Friday, June 29, 2012

Vegetable Chicken Nuggets!!

I was inspired by the idea of this by Oprah, and then tweeked it. This is another great way to make dinner for the family from infants to adults! Start by making beet puree
(Roast beets in a 350 degree oven for 1 ½ hour, the peels will come right off and then puree in a blender). I got this GREAT piece of pottery I picked up at the Celtic Fling Festival from Blue Thistly Pottery ( to get your own. It holds up great in the oven, and I just think it looks really great as well!! Thanks ladies!
Reserve 1 cup for this recipe, and the rest can go for your little one.
1 LB chicken breast, cut into chicken nugget size
1 cup Quinoa, ground

1 Cup Beet puree
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 egg, beaten
Mix together the Quinoa, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, rosemary.
In a separate bowl, combine the egg and the beet puree.
Dip the chicken from the egg mixture, into the Quinoa mixture. Once all the chicken is coated, add to a hot sautee pan and cook 4 minutes per side.  DON’T MOVE THEM AROUND OR CROWD THE PAN or else it will get soggy.
If you also want, skip the dredging process and just cook the chicken with these seasonings, and mix together with the beet puree.  This is great for a 6 or 7 month old just trying meats.
Have a great weekend everyone. Go try this recipe for your little one, toddler, or even yourself!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Red, Red, Everything Must Be Red!

My son’s daycare sends out a calendar each month with their various themes for the days.  This month was colors, and each week they learned about a different color. I thought it would be fun to incorporate this into food, so this week is Red!  Everything will be red. Now that Summer is here to stay, there are some classic Summer fruit starting to hit the shelves, including peaches and cherries.  The flavor combination for this came from a pie recipe that I found in a newspaper, but obviously this isn’t pie filling, but could easily be made into a pie filling by swapping out the agave, adding sugar and corn starch maybe.
Cherry-Berry-Peach Puree
2 Cups Cherries, chopped and pitted
1 ¾ cups peaches, chopped
1 ½ cups blueberries
1 Tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Nugmeg
1 Tbsp Agave Necter
Put everything into a sauce pot

until the berries begin to burst, it actually took me about half an hour (you might need to add a bit of water).

Stir in the Agave. Pour mixture into the blender and puree.  See how bright this is?!

Ok next is another fruit recipe; summer just makes me gravitate towards fruit.
1 pint of strawberries, washed, and chopped
3 apples , peeled, cored and chopped
¼ cup of ricotta cheese
1 tsp of mint
Ok before I begin, just hear me out on this- its good.  So good, you might want to eat this yourself as a desert, maybe just fold in some whip cream.  Anyway, simply put the fruit into a saucepan and sauté until the fruit breaks down and is soft.  Hit it in the blender with the ricotta cheese.  It is thicker than a yogurt base, but it is creamy and delish!  Stir in the mint for some freshness and it’s amazing. This would be a great different dessert for an older kid as well.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Let's Get Mashy

