Mar 312015
 

BabyMaking Sundays Writing about and teaching about baby food making is what we are all about.  As you know from our social media posts, I love sharing the great work that other people are doing in the baby food making world. I am happy, in fact, exuberant to share it all: recipes,  products,  tips,  books,  and websites that make baby food making easier, more productive and more tasty and nutritive, One site that is knocking it out of the park is Baby Prep Sundays. I found Baby Prep Sundays on our Instagram feed and I was amazed at the sheer volume of baby food preparation methods that were displayed in beautiful multi-color pictures.  When I visited the Baby Prep Sundays site, I was even more impressed. I decided we had to know more and the creator of BabyPrepSundays, Arianny Rodriguez, generously agreed to talk to us.  I hope that we asked the questions you would have asked and that you learn some helpful hints.

Arianny, thanks for talking with us today. We love your website. Any mom who shares ways to make feeding baby and toddlers easier is a hero to us!

Can you tell us why you got started with your site, BabyPrepSundays.com?

Aw, thanks – but I’m just a mom helping to encourage other moms to at least try making their own baby food. Actually, BabyPrepSundays started out only as a an instagram account. The website just came naturally a few months later. My friend is the mastermind behind the very successful Instagram account @mealprepmondays. This account is about how to prep your meals for the rest of the week so that it encourages people to eat healthier. I had been following him for years. Then one day last summer, I was at home making my daughter baby food which is what I do every Sunday. Out of nowhere I thought “other moms must be doing this today too!” I then posted my prep to my personal instagram account and tagged @mealprepmondays. I asked what he thought about “babyprepsundays” and he loved the idea! And here I am!


Many new moms are intimidated to make their own baby food. They feel that the baby food in jars on the grocery store shelves are better for their baby and that making their own baby food is too difficult. What would you say to those moms to encourage them to try to make their own baby food?

This is a great question. At least once a week I feature a prep from a real mom that l refer to as “Monster Preps”. This is usually over 100 ounces of food at a time. I do this to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment but I am always reminding moms that you don’t always have to make “Monster Preps”. Even I don’t always make them! It’s about doing what you can – a small prep – any prep is awesome! If that’s what feels right for a mom, then by all means, stick to your small preps. Once you get the hang of that, the rest will fall into place. Also, I think sometimes moms that are new to this imagine it to be a very complicated recipe. It’s the complete opposite of that. Combine any two veggies and or fruits, peel and steam them together, and puree. I bet you that most of the time it will taste amazing. No complicated ingredients, no spices – simple is key. When you use fresh, organic produce, it will be delicious!


What is the most important benefit from making your own baby food in your experience?

For sure the answer to this is that your baby is getting the best nutrients possible. Fresh, clean eating. You know exactly what’s in it. You can’t beat that! Then of course, there is the added benefit of it saving you so much money which all families can use.


What is your most helpful tip in making your own baby food in your experience?

Plan ahead! This is true for when an adult wants to eat healthier and this is true for meal prepping for babies as well. My husband does the food shopping every Saturday so every Friday night I’m planning on what meals I want to make my baby for the week ahead. Usually nothing fancy – pick 3 veggies and 3 fruits. Sometimes I don’t have a chance to make it all but at least I have the ingredients in the fridge for when I do have some time to slot in the cooking.


We see you have an ebook for sale on your site, a getting started guide. Can you tell us more about it?

Yes, it’s intended to be a quick start guide. The basics all rolled into a document that you can read on your mobile device when you have some time. It includes: Food chart by age, how to address food allergies, what equipment options you have, how to cook foods, guidelines for storing food, how to thaw the food and of course my favorite recipes! There are some great bonuses as well like how to plan your baby food prep party and some productivity tips for moms.


What were your babys’ favorite baby foods?

My 1 year old absolutely loves bananas. She eats one almost everyday and she’ll eat anything I make with it, like smoothies. My 4 year old loves rice & beans with ground beef.


What is your inspiration for new and exciting baby food ideas?
Usually it’s what’s in season. I had a great time this past fall making all things pumpkin!


Are there plans for a Baby Prep Sundays Cookbook and/or what is next for your site, BabyPrepSundays.com?

I would absolutely love to feature preps from real moms! I have a few there now but I’d love to really grow that page and show all the cool little tricks that even I’ve learned from moms like using press n’ seal plastic wrap to cover the ice trays. If you’d like to feature your baby prep, please do email me at babyprepsundays@gmail.com.

Thanks, Arianny, creator of BabyPrepMondays for sharing your ideas, tips, and help! 

You can find Arianny on her Website, Facebook Page, Instagram, and/or Pinterest account.

Mar 172015
 

2015-03-05 03.04.38

Sweet potato is a perfect first baby food and it is great for toddlers too!

Sweet potatoes are one of our favorite “first foods” for baby. But once your baby reaches a year old into toddlerhood there is no reason to stop feeding her sweet potato! Make sweet potato fun to eat for her by preparing Mr & Ms Sweet Potato Heads!  Sweet Potato  heads are delicious, nutritious and super fun to make. It might look like mashed sweet potato alone but it is actually a delicious combination of  sweet potato, yogurt, organic honey, and a bit of orange juice combined for the filling of decorated “potato heads.” Use “decorative touches”: olive eyes, carrot stick hair, and avocado mouth was used in this picture. Have fun creating your own. Full recipe below.

