Baby Mashed Potatoes & Peas

As a kid, my husband Chris was as ambivalent about his green veggies as Mason is. Green beans were a total deal breaker — still are today for the most part. Peas were a no-go until Chris’ grandfather taught him to hide the offending veggie on his fork under a pile of fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes. The combo was genius. From then on, the peas disappeared from Chris’ plate and I imagine dinnertime at the Shott household was a bit easier.

This past Saturday I tried a baby-friendly version on Mason (sorry, Mason, no butter or salt). I cooked and pureed a bag of organic frozen peas then diced and cooked organic Russet babies. A quick mix and the puree was ready. It tasted exactly as you might imagine — creamy, mild potatoes with the lightly sweet tang of peas. Not exactly gourmet but still tasty.

Mashed Potatoes & Peas


1 10-ounce bag organic peas, frozen
2 organic Russet potatoes
Premixed formula


1. Cook the peas until tender. Plunge in cold water for at least three minutes. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
2. Wash, peel, and dice the potatoes. Cook until tender. Rinse with cold water, then puree until smooth.
3. Combine potatoes and peas until well-mixed. Add formula as needed to get a smooth, creamy consistency.

Yield: 22 ounces for $4.54

So far I’ve gotten mixed reviews. Yesterday Mason gobbled the stuff up at lunch. Today he cried when I fed it to him. It’s hard to say whether our third attempt will be a hit or miss but the recipe is exciting for me either way. I got the opportunity to reinterpret a childhood favorite for Mason and it was fun to do. I imagined my husband getting that lesson from his grandfather as a little boy and I wondered what sort of things Mason’s grandfather will teach Mason when he gets older.

Have you come up with any recipes for your babe that are close to foods you liked as a child?

The Trials of Green Veggies

Green.  It’s lush and beautiful, the color of spring. It symbolizes life, rebirth. Green is also the   color of Mason’s favorite tummy time toy, his favorite playmate (Scout), and his favorite “monster” (dinosaurs). You see, Mason loves green — except when I put it on his plate.

True, his first encounter with green food, avocado, was fun.  The superfruit made him giggle. It was squishy and fun to play with, daddy smeared it on Mason’s fingers and let Mason lick it off. But since that glorious first taste of avocado, Mason’s journey with green food has been tumultuous.

After avocado we tried green beans. I went with organic-frozen since fresh can blend up grainy, and I was so excited to give Mason that first spoonful of goodness, delightfully rich in vitamin A and fiber. It was the perfect first veggie, or so I thought. Mason took a bite and looked bewildered. I gave him a second taste and he looked like he might throw up. I tried once more and he screamed. And screamed. And screamed. The next day I mixed the beans with sweet potato, one of his favorites. He ate a few bites but soon figured out my ruse. And that was that for the beans.

Not about to give up on green, I revisited avocado but mixed it with banana, a total debacle. Strike two.

We moved on to peas. Mason liked them OK enough, especially if I mixed them with squash or sweet potato, heavy on the yellow stuff. But I wanted him to eat spoonful after spoonful of the stuff straight — no yellow veggie foil required. I searched for inspiration and found a recipe for Minty Peas.  The blend was bright and fresh, ever so slightly sweeter than peas alone. Score! Mason finally ate his peas (almost) straight without a grimace, gag, or scream.

I’d like to make Mason’s next new food a green veggie. I’m determined for him to love his green veggies as much as we do. I’ve thought about mixing green beans with Greek yogurt and mint to sweeten the deal a bit. Or perhaps I’ll experiment with some asparagus (gross pee smell be damned). But perhaps you have an even better idea, and I’d love it hear it. How do you get your babe to eat (and enjoy) his/her green veggies?

A Peachy Kind of Day

Cooked peaches, in a bit of cooking liquid, ready to be pureed

Ah, Friday — the gateway to two whole days of freedom. Bliss. Before the babe, my weekend adventures would begin as soon as the workday ended. I’d go to a fun wine bar downtown with friends, to parties in artsy Brooklyn lofts, or to a neighborhood restaurant for a cozy dinner. Other times I’d travel. Occasionally I’d spend the better part of the weekend lounging on the couch watching Top Chef or Million Dollar Listing marathons. Now that the babe is here, weekends are chaotic, unpredictable but more special than ever before. They’re all about Mason, at least until he goes to bed and then we enjoy a few hours to ourselves. Tonight after Mason went to bed, I felt like playing with a some fruit.

