Dried vs. Fresh vs. Powdered

Sometimes a recipe calls for chopped onions, and you’ve only got onion powder. Or maybe it calls for parsley flakes, but you only have fresh parsley. Most of the time it’s okay to substitute one for the other, but how do you know how much to use?

I put together some information for you. Save the guide below as an image on your phone (or computer desktop) for quick reference! It’s also available, at the end, as a PDF so you can download and print it out!

Chile and Pepper

Believe it or not, some babies like spicy foods! It’s all an experiment. I wouldn’t put a spicy dish in front of my baby, but you could offer something a little hotter than “bland” to see what sort of reaction you get. If baby doesn’t mind it, or goes for more, try something hotter in the future. (For the record, my baby has tried a few spicy things and totally freaked out. We’ll try again in the future, but for now, he does not like the heat!)

Of course, not all chiles (or peppers) are that spicy. In fact, your classic bell pepper (capsicum), after the seeds are removed, is not hot at all (as I’m sure you know!). 

Not all chili powder is created equal. Some have more than just chiles, including added salt. Make sure to get the kind that says some sort of “chiles” as the only ingredient. Also, chile flakes (red pepper flakes) can be very hot, depending on the age of the chiles used. So if you sub fresh chiles with these flakes, be very cautious. Put a tiny amount at the beginning of cooking, taste throughout, and then modify as needed. Remember: YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD MORE LATER! 

I couldn’t find specific information about ratios for fresh vs. dried chiles. Here’s more information about the different versions of chiles!

Onion

Sometimes swapping onion flakes or powder for fresh onion is your only option. (And if you don’t have any powder of flakes, then you’ve got to use fresh!) Of course, something that calls for fresh onion is usually best with fresh onion. But that doesn’t mean you’re totally out of luck. 

The rule of thumb is this: 1 small onion = 1 tablespoon of onion flakes = 1.5 teaspoons of onion powder

Garlic

If you’re anything like me, garlic or garlic powder is in almost all the savory dishes I make. Most of the time, I use a garlic press and mince a garlic clove or two as needed. But if I’m in a rush or just want a hint of flavor, I’ll sprinkle some of the garlic powder I have instead. You can also substitute garlic with chives or shallots or onions! It’s not quite the same flavor, of course, but if you’re in a pinch, you gotta do what you gotta do. 

The rule of thumb is this: 1 clove = 1 teaspoon chopped garlic = 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder = 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes = 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic = 1/2 teaspoon garlic juice (Source)

Herbs

There are a ton of different herbs out there. Some can be substituted with their dried counterpart pretty easily, but others are tricky. Let your dried herbs soak in some water to rehydrate them before putting them into your dish. If you’re using fresh herbs, put them in just before you’re done cooking so that the flavor is stronger. If you’re using dried herbs, put them in at the beginning so the flavor has a chance to build.

Here is a great summary of different herbs and how they compare to their dried counterparts.

The rule of thumb is this: 1 tablespoon of dried herb = 1.5 tablespoons of fresh herb (and add more as needed since you can’t take it back once you’ve added it!)

One quick extra note about herbs: Check the expiration dates on your dried herbs! While they won’t go bad — as in, they won’t harm you — the flavor is worthless after a while. If the color has faded, the flavor probably has, too. Try crushing the dried stuff between your fingers to see if it still gives off an aroma. If it doesn’t, or if the aroma is faint, I would toss the container and get some more!

 

As I mentioned, here’s a quick chart for you that may be helpful in the future! I would just save the image on my phone!

DRIED

(CLICK HERE to download a printable version.)

Do you have any others to add?

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Easy Chocolate Pancakes

3

I made these pancakes several times this week and last week. There’s no added sugar (okay technically I add chocolate chips to my own, BUT the baby’s version doesn’t have added sugar). There is cocoa powder, which means there’s a tiny bit of caffeine. Read this post I wrote yesterday about caffeine!

In today’s recipe, it calls for 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. It makes 6 small pancakes. According to Hershey, 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder has 8.4 mg of caffeine. Divide that by 6, and each small pancake contains about 1.4 mg of caffeine. My son ate just under 1 pancake, so it’s no concern to me!

So… onto the recipe!

It’s SO EASY.

