Putting the Kabosh on Teething Pain with Chilled Fruits & Veggies

We had the Saturday from h-ll. Poor Mason’s cutting three new teeth and he has a brutal cold so he just clung to us and screamed most of the day. His little gums were horribly swollen and red, his nose was running nonstop, and his chest was rattling when he breathed. I’ve never felt so helpless as a Mom. He’s always been a good baby so we don’t have much experience with crying/screaming jags (yes, there’s an excellent chance we’ll get hit hard with #2). I kept wishing there was something I could do to make his misery go away, but I could only try to minimize his painful symptoms. At one point, I started to cry, too, out of sympathy and exhaustion and worry. I became Worse Case Scenario Mom and was convinced something was seriously wrong with him. Luckily Chris is an excellent voice of reason or I probably would have taken my baby to the ER…for teething and a cold.

To treat his cold, we turned on the shower and had him breathe in steam from hot water for 10-minute intervals (Chris and I took turns holding him and distracting him from the discomfort of the hot, wet air with his toy cars). He also slept with a humidifier running and a thick coating of Vicks on his chest. To help the teething pain, which seems to be the greater of the two evils, I gave him baby Motrin and frozen pacifiers. At mealtime, I coaxed him to eat a few different soft, squishy foods. He didn’t want to eat much (he even rejected mac ‘n’ cheese!), but here are the things that he would eat. We’d go through the list, try a few other things, and then repeat. (Other moms have recommended frozen bagels and waffles to us in the past, but unfortunately Bug wouldn’t go for either.) Any other suggestions to add to the list?

1. Homemade applesauce, chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving

2. Beets, diced, cooked, and chilled

3. Banana, sliced and partially frozen

4. Full-fat Greek yogurt mixed with icy smashed pear; try one spoonful of yogurt for every two spoonfuls of fruit.

5. Ripe melon, diced and chilled– not the easiest thing to find this time of year but we lucked out.

6. Ice cold milk — a drink, I know, but Bug consumed more milk than anything else.

Other foods that Mason was willing to eat included chunks of Swiss cheese, toast with melted cheddar cheese, corn, and peas. He rejected eggs, pasta, turkey meatballs, blueberries, and grapes.

Tonight I’m making a chicken-ginger soup (recipe to come soon!). Now that both Bug and I both have his cold we need a little TLC and hot bowls of homemade soup just sound good!

Pancakes with Cinnamon-Spiced Blueberries & Apples

Best for Babies 6+ Months (puree) and 11+ Months (pancakes)

Sunday brunch is one of our fave weekend traditions. This morning we made Mason a cheese omelet with a side of Cinnamon-Spiced Blueberries and Apples that I whipped up Thursday night. The fruit recipe was inspired by one I had seen on Parents.com, and Mason enjoyed the warmly spiced fruit mixture with his oatmeal Friday morning. While Mason ate his breakfast, Chris and I whipped up some pancakes and bacon for us. We made an extra pancake for Mason and topped it with a spoonful of blueberries and apples. It was his first pancake and he dug in, face, hands, hair — you name it! — covered in crumbs and blueberries.

I love this fruit puree because it’s so versatile — and so simple to make. I peeled a Gala apple with a potato peeler, then removed the core and diced it. Then I added the apple to my steamer, along with 1-1/2 cups of frozen organic blueberries. I steamed the fruit for about 7 minutes, then dumped it into the blender. I sprinkled 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon on top of the fruit, then blended it until it was smooth (you can also smash the fruit instead of blending it if you want a chunkier texture). I originally intended to make the puree with pears since the Parents.com recipe calls for pears but I ran out of pears so I substituted apples instead (the fruits are incredibly similar). The puree was so delish that Chris ate it on his pancakes as well!

Try out this idea with your babe (or mix up the fruit as a topper for oatmeal or cooked apples), and let us know what you think!

Cinnamon-Spiced Blueberries and Apples

Ingredients

1 Gala apple
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

Peel and core the apple. Dice. Combine with 1-1/2 cups blueberries. Steam for 5-7 minutes until soft. Drain fruit and pour into a blender for pureeing or bowl for smash. Puree in a food processor, or smash with a fork or potato masher. Freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

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.