Pears and peaches are two of my favorites, and I want Mason to love them too. He’s already a huge fan of pears, but he hasn’t tried peaches yet. It’s not the season for peaches but frozen organic peaches are still rich in vitamin C so I picked up a bag last time I was at the store. It’s not pear season either but the market still has decent-looking organic pears (albiet crisp pears), so I picked up a few after work.  I cooked the fruits separately, blended each one into a very smooth puree, and then mixed them together with a spoon. The fruit was so tender after cooking that I needed very little water to get the right applesauce-like consistency. Combined, the flavors were very mellow and balanced but sweet enough to add a little pizazz to baby oatmeal or plain yogurt. Here’s to hoping Mason is as pleased with the blend as I am!

Peach-Pear Puree

The recipe*:


Organic peach
Organic pear
Cooking liquid


1. Peel the peach, if fresh. Steam until tender, around 15 minutes.
2. Peel the pear. Steam until tender, around 15 minutes.
3. Puree together or separately, using cooking liquid to reach your desired texture (think smooth, like applesauce).

*I’m a working mama so I always prepare extras to freeze. The three pears and three peaches that I cooked with tonight yielded 16 ounces of fruit puree.

What other yummy peach combos does your baby love?

1 Protein + 2 Veggies + 1 Fruit = 4 Meals

As a food editor I spend hours studying current food trends — which foods are the new superstars, how people are eating today vs. yesterday, and so on. Of course, not every trend is surprising. We all know that people are cutting back on what they spend these days so everyone is looking for creative, fun ways to cook inventive, delicious meals for less. Tonight I applied that same principle to what I was cooking for Mason. How could I take just a few organic ingredients and come up with several different yummy purees that were simple and nutritious?

For starters, I surveyed what we had on hand. The three organic sweet potatoes on the counter looked good. We had four organic Gala apples fresh from the, um, grocery store. Chicken was already thawed in the fridge so that was in. A solid, six-month-old-friendly protein. A hearty winter veggie. And a versatile fruit. I was set.

The first puree that I made was a no-brainer —  I’ve made it before, and it’s super easy:  Chicken and Sweet Potatoes.

Chicken-Sweet Potato-Apple Puree

Next I thought about the combination of food my hubby and I like to eat.  We like texture, contrasting flavors, fresh seasonal fruits and veggies. So I decided to add a little apple to the mix to create Chicken-Sweet Potato-Apple Puree. When combined, the apple added sweetness to the mix, while the sweet potato was smooth and mellow. And the chicken fit right in. Mason hasn’t tried this little number yet, but I assume he’ll like it. After all, he likes the three ingredients alone.
Sweet Potatoes and Apple Puree

From there I moved on to classic Sweet Potatoes and Apple. I wanted a blend that would be a  lovely balance of fruit and veggie. It would end my daily debate about whether Mason was getting an equal balance of the two, and there’s something so scrumptious about sweet potatoes topped with warmly spiced fall fruit. Mason’s variation wasn’t spiced, but it was equally good. I loved that it blended into a rich orange color– I used a bit more sweet potato than apple simply because that’s what I had on hand. Normally I’d do an equal balance of the two. I loved that the mixture was smooth and easy, with just a hint of sweetness. I loved that it was packed with beta carotene, vitamin C, and lots of other good stuff.

Chicken and Carrots

Three purees down but with some chicken left, I pulled out a couple of jars of carrot from the cupboard (remember, carrots have a high nitrate content so you shouldn’t make them on your own) and mixed up a Chicken and Carrot blend. Plain, straightforward,  nutritious. Mason won’t complain. He enjoys this combo, although it certainly doesn’t have the pizazz that the Chicken-Sweet Potato-Apple Puree does.

Not a bad night of cooking — and I ended up with 25 servings of baby food for about $12, including the carrots. How do you make the most of your kitchen staples when making your babe his/her food?

The recipes:

Chicken-Sweet Potato-Apple Puree

1/3 cup boiled, shredded chicken
1/2 cup cooked, diced apple
1/2 cup cooked, diced sweet potato

1. Poach chicken for about 35 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Shred a cup’s worth, and set aside.
2. Steam 1-2 diced apples, depending on size, for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside 1/2 cup.
3. Steam a sweet potato for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside 1/2 cup.
4. Combine all three ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add cooking liquid or water until you reach your desired consistency. (Think smooth but without being watery.) Freeze extras for up to three months.

Sweet-Potato Apple Puree

1 sweet potato
1 apple

1. Dice apple, steam for about 15 minutes
2. Dice sweet potato, steam for about 15 minutes
3. Combine the two in a food processor or blender. Add cooking liquid or water. Blend until smooth. Freeze extras for up to three months.

Chicken and Carrots

2 chicken breasts
6 oz jarred baby carrots

1. Poach chicken for about 35 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Shred.
2. Combine chicken and 6 oz of carrots in a food processor or blender. Add cooking liquid or water and blend until your desired consistency. (Think pretty smooth without being watery.) Freeze extras for up to three months.

