Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stain, Stain Go Away

My baby has a new habit of picking everything up and throwing it.
He thinks its funny…I don’t.
Yesterday I was feeding him blueberries cut in half as a snack and I didn’t realize until I picked him up that half of them were on his pants.
Ok, lesson #1 feed him naked. Lesson #2 buy a bigger bib.
I was kind of perturbed because he was wearing one of his “nice” pajamas and I couldn’t remember if blueberries stained. I wanted to share this product with you because it’s naturally non-toxic, safe for your baby and doesn’t smell. There are some “green” products that have really cute packaging and clever verbiage but they smell like crap.
BabyGanics Stain, Stain Go Away is my favorite stain remover product, as you can tell by the nearly empty bottle. Founded by two fathers described as "compulsive, clean freaks" this product is a miracle worker. The ingredient list reads like this: Plant derived cleaning agents (coconut, palm kernel based surfactants), Filtered water, Naturally derived quality control agents and preservatives (less than 0.1%). I sprayed this on his pants and I kid you not, the stains disappeared instantly. For something with such a short and natural ingredient list, it’s pretty amazing. 

Available Here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chicken Sweet Potato Apple and Quinoa Patties

I found a recipe online for chicken burgers and as with all the recipes I use, I tweaked it to fit my standards. The original recipe called for quinoa as the thickener. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, so I made half with the quinoa and half with breadcrumbs.
I went to my local store to pick up the breadcrumbs and found crap. Did you ever look at the ingredient list on a major brand of breadcrumbs? It’s a paragraph long! My theory is if its more than two lines of ingredients, don’t buy it. Why can’t they just make things simple, pure and not filled with chemicals and words I cant pronounce? Off to the specialty store I went where of course I found plain simple no fuss no muss 3 ingredient breadcrumbs. Eating healthy is about making conscious choices. Check out the ingredients of a product before you give it to your baby or yourself.

Chicken Sweet Potato Apple Quinoa Patties

1 lb ground chicken
1 medium sweet potato
1 apple
1/2 medium yellow onion
2 egg yolks beaten

I divided the mixture and used quinoa in one and bread crumbs in the other.
They both came out delicious, i’m going to use quinoa in the future because of its health benefits.

1/4 cup rinsed and cooked quinoa
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1. Peel the sweet potato, apple and onion. Grate them together into a bowl. 

2. Add the ground chicken, beaten egg yolks, quinoa or breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly.
3. Make 1/2 inch thick patties and put on a baking sheet with baking paper underneath.
4. Bake at 375 for 10-15 min each side, depending on thickness.

You can freeze them uncooked to use later. 
Pulse for younger babies.
Makes 12 patties.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicken In The Pot

Im a big fan of dishes that you cook in one pot. What could be easier than throwing shit in a pot? Opening a jar, you say?
Right, well we don’t do that here.
This weekend we were away from home and I had a little incident with frozen pureed chicken soup going sour. I shredded some roasted chicken we had for dinner the night before and fed it to my baby. He loved it.
He was chewing, picking up pieces by himself, throwing it everywhere. I was very proud. I have given him pieces of soft food before, but until now i’ve always pureed his chicken because he’s a baby and I baby him. 
He’ll be 36 saying “Ma, I have 84 teeth, stop cutting my steak for me.” But thats what mothers do.

Chicken Carrots Sweet Potato Peas and Brown Rice

4 medium sized carrots
1/2 of a large sweet potato
1/2 cup of peas
1/2 onion
2 chicken breast cut into bite sized chunks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Cut the veggies into bite size pieces, like so.

2. Heat the oil in medium pot
3. Add onions until transluscent
4. Brown the chicken for 5 minutes
5. Add the veggies for 5 minutes
6. Add the uncooked rinsed rice and stir it in for a minute before adding liquid.
7. Add 2 cups of chicken stock
8. Add 2 cups of water
9. Bring to a boil
10. Cover and put in oven at 375 for 40 min.

