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Top 100 Baby Purees - Annabel Karmel

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Genre: Health / Family / Lifestyle / Author: Annabel Karmel / Hardcover / 64 Pages / Book is published 2005-09-01 by Ebury Press

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      24.06.2012 10:58

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      Overall great when introducing solids

      I have always said that i will try to cook for my baby rather than using jar food and so when my daughter was about 4.5 months she was ready to start solid. It was really scared as i didnt know how to start and how to approach weaning. I brought this book in the shop after i had a glanced through it.

      This book it devided into section:
      Introduction on how to start solids
      Food allergies
      Weaning pre-term babies
      Then it goes on into chapters devided by age group 6-7 months, 7-9 months and 9-12 months. A the back of the books it has simple sauces/stock recepies which I continue use now for example a cheese sauce recipe is yummy, quick and easy to make. It can be frozen if I make too much.

      I have weaned my daughter based on purees from this book, she absolutely loved them which made weaning really easy for me. One of her favourites were lovely lentils, cauliflower and broccoli in cheese sauce, chicken liver with vegetable and apple. My daughter is now 16 months old but is still having some meals based on recipes from this book e.g butternut squash with tomatoes and cheese. She love this sauce, i freeze it in ice cube trays I use it with pasta as a sauce, she can not get enought of it.

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      15.12.2011 09:34
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      Baby weaning help

      When I told my sister I was expecting my first child, she was full of advice. One little gem that she did pass to me was her copy of this book by Annabel Karmel. Annabel Karmel was not someone I had heard of prior to having my son but, now he is weaning, I can't seem to escape her. She's written numerous books on the subject as well as having her own ranges of baby food - pasta shapes etc.

      Although weaning seemed a long way off, it soon came round and I was keen to make my own baby food. Without Annabel Karmel, I wouldn't have known where to start. I also have another of her books, The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner, with which this book has a certain amount of overlap so I would probably advise purchasing one or the other. The Top 100 Baby Puree book can be purchased for around £5 online. The book is a nice size to fit in your kitchen cupboard and has a wipeable hardback (very handy!)

      INTRODUCTION

      The book has a lovely introduction easing you into weaning your baby. It gives guidance on you baby's nutritional needs as well as information as to why you need to start weaning your baby at 6 months. It also runs through the basics for cooking and storing foods as well as foods to avoid. There is also a section on weaning pre-term babies.

      THE RECIPES

      The remainder of the book is broken down into four main sections according to your baby's age: First stage weaning 6 months, After first tastes 6-7 months, Second stage weaning 7-9 months and Growing Independence 9-12 months.

      Each age section then has various fruit, vegetable and meat purees which get more complicated and textured the older baby gets. By 9-12 months there are recipes for common dishes such as 'my first spaghetti bolognese' and various casserole dishes.

      Each recipe is displayed on a separate page and starts with a list of ingredients, followed by the cooking method. At the side of this there are details such as how many portions it makes, the approximate cooking time and whether or not it is suitable for freezing. There are also facts or tips included. Some pages also feature photographs of the food (unsurprisingly these always look vastly more appealing than what I cook!).

      MY OPINION

      This is a lovely book that really helps you take the step into weaning. The recipes are easy to follow and simple, although the cooking times given are not always realistic. I have found them to be much shorter than the time it has taken me as the preparation is often quite lengthy. The number of portions that the recipe states it will make is often inaccurate too, I often find that it will make nowhere near as many as it says (although this obviously depends on your baby's appetite!) so usually end up doubling the ingredients up.

      Another factor that I find frustrating, particularly in the latter parts of the book, is that a lot of recipes cannot be frozen. As much as I would love to prepare my son fresh food everyday, this is not convenient at all and I freeze all his food and defrost overnight the night before they are to be eaten. This means that there are a lot of recipes in the book that I will not use.

      Without the book, I would be really stuck with what to feed my son to give him enough variety and nutrition in his diet as well as different tastes for his palate. I would have come to a grinding halt pretty much after the initial basic fruit and vegetable purees. The recipes in the book have ensured that my son has a balanced and varied diet and tasted foods that I would never have dreamed of giving him - liver, garlic, salmon. It has also given me ideas and the confidence to vary the recipes a little to adapt them for my son's preferences and even come up with some ideas of my own.

      The book is great for first time mums as it guides you through weaning, which can be a scary step but it also provides a good point of reference for more experienced mums too. It is written in a factual, warm and non-patronising manner that is really easy to follow. I definitely recommend getting a copy of this if you are thinking about weaning your baby.

