Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The First Peas

Sorry for the break, stomach bug finally done in my house!

So I was looking through a magazine the other day and saw that First Lady Michelle Obama is coming out with a new cookbook next week. I know she is very interested in natural and healthy eating and childhood
Obesity. The magazine posted an article about minty peas and my instinct was wow that sounds awesome and it would probably make a great puree! So tonight I finally made it( and taste it). I pretty much took the recipe and readapted it in order to make it "baby friendly".

1 leek
2 1/2 cups peas
2 oz mint

Clean the leaks extremely well! An easy way to do this is soak them in water. All the clean pieces will float to the top and the grit will sink. Slice the leaks and sautéed for a few minutes. Put peas in the pan with the leaks, and continue to cook like in the picture below. When everything is soft, out into a blender and add mint and a few tablespoons of water for moisture. Purée to desired consistency.

This salad can be served raw for adults as Mrs Obama prepared (see her cookbook for recipe). This tastes really fresh and delicious! My boy had it for dinner and ate it all up!
Enjoy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I promise a post soon!

Just battling stomach bugs over here!!

But just to give you a sneak peak.... the next recipe is inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama and her new cookbook "American Grown"! Promise to post it tonight or tomorrow!

Monday, March 19, 2012

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

If the title of this post is right then my son will be the healthiest child ever. He LOVES apples and I don't think there is a single day that goes by where he does not eat apples in someway shape or form. Apples are great because they can be combined with so many different things. They are great with sweet potatoes, pears, plums, squash, chicken, turkey. As far as cooking goes they are really quick as well.

Tonight I made my son 2 purees in 15 minutes. One was no cook mango and apple purée, and the second is apples, pears, and raisins.

The apples, pears, raisin purée came from Annabel Karmel's Top 100 Purees and is super simple!
1 pear
1 apple
1 TBSP raisins
1 TBSP apple juice or water
Dash of cinnamon

Peel and chop the pear and apple. Put into a sauce pan with the raisins, liquid and cinnamon and cook for 5 minutes.
When that is done cooking, purée in blender. This is easily doubled or tripled. Tonight I quadrupled the recipe and got 8 servings! This is also a really great applesauce if you were just making applesauce for yourself or family.

While that was cooking I simply cut a mango and ripe apple, and puréed! Again you can make as much or little of this as you want. This is really great mixed with yogurt.

Enjoy!!!



Friday, March 16, 2012

Those days when you just don’t feel like cooking

I completely understand. There are days when the thought of cooking anything, even if it means putting in oven and walking away seems like the worst thing in the universe. I work 35-60 hours a week, so this is definitely something that happens- more than I would like to admit. For instance last night, I worked late, got home, gave my son the dinner I had taken out for him, and had plums that needed to be used. The idea of making anything real was completely unappealing to me. I didn’t even want to stand in my kitchen! I anticipate this will also happen frequently in the summer. That is where the beauty of no cook purees comes in. There are a ton of these that you can make, but it is usually fruit, and some pediatricians will tell you that you should cook everything if your baby is under 8 months. That rule does not apply in my house. I’ll be honest, I have given my son uncooked plums like I am about to share and he is fine.

The easiest way to do this is to thing is smoothies. I like to think of the smoothies on the smoothie trucks in NYC, they usually have 15-20 choices! None of those are cooked. Granted , there are things you are probably not going to want to give your baby because their little taste buds will just be like “are you kidding me?”.

Here is the list of easy no cook purees you can give your baby. Remember, skins off. Just put in blender and hit puree!

Banana

Avocado- full of healthy fats that babies need

Mango- my son LOVES this. He licks his lips after

Blueberry

Plum

Spinach + Banana + Yogurt

Apricot

Peaches

Really get creative here. Like I said, when those summer months hit and the idea of cooking something even for yourself is not something on your radar, make your baby a no cook puree.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cooking Methods

I decided this week to talk about cooking methods and vitamin retention. Let me tell you that I have no claim of being a nutritionist, so talk to your doctor or a professional if you have a really detailed question.

Steaming: Steaming is best for baby's first food. The carrots that I showed you a couple of weeks ago, that method of steaming the carrots can really be used for almost anything. That is how I make sweet potato puree for my little boy.


Sweet Potato Puree
1 lb sweet potato, peeled, and chopped
Put steamer basket on top of boiling water, place potatoes in steamer basket and steam for about 10 minutes. Then simply place potatoes and a little bit of cooking water in blender and puree! Delish (probably another good way to make mashed potatoes for the family). Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
Steaming method does not let the food come in contact with the cooking water, therefore the food is cooked in its own juice retaining moisture and vitamins. The longer food is exposed to high cooking temperatures the higher the nutrient loss.
Here is a quick list of things you can steam for your baby: sweet potato, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, really just about anything.

Boiling- boiling is not ideal for cooking a lot of food because the vitamins get lost in the water. However, I use the boiling method when making apple and blueberry purée.
Apple and Blueberry Purée
1 lb apples- peeled and cored
1/2 pint washed blueberries
2 tbsp 100 percent apple juice

Put apples in pot on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Then put in blueberries and juice and cook until blueberries begin the burst. Purée and freeze as desired.
In this method we are using most of the cooking liquid, but some of the vitamins have evaporated.