First, the cast of characters: You’ll need 1 banana, 1 egg, and 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. You’ll also need a little butter for the skillet (or cooking spray, if that’s what you prefer). I also added some chocolate chips to my own. You know what would be great?? Peanut butter chips. Oh my. I may have to go find some.

Oh, wait! Maybe I could put tiny pinches of peanut butter into each pancake as they are cooking! 

Onward! Tomorrow, I will try this. Mmmmm.

1

Next put all of that into a blender and blend it for a minute, until it’s nice and smooth.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.39.52 PM

2

By the way, when we move (in a week or so), we are getting a food processor. I’m soooo excited.

Okay, next you’ll heat a bit of butter (I use about half a tablespoon) on low heat. If it’s too hot, then the pancake gets dark on the outside and stays too soft inside. Wait until the pan is hot and then pour your mixture on. I made two small and two large. The small ones were plain, and I added chocolate chips to the large ones.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.40.07 PM

I made a bit of a mistake this time around….I had the pan on the lowest possible setting instead of the next one up, like I normally do. So they took forever, and they didn’t look all that pretty. But they tasted great, and they look… acceptable. With a little brightening of the image, you almost can’t tell! *wink*

Here is your printable recipe, if you’d like it:

Easy Chocolate Pancakes
Yields 6
A flour-free, easy chocolate pancake that uses just 3 ingredients.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 banana
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. butter, to heat in the pan
Instructions
  1. Blend the banana, egg, and cocoa.
  2. Heat a skillet on low with a little bit of butter.
  3. Pour the mixture into 6 small pancakes (or you can make 2 big and 2 small).
  4. Flip once after 3-4 minutes.
Notes
  1. You can add chocolate chips to the "grownup" version!
Baby Led Weaning Ideas http://www.blwideas.com/
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What About Caffeine?

a note about I’m not going to tell you that a baby should have NO caffeine, ever. And I’m not going to tell you that you should give your baby soda or coffee!

Let me break it down a little bit. There are just a couple of places where a baby might consume a little bit of caffeine! 

1. Breastfeeding

If you’re a nursing mom, and you drink caffeine, some of that will go to your baby. Generally, it’s said that about 1% of the caffeine goes into the breastmilk. If you have two cups of plain ole brewed coffee, that’s about 300 mg of caffeine (and that’s considered safe while nursing). That means your baby is possibly drinking about 3 mg of caffeine, via your breastmilk. Most babies aren’t affected by this at all (if you notice changes in behavior after drinking extra coffee one day, then your baby may sensitive to the extra caffeine).

2. Chocolate

Chocolate and chocolate products have caffeine. They also have sugar, which, in my opinion, is a much bigger battle to fight. But that’s for another post. The caffeine in chocolate varies by product. You can search just about any product at Caffeine Informer. One example is a single Hershey kiss, which has 1 mg of caffeine. 

Some parents would rather restrict all caffeine, and that is totally fantastic. I’m not one of those people. I have two cups of iced coffee each day, and occasionally I’ll have half of a soda, too. But usually it’s just the unsweetened iced coffee.

I use cocoa in some of my recipes to make something chocolatey. You’ll see that I do break down the caffeine by the numbers to give you an idea. I won’t ever give my baby more than 3 mg of caffeine in a day, as that’s the maximum. It’s also not every day; it’s more like once a week. I am not recommending it, nor am I condemning it. 

Baby led weaning usually means that you offer what you are eating. If I happen to have chocolate pancakes with my bacon and scrambled eggs, I’ll offer a part of a pancake to the baby! It is a treat for both of us. 

So to recap: Caffeine is not entirely off-limits, but you want to limit it to about 3 mg a day for your baby. If you can avoid it altogether, more power to you!

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Zucchini Patties

Zucchini Patties - BLW Ideas

These zucchini patties were delicious and super easy to throw together. I don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, chopping and dicing and mincing and grating and mixing and tossing and flipping. You get the idea.

Because these are baby-friendly, they definitely need some salt at the table! There’s a lot of flavor there, and you could add some other herbs in lieu of salt. For mine, I just added it at the table.

First, here’s what you’ll need: oil (for “frying”), shredded cheese (I used just Parmesan, but I would have added mozzarella if I had it), some flour, 1 egg, zucchini, all-purpose seasoning (this one from Trader Joe’s is salt-free), and onion powder (or chopped onion).