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        16.11.2010 22:03
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        A great gift for a new mother

        My husband and I don't have any of our own family at the moment, however we haver quite a few nieces and nephews and we spend a lot of time with them, and I try and help out as much as possible. I therefore, often pick up things for my nieces and nephews and also for my sister. One thing that I recently picked up for the latest addition to the family, was this Annabel Karmel 'Top 100 Baby Purees' book, currently costing £6.35 on amazon.

        Now, I am not overly familiar with Annabel Karmel's products/books, but I have heard enough to know ther she is well respected. As I said I try to help out when I can, and since I like cooking, I felt that this would be a useful accessory for myself so I could make some things whenever I am looking after my sister's baby.

        On the front of the book is a picture of a little baby girl, looking happy and about to have a spoonful of baby pureed food. It also states under the title that this book gives '100 quick and easy meals for a healthy and happy baby'. At the bottom of the book, is says that this book is from the 'bestselling author Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner'.

        On the back of the book there are some comments from the Daliy Express and the Sunday Times, praising and promoting this book. The blurb at the back states that making your own baby food is both cheaper than the commercil brands and you can ensure that you are giving your child the freshest of ingredients. It also states that these recipes are for children aged 6 months and above, which therefore is ideal for my baby nephew.

        Inside the book is a short contents page highlighting the various sections:
        Introduction
        First Stage Weaning - 6 months
        After First Tastes - 6-7 months
        Second Stage Weaning - 7-9 months
        Growing Independence - 9 - 12 months
        Basics
        Index

        Since I don't have my own family, the initial pages of the book within the introduction section about startgin weaning aren't as useful to me, but I can clearly see that the information is clearly laid out, very readable, and very informative. There is information about nutrition, vitamins, the best first foods, foods to avoid (such as honey, sugar etc) as well as information about freezing purees and potential food allergies.

        The rest of the book is then literally filled with pages of recipes for different stages of babies. The book really is exceptionally well laid out and with the various colours used, it makes it easy to read, alongside a glossy, colour picture beside most recipes. Within each recipe, there is an obvious list of ingredients (which are usually very short), followed by the instructions for making the puree. Beside each recipe is baby age range, the number of portions that the puree will make, the cooking time and whether or not it is suitable for home freezing.

        Purees include : potato, leek, carrot and pea, apricot and banana custard, pasta with hidden vegetables and quick rice pudding.

        Now, I have not made too many of these yet, but I have already marked sooo many to try out, that I will be busy for a while, especially making those that are freezable for my sister to use, or for me to bring out when I am looking after the baby.

        I have found that any of the purees that I have made so far have been very easy to follow. The ingredients are easy to get, the timings are generally very quick and although I haven't tasted any myself, any that I have made have went down well with my nephew. I think this is a great book to buy for a new mum, and it makes making your own baby food seem so straight forward and appealing, and with the possibility of saving yourself money instead of having to buy costly branded baby food, this makes it even more appealing.

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        29.09.2010 10:42
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        Recommended

        Weaning my baby was one of the scariest things that I have ever done - after exclusively breast feeding him for 5 months and then trying a couple of days on baby rice I was at a real loss of what to do next.

        Enter the talented Annabel Karmel.

        Who is she?
        Could be described as the Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver of the baby feeding world. She is a mother of three children who has become an expert in healthy, exciting recipes for babies and toddlers. Following the untimely death of her child she became interested in organic and healthy food for babies and now shares this message with parents everywhere! One thing that amazes me is that pre baby I had never heard of Karmel, now I hear about her recipes EVERYWHERE!

        Where do I get this book?
        I got mine from readitswapit so I guess that means that I didnt actually pay for it but it is available on Amazon.com for around £7. Or try your local book shop.

        What does it contain?
        As the title suggests the book contains recipes for 100 baby purees. Now I think that the title is slightly limiting as many of the recipes don't have to be purees in the strictest sense of the word - you can mash them or even just squash them a bit to make them toddler suitable rather than totally smooth for babies.

        THe recipes start really simple - for example apple or pear puree and simple veggie purees. They quickly get into more exciting recipes though, including chicken with sweet potato and apple, beef stew and rice pudding.

        There is an amazing range of recipes in this book and they are helpfully arranged into sections suitable for the age of your child. So there is a section on early weaning (from 4 - 6 months), a "6 - 9 months section", a "9 - 12 month section" and so on. As your baby is allowed to eat more Karmel brings in the new foods.

        Additional help

        There is a great section at the beginning telling you all about the equipment you will need, how to sterilise items, and summarising when baby can have which foods. This was really useful and I didnt find it too patronising. THe NHS weaning book I was given seemed to assume that you were totally stupid! Annabel Karmel credits you with some intelligence and her tone is less preachy - more helpful.

        Are the recipes any good?
        YES - Karmel's philosophy is that babies should be introduced to a massive range of foods early so that they are not fussy eaters. THis is brilliant as my son has had all meats, fish and veggies / fruits. He eats most things (but not lentils!!!) Some recipes take 5 minutes to make and others you can adapt for adults (ie add some salt) too which is great.

