Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Report Back on Traveling

I really wish I could open this post with how easy it was to prepare clean foods (unprocessed, homemade) foods for Baby G while we were traveling. I was excited to share all my tips and tricks with you and hopefully inspire you to try eating clean on the road, and maybe I still will, let's hope!

I will say it wasn't difficult, but it also wasn't easy, or more accurately, it wasn't as easy as I thought.

It started out well: I put two frozen purees in some tupperware containers and threw in a bag of banana bread sticks in my carry on. When we got to Dallas and our 3 hour layover, we set up shop at a TGI Fridays (it's amazing what GREAT salads they have there!), ordered some steamed broccoli with no oil or salt for Baby G. She was a very happy traveler and this red solo cup and her banana bread sticks kept her occupied until the broccoli came out. PS-I will now always try to remember to bring a red solo cup to restaurants- great toy!

Broccoli was truly steamed with nothing else. She gummed the broccoli, threw it on the floor, and devoured her pureed carrots.

I realized that the second puree wasn't going to make it with us to Donna, TX (our final destination) so I got rid of it, but luckily had packed an avocado that she could have dinner.

Dinner that night was hectic as we got in past her bedtime. She gummed some banana bread sticks, had a little avocado and then went to bed.

At breakfast, I realized I really had nothing for her. I grabbed some instant oatmeal and some blueberry yogurt from the continental breakfast and she was fine. I then managed to lose the rest of the banana bread sticks in my parents' pantry. Doh! I just hope they don't try to bite into one when they find them. I will not be held responsible for chipped teeth.

I went to the store with JP and my dad. It's there I realized how much I depend on my freezer full of purees at home. Three and a half days and I was starting from scratch. Here is what I bought:

-Sweet potatoes



-Canned tomatoes

-Can of black beans


-Greek yogurt


-Mild Cheddar Cheese


I decided to make two purees and then give her broccoli, sweet potato strips, mango, and cheese as finger foods. I don't have any pictures of the purees, but here is what they were (roughly):

Pear/Plum Puree: 1 pear sliced, 1 plum sliced, handful of craisins (in my mom's pantry): all steamed together. Pureed with steaming water and cinnamon. Baby G LOVED this puree. 

Black Bean/Sweet Potato/Tomato: Steamed sweet potato slices pureed with [1/2] can black beans, [1/2] can tomatoes, sprinkle of cumin. Baby G wouldn't touch this puree with a 10-foot pole. Though it did make a pretty good bean dip for us.

I ended up mixing the pear/plum puree with instant oatmeal in the morning (from our continental breakfast) and with yogurt at lunch. At dinner, I gave her steamed broccoli, cheese, and mashed sweet potato.

It was a lot of repetition and I tried to use the finger foods to change things up. I discovered she likes cheese a lot, and I think for us, cheese will be our puffs. It disintegrates in her mouth and she really likes to gum it. I started breaking it into small pieces and she liked grabbing it.

On the way back, I froze the remainder of the pear/plum puree. We ordered steamed broccoli again, but it was definitely salted. Good thing JP and I love broccoli!

So, what did I learn?

1. Bring an insulated lunch box. If I would have had one, I could have brought more with me from home and for on our flight back, as well as her beloved cheese. 

2. Have a better plan for what you are going to make. The bean puree was supposed to be like this one that she devoured. I shouldn't have tried something new (the tomatoes) while on the road. It was really disheartening that she wouldn't eat it.

I will also say that it made me re-examine why I was doing this. At the store, I couldn't find much organic stuff and I felt bad that I wasn't giving her organic. I almost bought some pre-made stuff. So what held me back? I want her to taste what real food tastes like and I don't believe the pre-made, processed stuff is real food. My husband and I don't eat packaged foods and we don't want to raise our family on packaged food. It's something very deep-seated in us. I can't even always explain it. It's just how we live. And we don't always eat organic, though we do try to when possible, so it's realistic that she will not eat 100% organic.

So, the trip wasn't easy and I was down about it, but my husband reminded me how hard it was for us to travel at first. Don't get me wrong: we are not rude people. We eat what is served and we don't question it or even address it. But when we travel, we always buy our own snack food and treat our hosts well because they are putting up with us, we take them out, we try to prepare food for them, etc. We also work out every day, even on the road, and try to maintain our lifestyle as much as we can. It's what we do. It's become so much of what we do that we don't think about it anymore, but it was hard at first.

I am hoping it will be the same way with preparing food for our kids. It will get easier. We will keep learning what works and what doesn't work. And we will keep not freaking out if everything is not perfect.

Now, because I droned on and on, I will share with you one of my fave pics and another reason I am not too upset that Baby G's food didn't work out as planned. Clearly, she doesn't have very discriminating taste because here is what her favorite thing to eat on vacation was:

Have you traveled with your baby yet? Any good tips?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cranberry Pear Applesauce (and Traveling with Baby)

We are getting ready to leave for our first trip with Baby G. We will be flying for the first time so there are piles throughout the house. I can't believe how much stuff a little person needs! Before I leave, I wanted to share with you our current favorite recipe, but first a few notes on traveling clean....