Sweet Potato-Apple Puree with Yogurt

Sweet Potato-Apple Puree

Best for Babies 6+ Months Old

Our love affair with yogurt continues. Yogurt is still the one thing that Mason will eat with a gigantic grin no matter what — and he’s a brilliant eater. I’ve made many fruit yogurts for Mason — peach, pear, banana, apple, mango, papaya, apricot (get the recipes) — but YoBaby gave me the idea to blend yogurt with green beans and pears. Before I mixed green beans with yogurt, Mason refused to eat them. Now he loves them. Since that combo was such a winner, I decided to try a new yogurt-fruit-veggie combo tonight: Sweet Potato-Apple Puree with Yogurt.

Baby Yogurt

I didn’t plan to invent a new yogurt tonight. In fact, I hadn’t thought about dinner at all before we got home late from a friends house and Mason was absolutely starving. (Isn’t how that always works?!) After rooting around my freezer, which is filled with rows and rows of homemade baby food (pic below), I settled on frozen sweet potato puree and frozen apple puree. I pondered adding beef to it, but Mason already had beef for lunch. I opened the fridge and noticed some yogurt. Hmmm, Mason hadn’t had yogurt today. What if I just stirred the three together?

My frozen stash of homemade baby food

I started with about four ounces of rich and creamy, full-fat Stonyfield organic yogurt, then stirred in two ounces of Sweet Potato-Apple Puree (one of Mason’s faves). I felt excited about this duo — the sweet potatoes were packed with beta carotene, while the apples were rich in vitamin C (and lots of other good stuff). The yogurt was filled with healthy Probiotics, which are super good for Mason’s little tummy. The meal was pure and simple, uncomplicated, and an absolute hit.

 

What about you — what’s your babe’s fave way to eat yogurt?

Butternut Squash 4 Ways

Best for Babies 6+ Months Old

I’m perplexed. For months, Mason loved butternut squash. Loved it. It was his first yellow veggie. He ate it plain, he ate it with chicken. He enjoyed it mixed with yogurt and peaches, and he loved the simple combination of butternut squash and apple. Now he cries when I try to feed it to him.

What gives? Apparently this happens. Babes suddenly decide they don’t like something. And that’s it. I’m a bit sad — I loved that he loved butternut squash. It’s pure and simple. Wholesome, velvety, luscious. I felt good feeding it to him. And it’s so simple to make.

Of course, I won’t feed Mason something that makes him cry. For now the butternut squash in my freezer will stay there. I’m hoping he’ll enjoy it once again. If he doesn’t we’ll share it with one of his little friends.

In honor of Mason’s (former) favorite veggie, here are the butternut squash recipes he enjoyed for the last few months. (Before you get started cooking, don’t miss my guide to how to roast and puree butternut squash.) Try out our recipes and let us know what your babe thinks!

Basic Butternut Squash Puree

Ingredients

1.5 lb Organic butternut squash
Water
Pre-mixed formula, breast milk, or yogurt (optional)

Directions

1. Scoop flesh out of a roasted squash. Discard the skin.

2. Puree squash flesh in a food processor. Add water until you reach a smooth consistency. For extra creaminess add a splash of pre-mixed formula, breast milk, or plain yogurt.

Butternut Squash & Chicken Puree

1/3 cup boiled,  organic chicken, shredded
1/2 cup cooked organic butternut squash, diced
Water

1. Poach chicken for about 35 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Shred a cup’s worth, and set aside.
2. Roast butternut squash. Scoop flesh from shell. Set aside 1/2 cup.
3. Combine both the squash and chicken in a food processor or blender. Add cooking liquid or water until you reach desired consistency. (Think smooth but without being watery.) Freeze extras for up to three months.

