7 Simple Peach Recipes & Ideas for Your Baby

sweet_potatoes1
Fresh peaches are in season right now and the lush, ripe fruit is so healthy for your babe. Peaches are packed with calcium, vitamin A, and potassium — all essential nutrients for a healthy, growing baby — and they’re so delish. Mason loves peaches. He ate slices of fresh peach for his snack Friday afternoon and he enjoyed peach puree in his oatmeal Sunday morning. Here are Bug’s fave ways to eat this sweet summer fruit. Does your babe like peaches? If so, what is his/her fave way to eat them?

1. Basic Peach Puree

2. Smashed Peaches

3. Peach Yogurt

4. Sweet Potato-Peach Puree (pictured above)

5.  Peach-Pear Puree

6. Cooked and diced with sweet potato, a great finger food combo

7. As a topper for tiny pieces of waffle or pancake. Just substitute peaches for the blueberries in this recipe.


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Tuesday Timesaver: Brown Rice in 90 Seconds

uncle_bens
Brown rice is a healthy, easy way to get babes used to food with texture as they transition from smooth purees to chunkier purees to finger foods. I use brown rice to make Mason’s fave cheesy casserole with peas and it’s a great side with so many dishes, including veggie-filled meatballs, baby cheese sauce, chicken-apple soup, and roast chicken. Rice is certainly a snap to make but I was delighted to discover this whole-grain brown rice that heats up in the microwave in 90 seconds — perfect for those nights when I’m really tight on time.  It’s all-natural and it packs 5 grams of protein per serving. The caveat is that it has more sodium than the boil-in-a-bag variety from Uncle Ben’s, but Mason only eats about 2 ounces at a time so the amount of sodium that he’s getting per serving is still very low. We generally have four Mason-size servings left so I freeze the leftover rice. It thaws overnight in the fridge and keeps in the freezer for up to three months. What are some of your fave ways to serve rice to your babe?

Tuesday Timesaver: Homemade Cherry Applesauce in 18 Minutes


One of our fave parts of summer is all the fresh produce. This summer we’re especially loving cherries, one of this year’s “in” ingredients according to trendspotters at the annual Fancy Foods Show, which took place in Washington, DC, last week. Mason first tried and enjoyed cherries in oatmeal. When I picked up a carton of cherries at the market last Thursday, I decided to combine some with organic Gala apples to make cherry applesauce. In addition to all the fiber from the apples and vitamins from both fruits, the cherries pack a powerful punch of antioxidants. The applesauce still tastes like applesauce but with a slight hint of cherry and it has a gorgeous rosy color. I cooked and pureed the rest of the cherries to make cherry yogurt (2 ounces of cherry puree + 3 spoonfuls of full-fat Greek yogurt). I made cinnamon-spiced applesauce with the rest of the apples.

Of course I could have just gone to the store to buy the cherry applesauce but the brand my store carries has 17 grams of sugar and 15 milligrams of sodium. No thanks. If there were an all-natural brand at my store and I were to walk there  to buy it — I live in New York City and never drive  — it would take 30 minutes round-trip, plus I’d have to haul Mason in his stroller. It only took 18 minutes to whip up the cherry applesauce after Mason went to bed (I already had the fruit on hand as part of our summer staple). I felt great knowing that the vitamin-rich applesauce I was going to feed Bug the next morning was totally natural — and that I saved time making it. Does your babe like applesauce? If so, do you mix it with other fruit?


Homemade Cherry Applesauce

Ingredients

10 fresh cherries
2 Gala apples

Directions

1. Wash cherries, remove pits, and slice in half. Set aside.
2. Wash, peel, core, and dice apples. Fill a medium saucepan halfway full with water. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat until the bubbles are very soft. Add apples and cook for 9 minutes; add cherries and cook both fruits together for 3 more minutes.
3. Drain and rinse the fruit under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture or mash with a potato masher for a chunkier texture. Makes about 10 ounces.
4. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to 3 months.

Cherry Puree

Ingredients

Fresh Cherries

Directions

Wash cherries, remove pits and slice in half. Fill a medium saucepan halfway full with water. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat until the bubbles are very soft. Cook cherries for three minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Puree for a smooth texture or mash with a potato masher for a chunkier texture. Freeze in 2-ounce portions for up to three months.