        Would I recommend?
        Well apart from the horribly cheesy photo of Ms Karmel and her children this book is absolutely brilliant - definitely worth trying to pick up!

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          31.08.2010 22:03
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          great baby weaning cookbook

          I have two children, one 4 year old and one 11 month old and I have never felt the need to buy any other baby cook books.

          Annabel Karmel is pretty well known in the baby food world and my mother in law, who bought me the book, is devoted to her. This book is split into chapters which include food allergies, weaning pre term babies and a section for different age groups 6 months, 6-7 months, 7-9 months and 9-12 months.

          The book starts with basic purees of carrot, butternut squash and apple and pear then continues onto a wider range for ages 6-7 months. It describes the best way to cook the vegetables, other vegetables it can combine with and how many portions are made.

          There is one recipe per page and each page contains the ingredients and method for that recipe. In addition to this basic information each recipe also has a 'food fact' about one of the ingredients, which age range it is suitable for, how many portions is should make, cooking time and whether or not it can be frozen.

          Some of my favourite recipes from this book include Fillet of fish with cheese sauce and vegetables, Chicken with Sweet potato and apple, Lovely lentils, Carrot cheese and tomato risotto and tuna pasta with creamy tomato sauce. My 4 year old son still enjoys the risotto and tuna pasta on a regular basis I just increased the portion size. I'd like to add as well that my husband regularly 'dips into' the frozen tuna pasta for his weekend lunch.

          One of the many advantages of this book is that the recipes in the later section of the book (9-12 months) can be used for both a toddler and a weaning baby, you just puree the portions which are frozen for the baby.

          I highly recommend this book and once you have cooked one recipe the majority of them are cooked with the same method so even the most amateur of cooks could cope. I am very much a jacket potato in the microwave type cook and even I managed to produce meals that my children were happy to eat.

          Overall a definite must for any parent.

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            26.03.2010 21:52
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            A great book to have on your shelf for reference

            I have found the weaning stage to be by far the most stressful part about parenthood so far. My culinary skills before having children stretched to deciding how many holes to pierce in the top of the microwave meal before putting it in. So, it was with great trepidation that I started weaning, convinced that I was going to poison my child by feeding him the wrong things.

            It is safe to say that I'd never so much as boiled a vegetable, so I read up on a lot of literature about weaning, as well as asking advice. It seemed that the usual method of pureeing food was seen as old school now- everyone was into baby led weaning. This method just confused me even more, so I decided to try and learn how to prepare baby food as I didn't want to rely on shop bought stuff, and so I bought this book. I'm very glad I did.

            It goes through exactly how to prepare fruit and vegetables from the very first stage and gradually builds up mixing them until you are given receipes for older babies. I still refer to this book even now to find out times for cooking veggies, as the instructions are laid out in a really simple fashion. You are also given tips about what properties different foods have, whether they are suitable for freezing and ways to help make things tastier for baby. It has plenty of large colour photos of what the mush is meant to look like (I love photos in cookery books) and advice catered for each of the stages.

            I would not hestitate to reccomend this to anyone who is like me clueless in the kitchen and is embarking on the stressful stage of weaning your baby. It cuts through all the bitty advice given elsewhere and lays it out in an easy to understand time scale suited to the age of your baby.

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              14.01.2010 15:12

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              It has to be the best cook book for baby purees and toddler first meals in the shops

              This was (and still is!) a very hadny book to have in the kitchen book rack. There are some excellent and inspiring ideas for purees for babies who are having their first solids. These recipes make big enough batches to freeze at least a dozen ice cube tray portions of food. There are also some really yummy (because Mum's have to finish them off!) first meals for toddlers. The first spaghetti bolognese was a particular favourite of mine! I come back to the recipe for basic cheese sauce again and again. I used it a lot on pasta dishes for my daughter but it is also great on an adult version of lasagna. So this book really is something you can come back to refer to even when your baby has grown up. The photos are very appealing too and once you have read this you will want to buy into the whole Annabel Karmel brand...

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              02.10.2009 21:13
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              I would buy the baby and toddler menu planner book not this one due to reasons given in the review

              Why I bought it
              ******************
              I bought this book to use when weaning my son alongside another Annabel Karmel book as they were on offer together at Amazon. I bought the book when my son was about 4 months to give me a chance to have a read of the books to plan what I was going to need to cook the food for him.

              I selected an Annabel Karmel book as she seemed to be the guru of baby weaning and was either on every TV programme, internet site etc giving advice so I thought this book would be a safe bet.

