Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog

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Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

Butternut Squash Puree

Butternut squash is a fantastic source of both vitamin A and C, and just one vegetable can go a long way. Widely available in October and November, butternut squash has a sweet, creamy flavor, and is enclosed in a tough skin. Stored correctly in a cool, dry place, butternut squash will keep for 2-3 months.

You can serve Butternut Squash puree alone, or mix it with apple puree, carrot puree, applesauce, mashed banana, pumpkin, sweet potato, rice or homemade rice cereal, chicken or peaches. Baby K loves her Butternut Squash Puree with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

For a toddler, I’ve had success with mini bagel “pizzas”, that is, halve a whole wheat bagel, spread about a tablespoon or two of butternut squash puree over bagel, sprinkle with a little parmesan or asiago cheese, and bake for about 10 minutes.

To make the puree:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degreesButternut Squash
  • Wash butternut squash just before slicing
  • Carefully cut the vegetable in half lengthwise
  • Scoop out the seeds and fibrous strings
  • Using a small knife, carefully peel the skin from each half
  • Cube the remaining squash into about 2 inch cubes
  • Place cubes on a foil lined pan, and drizzle a little olive oil over the squash
  • You will probably have a pretty full pan, be sure to use a spatula and toss the cubes around making sure that all sides have a little EVOO
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, using the spatula to turn the cubes occasionally.
  • Squash should be baked until tender.
  • Allow the butternut squash cubes to cool
  • Transfer to cubes to blender or food processor with about 1/2 cup of water
  • Blend away, adding water if necessary.
  • Pour into ice cube trays, cover and freeze immediately.

Photo credit to Rex_roof.

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Filed under: Butternut Squash, Finger Food, food, Freezer Friendly, nutrition, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kid Appeal: St. Patrick’s Day Green Mac-n-Cheese

I love this idea of sneaking spinach in mac-n-cheese from Food with Kid Appeal.

Kid Appeal: St. Patrick’s Day Green Mac-n-Cheese.

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, food, Grains, Pasta, Spinach, Vegetables, , , , ,

Mommy, where does meat come from?: Part 1

If you’ve been following this blog, I’m terrified of the day I explain to Baby K where meat comes from. So I asked HARO, my followers on Twitter, and followers of Vanilla Pumpkin to weigh in on how to best answer this question: Where does meat come from? I searched Amazon looking for books like “My Beautiful Mommy” “A Terrible Thing Happened” or “I Miss You: A First Look at Death” that tactfully explain the concept of where food comes from, but didn’t find any.

Due to the great response I had when I asked this question, I’ll post in two parts. 

From Parenting Experts:

Julie Freedman Smith, Parenting Power

Firstly, parents don’t always have the answers or don’t feel confident in trying to explain something to the child so stalling is important.

1. Thank the child for asking the question: “That’s a great question!” “I’m glad you asked that.”

2. Find out what they know: “Where do you think meat comes from?” “What have you heard about that?”

When we find out their perspective, we can clear up any misunderstandings and find out what they are really asking.

3. Explain that you are not sure how to answer but that you’ll find out and get back to the child: “I need to check with Daddy about that – let’s talk about it on Saturday”

So you now know where your child is coming from and you have supported the child in asking good questions rather than freaking out so much that the child doesn’t ever want to ask you anything again.

The content used in the answer is each parent’s choice. We recommend giving facts and in very small doses. Only answer the child’s specific question. Don’t give a multi media presentation because that is overkill. If you answer the direct question with a fact, that might be all the child wanted to hear. OR the child might ask another question and then you take the next step.

When we get involved in answering our children’s questions, it means we can also inject our values so after giving the facts you could then add:

“In our family, we believe that … and that is why we choose to only eat…” – Julie Friedman Smith, Parenting Power

From Parents:

I’ve always told my kids the truth… and that some animals are raised for food, others for pets. But we live in a rural area, so they know a lot of farm kids and go to the 4-H fair….. I guess you COULD just say ‘from the butcher’s shop!’ =) – Deirdre

My toddler asked this question a few months ago. I told her that some people like to eat animals. She was horrified. “People EAT animals?!” she said in disbelief. Then she asked WHY? I said because some people think they taste good. I then explained that I’m a vegetarian–that unlike her Dad I don’t eat animals. I explained that I don’t like the taste of meat that’s why I eat soy. No judgement –just a matter of fact. Later, when she’s older, I’ll teach her about the importance of knowing where your food comes from & treating animals humanely and all that. – Jen Matlack

I took my nieces out to eat and my 4 year-old was eating chicken. She said, “Where does chicken come from? Is it like chicken at Granny’s?” Uh oh.  She’d just made the connection between the chicken she was eating to the chickens running around on her grandmother’s farm.  I said, “Yes. They are both the same.” She thought about it and then said, “Really?  [Pause]  Mmmmm….” Not a big deal! – Hali Chambers

I don’t know if this will help but we told our daughter that all food comes from the ground.  As she got older, it’s become quite a family joke. On family road trips, when we see a cow, she’ll say, “Remember Mom, all food comes from the ground,” and we all laugh. 🙂 – Erin Peacock

I would simply be honest and let the little ones decide for themselves. I was very young when I decided to be a vegetarian, mainly for the reason that I could not bear to eat animals, since I naturally loved them (as most children do).

