Bites For Babies Cookbook

Like most things, when feeding a baby or toddler a little planning goes a looooong way. While I am not nearly as creative and organized with Mazen’s meals as I’d like to be, there are inspiring cookbooks to get one’s creative juices flowing and feed those kiddos well. Digital friend Lisa’s blog and cookbook is one of them!

Lisa started her blog, Bites for Babies, two years ago to share her passion for cooking and providing healthy, interesting meals for her son that she hoped would nurture an adventurous palate and passion for healthy eating in the years to come. Her recipes are both baby and parent friendly and have a global spin thanks to Lisa’s years living and cooking abroad.

KAY-2

Lisa writes:

As a working mom with two kids (3 1/2 and 20 months), I KNOW how busy life can be and can only imagine how frustrating it is for moms to find the time to cook for their family, especially if they don’t enjoy cooking! Many of my recipes can be prepared for the the family and modified for baby (i.e., removing baby’s portion before adding salt, pureeing or mashing, etc). I call my recipes “palate-pleasing” and although they are created for babies, they are actually adult-inspired recipes! I’ve eaten most of them myself 😉

KAY-43

Lisa’s e-cookbook is an extension of her blog and features 50 healthy recipes for baby and the family inside. You can order it both as a PDF or an iBook. Learn all about it here!

The cookbook features…

  • 50 healthy recipes
  • 50 helpful storage and cooking tips
  • A list of pantry essentials to ensure your kitchen is well-stocked before you start cooking
  • Recipes written with quick tips, serving suggestions, and easy modifications which render the recipes more toddler or adult-friendly.

image

The charts and tips are great for moms just starting out on baby food. And the recipes are definitely above and beyond steamed and mashed veggies!

Recipes include…

  • Parmesan Parsnip Mash
  • Cheesy Potato & Zucchini Puree
  • Mushroom Thyme Pesto
  • Cheesy Egg Yolk Risotto
  • Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Polenta
  • Coconut-Curried Lentils and Brown Rice
  • Banana Fig Turmeric Milkshake

…and more. Sounds yummy, right?

KAY-21

You can purchase the Baby Bites cookbook here, and enter below for a chance to win one!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mazen’s Meals Lately

Maze-0125

I never would have guessed a few months ago that we would have a picky eater on our hands. Mazen gobbled down all sorts of things, vegetables of every kind included. For some reason I thought we had a long time before the toddler picky eating attitude arrived.

But these days, as I should have figured, he is much more particular about what goes in his mouth.

KAY-9950

He likes cheese and meat and bread and fruit. But he does not want anything to do with anything green. Clearly his parents love their veggies, so I don’t think it’s a learned behavior from us. He’s too young to share gossip about “gross veggies” with his playmates. The only thing I can conclude is that there is something biological about the way kids just don’t like vegetables. I’m sure there are some kids who never reject green foods, but perhaps others just have an aversion. I even wondered if it had to do with their high growth needs. Vegetables are very light in calories, so maybe with all the growing babies need to do their bodies crave more calorie dense foods and might go as far as to find the taste of vegetables displeasing. Just a thought! It’s also odd to me how pregnant women in their first trimester and babies have this aversion in common. There has to be something to it we don’t yet understand.

The good news is that M still eats veggies. He just doesn’t know it. Here are a few of the meals we’ve been feeding him lately.

Babyblog-0083

Frittatas. This was our favorite staple until just this week! M has decided he no longer likes eggs. I guess I gave them to him too much! But for weeks we could get him to eat anything in little bites of egg. We would cook some vegetables and then pour over 2 beat eggs and let that cook on low heat with a lid on so the top would cook through. Worked great when he liked it!

Babyblog-0092

Green smoothies. So far so good on these! I make them with whole milk yogurt, milk, banana and greens.

Babyblog-0105

Now that it’s pumpkin season we’ve been giving him pumpkin yogurt with a little cinnamon like this mama. Since he doesn’t like us to feed him with a spoon, I’ve been serving yogurt in the Sili squeeze.

Babyblog-0098

Pumpkin is a vegetable, yes!? Actually I think it’s technically a fruit…

Babyblog-0102

Emily wrote about making rice cooker applesauce for Cullen last year and with the return of apple season I made some.

