Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog

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Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

Slow Cooker Applesauce

Choose naturally sweet apples such as Empire or McIntosh to reduce the need for added sugar. For baby’s breakfast, I’ve stirred in oatmeal cereal and ground flax seed. I haven’t tried freezing this recipe since it never lasts long at my house, but if you try, let me know how it works out! Update – I froze applesauce in 8 oz Ball freezer containers with success!

Ingredients

Sliced Macintosh Apple

Sliced Macintosh Apple

  • 8-10 medium sized apples
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash, peel, core and slice apples.
  2. Combine apples, water and sugar in slow cooker.
  3. Cover and heat on high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Apples will “mash” on their own, but for younger babies, you may want to blend further.
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Filed under: Apples, Cinnamon, Fruit, Herbs and Spices, Holiday Menu, Slow Cooker or Crockpot, Thanksgiving, , , , , , ,

Sweet Potato Minestrone

Filled with healthy antioxidants, this recipe makes enough minestrone to freeze for baby, or share with the entire family!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced thin
  • 6 ounces green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. 
  2. Saute onion, celery, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until tender, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Stir in tomatoes, with the juice, broth, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and garlic. 
  4. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Filed under: Carrots, Celery, Family, Freezer Friendly, garlic, Green Beans, Recipes, Sweet Potato, 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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Baby Dipper Bowl Giveaway

This week I had the chance to check out the Baby Dipper Bowl. This bowl and spoon set is genius – it has a no slip base, which allows you to feed your baby with one hand

Baby Dipper

Baby Dipper

without the bowl sliding all over the table or highchair tray. The triangular shaped Baby Dipper Bowl has a gently contoured interior, which helps guide the spoon to the food and allows the spoon to rest in the lower corner when not in use. The spoon is cleverly designed as well to rest perfectly in the lower corner of the bowl.

Baby K, at 10 months old, is increasingly more interested in trying to use a spoon herself, and the Baby Dipper Bowl definitely gives her (and me) an advantage.

The Baby Dipper Bowl has a cool story as well. After her first set of twins started eating purees and solid foods – she now has 2 sets of twins – stay-at-home mom Barbara Schantz needed the most efficient way to feed her babies, using only one hand. Barbara put her ideas to work and designed the Baby Dipper Bowl.

My prediction? The Baby Dipper is going to be a hot baby shower item in 2009. It’s available for purchase at Baby Dipper. Barbara is kind enough to offer a giveaway of a Baby Dipper Bowl and Spoon set to one lucky reader.

Here’s how to enter:

1. Check out BabyDipper and tell me about your favorite feature in the comments below.

2. Fan Vanilla Pumpkin on Facebook.

3. Blog about this post and include a link back to Vanilla Pumpkin and Baby Dipper.

4. Tweet about the Baby Dipper giveaway to your friends.

5. Fave Vanilla Pumpkin on Technorati.

6. Stumble this post.

7. Subscribe to Vanilla Pumpkin’s RSS feed.

To be eligible, you must comment below with each entry method. Therefore, EACH COMMENT COUNTS AS AN ENTRY. When entering our giveaway, please leave a valid email address or make sure your email is available where you can be contacted in the event that you win. Winner must respond within 5 days of email. I can not be held responsible if you do not provide the correct e-mail address or if the e-mail was delivered to your spam folder. US residents only, please.

Comments must be submitted by Friday January 23 at 5 pm EST. Winner will be chosen randomly by random.org.

So the question remains – best use of my newly free extra hand? Sippy cup catcher or wash cloth holder?

This post is now closed to new entries.

And the winner chosen by random.org is….Barbara! Congrats!

My favorite feature would have to be the contour of the spoon and the way it stays in the bowl when resting. My daughter is pregnant and i am sure she would love it.

Disclosure: I did receive a Baby Dipper to try, but I believe in transparent and honesty in blogging. Receipt of this product did not influence my review. You can read my disclosure policy in full here.

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, Family, Gear, Giveaways, Reviews, , , , , ,

Rosemary Potatoes

Included in this recipe are options using red or Yukon gold potatoes. I encourage you to try both variations, as the Yukon gold potatoes provide a wonderfully distinct flavor, different than the red.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium sized red or Yukon gold potatoesRed Potatoes
  • 3/4 cup organic chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary, very finely chopped
  • Dash of pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash, peel and dice potatoes
  2. Place potatoes in pot, cover with enough water to boil
  3. Boil potatoes until tender
  4. Drain and transfer potatoes to blender or bowl
  5. Slowly add vegetable or chicken broth, may need a little more or less depending on desired consistency
  6. Add rosemary
  7. Blend (or mash in bowl) until desired consistency is reached

Potatoes don’t freeze as well as many other vegetables, as they don’t seem to thaw to the same consistency as they were before freezing. I’ve found that if you use more vegetable or chicken broth though, they tend to freeze better.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker.

Filed under: food, , , , , , , ,

For Moms – Holiday Giveaways

This week, while on my weekly quest for recipes and menu planning ideas, I came across this great site, Menu Planning Central. Menu Planning Central is a project of The Menu Mom, and provides weekly menus in a variety of options, including Family Friendly, Healthy and Vegetarian menus. Each of the menus comes with the recipes and categorized grocery lists. Speaking from experience, menu planning is hands-down the best way to save money at the grocery, eat healthier, and avoid the weeknight what-are-we-going-to-eat panics that inevitably lead to eating out or fast food. If you’re looking for a quick way to get started with menu planning, or just want something different, Menu Planning Central is worth the visit.

Right now, Menu Planning Central even has a Christmas care package, free for moms (or dads). Everyone knows that planning is key to smooth sailing at any holiday. The free, downloadable Care Package includes:

  • Printable Christmas carol songbook

    Guilty Party

    Guilty Party

  • Gingerbread house instructions
  • Online gingerbread house decorating activity
  • Snowman face-painting instructions
  • Free menu planning kit

Follow to Menu Planning Central Care Package.

Photo from Gudlyf’s Flickr Photostream – thanks!

Filed under: Family, food, Giveaways, Holiday Menu, , , , , , , , , ,

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