reusable-food-pouches-recipes

I first heard about Little Mashies about a year ago and they sounded like a dream come true. My kids were always wanting to buy pouch yoghurts when we did groceries because they were fun and easy and other kids had them. Sadly, yoghurt pouches sold in stores are chock full of sugar and/or absolute crap.

Just how much sugar and crap was highlighted recently in this great reference post over at Mumma Plus Three.

Vaalia My First Yoghurt? Should be healthy given it’s marketed as a great option when weaning your babe, right? Not so much. Almost 10% sugar and full of starches and additives. Slightly better than the Coles pouch (11.2% sugar) and the Paul’s pouch (11.7%). What about when you go for a healthy option, like Macro Organic vanilla yoghurt? 12.8% sugar! Admittedly, the ingredients list is a tad better on the Macro Organic, but you make up for that with the added sugar.

It’s really no surprise to me that on the few occasions my kids have eaten these pouches, they’ve ended up pretty hard to handle, followed by a whole lot of grumpiness in the afternoon.

After six months of being slightly disappointed my Little Mashies purchase kept being bumped down the priority list, hubby surprised me with a 10 pack he bought from biome and we’ve been using them ever since. So, what do I think of them?

They’ve been a really welcome addition to my food prep. Before buying them, I’d heard others say that reusable food pouches are such a pain to fill and clean, but I haven’t really found this to be true with Little Mashies. I do have a couple of gripes in this area though, which I’ll elaborate on.

I know it’s a food pouch we’re talking about – not rocket science – but there is a slight learning curve.

The zip locks are really stiff when you first get them, which is both annoying and reassuring. I wasn’t quite sure if I had closed them properly when I first started using them because they were so hard to seal. That said, I was also pretty thankful that was the case. Hard to seal means hard for the kids to open them and squeeze them everywhere, right? Right.

When you look closely inside the seal, you’ll notice that there are actually two zip locks across each pouch. That combined with the “newly developed anti-leak technology” that was introduced to the product this year, you can be pretty sure there won’t be any accidents when the kids are handling them.

That might not be the case when you’re handling them though.

The pouches look really big, especially when you’re holding them open to fill. It really does look like you can fit a lot in there, but you need to be careful not to overfill them. The first few times I spooned food into them, I filled them too high and then they overflowed when I tried to seal them. This was a massive pain in the bum for me, because I had used chia seeds, which got stuck in the zip lock when the mixture overflowed and it took me ages to try and get them out again. My general rule now is a maximum of 2-3 dessert spoonfuls per pouch.

One of my favourite things about them is how easy they are to clean. Little Mashies differ from so many of the other pouches on them market in that they have no tight little corners for food to get stuck in. The entire thing is curved, meaning that it’s more often that not a simple case of opening the bottom seal and taking off the lid and just running hot water through them. Everything just washes straight out. I’ve only had to scrub mine with a bottle brush once or twice, and that’s been when I’ve forgotten to clean them for a couple of days.

The important bit – the kids love them. The pouches have really cute designs that appeal to the kids. They’re covered with cute and cuddly mashie monsters that all have a different expression and colour. I actually have to hide ours when they’re drying or waiting to be filled, because my two love them so much they grab them off the dish rack to play with them or check what’s inside.

My verdict? Go and buy them!

Once you’ve got them, you’ll need some idea of what to fill them with. Here are three easy recipes for you.

Apple, rhubarb & ginger puree

You’ll need:

  • 1 bunch of rhubarb
  • 4 pink lady apples
  • A 3cm piece of ginger
  • 1/4 cup of rice malt syrup
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of stevia

Trim the rhubarb and chop into 3cm pieces. Peel and core your apples and chop roughly into 2cm cubes. Peel your ginger and grate it finely. Add the rhubarb, apple and ginger to a medium sized saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a slow simmer, then cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until your apple is completely tender.

Kiddie’s green smoothie

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon of chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chlorella (optional)

Add all ingredients to a high powered blender or food processor. Blend for several minutes until all ingredients are fine and smooth.

Banana coconut custard

You’ll need:

  • 2 bananas
  • 500ml coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla powder
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup of rice malt syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of gluten free cornflour

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius and cook your whole bananas in the oven, skin on, for around 15 minutes or until they turn black. Carefully peel and puree in a food processor or high powered blender and leave to cool while you make the custard.

In a bowl, whisk together the cornflour and the egg yolks until they’re mixed really well and there are no clumps of cornflour.

Place your coconut milk, rice malt syrup and vanilla powder into a small saucepan and heat gentle until hot, but not boiling. This takes me about 4-6 minutes.

Very slowly pour your coconut milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking continuously and vigorously. Once all of your coconut milk mixture has been added to the egg yolks, pour all of it back into the saucepan. Heat over a very low heat (you don’t want it to boil) while whisking continuously, for about 20-25 minutes or until it has thickened. Your custard should coat the back of a spoon when it’s thick enough.

Once you’re happy with the consistency of the custard, add the pureed bananas and mix thoroughly.