Grilled Cheese with Porchetta

Grilled cheese is easy to make and a staple for many toddlers. I enjoy a fresh grilled cheese sandwich to start my day, or as a nice lunchtime treat. Mommy likes to sneak in a bit of extra protein, and a big punch of flavour, by adding some deli meat to my grilled cheese. Toasted bread, gooey melted cheese, and savoury deli meat are easy to love.

Mommy invented this recipe even though she has no love for cheese. Daddy and I love the meaty addition to our grilled cheese sandwiches. Just a couple of slices go a long way and the extra flavour truly livens up this dish. We love it when mommy makes her special grilled cheese sandwiches for us on weekends. It’s my favourite daddy and daughter lunch.

There are many variations of this classic dish and I have found my favourite with this simple recipe. I prefer my grilled cheese sandwiches made with french style white bread. Mommy and I have tested several types of cheese and various deli meats but this combination is my favourite. I think you’ll love what we’ve come up with but feel free to substitute your favourites to suit your taste.

Ingredients:

2 slices of bread

1 one inch cube of mozzarella cheese

1 one inch cube of mild cheddar cheese

2 slices of porchetta pork loin roast

Butter for frying

Ingredients for grilled cheese with pork porchetta

Looks yummy already!

Preparation:

Begin by shredding both types of cheese into one bowl. Mommy likes to use the handheld rotary grater for cheese, but you could use a box grater or whatever you happen to have. It’s not a huge amount of cheese and you want things to end up blending evenly, so grate the cheese medium-fine. The largest holes on a box grater probably won’t do well for this recipe.

We use the pure pork loin roasted porchetta. Remove the fat and rind on the outside of the porchetta. Put one slice on top of the other and roll into a tube shape. Cut the tube in half lengthwise, and then cut each half lengthwise once more. Collect the four long pieces of tube and slice in the opposite direction cutting the porchetta into thin strips. Add the porchetta to the shredded cheese, and toss until combined evenly.

Melt the butter on low heat in a medium-large sized pan. Arrange both slices of bread in the pan so that the outside of the sandwich faces down. Move the bread around the pan so that the bottom of each slice is evenly coated with butter. You could also soften the butter and spread it on the bread with a knife, but mommy finds this method is easier if you keep your butter in the fridge like we do.

Sprinkle the cheese and porchetta mixture in an even layer on one slice of bread. Place the other slice of bread on top to lock in the heat that will melt the cheese. Adjust the temperature to medium and cook until the bread begins to turn golden brown. Flip the grilled cheese sandwich over and toast the other side to a golden brown colour.

The grilled cheese sandwich is done when it is beautifully toasted on the outside and full of melted cheese on the inside. Place the grilled cheese sandwich on a bit of paper towel to absorb the excess butter and pat the top with a second piece of paper towel. The cheese will be very hot. Allow it to cool before serving.

Peachy's grilled cheese with pork loin porchetta

Ready for eating!

I like my grilled cheese with the crust removed and cut into bite size cubes. My preferred choice of beverage to go with my grilled cheese is a bit of juice. Apple and grape are my favourites. I find that juice is a refreshing choice for a somewhat greasy meal. Daddy likes his grilled cheese simply cut in half and served with a cup of coffee. To each their own I suppose.

Mommy and Me Banana Maple French Toast

One of my favourite things about mornings are breakfast with mommy. It’s not something that happens every day. Sometimes mommy is just too busy to eat with me and instead she uses that time to get things done. On those days I eat while I watch mommy load the dishwasher or tidy up the kitchen.

When I see mommy making french toast I know we’ll be having breakfast together that day. It’s one of our traditions. Mommy makes several variations of french toast and they’re all pretty good but one stands out for me above all the rest. This particular recipe is my favourite.

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

2 slices of bread

1/4 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of real maple syrup

1 overripe banana

  • Optional:
  • Strawberries for garnish
  • Butter to grease the pan
Ingredients for Banana Maple French Toast

You begin with these items

Preparation:

Peel the banana, put it on a small plate, and thoroughly mash it with a fork. You want a really ripe banana that will mash to a creamy consistency with minimal lumps. In a small bowl combine the eggs with the milk and beat with an electric mixer until it begins to froth. Add the maple syrup and banana and continue beating until there are no visible lumps of banana.

We like to use real maple syrup as it has a distinct flavour and is a slightly healthier alternative. If you don’t have maple syrup you can use the artificial pancake syrup, sugar, or omit it altogether. If you’re over a year old, you can also substitute honey.