You can feed this as is to older babies, pulse for a coarse chop or completely puree.
This made enough for 8 baby servings and I served 3 full bowls for dinner.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Egg Yolks: A True Story

Last week, I decided it was time my baby had some egg yolk. Egg yolk is a great source of protein and iron but the egg white can be highly allergenic and shouldn’t be given to a baby until he’s a year old.
Normally I try new foods with him. Take his temperature as he chews, monitor his breathing, check his pupils, y’know NORMAL behavior.
This time I thought “ok, lets try and not be neurotic” maybe my life would be easier if I delegated. So in my best attempt, I left specific instructions with my nanny and left to run an errand. Tra la la, 2 hours later i’m home.
“Hi baby, I missed you!” Nanny proudly marches over with a big smile on her face and says “Michelle, he finished todo egg!”
Huh? TODO?
I'm not fluent in Spanish but I know what todo means.
She fed him the entire hard-boiled egg.
Cue panic attack.
He seemed fine but I stripped him down to check out the goods and his legs were covered in spots. The spots were gone by the next day but I learned my lesson. I’m going to try egg yolk again today, but this time ill be the one feeding him.
Moral of the story: Test out new foods yourself. Leave the pupil checker out.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Halloween Hangover

I call this one Halloween Hangover because its completely orange and I like the word hangover.
Usually I make lentil vegetable soup and it’s a big winner but I didn’t have all the vegetables and I was too lazy to go to the store. The night before I tried red lentils, sweet potato and brown rice and it was thick enough to use for brick paste.

Red lentils cook faster, are tastier and are more mushy than other lentils, so I chose these. They're a prime source of protein, fiber, iron, antioxidants and are heart healthy.
I’m thinking about starting red meat next week, but until then I sleep well at night knowing that he gets his protein and iron fix from this dish.

Red Lentils Carrots and Sweet Potato

1/4 cup red lentils rinsed thoroughly
3 medium carrots cubed
Half of a medium sweet potato cubed
4 ice cubes of homemade chicken stock – will post recipe next week
1/2 cup water

Bring to a boil
Simmer 20 min
Add water if you think it needs it

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One of Those Days

Its only 10:30 and I can tell its already going to be one of those days.
My second recipe flopped, one chicken fruit disaster late last night and one lentil pasty concoction early this morning, milk exploded out of my darling nespresso, the kitchen is a warzone, pictures wont upload to the blog, my baby wont nap…
Im trying the whole close your eyes, breathe in and out technique but all I can do is think about all the things I have to do.
Basic things like wash my hair, make my bed, take the garbage out, laundry…the list goes on and on.
Do you ever have one of these days? How do you stay calm in a shitstorm?

Roasted Bananas and Blueberries

Here is a simple recipe with a twist. Ok its not so much of a twist, more like a plop. 

Let me start over.
Here is a recipe with a plop. You plop unpeeled bananas and blueberries on a baking sheet and roast. Yup, that’s it.
Why roast? Well, roasting the bananas instead of just mashing them up gives the banana a heartier more full-bodied taste and mashing takes more time than plopping.
Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that Bananas give you seratonin which makes you happy? Ill take 500 bananas please! Bananas are also high in iron, potassium, contribute to healthy bones, healthy kidney function and help regulate baby’s poop situation if there’s a crisis. 
Now the blueberries aren’t just pretty, they are also a powerhouse of nutrients with their high level of antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C.
Goodness all around.
Plop 2 unpeeled bananas on a baking tray and surround with blueberries.

Roast on 350 for 20 min or until bananas are dark brown and blueberries are exploding with goodness.

Let cool and puree.

Makes 4 freezer containers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Peach Apple and Brown Rice

I usually use earths best organic whole grain rice cereal which is made with brown rice, but since my baby has a few teeth I wanted to try something with more texture.

Peach Apple and Brown Rice

1 apple
1 peach
¼ cup brown rice
1 cup water

Grind rice until its almost a powder, or if you think your baby can handle it, leave it lumpy.
Peel and cube 1 apple
Peel and cube 1 peach

I’m sure there’s a smart way to peel a peach, maybe if you boil it first the peel will slide off. I’m not sure and too impatient to find out so I butchered the peach.