Mr/Ms Sweet Potato Heads Recipe from Super Baby Food

(remove the organic honey for baby under one)

Slice 2 cooked sweet potatoes in half. Scoop out flesh, being careful to keep skin intact to be used as a bowl later. Mash flesh and mix with:

2 tablespoons yogurt

1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

2 tablespoons orange juice

Replace mashed sweet potato mixture into reserved skin bowls. Use “Decorative Touches” to make eyes, nose, mouth, hair, etc.

Send us your own Mr & Ms Sweet Potato Head creation and we will will post them on our Facebook Page and pick a few winners from the entries for a free copy of Super Baby Food, 3rd edition.!

Feb 202015
 

beet root baby food Why are beets a good idea to feed to baby

Beets are so darn healthy for baby (and you too!) because they contain calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and high fiber. With such a great nutritional report card, I know you are excited to get started feeding beets to your baby. Cooked beets can be fed to baby from 9 months old. A beet is a root vegetable and as such, nitrates are an issue. Babies who are under the age of 6 months old have not developed the stomach acids necessary to fight beet nitrates. Since I do not recommend feeding cooked beets to your baby until the age of 9 months your baby will be safe from nitrates.

How to prepare beet baby food

Beets can be baked, boiled, or steamed and then peeled and pureed. Note that you need a little time on your hands to cook beets:

Steam: Wonderful for holding in nutrients but you need the time, it takes about 60 minutes!

Boil: Simmer whole beets for two hours. Peels will easily come off and juices will be better retained in whole beets.

Bake: Wash thoroughly, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 90 minutes to two hours—the larger the beets, the longer the baking time.

Peel and purée: After cooking beets, remove stems. If you wish, slip off peels under cold running water before puréeing.  Pureed beets will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

Mix: some great foods to mix with pureed beets: sweet potato puree, applesauce, and yogurt!

Freezing: Use the Baby Food Cube Method or Tray-Freeze Method, and keep for up to 2 months. Remember to store in a stainless steel ice cube tray and then store in a organic waxed paper lined plastic freezer bag.

Storing for later use: Immediately remove the greens so that they do not pull moisture from the root. Leave an inch or two of stem on the root, or it will bleed during cooking. Store beets in the refrigerator wrapped in organic, bleach-free wax paper and then in a plastic bag for up to 10 days.

Beet Baby Food Fun Facts:

Leafy green beet tops are edible

Lemon can help remove beet juice stains from your fingers while preparing cooked beets

Beets in your diet can: prevent cancer, boost your immune system, and reduce blood pressure later in life

Beets may put your baby in a good mood…a substance fond in beets, betaine, may relax the mind thereby improving your mood.

In a pinch, canned beets have lots of nutrition too…not as much as you would preserve making them yourself but enough to make it worth your while.

Gross but interesting fact: beets are a good indicator of the time it takes food to pass through your baby…let’s put it this way…you can’t mistake it!

Jan 232015
 

Kale is a great choice for baby food, starting at 9 months old

Kale is a super duper green and a great food to your feed your baby at 8 months and older.  When you see this great big bunch of kale in the grocery store, though, the thought of preparing it might might seem a little overwhelming.  Do not fret.

Kale Baby Food Puree How-to Video

This quick video shows an easy way to prepare kale baby food puree. Remember to mix the pureed kale with a fruit, such as a banana, or yogurt in order to cut the strong flavor.

If you have discovered any tricks to preparing kale baby puree, please share it!

Jan 092015
 

Give Brussels Sprout Baby Food a Try

Brussells sprouts are probably not the first vegetable that comes to mind when choosing a baby food for your baby. They have a bad reputation.  Most of us remember being forced to eat them as children.  You probably also remember their unique smell as they boil.  I am here to suggest that you give them another try. Brussels sprouts are so full of nutrition and goodness.  A member of the cruciferous family, brussels sprouts are considered a Super Green Veggie, chock full of vitamin C, folate, lutein other goodies that are too good to miss!

Preparing Brussels Sprout Baby Food

Babies eight months old and older are ready for cooked brussels sprout. (raw brussels sprouts are a no-no for baby)  tasty brussels sprouts start with selection.  Pick small sprouts whose leaves are tight, firm, and bright green.  Select the smallest ones you can, they are sweeter and will have a milder flavor.  Pick off any yellow leaves and trim close to the stem.  It is important not to overcook your brussels sprouts as they will become mushy and the flavor will be too strong.  Best to steam them whole for 15 to 20 minutes until the stem end is done…then puree and add to cereal or yogurt or freeze using the food cube method for a later time.

Preparing Brussels Sprout to Freeze for the Family

I found a terrific blog post on blanching brussels sprouts to be frozen and used either in a family recipe immediately or frozen for future use.  MommaToldMeblog describes with some great pictures an easy way to blanch the brussels sprouts, place them in an ice bath so that they do not overcook, and freeze at the height of freshness for future use.

How do you like to prepare your brussels sprouts?

 

 

 

Dec 222014
 

Quinoa – Grain or Seed

Quinoa, commonly referred to as a grain is actually a seed!  It is a very special seed. Quinoa’s nutritive value, particularly its protein value is out of this world.  It is considered a complete protein (all of the essential amino acids are represented and in correct proportions) and 1/2 cup will fulfill a child’s daily protein needs.

Feed Quinoa to baby

Recommended to start to feed baby at 8 months old, Quinoa can be a super porridge base and I suggest grinding the quinoa to a powder, just as I suggest preparing super porridge brown rice cereal or super porridge oatmeal. Cook the powder (1 cup ungrounded) in two cups of boiling water, whisking throughout the cooking process to prevent lumps.  As always, you may cook the quinoa whole and then blend to desired consistency for your 8 month old.  Mixing the quinoa porridge with fruit, try a banana, vegetables, or yogurt is always a good idea.

