Archive for the 'Baby Food' Category

Cooking with Angstrom/ Savory French Toast

Monday, November 28th, 2011

So, Angstrom has a new favorite word: “Spice.”

He says it when he gets home from daycare and sees the spice rack on the wall by the back door, “Spice!” Sometimes he says it when he gets up in the morning and we’re trying to get him ready to leave the house, “spice, spice!”

We’ve brought it on ourselves, and far from discouraging him, we encourage him to explore flavors. Maybe not on weekday mornings as we’re trying to get ready for work, but in the evenings and on the weekends, we’ll pull out several (3-5, typically) while I’m cooking and give him a chance to smell them and taste them. Often, we’ll follow that up with a chance for Angstrom to help me stir.

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Baby Beet and Peach Salad

Friday, July 15th, 2011

It’s sort of odd sending Angstrom to daycare on a daily basis—that’s two meals a day (plus snacks) when he’s eating food that we don’t prepare. When we feed him, we have been giving him pureed foods, because that’s what he’s been eating. At school, he gets almost 100% finger foods. Realizing that, i decided to serve him a finger food dinner last night to see how he handles it—how much goes in him vs. how much gets painted on his face and flung to the floor.

Entering into dinner, Angstrom was fussy. It became clear pretty quickly that the main source of his displeasure was a growling of the stomach. He lunged and reached toward the cutting board as I was pulling the cooked, peeled, and chilled beet from its storage container. He squealed as I was cutting it, apparently worried that it wasn’t destined for his plate.

He grabbed the pieces immediately upon presentation to him, and shoved them into his mouth greedily, making loud smacking noises as he mashed them between his tongue and the roof of his mouth. He ate about half of a beet even before I could peel the peach that was supposed to go with it.

At first, I put just one or two slices of peach on his plate among the beets—I was afraid that once presented with the sweet option, he would ignore the savory. Angstrom surprised me again by continuing to seek out beets even as peach slices were before him, alternating between the fruit and the root. Put in control of feeding himself, Angstrom ate quickly. If I was going to get any protein in him, i had to act fast.

A packet of string cheese divided into thin strips completed the beet and peach salad. Angstrom plowed through the entire beet, the entire peach, the entire string cheese, and continued to want more. I gave him a few more pieces of beets while I scrambled to cook him an egg.

By the time I got the egg cooled down and in front of him, though, the frenzy of dinner activity had passed as quickly as it had started. he now howled not because he wanted more, but because he was done with dinner and wanted to get down. He howled still louder as I insisted upon the importance of cleansing his face of the purple covering he had plastered upon it.

As it turns out, though, letting him feed himself made dinner go much more quickly. He was engaged, involved, and surprisingly efficient. I can’t imagine he’ll be able to eat everything on his own yet (beans, for instance, seem a likely choking hazard; and he hasn’t yet the teeth to handle anything but ground meats). But, I believe as we approach his first birthday, Angstrom is ushering us into a new era of independence at mealtimes that (praise the deity of your choice!) should greatly reduce the need to craft purees on a nightly basis.

Now if only he could find the words to express his desires in a language other than howls.

Baby Mexican

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

The stretch of time between a baby reaches 6 months and when he hits 9 months tends to be a boring culinary scene. We were encouraged by pretty much every expert we read to introduce ingredients slowly, especially at first, giving Angstrom one ingredient at a time, both to acquaint him with the taste and to make certain he wouldn’t have an allergic reaction.

So we went through days of nothing but avocado, nothing but sweet potato, nothing but butternut squash, nothing but peas, nothing but applesauce, nothing but peaches… you get the point. Tedium in action. We were excited when Å’s culinary vocabulary was finally large enough we could mix some of the ingredients.

One of the first combinations I tried was ‘baby guacamole,’ consisting of a mix of avocados and peas. It was a success, enjoyed not only by its intended audience, but his daycare teacher, who sampled a bite when she got some on her thumb and asked that night what was in it because it was so good.

That simple combination was nothing compared to what we could start making him when he hit 9 months. With the introduction of chicken and black beans, a veritable Mexican fiesta was doable.

Baby Mexican Fiesta

  • 3 ice cubes frozen avocado
  • 2 ice cubes frozen black bean puree
  • 2 ice cubes frozen chicken puree

Combine all ingredients in a glass mason jar and heat on power level 6 for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Heat another 1-2 minutes on power level 6 if not completely thawed at the end of 3 minutes.

Yield: approximately one lunch or dinner for a 9-10 month old baby

Introduction to Baby Food

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

So, yeah, the whole idea of getting something up here once a week went by the wayside pretty quick, huh?  (anybody actually reading this, I’ve been gone so long…?)

But, as you can see, Angstrom’s doing quite well:

He’d really like to be cooking those oats, but I told him he has to be able to stand up on his own without falling over before I start teaching him how to cook.

I’ve been making a good bit of his food, though; and one thing that Aurora and I have noticed from the get go is how inexact most of the info out there on feeding your baby is: one source says food x can be fed at 6 months, another says 9 months or a year; one source says carrots are high in nitrates, serve them from jars because baby food manufacturers only use carrots from areas of the country with lower nitrate concentrations in their soil; another source says that only matters for the smallest of infants.  Most of the time, we take three opinions into account and disregard 1 or 2 of them.

We’ve been making him some good meals, though–so I’m thinking rather than ignore Corduroy Orange because all I’m doing is cook baby food, I’ll embrace it and start a series of baby food posts.

So for today, just a quick tip: when pureeing chicken, it’s much easier to use a food processor to grind up the chicken breasts with some of their cooking liquid than it is to try to force the meat through a baby food grinder.  The resulting paste is easily frozen in ice cube trays (which serve as a very convenient way to freeze most baby foods in discrete units).  Just be careful in reheating the chicken, though: microwaving it on power level 6 or 7 is recommended above reheating it on full power in order to avoid turning the chicken into rubbery lumps.

Next week… baby food Mexican meals