Cinnamon-Spiced Applesauce

Ingredients

4 Gala apples
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Water

Directions

Wash, peel, core, and dice apples. Fill a medium saucepan halfway full with water. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat until the bubbles are very soft. Cook apples until tender (about 12 minutes). Puree until smooth, adding in cinnamon halfway through.  Add water if needed. Makes 16 ounces. Freeze leftovers for up to three months.

Tuesday Timesaver: Frozen Veggies & Fruits


Use frozen veggies and fruits instead of fresh. It’s that simple if you’re looking for a shortcut. You don’t have to wash frozen veggies and fruits, and many of them don’t need to be chopped (think broccoli florets, corn, and spinach) or peeled (think peaches and plums). Frozen veggies and fruits don’t spoil before you have a chance to prepare them. You can still go organic if you’re shopping in the freezer case instead of the produce section of your supermarket, and you’ll save money going frozen instead of fresh in winter. Additionally, frozen fruits and veggies might be more nutritious than fresh, according to an article published by EatingWell.com, because fruits and veggies are frozen at their peak ripeness when they’re most nutrient-rich. (This assertion was also supported by a study that was released by the UK-based Institute of Food Research last March.)

As an aside, I avoid canned produce, generally. In some cases, such as green beans, it can have much higher levels of sodium than fresh or frozen. And fruits are oftentimes packed in a heavy sugary syrup. If you’re going to go the canned route, be sure to check sodium levels first and buy fruit that’s packed in water, not sugar.

Of course, I’m not advocating that you give up fresh veggies and fruits for good. For anyone who likes to cook, there are few things more pleasurable than a lazy Sunday afternoon at the farmer’s market in search of seasonal gems. Furthermore, if you’re buying fruits and veggies locally chances are they’ve just been picked and the produce is still nutrient-rich. I’m just saying that if you’re tight on time (and what mom isn’t?) there are distinct advantages to going frozen, at least some of the time.

I go both ways. I love chopping veggies and fruits, and chilling at the farmer’s market, so I purchase fresh produce every week — but my freezer is also packed with frozen veggies, especially green beans, peas, peaches, broccoli, and asparagus. I puree both frozen and fresh produce, and I chop and steam both types of produce for healthy finger foods. For my money (and my time), cooking with both fresh and frozen produce is the way to go.

Editors Note: Oops, I goofed when I scheduled this post so this week’s Tuesday Timesaver is coming out on Wednesday! Mommy brain:)

What Mason Ate Today

Best for Babies 8+ Months Old

Mason kept up his Oscar the Grouch act today but instead of being peckish and finicky he ate everything that was offered to him. Pure bliss for both of us. Nothing makes me happier or more satisfied these days than when Mason eats well. And because of all the teething pain, eating well has not been at the top of his agenda. I’m also excited because I whipped up a new recipe last night —  Apple-Cabbage-Raisin Puree, inspired by a Parents.com recipe — and I find it endlessly satisfying when we get to add another dish to Bug’s list of fave eats. Here’s our magic menu. What did your babe eat today?

Breakfast

6 oz. Cherry-Banana Oatmeal
Organic banana puffs
Formula


Lunch

2 oz Apple-Cabbage-Raisin Puree
2 oz diced avocado
2 oz diced, cooked apple and sweet potatoes
Formula


Snack

Organic apple puffs
Formula


Dinner

4 oz Pear-Green Bean Yogurt
4 oz Turkey-Apricot Puree
Formula

Teething Babe? Ease the Pain with Ice Cold Smashed Fruit

smashedpears Beautifully smashed pears

Teething has hit our household. Hard. Sure, Mason’s had symptoms for the last several months–he turned 10-months-old on Father’s Day–but we’ve reached a whole new level of teething intensity. He’s frantically chewing on his hands (and everything else), drooling, fussing, and clinging to me yet the child has no teeth yet. None! Just all the symptoms, worse than ever. Yesterday was so bad that when I arrived home from work last night my nanny handed him to me and wished me luck getting him to eat dinner. I was able to coax Mason to eat Pear-Green Bean Yogurt (one of his faves) and diced avocado–but only after giving him a dose of baby Motrin and even then it was a struggle. He went on to drink 12 ounces of formula between 12:30 and 4 am so he was clearly hungry. Poor bug.

I had planned on shredding chicken for Mason and freezing it after he went to bed. Instead I smashed fruit. The soft consistency would be easy for Mason to manage with his swollen gums, and I could serve it to him very cold to help relieve the pain. Mason had been completely uninterested in the frozen bagel that my pediatrician recommended to help ease teething pain. He hated the mesh teether with cold fruit that a friend gave us, and the frozen waffle that another friend suggested we try got thrown across the room more times than I can count. Perhaps smashed fruit would work.