A Super Baby Food fan, (thanks, Amanda) suggests preparing quinoa by blending cooked quinoa with 1 steamed squash, 1 steamed zucchini, 1 banana and a dash of nutmeg with about 2 oz of formula or breast milk.  She swears the the taste and texture is perfect for an 8 month old!

Feed Quinoa to Family 

Recipes using quinoa instead of meat for protein needs can be very tasty.  Here are a few ideas for quinoa recipes for the family:

 Vegan Quinoa Stuffed Peppers by Greatist.com

 Zucchini Quinoa Lasagna by VegetarianTimes.com

Quinoa and Vegetable Stir-fry by Skinnyms.com

Please share your family recipes using quinoa. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 112014
 

Kale is a super duper green and can be fed to baby, cooked, at 9 months old.  Raw kale should not be fed before your baby is 10 months old.  You already know that kale is crazy-good for you and your baby.  Here’s why: It has phytonutrients, crazy amounts of vitamin K, fiber, iron, and calcium. “Phytonutrients are certain organic components of plants, and these components are thought to promote human health. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and teas are rich sources of phytonutrients.”

Kale has a very strong flavor, though, so add a cube to super   porridge or mix with banana to make it deliciously palatable for baby!

    Kale Puree Recipe:
   (Also found in Super Baby Food, 3rd edition)
    To prepare Kale Baby Food:
  • swish Kale leaves in a sink full of cold water
  • remove the stems –I go into a detailed method for removing the stems that is detailed (and entertaining) on p. 195.
  • Chop into bite sized pieces
  • Steam the kale leaves or sauté in 1/2 cup boiling water in a large shallow pan. (a frying pan)
  • Stir just until kale leaves turn bright green.
  • Remove from pan and place in blender (blend in the water from the leaves)
  • Puree and freeze using the Food Cube Method for up to 2 months.

Share your kale baby food puree recipes, tips and/or food combinations.

 

 

Avocado Is the Perfect First Baby Food | How To Select Prepare and Store Avocado Baby Food

 avocado, baby food recipe, baby's first foods, Moms Want to Know About  Comments Off on Avocado Is the Perfect First Baby Food | How To Select Prepare and Store Avocado Baby Food
May 282014
 

Avocado are a great first food for baby

I have said it again and again on this site that an avocado is a great first baby food.  Not only is it easy to prepare, you simply have to slice open a ripe one and wash or puree with a bit of breast milk or formula, it is also crazy nutritious.  This original fun fruit, and yes, it is a fruit, is said to have all the nutrients one might need to survive.  It is a pretty powerful food! Avocados are an excellent source of unsaturated fatty acids and have a higher proportion of this “good” fat than any other fruit except for the olive.  It is a great source of fiber, folate, and vitamin K and touted for it brain development qualities.

Selecting Avocado

When selecting avocado look carefully for damage, which shows up as soft dark spots in the skin.  When picked up, an avocado should feel heavy for its size.  If you are not going to eat the avocado for a few days, select one that is firm but not rock hard and ripen it at home by setting it on your counter at room temperature for up to 6 days. Avocados are ripe when they yield to gentle pressure and feel soft all over.

Storing avocado

After ripened, store the avocado in the refrigerator in the vegetable crisper for up to two weeks.  Store cut avocados by leaving the skins on and keeping the pit in the uneaten portion.  You can brush the fruit with lemon juice (if your baby is old enough for citrus) to keep it from turning brown.  You CAN freeze avocado but the texture, once thawed, will be mushy.  If you are freezing mashed avocado (without any breast milk or formula added) your baby might not even notice the difference!

Avocado preparation ideas

Mash it

Scoop the ripe flesh out of the skin of the avocado and fork mash.  For a younger baby, you can puree it in blender or food processor, it won’t take long, and add a bit of formula or breast milk to thin to desired consistency and feed right away.

Add stuff

Try mashed avocado with banana, tofu, and cottage cheese to mix up the flavor and texture for your baby.  Of course, mashed avocado is a great addition to super porridge as your baby gets older.

Spread it

Mash and spread avocado as a “vegetable” spread. Use spread for the entire family as a mini dip for vegetables or as the secret ingredient of a fantastic sandwich.

Avocado Smoothie

Avocado is becoming a much loved ingredient for smoothies.  It gives the drink a creamy texture much in the same way yogurt might and of course, the nutrients are hard to beat.

The nice folks at Babble.com share 10 smoothie recipes featuring avocado.  Avocado can be mixed with fruits including: blueberries, peaches, raspberries, pineapple, and cucumber.  Spinach makes an appearance in these smoothies as well as chocolate!

Grow your own avocado plant

You can not open an avocado without having to maneuver around that huge seed!  Did you know that the seed WILL grow into an avocado plant?  Chances of the plant bearing fruit is pretty uncertain and could take years, however the plant itself is quite nice looking.  I have some detailed instructions in the latest version of Super Baby Food that tell how to grow an avocado plant.  For a quick look at what a growing avocado plant might look like check out La Femme BEEBO blog that features a great picture of a growing avocado plant from the seed.

I would love to hear how YOU have added avocado to your baby’s diet.  Share your ideas here.

May 212014
 

Popeye was right, spinach is good for you.

Greens are all the rage and with good reason, they are so darn good for you and for your baby.  Spinach is a super green that packs a nutritional punch, it is loaded with calcium, vitamin A and iron among other nutrients.

