What to do with all that leftover baby food…

So if you’re like me, then your son has moved on from fruit purees to finger foods but you still have several bags full of frozen fruit puree cubes that you lovingly prepared for him.  The question arises, what the hell am I going to do with all of this frozen fruit? I’ve tried a few different options that I thought I would share with you.

First and easiest, those fruit cubes melt beautifully into hot oatmeal.  Apple cinnamon oatmeal that’s not out of a bag? It’s a cinch if you just toss a few apple cubes into your hot oatmeal, add a dash of cinnamon and a spoonful of brown sugar.  Simon likes oatmeal, so we do this a lot.

Another option that sounds good on paper and I think a lot of babies out there would enjoy is to use the fruit puree like jam, spread it on toast, and feed it to baby.  Alas, Simon has this weird texture thing where he won’t pick up anything that feels wet (hence the grilled, cooled, and diced grilled cheese he eats every day).  The fruit puree is apparently way too mushy and he spends ten minutes mashing each piece into mush with his pointer finger and not a bite gets into his mouth. But I think there are a lot of babies out there that would enjoy this.

My favorite solution though is to make fruit leather.  I first got the idea from this post on Weelicious.  And actually, the first time I made it, I used fresh strawberries and agave nectar (Simon is still less than a year, so no honey). And I burned it.  Well, I burned MOST of it.  There was a 3×3 patch right in the center of the pan that was absolutely delicious! So after cleaning up that mess, I had an epiphany and went to the freezer and grabbed the big bag of blueberry and raspberry cubes that had been sitting in there for a few months.  The rest was easy.

1.  I defrosted the berries and added about a tablespoon of agave nectar.  I then poured them out onto a silicone mat on a baking sheet.

I know, it looks kind of funny.

2.  I then placed it in my 250F oven for about two hours.  Since my first batch burned I was a little obsessive and started checking it after an hour.  The edges begin to dry out first.  Maybe it’s my crappy apartment oven, or maybe it’s just how it works, but I found that the edges were actually finished before the center had even started to dry out.  So I took my trusty pizza roller and cut off the edges, pulled them off, and stuck the remainder back into the oven to finish.  This worked like a charm.  I avoided any burning and had evenly baked fruit leather.

When it was all finished I pulled it out and let it cool, then cut it into strips and rolled those up like fruit roll-ups. I think these would keep in a bag at room temperature for a long time…but I wouldn’t know.  Simon and I consumed them within a few days.

I know this photo is out of focus, but it’s the only one that had enough lighting for you to see the color.  So don’t hate me.

I see myself making a ton of this over the years to come.  It will get packed in Simon’s lunchbox in place of Fruit Roll-Ups (because that’s something Mommy just isn’t going to buy).  This is a delicious way to get a lot of good fruit into your kid, and it allows you to control the ingredients, which is rad.  For moms of babies, this is a great way to get tons of fiber into their digestive system to get things moving along, if you know what I mean.


A bit of a drinking problem…

I’ve been feeling a bit guilty lately because all of my readers (like, all four of you) have been walking around thinking I’m the parent of this awesome little eater who will try just about anything I put in front of him.  And I swear to you he was, he REALLY WAS!!!! For like…two weeks.  And then he learned how to drink from a straw and the shit hit the fan.

For a while now the only way I could get him to drink water was by holding a straw, dropper style, and letting him drink from it as the water flowed down into his mouth.He really hated any sippy cup I tried, I just don’t think he likes the feel of it in his mouth.  Some time about a week ago it finally dawned on him that if I just put the straw in his mouth and he sucked on it, wonderful water would flow UP the straw and into his mouth.

And BAM, the drinking problem began.  He started refusing ALL solid food that I offered him with the exception of Goldfish and Cheerios.  The only sustenance I could get him to eat is in the form of smoothies.  And booooy will this kid down a smoothie!  So I decided to just act naturally about this.  Whatevs.  No big deal.  I am not disturbed by this.  Inner peace.  I continued to offer to him everything I ate…and he continued to refuse. I figured he’d come back around eventually.  He’s been getting about two smoothies a day and I’ve been getting REALLY creative with the ingredients in order to get all sorts of nutrition into him.

Wheat germ, chia seeds, and Ground flax seed.  I buy the flax whole and grind it in the MB every few days.

Peanut butter.

….GASP, I know, peanut butter before the age of 1….but I took the plunge and he’s not allergic people, chill out…*

Soft tofu…be careful to not add too much, it makes it taste funny.

Did you know that a handful of spinach is undetectable in a smoothie?

Roasted beets…gotta be careful not to use too much or else the flavor gets too strong, but they’re super nutritious.

Carrot juice and OJ.

Follow up:

Thankfully this week he has STARTED to come back around on the solid thing. So I’m cutting the smoothies out slowly and reintroducing everything.   He eats grilled cheese without a fuss, and has been eating pancakes and french toast regularly for breakfast, which is good, because I’m going to start weaning him at a year so he’s going to have to learn to get sustenance from elsewhere. He’s still refusing most things that I give him, but patience is key and he’s only 11 months old and most certainly isn’t going to let himself starve! I made vegetable soup today, which was the bomb, by the way, and super easy.  AND HE ACTUALLY ATE IT!!! HUZZAH!!! BEST MOMMY EVER!! I might make it again and blog about it.

ALSO…putting pineapple in his smoothies gave him really nasty diaper rash.  Too acidic.  So take note, oh ye fellow mothers.

*Always consult your doctor before introducing new foods…yadda yadda…don’t sue me.


This ain’t no crap out of a blue box…

This is my Mamma’s mac’n’cheese!

