Add Those Veggies!–More Uses for Baby Food Puree

My son has moved past the stage of eating solely pureed food. Now…what to do with all that frozen food I’ve made?

Here’s some uses I’ve discovered:

Carrot puree–all those frozen pureed carrots are great to add extra veggies to lunches and dinners.  Just the other night we had leftover pulled pork and I thawed two carrot cubes and a green bean cube, stirred them into the pork, and added a bit of BBQ sauce.  Easy way to add veggies (especially since carrots are one of the few veggies my daughter doesn’t like.)

Butternut squash puree- I make butternut squash risotto at least every other week during the fall and winter.  I was addicted to it when I was pregnant with my son.  It’s SO yummy!  I discovered that I could stir in a couple butternut squash cubes during the middle of the cooking, and it gave it an even richer taste.

Sweet potato puree- believe it or not, stirring a cube into your oatmeal is delicious!  Add some maple syrup and cinnamon and then it’s divine.

Broccoli puree- pretty tasty added to a hot bowl of clam chowder or creamy potato soup.  Gives it that creamy broccoli taste.

Pea puree- I’ve been known to add it to left over risotto for some added protein.

Not to forget all that fruit I’ve made and stored in the freezer.  Here’s some other uses:

Prune Pudding-put two cubes in a bowl for “prune pudding.” Both of my kiddos LOVE this treat.  It thaws very quickly, and it’s a nice cold snack on hot days.  I like this one too!

Mangoes, strawberries, apples, pears, etc.- perfect for making smoothies.

The possibilities are really endless. Please share any ideas you have!   I plan to continue making pureed food with leftover fruits and veggies so I always have them on hand to add to meals.

 

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“How do they get calcium?”

When people discover that I go against the flow…(GASP!)…and don’t give my children glasses of cow’s milk everyday, they usually say something like: “How do they get their calcium then?”

Per my previous post “Why Gluten Free and Cow-Dairy Free?” I explained why we don’t do cow dairy.  So, then, what do I feed my children for calcium?

The first two calcium sources I prepare for them are kale and tahini.  I prepare pureed kale for my babies when they are 8-9 months old.  Next, I introduce tahini around 9-10 months. Other sources of calcium are broccoli, almonds, and goat yogurt/cheese.

Now for my favorite part: the ways I incorporate these foods into their daily meals.

Kale- I’ve also talked about kale as one of my daily “Top 4.” It’s a daily addition to our diet because it is a calcium source. Check out:  When kale is on sale, I buy at least 5 bunches.  When I’ve steamed, pureed and frozen it, I drop kale cubes into spaghetti sauce, soups, chili, scrambled eggs, applesauce (yes, my kids eat green tinted applesauce 🙂 etc.  One of my daughter and son’s favorite first foods is pureed pear sauce and kale.  You’ll even find me serving more than enough so I can finish of their bowl.

Tahini- This seed butter is made from sesame seeds. With a strong taste, I don’t serve this by itself.  When I first introduce it, I mix a small spoonful into pureed acorn squash or sweet potatoes.  Eventually, I make dressings with it, or I sprinkle nutritional yeast over it and we dip broccoli into it.

Broccoli- As with kale, I steam, puree, and freeze it.  It’s another good addition to spaghetti sauce, soups, chili, and scrambled eggs. My daughter loves broccoli, and my son squeals until I give him some off my plate.  We steam it as a side dish about once or twice a week for dinner, nothing added to it.  Then we eat the leftovers for lunches.  We also love dipping the lightly steamed florets into a pile of nutritional yeast.  I’ll even dice broccoli to add it to scrambled eggs, I’ve even gone as far as buzzing off the florets as small as I can with a knife and stirring them into my son’s yogurt (he loved it!).

Almonds- Raw almonds and raisins are a popular snack in our family.  We also love almond butter!  My 14.5 month old squeals with delight at the sight of the almond butter container (I buy the freshly ground tubs of it from Vitamin Cottage).  He eats it little-by-little on a spoon. Often we spread it on sweet potatoes (SO good!), toast, pancakes, apple slices, banana slices, etc.

Goat yogurt/cheese- Goat yogurt is a popular breakfast with granola, ground flax and molasses.  I’ll serve goat cheese slices with sliced pears or in any meal like enchiladas, quesadillas, an omelette, etc.

I just came across an article about some top calcium sources.  I liked it because it listed the daily value of calcium that the foods provide.  This particular list included almonds, kale, and sesame.  It also listed flaxseeds (I had no idea, but I’m thrilled!), brazil nuts, and dried herbs (http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/foods-high-in-calcium.php).

At least every other day (in a perfect world, it’d be everyday, but I’m not perfect), my children get kale or broccoli in some way or another.  Even yesterday, my 14.5 month old wasn’t too interested in trying cut-up broccoli florets for the first time (I had shaved the top of the broccoli off), so I sprinkled them in his goat yogurt and he ate them fine. They probably had a texture similar to the ground flaxseeds I put on his yogurt.  I sneak foods into other foods all the time, especially for the sake of calcium.

