Thursday, August 23, 2012

Baby Food 101

I've had several people ask me about my baby food recipes lately, so I thought I'd share.

I have always made Quinn's food. It would be a lot easier for me to buy something like Plum from the store, but it's a little pricey for our budget and I honestly enjoy putting together fun little concoctions for Baby Q. For the most part, they have all been a success!

I have to give a shout-out to my friend Neil at work. He and his sweet wife gave me their Beaba baby food maker from Williams-Sonoma! For free. For real. They got it as a shower gift and never really used it, so I got really lucky with this because they are pretty expensive. They even gave me their awesome silicone freezer trays which are normally $20 a pop! Anyway...this thing is amazing and I will happily give WS a testimonial any day. Hint, hint.

Here are some recipes you can try. Keep in mind that I introduced all of these foods to Q individually first. I don't have exact measurements of all this stuff. I tend to cook like my Margaret by just throwing stuff in.

Staples: I tend to use apple, spinach and cinnamon as a staple. I can throw those in with anything and it either tastes good or is hidden so she has no idea she's getting greens. :)

Peas, Carrots and Apple
-You can probably put more veggies and not so much apple. It doesn't take a lot to sweeten it up so they like it. Later, Q was fine w/ just peas and carrots because they were sweet enough on their own. Cut up the carrot and apple (take off the peel) and steam them together. I use frozen peas which I heat in the microwave. Throw those in and puree with apple and carrot in all the juices they were steamed in. You probably won't need all the liquid, so pour some of it out and add later if needed.

Pumpkin, Banana and Oatmeal
-I'm not fancy enough to make real pumpkin might be. I just used canned pumpkin. Use a spoonful of pumpkin, half a banana (smashed) and baby oatmeal mixed with some breast milk or formula.

Apple (or Pear), Spinach and Cinnamon
-Quinn's favorite is homemade apple sauce. Just steam and puree the apples (w/out the peel) and throw in a dash of cinnamon. Again, you probably won't need all the liquid from steaming so pour some out before pureeing.

Sweet Potato and Squash (Green or Yellow)
-Cut them up and steam them together. You can leave the peel on the squash but obviously not the potato. Pour out some of the liquid and puree. You might need a little more liquid to get the potato the right consistency, and I added cinnamon to this too.

Broccoli or Green Beans and Apple
-I used fresh broccoli and green beans at first, but then switched to frozen. Just microwave them and throw them in w/ the steamed apple (same as above) and puree.

Plum, Spinach and Quinoa
-Steam the spinach and plum together (you can leave peel on the plum). Pour out some of the liquid and mix in quinoa that you've cooked separately on the stove. Side note: it helps to put a few drops of olive oil in the water when making quinoa to make it not so sticky.

Squash and Quinoa with Cumin
-Steam squash (leave peel on), mix in quinoa you've made on the stove and sprinkle a little cumin. Puree. It took Q a while to get used to this, but she loves the flavor now. Cumin is a good way to introduce new flavors.

Greek Yogurt with Vanilla and Cinnamon
-Don't waste too much money on that baby yogurt! Buy the big things of plain greek yogurt and just put single servings in baby bowls. Put a drop or two of vanilla and some cinnamon and voila! You can also add fruit to this for a yummy mash-up.

Ground Turkey, Garlic, Onion and Bell Pepper with Lentils and Barley
-Saute the onion, garlic and pepper in some olive oil. Add the turkey and brown it. Cook the lentils and barley separately on the stove. Add the turkey mix to lentils/barley and puree with some water. Sounds odd, but Q loves the taste of grown-up food! :)

Finger Foods:

Oatmeal and Spinach Pancakes
-Use oatmeal pancake mix in a box. Puree raw spinach (no need to steam) with some water and pour in the pancake mix before you make them. Break up the pancakes into little bites and let baby feed him/herself.

Baby Pizza
-Get some whole wheat sandwich thins like these. Use half of it to make a little pizza! Spread a little tomato pizza sauce, sprinkle some Italian cheese and cut up veggies on top (like bell pepper and zucchini) and put it in the toaster oven. Voila!

I might have burned the crust a little...had to cut it off. :)

-Quinn will eat any kind of beans (I just use canned beans...sometimes low sodium): black, kidney (cut in half), pinto, chickpeas, edemame (I use frozen ones and microwave them), cannellini, etc.

BBQ Chicken
-Just grill up some chicken w/ a little BBQ sauce and tear into little bites. I guess Q's a true Texan...we will have to introduce her to Mexican food soon!

-Easy peezy! Just make some whole grain pasta (Q likes rotini, penne and macaroni). Add a little olive oil and stir so they aren't too dry and sticky. You can add parmesan or even some tomato sauce but be prepared for a major mess!

I hope this has helped some of you get out of a baby/toddler food rut! If you have a great recipe, please share in the comments!