It’s only later as I became a certified nutritionist that I learned that a vegetarian (vegan, in my case) diet is extremely healthy.

It’s not a surprise that we call food “beef” instead of “cow” or “pork” instead of “pig” — we naturally find eating animals offensive. If you ever visited a slaughterhouse, you would stop eating meat in a minute.

For some reason, we deaden our hearts to the suffering of animals all in the name of food.

As people become enlightened about the environment, it becomes all too clear that the amount of energy it takes to raise and kill one cow could be put toward feeding countless other.

I say: tell the little ones the truth and let them decide.

My son at 6 was a very picky eater – one of the few foods he would eat was chicken fingers. So he ate them alot – I would guess 4 to 5x a week? One day, he asked if chickens “laid” chicken fingers the way they do eggs.My wife explained, that no, that was the chicken itself. He was very unhappy with the answer, and he swore off eating animals forever (he loves animals, like many boys).  I didn’t think much about it, I really assumed it was a “phase.”
He has been a vegetarian ever since (about a year and a half).  Incredibly, he is alone in his efforts – no one else in our family is a non-meat eater!  He is an amazing kid! – Cotter Cunningham

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Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, food, nutrition, Reading, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DHA: Your thoughts?

When I first started making Baby K homemade baby food, I scoured the baby food grocery aisle in search of ideas for recipes. Baby food can’t be that hard to “knock-off”, I thought, as most of the products had only a few main ingredients.
I noticed, and I’m sure you have too, that several brands have DHA fortified product lines. So I wondered, like any concerned parent, if by making my own baby food, I was denying baby of “support in brain and eye development”. Currently, The American Academy of Pediatrics does not have a statement concerning DHA additives due to insufficient data and evidence. DHA occurs naturally in algae, fatty fish such as salmon and halibut, organ meat, fish oil, and small amounts in poultry and egg yolks.

I consulted pediatrician Lara Zibners, MD, who is board-certified in both pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine. Dr. Zibners is also the author of forthcoming parenting book “If Your Kid Eats This Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay: How To Know If Your Child’s Illness or Injury is Really an Emergency.” (Hatchette Book Group, June 17, 2009). Here is her advice regarding DHA-fortified foods:

Fatty acids are important for an infant’s brain development. That we know. And we also know that breast milk is a great source of DHA and similar fatty chains, which is one of the many reasons that pediatricians almost universally recommend breastfeeding whenever possible. But science has failed to convince us that a healthy child who is receiving an age-appropriate diet benefits from fatty acid supplementation in a meaningful way. Not having served DHA-fortified strained peas is not the reason Johnny failed his long division test. Keep the cash and save it for a math tutor. – Lara Zibners, MD

What do you think?

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Filed under: baby, Family, food, Guidelines, News, nutrition, Reading

No-Cook Baby Food Recipe: Avocado and Banana

As Baby K gets a little older and her foods don’t need to be pureed beyond recognition anymore, it’s easy to combine soft foods and mash them with a fork for a quick, no-cook meal. I’ve already sung the praises of the banana, but have you thought about combining the sweet tasting banana with another no-cook food, the buttery and smooth avocado? (Need avocado guidance?)sliced avocado

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 ripe banana

Instructions:

  • Combine avocado and banana
  • Mash with a fork
  • Warm if baby prefers

Doesn’t get any easier!

Photography courtesy of ms. Tea on Flickr.

Dear friends, I try hard to exceed your expectations with my posts. If you enjoyed this one, please share it via Delicious, Technorati, StumbleUpon, Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!



Filed under: Avocado, Banana, food, Fruit, No-Cook, , , , , , , ,

Around the Play Yard: Week of January 20

Foodpairing.be – Whether you’re a seasoned gourmet or just getting started in the kitchen, Foodpairing gives you, well, pairing ideas as well as substitutions represented graphically.

CoolMomGuide – I loved CoolMomGuide’s post on “You Know You’re a (Seasoned) Mother When…“.

My favorite is “You see a half-chewed skittle on the table and pop it in your mouth.