Here’s to calcium and tasty foods at the same time!  🙂

How to REALLY love my children?

Yes, I just read a book entitled “How To Really Love Your Child.”

But, I already love my children so much…so much that there’s not even words for the love I feel in my heart.  I couldn’t possibly need to read a book like that.

This book was one of the best reminders I could have ever read.  I love my children, and this helped me focus on what truly matters.

Here’s a book review I just wrote for the newsletter at the school I teach at:

“Never have I read a more influential book about parenting: “How to Really Love Your Child.” The majority of the book explains the basic premise of loving our children, which includes giving eye contact, physical contact, and focused attention.  These actions fill the emotional tanks of our children.  When our children’s emotional tanks are full, we have built a solid foundation for other areas of child rearing, such as discipline.  “The first fact parents must understand in order to have a well-disciplined child is that making a child feel loved is the first and most important part of good discipline. Of course, this is not all there is, but it is most important,” explains the author, D. Ross Campell. Discipline is training our children to become well-rounded people, and discipline is not just punishment (which is really only a tiny, tiny fraction of discipline). As a busy mom of two young children, I was graciously reminded to be purposeful and consistent in filling my children’s emotional tanks, especially in the midst of very busy days.  As a result of filling their emotional tanks, disciplining (training) my children, has been enjoyable. The book wraps up with the importance of spiritually training and teaching our children and how this builds upon filling the emotional tanks. Please read the book to find out why; the investment in your children is well worth it.  It would be a fantastic read for parents with children of any age.”

Vacation or a Move–Making Baby Food to Travel

Traveling with baby can be challenging, especially if you’re making all of your own baby food.  I’m very intentional with how I feed my children…there are things we stay away from (gluten and dairy), so traveling takes planning and lots of prep work.  However, a vacation or a move doesn’t have to cause a headache concerning baby’s meals (just a lot of sweat to get all that baby gear through airline security). So, here’s a few tips:

First of all, those pouches of pureed food by “Plum Organics” or “Earth’s Best” are one of the best inventions ever.  My experience traveling and prepping food for a trip was for a family trip to Mexico for a week.  I packed about 20 of these pouches, so I’d have at least 2 per day. I put them in my checked suitcase.  Of course, when I picked up my suitcase, it had been searched.  (I’m sure my bag caused quite the alarm with all of the liquid food crammed into one big pocket. Nothing was confiscated though.)

Ziploc baggies, in all different sizes, will be your best friend.  Prepare your pureed food ahead of time. Freeze each serving in a snack size bag.  Then pile your frozen snack bags into gallon ziplocs.  I was able to put these galloon ziplocs (I had two of them) in my check-on and explain to security that it was baby food.  PLEASE, check the airline security website for what they will allow you to take on the plane concerning liquids, but once they searched all of my food, I was ok to take it through. Even before I prepared all of this food, I had called airline security to make sure that I would be allowed to take this baby food through with the way I was packaging it.

Pack everything frozen, so if it thaws, you can just stick it in the fridge or freezer when you arrive at your destination. Or, if you’re driving, make stops to add ice to your cooler as needed. I was able to put all of my baggies right into a fridge in our hotel room, so everything was thawed and ready to use throughout the week.  If you’re driving, I’d definitely set out the food to thaw so it’s ready when baby is ready to eat.

What were my ziplocs filled with?  I took pureed kale, diced sweet potatoes, and whole green beans. My daughter was over a year old by this time and eating more chunky foods.  Also, I knew I would be able to get eggs, rice, and beans at the buffet, plus plenty of fresh fruits and steamed veggies.  I made seven snack baggies of kale (one bag per day for the week).  This way I made sure she got her serving of kale every day of the week we were there.  I stirred the thawed kale into a little bowl of smashed black beans or rice, or I would squeeze a “Plum Organics” pouch into a bowl and stir the kale in.  The diced sweet potatoes and green beans were perfect snacks to take to the beach.

Dried foods– I took packets of instant oatmeal (gluten free) like McCann’s Irish Oatmeal.  I also packed powdered goat milk.  I mixed these two together to give my daughter creamy oatmeal for breakfast.  Larabars-I took the snack sized ones.  They were perfect for the plane ride and the beach.  One of her favorite snacks are “Pirate’s Booty Veggie” puffs.  I put a large unopened bag of these in my carry on for easy access and took extra snack ziplocs to carry them to the beach.

Your carry-on–Because your food supply is very important, take everything but the pouches in your carry-on.  They did not allow the pouches through security when I was flying (in 2010). Gallon ziplocs of frozen food, oatmeal, powdered milk (make sure it’s in a bag, not a tin), Larabars, veggie puffs, and any other dried foods you use.  I figured if they confiscated all of the pouches out of my checked bag, I would have enough food in my carry-on, plus the food I knew she could eat at the buffet.

Traveling with a baby under a year? Pack more pureed food, of course, and take advantage of those “Plum Organics” and “Earth’s Best” pouches.