Place the bread slices side by side in a shallow dish. We find that a pie plate works very well for this. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the bread, coating it as thoroughly as possible. Let it sit for a minute and then turn the bread slices over. After a few more minutes the bread should absorb most of the egg mixture.

Generously grease a large non-stick pan and preheat. We like to use butter for that extra creamy taste, but you can use whatever you prefer. The sugar in the banana and syrup has a tendency to stick to the pan so be generous with whatever you decide to use.

Place both slices of bread side by side on the pan and cook on medium heat until golden brown. Then flip each slice and cook the other side. Once cooked, remove from the pan and pat with a paper towel to remove the excess grease.

I like to have my piece of french toast cut into bite size cubes, but mommy prefers to keep her piece whole. We garnish our french toast with strawberries and serve warm. Any fruit would work as a garnish but we just love the fresh tangy flavour of strawberries paired with the sweet french toast.

Peachy's Banana Maple French Toast

Big piece for mommy and cubes for me

If you have mastered cutlery, you can add syrup or whipped cream on the top. I prefer to eat with my hands and those kind of extras just make me sticky. That’s why mommy puts my maple syrup right into the egg mixture. It makes me easier to clean after breakfast.

If you’re looking for breakfast for one, you could cut the ingredients in half and garnish with the other half of the banana. There is also the option of sticking with the recipe as is, and just eating both pieces yourself. I’ll leave that up to you.

French toast can be kept in the fridge for a day or two. It doesn’t come out of the fridge the same as it was when it went in. It’s still good, but it’s not the same. In our experience the best way to reheat french toast is in the toaster oven. That brings some of the crispy texture back and doesn’t make it spongy like reheating in the microwave tends to do.

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Is Your Baby Eating Poison?

I’m a big girl, and big girls eat grown up food. I have been eating solid foods for almost a year now. With that much experience, I’m pretty much an expert in this area. There have been bumps along the way, but overall it has been a pleasant journey.

When I began this adventure, mommy wanted to introduce me to an easy to digest food that would replenish my iron supply. Babies are born with about 6 months worth of iron. After that the supply needs to be replenished through an iron rich diet.

My very first big girl meal was infant oatmeal. Cereals made for babies are fortified with iron and they make an excellent staple food for a baby’s diet. I still eat oatmeal almost every day and I love it. It’s especially good with a bit of fruit mixed in. Sweet and creamy. Occasionally I’ll have a multigrain cereal instead just to keep things interesting.

There are many different baby cereal options out there. They can be made with various grains and come in a variety of flavours. Because iron fortified infant cereal tends to become a cornerstone of a baby’s diet, it’s important to choose the right one.

Believe it or not, we’re all consuming poisonous elements just about every time we eat. Should we be concerned? Maybe. The question to ask is not whether or not we’re eating poison. The question is, how much of it are we eating?

There are several toxic elements which can be found in common foods. Cyanide is found in the seeds and pits of fruits such as apples, apricots, and pears. The amount of cyanide these fruits contain is very small and it’s just about impossible to eat enough seeds to succumb to cyanide poisoning.

Cyanide is unlikely to be present in your infant cereal. What is more likely to be lurking there is arsenic. This element is naturally occurring and it exists in two forms. There is the organic arsenic which tends to be found in plant and animal tissues. There is also the far more toxic inorganic arsenic found in rocks, soil, and water.

Arsenic is found in nearly all of the things we eat but in very small quantities. Trace amounts of arsenic can’t harm us. There are some foods which tend to contain more arsenic than others. The food with the highest concentration of inorganic arsenic happens to be rice. It is unfortunate that many infant cereals and snacks are made primarily with rice.

Baby in a high chair with a quizzical expression

Are they trying to poison me?

Why does rice contain so much arsenic? There are three main factors that cause this to happen. The majority of rice is grown in parts of the world where large amounts of arsenic exist in both the soil and the water. Rice grows in flooded fields which require lots of water. Rice plants absorb more arsenic than other plants.

While arsenic does occur naturally, human activities such as pollution, mining activities, and the use of certain fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides can significantly increase the presence of arsenic in both the soil and the water. These activities release more arsenic into the soil which contaminates the ground water that is used for field irrigation. Furthermore, flooding fields with arsenic-contaminated water only increases the amount of arsenic in the soil.

Eating rice once in a while is not a problem. I enjoy the occasional rice cracker or puffed rice treat and I even have a side of rice with dinner from time to time. However, mommy is very cautious when it comes to my overall intake of rice. We little people are especially vulnerable because we are small and the amount of arsenic we ingest is proportionally larger.

