Thursday, January 30, 2014

Finger Foods Volume 2

In an effort to keep track of what Baby G is eating, I thought I would share another volume of finger foods. I also wanted to mention my favorite new book: Feed Me, I'm Yours

If you are making your own baby food, I highly recommend Vicky Lansky's Feed Me, I'm Yours! It is filled with great ideas from baby to little kids. It feels a lot like getting advice from your mom- it's a no frills book and it keeps things easy. That being said, if you are uber organic parent, you may want to pass. It's not a perfect book and it's not a holier-than-thou-my-child's digestive-system-is-made-of-gold type of books. It's the kind of book that gives you tips on better ways to cut hot dogs and uses some processed ingredients. I say, you don't have to follow every recipe, but it sure has a lot of great ideas.

Finger foods this week:

-Lightly steamed veggies- this week, we have done broccoli (Baby G's favorite by far!), cauliflower, green beans, and little tiny finger potatoes.

-Thick slices of cheese. To my surprise, Baby G loves cheese.

-Slices of under ripe pineapple.

-Strips of mango

-Steamed apple slices- This is another one of her favorites: I leave the peel on and slice them about [1/4] to [1/2] inch thick. 

-Homemade Teething Biscuits. This is a recipe from Feed Me, I'm Yours. I was working from an old copy which has since been revised. The recipe I used was: 1 egg, 2 [1/2]cups flour, and 1 cup sugar. Beat the egg, add the sugar, and gradually stir in the flour. Roll out to [3/4] inch thickness, and cut into round shapes. Place on a greased cookie sheet for 8-10 hours (to dry out) and then back at 325 dg(F) for 40-60 minutes until brown and hard.

In the new addition, she has a recipe that just calls for 2 egg yolks instead of whole eggs, and recipes that don't include eggs.

My doctor has given the green light for eggs, so I was fine with the old recipe. The biscuits are really hard and Baby G doesn't really eat them. She gums on them, it doesn't crumble, and she hits it on the table (still doesn't crumble). It's an activity rather than a food, and it's one that I have been happy with so far.

We have also tried beans, but they are still too small for her to grab.

What is your favorite baby food book?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pear, Raisin, and Ginger Puree

Many know how much my husband loves spinach, but few people know he loves pears just as much, if not more.

Baby G is just like her daddy.

This is the one puree she will always eat, and I don't blame her, it is tasty!

Steaming Via Slow Cooker

I love my slow cooker, and I love it more when it does all the work for me. You could steam the pears and sweet potatoes on the stove or in the microwave. If you're home and you have a slow cooker, just throw them in there and go do something more important.

Pear, Raisin, and Ginger Puree

Did you know that the skins of pears contain at least 4 times the amount of phytonutrients (aka really healthy things like antioxidants and anticancer nutrients) than the flesh?  Keep the skin on if you can.

 4 small pears, cut up

[1/3] cup raisins

[1/4] teaspoon ground ginger

[1/4] - [1/2] cup water

1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 2 hours or until pears are tender.

2. Transfer all ingredients to a blender. Puree until you reach the desired consistency.

3. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipe Review

As I said, this is a clear favorite of Baby G. It is a little runnier than the other purees I made, so it's good to combine with yogurt or you may want to use just a [1/4] cup of water (I used a [1/2] cup). The raisins add a nice sweetness to the mix.

The ginger was a perfect match, spice-wise. It's a classic combination, so why not start baby off right in her foodie palate? 

Beyond the Puree

Let's say your baby moved beyond purees, and you still have some in the freezer or fridge, or maybe your baby didn't like it and you don't want to toss it. Here are some other ideas for using this puree:

This would be amazing if you heated up and poured it over ice cream. So amazing that I might make another batch just to do that.

You could also serve it with pork, similar to how you may serve applesauce with pork.

Swirl it into your morning yogurt.


Have a wonderful weekend! I would love to hear from you. If you haven't already, introduce yourself and your baby. :)


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Black Beans, Spinach, Sweet Potato, and Garam Masala Puree

You can't judge a puree by its looks.

Let's just put it out there now: this is not an attractive looking puree.

I did my best to make it look appetizing, but even I have to try and look past it.

