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Cookbook review: 'Ella's Kitchen: The First Foods Book' is a winner for weaning babies
Pop-Out Mini-Tortilla Muffins from "Ella's Kitchen: The First Foods Book The Purple One." - photo by Jennifer Ball
"ELLA'S KITCHEN: The First Foods Book The Purple One," Hamlyn, $19.99, 192 pages

Some of the biggest concerns a new parent may have involve weaning her baby and encountering questions about when to transition to solid foods, what types of foods to feed the baby and why food preferences change often.

A recent cookbook and guide from the Ella's Kitchen series, titled "The First Foods Book," successfully answers scores of weaning questions while outlining a timetable for the process and offering more than 130 recipes.

Divided into sections based on age, "The First Foods Book" details which nutrients are particularly important at different phases of a child's first years, along with what foods they shouldn't have and tips to make mealtime enjoyable for all. The unique recipes are designed to introduce babies to a wide variety of starches, proteins, spices and herbs so they won't be picky eaters later on. You'd be hard-pressed to find a Sweet and Spicy Lamb with Date Couscous recipe in a baby book. Additionally, there are many recipes beginning at the 10-months-old section that the entire family can enjoy, like "Baked Haddock and Pesto Pasta."

The recipes, aside from requiring ingredients that may not be on most families' normal shopping lists, are easy and require 5-15 minutes to make, depending on whether vegetables need to be steamed.

"Ella's Kitchen: The First Foods Book" is the only how-to book about feeding a young child that a new parent should need.


Pop-Out Mini-Tortilla Muffins

Baking mini tortillas in a muffin pan is easy. These are packed full of vegetables and are great mashed or left whole for little hands to hold.

Serves: 8

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Ages: 10-plus months

Unsalted butter or olive oil, for greasing

1 potato (about 7 ounces), peeled and quartered

1/3 cup frozen petits pois

red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced into small pieces

6 eggs, lightly beaten

2 scallions, finely chopped

1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

Broccoli and whole wheat rolls, to serve

1. Heat the oven to 350F. Grease 8 cups of a deep muffin pan.

2. Steam or boil the potato in a saucepan over medium heat for 8 minutes until almost tender. Add the petits pois and bell peppers and cook for another 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.

3. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the scallions and Parmesan and season with a little pepper.

4. Drain the vegetables if necessary, then allow to cool slightly. Cut the potatoes into cubes, then stir them into the egg mixture with the peas and bell peppers.

5. Ladle the egg mixture evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the tortillas are cooked through. Allow to cool slightly before serving with broccoli and bread rolls.

Lunchbox Lovelies

These tortillas are perfect for lunch on the go and for toddler lunchboxes, too. Once theyre cool, the tortillas will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

"Ella's Kitchen: The First Foods Book"