Babyblog-0161Babyblog-0162

In went a bunch of sliced apples with cinnamon and a quarter cup of water…

Babyblog-0163

And out came roasted apple sauce after a whirl on the quick cook setting.

Babyblog-0167

Wish I could say that Mazen loved these, but he was only luke warm. I, however, gobbled them down!

Babyblog-0165

He also LOVES using a fork for meals. He’s actually pretty good at it too.

Maze-0223

He did love the quinoa and black bean balls I made for him from my Cook Smarts post! And his current favorite food is raw tomato.

Foodblog-0343

I thought I would be smart and bought him fresh spinach gnocchi, but he didn’t really love those either – even with pesto and cheese all over them. Silly guy!

Maze-9687

Lastly, for the days that I don’t have my act together, I have some of these pouches on hand. I mostly use them when we have zero other options to eat – as a supplement for restaurant food when we’re out to lunch or as a snack. I like all the brands and always look for ones heavy on the veggies that also have some protein. The Mish Mash ones are my favorite for snacks.

Babyblog-0100

Speaking of snacks, M likes applesauce, yogurt, cheese, toast, fresh fruit (berries and bananas especially) and graham crackers if I’m spoiling him. I never though feeding a baby would be so hard, but man is it challenging to keep a variety of foods on hand for him. Generally he does eat what we eat, but the difference is that his foods need to be prepared STAT when he wants them, so we can’t wait around for things to cook. Most of the time I have a plate of leftovers or pre-cooked food that I can heat up very fast for his lunch or dinner. He often eats that and then has bites of our dinner when we all sit down together. He likes bites from our dinners most of all, and sometimes he’ll even try something green from our forks!

Good, Better, Best

Babyblog-5932

Who would have thought you could have whole conversations about the design of baby spoons? But when you’re feeding a hungry, moving mouth multiple times a day, shape and size matter. All three of these are good, and we use them all, but I definitely have a favorite.

Good

We bought this set of Boon spoons first – I love the cute design. They are good, but the bowl is shallow and wide so liquidy foods drip off easily and it’s hard to get the whole spoon head in his mouth. But the spoon head is great for scraping dribbles of food from the mouth! The short, fat handle isn’t the best for parent comfort either.

Babyblog-5933

Better

I have six of these OXO Tot spoons in green. The spoon head is narrow and curves up, so it’s great for putting a single bite on the end. Most of it goes right in his mouth. I like the grippy feel to it too – it’s soft for mouth scraping. These are very sturdy and well made. The spoon head is shallow though, so again, drippy foods spill over from time to time before it gets to him.

Babyblog-5936

Best

We go through a lot of baby spoons and I needed more so I picked this set of Munchkin spoons up because they were cheap. These are my new favorites. I love how long they are – the “iced tea spoons” of babies – and the bowl is perfect. It’s narrow to fit in a little mouth and deep to contain the food best.

Babyblog-5934

Do you have a favorite baby spoon?

Babyblog-5930

BERF Part 3: The Fun + Convenient Foods

I’m enjoying making baby food. It’s incredibly inexpensive, pretty easy and I’m glad to know exactly what Mazen is eating. But I have no intention of feeding him only foods that I have made myself. Being that strict would drive me crazy. Here are a few foods he likes that come from a package – note that some of them came as samples from the companies below.

I love the squeeze packs!

Babyblog-4758

Pros: so easy, fun flavors, great for being out of the house and branding that sucks in a modern mom. Cons: wasteful packaging compared to homemade and expensive.

That said, I keep a few on hand at all time (including one in the diaper bag). When we’re at home we always eat homemade food, but when we’re out he will often have one of these (or I’ll bring some homemade food in my Little Green Pouch reusable ones). M is on the verge of learning how to suck directly from the packet, which I see from my older baby friends is quite convenient.

Mazen has liked all of the flavors I’ve tried. I tend to gravitate toward the ones with vegetables in them, although most of the veggie ones still have a fruit too. Friends have told me that Sprout makes a few that don’t have any fruit, which I think is good to mix in for ultimate vegetable palate training.

Happy Family sent me some coupons to try their pouches and puffs.

Babyblog-5528

I picked up a few of the Happy Tot pouches – green bean, pear + pea; spinach, mango + pear; and sweet potato, apple, cinnamon + carrot – fun flavors! Mazen gobbled them down – what else is new!? They have a touch of chia seed in them which made them a bit more gel-like and nutritious.

