Pumpkin Ale, a Waffle and a Toddler that Eats.

If trying to raise a foodie is a game…


... I have no idea if I am winning or not. But I sense it’s close. And there is LOTS of time left on the clock.

By ‘foodie’, I really mean just wanting a pleasant experience for the wee one with whom I’m sharing a meal with most of the time. An experience when I say, “Here try this…” is not met with a screaming no (or even a quiet one). Rather a simple okay, or the 'baby robin mouth' (head back, eyes closed, mouth open).


An experience where I don’t have to think about a separate meal for him and for us each night.

An experience where going out or over to someone’s house is not anxiety inducing for fear of what he will or won’t eat. (well, going out will ALWAYS be anxiety inducing if restaurants continue to bring out my toddlers food last and piping hot. Really? Really? Really.)

I feel very fortunate that for the most part, our food experiences are very positive. Little sixtyone45 is a good eater. Full stop. He eats a lot. Often. And a wide variety. I know I am lucky and blessed. But in a job that offers no interim or quarterly performance appraisals, I’m going to give myself (us) a review and say while we are lucky (1/3) and blessed (1/3) there is a third I’m we are gonna take credit for. High five. (cause we all know there is no pay raise coming)


How your offspring eats is a popular conversation at my Little’s classes. I’m partly to blame for that by birthing a Little who continues to be in the 95% percentile for height and weight. (and head circumference but I blame the contributing Y chromosome for that) So the follow up comment to.. “Wow, he’s a big boy” is often, “he must be a good eater.” To which I respond “Yes, he is” and ask,” is insert-random-child’s-name-I-likely-forgot?”

The inevitable reply: No. No. Not at all.

So while I consciously try to never hand out parenting advice because, well...I never have any to give - first time caller here – I thought I could share what has worked for us. If nothing, it will serve as a permanent record for Little to look back on.


Started solids early. People would tell me you will know when he is ready. Ya… I did not. I think I was just excited to add the variety. I know I would be grouchy after four months of a liquid diet. So we started at 4 months. Lots of school of thought out there. Do what works for you but it worked for us.

Started spice early. Really early. So obviously I don’t mean “heat” when I say spice. I mean season. So cinnamon, basil, oregano, curry (yes curry), nutmeg, cumin, parsley, coriander. All of it.

And went heavy handed with the spice. So I tend to over season his food because I don’t add salt (the amateur cook in me wants to but I know he doesn’t need it) I know he is a texture person so I want to offset that with flavour.

Only brown bread with crusts. We just never had white bread in the house so he never ate it. I don’t cut the crusts off for him (Gramma still does. Thanks mum) He likes white bread when it comes his way, he just doesn’t dislike brown.

Dips. Have lots and lots of dips. Not (just) ketchup. But mustard (cut with yogurt or veganaise) hummus (eggplant, tomato basil, garlic), marinara sauce, tzatziki. Little will not want something but add a dip? Suddenly he has a change of heart.

Smell the food (and talk about it). I don’t remember where I read this but someone talked about getting Little ones to smell their food. I liked this and we do this. We also talk about the food a lot. It’s fun. Its yummy. It’s exciting.

I have been keeping track of the Half-pints meals over the past few weeks and I hope to share them on upcoming posts just to throw out some ideas.


So the waffles. The waffles were inspired by a recipe in Edible Marin & Wine Country mag which was inspired by Bruce Aidells The Great Meat Cookbook. I like the idea of savoury waffles. I never make them. I will more often now. I think the waffle should be revived a little.

These waffles are boozy and savoury and DID NOT photograph well at all. (notice how I blame the poor waffle) I have to tell you, they tasted wayyyy better than they look and if you check out Bruce’s cookbook you will see how they SHOULD look. (Plus discover heaps of more great meat recipes) Regardless of how they look here though, the meat sauce & the waffle was divine.

So I didn’t give these to Little (I wasn’t convinced the beer/whiskey cooked out in my waffle maker) but kid loves him a Football Sunday morning waffle…


Game on Little foodie. Game on.

Pumpkin Ale and Sweet Potato Waffles with Pork Maple Sauce

Inspired by Bruce Aidells Bourbon Stout & Sweet Potato Waffles w/ Ham & Maple Sauce


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt Pinch each freshly grated nutmeg, ground cardamom and ground ginger 3 large eggs, separated 1/2 cup whole milk 3/4 cup pumpkin ale 2 tablespoons Whiskey 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes 2 tablespoons butter, melted


2 tablespoons butter 2 cups shredded pork meat (see notes) 1/3 cup chopped onion ½ whole milk 1 cup stock (beef, chicken or veggie) 1/4 cup real maple syrup 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Waffles. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, pumpkin ale, whiskey, sweet potatoes and butter. Add this wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix. In (yet) another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently, using a spatula, fold them into the batter. Cook the waffles as per your waffle makers guidelines.  To Prepare the Pork Maple Sauce In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add the pork and continuing stirring. Brown the pork slightly, scraping the “brown bits of heavenly flavour” off the pan and stirring in. Add the milk, stock, maple syrup and mustard. Continue to simmer the sauce while making the waffles, until desired thickness. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, leftover sauce, maple syrup and mustard. Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm. Top the hot waffles with the sauce. Serve and enjoy!