Will you believe it when I tell you that I never had Kraft mac’n’cheese at home growing up? And I mean never. Ever.  Never ever.  My mom was a firm believer in the “none of that crap out of the box” philosophy, which I also adhere to (generally).

I won’t say I didn’t eat my fair share of EZ Mac in college, I practically lived off of the stuff!  But there is just sooooo little good and sooooo much absolute crap in it, I can’t bring myself to make it for Simon.  If I eat a box of it for dinner, with nothing else, I’m awake at 3am starving because there is so little nutritional value it literally can’t get me through the night.

On the other hand, we make baked mac’n’cheese on a regular basis.  This stuff will get you through the night. This stuff will get you through a marathon.  This stuff is not low fat in any way shape or form, so if you’re watching the calories…save it for a special evening.  This stuff is not for the lactose intolerant or anyone who avoids dairy.  This stuff is a calorie packed, high fiber, high fat bomb of cheesy goodness that never fails to make my husband grin.

Ingredients:

1 box whole wheat penne pasta
5 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups milk (we use 2%)
1 clove garlic, smashed
~2-3 cups grated cheddar (we used some fontina as well because it was on hand) + and additional 1/2 cup for topping
1/2 c panko bread crumbs
Tony Sacherie’s seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package instructions, but slightly undercook (just shy of al dente).  It will finish cooking in the oven.

2.  Warm milk in a saucepan on the stove with garlic clove. Remove garlic clove.

3. Meanwhile, melt 3 tbsp butter in a saucepan (or in your small dutch oven like mine that also serves as a baking dish)

4. Whisk in flour and cook briefly to get rid of flour flavor.

5. Whisk in heated milk a few ladle’s full at a time , whisking briskly to get rid of all the lumps.

6. REMOVE FROM HEAT once the milk has been incorporated.  It’s important not to add the cheese if the milk is almost boiling, because the cheese will separate and get all funky and grainy.  Add a handful of cheese, it should melt slowly as you stir.  Add the remainder of the cheese and stir until melted.

aaaaand….for some reason the photo isn’t uploading…sorry

7. If you made the sauce in your dutch oven then just dump in the pasta and stir to combine.

8. For the topping, melt remaining 2tbsp of butter in a bowl and add panko and a generous shaking of Tony’s to taste.   Sprinkle cheese evenly on top of pasta and then sprinkle the bread crumbs.

9. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or so, or until it’s all bubbly on the edges and the panko is browned.

10. Enjoy!


CURSE YOU TEETH!! (shakes fist at sky)

We have two teeth coming in this week.  They’ve been lurking for a while but I think they’re going to cut this week.  What’s that mean? It means that Simon has put himself on a steady diet of Cheerios and yogurt for the last 48 hours.  Maaaaaybe he’ll eat a smoothie if I use a straw and put it in his mouth, dropper style. Even his favorite plain grilled cheese is POISON!  Poison! Mommy is trying to poison me!

Oh, and sleep has gone to shit.  Not that it’s great anyways, but it’s especially shitty right now.

Someday.  Someday I will sleep through the night again (at this point it’s all about ME! not about HIM! Mommy is TIRED!). Ibuprofen seemed to help last night though, so we’ll do that again tonight.

 

Sigh.


The end of an era and a newfound love

About two weeks ago we were shocked when Simon started to inexplicably eat just about anything we offered him off of our own plates. Since then it’s been a whirlwind trip down food highway, destination big people food.  I don’t know what changed, but all of a sudden he wants seasoned food, without a hint of pear in sight.  Here’s just a sample of the foods he’s eaten:

  • cheese enchiladas with beef chili gravy and spanish rice
  • pepperoni pizza
  • saag paneer
  • gourmet grilled cheese
  • hamburger
  • my quinoa, parsley, asparagus salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil

WTF?

I guess my little boy is growing up.  He still gets his breakfast cereal and smoothies in the morning, but the rest of the day he gets a whole variety of whatever we’ve got going on that day.  He still rejects things (hummus and spaghetti…we’ll try again soon), but on the whole it’s been really exciting! I can’t tell you how proud of him I am.  Every day when Simon’s dad gets home from work I have to give him the full update on what Simon ate that day.  It’s been a daily pleasure, and I’m hoping it’s not a phase, I’m hoping it lasts.  But we shall see…but for now I’m saying that the era of “baby food” is coming to an end.

I’ve also said to hell with the four day intro rule.  He gets what he gets and if he has a reaction, then we’ll deal with it.

One of his favorite new foods is grilled cheese.  I know, classic kid!  This was one of the first items I tried making after he started eating finger foods.  I wanted him to feed himself something a bit more nutritious than Cheerios.  Now he eats some form of grilled cheese every day for lunch. I tried quesadillas, but the tortilla just didn’t seem to dissolve easily in his mouth.  Since he only has four teeth he can’t do much in the form of chewing, he basically works food around his mouth until it softens enough for him to swallow. For this reason he still has trouble with chunks of vegetables and meat, so those always get super finely chopped and incorporated into his sandwich.

I can pretty much put whatever I want into his grilled cheese and he’ll eat it without blinking.  So here we go…

Sharp cheddar, cilantro and green onion quesadilla

Grilled cheese and diced chicken on homemade whole wheat pita

Classic grilled cheese washed down by a banana/yogurt smoothie

And for those of you who don’t know how to make a grilled cheese…

I take one slice of whole wheat bread and cover one half of it with sliced or grated cheddar.

Sprinkle with any other finely diced food item I want to include (chicken, herbs, veggies, etc).

Fold bread in half and press down firmly.

Toast both sides of bread til browned in a frying pan over medium heat.

Allow to cool and dice into baby sized bites.

Stay tuned because next up we’re making risotto and black bean soup!