Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog

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Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

Blueberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Sounds a little bizarre, I know, but give these a try, no syrup needed!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Combine cottage cheese, flour, blueberries, beaten eggs and oil in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Heat lightly sprayed skilled over medium heat.
  3. Pour 1/3 cupfuls of batter in to the skilled. Carefully flipping when bubbles appear on the surface.
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Filed under: Blueberry, Dairy, Finger Food, Fruit, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lentil Vegetable Soup

Lentil Veggie Soup is most appropriate for babies at least 9 months, and can be made in a saucepan or a crockpot!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup dried lentils 
  • 1 cup organic vegetable stock
  • 1 medium organic carrot, diced
  • 1 medium organic yellow potato, diced (could also substitute sweet potato or winter squash)
  • 1 stalk of organic celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup organic tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of dried basil 

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine water, lentils, vegetable or beef stock, carrot, potato and celery.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 4-45 minutes. (may need to add a little more water)
  3. Add tomato sauce and basil and heat until thoroughly warm
  4. Remove from saucepan, blend or puree if needed

FREEZER FRIENDLY

  1. Pour into ice cube trays
  2. Cover and freeze overnight

Filed under: Basil, Freezer Friendly, Herbs and Spices, Legumes, Lentils, nutrition, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , ,

Baby Gear Giveaway and Prose: WooBee Bib

Let me paint a picture of dinner time with my almost 11 month old:

Twas the time before dinner, when all through the house,

There was a creature stirring, a little bigger than a mouse

The pureed food cubes were stored in Ziplocks with care

Pumpkin, bananas, carrots and pear

As Baby K chose lasagna, my heart skipped a beat

Visions of tomato sauce, covering her clothes, face and feet

As dinner was heating we prepped the scene

We needed a bib that would keep Baby K clean

Not this one or that one, everyone would agree

The only bib for the job is the posh Woobee

Beautiful and stylish, plush in a ranch print

For bib after bib I’d no longer sprint

When up from the high chair there rose such a clatter

I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter

Baby K’s newest trick is to spit out her food

Soy milk and lasagna, quite a colorful brew

Armed only with faith and laundry soap

A clean Woobee bib was really my hope

Away Cheerios, lasagna, sweet potato bites and soy milk

Out came the Woobee just as clean as new and softer than silk

Amazing! I cried, happy to see, this snap-closure bib

One of the coolest things since the convertible crib!

I know Christmas has passed, but we could all use a little Christmas spirit every now and then right? Seriously, these bibs are the best. They’re made locally in Seattle by Rain or Shine Kids and feature the WooBee plush fabric that’s both beautiful, soft and water resistant. Rain or Shine Kids also makes WooBee blankets, perfect for outdoors, and WooBee burp cloths in the same fantastic fabric.

Wanna WooBee bib of your own? Check out RainorShineKids.com and comment below about your favorite feature of the WooBee bibs. Rain or Shine Kids has a fantastic sale going on right now until January 31st. Great time to try any of their products out, or stock up for baby shower gifts.

Comments must be entered by January 31st at 5 pm, EST.

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.

(Not sure what’s going on with my photo of Baby K in her WooBee bib, she really doesn’t glow, I promise!)

Vanilla Pumpkin is participating in Bloggy Giveaways blog carnival, please visit Bloggy Giveaways for more giveaways.

This contest is now closed! The winner, chosen by random.org, is MRSMOMMYY:

seriously the machine wash had me hooked

Thank you all for entering!

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!

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Disclosure: I did receive a bib 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: baby, Best Of, Family, Gear, Giveaways, Reading, Reviews, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Kitchen Gear: Beaba Babycook

Calling all gadget lovers, time savers, multi-taskers, and lovers of the all-in-one. Let me introduce you to my newest love, the Beaba Babycook.

babycookThe BPA-free Babycook is made to gently steam baby’s meals in 15 minutes or less, and then blend them into perfect purees, all in the same little appliance. And when I say little, the Babycook is so compact that it fit perfectly into a smaller wall cabinet. No sacrifice of counter space or rearranging existing cabinet contents to accommodate the Babycook. Already have have some of baby’s food frozen? Babycook also defrosts and warms precooked foods in the same unit.

For those of you that have read my posts, I’m sure you’ve noticed my preference to steaming most of baby’s foods. The gentle steam helps preserve the nutrients in food because, unlike boiling, the nutrients aren’t removed in the cooking water.

The Babycook was originally a French phenom, but is now making big splashes in the US. Babycook even won the 2008 JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association) Innovation Award.

The Babycook even came with a little cookbook of starter recipes to try out. Baby K loved the Whiting, Rice and Spinach recipe, and I loved how simple and fast it was. Baby K is a little young for a few of the recipes, which are all conveniently categorized by age, but I can’t wait to try the Tomato coulis recipe in the 12-36 months age range.

The first night we had the Babycook, I planned to have salmon, asparagus and potatoes for my husband and I, so I thought I’d put the Babycook to the test right off the bat and make Baby K an adapted version of our family’s meal.

  • small salmon fillet, about 1 oz.
  • 1 small yellow potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 asparagus spears
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of dried parsley

After steaming on the highest water level for about 15 minutes, the salmon, potato and asparagus spears were all perfectly cooked. I used the Babycook spatula to lift the steaming basket out of the unit, and placed the cooked food, olive oil and parsley into the blending container, which contained the cooking liquid. I then switched on the processor and a few seconds later, Baby K was eating her  little dinner.

Other Vanilla Pumpkin recipes well-suited to the Babycook:beaba-babycook

I will say though, that the Babycook isn’t really designed to prepare bulk batches of purees. It’s small steaming basket at 2 1/2 cups is perfect for preparing a few meals.

Beaba Babycook is available at Giggle.com.

Disclosure: I did receive a Babycook 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: baby, Gear, Reviews, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Herbed Chicken with Corn and Rice

This dish can easily be doubled or tripled to feed the rest of your family as well. Just skip chopping the chicken and pureeing. Also try it with turkey for a different flavor. Freezer friendly!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups low sodium organic chicken or vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn
  • 1/3 cup cooked basmati rice (may substitute brown rice)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprig of parsley
  • 1/2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs whole wheat, organic flour
  • 2-3 whole peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Combine the chicken breast, broth or water, bay leaves, parsley and peppercorns in a large stock pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly
  3. Remove chicken and chop finely
  4. Strain the remaining water or broth and reserve, be sure to remove bay leaves, peppercorns and parsley sprig
  5. Melt unsalted butter in a pan, add the flour, stir and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the remaining water or broth, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Add the corn and continue to simmer for another few minutes.
  8. Mix in chopped chicken and rice.
  9. Serve, or cool then puree to reach desired consistency.
  10. If freezing, pour into ice cube trays, cover, and freeze overnight.

Filed under: Basmati Rice, Bay, Brown Rice, Chicken, food, Freezer Friendly, Grains, Herbs and Spices, nutrition, Parsley, Proteins, Turkey, , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , ,

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