What you should know about homemade spinach baby food

Baby must be at least 9 months old to eat cooked greens, 10 months old for finely chopped raw greens. A young baby (0 -6 months) can not handle the nitrates found in spinach and other leafy greens. Spinach is one of the EWG’s Dirty dozen as well so buy organic!

Selecting and storing spinach for baby food

Buy organic spinach leaves that are loose and not in plastic bags, if at all possible.  Leaves should be young and tender with no thick veins, bright green, crisp and not wilted, insect-free, and have no bruises, decaying spots, or slime.  Rush home from the market and cook and freeze greens the second you walk in the door. If you must store them first, wrap them in white paper towels and place in organic, bleach-free wax paper-lined plastic bags in a cold part of the refrigerator or vegetable crisper.  Use them fast, within a day or two.

Preparing spinach baby food

Examine the spinach leaves and discard leaves with a lot of yellow or decay.  Trim any thick stems or small blemishes before cooking.  To remove any leftover sand, try placing the leaves in a large bowl filled with luke warm water so any sand falls to the bottom of the bowl.  Fish out the leaves and place them in a new bowl that is filled with cold water for one more rinse.  Coasely chop cleaned leaves, if desired.

Steam the spinach leaves in a covered container for about 5 minutes for whole leaves, 3 minutes for chopped leaves.  Steaming in an uncovered container will reduce the strong flavor of the greens but might also mean the escape of nutrients. Drain the steamed leaves, reserving the cooking liquid to be used for pureeing.

Parents.com has a great post with pictures of cooking a pureeing  spinach baby food.

Place steamed greens in a blender or food processor with a bit of the reserved liquid.  Place pureed baby food in a stainless steel cube tray and freeze for later use or storage using the Food Cube Method.

Other spinach baby food meal options

Spinach has a strong flavor as do many nutrient-filled greens.  Adding spinach to other great foods is a terrific way to make it more palatable for your baby.  Mixing pureed, cooked spinach with banana, sweet potato, oatmeal super porridge are just a few ways of masking spinach’s strong flavor. Adding cooked or raw spinach, when baby is old enough, into a smoothie concoction is another great way to serve spinach and its good for Mommy too!

Spinach Fun Facts

In addition to spinach being so nutritious, did you know that spinach can be terrific for your skin?   According to this post by Care2.com, eating spinach can leave you with a glowing completion on the outside as well as healthy on the inside.  This post lists 8 great benefits from eating spinach!

Have you experimented with spinach baby food?  Any tips on preparing, storing, or serving spinach baby food that you would like to share?

 

 

 

 

May 172014
 

Feeding baby is about more than just baby food

If you are a fan of Super Baby Food you know that feeding your baby and toddler is not simply for nutrition but also for supporting development, learning, and bonding with Mom and Dad.  In addition to the signs of readiness that must be present to begin “solid” food, there are some additional “fun” guidelines for when you get started feeding solid foods, too.  One of my favorites, “Do Play with Your Food,’ allows parents and caregivers to “let go” a bit at feeding time allowing baby to develop, explore, and discover on his own in addition to adding to his nutrition.  In this post, I elaborate on the “Do Play With Your Food” directive  AND include a fun recipe that illustrates the point – “Canoes for Riding the Rapids” featuring banana, tofu, ground seeds, and wheat germ.

DO Play with Your Food

Babies are messy eaters. It is perfectly normal for a baby to dip his fingers into bowls of food, suck his fingers and fist, squeeze and smear food onto his face and the tray with his palm and fingers, mash it into his hair, spit it out or let it drool down his chin, blow it at you or on the wall, throw it on the floor along with cups and bowls, and spill his drinks. Be assured that to everything, there is a learning purpose. Your baby is not doing these things to provoke you—he is experimenting and learning about his environment and the texture and feel of his food. She explores her food just as she explores her toys. Restrain your impulse to be neat and encourage self-feeding. Your baby doesn’t need Miss Manners’ approval.

The right recipe can make eating and learning fun

Try this recipe for your older baby (>1 year) or toddler and watch as he discovers and learns all while eating great food!

Canoes for Riding the Rapids

A slightly curved, shorter banana is good for this recipe. Wash the outside of a banana. Make a vertical slit down one side of the unpeeled banana leaving about 1⁄2 inch uncut at each end. If the banana is curved, make the slit on the “upside” so that it’s shaped like a canoe. Open slit and carefully scoop out the flesh.

Fork-mash half of the banana and mix with 1⁄2 cup of mashed tofu, 2 tablespoons of ground seeds, 1 tablespoon of wheat germ, and honey to taste. Spread banana peel open gently and make bottom of canoe flat by pressing with fingers so that it will be stable, being careful not to rip ends.

Return mixture to inside of banana. You can trim around the slit with a sharp knife to make the opening wider.

Use the other half of the banana flesh to shape fish and rocks, roll in wheat germ, and place them around the canoe. These “dangerous” rocks must be avoided to prevent the canoe from breaking apart.

Make oars out of carrot or celery sticks.

Please feel free to add your own recipes that allow baby to play with his food!

Apr 302014
 

organic yogurt with blueberryProbiotics for Beginning Eaters

Yogurt with Active Cultures

When it comes to yogurt, some experts recommend waiting until babies are 8 months old, others say yogurt is OK to introduce as early as 6 months. Ask your pediatrician for his opinion before you start feeding your baby yogurt.