Babyblog-5529

The Happy Puffs have been fun too. My general thought on puffs (along with all of the carb-tastic finger snacks and cookies) is that they should be used for learning to grasp and as a fun appetizer rather than a meal itself. I did pick up the “green” ones fortified with choline for ultimate nutrition : ) They taste quite good and aren’t too sweet, and I like how they stick to little fingers thanks to their nooks and crannies to make picking them up easier. They also melt in the mouth very quickly, so concerns over choking are minimal. Mazen likes them a lot. He can pick them up himself and tucks them into his palms and just holds them there. He doesn’t quite get to put them in his mouth!

Babyblog-5530

On the pincer front, we also play around with good ole Cheerios. They sent me a box to have on hand when Mazen was ready. [Spoiler: more on Cheerios coming up on KERF soon!] I am normally a store-brand girl when it comes to things like “O’s” however, I am being completely honest when I say that after nibbling on real Cheerios for a few weeks I went to my parents’ house and had some of their store brand “O’s” and they were not nearly as good. They crumbled apart when I broke them in half for M and were just missing a layer of flavor (I guess I am now a Cheerio connoisseur Winking smile) That said, any ole O’s are great for baby munching.

Babyblog-5533

I was excited when it was time to try yogurt for the first time as it’s one of my favorite foods. Stonyfield sent me a coupon for their YoBaby line. Mazen loves yogurt and generally eats half of one of these at breakfast a few days a week mixed with some fruit and the other half at lunch on another day. They do have several flavored ones, but I prefer to get plain and mix things in myself. Long term I think we’ll just use a big tub of organic plain yogurt, but these are great for on-the-go.

Babyblog-5532Babyblog-5531

I also keep a big jar of store-bought organic applesauce in the fridge to use whenever I want to add extra flavor to our homemade foods and don’t have any homemade apples on hand.

Lastly, I wanted to make some berry cubes for M so he could get some anthocyanins in his diet : ) I usually use cow’s milk in my smoothies, but since that is not yet recommended I used a YoBaby yogurt and enough water to thin it out plus about 3 cups of frozen mixed berries.

Foodblog-5800

Smoothies frozen for mom and cubes frozen for baby! I thaw these out and stir them into his yogurt or oatmeal (they are a little liquidy for plain eating until he can learn how to drink through a straw). [The mom versions weren’t nearly as tasty as my usual smoothies, but they weren’t bad either.]

Foodblog-5803

That’s all for now folks!

BERF: The Prep Part 2

My first batch of baby food lasted us beyond a week, but by the time batch 2 was ready for cooking I felt a lot more prepared. I put M down for his morning nap and got to work on peas, oatmeal, green beans and butternut squash.

I’m storing his bottles in the small bin on the right and all of his food props on the left on a shelf in our upper cabinets. Wish our kitchen had more drawers!

Babyblog-4646

I ended up buying this OXO tray with a lid. The cubes are easier to get out, but not by much. But it’s nice to have two trays now. One wasn’t enough for bulk prep + freezing.

Babyblog-4625_thumb

First the oats. I made some of Mimi’s Baby Grains and added some organic plain applesauce to them for a bit more flavor and nutrition. 1/3 cup of oatmeal with 1/3 cup applesauce yielded 6 servings. I kept two out for the next 2 days and froze the other 4.  The applesauce has been nice to keep on hand for when I need a quick meal and don’t have anything thawed. Sure a freshly steamed apple might be better, but I’m ok with organic applesauce with an ingredient list that reads organic apples only.

Babyblog-4624

Next up: peas! Frozen peas were steamed and then blended and 2 cups filled this tray perfectly. After they were solid, I popped them out and put them into a zip lock with the sweet potatoes.

Babyblog-4636_thumb

Next we tried two new foods: green beans and butternut squash. Yet another great purpose for frozen squash! I’m happy to let someone else peel it for me.

Babyblog-4630

1 cup of beans were steamed and pureed with a little bit of water. They turned out quite watery and the texture didn’t look great to me, but M didn’t seem to mind. I wonder if they’d be better blended with something creamy like the peas or sweet potatoes. I kept one out for short term and froze the rest in the OXO cups.