Steam the apple and peach.
Meanwhile cook the brown rice in water
I made the mistake of taking out the rice too fast (impatient again), it could have used a few more minutes so I had to puree this very smooth.

Makes 6 servings.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fire Engine Red Hot

I have no greater joy than caring for my baby but lets get real here, IM EXHAUSTED.
So, today I brought home my new boyfriend.
His name is nespresso and he’s fire engine red hot.
I love him.
We make beautiful coffee together, I swear he makes me a better mother.
I’m looking forward to waking up at the crack of dawn (5:30) just to push that little button that will transform me into a singing, pureeing, dancing ball of sunshine and rainbows.
Because that’s what my baby needs.
And I intend to give it to him.
Thank you nespresso, thank you.

Broccoli, Sweet Potato and Kale

I don’t like fighting with my baby. For one, he’s really cute and two he has really quick reflexes. After some messy disasters, I realized that he will almost never eat anything that is completely green. He just doesn’t like it and I cant force it. He always needs a hit of sweetness, whether its fruit or vegetables. I love adding sweet potato to any green concoction because I know it’ll make the puree bearable and my job of getting the food in his mouth a lot easier.

Did you know that broccoli packs the most nutritional punch out of any vegetable. Why did it take me 26 years to know that? I would have been eating broccoli by the pound.
Broccoli has vitamin a and c, mega fiber, folic acid and calcium which is good for baby’s like mine who don’t eat dairy yet.
Sweet potatoes, like carrots have high beta-carotene levels. This helps with inflammation, which leads to all diseases later on in life.
Kale is also major in the department of antioxidants, anti inflammation, vitamins K, A and C and is a super green veggie all around.
I have to be honest. I've never cooked kale in my life. When I first took it home I washed it 6 times, smelled it over and over again and didn't touch it for two days. Yes, I was scared of the kale. Apparently its just like spinach, only curly and more thick. I don’t love it, but it worked.

This recipe is also a twofer. I didn’t feel like making dinner for my husband, so I added olive oil, fresh garlic, salt and pepper with a sprinkly of parmesan cheese to the leftover puree, boiled some quinoa pasta and dinner was served.

Don’t judge me.

Broccoli, Sweet Potato and Kale

About 2 cups broccoli
Half of a medium sweet potato
1 cup kale
1 cup water

1. Cube the broccoli and sweet potato
2. Steam the broccoli and sweet potato in your baby food maker.
3. Wilt the kale in water for 1 min.

Combine everything in your baby food maker and puree.
Add more water to get the consistency you like.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Side Note

I haven’t mentioned the age of my hungry baby or placed age recommendations next to any of my recipes for a reason. I have done a lot of research on what “they” tell me he should be eating, but I know and have decided that he’s not ready yet. For my own personal reasons, I have chosen not to give him any dairy, red meat or fish until he’s a year old and I don’t care what anyone else says.
Every baby is different, every mother is her own level of crazy…there’s no need to be forced into a category.
That being said, choose a recipe based on what you feel is right for your baby, not what you are being told is right.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Golden Beets Carrots Apple and Quinoa

I wanted to create a sweet quinoa dish as a new spin on the old oatmeal and fruit purees. Apples are such a good sweetener and they let me sneak in veggies like carrots and beets. I’m super excited about him eating quinoa, maybe a little too excited...but its just so damn good for you! Start by making a small batch, test it out see if your baby likes it before your stock your freezer for the month. 
I think its really important not only to know that your food tastes good but to know how its helping you. 
I used golden beets which have the same health benefits of red beets, because they have a milder sweeter taste. Beets have potassium, vitamin c, iron, amino acids and fiber. Winner. 
Apples are amazeballs as well, apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Carrots are bananas for you, they are packed with beta-carotenes and are an antioxidant. Another reason why I like to load my baby with carrots is that my husband and I are blind as bats, and yes your mother was your carrots, theyre good for your eyes!
Saving the best for last....quinoa. 
Quinoa is an ancient grain that the Incas called gold and fed to their warriors. Trust me, they knew what was up. Quinoa is packed with protein, high in fiber and high in iron. Its such a high quality food that eating quinoa is the equivalent of eating meat! Double winner.