Butternut Squash-Peach Puree with Yogurt

To make Butternut Squash-Peach Puree with Yogurt, mix equal parts Butternut Squash Puree with Peach Yogurt (below):

Peach Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
1 bag frozen, organic peaches

Directions

1. Cook peaches. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed peaches.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2 to 4-ounces portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Butternut Squash with Apple

To make Butternut Squash-Apple puree, mix equal parts Butternut Squash Puree (above) with Apple Puree:

Apple Puree

Organic Gala apple
Water

Directions

1. Wash, peel, and dice apple. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes).

2. Reserve some cooking liquid, then plunge cooked apple into ice water for about 3 minutes.

3. Puree cooled apple until smooth.

Turkey-Apricot Puree


Today was Mason’s second swim lesson — a fun, exhausting adventure. When we got home, it was time for lunch: Turkey-Apricot Puree and yogurt mixed with pureed pear and green beans. The babe needed a protein blast because of all the energy it took for him to paddle and kick (sort of) up and down the mini lanes in the pool, not to mention fall off the pool edge into my arms like Humpty Dumpty  and whirl around in a circle while the parents sang Itsy-Bitsy Spider off-key. I started with ground turkey because it purees more smoothly than cooked and shredded turkey tenderloin. By itself, the turkey is mild so you definitely need to mix it with something flavorful. I loved the idea of apricot because it’s bright and tangy — the ideal match for the tender white meat. Other great things to mix turkey puree with: potatoes and peas, sweet potato and peach, butternut squash and apple, and banana and pear.

Mason loved his lunch — hope your babe enjoys the recipe too. Let us know how it goes!

Turkey Puree

Ingredients

Organic turkey, ground
Water

Directions

1. Bring a pot of water to boiling then reduce the heat until the bubbles are soft. Add ground turkey and cook until all the pinkness is gone (about 20 minutes).

2. Drain the turkey, plunge in ice water to stop the cooking, and puree until only slightly chunky in the food processor.

*I use ground turkey because it purees smoother than shredded turkey tenderloin.

Apricot Puree

Ingredients

Organic apricot, fresh or dried
Water

Directions

1. Wash, peel, and dice the apricot. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Reserve some of the cooking liquid. Puree until smooth in a food processor. (*If using dried, cook until very tender — closer to 25 minutes.)

For Turkey-Apricot Puree, combine two ounces of turkey puree with two ounces of apricot puree.

*Freeze for up to three months.

OMG, He Finally Ate Green Beans


From Mason’s POV, green beans suck. It doesn’t matter what I mix them with, he just won’t eat them. Or so I thought. Then I discovered YoBaby 3 in 1 meals with green beans and pear. It had never occurred to me to mix green beans with yogurt. Sure, Mason loves his yogurt — I usually make his homemade — but the combo just seemed strange. Could it possibly work? Did the people of YoBaby know something I didn’t? What the hell. I bought some and was honestly shocked when Mason gobbled it up three nights in a row. Perhaps he had no clue the yogurt was harboring the enemy. But who cares? It worked and I’m going to make my own batch of yogurt inspired from the YoBaby blend later this week (recipe below).

How do you get your babe to eat foods he/she doesn’t like?

Pear-Green Bean Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic green beans
Organic pear

Directions

1. Wash and cook green beans (I prefer frozen because fresh can get gritty when pureed). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Wash, peel, and cook pear. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
3. Combine three ounces of yogurt with 1 ounce each of pureed pear and green beans.
4. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
5. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Avocado-Banana Mashup Part 2

The first time I fed Mason Avocado-Banana Puree, I blew it. After his first bite he shuddered and looked offended. I coaxed him into taking a second bite and he gagged, then started screaming. Discouraged, I threw the rest of the stuff in the trash.

In retrospect, it wasn’t about the fruit — both of which he loves separately– it was about my technique. The unripe avocado that I used gave the puree a grainy texture (think brown mustard). I should have been more patient and waited for the avocado to ripen. The puree was also bland. It would have been better to use at least two bananas to add more sweetness and depth of flavor.

Tonight I started my second attempt at Avocado-Banana Puree with very ripe fruit.  I scooped the avocado out of its shell and sliced up the bananas. Then I pureed them together with premixed formula. The ultra-healthy fruits blended up fluffy and creamy. The puree tasted pleasantly sweet, without any graininess at all. Even my husband who usually refuses to taste any of Mason’s purees gave liked this one.

Now for the real test.

I fed a spoonful of the puree to Mason and waited. He tasted it and instead of gagging or screaming he swallowed and opened his mouth for more. And more. He ate all two ounces of the puree and was smiling afterward (above). His reaction made my night! Here’s the recipe. Hope your babe enjoys it too.


