This last week has been all about teething in our home, poor Pumpkin is cutting another tooth and that means he is hardly eating a thing. Pumpkin cut his first tooth at eleven and a half months old, yet he showed all the possible signs of teething from when he was six months old. Even now with his five teeth and three more on the way, he really struggles as each new one comes through. Not only does teething put him off his food, it also knocks him right out of his sleep routine and I can guarantee at least two nights this week will again see Pumpkin wide awake and full of energy for anything from three to five hours in the middle of the night. So, as you can imagine, we are all exhausted, grumpy and a little bit tearful out of sleep fatigue!
Over the past week, I have posted a few photographs on my Twitter and Instagram feeds of meals that I have made for Pumpkin; these are my go to meals when teething, as I know he will eat them. If he doesn’t, then I know he is really in a lot of pain and I will then go back to weaning basics and give him his favourite mushy foods and Calpol!. I have had some requests for the recipes, so I am going to share them in this post, please note that I am not a chef or nutritionist! I make most meals up as I go along and use what I have in cupboards and the freezer, so please feel free to adapt as you go along too!
I cram/sneak as many vegetables as possible into my cooking, as since Pumpkin hit toddlerhood, he has become adverse to vegetables and this is one of the only ways I can sneak them into his diet. As a baby, he would happily eat a wide range of vegetables, I don’t know why this changed, but I still continue to offer vegetables at all meals, but it always is treated with the same reply ‘no no mamma’ then it is thrown onto the floor…
Here are two of Pumpkin’s go to teething meals:
Sneaky Veggie Bolognese Sauce
Oil (1 Tablespoon)
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 Garlic Clove (crushed or finely chopped)
500g Beef Mince
1 Vegetable Oxo Cube
Tomato Purée 1 Tablespoon
1 Carrot (Grated)
1 Courgette (Grated)
5 Small Mushrooms (Grated)
1 Frozen cube of Spinach (Grated, whilst frozen or use fresh and chop finely)
1 Red Pepper (Grated) – Optional – this was our new addition this week!
Worcestershire Sauce (1 Tablespoon)
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan
2. Soften onion and Garlic in the oil
3. Add the beef mince to the onion and Garlic, and cook until the mince is browned. Once browned, I like to drain the mince in a sieve to get rid of any excess fat and then return to the pan.
4. Put the pan back on the heat, sprinkle in the stock cub, add the Tomato puree and stir well.
5. Add all the grated vegetables and stir until well combined.
6. Add the Passata and stir, if required add some water to loosen the sauce (remember that the vegetables will reduce and this will add some additional liquid as it cooks down)
7. Add oregano and the Worcestershire sauce, stir and bring to the boil.
8. Once at boil, reduce down to the simmer, partly cover with saucepan lid and simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
Additional seasoning can be added if required, please feel free to swap and change ingredients for your family’s tastes. You can freeze any leftovers, for quick and easy meals too!
The next recipe that I posted was a slow cooked Chicken Curry, this recipe is a great way to introduce curry to your little one, whilst making a soft and gum friendly meal for when they are teething! Plus, once it’s in the slow cooker, you can pretty much forget about it and get on with your day! Feel free to adapt the recipe and add vegetables/spices to suit your little ones tastebuds!
Slow Cooked Chicken Curry
1 Jar Mild Salsa (I didn’t have any passata when I last made this, so substituted with a jar of salsa, and it tasted much better and Pumpkin agreed!)
Mild Curry Powder (1 Tablespoon)
2 Chicken breasts, cut in half
1-2 Teaspoons of Cream Cheese per serving (see Method for details)
1. Put chopped onion, Salsa and Curry Powder into Slow cooker and stir well.
2. If required, add a little water to loosen the sauce.
3. Add Chicken breasts.
4. Cook on High for 4-5 hours or until chicken is thoroughly cooked (occasionally stir the sauce).
5. When ready to serve – remove a portion (one half of the chicken breast) and shred into a bowl, add some of the curry sauce and stir through a teaspoon of cream cheese. Add more cream cheese if required for your Toddler’s tastebuds!
6. This can be frozen, just don’t add the cream cheese if you are going to freeze!
7. Serve with Rice or Couscous.
Teething Friendly Snack Ideas:
Mini Bread Sticks – the best ones I have found are from Waitrose –
Rich Tea Finger Biscuits – given sparingly but he adores them!
Fruit – All kinds in finger sized portions
Ella’s Kitchen Fruit Smoothies – a fail safe snack when teething is really bad!
Oat Cheerios – dry without milk, make a great finger food snack
Mini Bread Sticks & Cream Cheese Dip
Frozen yoghurt and fruit purée ice lollies
Sometimes Pumpkin is just not interested in lovingly home cooked food, like he used to be when I was weaning him. This can be frustrating when I have made a meal only for him to spit it out and say ‘no no mama” and drop it on the floor. If I am honest, it makes me wonder where I went wrong, I spent hours when he was a baby, making a wide range of different vegetable combinations to match the brightest rainbow to be gleefully munched by him. I just don’t know where and when it changed, suddenly he just isn’t interested in my flavour combinations or the luscious greens. No, Pumpkin is interested in Chicken Dippers, Fish Bites, Sweet potato Crocodiles, Baked Beans, Peas and Sweetcorn.
However, I should be grateful that he is eating something, and I should embrace that and the fact he does eat some home cooked meals, I am currently working on some more hidden veggie meals with him and try to work at his speed and not mine when it comes to new tastes.
I also need to stop taking his food rejections personally, it maybe that his gums are hurting, or his tastebuds are still developing and what tastes nice to me, tastes really nasty to him! After all, don’t we all have days when we would rather have convenience food over cooking a big home cooked meal?
I hope your little one enjoy Pumpkin’s ‘current’ favourite meals, if you have any questions please get in touch and I will be happy to help!