Posts Tagged ‘ finger foods for 11+ months ’

The Most Surprising Thing My Toddler Ate This Week

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Best for Babies 8+ Months

Mason hasn’t exactly been an adventurous eater this week–until this morning, that is. He’s been playing it safe with oatmeal, brown rice, ground beef, pineapple, mac ‘n’ cheese–you get the picture. I tried to get a little fancy Wednesday night when I served him Tuscan beans with tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, and grilled shrimp for dinner, but there was something about the texture of the beans that he didn’t like and after shoving them into his mouth by the handful, he chewed them up, and spit them all back out in my hand. Instead he opted for a disappointing meal of organic mac ‘n’ cheese with apple-cinnamon sticks.  (I offer him alternatives when he rejects a meal only because his weigh-in is in two weeks!) Feeling defeated, I texted my hubby. I want him to have an eclectic palette but he prefers diner food! Chris replied, “He’s 1, sweetheart.” I’m sure he was tempted to add “Get a grip!” but he kindly held back.

This morning Mason was playing in the cupboards while I was fixing his bottle and he unearthed a canister of organic kale, broccoli, and cheddar puffs that I had totally forgotten about. He had a blast playing with the canister. Why not give him a bite of what’s inside? I didn’t have high hopes, I was sure he would have a problem with both the texture and color of the puffs. But he put a puff in his mouth, chewed, swallowed, smiled, and reached for another puff and then another. I was shocked but thrilled that he was embracing these wonderful flavors. So I fixed him a bowl of puffs, which he enjoyed while watching the Today Show. The scene was so funny I had to capture it on my iPhone. Bug looked so serious while he watched TV, which he rarely pays attention to, and munched on his pre-breakfast snack! And luckily the snack didn’t ruin his breakfast. He had organic cheddar cheese, a brown-rice raisin bagel with reduced-fat cream cheese, and milk at home and was digging into organic strawberry oatmeal when I left him at school this morning. In his teacher’s words, “Mason can eat.”

Has your toddler eaten anything this week that’s surprised you?

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Putting the Kabosh on Teething Pain with Chilled Fruits & Veggies

Monday, November 14th, 2011

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!

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Tuesday Timesaver: 12 Easy Sauces & Dippers for Roast Chicken

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Cool, creamy Cucumber-Yogurt Dip is delish on plain roasted chicken — and it’s rich in calcium.

Best for Babies 10+ Months Old

Mason is still in his Mr. Picky phase, which means mealtime is always a gamble. It’s either super fun or super miserable, depending on Bug’s mood. Last night I was hoping for super fun. It was a Monday, after all, and I had just started my (awesome) new job, so I was pretty tapped out. I turned to an old stand-by — store-bought, free-range rotisserie chicken, one of his faves — and served it with mashed butternut squash (roasted the night before and mashed with whole milk, a little butter, and a dash of nutmeg), and chunks of cooked apple. Bug dug in but quickly got bored with his chicken. On a whim, I gave him some Roasted Red Pepper Hummus to dip it in; he loves hummus almost as much as he loves cheese.  That chicken disappeared from his tray fast! Guess Dr. Sears was right when he said dips are a great way to inspire 1-year-olds to eat.

Since the hummus and chicken combo went so well, I’m going to try serving lots of different sauces and dips with Mason’s roast chicken from now on so he can dip each piece before eating it. Check out my quick and easy picks below. I’ll make big batches ahead so we have plenty for the week. Stay tuned for great veggie and fruit dippers!

1. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

2. Peanut Sauce

3. Roasted Eggplant Dip

4. Easy Marinara Sauce

5. Cilantro Mint Sauce

6. Apricot BBQ Sauce

7. Classic Pesto Sauce

8. Mustard-Dill Sauce

9. Mint-Yogurt Sauce

10. Baby Cheese Sauce

11. Plum Sauce

12. Cucumber-Yogurt Dip

How do you spice up chicken for your toddler?

