybe feels a little daunted about it, Cooking for Baby is the one thing I would recommend buying. What a great baby shower gift!

Also, the Baking as Sensory Play and my best tips for dealing with picky little eaters.

Our Favourite First Books

January 15th, 2015

We love to read with the children. We start early (especially with Alec – we read to him every day almost from birth) and we read first thing in the morning and then again before bed (and any other time we’re asked!).

The kids all have their own favourite books, but some books have been loved by all of them (and by Sumit and me!). They’re worn and torn and can be found all over our flat, sometimes in the strangest places. These are our very first favourite books, the ones we know off by heart and love to read over and over again:

Goodnight Moon. A classic that has a given place in every child’s first library. I know it off by heart now and it’s such a soothing read before bed.

Little Blue Truck. Such a great book. It has such an innocent feel to it. I’ll never forget the first time I read it to Alec (he was nine months old) and how much he immediately liked it. It has a great rhyme and rhythm to it – it’s really country – and such a sweet story. The children love the animal sounds and the scenery. Truly one of my very very favourite children’s books ever.

Bear Snores On. There are a bunch of books about Bear and his friends but this is the good one. The rhyme is adorable and the children love the part where the bear sneezes. The illustrations are also so cozy and nice in all the bear books. (My only pet peeve with these books is that it becomes clear in the series that all of the animals are boys – why oh why couldn’t some of bear’s friends be girls?)

Tubby. This book is simple with just a few words and clean easy illustrations. I think the children love it because they can relate so well – it really takes them to their happy place: bath time. Very cute.

A Book of Sleep. A great bedtime story book with interesting illustrations and a lulling tone. This was Sumit’s favourite book to read when Alec was a baby.

The Runaway Bunny. Love love love the runaway bunny. It’s such a great story for mums to read with babies (and kids). The pictures are lovely and the story is beautiful.

Goodnight Gorilla. Actually not my favourite to read, but the kiddos love it. It’s an easy read for us since Sumit only reads in Hindi to the children (even though we don’t really have any storybooks in Hindi) and since they’re aren’t really any words in it, it’s easy to elaborate in any language. When we get to the part where all the animals go to sleep in the bedroom and the gorilla sits on the edge of the bed and yawns, both Alec and Louis do their own big yawns and it is so so adorable. That alone makes it a favourite!

That’s Not My… Alec was given That’s Not My Truck when he was a baby and Louis managed to demolish it pretty quickly when he started “reading”. But he loved that book so much so we bought him That’s Not My Pony for his first birthday. It is still very loved.

On the Night You were Born. This isn’t actually a favourite since I’ve only read it a handful of times, and only really to Alec. It is really lovely but it makes me cry so I just stopped reading it.

What are your favourite first books to read with your babies and to give away as gifts?

Also: our reading nook, and 50 great picture books.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Babies!

December 4th, 2014

It’s Léonie’s first Christmas! There are so many lovely things to wrap up for the littlest people on your list this year. Here’s what I think you should get them:

Léonie has a similar little hat and I think it is so ridiculously cute (Sumit thinks the pom poms are a little silly).

This stroller mobile is the best! There are tons of cute colour and animal combinations (Léonie’s is the black and white one and she can’t take her eyes off it) and they are all natural and chemical free etc.

My sister got Louis a Bliss Stockholm blanket for Christmas when he was a baby and it is the coziest thing ever. Soft and warm. We tuck Léonie into it in the stroller when it’s extra cold.

How cozy would these sheepskin mini mocks be this chilly winter!

Aden and Anais makes the softest coziest muslin loveys. Léonie has this giraffe lovey and she loves it. And now they have merino wool muslin loveys too – perfect for winter!

I really really prefer wooden toys to plastic, so I think this little car, this key chain toy, and this clutching toy, are lovely.

These crochet balls are also a good toy for babies.

This dress with a little bolero cardigan would be perfect for a first Christmas.

I just bought one of these infinity scarves for Nonie. There are a ton of really cool prints to choose from (leggings too!).

Léonie is on her third one of these gorgeous silk baby helmet hats. She’s been wearing them since she was born and we love them and the way they keep her warm when it’s chilly and protect her from the elements when it’s warmer.

This was Alec’s first favourite book when he was a baby and all of our children have loved it. Right now I am loving reading it to Léonie (I know it off by heart).

Also: the rest of the 2014 Holiday Gift Guides and gifts for babies and toddlers.

Top photo of Léonie at one week old by Linda of Lindísima.

2014 Holiday Gift Guides: Besties, Sisters, Moms, Wives

December 3rd, 2014

Besties and sisters are the easiest to shop for because they’re just like you, right? My sister Sofia is notoriously difficult to shop for, but I think some of these ideas will be enjoyed by her as well! Here’s hoping!

Because who doesn’t want a vintage brass pineapple?

I have wanted a wishbone pendant FOREVER and a couple of weeks ago, Sumit surprised me with one for an anniversary! I love it so much. There are a ton of them available in every price range, in different sizes and slightly different shapes – from Barney’s to Etsy. Mine is pretty small, rose gold and quite dainty. I think the shape is important.

I just saw these gold tattoos on A Cup of Jo and had to order some for me (and friends) immediately. Seriously – how fantastic are they!?

These cool prism air plant hangings would suit any home.

My sister got me these a couple of years ago and it felt like such a luxurious gift, full of the promise of many long baths to come. I’m still enjoying them.

A soft cashmere beanie to keep her warm this winter. I think everyone deserves a little cashmere at Christmas.

I love Oprah and O Magazine and I could use a little wisdom and inspiration right now!

I love the idea of wearing all my babies’ initials around my neck, and I think my bestie would too. There are so many pretty options on Etsy.

This kit looks like a fun way to get into knitting, if you’ve every had the urge!

I totally want this pasta roller attachment for my kitchen aid! Wouldn’t it be a fun way to spend an evening making dinner with your best girls?

This Tiffany’s ring is gorgeous, but there are lots of more affordable, but equally pretty options available on Etsy. Love a simple bow ring. And earrings!!

I saw this marble cutting board at Granit yesterday and just barely made it out of there without buying. Still thinking about it. Will probably go back today.

You can never go wrong with opulent red nail polish for the holidays – what a great stocking stuffer!

These note cards are so pretty, who wouldn’t want to write their thank you notes on these?

Also, the rest of the 2014 Holiday Gift Guides and more great gift ideas for women!

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