Let’s get MASHY!!!!!! Mashed turnips mixed with mashed potato and a roasted apple puree, mashed sweet potato, and then for the older baby or toddler, sweet potato pancakes (using the sweet mashed potato).  I absolutely love mashed potatoes; they are a pure comfort food to me.  Once a year my grandmother made special mashed potatoes, and she only made them once a year because otherwise we would end up with clogged arteries and heart attacks!  These will not clog your children’s arteries, I promise.
I had every intention of taking pictures throughout this post, however, last night when I cooked all this food my baby would not go to sleep.  No joke, I would start to cook, he would scream so I would run upstairs calm him down, and by then the food was ready for the next part.  So, I apologize for the lack of pictures, but as mothers, I hope you understand.
Mashed sweet potato
I had small potatoes; literally, they were the smallest sweet potatoes I had ever seen.  My husband does the shopping; I can’t stand the supermarket, so he came home with these sweet potatoes in a bag.  They were about the size of red potatoes, so I used probably about 15 of these.  I would say that 15 of these guys are equivalent to 4 or 5 large sweet potatoes that you are used to.  Very simple, just peel them and poke them with a fork (this might be fun for an older child to do), then put onto a baking sheet and into the oven at 375 for an hour.
While these were in the oven I attempted to put my baby to sleep, but that did not work out, rather, he drank his formula from his big boy cup, I was watching Despicable Me, tried to read him a book and put him into his crib and that was when the screaming began (see this is totally possible, even with a cranky child).  BUT if your baby chooses not to scream on the night you are making these, while these are in the oven you can get some water boiling.  As turnips and potatoes take different amounts of time to boil I would do these in separate pots.
Wash, trim, and peel 1   lb. of turnips and 2 lbs. of potatoes (I only know the measurements I had because these are from the farmer’s market).  Once the water is boiling pop each root vegetable into their respective pot and cook for approximately 25 minutes (I usually poke my potatoes with a fork and if they are soft then they are done, at least that is what my grandmother taught me so it must be right). Transfer the potatoes to the food processor and puree with 2 tbsp of butter (baby’s need fat!). Pour that into a bowl, and now puree the turnips in the food processor (for younger babies use the blender, it gets food to a finer more liquid consistency.)  Then take a spatula and fold the turnips into the potatoes until mixed nicely.  You might need a bit more butter, I think I used another tbsp. NOW here’s where it gets fun, MORE ACCIDENTAL APPLE TIME =).  If you do not have any accidental apple soup, please see previous post, OR roast apples in the oven with some cinnamon and butter until soft, and puree those.  Fold the apple mixture into the turnip/potato mixture and voila!
By now the potatoes should be done.  Give those a good whirl in the blender with some cinnamon and nutmeg, OR pumpkin pie spice. If your baby is little stop here, if you have more than one child, or your baby is older, feel free to continue, or if you just want to eat pancakes.
This is just my standard pancake recipe, I make this with pumpkin a lot in the fall, so I figured sweet potato would be a good substitute for the pumpkin.

1 Cup flour
1 TBSP. Sugar
Tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup milk
¾ cup sweet potato puree
½ cup melted butter
Mix the dry ingredients together, then mix the wet together (sweet potato puree is wet).  Add the wet to the dry.  Since I was making these for my little one I used tablespoons and made each pancake about 3 tablespoons.  Cook these on your griddle, or whatever pan you use to make pancakes in and ENJOY.  Just a tip, pancakes can be frozen and re-heated in the toaster.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Accidental Apple Soup, Part Deux

What did I do with the rest of my Accidental Apple Soup?  Well, the good news is that it did thicken into an applesauce type consistency once refrigerated (similar to the consistency you get in the store). I decided to make an apple/blueberry puree for my little guy. It was incredibly simple, and took me a grand total of 5 minutes:
Add 1 ½ cups of blueberries to a small saucepot and 1 cup of the Accidental Apple Soup.  Cook until the berries burst.  Then puree.  What did I say, easy right?
As I told you a few weeks ago, my husband and I love to go to the farmer’s market, we go every week, and are CSA members.  This week we got carrots and some green beans.  The green beans looked great, and I thought this was a great opportunity for a back to basics type food.  This is something that a young baby just starting out on food could definitely eat, once he or she has eaten both green beans and carrots.
All I did was take one bushel of carrots (probably the equivalent of 2 or 3 super market carrots) and 1 lbs. of green beans, washed and chopped.  Put those in the steamer basket, and steam for 12 minutes.
Steaming helps retain a lot of the flavor and nutrients. Add to a blender (add a bit of water/formula/breast milk if feeding to a baby just starting out on food, this will smooth it out).  If feeding to older baby you can add to food processor, this will give it more consistency.  This puree tastes very fresh, and very sweet, so most babies will like this.
I really want to hear from people, tell me if you are making any of this stuff, and tell me what you are doing to tweak it for your baby.


Monday, June 11, 2012

The Accidental Apple Soup

So this post is an accident, but it was funny so I decided to share it. Last week I got a great deal from the farmers market, $5 for 1 huge bag of apples, so I grabbed it knowing my son would devour them without question. I decided to make applesauce with; I put them in a huge pot, added my cinnamon and a little water and started cooking as usual. Now here is where it gets weird, I have no idea what happened, perhaps I cooked it too long, but when I strained the apples and went to blend using my hand blender it turned into apple soup. I use this method all the time and have never gotten apple soup, but this time I did. My husband looks and says “what are you going to do with that?” That was a good question, so I began trying to come up with ways of using my accidental apple soup.