              What is it?
              *******************
              This is a hardback book containing puree recipes and information on weaning your young baby from first tastes through to lumps at 9-12 months
              The book lay out is fairly straight forward to follow and is divided into the different stages for weaning from first tastes at 6 months then 6-7 months, onto the next stage of weaning when things get lumpier between 7-9 months. Then through to the last stage when it's all a mixture and they can have rice and pasta. The introduction covers her view on how weaning should happen and information about vitamins and nutrients that your child will need at each stage.
              The at the top of each recipe there are a few symbols telling you the cooking time, if suitable for freezing and how many portions it makes there s also a smiley face with the age on and I guess for you to tick if your baby likes that one.


              Opinion
              ***************
              I did have high hopes for using this book prior to weaning my son and had looked at various recipes. However I found the whole process of weaning and purees very stressful as my young son didn't like to be spoon feed he preferred to do it him self and to have proper food rather than mush. This lead us as a family to start to do baby led weaning with the full support and advice of our health visitor. Because of this I probably only used a couple of the recipes within this book.

              The recipes that I did use I found simple to follow as any other cook book would be. But I sometimes found the measurements a bit inaccurate. The one I think I noticed this on most was the recipe for the apple pear prune and oat puree. This was my son's favourite thing for breakfast and for it not to be pureed too much just blended into small oat chunks. No matter what I did I found the quantities of the liquid were just too small and the oats if left would absorb these and burn dry if more liquid wasn't added.

              I also found that when cooking some of the recipes if you doubled the quantities to make a bigger batch that the recipe didn't work as well. The one I noticed this with most what the chicken with leeks carrots and peas puree. If I tried to do it with a pack of chicken thighs the amount of carrots needed would totally overwhelm the chicken flavour and the peas would be just lost.

              Another criticism I have of the book is that the two stock recipes I found to a bit cumbersome to make with the ridged amount of herbs and vegetables so I ignored this and just made my usual stock up but without salt which is really the key point and I don't think this made any difference. But the small amounts really of stock you need for some of the recipes e.g. 250 mls compared with the amount she would have you make 2 litres also is not really that helpful. This is because it only stores in the fridge for a maximum of three days i.e. you need to use it and eat it by then. Also if you freeze the stock once you can't freeze it again. So if you don't use stock normally in your cooking you can be left with a lot of waste. An option I found myself doing on occasions was using a baby stock cube for both quickness and lack of waste. Because if you are making it the stock and the food in one day you need to allow 2 hours alone for the stock before making any recipe which doesn't make it quick like the title of the book suggests.

              I think what also disappointed me here as well is that all the information given is really just a condensed versions of the baby toddler menu planner book that I also bought. Equally some of the recipes were duplicates of the contents of that book rather than 100 totally different purees.


              Overall
              ****************
              Though I found some good recipes within this book to try with my son I wouldn't recommend it as I don't think it is as useful as the New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner by the same author. There is unfortunately some duplication within the two books and the book that I found the most useful was the meal planner so use your pennies for that one would be my advice.


              Book details
              *************
              Hardcover: 64 pages
              Publisher: Ebury Press (1 Sep 2005)
              Language English
              ISBN-10: 0091904994
              ISBN-13: 978-0091904999
              It currently is selling on Amazon for £6.25 or on Amazon Marketplace from £3.00

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                06.03.2009 11:20
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                Great reference guide for the weaning stage

                I'm no Delia in the Kitchen - cooking doesn't seem to come naturally to me - and as I was back working full time just a few month after my 1st son was born - his baby meals mainly came from jars. But after *helpfully* being made redundant half way through the maternity leave of my 2nd son - and having more time - I thought I'd try my hand at making his meals from scratch.

                As I had no experience at doing this I needed to get something to guide me through the process, so I picked up the Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel. This book appealed to me because the front cover declares the meals to be 'quick and easy' so I figured even my culinary skills should be able to cope. It cost £5 from Asda during their Baby event - so not sure if it available all the time in store, but I've seen in it numerous other bookstores online and off - so should be easy enough to get hold of.

                The book starts with an introductory section explaining when babies should start solids, their nutritional needs and foods to avoid - which is mostly common sense - but some could find it useful. It then moves on to food allergies and different intolerances babies can have- and ends with a section on weaning pre-term babies.

                The recipes start with basic purees for the first stage of weaning - and they are basic. Mainly made up of just 2 or 3 ingredients - mostly fruit or vegetables, they are ideal for babies to get their 1st taste of real food and they were good for me to get my confidence up that I wasn't going to make him ill. These purees are quick and easy to prepare - so far so good.