Photo courtesy of BHG.com

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Easy Apple & Blueberry Pockets

Saturday, October 1st, 2011


Best for Babies 10+ Months

I love the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City. Farmers, bakers, and cheesemakers set up stands in the center of the bustling square to sell fresh fruits and veggies, artisan cheese, meats, baked goods, wine, and flowers. Hundreds of people mill around, and it’s as fun to people watch as it is to shop. My favorite part is the fresh produce, and right now that produce includes many different varieties of juicy, crisp apples. From applesauce to chicken-apple soup, Mason seems to enjoy apples as much as I do — so I decided to make a variation of this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens so that he could enjoy apples in a new way.

To make this fruit-filled deliciousness, I used frozen blueberries, smashed apples, and whole-wheat bread. I skipped the sugar but kept the cinnamon. The fruit was enough sweetness for Mason, and the cinnamon gave the fruit pockets just the slightest hint of spice. The combo is a great make-ahead breakfast for Mason — a tasty alternative to fruity oatmeal or cheese-and-veggie omelet.

Enjoy!

Easy Apple & Blueberry Pockets

Ingredients

3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp. smashed apples
12 slices soft whole wheat bread
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash berries and spread to dry on paper towels.

2. For each pie, spoon 1 tablespoon of smashed apples (recipe below) in the center of a bread slice. Top with 3 to 4 berries and another slice of bread. Gently press the top slice around the fruit. Trim crusts from bread using a serrated knife.

3. Using a fork, press the edges of the bread together to seal in the filling. Lightly brush the top slice of bread with some of the oil. Pick up each fruit pocket and, while holding in your hand, lightly brush the opposite side with oil. Place fruit pockets on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon.

4. Bake pies for 18 to 20 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted and bottoms are browned. Transfer to a cooling rack. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Smashed apples: Wash, peel, and core apples. Slice into small chunks. Set aside. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Turn heat down until bubbles are soft and add apples to the water. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse apples with cold water for 3 minutes to stop the cooking process. Mash with a potato masher.

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Tuesday Timesaver: Easy Cheesy Pasta with Veggies & Tomato Sauce

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Mason, actually eating his food instead of throwing it. This pasta dish is a new staple in our house.

Best for Babies 10+ Months

You’ll put in some time upfront, but this rich-and-cheesy pasta dish is worth it. It’s the ultimate make-ahead meal, and it can feed a baby who is 10 months or older up to 12 meals, depending on the size of his or her appetite. You just portion it out and freeze the leftovers. Make it the night before if you’re feeding the entire family — it’s warm and cozy and it’s appealing to even the pickiest eaters. I also think the flavors are even better the next day, after they’ve melded together.

Here’s how the recipe came about.

Mason is still on his cheese kick. With very few exceptions, if it isn’t filled with or covered in cheese it will probably end up on the floor. Extra points if mommy steps on a discarded piece of fruit and it squishes. After sitting and watching Bug throw every green bean and piece of broccoli on the floor during dinner Saturday night, I decided to combine green veggies with two of his great loves — pasta and cheese — to see what would happen. My inspiration was this recipe, so I created a baby-/toddler-friendly, veggie-filled version of it without the nuts.

I baked the pasta dish, let it stand for about 10 minutes, and then cut two shells into tiny pieces. After it cooled, I served a few bites to Mason. He looked at it for a few minutes and then tried a bite. He gave me a look that seemed to say, “You’ve finally gotten it!,” and then he tried another bite and another…He loved it so much he ate nearly three whole shells. Chris volunteered to “test” out the recipe and wound up eating two helpings of it.

Try it out — and let us know what you think!


Easy Cheesy Pasta with Veggies & Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

24 dried jumbo shell macaroni
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 15-ounce carton of ricotta cheese
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fresh or frozen broccoli florets, stems removed
1/2 cup steamed spinach, chopped

Directions

1. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain shells; rinse with cold water and drain well. Set shells aside. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

2. Meanwhile, for filling, in a large bowl stir together the eggs, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella, 1/2 cup cooked broccoli, and 1/2 cup steamed spinach.

3. Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling into each cooked shell. Arrange filled shells in the baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake, covered, about 45 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 servings (adults and older children) or 12 servings (10 months+).

4. Freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

Cover the bottom of a baking dish with one cup of tomato sauce. Arrange stuffed pasta shells in a single layer on top.

Pour remaining sauce over uncooked shells and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake pasta for 45 minutes, at 350 degrees F, covered. Let it stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

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