Today I’m launching the start of a new practical and fun series Mums Kitchen! With the busyness of life with kids, my aim is that this weekly feature will inspire and motivate moms to cook healthy and tasty meals for their families. And the best part is that many of these foodie/chefs are moms who not only know the importance of good nutrition, but also understand the difficulty of having a fussy eater!

Each week, one chef/cook is going to share with us her easy go to recipe. One that is not only quick in prep time, but one that you can rest assured knowing they are getting all the goodness of healthy ingredients. I have some amazing talented chefs lined up, all with a unique outlook on food and each offering their own individual take on what it means to eat well. From raw/Paleo style recipes to home cooked goodness, these are recipes you are going to want to save in your links tab and use during the upcoming weeks. And yes there will be plenty of healthy sweet treats shared here too!

Let’s meet our first Mummy Chef Nelleke Elston!

IMG_1361I am a freelance food stylist, blogger and general foodie, who is passionate about healthy eating, but more specifically, about living a well-balanced life and eating nutrient-dense, whole foods. ! As well as being mother to my 15-month-old little girl, I am currently in the final season of finishing a nutrition degree.

Being a trained chef, I couldn’t wait to start my daughter on solids foods, I was just bursting with recipe ideas I wanted to cook her. My excitement came crashing to the ground when I realised that like most babies, my little one could also be texture sensitive and regularly goes through fussy phases, not wanting to eat my lovingly prepared meals steamed to perfection. One of the most valuable lessons I learnt in the early days of solids, was reintroducing foods a few days later. It’s really proven to be very effective, as usually second time round she’s more eager to try my creations. Another tip is to remember that although cooking for your toddler is fun, try to stay focused on the goal . to introduce him/her to enough flavours and textures that they’re able to eat what you eat by 18 months or so. Or at least a variation of what you eat. This is going to make your life a lot easier, especially if you’ve got another one on the way!

This recipe is actually a variation of one of my husband’s favorite’s, Moussaka. It’s something I grew up eating, and it’s one of those dishes where you can ‘hide’ loads of healthy veggies for the fussy eaters. Plus it’s very flavoursome and healthy. When my daughter was smaller, I simply blended the mince for a finer texture, the soft aubergine also gives it a lovely creamy texture.

Toddlers Moussaka

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: Approximately 1 hour

Serves: Approximately 5 small portions

Ingredients:

1/2 onion, finely diced

1 carrot, finely grated

1/2 baby marrow, finely grated

250g ground beef/ ostrich mince/ lamb mince

1 sachet tomato paste

3 large ripe tomatoes

1 large aubergine

1 bay leaf

1tbsp butter!

2tbsp olive oil

Salt

1 tsp brown sugar

A pinch of cinnamon

1tbsp flour

3 cups full cream milk

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Cut the aubergine in rounds, 1/2cm thick. Place them on a roasting tray, drizzle them with olive oil and, once the oven is warm, roast them for about 20 minutes or until soft.
In a pot, sauté the chopped onion until soft and translucent.
Add the mince and cook it until it is cooked through and of a crumbly texture.
Add the grated baby marrow and carrots as well as the tomato paste.
Cook for a further 5 minutes.
Now add the fresh tomatoes and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for a further 15 minutes.
Remove the lid and allow the sauce to reduce, adding the bay leaf, pinch of cinnamon, pinch of salt and a tsp of brown sugar, (reduce for about 10 minutes).

To make the Béchamel:

Melt the butter in another pot and add the flour once the butter is melted.
Add one cup of milk and whisk until combined, reduce the heat.
Add the rest of the milk, whisking while doing this, making sure that there are no lumps.
Simmer for about 5 minutes until the flour is cooked.
Now you are ready to layer your dish. Place the aubergine rounds in the bottom of a small ovenproof dish. Layer the mince over the top and finally spread the béchamel sauce over the mince.
Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees or until the dish is browned on top.
Let is stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Serving suggestion: I like to give my daughter raw vegetables like baby tomatoes, fresh yellow peppers or cucumber. Another option would be to serve the Moussaka with fingers of whole-wheat toast.

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And there you have it!! Healthy yummy goodness!

For more of this very talented ladies recipes go check out her blog!

And be sure to check in every month for her feature here on the blog!

Hi I’m Leigh! Did you enjoy reading this post? I really hope so and would love you to stick around a little longer! Please feel free to browse my blog for other articles or to keep up with all the latest news and to be the first to hear about some great competitions, come and find me me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also email me directly at leeloobaggins@hotmail.com or simply subscribe below and never worry about missing out!
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