                'After 1st tastes 6-7 months' is the next section and it contains both very simple 1 ingredient type purees to the more complicated. One fish recipe has 13 separate ingredients - however most make more than 1 portion, and advice as to whether the purees can be frozen etc - so whilst the recipes are more tricky(for me anyway) you're not having to do them every day. I do have a gripe about the portion sizes though. One recipe I followed to a T, said it would create 6 portions. My son polished it off in 1 sitting. So either I have a bottomless pit of a baby, or her portion sizes are on the tiny side. That recipe also took about an hour with all the chopping, peeling and cooking - so it wasn't that quick either.

                Once you've mastered the 1st tastes section - and your baby is a couple of months older, you can move onto 'second stage weaning: 7-9 Months'. Here you can introduce some finger foods as well as lumpier purees. The purees in this section start to resemble proper meals like Mini Minestrone or Pasta with butternut squash, tomatoes and cheese - so when making them up I would at times increase the ingredients to make more and give it to my eldest too. Minus the puree stage obviously. The purees do include some basic recipes - such as broccoli with cheese sauce that are quick to prepare, alongside more involving ones - such as beef casserole or chicken liver with vegetables and apples (which I think sounds gross, so have never attempted) It also has some breakfast and dessert recipes to help build up to 3 meals a day.

                The final section is 'Growing Independence: 9-12 Months' where it states your babies diet can now virtually include all the same foods as the rest of the family and the recipes are aimed as such. There are simple scrambled eggs alongside risotto and pasta recipes - which I haven't yet moved on to as my son isn't quite at that stage. But none of them look too hard, so even I'm confident I'll manage.

                All the way through the book there are high quality photos of the purees and the pages themselves are different colours in places - so it's a nice attractive book to follow. The author herself is described as 'The children's food guru' and after writing 14 books on cooking for children she obviously knows a thing or 2 about it, so I'm glad I have this book to guide me through the minefield that is weaning babies.

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                  15.11.2008 22:04
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                  This is a great book with lots of helpful tips and ideas for meals for your baby.

                  'Top 100 baby purees' is a lovely helpful book written by Anabel Karmel who has written twelve other best selling cooking for children books including: Lunchboxes and Super foods. This book as stated has 100 quick and easy meals for a healthy and happy baby. You can buy the book from Amazon for £5.60

                  When my girls were babies I was struggling to think of different foods to make and buy them. I used to buy them a lot of tins and jars from shops such as Tesco. But they weren't really taking to them and they seemed to get bored of them. Not only that but I used to find it quite expensive as I was buying for two of them. Then my mum suggested making there meals myself then at least they would be healthier, cheaper as I would have most of the food already, more filling and tastier for them. I thought this was a great idea but I didn't have a clue what to make them. That was until my parents brought me this book.

                  The book is divided up into different sections which have different headings the sections go from when you first start weaning to the later stages when they are 9-12 months. Firstly the book starts with an introduction into solids.

                  Starting Solids
                  Which tells you about how you'll no that your baby is ready for baby food. It also tells you about your babies nutritional needs and the benefits of homemade baby food. It goes onto say that most jarred baby food hasn't got much flavour and nutrients in as it loses most of it while it's being prepared to go in the jar. So that's probably why my daughters were getting bored of jarred food as it hasn't got much taste and tastes the same. There is information about foods that you should avoid giving your babies at certain ages i.e. honey before there one which I didn't know. It also has information about different methods of cooking and pureeing the foods.

                  Food Allergies.
                  This section explains about different foods that babies can be allergic to and why they could be allergic to it. It also tells you about reheating and freezing foods which I found helpful as I used to cook big quantities of food and wasn't sure how long to freeze them for etc.

                  Weaning pre-term babies
                  I didn't really need to read much into this section as my daughters weren't pr-term. But for peoples who were I can imagine this section being very interesting and helpful as it tells you what ages you should start weaning them.

                  The book is then split into four sections which start from talking about the first stages of weaning to the later stages when they are 9-12 months. Each stage is explained in detail and it tells you about all the new foods that can be introduced at each stage and for each stage it has different meals. On a few of the pages it even tells you how to cook each vegetable from the beginning and how long it takes. For most people they would know how to do this but I used to be rubbish in the kitchen so this was a big help.

                  On each page of the book there are one or two menus. There is also a picture with most of the dishes showing what it should look like, a list of ingredients and the instructions on how to cook it. In the top corner of each page there is also some extra information which I found really useful saying: the age it is suited for, how many portions it should make, how long it takes to cook and whether it is suitable for freezing and then it has a comment or a top tip.

                  I think this book is brilliant and it helped me loads with ideas for meals and puddings to serve my daughters. The book is very well designed, very simple and has a lot of information. When my daughters first tried the meals from there they were slightly sick this was because there taste buds were doing overtime and weren't used to strong tastes. But it didn't take them long to adjust to it and there appetite improved and it was good to know that I was serving them healthy food and it was cheaper.

                  I would definitely recommend this book.