*Appropriate for 6 months and older

Easy Pear-Banana Puree

I was running late this morning.  Mornings now come with a wrinkle or two, things happen that I can’t control. I’m a working mom of a six month old, after all. I finally got out the door only to discover it was pouring rain and my umbrella was broken. I raced to the subway station and reached the platform just as the train was leaving the station (after climbing four staircases to get there). Then my train stalled one stop before my office. At least I had my coffee — and miraculously I made it to the office just in time for the  early morning conference call I was hosting.

And it only got better from there.

Lunchtime came and my nanny texted me with stellar news: The Minty Peas were a success. Mason gobbled them up this afternoon, along with a healthy helping of Sweet Potato-Chicken Puree. Home run! Victory! Score one for Mom!

Now on to our next food adventure: Pear-Banana Puree.

And that takes us back to this morning, before it became clear my commute would be…harried. Mason and I got up at 6 and cuddled. I hugged my baby boy, kissed his cheeks, celebrated being home with him again. We played as I simultaneously got ready for work and whipped up 14 ounces of pear-banana puree.

This magical mix of fruit was simple to make.  The organic fruits were fresh and delicious. The pear was juicy and sweet. The banana was just ripe and luscious. Together this wholesome fruit made a slightly chunky golden puree that was subtly sweet and well balanced. It will be a delish way to add new flavors to Mason’s beloved morning oatmeal. I can hardly wait to see Mason’s reaction when he has his first taste — stay tuned!


1 organic pear*
1 organic banana*


1. Peel and slice pear into small chunks. Steam until soft (about 15 minutes). Reserve steaming liquid.
2. Puree pear with sliced banana. Add liquid to get desired consistency.

To add oatmeal, prepare baby oatmeal from a box. Stir in two ounces of the fruit mixture before serving.

*I’m a working mama so I always double or triple my recipes and freeze extras. This morning, I used two pears and two bananas to get 14 ounces.

Appropriate for 6  months and up

What are your favorite fruit combos for baby these days?

Minty Peas

I admit it — I just couldn’t wait. I cooked for my babe tonight. I had originally planned to wait until Thursday since I just arrived back in town from a business trip, but it was impossible to lounge around after I saw a recipe on that I wanted to try: Minty Peas.

Besides,  Bethenny Ever After reruns could wait.

At this point, you might be weirded out. I mean, what kind of person can’t wait to make pea puree? I never thought I’d be her but if you think about it peas are sort of exciting. They’re a superfood. They’re wholesome. They’re loaded with fiber. Mint, on the other hand, is excellent for digestion. In my mind, it’s a blissful match. Combining the two to make a yummy side dish is so easy…and it could actually work. After all, Mason is  a great eater but green veggies aren’t an easy sell.

I whipped up a batch, tasted a spoonful, and it was delish! I can’t wait to see what Mason thinks tomorrow during lunch. If he’s not a fan, perhaps I’ll just have to eat the batch myself.

The recipe, from


1 16-ounce package  frozen peas
1 teaspoon  chopped fresh mint
Water (optional)


1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

2. Place frozen peas in a steamer basket set over gently boiling water. Steam peas until tender, about 6 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of steaming water.

3. Remove cooked peas from steamer and plunge into ice water for 30 seconds to stop the cooking. Drain peas from ice water and place in a food processor or blender. Add mint and process until completely smooth. You may add in some of the reserved steaming water to adjust consistency, if desired.

4. Distribute mixture evenly among your favorite food storage container. This mixture will keep up to 48 hours in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in your freezer.

How do you make veggies an easier sell for your baby?

Apple-Banana Oatmeal

Mason is dismayed — his oatmeal is all gone!

Breakfast is so fun.  Unlike lunch and dinner — where the veggies might not be sweet enough (say, mommy tries to coax Mason to eat green beans instead of sweet potatoes) — breakfast is a sure thing. You see, Mason knows he’s going to get oatmeal. And he loves his oatmeal. Loves it. He’ll eat it plain. He’ll eat it warm or cold. He’ll eat it with apples. He’ll eat it with banana. But his fave way to eat it is with a warm mixture of apple and banana. By itself, the organic banana is sweet and delicious. The apple, a Gala variety, is juicy and crisp. Combined the fruit makes a serendipitous match and mixed with the oatmeal it’s pure bliss, at least from Mason’s point of view. 

Apple-Banana Oatmeal


1 Gala apple
1 organic banana
1/3 cup baby oatmeal


1. Peel and slice apple into small chunks. Steam until soft (about 15 minutes). Reserve steaming liquid. Rinse apples in cold water.
2. Puree apple with sliced banana. Add liquid to get desired consistency (think applesauce).
3. Prepare oatmeal. Stir in two ounces of the fruit mixture. Freeze the leftovers.