When you do decide to begin yogurt as part of your baby’s diet, be sure to select yogurt with live probiotics by looking for words like “active yogurt cultures” or “healthy live bacteria cultures” on the label. Probiotics are absolutely necessary for a healthy immune system. These healthy, good bacteria keep the bad bacteria in your body in check. If the bad bacteria overtakes the good, all types of infections may occur, including the fungal infections thrush and candida.

The first probiotics in baby’s intestines come from mom’s vagina during birth or bacteria in the operating room during a cesarian section. Then baby gets additional probiotics from mom’s breast milk, formula, and the environment.

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Plain Organic Yogurt

Read the ingredients list on the label to make sure it is plain yogurt. Babies need fats, so buy the whole fat or low-fat varieties and not the non-fat type. You could also make your own yogurt by hand.  I have detailed instructions on how to make your own yogurt in the new edition of Super Baby Food.  A quick set of yogurt making instructions as well as pictures can be found on the TheFrugalGirl blog.

Greek yogurt is another choice.  It is thicker than regular yogurt and more appropriate for a Stage 2 eater. Before the advent of Greek yogurt, manufacturers would strain the whey from regular yogurt to make “yogurt cheese,” which is similar to Greek yogurt.

Yogurt – Flavor Your Own

Much of the “fruit” yogurt in supermarkets have gobs of unhealthy sugar and flavors added to them, even the yogurts that have healthy-looking pictures of fruit on their containers.

Ignore everything on the carton except the nutrition facts panel and the ingredients list, and this goes for all foods in packages at all stores, even health food stores. Flavor plain yogurt with the age-appropriate real fruit and veggies you freeze using the baby food freeze cube method.

TIP: Yogurt (and other light colored food) is a great food to have fun mixing food colors into, and I do mean food coloring, like the liquid from canned beets, turmeric, frozen berry juices. Let your child mix them together into yogurt for fun new colors and for learning color combinations.

Other Probiotics Food Choices

Examples of other foods that contain probiotics are kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented foods. All these foods in the supermarket might be fakes–they can contain only dead bacteria–including baby yogurts that are shelf stable. Buy only the foods that indicate that their probiotics are still alive and kicking, with your doc’s approval.

Apr 152014
 

beet root baby foodBeet Baby Food

Purple beets have such a lovely spring color.  I thought it would be nice to do an informative post on beet baby food – How to select the beets, how to prepare them, how to store them and why they are so gosh darn good for your baby.

How old to feed baby beets and why are beets so good for baby

The prevailing wisdom tell us baby must be 8- 10 months months old to eat cooked beats.  I say keep it safe and use the nine month mark as your guide.  Raw and grated beets, a bit more rare to feed baby, is for the 10-11 month old. Although beets are not one of EWG’s dirty dozen, there is a nitrate issue with beets.  By 9 month’s old however, that nitrate  risk is no longer an issue.  Beets are so darn healthy for baby (and you too!) because they contain calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and high fiber.  With such a great nutrition report card, I know you are excited to get started feeding beets to your baby.

The ins and outs of feeding your baby beets

Grated beets can be fed to your baby raw. Cooked beets are tasty and very colorful. They can be used as a decorative touch or even a food coloring in baby’s food. Beets do stain, so use a good bib when feeding your baby beets. Beet stains are impossible to get out of cloth, plastic surfaces and wood. Stool alert: Be aware that several hours after your baby eats beets, her stool will be quite red in color.

Choosing and Storing Beets 

Equivalents: 6 medium beets = 1 pound = 2 cups sliced.

In season: Available year round; peak June through October.

Choosing: Beets are sold with or without their green tops. The tops, called “beet greens,” should be fresh-looking, thin-ribbed, and deep green, with no brown or red edges, and with no trace of slime. If they are a little wilted, the flavor of the red root should not be affected because the greens rapidly deteriorate while the root remains good. Beet greens are edible.

Beets without their greens should have at least 1⁄2 inch of stem left on top and their bottom roots should be at least two inches long. The bulbous root should have a lush, deep red color and smooth, firm skin with no cuts or soft spots. Roots should have no scaly areas or circles on the top and they should be a nice round shape, not elongated.

Buy small to medium-sized beets, as large beets tend to be tough with inedible, woody cores.

Storing: As with other root vegetables, immediately remove the greens so that they do not pull moisture from the root. Leave an inch or two of stem on the root, or it will bleed during cooking. Store beets in the refrigerator wrapped in organic, bleach-free wax paper and then in a plastic bag for up to 10 days.

Preparing and cooking beets for baby food preparation

Preparation for cooking: Scrub well under cold-running water.

Steam: Wonderful for holding in nutrients but you need the time, it takes about 60 minutes!

Boil: Simmer whole beets for two hours. Peels will easily come off and juices will be better retained in whole beets.

Bake: Wash thoroughly, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 90 minutes to two hours—the larger the beets, the longer the baking time.

Peel and purée: After cooking beets, remove stems. If you wish, slip off peels under cold running water before puréeing.

Freezing: Use the Baby Food Cube Method or Tray-Freeze Method, and keep for up to 2 months.  Remember to store in a stainless steel ice cube tray and then store in a organic waxed paper lined plastic freezer bag.

For even more information, take a peek at Super Baby Food, 3rd edition. It includes a complete alphabetical list of fruits and vegetables with same information included as shown above!

 

Dec 162013
 

Baby Led Weaning

Super Snacks are an important part of the Super Baby Food diet.  Both in the morning and in the afternoon, super snacks (finger foods) can be fed to your older baby or toddler to maintain a balanced nutritional diet every day.

