Thursday, 22 November 2007
When P was first weaning, she would always have some sort of fruit puree for breakfast. Being obsessive compulsive, I would ensure that she wouldn't have the same puree more than once a week. Fruit purees are often the easiest to do I've found, as many are soft and don't need steamed/boiled beforehand. A lot of fruits cannot be cut/peeled prior to the meal either, thus neccessitating immediate preparation.
After she was a bit more confident with textures and chewing, we introduced crushed organic Weetabix with mashed banana, which P has a few times a week for breakfast now. I don't always just add banana, but any other fresh fruits I have to hand. I should think that there are quite a few other low-sugar cereals that are similar if you can't get Weetabix, for instance, Shredded Wheat.
We are also lucky enough to have a new product available here called My First Muesli, by Cow and Gate. It's a muesli (go figure) with just enough texture, plus it has no added sugar or salt. I remember looking for low-sugar muesli for myself a couple of years ago, and I was appalled at how much sugar content most of them had! I'm glad that P can gain all the nutrients that muesli provides without all the sugar. For flavour I add fresh fruit to this too. For extra calcium, some plain Greek yoghurt.
Another handy breakfast food, especially as we are entering the winter months, is porridge, or as Americans would say, oatmeal. I buy a really cheap pack of porridge oats, just add milk, heat it up, and then add either fresh fruit, or fruit puree. Depending on the fruit, I sometimes add a little cinnamon as well. P loves it, and it seems like such a lovely, cosy meal to start a cold day.
If the oatmeal is too textured, just whiz it in the food processor/blender to achieve the required consistency.
Are there any specific breakfasts your babies/toddlers adore?
I decided to post this recipe for two reasons - it was one of P's favourites when she started weaning, as well as the fact that the parsnip is an often ignored vegetable, particularly in the US. Here in the UK parsnips are everywhere it seems. When you go grocery shopping you spot parsnips in the trolleys of many shoppers. Not mine however, unless they are for P. As I've mentioned before, I'm no great lover of vegetables, and parsnips aren't an exception.
This recipe is from Baby Healthy Eating Plan, as always, the link is to the left.
Parsnip and Apple Puree
1) Peel the parsnip and cut it into small dice. Cook it in a small pan of boiling water until the pieces are tender. Alternatively, steam.
2) Peel and core the apple and cut it into small pieces. Put it into a small pan with 2 tbsp water and cook until just softened.
3) Blend the parsnip and apple until smooth.
It's that simple. To be honest, I tend to steam everything rather than boil, but that's just me.
Enjoy, toothless, newly-weaned babies!
Friday, 26 October 2007
This recipe for turkey-banana puree is from Connie Lindardakis' Homemade Baby Food: Pure and Simple. I found that the straight meat purees I was making for Isabella were thick and pasty. Adding the banana made the turkey puree moist, and since Isabella (and most other babies) loves bananas, this puree made perfect sense to me.
One boneless turkey breast, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 ripe banana, peeled
1. Remove any visible fat and skin from the turkey breast, place it into boiling water, and cook it for 20 minutes or until turkey is cooked through.
2. Strain the turkey, and keep about 1 cup of the broth.
3. Puree turkey in the food processor, and add banana.
4. Stream in the broth and pulse the puree until it has a smooth and creamy texture.
Friday, 19 October 2007
One of the ever-present fruits in our house is the mango. I confess, despite my love of fruits, I never bought one single mango prior to P's weaning. I'm a pretty whitebread fruit eater - apples, oranges, bananas, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, and the like. I think because I'm not a fan of a lot of tropical fruits in general, I avoided the poor mango. No more, as P adores them.
Here is a lovely little puree that you can make for the baby and also eat yourself on the sly. This recipe is courtesy of the Baby Healthy Eating Planner (link to the left)
Mango and Fresh Apricot Puree
1 ripe mango
2 fresh apricots
1) Slice the mango, peel the skin off, and cut the flesh into cubes
2) Stone and peel the apricots and cut the flesh into small pieces
3) Put the mango and chopped apricots into a pan. Add 4 tbsp water and cook gently until the mango has broken down and the apricot pieces are sot (approx 5-10 minutes). Cool.
4) Whiz the fruits together with a blender/food processor until smooth
5) For a just-weaned baby, pass the puree through a nylon sieve
A note on fruit purees - even if your baby is past the puree stage, I often use fruit purees for a couple different purposes. Sometimes P has toast, and as jams and jellies are loaded with sugar, I spread some fruit puree on toast with (no salt) butter, and she loves it. Additionally, I often buy plain, full-fat Greek yoghurt and mix in the fruit puree of choice. If some of you have a large freezer reserve of purees you think you won't need after your baby moves onto more textured foods, you're wrong, there are plenty of ways to incorporate them later. In fact, P is in the rejection stage with so many vegetables, the only way to get them in her is to puree them and add them to other meals.