Roasting- roasting not only retains the vitamins in food but also helps bring out their natural sugars. Remember the recipe I posted last week. My son also loves bananas roasted. I first gave him bananas and he hated them! So I got the idea to put them in the oven and he loves them now! Cut up however many bananas you want to make and put them in a 400 degree oven until the bananas start to bubble. Approximately 7 minutes. Then purée. If your baby is particularly young you might want to strain through a sieve.

So steam roast or even boil food for your baby, just enjoy!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Color Purple

Last time I promised you something to do with the remainder of those apples. This is a favorite not only of my son, but also my friend Emily. When I make this for my son and she walks into my house she says it smells amazing. She also likes the way it tastes. This is another one from Tyler Florence’s Start Fresh, I really highly recommend this book .

Roasted Applesauce, Plums with sweet spice and maple syrup. The way that I would recommend giving this to your child since it has a few ingredients that he/she may or may not have had yet, and you really don’t want to introduce two new flavors at once is break it up. I gave my son apples with cinnamon and nutmeg, plums, so the “new” ingredient here is maple syrup. (please remember the 4 day rule people). This as is makes about 1 ice cube tray full. Feel free to double, triple, halve, whatever your heart desires.
6 apples, cored and halved (leave the peel on)
3 plums (the recipe calls for 2 plums, but I use 3)
¼ tsp of Cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp pure maple syrup (use the real stuff people)
Place apples and plums skin side down on a rimmed baking sheet in a 400 degree oven.

Roast for approximately 35 minutes. See how yummy that looks?





Put into blender with rest of ingredients, puree until you reach desired consistency.


This is so good, I am willing to bet that you could bring this to a group of adults and they would eat it! My husband says that when he gives this to our son for breakfast he literally grabs the bowl when it is empty!
So this is a continuation of that 5 lb bag of apples. My plan for the remaining apples is to make blueberry applesauce. My son especially loves blueberry applesauce paired with chicken or turkey. I actually got the idea to pair the two when I saw a turkey with a blueberry sauce over it.
Blueberry applesauce
6 apples
1 pint of blueberries
½ tsp of Cinnamon
¼ cup of applejuice (100% juice, no sugar added), or you could use water.

Peel, core, and chop apples, and place into medium sized sauce pot. Add washed blueberries, cinnamon, and juice. Cook on medium low heat until the apples are soft and the blueberries burst. About 7-8 minutes. Blend and freeze. From this, because it is full of so much moisture I get 2 ice cube trays.
This is great for breakfast, lunch, or served with pureed chicken or turkey for dinner.
Enjoy!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Carrots, Mangoes, and Apples, oh my!

So a friend of mine suggested that I include a price comparison of the food I am making just to really show how much you are saving. Lets start with the average price of baby food, if a baby eats 3 jars a day, the average price per week is $20. Now for $20 a week I guarantee you can cook enough food for baby for an entire month! As an example, this week my husband bough 5 lbs of apples, 5 lbs of carrots, 2 mangoes, 2 pints of blueberries, 6 lbs of sweet potatoes, and 2 lbs of bananas. The total price for all of these vegetables according to the receipt was $19.36. So let me tell you what I did with all of that food for my boy this week:

Blueberries+Bananas, a great mixture and you don't even have to cook them! Just rinse the blueberries very well (in fact for blueberries you really should buy organic because they are one of the "dirty dozen"). I would say use about 2-3 tbsp of blueberries and 1 half of a banana, put in blender and hit puree. Instant breakfast for your baby, and you could even increase the recipe and make some for yourself. If your baby is a little older, yogurt would be great in this, again something for you and baby. Another variation in the summer would be a frozen banana and blueberry smoothie. This is such a great combination, my son adored it!

Sweet potatoes are one of my son's favorite things ever, and I usually just keep a stash of cubes in my freezer at all times to mix with anything from apples to spinach, green beans, peas, turkey. Either steam or roast, and puree.

Now, I cannot state enough how much I love Food Network's Tyler Florence's book- Fresh Start. I first read about it in a parent's magazine when I was pregnant and said oh hey I should get that. I went out and got it.  I am always making something from that book, including the recipe I am about to share with you. You can buy your own copy of the book here:


So Carrots, and Mangoes? what? that sounds weird, right? no it is amazing! Seriously! I doubled the recipe in the book yesterday and got 2 ice cube trays full, and I will give you the recipe as doubled, but feel free you halve this if you choose, or tripple, whatever you want:  6 Carrots, washed, peeled, and cut into three pieces, 4 Apples, peeled, corred, and cut into chunks, and 2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks. The pieces should all be about the same size. Put all of that on a rimmed baking sheet (you might need two) and put it in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
The roasting brings out the natural sugars in everything.
Then blend to desired consistency, or this would be a great salad for an older baby, just be sure to bring to room temp.


Yes, you still have apples left over and carrots, but you could make simple carrot puree, or cinnamon apple puree, or save the apples for the next puree I am going to post about....