Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog

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Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

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

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, , , , , , , , , ,

Lentil and Veggie Medley

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dry lentils
  • 1/2 pound vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans
  • 1 small onion

    Lentils

    Lentils

  • 3-4 cups of water

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil, and simmer lentils for about 1 1/2 or 2 hours
  2. Drain lentils and let cool
  3. Finely chop onion and saute wite a tiny bit of olive oil
  4. Steam choice of vegetables or vegetable medley until very soft
  5. Combine lentils, vegetables and onion in blender, food mill or processor
  6. Blend until desired consistency is reached, you may need to add more water
  7. Pour into ice cube trays, cover and freeze (makes about 4 ice cube trays)

With this recipe, there are so many options, just use the ratio of 1 cup of lentils to 1 cup of vegetables. You can combine lentils with a medley of vegetables, lentils and carrots, lentils and broccoli, the possibilities are endless.

Filed under: baby, Carrots, food, Freezer Friendly, Legumes, Lentils, Medley, nutrition, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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