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                    10.11.2008 15:51
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                    A fantastic little recipe book to start your baby's weaning

                    I brought this book when I was about 20 weeks pregnant as it was £5 in asda in their sale, and didn't really give it much thought after that. I didn't really know who Annabel Karmel was and what she did.
                    I read this book towards the end of my pregnancy and thought that looks like a good book with lots of healthy homemade recipes for my baby.
                    I have always wanted to give my baby the best start with breastfeeding and homemade purees/foods, I didn't really want to buy in jarred foods and had read that jars of baby food can have a shelf life of 2 years or more, so cannot possibly contain anywhere near as much goodness as a meal that has been freshly prepared with fresh ingredients, really made me want to make my own food for my baby.
                    I liked the way the book was set out and set up into sections:
                    Introduction: giving an insight to weaning, baby's needs, foods to avoid, allergies and other really helpful information. It was veery useful for me to have it there in black and white to go back and refer to it if I got stuck.
                    First Stage weaning (6 Months): There are lots of vegetable and fruit purees, some you would think well I could have made that without the book, for example apple puree, but these were just the start recipes. The purees then built up into having 2 vegetables etc.
                    What was useful was the little tips on each page, so it may say, "carrots contain beta-carotene which is good for...."
                    After first tastes (6-7 months): Chicken and fish is introduced in this section, and my daughter loves the lovely lentils recipe.

                    Second Stage Weaning (7-9 months): introduces more ingredients and texture
                    Growing Independence ( 9 - 12 Months): recipes such as stews, Bolognese etc with more lumps.


                    I didn't really get to this stage at first as I had already introduced lumps really early on as she wanted the lumps, but I also brought the AK complete meal planner for babies and toddler, which had a lot more recipes in it.
                    Also my one of my dogs decided the book itself tasted quite yummy and chewed up half of it, so I now only have half a chewed book!
                    I have since gone back to the book along with the other book I brought and change my daughter's recipes each week so she gets a huge variety of food.
                    Not once has she refused any of the purees or recipes from either book, and she has always had every last spoon.
                    All recipes have been easy to make and straight forward and I make batches of the food up too so we have enough in.

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                      09.11.2008 20:53
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                      Great book,great information,will see you through their first busy year

                      Feeding solids for the first time I have discovered can be a minefield, what with always new research showing links to future illnesses and allergies. Then there is knowing what is safe for your child so as to prevent choking when introducing finger foods and making sure they get all the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. It's a complicated and worrying time as a parent, and I think I must have nearly cleared the NHS out with all my valium munching as I sat nervously waiting for something awful to happen with a child first aid book on my lap. The thing is, I swore to myself I would never feed my child jarred rubbish that is all but fresh. I promised to make her the best food I could, looking closely as to make sure she had a meal that included an ingredient from each food group followed by fruit or a yogurt. It would have been easier to buy the jars and let someone else do the worrying and know what I was giving her was nutritionally balanced and of the right consistency for her weaning stages. But I wanted more than that for her and you cant beat home cooking So when I saw this book in Tesco for £6 (if you read my other reviews you will see I seem to spend my entire time in Tesco's, it's a glamorous life) while I was looking for new ideas for food and panicking about what she could have, I had a little flick through and in the trolley it went. Its purely 126 pages of life saving information on ideal tasty home cooked foods for 6- 12 month olds.

                      To start you are told what signals to look out for to see if your child is even ready to wean, and goes on to explain what vitamins and how much fat baby needs to grow as healthy as possible. Then moving on to tell you about the best first foods for your baby and how to introduce them, packed into the introduction is also all the foods to avoid and at what age to avoid them til. You are given the best ways to cook the different foods to keep as much of the goodness as possible which in my opinion is vital. You are told how to puree the foods for the different stages of the weaning process and finally how to store the food after it has been cooked. Then there is a small section on weaning for pre term babies which I have not seen before in other books, but I imagine is even more of a worry for mums as the times to wean can vary so greatly.

                      After this you are treated to 100 fantastic recipes that are actually delicious, the methods of preparing are explained very clearly and simply and each page has a Top Tip and some helpful Food Facts. The recipes are divided into stages: First 6 months (most basic foods), After First Tastes 6-7 months (more adventurous ideas), Second Stage 7-9 months (introducing texture)and Growing Independence 9-12 months (promoting self feeding). There are plenty of ideas for desserts, including plenty of fruit purees that I can assure you, you wouldn't have thought of. After the age of 6 months and your baby is ready I think you can pretty much make anything in the book and then blend it to the correct consistency, therefore its impossible to run out of ideas.

