Juicy, fruity, and herbaceous patties for little hands to munch on, or in a tasty slider for bigger kids and adults.
I received a copy of Leah Garrad-Cole’s cookbook “It All Begins with Food” awhile ago. I wanted to take some time to cook through it, test out a few recipes, and read the wealth of information that is at the beginning of the book. After making a number of recipes, Leah’s Chicken, Apricot, and Fresh Herb Patties stood out as a recipe my entire family would love so I slightly adapted it into Mini Chicken Patties. Arguably, I don’t have a baby any more. My youngest is a few short months away from 2 years old and far beyond the typical baby food. But that’s the point of this book. It has many recipes that act as introductory recipes of food to babies, but they can all be taken and used to feed a family with different aged children. The Creamy Sweet Potatoes, Blueberries, and Almond Butter Puree is so good as popsicles that my whole family enjoyed. A Healthier Jelly is an ideal treat for little kids (without the fake stuff), and the Egg Person Toast is super fun!
This cookbook is so much more than just recipes. The information at the start of the book is ideal for any first-time parent. This cookbook should be on all baby shower registries in my opinion. The charts, graphs, and general information on food and how it impacts babies and children is unlike any I’ve seen before. And while I do (heavily) agree with Leah on her focus away from GMO (genetically modified organism) foods, I’m of the opinion that organic is not always what’s best for everyone’s family. I’m pretty sure Leah would agree with me here; if it’s stressful, whether it be emotionally or financially, to buy organic, always choose fresh produce above all else. Eating conventional produce is better than no produce at all. There’s been some media about studies of families not buying produce because they can’t afford organic. The best choice is always healthy food. Whether that’s organic or conventional.
Grocery shopping should be done on the parameter of the grocery store with plant-based foods (primarily fruit and vegetables) making up the most of the basket. If financially you can’t buy that organic apple, please buy conventional apples and get all those glorious nutrients and skip the apple sauce. Most fruit and vegetables in Canada are non-GMO (I’ll be touching on pesticides in a post soon). This means that besides conventional corn and papaya, you can rest easy knowing your baby is getting non-GMO produce. The trap lies in the processed foods section of the grocery store. It’s where products with canola oil and corn get snuck into foods, even baby foods, without consumers knowing. Read labels and if you can’t pronounce an ingredient in the food, I wouldn’t recommend buying it.
Do I recommend this cookbook for everyone? No, but it’s fantastic place to start cooking for your family. A lot of people feel lost in today’s food world of trends, new products, and massive changes of what’s healthy and what’s not. This cookbook pairs all that down and backs it up with links to studies and other resources. Will I never bake a cake for my kids again? I most certainly will, but I’ll be looking at the ingredients I’m using a bit closer. I see myself cooking from this book for many years to come – when I’m even further from the baby years than I care to think about currently.
Did we love these patties? You bet we did. We had them for 3 meals, 2 days in a row. They’re freezer-friendly, but I had a good thing going so why ruin it? I tweaked the recipe a bit to cut down on time (we’re all short on it!) and boost the omega aspect a bit more. I used Ketchup (yes, organic) for 2 out of my 3 kids. I loved these with yellow mustard and loaded up the sliders with fresh veggies. 1 of my kids ate the sliders as shown above, the other 2 separated the slider contents and ate them up in a more organized fashion 😉
Favourite baby foods that I used over and over when I had smaller babies include:
- 8 dried unsulfured apricots the brown ones, not the bright orange ones
- 1/4 cilantro leaves and tender stems roughly chopped
- 1 lb / 454 grams ground chicken thighs
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1/4 cup quick oats
- 1/2-1 tsp ground cumin I used 1 tsp
- Buns and optional toppings if making sliders tomato slices, red pepper slices, cucumber slices, avocado slices, condiments, etc.
Place the dried apricots in a small bowl and top with hot water. Allow to rehydrate for approximately 10-15 minutes. Drain, roughly chop and add to food processor.
Add chicken meat and blend until apricots are in smaller pieces and chicken is well blended. Add chia seeds, oats, and cumin and blend until well combined.
Preheat oven to 400° F and place meat mixture in the fridge to allow chia seeds and oats to soften.
Line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
Once oven is preheated, form 12 patties using 2 tablespoons of mixture per patty. Form with hands and place on baking tray. Cook for 8 minutes, flip and continue to bake for another 8 minutes until patties are well browned and cooked trough.
* I received a copy of “It All Begins with Food” although there was no expectation of a review or a blog post. All opinions expressed here are my own.