Beets were a success with my son, so I decided to make them again, but differently. I don’t like him eating the same thing all the time, like to give him variety. I know from my CSA membership that the tops of beets are edible and you can sauté them down just like spinach. I decided to roast one bunch of peeled and chopped beets at 375 for 40 minutes. Meanwhile I sautéed the tops of the beets until they wilted, then DEGLAZED the pan with my accidental apple soup. I also added a few splashes of red wine vinegar in it. Hit it in the food processor with the roasted beets, my son thought they were great. The apple soup gave it a nice hint of sweetness.

I still had a ton of soup, so then I remembered I had dried apricots, so I decided to rehydrate dried apricots in some of the accidental apple soup. I put about 1 cup of whole dried apricots in a blender and then added 2 cups of the apple soup. Let that sit for 30 minutes, and then puree! The dried apricots thickened it up a bit which was good, and the flavor combination works very well together.

The rest went into the fridge in a tupper, I plan on figuring out more ways to utilize this error. The point of this post is that errors happen in the kitchen, even when making baby food for your little one, but that doesn’t mean that its trash, learn the flavor combinations and utilize them. Sorry for the lack of pictures here, as stated it was an accident =)

If anyone has any suggestions on what else to do with my accidental apple soup, please comment them!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Week in an hour

One of the most common reasons people do not make their own baby food is lack of time.  So this week I am going to show you how I take an hour and turn it into a weeks worth of food.  I made 2 vegetable dishes and 2 fruit dishes that my baby devoured! It literally took me an hour to make all this food, and I am going to explain how to do so below. This week for my little one, I made roasted beet quinoa salad (inspired by a dish I had at my sister in law’s house), baby oatmeal delight, roasted tropical fruit salad, and cheesy mashed potato with carrots and broccoli.
First things first, preheat your oven to 400 degrees; get a pot of water with a steamer basket boiling, and another pot of water boiling.  While all that is coming up to temp, you will do your food prep, and prepare 3 baking sheets.
1 Pineapple, cored and sliced
4 mangoes, sliced
1 pint of strawberries, quartered
2 head of broccoli, chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 punch of beets, quartered
By the time all of this is prepped, water should be at a boil and your oven should be preheated.  In the pot of water without a steamer basket, put 8 dried apricots. On one baking sheet, put your beets.  On the other two baking sheets, put all of your fruit.  Place the baking sheets in the ovens and set your timer for 20 minutes.
In the steamer basket, put your carrots and potatoes and cook for 12 minutes.
While this is cooking, it is time to make the oatmeal!  In a food processor, add ¼ cup of rolled oats, 2 tablespoons of dried apricots, and 2 tsp. of raisins.  Give those a good pulse in the food processor. Then add 1 cup of apple cider or apple juice and let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Last, add ½ of blueberries and give it another pulse.  It is done! Yes, it was that easy!  Pour into containers and wash out food processor, you will need it again in a few minutes.
While you are waiting for your 8 minutes, put ½ of quinoa into 1 cup of water in a bowel and place that in the microwave for 6 minutes (stirring halfway through)
After 12 minutes, add the broccoli and cook for another 8 minutes.
Around now your timers should all be buzzing at once telling you all the food you’re making is ready. So now, it is time to put it together.
In the food processor,  pulse all the fruit until you reach your desired consistency (the roasted fruit, not the apricots). It will start to look like applesauce a bit. Then add 2 bananas (this will thicken it up a bit). Now that is done. Pour into containers and wash out for the next batch.
In the food processor, puree the beets and the rehydrated apricots.  Pour that mixture in with the quinoa. Pour into containers, done!
3 down 1 more to go!!
In the food processor, puree the broccoli, carrot, potato mixture until mashed potato consistency. Add ¼ of formula/milk/cream whatever you want to give your baby, 1 tbsp. of butter, and ¼ cup of shredded cheddar cheese.  Puree, and voila, done!!!