                      I have only one bad point about this book, the part I was most terrified about was the first finger foods as my little one shows no fear of anything and I knew she would shove it all in (she did). I was so worried about what to give her that wouldn't result in a visit to A&E that I got quite worked up about it. I eventually took the plunge with some toast fingers, but I felt this terrifying event for any parent was not covered in the book. There were some suggestions for finger foods but not in any particular detail, maybe how to cut the food and to what size that makes it easy to grip but wont slip down the back of the throat the minute your backs turned, would be helpful. Obviously that's what health visitors are for, but personally mine isn't much use at all and so I spent hours researching the questions I wanted answering about this subject. It's a great book and I now refer to it as the Bible, my daughter loves the foods and is growing beautifully.

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                        21.10.2008 15:32
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                        A great little book full of tasty ideas

                        If you're anything like me, after feeding my little daughter (at my first baby) nothing but milk for the first 6 months and then faced with weaning, I looked for all the help and advice I could get. Suddenly having to think about and prepare 3 meals a day ensuring each meal was provided the nutrients and goodness needed by a growing baby was a little daunting.

                        I first saw Annabel Karmel at the National Baby Show in London while my daughter was still tiny and I really liked her. Everything she said, although a lot of it was common sense, did make a lot of sense. The fact that jars of baby food can have a shelf life of 2 years or more, so cannot possibly contain anywhere near as much goodness as a meal that has been freshly prepared with fresh ingredients, really made me want to make my own food for my baby.

                        The book is divided into 6 sections:

                        1 - INTRODUCTION - this includes information on:
                        How and when to start weaning
                        Your baby's nutritional needs
                        Best first foods for your baby
                        Foods to avoid
                        Food allergies
                        Weaning pre-term babies

                        I found this very helpful indeed. My health visitor did talk through weaning very briefly and not in very much detail, so to have something to hand (especially when you're a first time Mum) is quite reassuring.

                        2 - First Stage Weaning: 6 Months

                        This section is full of a various purees to start to start you and your baby off. Some of the purees seem a little too simple - first instance the first is just carrot puree. But by each recipe it does say why this food is a good starter food (i.e. 'babies like carrots' naturally sweet taste', 'apples and pears are easy to digest' and 'bananas are full of slow release sugars that provided sustained energy'). So although it does seem ridiculous to have such simple recopies, it's the information that comes with them and to understand why they are good things to feed your baby I found to be a real help.

                        3 - After First Tastes: 6 - 7 Months

                        After your baby has their first tastes of food, they then go on to a wider variety of foods and this section has plenty of purees to try out on them including fish and chicken recipes. My daughter absolutely loved the Cinderella's pumpkin puree.

                        4 - Second-Stage Weaning: 7-9 Months

                        This section introduces thicker and lumpy purees and finger foods. I was initially worried about my daughter choking on finger foods initially, but she managed them really well and it didn't take long before she was chomping away (albeit with her gums!) on toast and bananas etc. There is now a whole range of food in these purees, loads of veg but also beef, chicken liver and different types of fish.

                        5 - Growing Independence: 9 - 12 Months

                        By now, your baby can virtually eat the same things as you - just a few exceptions like added salt, unpasteurised cheeses, whole nuts etc. Some of these recopies actually look quite delicious and I have made them for the whole family to enjoy and my daughter loved them. I found it a good natural progression from preparing separate food for my daughter to her eating the same food as the rest of the family. She is 30 months old now and we still make the quick rice pudding recipe for desert sometimes!

                        Each stage of purees details what age group they are aimed at, how many portions the recipe makes, cooking time, whether they are suitable for freezing and often a top tip. I found that there is a good range of veggie, meat, fruit, cooked and non-cook dishes to choose from. All are straight forward to make and most are very quick.

                        6 - The final very short part of the book gives a few basic vegetable/chicken stock recipes etc.

                        On the whole, I have found this a very useful little book full of tasty ideas and now my son is enjoying them just as much as his sister did. You could obviously manage without a puree cookbook and make your own up, but I think it's a really good guide and I would definitely recommend it as it stops you sticking to the same old things day in day out making your babies diet more varied and interesting.

                        (all of my reviews appear on Ciao under the same name - Ashwick)

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                          13.10.2008 10:05
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                          Great book if this is the path you are going down

                          Top 100 Baby purees by Annabel Carmel does exactly what it says on the tin - as the saying goes! Annabel identifies a 100 quick and easy recipes suitable initially from birth and then moving up giving approximate ages where the ideas and recipes become suitable.

                          The introduction to teh book is detailed with information about starting solids, including sign sthat you baby is ready, your babies nutritional needs, the benefits of homemade baby food, the importance of milk in a babys diet, vitamin supplements, th ebest first foods, foods to avoid, cooking baby foods, pureeing, freezing foods, reheating food, food allergies, and weaning premature babies. All this information is good advice, alot of which many people do know but it is always good to have a reminder as well and to have what you think you know confirmed as being correct. I found the section on foods to avoid and allergies the most informative and helpful in my own situation.