Just as breakfast, lunch, dinner, breast milk and/or formula meals are important, so too, is the importance of the super snack.  The common baby and toddler snack ideas are well known and include: cheerios, oatios, whole grain crackers, soft ripe pieces of fruits, etc.

Below are some out-of-the box super snack ideas that might turn your usual idea of “snack” for baby on its ear! Have you considered…

  • small tofu chunks
  • crumbled egg pieces, cooked solid or scrambled
  • well-cooked, small wheat pasta pieces
  • bits of well-cooked french toast
  • small lumps of cottage cheese, mixed with wheat germ, rolled in a ball
  • small pieces of soft cheese
  • Clean and cook vegetables until they are soft and cut into small pieces no larger than a Cheerio.
A list of additional snack ideas as well as what I like to call “Toddler Hors d’oeuvres” can be found in the latest edition of Super Baby Food.  Check the back on the blog for additional recipe ideas now and again. I will continue to post many of my favorites.

Have you come up with some super snack ideas that your baby loves?  Share them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 042013
 

Spirulina Powder

Spirulina is a nutritional enhancer that can be added to baby food (and adult food) and adds super nutrition to any meal. It is a blue green algae that springs from warm, fresh water bodies. This sounds exotic, but was is really exotic is what it can do for your baby and for you! Spirulina is a terrific source of protein, reinforces the immune system, protects folks from cancer, contains GLA, an essential fatty acid that is found only in mother’s milk and is a fabulous source of vitamin B and B complex to boot.

It is very easy to add spirulina to baby food and adult meals, simply sprinkle into your recipe and let the nutritional benefits abound.  For baby, at about 6 months (ask your pediatrician, of course), start with just 1/4-1/2 teaspoon stirred into pureed foods, cereal and/or smoothies! For adults, try 1 to 2 teaspoons a day.  Spirulina powder, like as found at GNC (Spiru-Tein) is also a popular way for adults to add spirulina to their diets!  Just add one scoop and you are ready to go.

As if the nutritional benefits were not enough to get you excited about adding spirulina to your diet, I found an article by terranut.com that extols the following benefits of Spirulina, you can read the entire article at the link.

Terranut tells us that spirulina benefits include:

1 Cleansing: Spirulina promotes the body natural cleansing processes. You feel fitter, more cheerful, and you have more energy.

2. Restoring: Spirulina compensates for deficiencies in the diet and stimulates the metabolism. Your physical condition improves noticeably and you recover faster after exertion.

3. Fortifying: Spirulina boosts resistance and activates the body natural defense mechanisms. You feel stronger and are better able to cope with the pressures of everyday life.

Because of its cleansing, restoring and fortifying functions, Spirulina has a wide range of applications. It gives you new energy without taking pep-ups and makes you more alert and stable.

I know you are excited now!  Who does not want to feel peppy and more alert and stable.

To feed spirulina to baby try combining:

1/4 Cup applesauce

1/2 tsp spirulina

1/2 mashed avocado

As you can guess by the above example, the possibilities for baby food recipes using spirulina are endless.  Mamanatural.com posts a fantastic recipe for a tropical spirulina smoothie that she swears her picky baby loves! If you would like more example of adult spirulina recipes, I found a post by naturalhealthychoices.weebly.com that lists several great ones including Spirulina Salsa, Guacamole, and Vegetable spirulina Stir Fry.

Have you discovered any great spirulina baby food recipes?  Share them!

 

 

Nov 192013
 

Quinoa, a seed, is a complete protein perfect for baby food

In my last blog post I covered  chia seeds, flaxseeds, and tahini (seasame seeds) and revealed how they may be prepared for baby food.  I saved another seed for it’s own blog post becasue of the sheer overwhelming healthy, nutritive value of it…You might have guesssed I am talking about quinoa.

Quinoa, commonly referred to as a grain is actually a seed!  It is a very special seed. Quinoa’s roots are Incan and its nutritive value, particularly its protein value is out of this world.  It is considered a complete protein (all of the essential amino acids are represented and in correct proportions) and 1/2 cup will fulfill a child’s daily protein needs.

Quinoa fun facts:

  • Quinoa is the seed of the Chenopdium or Goosefoot plant.
  • Quinoa is pronounced “Keen-wah”
  • Quinoa has a mild and slightly nutty flavor
  • When quinoa is cooked whole it has the texture of couscus
  • Beets, spinach, and swiss chard are all relatives of quinoa
  • Quinoa varieties include pale seeds, red seeds, and black seeds
  • Quinoa can be toasted, sprouted, grinded and then cooked or cooked whole.
Quinoa baby food preparation

For a baby, the healthy effects of eating quinoa are fantastic as you may have already guessed. I suggest grinding the quinoa to a powder, just as I suggest preparing super porridge brown rice cereal or super porridge oatmeal. Cook the powder (1 cup ungrounded) in two cups of boiling water, whisking throughout the cooking process to prevent lumps.  As always, you may cook the quinoa whole and then blend to desired consistency for your 8 month old.  Mixing the quinoa porridge with fruit, vegetables, or yogurt is always a good idea.

Unprepared quinoa should be stored in a cool dry place. Quinoa super porridge may be frozen.  Moms have had some terrific results with freezing quinoa but the defrost time may be a longer than with super porridge. You may also prepare a few 1/2 cup batches and place in the fridge for a few days at a time. There are unlimited baby food recipes that you can create using Quinoa.  Have you had any luck preparing quinoa for your baby?  Share your recipe with me!