Avocado-Banana Puree

Ingredients:

1 Organic Avocado, ripe
3 Organic Bananas, ripe
Premixed Formula

Directions:

1. Slice a very ripe avocado in half. Remove the pit. Set aside.

2. Peel and slice ripe bananas. Combine with the avocado. Puree the fruits together in a food processor. Add premixed formula until you reach a very smooth texture.

Yield: Makes 14 ounces for $3.99

What’s your latest and greatest baby food success?

Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal

Mealtime has gotten boring. Mason is teething right now and when his gums are sore he doesn’t want to eat, so I’ve resorted to giving him his favorite purees  — Chicken and Apple, Sweet Potato and Peach, Zucchini and Carrot, yogurt with various fruits —  over and over in an effort to get him to chow down. Now it’s time to change things up. I came up with a list of new purees last Friday that I’m going to whip up this week, but first Mason will try cinnamon-spiced raisins. The combo was inspired by the batch of cinnamon-spiced chocolate brownies that I made Saturday. (Mason’s too young to try chocolate so I pureed raisins as a sweet baby-friendly substitute.) I plan to swirl the raisin mixture into his oatmeal. Here’s the recipe. Be sure to let me know what your babe thinks and I’ll be sure to let you know how Mason’s first taste goes! (Update: Mason tried this recipe this morning and loved it! The raisins froze beautifully so I just warmed up the puree for about 20 seconds in the microwave before adding it to his oatmeal.)

Raisin Puree

Ingredients

8 ounces organic raisins
Water

Directions

1. Cook raisins until soft (about 20 minutes). Reserve cooking liquid.
2. Puree raisins, adding water until the puree is smooth.

Yield 10 ounces


Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal

Ingredients

Baby Oatmeal
Formula or Breastmilk
Raisins Puree
Cinnamon

Directions

1. Prepare 3-4 ounces baby oatmeal according to directions on box.
2. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon into 1 ounce of raisin puree (you want the fruit to be very lightly spiced, especially the first time baby tries cinnamon).
3. Warm cinnamon-raisin mixture, then swirl it into your prepared oatmeal.

Rich & Creamy Baby Yogurt, 7 Ways


To Mason, yogurt is the ultimate treat. He loves it, I imagine, because it’s luscious, pure, simple, uncomplicated. I love giving him yogurt because it’s wholesome, filled with bone-building calcium and tummy-boosting Probiotics. I also appreciate how versatile yogurt is.  I can serve it alone, or mixed into Mason’s oatmeal. I add peach yogurt to pureed chicken for something a little different. When we move on to other poultry and meat, I’ll mix beef with apple yogurt, turkey with pear yogurt, and lamb with apricot yogurt. This summer, I’ll freeze fruit yogurt into healthy popsicles. Plain yogurt is so easy to customize for your babe. Here are some of Mason’s favorite yogurt recipes to get you started.

Peach Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
1 bag frozen, organic peaches

Directions

1. Cook peaches. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed peaches.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2 to 4-ounces portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Pear Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic pear

Directions

1. Wash, peel, and dice pear. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed pear.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounces portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Banana Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic banana

Directions

1. Peel and slice banana. Puree with pre-mixed formula or water until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed banana.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Apple Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic Gala apple

Directions

1. Wash, peel, and dice apple. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed apple.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Mango Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic mango

Directions

1. Wash, peel, and dice mango. Cook until tender (10-15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed mango.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Papaya Yogurt

Ingredients
Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic papaya, ripe

Directions

1. Scoop out seeds from the center of papaya, then spoon flesh into a food processor. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and pureed papaya.
3. Freeze leftovers in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Apricot Yogurt

Ingredients

Organic Stonyfield full-fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt*
Organic apricots

Directions

1. If using fresh apricots, wash, peel, and dice. Cook until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency. For dried apricots, dice and cook until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Puree until you reach desired consistency.
2. Combine yogurt and apricots.
3. Freeze leftovers for up to up to one month in 2- to 4-ounce portions.
4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

*For each of the recipes above, use twice the amount of yogurt (in ounces) that you use of fruit.

If your babe is older than my seven-month-old son, generally between 10 months and a year (check with your pediatrician), you can make your babe’s yogurt with berries. Choose ripe berries and follow the recipe for Banana Yogurt above.

What’s your babe’s favorite flavor of yogurt?