Rice hides in many popular baby and toddler foods. There are the rice cereals, puffed rice treats, crackers, rice milk, and some puddings. Some infant formulas are rice-based and some formulas are sweetened with brown rice syrup. It’s a good idea to read product labels in order to have a good handle on the overall intake of rice in any person’s diet.

Inorganic arsenic can cause a number of health problems and make it more likely that an individual may develop a chronic disease. It has been linked to cancer, heart disease, hypertension, vascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Because arsenic affects brain functions, it is especially harmful to babies, children, and teenagers. It may impair memory and concentration leading to reduced intelligence.

Some sources of rice are better than others but as a consumer, it is impossible to know how much arsenic a particular rice product may have. The best way to safeguard against overexposure to arsenic is to simply limit the amount of rice that is being consumed. This is true for everyone, but it is especially important for those of us who haven’t yet finished growing and developing.

If your baby is relying on that rice cereal, perhaps it’s time to consider switching to a cereal made from a different grain. May I suggest oatmeal? Try it with pureed pear or banana. That’s my favourite.

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Preventing Allergies One Meal at a Time

I’m a food explorer and taste adventurer. I like to try new things and even though I don’t always like the taste of what I put in my mouth, I enjoy the experience of finding out how yummy something is, or isn’t. Sometimes the journey is better than the destination.

I eat all sorts of foods and I have been discovering new flavours and textures from a very young age. Mommy doesn’t have many restrictions when it comes to my menu. As long as it can be chopped small enough to not be a choking hazard, I’m allowed to have it. I even have peanut butter, fish, and eggs all of which I have tasted by the time I was 8 months old.

Many parents will tell you that you can’t introduce your baby to eggs, peanuts, and fish until well after their first birthday. Some people may even include milk, wheat, and soy on this list. They will tell you that feeding your baby these things too early will cause allergies. These people have good intentions and they were probably given this advice by their doctor when they were feeding babies of their own.

Around 20 years ago healthcare professionals were told that delaying the introduction of common allergy causing foods will decrease the risk of an allergic reaction. This was based on a theory and there was never any evidence that it worked. Nevertheless, doctors passed this advice on to their patients. We now know that this advice was wrong.

Ten years later food allergies in children were at an all time high. A study done in 2008 has revealed that children who were not introduced to peanuts in infancy are ten times more likely to be allergic to them. Similar studies on other high risk foods came to the same conclusion. Withholding these foods makes it much more likely that an allergy will occur.

Babies are ready for solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age. At my 4 month checkup with my pediatrician we were told that I was ready. I felt ready. I was very interested in what mommy was eating. I was sitting up with only a bit of assistance and I could hold up my own head quite well. I was ready.

Baby girl sitting in high chair putting up her hand

Who’s preventing allergies? I am!

In the first year, babies need to be introduced to foods slowly. One new food at a time with several days without anything new between them. That way, if there is a food allergy it will immediately be clear what the culprit is. Luckily, I haven’t had any reaction to anything I’ve eaten.

The first thing I every tried was oatmeal with breastmilk. It’s good to have a high quality and iron fortified cereal as a staple. It’s easy to digest and the cereal to milk ratio can be adjusted as needed. Next I tried a few different fruits, one at a time of course, and then a couple of vegetables.

Once I had these basics covered, I had my first taste of egg yolk. A few days later, I tried the egg white. I was coming up on five months by then and I already knew I didn’t like eggs. I’m still not a fan although I do like the way mommy makes french toast. I also like scrambled eggs if they are on mommy’s plate.

A month later I was eating peanut butter mixed into my fruit puree. I liked it as long as it didn’t overpower the fruit. These days I enjoy peanut butter on toast with sliced banana on the side. At this point I was also eating yogurt. Babies can have products that contain cow’s milk, but they shouldn’t drink it until at least 9 months of age. Cow’s milk lacks the required nutrients.

Once I passed the six month mark, mommy began feeding me meat. The first thing I tried was fish and it was pretty good when mixed with vegetables. Now I enjoy a nice fish fillet with vegetables and rice on the side. I’m a big girl and I have big girl meals with my family.

By the time I was eight months old I was self feeding with my trusty pincer grip. Mommy gave me cubes of cheese and bits of toast for my snacks. I still like that and will often eat this combination before I have my afternoon nap. It keeps me full until dinner.