What makes this puree so unique is the Garam Masala seasoning. Garam Masala is an Indian spice. It translates (loosely) to warm mixture of spices. It's not "warm" in that it's hot and spicy, but just warming flavors: cinnamon, cardamon, cumin, cloves, and pepper. It's a great sweet and savory spice and with its cinnamon undertones, I thought it would be great in a puree.

Black Beans, Spinach, Sweet Potato, and Garam Masala Puree


1 cup frozen organic spinach,

1 medium sweet potato, sliced and ends removed

1 cup black beans, cooked

[1/4] teaspoon Garam Masala seasoning*

[1/4] - [1/2] cup water

1. Steam spinach and sweet potato in the microwave: place them in a glass bowl with a few tablespoons of water and cover. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.

2. Combine all ingredients (starting with [1/4] cup water) in a blender. Puree until you reach the desired consistency, adding more water if need.

3. Store in fridge for up to 5 days and in freezer for up to 3 months.

*Don't have Garam Masala? Try cumin or coriander.

Recipe Review:

I wasn't sure what Baby G would think of this. I knew I liked it, but was it too much? She loves it. I don't know if it's the cinnamon quality of the Garam Masala or the sweet potatoes, but she gobbles it up. Not only does it expose her to new flavors, but it's packed with protein from the beans and iron from the spinach. Even I snack on it when I am hungry and feeding her.

Beyond the Puree:

Let's say your baby moved beyond purees, and you still have some in the freezer or fridge, or maybe your baby didn't like it and you don't want to toss it. Here are some other ideas for using this puree:

This would be great in a quesadilla with a mild, white cheese and maybe some mango chutney as a dipping sauce.

Would also be good tossed with rice or scooped up with Naan bread with some Greek yogurt and diced cucumbers.

Could make a Naan flatbread: spread this on the Naan, sprinkle with feta cheese, bake at 400 for 8-12 minutes until heated through and crust is crispy, top with diced cucumbers and fresh tomatoes.

Have you tried beans yet with your baby? What kind?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Finger Foods Volume 1

This week I began experimenting with giving Baby G more finger foods. Rather than coming out of a decision that I should be doing it for some abstract or baby book reason, it came out of a need. I needed a little more time at lunch time and thought it would be good to get her playing with her food. 

I am happy to say that I gave her sticks of ripe bananas and she happily played with them and even tried eating them. Thank goodness, she's not a banana hater after all!

As I began to experiment with finger foods, I realized that I wasn't sure what to give her. We are not doing Baby Led Weaning in the sense I am not just giving her everything we eat, but she does like to feed herself and I like to encourage it. I thought it might be helpful to share what we have been doing in terms of finger foods and I would love to hear what you have been doing. Keep in mind that we are not doing processed foods, so no Cheerios, no rice puffs. It makes thing a little more difficult and I plan to keep revisiting this topic as we add more foods to our repertoire.

This is a good place to address that I am not a doctor or an expert of feeding babies. I don't have a professional opinion. I am working on a certificate in Nutrition, but I am not a nutritionist. I am just a mom who does not want to feed my family any processed foods. I ask a lot of questions and keep my pediatrician's office on speed dial.

So far, here is our list of finger foods:

Bananas- Cut in 3-4 inch long pieces, and then quartered. These are long enough for Baby G to get a good hold, but soft enough that I am not worried about her getting a bite. 

Diced Avocado

Hard Boiled Eggs- At first, I was just giving her egg yolks and she was doing her best Levron James' impersonation.

She would grind it to a pulp in her hands and then throw it dramatically over her head.

It's much cooler when a NBA star does it with chalk dust in an arena than a baby with egg yolk in your kitchen. Just saying....

The next time, I chopped up pieces of egg yolk and egg white, and it was a lot less messy. She's not too into eating it yet, but it was worth a shot!*
*I should mention that I got the go-ahead from my pediatrician to give her eggs.

Cold (whole wheat) spaghetti noodles- This was a tip from another mommy. The spaghetti noodles are good practice for the pincer grip babies at this age (7-8 months) are developing. The noodles are soft enough so I wasn't worried about choking but I don't think any noodles actually made it to her mouth.

Cold steamed slices of sweet potatoes- On a recent phone call to the pediatrician office, I had a good chat with one of the nurses, Nurse Fairy Godmother. She told me that any vegetables that Baby G had via purees, I could give her soft pieces of those veggies as finger foods. I steamed some quarter inch slices of sweet potato and let her gum on them. She really enjoyed them.