Eating Clean While Traveling

This is our first real eating challenge as we are still determined to keep her off processed foods while we travel. Believe me, I've been tempted in the last few days. We are lucky in that we are visiting my parents so we will have our own kitchen in our hotel suite as well as all of their gadgets at their place, namely a really nice blender so we can make our own purees. It also helps that we are going to Southern Texas where the produce is cheap and plentiful. I am packing my Pampered Chef microwave steamer and I made some banana bread sticks that are great teethers and snacks for her (recipe will be posted when I get back). I have frozen purees that I am going to pack in my OXO containers for the airport. Other than that, we will rely on produce we can find at the airport and when we get there, we will make a trip to the grocery store for some puree and finger food ingredients.

To cut down on packing, I ordered feeding bibs, spoons, bottles, and some other baby supplies (diapers, sunblock, swim stuff) on Amazon and because of our Prime account, it's free shipping. We will have that stuff waiting for us when we get there. Anything to make it easier!

I will be tweeting about our adventures in feeding, so follow me to get our updates.

Cranberry Pear Applesauce

I read about using cranberries in purees in Anni Daulter's book Bountiful Baby Purees. She talks about not being afraid of giving baby's sour food and despite her kind warnings, I was still nervous. Would she really like cranberries? Would she purse her mouth and turn away?

Not. At. All.

Baby G LOVES this puree. The pears and raisins give it some added sweetness, but don't get me wrong, this is tart. She has been gobbling it up since I made it up. Cranberries are a great source of Vitamin C. With its refreshing taste, it's a particularly great puree during cold and flu season.

I made it in the slow cooker, but feel free to make this in a regular steamer. I just wanted a hands off method as Baby G is now mobile and I have less time to monitor anything besides her.


1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen

3 small apples, sliced

2 small pears, sliced

[1/2] cup raisins

[1/2] cup water

3 cinnamon sticks
1. Combine all ingredients** in a medium slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours, or until pears and apples are tender.

2. Remove cinnamon sitcks and transfer to a blender. Puree until you reach your desired consistency. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

**The cranberries made a bit of a mess in the slow cooker. To avoid the mess, you could add them for the last 1-2 hours. Or, if you are like me, just soak the slow cooker over night before washing it. If I did it again, I'd live with the mess because it requires less thought.

Recipe Review:

We will definitely be incorporating cranberries into more recipes. I love the idea that Baby G is being exposed to a wider variety of flavors and cranberries are so good for you!

Have you made any sour purees yet?

Any tips for traveling with a baby?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Finger Foods Volume 3

As we continue with our finger food series, I want to make something very clear. Most of the time when I give Baby G finger foods, it looks a lot like this....

And only occasionally does it look this....

I guess I view this period as major experimentation. Experimenting new tastes, new textures, and for Baby G, new ways to make messes for Mommy.

Here is what we have had in the last week or so:

Green Beans

Steamed red pepper strips

Pieces of crumbled veggie burger

Pieces of a whole wheat quesadilla

Pieces of scrambled eggs- we got the okay from my doctor and eggs don't seem to bother her.

Blood orange slices (with peel)  She really loved sucking on the orange and I loved watching her expression of surprise each time she got a taste. Oranges are acidic so if you notice your baby starts to get a diaper rash after eating them, stop and wait.

Tofu Bites- Recipe below, she liked smashing them more than eating them. I actually thought they were pretty good!

Tofu Bites

 1 carton of firm tofu, cut into rectangular pieces****

[1/4] cup wheat germ OR wheat flour

1 teaspoon garlic pepper OR garlic powder

****-This would make a lot of tofu bites! Keep this ratio and only make amount of bites you want for that meal or maybe for two meals. Save the rest of the wheat germ/garlic mixture.

1. Preheat oven to 425 (dgF). Lightly spray a cookie sheet.

2. Whisk together wheat germ and garlic pepper.

3. Dredge tofu rectangles in wheat germ mixture and place on prepared pan. Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and serve.


To me, these tasted a lot like chicken nuggets, especially when you dunk them in ketchup. I admit, I am a tofu fan so I may be biased. I thought they had a similar texture and that comforting bland taste of chicken nuggets. 

Baby G just liked smashing them on the table, the floor, the chair, her hair, etc. I look forward to serving these as she gets older and I am glad I can introduce tofu right away.

What have you been feeding your little one in terms of finger foods?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Pumpkin Berry Patch Puree

I hesitate to refer to any of my baby foods as Baby G's favorite. At only 8 months old, I have a hard time getting my mind around the idea that she has a favorite. There's so much that she hasn't tried and this whole eating thing is brand new. How do I know if she likes or doesn't like anything? Sometimes she seems to prefer eating her toes, but I wouldn't guess that she likes how they taste.

So, I won't say this is her favorite. I will say she consistently eats it. And these days, that is saying something.

Why pumpkin?  Pumpkin is a great super food. It is high in fiber, low in fat, and 1 cup of canned pumpkin puree has 3 grams of protein. And it's packed with beta carotene which is converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is great for the eyes.

And because I had a whole bunch of canned puree leftover from some recent cookie baking. Sometimes reality is a little less sexy....

Pumpkin Berry Patch Puree

[1/2] cup mixed berries

[1/4] cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree

[1/2] banana

dash of ground nutmeg

1. Combine all ingredients in the blender and puree until you reach your desired consistency. It makes approximately 1 - 1[1/2] cups.

2. Store in the fridge in a covered container for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Beyond the Puree

This puree has a nice sweet taste to it. It would be great swirled in yogurt.

Combine this with some cream cheese and spread on a half tortilla. Fold it over and cook it in a dry frying pan to make a sweet, dessert quesadilla. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side and 1-2 minutes after you flip it.

Does your baby have any favorites or strong likes/dislikes? How can you tell?