Thursday, 27 September 2007

California Chicken

One of Isabella's go-to foods, which has never been spit out, batted away, or otherwise discarded is avocado. She's loved it since I first introduced her to it when she was 7 months old. Technically considered a fruit, avocado is great for babies because it's high in potassium and in the "good" monosaturated fat.

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.

California Chicken


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

Couscous with mozzarella and tomato

This recipe is in Amanda Grant's Baby Healthy Eating Planner, linked on the left. I have actually tweaked this recipe to suit P a bit better, so hopefully it works for you as well. Grant includes this recipe in her Second Stage Weaning section of the book, encompassing the 7-9 month range. It is suggested by quite a few different sources (laregely American-based) that babies are not introduced to tomatoes until they are at least 10-12 months of age due to acidity rather than any potential for an allergic reaction. P has been eating this meal since she was about 8 or 9 months old with no ill effects. I have opinions on the paranoia of the American medical community when it comes to foods you should or should not feed your baby, but I'll get to that at another time.
Couscous with mozzarella and tomato

My apologies for the usage of the metric system. Believe me, it would make my life so much easier if they used measuring cups. I am no cook and yet I have a scale in my kitchen. A scale, people.

50g couscous
1 ripe tomato
2 slices mozzarella
Put the couscous into a bowl and add 50ml of boiling water. Cover and leave for at least 10 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork. Peel and de-seed the tomato.

Add the flesh (ew) to a pan with a little olive oil or low/no salt butter and cook over a medium heat until softened. Tear mozzarella into small pieces and stir into tomato mixture. I added a few pieces of mushroom to it this time, hence the little brown dots in the mix this time.

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

Turkey Meatloaf

I've become quite skilled lately in the fine art of disguising vegetables so Isabella will eat them. Most baby books will tell you not to do this, because your toddler should learn to eat vegetables in their original state so she doesn't always expect green beans covered in cheese or broccoli bathed in yogurt. My thought is: better cauliflower chunks in her oatmeal than no cauliflower at all.

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

Lentil and Vegetable Puree

My daughter currently has a love-hate relationships with lentils in that she loves to hate them. I've tried preparing them every which way I can think of, with very little success. Lentils are a great source of protein for babies, and are an especially good protein source for those intermediate eaters who aren't too fond of meat or poultry yet.

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.


2 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups leeks, washed and sliced
1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
1/4 cup split red lentils
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped


1. Melt the butter and saute the leek for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the carrot and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the lentils and broth, and bring to a boil. Then, cver and simmer for about 15 minutes.

4. Add the cauliflower and apple and cook for abother 15 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are tender.

6. Puree to the desired consistency for your baby.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Avocado and Cucumber Puree

Kristi is totally kicking my butt here with her very thorough and fantastic contributions. I know she's a crazy picture taking fool, me, not so much. I only wish I had the foresight to have to have done that myself. I did take a few pictures here and there when Kristi and I first thought up Mush, but since then I have been very lax. In summary, expect colourful, exciting posts from Kristi, and bland dialogue and recipe rehashing from me.

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, 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

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

With fall fast approaching, it's the perfect time to make your young thing some soup to keep him or her warm. This recipe is courtesy of JooHee Muromcew, author of The Baby Bistro Cookbook.


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.

Puree Tip:

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.

Serving Tip:

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

Sweet Potatoes

My daughter's first foray into solids, after the initial iron-fortified cereal introduction, was sweet potato puree. From everything I'd gathered, sweet potatoes are universally loved by most babies because of their sweet taste, and Isabella was no exception. She loved them immediately, which wasn't always the case for other purees I'd introduce her to later on (pureed zucchini, I'm looking at you).

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.