Golden Beets Carrots Apple and Quinoa

3 small golden beets, peeled and cubed
1 apple, peeled and cubed
3 small carrots, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water

1.Cube the beets, apple and carrots and place in small glass bowls on a color coordinated tray. Just kidding. That’s only for crazies like me. Throw all of it into the steamer basket. Reserve the cooking water.

2. Rinse the quinoa well so it doesn’t taste like batteries.
3. Bring water to a boil and add the quinoa.
4. Puree the fruit and veggies first, then add the quinoa. Slowly add in the reserved water until you get the consistency you like. 

I found this to be thick so I used all of the water.

Makes 6 servings.

Helpful Hint: Do not fill up freezer containers completely, leave a spot of space. I think food expands when it’s frozen.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

You can open a jar...

Or you can make easy, organic and wholesome baby food in minutes.

We live in a wonderful Amazonian world where we have the freedom and ability to choose whatever products we like.

I happened to choose the beaba babycook baby food maker  and I store the magic that is his food in these reusable baby food containers.
I like two kinds of spoons, one for mixing rice or cereal with food and one for food alone.
I also like to label each container with what’s inside.
Yes, its time consuming and unnecessary but it makes my OCD feel much better!

Choose whatever products you like, as long as you can steam it and puree it, you’re good to go.
Boiling in a small pot and roasting on a good rimmed baking sheet are other good options but steaming helps preserve the most nutrients, which is the numero uno goal for our growing babies.
Spinach & Roasted Pears
I’ve been having a hard time getting my baby to eat spinach on its own. Spinach is packed with iron, potassium, beta-carotene, vitamins K and C and helps protect the intestinal lining. You can’t get better than that! I knew I had to figure out a way for him to eat it AND love it. This is the most simple and perfect way to get your baby to eat spinach. He polished this off in about 30 seconds. 
Record time I tell you.

1 pear per handful of spinach makes 2 servings.

1. Peel and cut the pear in quarters, cleaning out the seeds and all hard parts.
2. Place the pear face down on a baking sheet and roast on 400 for 20 min or until soft.
3. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil, add spinach and wilt for 1 minute.
4. Drain the spinach, but reserve the water if you are going to add rice cereal to this puree.

Let the pear and spinach cool, puree until smooth. 

Easy as that. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My baby's hungry and I have to feed him.

When a baby is first born things are pretty simple. 
Milk in, poop out. 
Then things start to get a little more advanced. You start with the white. Rice cereal, think "hey i can handle this, no big deal, my babys hungry and I can feed him!"After what seem like 10 minutes of a stress free feeding schedule your doctor tells you that your little bundle of white rice and decent smelling poop is ready for his fruits and veggies. Shit hits like a ton of bricks, literally. What kind of fruits? You mean he can eat ALL the vegetables in the world? Which ones are good? How do you make it? How much in a serving size? What nutrients does my baby need? What if hes still hungry? What if his brain doesn't grow right because I don't feed him properly? Such are the questions a conscious mother would ask herself when confronted with the reality that her babys development relies heavily on the nutrition she provides. So, being the neurotic, OCD and paranoid mother that I am I decided then and there that I would give my baby the best food in the world! Sounds great, but I dont even feed myself properly. I thrive on takeout and frozen burritos. I have to admit, the first months of simple purees werent so bad. Pureed sweet potato, squash, zuchinni, carrots, apple, pear...I pretty much had him on a Hollywood diet. But recently, I noticed him grabbing and eating my spicy pickles and sipping from my coffee cup (all true stories I swear) so I knew I had to take it up a notch and really start mixing it up. Join me, while I feed my hungry baby the best most organic most healthy shit in the world.