 

 

Jan 282012
 

Dr Greene.com recently asked Ruth to be a special guest perspectives blogger on their informational website.  Ruth was more than happy to provide 5 terrific blog posts sharing all kinds of great, detailed information on finger foods and tips for getting started with finger foods for babies and toddlers. In case you missed it, here is a description and a link to each fantastic blog post.

Finger Foods: What They Are And Why They Are Important To Your Baby’s Diet

Getting Started With Finger Foods

Finger Food Ideas For Baby and Toddler: Fruits, Whole Grains, and Vegetables

Baby and Toddler Finger Food Ideas Galore: Proteins, Dairy, Omega 3 Healthy Fats

Baby and Toddler Finger Food Ideas Galore: Seeds and Dips

Super Baby Food is happy to be a part of the Dr. Greene team! Be sure to check out some of the other terrific information on Dr. Greene’s website.

Dec 092011
 

In case you did not see the Martha Stewart Show where Ruth and Super Baby Food is featured, you can see it below along with a demonstration of very simple, but delicious, apple sauce recipe. Enjoy!

Nov 292011
 

Ruth Yaron’s appearance on the Martha Stewart Show, as we have been proudly mentioning, was aired Monday, at 10 am and 2pm on the Hallmark Channel.

Martha introduced Ruth and prepared a recipe for baby “pink applesauce” that is now featured on her website.  We thought it would be fun to ask Ruth a couple of questions about her visit with Martha.  Her answers may surprise you. The answers are also a great conversation starter for those holiday dinners when you need something witty to contribute to the conversation.

You can visit the Martha Stewart Website for more information on the episode that featured Super Baby Food here.

Question for Ruth:

Can you tell us one thing about Martha Stewart that you didn’t know before you met her?

Ruth says:

I never knew she was a professional model.  She has photos on the walls in the hallway behind the stage.  She is as beautiful in person as she is on TV and in the pictures of her in the media and in her books.  She is a natural beauty.

Question for Ruth:

What was your favorite part of meeting Martha Stewart?

Ruth says:

Meeting THE Martha Stewart.   I loved watching all the activity behind the scenes while the show was being taped.  Every one of her staff was professional, very kind, and organized and they all worked together perfectly, like a well-oiled machine.  They were all very capable and extremely efficient without rushing anyone, and they had a great sense of humor and an easiness about them.   They enjoyed me kidding around saying stuff like, “What do you say when you meet Martha Stewart?  ‘Hello, your majesty!’ with a curtsy? (which I did NOT say to her, by the way).”  It was really an all-around fabulous experience and I had fun being a part of it.

How is that for some Martha Stewart Trivia? Martha was, indeed, a model for Chanel. Check out this link which shows the proof!

Thanks to all the Super Baby Food fans who tuned into the show and told all their friends.  You are the best!

Oct 072011
 

tofu-recipe.jpgWe had a blog request for the Egg-less Salad Spread recipe found in Super Baby Food p.317.  We are happy to oblige.

Egg-less Salad Spread

Mix together:

1 pound tofu, crumbled

1/4 cup tofu mayonnaise

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 green pepper, minced

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1/2 medium onion, minced

1/2 teaspoon tamari

Enjoy!

Jul 232011
 

Mom asks:

You have many terrific recipes in your book, Super Baby Food. Can you suggest a Gluten Free alternative to Super Flour?

Ruth says:

Hi!
Flour for baking regular yeast breads pretty much has to be flour with gluten because the it’s the gluten (the protein in the flour) that raises breads.  The gluten has to be developed by kneading.  Bread rises when yeast eat starch and produce carbon dioxide as a byproduct and form tiny bubbles in the bread.  The developed stretchable gluten stretches to accommodate the bubbles, blow up a bit, and cause the bread to rise. So gluten is necessary for yeast breads that rise.

Wheat is the grain that has the most gluten.  Wheat flour used in yeast breads can be processed white flour or whole wheat flour–whole wheat flour is more nutritious but doesn’t rise as well as white flour.  Many recipes for homemade whole wheat bread or breadmaker recipes usually contain only some whole wheat flour, the majority being white flour.  White flour makes a light loaf.  Whole wheat flour doesn’t rise as well because of it’s course bran.

Quick breads, on the other hand, don’t really need the gluten as a leavening agent (an ingredient which makes dough rise).  The baking powder or baking soda reacts and bubbles up and causes the quick bread to rise a bit.  No gluten is needed because the powder/soda instead causes the bread to rise..  So you can use a GF flour to bake quick breads but not yeast breads.  You can use just about any flour–rice flour, garbanzo bean flour (the Spice Goddess on the cooking channel is big into garbanzo bean flour), quinoa flour, millet flour, and any flour that does not contain gluten.  Your natural foods store will have a nice variety and there will probably be an employee who can help you.

Good luck in your baking!  Thanks for writing.
🙂
Ruth

If you have your own question for Ruth, share it in our Superbabyfood.com contact form.

Jun 192011
 

Moms are talking about: Baby Food Snacks

It’s not unusual for a baby to eat only one major meal a day, with the rest of his food coming from snacking.  Snacks are necessary in a baby’s diet and should consist of smaller portions of the same healthy foods that are part of larger meals. A baby may not begin eating three baby-sized meals until he is 10 months old, although he may start as early as 4 months.

When Should Snacks Be Offered to Your Super Baby During the Day?

Snacks should be offered at scheduled, predictable times every day and not at random.  Snacks should be eaten in the feeding area, as main meals are, because they ARE meals.

