It’s frightening to realize how much of an affect a change in routine has on me.
I started a new job this week and I quickly realized after I jumped in the car and backed out of the driveway that I had to think about where it was I was going.
Normally when I leave for work my car just takes me there.
Somehow I arrive at my tantamount, daily destination.
But not this week…this week there was a significant breach in my routine.
I had to get up earlier to leave earlier and hit the road with an intricately laid out plan of how I was to get from A to B in the quickest, least traffic clogged way possible.
My biggest challenge was to find a coffee stop that wouldn’t set me back more than 4 minutes.
4 minutes to pick up a coffee is all I had in my tightly wound schedule of events to get me to my new job on time.
Driving home was the next feat…not to discount the real routine change of a brand spankin’ new job and the culture shock that goes along with that of course.
My car pool buddy carefully carved out a smart, tricky round-about route to avoid high traffic areas which governed us through 3 different municipalities.
I had to keep asking her, “are we there yet”??
I thought for sure we were on our way to a mini break at the cottage given the length and scenic mish-mash of the trip.
It was all I could do to keep calm and remember we would have to un-pack and get the cottage organized before taking a leap into the lake.
Back to reality, I made it home just fine.
That night when I was setting the alarm for the next morning I realized I would have to do this all over again tomorrow…and the next day…and the day after that.
Good thing it only takes 21 days of doing the same thing for it to become routine.
Come on April 16th!!!!!!
Just like me, babies also thrive in the comfort of a routine they can count on.
I know people hate to hear about their friends not being able to join them for brunch because baby Billy needs to be home for his nap, but trust me, you don’t want to be in baby Billy’s company if he doesn’t have his nap.
For the most part, once you get baby into a great eating and sleeping routine the days become a lot more enjoyable.
Here is an example of the kind of schedule my son Carter (now 2 yrs.) was on when he was about 8 months old.
It was a note I had written for a friend who was babysitting for us while we went on our trip to meet the Queen of England.
O.K. maybe we weren’t going to meet the Queen, or even going to England for that matter, but I can’t remember where it was we were going so why not embellish a little?
Anyway, I wrote the note to help make the day go smoothly for her in hopes of still having a friend when we returned.
O.K. enough talk…let’s cook.
I think we’ll make a baby’s version of the classic Shepherd’s Pie with ground beef.
This recipe has lots of good things for baby…beef, tomatoes, carrots, corn, potatoes and sweet potato all together in one little wonderful package.
Mini-me Beef Shepherd’s Pie
Age – 8 months +
- ½ lb. of ground beef
- 1 sweet potato
- 3 white potatoes
- 2 carrots
- 2 tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- ¾ cup of corn (canned or freshly cut from a cooked corn on the cob)
- 1 cup of low sodium beef broth or homemade chicken or veggie broth
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. of butter
- ½ cup of milk
- Peel and chop white potatoes and sweet potatoes and place in large pot of cold water.
- Peel and chop carrots and set aside.
- Chop onion and garlic and set aside.
- Peel and seed tomatoes (using the boiling water method) then chop and set aside.
- Add ground beef to a large sauté pan and cook over medium high heat until no longer pink, approx. 10 mins.
- Add carrots, onions and garlic to beef and continue to cook over medium heat for another 6 mins.
- Meanwhile bring the pot of water that the potatoes are in to a boil over high heat then once water begins to boil, partially cover and cook for approx. 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Add broth, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes and corn to pan with beef mixture and stir well. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for approx. 20 minutes which is when the potatoes should also be ready.
- Once potatoes are tender, remove from heat and drain reserving 3 tbsp. of the cooking water. Add the reserved water to the potatoes along with 1 tbsp. of butter and ½ cup of milk.
- Puree or mash potatoes to a smooth consistency and set aside.
- Remove beef mixture from heat and transfer to a large bowl to use a hand held blender to pulse until the consistency is suitable for baby. At 8 months, baby should be able to handle a chunkier texture than that of a 6 month old Solid Food Apprentice.
- When transferring the purees to freezing trays, use half beef mixture and half potato puree in each cube section so that the beef is on the bottom and the potato is on the top to make a little Mini-Me Beef Shepherd’s Pie!
- You can also set some of each aside to serve fresh and keep in the fridge in a food storage container to use within 48 hours.
Makes – Approx. 24 servings (1 serving = 2 tbsps.)
Note – If you have more beef mixture than potato, freeze the left over beef mixture on it’s own in the freezing trays to use on a night when the family is having mashed potatoes with their meal to make a quick Shepherd’s Pie for baby.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!