In my first year, I have crossed off just about all the high risk foods off my list. My doctor said that the earlier I eat these foods, the better my odds of not having a reaction. It is also important to continue to eat them on a regular basis to prevent an allergy from developing. Early and often is the new recommendation to safeguard against allergies.

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10 Reasons Why I Love Cheese

Isn’t cheese wonderful? Everyone loves cheese. I have been eating cheese for quite some time now. It was one of the first foods I tried that wasn’t ground into a paste or liquid. Now that I’m well acquainted with cheese, I consider myself a bit of an expert.

Cheese is so good that I want to share my love of cheese with everyone. I don’t want anyone to miss out on this amazing food. If you’re not a lover of cheese yet, I have put together a list of 10 reasons why I love cheese to help win you over.

Baby girl in a high chair

Loving cheese since 2016

1. Cheese is delicious

The creamy, buttery, salty, tangy flavours of cheese are like no other food. Cheese is so unbelievably good. Each bite of cheese is a little explosion of savoury flavour.

2. Cheese is versatile

It’s great by itself and brings added flavour to other foods. Is there anything that isn’t better with a good helping of cheese? It’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whenever, wherever, and however, cheese can only make it better.

3. Cheese is yellow

I like yellow. So pretty. Pretty food just tastes better.

4. Cheese is the perfect finger food

I am a big girl and I like to eat all by myself without any help. I’m most successful at this with foods that I can pick up in my pincer grip. Cubes of cheese are perfect for this. Not too slippery for easy gripping. Not too hard for easy chewing. The ideal finger food.

5. Cheese can melt

Cubes of cheese are great but there are only so many cubes any rational person can eat. Cheese can be transformed into a stringy and gooey mass of flavour heaven. I don’t know how mommy makes the cheese do that but it’s brilliant.

6. Cheese turns bread into grilled cheese sandwiches

Grilled cheese sandwiches are the best sandwiches in the world. Crispy and warm with butter on the outside and gooey, cheesy goodness on the inside. Mommy makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich.

8. Cheese counts as meat

Mommy says I have to eat meat for the protein. I don’t know what she’s talking about but that’s mommy. If I refuse to eat my meat at dinner, mommy lets me have cheese instead. Cheese is a meat substitute.

7. Cheese turns boring pasta into yummy magic

Pasta is alright but it’s really just noodles with tomato sauce and little bits of something that might be hidden pieces of meat and vegetables. It’s not bad but nothing to get excited over. Add some shredded cheese on top and your uninspired pasta becomes a magical mountain of flavour. So good!

9. Cheese is a good snack on the go

I eat rather frequently. This means that when we’re out and about, most times I’ll want a snack well before we get home. Mommy packs me something to eat for when I get hungry. Sometimes it’s a yogurt, chopped fruit, or some Cheerios. If I’m lucky, mommy packs some cheese cubes for me.

10. Cheese can be stuffed into other things

You can stuff cheese into other foods for an explosion of flavour. If you’re really smart, you can take your cheese stuffed food and sprinkle more cheese on the top. Double the cheese is double the yum.

Cheese is a staple in any kitchen and it’s clear to see why. Today I’ll be having a yummy grilled cheese sandwich. Mommy says it’s almost ready. I’m mere minutes away from delicious cheese. I can’t wait. I give a little yelp to rush mommy.

“It’s ready. I hope you’re hungry sweet Peach.” Mommy tells me.

I am hungry. I am! I smack my hands down on the feeding tray of my high chair a couple of times to demonstrate my eagerness to eat. The cheese is coming. The cheese is coming! I can smell the delicious aroma coming off the plate that mommy is bringing towards me.

“Here you go baby girl. One grilled cheese sandwich. Toasted to perfection, crust removed, cut up into little cubes just the way you like it. Enjoy.” Mommy says as she puts a few neat cubes before me.

I look at the pieces and select one that looks particularly tasty. This is going to be so good! My taste buds awaken ready to savour the delicious cheese that I’m about to enjoy. I put the piece in my mouth.

Yuck! This is disgusting! All crusty on the outside and sticky on the inside. Why would anyone eat this? I gag a little and make a face.

“What’s the matter sweet Peach? Don’t you like your grilled cheese sandwich? You liked it last week.” Mommy says as she looks at me with concern.

I’m convinced that this is poison. I spit the piece out before succumbing to the toxins it’s bound to be filled with and I yell in anger. I give mommy an accusing look. Why would mommy do this to her little Peach? I thought she loved me!

