“IT’S NOT GOING WELL”, says my tired old self. “Except that it is!” says the hopeful part of me, the one that remains rosy cheeked despite 2 sleepless nights with our little guy’s new cold. So it’s a bit of both, that’s how I’d sum up this move and here’s why: It’s a complicated process. There are 2 countries, 5 people 1 rental house and 1 as-of-yet undiscovered dream house. To say nothing of job(s), preschool programs and your basic social activities. But the good news is this: our boxes have arrived (even better, the case of Italian olive oil we scored from friends in Rome has made it), I’ve started cooking again and at long last, Baby G has the homemade baby food his sisters enjoyed(?) in their day. Starting with a seasonal favorite, roasted sweet potatoes and apples.
NOTHING IS EASIER. Except maybe frozen peas, but let’s get back to the beets. Since we’ve got both a baby and a toddler here, one who is very into “cake”, these beets are doing double duty. At 9 months, Estelle eats them, mixed with whole wheat baby cereal but we’ve also thrown these beets into our most recent baking foray: brownies. [Read more...]
AS MARK BITTMAN ONCE SAID, “IT’S NOT THE BETA CAROTENE, IT’S THE CARROT”. There’s just something wonderful about this sweet, crunchy and super healthy food. Easy to cook, versatile and best of all, simply to puree for babies.
As with most baby food purees, a “recipe” isn’t really in order. It’s more of an idea or technique. For Estelle’s latest batch, we (and when I say “we” I mean my trusty assistant and me) just bought a couple pounds of organic carrots, peeled, chopped and steamed them in a sauce pan with about an inch of water. Later on, I’ll roast them in the oven with olive oil but at seven months she’s still pretty new to solids and if I have to introduce one thing at a time I’ll keep going with fruit and veggies for now.
In the meantime, here’s a handy idea. I’ve started keeping veggie scraps like carrot tops and peels in a plastic zip top baggie in the freezer. Once the bag is full I brew up a pot of vegetable stock or add the veggies to a pot of chicken stock. I used to think this was silly, but my inner hippie just can’t see so much produce go to waste. Even if it is clippings. [Read more...]
HERE WE ARE AGAIN. I’m thrilled to say that Estelle is now officially an eater. A foodlet, I don’t know but she’s eating solid food and that’s good enough for me. We started her on the classic “beginner” foods and once she got the hang of it her reaction went from eyes-closed shuddering to an open mouth impatiently awaiting the next bite. Feed me please!
- Brown rice
- Whole oats
- Steel cut oats
- Whole wheat pasta
- Whole wheat cereal
IF I’D ACTUALLY TRIED THEM, I certainly didn’t like any of these foods until my mid-twenties. At 9 months, Phoebe has had– and enjoyed–all of them.
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Cooked parsley
So far, the force is with us though I hear it gets harder. Much harder.
hard-boiled egg (yolk only)
steamed and pureed spinach
whole wheat cereal
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
= Baby Eggs Florentine
What’s your most surprisingly successful lunch recipe?
I LOVE THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA. I just do. I always have, I hope I always will. Her recipes are always delicious, they inspire me to try new things and she just seems fun, doesn’t she? With that husky laugh and a button down shirt, there she is making all manner of soups, roasted chicken and decadent desserts from her Hampton’s manse, surrounded by handsome men of a particular persuasion. I love it. The problem with her dishes though, as anyone who has ever seen an episode of her show (or a recipe for that matter) is that they’re usually laden with butter. But not this one. That’s why I made it for Phoebe.
Her recipe on the Food Network website is easy to follow and totally delicious. I used fresh rosemary from my terrace and added cubed pancetta, just for extra flavor. Paul loved it. Phoebe spit both of them out. Otherwise, she ate it all. Really! For her portion, I strained out most of the liquid, drizzled olive oil on top and grated a little fresh Parmesan cheese. In big gulps Phoebe used a spoon, her fingers and would’ve tried chopsticks if she thought she could shovel more of this rosemary goodness in with them. So, hooray!
Think we have a mini-Contessa in the making? Maybe I should just enjoy the soup success before I get ahead of myself. And before Phoebe starts requesting a mini-BMW of her own…
HERE’S WHAT I do. Cut up any winter squash, slather with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Then bake at 375 for about 35 minutes, depending on how big the chunks are. Puree for instant baby food or add to salads, soups or rice dishes. Either way it’s a tasty burst of vitamins A and C.
Sometimes I add curry instead of maple. Sometimes Phoebe eats it.
- Whole fat yogurt
- Cooked and pureed squash
- Pinch of brewer’s yeast
- Brown rice cereal
- Wheat germ
What is your best baby breakfast blend?
1 >>Sweet potatoes
Roasting in the oven is easiest. Just rub the skin with a little olive oil, poke a few times with a fork and roast at 350 for about 45 minutes, depending on the size of your sweet potato.
2 >> Bananas
Mashed, sliced or frozen, it’s hard to go wrong with a food that’s basically a stick.
3 >> Prunes
Considered a delicious treat in France, give prunes a chance. Remove the pit and tear the soft flesh into bit-sized pieces for baby. Or squeeze the fruit from the skin to mash into cereal, or yogurt.
4 >> Pears
Sliced, diced or whole. Phoebe loves holding the whole pear in her hands now (she’s just turned one)–though she always holds it upside down.
5 >> Applesauce
Try adding cinnamon. It’s got health — and taste — benefits. Also, take this chance to mix in pureed veggies for a nutrition boost. Carrots, squash and roasted beets work beautifully.
6 >> Carrots
For some babies, carrots will be a texture do or don’t. Phoebe enjoys mashed carrots but isn’t interested in steamed carrot sticks (at least not right now). Either way, try adding sage plus a nice bit of olive oil and roasting the whole thing on a cookie sheet at 375 for about 20 minutes, depending on how large or small your carrot pieces are.
7 >> Cottage cheese
Calcium here we come. Add fresh peas, soft, sliced fruit like peaches, pears or apricots.
8 >> Whole wheat bread
Half a slice makes the perfect snack on the go.
9 >> Rice cakes
Really. Chances are, rice was one of the first things your baby ate as cereal. Now the puffy rice cake is the perfect thing to munch on, gum on while teeth come in. Make sure there is no salt added and try different grains; we’ve enjoyed kamut and millet.
10 >> Beans
For a fiber and protein fix, try whole beans–pinto, navy, kidney, white. Little fingers love pinching each bean plus it’s hard to make a mess…but not impossible.