Babyblog-4641

Everything I labeled with the food and date with simple masking tape. Works for now!

Babyblog-4639

Lastly the squash. I steamed 2 cups of it in a pot over hot water for about 10 minutes and then pureed that. Added a little bit of cinnamon too!

Then once it had cooled, I filled it into 4 of these Little Green Pouches. I was sent these to review and LOOOOVE them! They are $15 for 4 on Amazon. I’m definitely going to order a second set.

Babyblog-4649

Have you seen these commercial pouches? When I first visited the baby food aisle of the grocery store I thought they were for older babies to suck from, but I didn’t realize this is just how most baby food comes these days instead of in glass jars. You can just squeeze the food onto a spoon and feed a younger baby – duh! Or squeeze into a bowl. There are so many fun flavors that appeal to my granola mom side – ingredients like quinoa and cute labels! But these pouches are expensive, so the Little Green Pouch was fabulous to create my own squeeze packs. We used the pre-made ones when we traveled to Arizona because they were shelf-stable, but around town you could use your own.

Babyblog-4758

I scooped in the squash and froze 3/4 of them. They are dishwasher safe and freezer safe – two awesome must haves. When I feel Mazen I just squeeze from the pouch into the spoon. Eventually I’m sure he’ll like to slurp out the food himself.

Babyblog-4650

Love that you can see the ounces on the side too.

Babyblog-4651

Last favorite food tool: I’m loyal to OXO and the color green so these are our favorite spoons!

Foodblog-3780

So for round 2 I made:

  • 14 cubes of peas (I usually do 2-3 cubes per meal)
  • 6 servings of oatmeal
  • 4 servings of green beans
  • 4 pouches of squash

That lasted us 2 weeks (with 2 meals per day and fresh foods like mashed avocado mixed in)

Not bad for an hour of prep! I think for round 3 I’m going to start mixing more foods together. Even though breast milk is still his primary nutrition, I can’t help but think about things like pairing a starch + protein or fat + fruit.

BERF: The Prep Part I

Babyblog-4635

Like I’ve said before, I’m just kind of going with the flow when it comes to baby food. We did start with oatmeal, but after that, it was easier just to make purees myself than navigate the scary baby food aisle, so that’s what we did. (I have since explored that aisle and found some cool, expensive options though!)

Just like the cloth diaper laundry, I am surprised that I find baby food making a joy! Maybe I won’t feel this way in a few more months of it, but so far it’s much more fun than making dinner for hungry adults at 6pm every night. Baby food is so pure + simple.

Babyblog-4632

The star of the event is my new Cuisinart Smart Stick. We used to have a stick blender that was battery operated. Matt hated it, and it always lost charge. We never used it and I gave it away. Then I started to miss having one and knew that it would be perfect for baby food. I was happy to find the Smart Stick in a rainbow of pretty colors for less than $30. A bonus: it’s dish washer safe (the bottom part) and plugs in so the power never fades!

Babyblog-4645

This book got me going. I got it as a shower gift and it was really helpful to provide some guidance on cooking and water levels as well as foods that are good for six month olds (although I think the latest research is more generous with a greater variety of foods than the guidelines in this book).

Babyblog-3899

Our first batch of baby foods included sweet potatoes, apples, oatmeal and peas.

Babyblog-3895

We microwaved the potato and then scooped out the insides to puree with a little water.

Babyblog-3893

The first round I just used an old ice cube tray and it worked just fine.

Babyblog-3896Babyblog-4643Babyblog-4644

Apples, minus the skin, also got a blend with some water.

Babyblog-3887Babyblog-3889

Lastly, peas. Yummy! We just used frozen peas – so easy.

Babyblog-3886

I bought some OXO Tot Baby Block containers to use for storage and freezing. They come with a little tray so they don’t get lost in the freezer.

Babyblog-4626_thumb_thumb

M loved all of his foods, and it was great to have them all ready in advance. I kept a few in the fridge and froze the rest. I get his frozen meals out the night before and then heat them up in the microwave (not to hot – just to luke warm – be careful of heating too much!) when it’s meal time.

We also love this Boon Spoon that was a gift from a friend too! Just fill with food and squeeze out onto the spoon.

Maze-143457

That recaps our first attempt at making baby food. Round II was even better! Coming soon.