Read more about Super Snacks at the Super Baby Food Blog.

The following are some example of Super Baby Food Snacks:

  • SOFT pieces of wedges of ripe peeled and cored fruit
  • SOFT pieces of cooked, diced vegetables
  • Oatios or another brand of health store equivalent of Cheerios
  • Small lumps of cottage cheese
  • well-cooked pasta pieces
  • cooked brown rice or other grains

For a complete list of Super Baby Snacks as well as recipes for Toddler Hors d’oeuvres, check out Super Baby Food!

Jun 152011
 

grains-baby-foodOne of our fabulous Super Baby Food parents asked about saving time by grounding up the grains for Super Baby Porridge and Freezing for use later.  we thought it was such a great question that we would share Ruth’s answer.

Regarding the freezing of Ground grains for use later, Ruth says:

I’m not really sure how long (ground grains) will keep in the deep freeze after grinding.  I know that I put in my book, Super Baby Food, that they will keep for two months at refrigerator temperatures, so in the deep freeze, figure about six months or more.

Please note that in the next edition of my book (due out soon), also entitled Super Baby Food,  that I will be recommending that you do NOT grind in advance.  I will be recommending that you grind them immediately before cooking.  The reason for this is the fresher the grain and the more recently that it has been broken open by grinding, the more nutrients it has and the less nutrient loss to air, light, and heat.  So if you have a blender/grinder, I would suggest you use it daily.  If you do not have a blender/grinder and borrow someone else’s to do batch grinding, then it might be more convenient if you store in the fridge up to 2 months or in the deep freezer in good-quality freezer containers for about 6 months.

Thanks for writing!
🙂
Ruth

May 302011
 

Happy Memorial Day!

The Super Baby Food Blog would like to highlight two blog posts this week that we feel are particularly well done.

Ali at MomSpark.net put together a fantastic post to help beginners start to make their own baby food.  Super Baby Food lovers know that the first step can be a bit daunting but once in the groove, making your own baby food is as easy a one, two, three.  Momspark.net identifies one, two, three for you to help you get started in a quick and easy way.

Naomi Odes Aytur of  Babble wrote a terrific post with a recipe of homemade baby food made with cauliflower and millet.  She made it sound and look easy and her testimonial of her baby’s love for the dish is inspiring.  Thanks, Naomi, for posting this terrific recipe for homemade baby food.

May 192011
 

What to do when your baby won’t eat a certain food?

It’s a worry for parents.  The first thing to remember is not to push it.  Put the food away and try again in a few weeks. Sometimes your baby will not eat something that is sweet and tastes good to you.  With my baby, it was applesauce.  I was surprised (but not upset!) that he simply would not eat it. A few months later, he began eating it with gusto and has loved it ever since.

If you’re afraid a toddler will not like a particularly healthy new food, such as kale, use a little reverse psychology to get her interested.  Don’t give her any and eat it in front of her.  She will want some.  Be hesitant, but agree to give her some. If you’re lucky, she will love to eat it because it makes her feel like a big girl who fits in with the rest of the adults in the family.

Remember, too, babies will almost always make a face when offered a new food, especially if it has a strong flavor.  Do not go by her facial expression.  Offer her another spoonful and if her little mouth opens to accept a refill, continue feeding!

For more baby food tips check out Super Baby Food or right back her at the Super Baby Food blog!

Apr 132011
 

If you make eating healthy foods fun, healthy eaters will be created.  Kids think it’s lots of fun when you make playful, decorative food.  Decorating only takes a few seconds, but it makes your child feel very special.  For the older than 1 child, try creating a recipe like Apple Smiley Face (recipe below) and then decorating with fruits and vegetables.  Once the recipe is completed and placed on your child’s plate in a pancake-shaped face, use decorative touches to add eyes (cooked egg slices or halved grapes), a nose (raisin or carob chip), mouth (orange section) and hair (curly carrot peel). This recipe is healthy all around and fun!  Any healthy food can go through the same decorative transformation.

Here’s the Apple Smiley face recipe:

To make a “pancake,” grate a well-scrubbed organic apple with peel in a processor (or use organic no-sugar-added applesauce). Mix with 1-2 tablespoons natural peanut butter or other nut butter to make a slightly thick “dough.” Optionally add 1 teaspoon maple syrup or agave nectar (a healthy sweetener that can be found in natural foods stores) and a pinch of cinnamon and/or some flax seed oil or freshly ground flax seeds. Grate an apple in a processor.

Enjoy your toddler’s enjoyment of this Super Snack!

Mar 212011
 

With regard to a baby’s or toddler’s diet, the word “snacks” is a misnomer.  We adults tend to think of snacks as sweet little bits of foods that we eat for enjoyment more than to assuage hunger or to provide nutrition.  This is not true for your baby or toddler.  Super Baby Food “Super Snacks” are not extras, but a necessary part of your baby or toddler’s  daily diet that adds calories and nutrition! Of course, baby’s and toddler’s are different.  Below is a simple, nutritious Super Snack recipe for a Toddler.  The Super Baby Food Blog will be sharing many more Toddler and Baby Super Snack information and recipes, so come back and visit often!

Toddler Hors d’oeuvre Recipe:

Fresh Fruit Hors d’oeuvres

1 ripe mashed banana, or some avocado or other mashed fruit

1/2 C chopped nuts, (if not allergic, of course)

2 teaspoons honey

Do not cook but form into balls and refrigerate or freeze!

There are plenty more recipes in Super Baby Food, or check back with us us here at the blog! Happy Super Snacking!