                          The book then starts with first stage weaning where simple puree ideas are given. Purees that have 1-3 ingredients for babies starting out on the weaning process are included here. Something else I found useful was the symbol guide on wach page which tells you how many portions the recipe makes, whether you can freeze it or not, and how much cooking time it takes. This first stage of recipes does start off with teh blindingly obvious e.g. pureed carrot, but it does go on to give other more exciting recipes to use. Also many pages contain 'food facts' which agin was useful, espcially as my son had an iron deficiency and so I was able to see which recipes were going to help him naturally as well as using the medicine.

                          As the book continues the suitability of age for the recipes increases. Ideas for introducing meat and fish are included in the recipes. At the beginning of each new stage there are ideas of how much of the different types of foods your baby should be eating, e.g. how many servings of carbohydrates, how much milk your baby should be continuing to have. And as it becomes appropriate (approximately the age of 7-9 months) there are suggestions for finger foods as well.

                          All babies are different and each will reach the different stages of eating at different points in time, therefore I think that the ages given in the book are a guideline for parents and you shouldn't get too hung up on these, it may be your little one is ready before the suggested ages or it little one may be older before they are able to cope with more lumps.

                          Pureeing baby food is definately not a waste of time! It is a process of developing the muscles in the mouth and teaching them to cope with organising food in order to swallow safely. But at the same time, in my opinion, you should not stay at the one stage for too long as the key word is developing and so lumpier foods should be introduced, mashing instead of pureeing. The Annabell Carmel book shows you recipes to enable this process to work.

                          The last pages of the book show some great recipes that would be suitable for all of the family no matter what their age.

                          This is great book for first/second/third time mothers! It is full of information. You don't have to follow it to the letter (as with any recipe book) you can pick and choose which recipes suit you and your baby.

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                            08.08.2008 22:01
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                            Good if you like pureeing food constantly, rubbish if you don't

                            Hi, I think I may be going against the flow with my review of this book, but I thought it would be useful for people to see a different point of view.

                            All in all it's a good book. The introduction is very detailed and I did actually find this information very useful when I was first thinking of weaning my daughter (at approx 6 months) because the author details your baby's nutritional needs, vitamin supplements, benefits of homemade food, foods to avoid etc. She also has a section on allergies which is good for reference if you think your baby might be showing signs of an allergic reaction. And then you come to the recipes...

                            The first recipe section is recommended for baby's aged 6 months, and the first 'recipe' is 'First Vegetable Puree', which is a puree of one vegetable, which to me is common sense and seems like a waste of a page. Then the next recipe is 'Creamy veg or fruit puree' which is a veg or fruit puree mixed in with some baby rice, which again to me is common sense and a waste of a page. As you move through the book, the purees become more complex (i.e. one or two or even three fruit or veg in one puree - wow!)

                            Then as the book progresses further, the age of the baby increases and thus the purees become more exotic and interesting, however by this time I was COMPLETELY fed up of pureeing food and gave up on the whole puree idea. I'd recently had the 7/8 month check with my health visitor and she recommended trying my daughter on finger foods, such bits of toast or breadsticks, and I explained that I had a worry of her choking etc, but she told me not to be concerned because my baby was old enough to chew! Which I thought was very interesting seeing as though this book was still recommending mushed up veg for this age group. So I did a bit of research on the internet and found it to be true! We are wasting our time pureeing our baby food because babies are being weaned later in life and therefore we can skip the whole puree rubbish.

                            So I ditched the book and started giving her food she could pick up herself such as steamed carrot sticks, bits of banana, peach, (any soft fruit) toast, anything that she could pick up and chew on herself, and it worked wonders, I got a lot more food down her this way, than trying to shovel puree into her mush.

                            The recipes towards the end of the book are for babies age 9-12 months and they are actually little meals in themselves - beef casserole, lamb casserole etc and some of them do sound quite delicious, but by the time my baby was this age, she was just having a little bit of whatever we were having for tea (minus salt or any spicy ingredients) and to be honest I have never looked back. I now have an 18 month old who is a very good eater and will try almost anything.

                            I will definitely not be going down the puree route with my second baby, so this book will be gathering dust on the shelf.

                            So depending on your parenting style and how you want to wean your baby I'm not sure whether to recommend this book or not. If you are planning on pureeing for 4 or 5 months and making separate meals for your baby, then this book will be your bible as there are quite a few (100 to be exact!!) different ideas, but if you want less hassle and are interested in an easier way to feed your baby then don't buy this book as you will just get frustrated! Try something on 'baby led weaning' instead.

                            I hope this review doesn't sound too bad...

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