Zucchini Patties - BLW IdeasI didn’t have any onions! *gasp* I would have chopped an onion if we had one. This worked just fine, but I prefer fresh veggies to powdered….

Anyway, next you’ll grate the zucchini. You need about 1 cup’s worth.

Zucchini Patties - BLW Ideas

Dump that into a bowl with all the ingredients (specifics at the bottom). Then stir it together really well.

Zucchini Patties - BLW Ideas

Zucchini Patties - BLW Ideas

Heat a little bit of oil in a pan, medium-low heat. I always use cast-iron. (Here’s a post on how to treat your cast-iron skillet, if you were unsure!) Scoop a dollop of the mixture into the pan. This particular recipe made 6 small patties. You can modify as necessary.

Zucchini Patties - BLW Ideas

Flip once, and you’re done. It took about 3 minutes per side for me.

Zucchini Patties - BLW Ideas

Zucchini Patties - BLW Ideas

 

Here is a printable recipe if you want it:

Zucchini Patties
Yields 6
A quick vegetarian snack or side for your baby
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup grated zucchini (courgette)
  2. 1/3 cup shredded cheese
  3. 1/4 cup flour
  4. 1 egg
  5. 2 tbsp chopped onion OR about 1/2 tsp onion powder
  6. 1/2 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  7. oil for "frying"
Instructions
  1. Grate zucchini until you get 1 cup's worth.
  2. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except for the oil.
  3. Heat some oil in a pan on medium-low heat.
  4. Scoop the mixture into the hot pan. Flip it once.
Adapted from All Recipes.com
Adapted from All Recipes.com
Baby Led Weaning Ideas http://www.blwideas.com/
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Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels baby led weaning

 

These are incredibly simple. Before today, I had only tried sweet pinwheels (blueberry or strawberry), but I wanted to try something savory. And let me tell you, these were delicious. Seriously yummy. They are a bit crumbly (perhaps because of the type of puff pastry I used), so if you take them on the go, expect some pastry flakes to fly!

I would have liked to use shredded cheese because I think it gets more stringy. But that’s just my preference. We didn’t have shredded cheese, so I was “forced” to use the sliced cheese that we had (it was some provolone and smoked cheddar). We buy high quality slices, so I didn’t feel too bad about it.

First, the cast of characters. You want to get a puff pastry (you can make your own, if you want), chop some spinach, and gather some cheese of your choice. You will also need a little flour and butter or oil.

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels baby led weaning

 

I sprinkled some flour onto a surface so that I could roll out the pastry. I find it to be WAY too thick, so I roll it a bit thinner and then make two different rolls. (Today I made the spinach+cheese one and also a blueberry+cinnamon one.)

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels baby led weaning

After you roll out the pastry, spread a bit of butter on it. This is just for flavor, honestly. It’s optional.

For the spinach pinwheels, I put my cheese pretty evenly across the surface and then sprinkled the chopped spinach on top.

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels baby led weaning

Just for fun, here’s a shot of the blueberry one (I sprinkled some cinnamon and then layered the blueberries).

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels baby led weaning

Carefully roll up your pinwheel. Then slice it. I used a pizza cutter, but a very sharp knife would work just as well. Take your time so they don’t smush too much.

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels baby led weaning

 

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels baby led weaning

Layer them on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes.

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels baby led weaning

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels baby led weaning

These freeze really well and last in the fridge for several days, too. We usually eat them all within a few days. I enjoy these, and Alexander ate the insides of his. In the past, though, he has eaten whole pinwheels (just one, usually).

Here’s your printable recipe if you want it!

Spinach and Cheese Pinwheels
Yields 20
A simple, savory treat for you to share with your baby
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 sheet of puff pastry
  2. about 1 cup of spinach, chopped
  3. 2 slices of cheese (or about 1 cup of shredded)
  4. Flour, for rolling out the dough
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface, to make it thinner (this is optional).
  3. Spread some butter on top of the pastry (also optional).
  4. Layer the cheese in a single, thin layer.
  5. Sprinkle the spinach generously to cover the entire pastry.
  6. Roll up the dough and slice it to about 2 cm thickness.
  7. Place on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Notes
  1. Freezing: After these cool, you can place them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze them.
Baby Led Weaning Ideas http://www.blwideas.com/


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