Appropriate for 6  months and up

What does your babe like to eat for breakfast?

Chicken 'n' Sweet Potatoes

Chicken and Sweet Potato Puree

Best for Babies 6+ Months Old

At Mason’s six-month check-up on Tuesday, our pediatrician said to start experimenting with new textures and flavors. I was thrilled. No more boring one-veggie/fruit purees — this would be the beginning of savory veggie-meat blends, sweet fruity mixes, and so much more!

That night after work, I whipped up a batch of sweet potatoes combined with chicken. I decided to give Mason his first taste of the stuff for lunch today — hoping it would be better than our recent avocado-banana fiasco.

As it turned out, I was in luck. Mason loved this classic combo.

On the advice of my mommy friend Karyn, I poached the organic chicken to retain moisture then pureed it. Poached chicken that’s been pureed looks, well, disgusting. And it’s bland, which is why I mixed it with one of Mason’s faves, sweet potatoes, keeping the texture pretty smooth (like you would see from Level 2 commercial baby food), and it actually looked yummy. I tasted it — I’ve vowed never to make Mason eat something that I wouldn’t — and it was surprisingly tasty. Good enough that if I ever found myself home alone with no desire to eat takeout and nothing in the fridge, I would microwave some for dinner. Seriously.

I buckled Mason into his Joovy high chair (I mention the brand because we love it — the whole thing can go in the dishwasher!!), fastened his plastic bib (the Best Invention Ever for babies eating solids), and fed Mason his first bite. The portrait of him smiling above is what I got. My heart melted. He made my day, and maybe I even made his with this deliciousness.

Organic chicken
Organic sweet potato


1. Trim fat from 1 package organic chicken breast.*
2. Poach chicken for about 30 minutes.
3. Rinse chicken in cool water, slice, and puree.
4. Peel, dice, and cook three sweet potatoes under tender.* Rinse with cold water.
5. Puree sweet potatoes with chicken. Blend until smooth.
6. Divide into 2-ounce portions. Cool. Refrigerate two portions, freeze the rest.

Appropriate for 6 months and up

*I’m a working mama, so I always make extras and freeze.

C’mon mamas and daddies, what’s your latest baby food victory?

Avocado-Banana Mashup

Avocado aftermath

Mason digs banana. Really digs banana. He thinks avocado is pretty cool too. So it only made sense to combine the two, right? Avocado = Omega 3s (brain food!), and that’s just for starters. Banana = potassium and a long list of other nutrients and vitamins. Super good stuff. Plus I knew of other babies who liked the blend.

I set up the baby food maker and chopped up the fruits. I mashed it all up, blended it together, and filled up my special little baby food containers. Most of it went into the freezer but one precious cube made its way into our fridge, ready for lunch the following day. I envisioned Mason gobbling it up, getting smarter, stronger, happier, healthier by the ounce. The thought made me giddy.

On my way out the door this morning, I instructed Chris (my hubby) to text me after lunch with all the deets of Mason’s first taste of his new superfood. “Take a photo! He’s gonna love it,” I said. Around lunchtime, Chris texted me to ask where Mason’s green veggie was for lunch. Exasperated, I explained where the stuff was. Again. Chris’ response? “Oh. Weird.” And then silence. I called. No answer. Then Outlook dinged to remind me that my afternoon meeting rush was starting. So I went on with my day.

I got home from work looking forward to tales of a happy baby with a full belly. Instead, I learned Mason had been peckish. “What about the avocado-banana mash,” I badgered. “Um, he liked it…there’s a little more in the fridge though,” Chris said. I flung open the fridge to find a half-full container. Whatever, I thought. Chris just wasn’t doing it right. I snatched up the container and coaxed my smiling, gurgling baby to take a bite. He shuddered slightly and gave me a look that said, “Huh?” That’s OK, I thought. It’s all new. Let’s take another bite. This time Mason gagged. Then he started screaming.

Damn. This is not what I had pictured. At all.

In retrospect, I don’t blame the kid. After all, my own impatience was to blame. I got home from work Wednesday night determined to go on a baby food-making bender. And I did, making chicken, sweet potatoes, my now infamous puree. So what if the avocado wasn’t quite ripe? It would be fine, I assured myself. But in fact, the blend had turned out grainy. Think brown mustard. Had I used an avocado as ripe as my very overripe banana, it would have blended up light and fluffy. So next time I’ll do it right.

What about all you mamas out there? Any of your mash ups get a little mixed up lately?