“Are you sure you don’t like it? Maybe you could give it one more try?” Mommy asks.

I eye the pieces with suspicion and disgust. They look like jagged little shards and the smell is indescribable. I am not eating that! I hate cheese!

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The Fruitavore

I have always been a good eater. Since the day I started eating solid foods, I was hooked on the experience of eating. Lately I had a bit of a revelation. I have always known that I prefer some foods to others, but only recently it occurred to me that life would be better if I only ate my favourite foods. Why doesn’t everyone do that?

Mommy insists that I need to eat an assortment of different foods. I eat a little bit of yogurt at breakfast, just to make mommy happy. Maybe I’ll taste my grilled cheese sandwich to prove that I’m trying. At dinner I nibble on some vegetables and pick at my meat just so that I can say I’m making an effort.

When I grow up I want to be a fruitavore. All I really want to eat is fruit. Maybe I’ll throw in some oatmeal or Cheerios from time to time just for variety. Perhaps I might taste the occasional cookie or baby biscuit. Other than that, it’s just going to be fruit.

My favourite fruits are bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and pears. I also really like kiwi, peaches, apricots, and apples. There are many other fruits that I will eat too, but not raspberries. They’re pretty disgusting. I never liked them.

Baby girl sitting in a high chair

Can I have strawberries for breakfast today?

When I’m big enough to decide on my own menu, I’ll address the drink selection too. There will be no more water or juice, only milk for me. My plate will be loaded up with fruit and I’ll have a big bottle of milk to wash it down. That sounds yummy.

When I’m bigger I’ll be able to make my own food and then nobody will tell me what to eat. I’ll simply make whatever I want. I just have to be big enough to reach the plates and I’ll need to learn how to work the refrigerator. It doesn’t look that hard but I’m too small for the time being.

Mommy says I need to eat my meals to grow big. The irony is not lost on me. I have to eat all this different food so that I can stop eating all this different food. Confusing, isn’t it? I have been growing at a steady pace, so it seems that Mommy’s strategy works.

I can’t wait until I’m big enough to be in charge of my own meals. I’ll have apricot with strawberry for breakfast and pear with kiwi for lunch. My dinner will be a big plate of peach, apple, and kiwi, with a good helping of banana for desert. It’s going to be delicious. I’ll be the best fruitavore ever!

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The Thing That Ate My Cheerios

Every once in a while I hear this strange sound. It’s a bit like the blender but not as loud, and more airy, like the fan above the stove. I have never seen the source of this sound but whenever I hear it, it seems close by. If I’m in the living room it sounds like it’s coming from the kitchen. If I’m in the kitchen, I seems to be coming from the living room.

The other day I was having my Cheerios in the kitchen while mommy put some dishes in the dishwasher. As always, a few of the Cheerios got away and landed on the floor below my high chair. Mommy wiped my face and hands as usual and removed my feeding tray so that she could give it a good wipe in the sink.

Next mommy disappeared into the living room for a moment and that’s when the sound began again. Mommy came back to the kitchen and the sound continued to do whatever it does in the living room while mommy washed my feeding tray. I paid no attention to the sound since I’ve been hearing it as long as I can remember. I happily sat in my high chair waiting for mommy to finish up so that we could go and play.

Then the unexpected happened. The sound started to get closer. I could hear it just on the other side of the wall. Then it came around the corner and popped out right in front of me. I stared in amazement at the source of the sound.

Baby watches Roomba vacuum

Are you seeing this?

It was a black and grey coloured, disk-shaped object. It wasn’t very tall and about the size of the frying pan that mommy uses for cooking. It had lights and buttons on the top and it seemed to float around the floor while it continued to emit its strange sound.

At first it looked like it was going to head towards the stairs, but then it spun on the spot and came straight at me! I’ll admit that for a moment I was concerned for my safety. Mommy didn’t seem worried about this peculiar object, my high chair is a good distance from the floor, and I hadn’t seen this object jump at any point, so I decided to stay calm and observe what would happen next.

The strange object continued its trajectory directly at me. It came right up and bumped my high chair, then it rotated and began eating the Cheerios I had dropped. I was stunned and speechless. I leaned forward as far as the safety harness on my high chair would allow. I just had to take a close look at what was happening down below.

It continued to bump and rotate eating whatever it could find along the way. I looked at mommy and saw that she was watching me. She said the strange object was called a Roomba and that it keeps our floors clean. What a clever gadget! It cleans your house and all you have to do is feed it some Cheerios.

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