Corn Avocado Soup
"I made this soup (stolen from Rachael Ray) for the grownups last night and gave my son (almost 9 months) a taste and he ended up eating half a bowl! Jalapenos and all! It was quick and easy and good and good for us and not a bland, boring, baby puree. We all win!"
1.5 C corn kernels (patted dry- this seemed weird, but made sense later)
2C. chicken broth or water
salt and pepper
"Chop garlic and cilantro, doesn't have to be too fine, it's gonna get blended. Cook the garlic until it smells good. Toss in the avocado and jalepeno and broth/water. Use a hand blender to puree (or do the whole thing in a food processor). Cook the corn kernels until they roast a little bit, then toss into the soup. I blended these, too, but you could keep them whole for some texture. Season and serve with a little reserved corn and cilantro for garnish (or not, if you're lazy like me). We made some feta crostini and it was the perfect summer dinner."
Thanks EJW, it's 9.30am and I'm already hungry now. If anyone tries this yummy recipe, let us know how it's received by your baby/toddler.
Have a recipe you'd like to see in lights here on Mush? Let us know at mushblog at gmail dot com.
Monday, 15 October 2007
So butternut squash. Yuck. I'm not a great consumer of vegetables, but I hope P will feel differently. However, she has recently been rejecting most vegetables, but thankfully girl still adores her fruit. One exception to the veggie hatred has been butternut squash, which I guess some could argue is a fruit, I don't know. P loves her butternut squash, despite her mother's views that it is quite possibly a demon veggie/fruit which will eventually lead to the downfall of man.
Behold, butternut squash risotto, courtesy of Annabel Karmel's "Superfoods for Babies and Children", as usual, the link to which can be found to your left.
50g (2 oz) onion, chopped
25g (1 oz) butter
100g (4 oz) basmati rice
150g (5 oz) chopped, peeled, butternut squash
450 ml (1pint) boiling water
3 ripe tomatoes (approx. 225g/8oz) skinned, de-seeded and chopped
50g (2 oz) cheddar cheese, grated
Saute the onion in half the butter until softened. Stir in the rice until well coated. Pour over the biling water, cover and cook for 8 minutes over a high heat. Stir in the chopped butternut squash, reduce the heat and cook, covered, for about 12 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.
As usual, you can prepare this in varying textures to accommodate your baby. P has it nice and chunky, and aside from picking the bits out of her mouth to examine before swallowing (as Mum is clearly trying to poison her), she gets on well with it.
Next time I think I might throw some first stage baby purees out there for you, as I know a couple readers of my primary blog have some babies new to the solids game. I wouldn't want these children to wallow in jarred food just because Mush has failed them, now would I?
Thursday, 11 October 2007
To get in on the contributed recipe action (you, yes, YOU can have your wee thing's favorite recipe posted here for the world to read), email us at mushblog at gmail dot com.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
This recipe comes from Annabel Karmel's First Meals, and combines avocado with my daughter's other great food love: cheese. And the chicken provides an excellent source of protein. Best of all, you can hide other vegetables besides the ones listed to your heart's content, because if your baby is anything like mine, she'll be so preoccupied with the avocado and cheese, she won't even realize what else is in there. I served this meal to Isabella when she was 9 months old, and it's still one of her favorites. I just serve it straight up now, without pureeing it.
A word to the wise: This recipe is best served right after preparing it. The avocado can turn a funky grayish-green color if you leave it for too long in the refrigerator. While I've given leftovers to Isabella the following day, I wouldn't keep it much longer than that.
2 oz (about 1/4 cup) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked
1 tomato skinned, deseeded, and chopped
1/4 cup avocado
2 TBSP mild, full-fat natural yogurt
1 1/2 TBSP grated cheddar cheese
1. Chop the chicken, and then combine it with the remaining ingredients.
2. Puree or chop the mixture to the desired consistency, or serve it as is for a toddler.
Saturday, 22 September 2007
Once the mozzarella has melted sufficiently, pour the mixture onto the couscous and stir.
