STEEMIT CULINARY CHALLENGE #3 : "Good for Mama, Good for Baby"

When preparing edibles for my family I always consider nutrition and variety, rather than simply what is tasty and what will fill our bellies.  Balance is the key I think, and so for both myself and my baby I daily try to include fruit, veg, protein, complex carbohydrates (grains, legumes, sweet potato, etc) probiotics, and as many herbs and spices as I can add to things!  This smoothie is pretty much a meal in itself, and can be taken for breakfast or as a snack at any time of the day.  I have been feeling a little run-down the last week, so I figured why not pack as many good things into this as I can!

I won't go through the nutritional qualities of all the ingredients, but I do just want to mention what a wonderful ingredient amaranth is.  Amaranth is a tiny and ancient Aztec grain - though technically not a grain but a seed, it is grouped with the cereals due to its nutritional qualities being so similar.  It is gluten-free and easily digestible, so it's a good choice for introducing into baby's first foods.  I have fed it regularly to my son from about 8 months, mixing it with fruit/veg and natural yoghurt, and he loves it.  Amaranth is high in calcium, iron, phosphorous, and carotenoids, and is also a good source of lysine which is an amino acid with protein content comparable to milk (source).  You can use it for all sorts of things - as a breakfast cereal, in smoothies, in yoghurts, combined with other grains, in baking, as a thickener, in salads, in soups & stews.  It's so versatile and has a wonderful texture, so I find it great for use in vegetarian diet.

In addition to nutritional content and variety, I also feel it's important to feed my son only organic ingredients, considering that this is a highly toxic era we live in.  Toxins in food (artificial additives, GMOs, pesticides, etc) play a huge part in the ailments and allergies many of us suffer, particularly in infants whose immune systems aren't fully developed yet.  If I can protect him as much as is possible from these harmful poisons early on in life, then hopefully he should grow up with a strong immune system able to fight the increasing amount of diseases there are.  After all, of we don't have our health, what do we have?

This smoothie is thick, sweet, slightly spicy and feels nourishing when you drink it.  Super tasty, and thankfully my son enjoyed his too, so I will definitely be making this one again!  This is my own original recipe, not taken from anywhere else or based on anything else I've come across!  

What you will need: (one for Mama, one for baby)

100g amaranth grain (* 2 tblsp of cooked amaranth is for the smoothies, the rest can be saved for baby's meals or any of the uses mentioned above, and will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3 days).

1 apple

2 clementines

2 tblsp chopped fresh pineapple

2 tblsp cooked & diced butternut squash

Squeeze of fresh lemon 

1 banana

1 tsp grated root ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp wheatgrass powder

2 tblsp natural yoghurt

1/2 cup water


Measure out the amaranth grain and put into a pan.  Cover with triple the quantity of cold water, bring to the boil, and then simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.  For the smoothie you only need 2 tblsp, but as it takes quite a while to cook it would be a waste of gas/electric to only cook enough for the smoothies.  This way, you have plenty left-over to use in many other things.  I am a big fan of bulk cooking!

Drain the water from the amaranth, then transfer to a container (suitable for refrigeration later) and leave uncovered to cool whilst you prepare the other smoothie ingredients

Peel and core the apple, and peel the clementines.  Dice into small pieces and put through a juicer.  If you don't have a juicer, simply mash the apple and clementines, then strain the juice into a cup/glass using a sieve or cheesecloth.  

You can blend these ingredients instead of juicing if you prefer a nice thick pulp, but I juiced as the pulp is too much for my boy to cope with just yet!

Put the pineapple, butternut squash and a good squeeze of lemon into the blender jug

As I use pineapple regularly for smoothies and frozen yoghurts, I already had some in the freezer.  I buy a whole pineapple, dice up, wrap in portions, and freeze.  This keeps it fresh and in handy amounts when I need it.  I also had some cooked butternut squash from my dinner last night, as I always save some of my veg for my baby's meal the next day.  If you don't already have these ingredients prepared, you could consider preparing them for use in this smoothie recipe and then freeze the remaining pineapple & squash for future use as I do.  A great time-saver if you're a parent!  Alternatively you can cut a small chunk of raw squash, grate or finely dice it, then steam it for about 15 minutes until soft.  

Peel the banana, snap into chunks, and add to the blender jug

Peel and finely grate the fresh root ginger and add to the blender jug

Add the cinnamon, wheatgrass powder, natural yoghurt, water, and the now-cooled amaranth grain.  If you haven't already poured in the juice from the apple and clementines, do this now as well!  Blend on full power for a minute until smooth

Pour into glasses, or in this case, a glass for Mama and a beaker for baby :-)

Thanks to @englishtchrivy for inviting me to enter this competition, I've had fun this afternoon!

Also thanks to the sponsors of this competition - @smooth, @rusvanelulmarin and @wingz

Logo kindly created for me by @papa-pepper

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