I started with fresh pear. Bug has loved this sweet, luscious fruit since he first tasted it at five months old. Since I’m transitioning him to chunkier purees and more finger foods, I mashed the peeled and cooked pears with a potato masher instead of pureeing them. The result was a juicy, chunkier pear mixture that Mason enjoyed this morning with his oatmeal. I noticed that he sucked on the fruit a bit before swallowing it so I’m guessing the cold did feel good. And he ate a great breakfast! I made extras–I always do to freeze for later–so when I serve it later this week I’ll mix in fresh cherry, blueberry, banana, or apple to keep things from getting boring.

Check out the recipes below (under the pics) — you can use them to smash or puree the fruit, depending on which texture works best for your babe. Let me know what happens! And, I’d love to hear some of your tricks for combating teething pain, especially if they involve food. Do dish, please!

pears_draining Draining and rinsing the pears after cooking

smashing_pears Smashing the pears with a potato masher after cooking


Recipes:

Smashed (Or Pureed) Pears

Ingredients

Organic pear
Water

Directions

1. Wash, peel, and dice pear. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
2. Strain pear to remove excess water and mash with a potato masher. Or puree until you read desired consistency.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounces portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Smashed (or Pureed) Blueberries

Ingredients

Organic blueberries, fresh or frozen
Water

Directions

1. Wash blueberries. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
2. Strain blueberries to remove excess water and mash with a potato masher. Or, puree in a blender or food processor until you read desired consistency.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounces portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Homemade Applesauce

Ingredients

Organic gala apples
Water

Directions

1. Wash, peel, and dice apple. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
2. Strain excess water. Mash with a potato masher for a chunkier texture. Or, puree in a blender or food processor until you read desired consistency.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Smashed (or Pureed) Cherries

Ingredients

Fresh or frozen cherries
Water

Directions

1. Wash and pit cherries, slice in half. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
3. Mash with a potato masher. Or, puree in a food processor or blender with a bit of water, breast milk, or formula. S
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Smashed (or Pureed) Bananas

Ingredients

Organic banana
Water, breast milk, or formula

Directions

1. Peel and slice banana. Mash with a potato masher. Or, puree in a food processor or blender with pre-mixed formula or water until you reach desired consistency.
2. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
3. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Cheesy Rice Casserole with Peas

Best for Babies 6+ Months Old

Last weekend Chris and I took Mason and my Mom to one of our fave neighborhood restaurants, Sage General Store. We live in Long Island City, which is in the New York borough of Queens, the most diverse community in the US. (Every announcement in our subway station is posted in Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and English.) The neighborhood is 10 minutes from Manhattan by subway and it’s very much in transition, filled with abandoned warehouses and sketchy characters in some pockets, but it’s also home to cutting-edge art galleries, a melange of luxury apartment buildings, and great restaurants. And that’s where Sage comes in.

Sage is known for a few ultra-decadent dishes, most notably its three-course bacon brunch–bacon sampler, bacon brunch pizza, and chocolate-bacon brownie. We arrived early and were fortunate enough to get a table. The place is always packed. Mason sat in a vintage highchair and had his first taste of bacon marmalade. (He loved it!) We had planned on ordering him Sage’s ultra-decadent mac ‘n’ cheese but they were out of it so I served him my Cheesy Rice Casserole with Peas instead (yes, I called ahead because the place is so popular they frequently run out of stuff).

This casserole is one of Bug’s favorites, and it’s very simple to make–a mixture of brown rice, baby cheese sauce, and smashed peas. You can also add shredded chicken or small pieces of tofu to the mix for more protein. It’s rich and delicious but it’s also healthier than the typical casserole because of the brown rice and peas. Bug gobbles it up and I think your babe will like it too.  Try it out–and ping us with your feedback!

Cheesy Rice Casserole with Peas

Ingredients

Organic peas, frozen or fresh
Brown Rice
Cheddar Cheese
Flour
Milk or formula
Butter
Chicken or Tofu (optional)

Directions

1. Cook brown rice according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Cook fresh or frozen peas until soft, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
3. Prepare cheese sauce from kids cookbook author Annabel Karmel’s (she makes it with 3 different cheeses, I just use cheddar).
4. Combine 2 ounces each of brown rice and peas with 3 ounces of cheese sauce.
5. Serve. Freeze extras for up to 3 months.