$5 Dollar Dinners – Frugality is queen in 2009, and $5 Dollar Dinners shows you not only how to save big on your family’s meals, but still cook healthy, by shopping sales, couponing and meal planning. $5 Dinners even has a section on frugal cooking for babies using the Babycook. What is a Babycook?

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, food, Reading, , , , , , , , ,

Carrots and Stars in Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 organic carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1Tbs no salt added butter
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2Tbs whole grain pasta stars
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

Instructions

  1. Steam carrots until tender
  2. Meanwhile, saute tomatoes in butter until tender
  3. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese
  4. Cook pasta in water in another sauce pan until tender.
  5. Combine carrots with cheesy tomato sauce.
  6. Add desired amount of cooking water from carrots.
  7. Blend until you reach desired consistency.
  8. Add pasta stars and dried parsley, mix well.
  9. If freezing, pour into ice cube trays, cover and freeze overnight.

Filed under: Carrots, food, Freezer Friendly, Grains, Herbs and Spices, nutrition, Parsley, Pasta, Uncategorized, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Banana Veggie Blend

Nutrient-rich red bell pepper combined with the familiarity of carrot and banana. I haven’t yet tried to freeze this one. Have you? Let me know! Update: FREEZER FRIENDLY!

Ingredients

1/2 red bell pepperred bell pepper

1 carrot

1 banana

Instructions

1. Slice red pepper and remove seeds and core

2. Peel and slice carrot

3. Combine red pepper and carrot slices and steam until tender

4. Peel and slice banana

5. Combine steamed red pepper and carrot with banana slices in blender

6. Blend until you reach desired consistency. If baby is older, can also use “chop” setting for chunkier blend.

Photo by zoha_n.

Filed under: Banana, Carrots, food, Freezer Friendly, Fruit, Medley, Red Bell Pepper, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quinoa Veggie Pilaf

I found this recipe at allrecipes.com, and have adapted it for baby. Quinoa Veggie Pilaf is family friendly, in that you can easily double this recipe for your family, or for smaller families, just remove a portion for baby at end and puree.

Although quinoa is relatively new to the American market, it has been named by the United Nations as a “super crop”, and is considered a complete protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oilquinoa, by net_efekt
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup no salt added, frozen green peas, thawed
  • ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Pour oil into a medium saucepan, and place over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots; cook and stir for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  2. Using a strainer, rinse quinoa under cold water. Drain well.
  3. Stir into the vegetables; cook and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Add water, bay leaf and lemon rind and juice; bring to boil. Cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
  5. Remove bay leaf and discard.
  6. Stir in peas, and season to taste with pepper.
  7. Puree and serve.

I haven’t tried to freeze this meal yet, so I don’t have any recommendation on its freezer-friendliness. Have you tried it? Please comment!

Filed under: baby, Bay, Carrots, Celery, Family, food, Grains, Herbs and Spices, nutrition, Peas, Quinoa, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lasagna: Italian Dinner for the Whole Family

As Baby K gets older and is able to eat more complex meals, I find it easier at times to prepare parts of our family meals for her. Lasagna is a family favorite at my house, and I’ve adapted my tried and true recipe to suit her needs as well. As a bonus, both the family portion and baby’s portion are freezer friendly!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 jar of organic, basic tomato sauce
  • 12 oz shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1 12 oz container of cottage cheese
  • 1 package whole wheat oven ready lasagna
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat tiny pasta for baby (I used acini di pepe)
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1/4 finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 tbs dried parsley
  • 2 whole bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Brown ground beef (or turkey) in pan, drain excess fat if any and return to pan.
  2. Add chopped onions and continue to cook on low for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently
  3. As onions start to turn translucent, add chopped mushrooms, garlic and tomato, continue cooking for about 5 minutes
  4. Stir in tomato sauce and bay leaves, bring to a boil
  5. Remove mixture from heat
  6. Remove bay leaves

Baby’s Dinner

  1. Cook baby’s pasta, drain, rinse and set aside
  2. Remove about a cup of the beef and sauce mixture and place into a mixing bowl
  3. Add 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, mix well
  4. Blend this mixture into a puree
  5. Combine with baby’s pasta
  6. Add 1/2 tbs of dried parsley if desired
  7. Serve, or pour into ice cube trays, cover, freeze overnight and store

Family’s Dinner

  1. In an ungreased 9×13 pan or 2 9×9 pans, spread a layer of about 1/3 beef and sauce mixture on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add a layer of lasagna noodles
  3. Add a layer of 1/3 of the cottage cheese
  4. Add a layer of 1/3 of the shredded cheese
  5. Sprinkle with parsley if desired
  6. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees

Filed under: Bay, Beef, Chicken, Family, food, Freezer Friendly, garlic, Herbs and Spices, Parsley, Pasta, Proteins, Turkey, Uncategorized, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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