Apple slices???- After talking to another mommy, I thinly sliced some apple to give to Grace. The first time was fine, she loved it and pretty much sucked on it. The second time, she got a piece and started coughing. She was fine. I was a mess. May try again with cooked apple slices that are nice and soft, but won't be doing raw again soon.

What are some of your favorite finger foods for your kiddo?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cherry-Apps and Cloves Puree

We eat a lot of spices in our house. Spices as in, mouth-watering-forehead-sweating-get-me-water-now spice and spices as in I have two cupboards full of sweet and savory goodness.

When we first started purees, Baby G was more interested in her socks than in eating.

Oh, let's be honest, she was more interested in ANYTHING than eating. It was almost insulting. Then I started reading a book by Anni Daulter, Orgnanically Raised, and I realized that maybe my purees were just too boring. Daulter talks about how it's important to keep flavor in mind when we are feeding our babies.

We never eat plain food so why should I expect Baby G to like it? When I was pregnant, I craved spicy food and when I was breastfeeding I ate everything you weren't supposed- curries, garlic, broccoli, jalapeno peppers, she never minded.

When I started spices to my purees,  suddenly Baby G was more interested in eating than her socks. That's not saying much, but it is saying something.

A Note About Equipment

There are a lot of ways to make purees.  In this recipe, I steamed the fruit in the microwave for this recipe. Is that the best, healthiest way to do it? Nope. For me, it's easy, and steaming my fruit in the microwave is better than buying store-bought. Feel free to steam on the stove if that's your wish.

My husband likes to say that we bought a Vitamix so I could make baby food. That is a blatant lie. We bought a Vitamix because he always wanted one, we both make smoothies every day, and we have a blender graveyard downstairs. However, I do use it occasionally for baby food. Because we have a high powered blender, I don't peel anything. I make sure it's super clean and I buy organic, but Baby G gets rustic purees. Depending on what you are using, you may want to peel the apple.

If you haven't noticed, I use as many shortcuts as I can. For me, this whole making my own baby food is about setting myself up for success. Just because you spend a lot of time, effort, and energy on food does not necessarily make it taste better. Especially when we are dealing with purees.

Cherry-Apps and Clove Puree

Age: 7-8 months


[1/2] cup organic frozen cherries, thawed

[1/4] cup dried apricots

[1/2] cup hot water

1 organic apple, sliced

pinch of ground cloves*

[1/4] teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Place apricots in hot water. Let seep for 10-20 minutes until tender.

2. Place apple slices in a glass bowl with 2 tablespoons of water (or a good healthy splash). Cover with a plate and microwave for 1-2 minutes until apple slices are tender.

3. Combine cherries, apricots, apple slices, ground cloves, and cinnamon in blender or food processor. Add 2 tablespoons to [1/4] cup apricot water. Puree until you reach your desired consistency. You may need to add more water depending on where your baby is at in terms of feeding.

*Don't have ground cloves? Try ground nutmeg. Or omit altogether and just use ground cinnamon.

Baby G's Review

The flavors are a little strong in this puree, but mama blends it with yogurt or another boring one ingredient puree and usually, I gobble it up. That is, unless I am wearing particularly cool socks. I really like socks. 

Have you tried any spices in your purees?

Monday, January 13, 2014

A New Blog for a New Life


I am so thrilled to start this baby/mama-centric blog on clean eating.

I knew that I would make my own baby food, but that's all I knew when Baby G turned 6 months old. I had visions of a freezer stocked with purees. Of a happy, smiling baby gurgling her way through a rainbow of food. I would be the mama who would boast of a child who ate anything I gave her from spinach to berries to smashed bananas. We would be epic! Other mamas would hush when we walked in the room whispering about the baby who loved snacking on artichokes and kale.

In short, I was delusional.

Baby G is the only baby in the world who does not like bananas. Spinach is questionable and berries are a crap shoot. 

Some of the time she eats, some of the time she is more interested in pulling her socks off, and most of the we are both covered in baby food and I'm lucky if Baby G swallowed a spoonful.

It's cute, but it can get frustrating.

On this blog, I look forward to sharing with you some of our recipes, our tactics, and how we are leading our whole family in a whole foods, unprocessed diet.

I would love to hear from you, so please don't be shy. Introduce yourself and if applicable, your kiddos. Let me know what you would like to see in terms of recipes and topics.