Depending on the baby's ability to chew, you may need to blend or mash the couscous. When I first started feeding this to P, I would blend the tomato/mozzarella mixture and add it to the couscous. Now I just give the tomatoes a quick mashing with a fork when still in the pan, which just serves to break up the tomato chunks a bit. Please note - mozzarella is a very stringy cheese, so blending the tomato and cheese might be recommended for most younger babies as it prevents stringiness but still maintains the flavour.
I love this recipe because it's not one you have to abandon once your child moves onto the next stage of foods. The texture is unique for a younger baby and makes a change from other textures they may have experienced, plus it's quite an "adult" food for older babies when there is no longer a need to mash or blend things.
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
This recipe, adapted from "Mom's Meat Loaf" in Lisa Barnes' The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler allows you to bury vegetables to your heart's content. I added the vegetables listed, but you could add or substitute 1/4 cup of whatever ones your baby prefers (or you'd prefer him to eat).
I also made the meatloaf in two 12-cup muffin pans, instead of in the traditional loaf pan, because I found one "muffin" was the perfect serving size for dinner, with some leftovers for lunch the next day. Plus, they're easier to freeze this way, and you can defrost just one whenever you need to.
2 lbs ground turkey
1/4 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced red pepper
2 cage-free, organic eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
1 TBSP Worcestershire
2 TBSP freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two muffin pans and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except turkey. Add the turkey, and mix with a rubber spatula or your hands until everything is evenly distributed.
3. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon meatloaf into muffin cups.
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Makes about 24 turkey meatloaf muffins.
Thursday, 13 September 2007
That said, when she was younger, she did enjoy this lentil and vegetable puree, courtesy of Annabel Karmel's Healthy Baby Meal Planner (not to be confused with Pru's favorite Baby Healthy Eating Planner). I've made quite a few recipes from this book, and all but a few have been hits with She Who Must Be Obeyed.
6. Puree to the desired consistency for your baby.
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
That said, here is my first recipe, borrowed from a great book called Baby Healthy Eating Planner, by Amanda Grant. The link is over yonder in the sidebar for you to check out if you're interested. It's a link to Amazon.co.uk, but I think it's available in the US as well.
Avocado and cucumber puree was attempted in this house about a month after P started on solids. Prior to that we'd only experimented with baby rice and your basic entry level fruits - banana, apple, perhaps a little peach. I decided to push the boat out and do this puree, and it was the first one she pretty much roundly rejected.
One might wonder why I'm putting it up if my own kid didn't like it. Despite her rather violent reaction (major pukefest post-feed), she liked it subsequent times I gave it to her. I think avocado and cucumber are two unique tastes that help broaden a baby's taste, so it is certainly worth trying. That is a handy little piece of advice actually - if your baby rejects a food, don't give up on it altogether. Babies are moody little things and may really like said food later, so if you've just made a huge batch of something and baby frowns, don't throw it away! Keep it in the freezer and try again in a month or so. You might be surprised.
Avocado and Cucumber Puree (makes 2 portions)
1/4 small cucumber
1/2 ripe avocado
1) Peel the cucumber and scoop out the seeds. Cut into small chunks
2) Peel, stone, and chop the avocado
3) Blend via whatever means you have at your disposal - blender, food processor, etc...
The author suggests pushing the puree through a nylon sieve for just-weaned babies, but I never bothered and the texture was fine. Use your own judgment. Extra portions can be frozen.
A little tip I learned when using avocados - if you don't want to use the entire avocado in one go, leave the stone in to maintain the avocado's freshness. People with common sense, or people who eat avocados unlike myself, may already know this.
In lieu of photos I have a video of P eating this concoction. Don't worry, it was filmed BEFORE the vomiting episode. Please disregard my annoying, high-pitched sing-songy baby voice. You know how mums can be...
Monday, 10 September 2007
1 can (14 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup chopped leftover boneless chicken
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1/2'' pieces
1/4 cup tiny pasta (stars, alphabet, or orzo)
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth and water to a boil over high heat.
2. Add the chicken, carrot, celery, green beans, and pasta.
3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes to both cook the pasta and soften the vegetables.
4. Serve as is to older toddlers, or puree for the beginner eaters or young toddlers.
Makes about 4 cups. Freeze in ice cube trays, and you'll have soup for weeks.
I first gave this soup to Isabella when she was about 10 months, and served it with the consistency shown in the picture, which results after about 10 seconds in the food processor. When I serve it to her now, I pulse it about 5 times for a chunkier texture. You could certainly puree it much finer than I did and give it to a beginning eater as well.
The more you puree this soup, the more liquid its texture will be. Mix in a teaspoon or two of baby cereal or oatmeal before serving to give the soup a thicker texture, which will make it easier to feed to your baby.
