Anyone who knows me, knows I love to get my hands on a new cookbook. So, I was naturally, quite excited to be given the opportunity to review It All Begins With Food, from the founder of Love Child Organics, Leah Garrad-Cole. From baby’s first foods to family meals, the book provides delicious, nutrient-rich recipes and tips for all stages of childhood.
Usually, when I get a new cookbook, the first thing I do is quickly flip through and mark the recipes that might appeal to me (and my littles). In this case I ended up with over 20 recipes that needed my immediate attention, including the recipe I’m sharing below: Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie. And, that was just on the first scan through.
In addition to the recipes, a good deal of the book focuses on helpful advice for meal planning, eating with health of oneself and the earth in mind, tips to grow adventurous eaters, as well as information on starting your baby on solids.
For beginner eaters, the first two chapters are dedicated to purees, mashes and finger foods. The recipes are easy to follow and many of them are freezable. Though my kids are a little older now, I’ve flagged a couple recipes from these chapters to try on them, including the Lentil Bake Bites and the Chicken, Apricot and Fresh Herb Patties.
Chapter three is dedicated to smoothies. Starting with general tips and a chart to help you develop your own creation, Leah then goes on to show us a few of her family’s favourites. The Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie caught my attention. Anytime you can make a smoothie taste like dessert, you’re winning, right?
The following four chapters focus on breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and treats, respectively. As a parent, I can’t emphasize enough, how important an nutritious breakfast is. Especially if you have school-aged kids like I do. Once my kids are out the door, they won’t have another chance to eat for 2 1/2 hours, meaning the breakfast they eat needs to keep them full and energized. The breakfast recipes in this book were fun and creative, and super quick to pull off, for the most part. Next up, lunches, the nemisis of parents everywhere, especially (again) when it comes to school-kids. With a bit of preparation and make-aheads, the chapter on lunches provides so many great ideas for interesting, nutritious lunches that your kids will actually want to eat. The dinner and snack chapter also had several great recipes, including one for homemade chicken strips, that included chia seeds, tumeric and coconut, which I tried out on my own kids.
The second to last chapter focuses on celebration themed recipes and includes ideas for healthier cookies, cupcakes and frosting. It also has a few great recipes for kid-friendly party food. The book concludes with a chapter titled “Make it yourself, Make it better”, which features recipes for home-made tortillas, ketchup, almond milk and natural food colouring.
I can see myself referring back to this book often, and if you’re a parent this book is a wealth of information and inspiring recipes to encourage your little eaters. Be sure to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a copy of It All Begins With Food.
Here’s the recipe for the Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie:
1 Cup of dairy or non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
2 tsp virgin coconut oil
1/2 small roasted sweet potato (1/3 – 1/2 Cup mashed)
1 ripe frozen banana
1 – 2 pitted Medjool dates
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao
1/2-inch piece of fresh tumeric, peeled (optional)
Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.