Thursday, 6 September 2007
To make sweet potato puree, and most other beginner purees, you need very little in the way of kitchen equipment. You'll need:
- A blender or food processor (in having tried both, I prefer the food processor because it's much easier to scrape food from)
- A potato masher
- Some ice cube trays with lids in which to freeze the food
- A spatula or other scooping utensil to spoon the puree from the blender or food processor
- Some small jelly jars to store the food in the fridge
- A vegetable steamer
- Freezer bags in varying sizes
Once you have the proper equipment, you're ready to start cooking. First, buy a whole bunch of potatoes*. Then, you can cook the sweet potatoes in one of two ways:
1. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them into small cubes, and place them in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, and then let the potatoes simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain the cooked potatoes and let them cool.
2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, prick the potatoes several times with a fork, and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake the potatoes for 45-60 minutes, or until the skin is fork-tender and wrinkled. Remove potatoes from the oven, and let them cool. Once cooled, peel the skin away, and cut the potatoes into cubes.
Once your potato cubes have cooled, pop them into your food processor or blender and puree with a steel blade until they're mashed.
You can easily adjust the consistency for your baby. The younger your baby, the smoother and more fluid you'll want to make the puree. Add 1-2 TBSP of water, formula, or breastmilk to thin out the puree until it's reached the consistency you need.
Next, spoon the pureed potato into your ice cube trays, cover with either plastic wrap or the ice cube trays' lids (if they came with them) and freeze the puree overnight.
The next day, transfer the cubes to the freezer bags, and you have sweet potatoes for weeks, frozen and ready to go. I found that one cube was the perfect serving size for Isabella when she first started with purees. When her appetite grew, I just served her another cube.
That's all there is to it! Believe me, if I can make baby food, with my loathing of all things cooking-and-vegetable-related, and apparently make it well enough to keep my daughter alive to see her first birthday a few weeks ago, so can you.
*I cannot stress enough how much of a time-saver it is to make your purees in large batches. When my daughter was first starting purees, I would devote a half day almost every weekend to making and freezing as many purees as I could, so that way during the week all I needed to do was pull the frozen cubes out of the freezer the night before, defrost them in the refrigerator overnight, and have all three of her meals ready to go the next day, with no cooking during the week whatsoever.
Friday, 31 August 2007
I sat at Borders scrupulously perusing the assortment of baby/child cookbooks and decided on a few to use to make each of P's meals for as long as she didn't eat the same meals as my husband and me. I sometimes randomly devise recipes of my own, and I warn you that some are rather strange. Chicken and nectarine anyone?
I have been successfully preparing, freezing, and defrosting for over 7 months now in the hopes that young P will develop a more diverse and experimental palate than I, and so far so good. The notorious picky stage that is to come may debunk my theory of varied foods for baby mean a more daring adult eater, but we shall see.
I found that googling didn't yield as many results for recipes and advice as I had hoped, so here we are. Bear in mind we are in no way experts, just a Mom and a Mum who spend lots of time in a kitchen preparing baby food that meets with mixed results. As Kristi mentioned, please feel free to send us your own recipes and ideas!
Buon appetito babies!
Thursday, 12 July 2007
And now, I'm embarrassed to say I eat none of the above. Except for the bread. I am all about the bread. And my hips love me for it.
Somewhere along the way, I developed what can only be described as a food phobia. The variety of foods I eat can best be described as measly. The number of vegetables I eat, pathetic. There was a point in my life when I wouldn't try any new food. I'm slightly better now, but my palette is severely self-restricted, to say the least.
And then about a year ago, I had a daughter. Now I'm determined to provide her with an early introduction to a variety of foods with the hopes that she doesn't turn out like me. At all.(Although I hope she develops an early affinity for sucking down coffee, because that would make my trips to Starbucks a whole lot more enjoyable.)
I also hope she's able to somehow overlook the fact that mommy is shoveling broccoli and tofu into her mouth with one hand while eating peanut butter off a spoon with the other.
My goal in creating this blog with Pru is to share with other parents some baby- and toddler-friendly recipes that my daughter enjoys. My desire to ensure she grows up both healthy and willing to try new foods has prompted me to cook for her (something I rarely do for my husband and me), and in all honesty, I'm very proud of some of the dishes I've made (and she's eaten!). It's always a good day in my house when what's for dinner doesn't end up in my hair, stuck to the chandelier, or coating my cats' backs.
So welcome to Mush. And if you would like to share a recipe your baby or toddler enjoys, please feel free to email us.