Friday, May 24, 2013

Baby Food Recipes

Moving into more advanced foods! (And we've actually started moving out of this stage already, and are now mostly just feeding him whatever we're eating.)

Here are a few ideas for the stage between purees and regular food:

Sweet Potato & Fish Curry
2 oz steamed pureed sweet potato
2 oz cooked white fish (tilapia), flaked
½ - 1 oz coconut milk
curry powder

Italian Shrimp Dinner
2 cooked shrimp, diced
1 oz steamed pureed zucchini
1 oz tomato-based pasta sauce
1 oz ricotta cheese

Avocado Egg Salad
1/2 hard boiled egg, diced
1/4 avocado, mashed
1 oz steamed pureed spinach
squeeze of dijon mustard
pinch of dulse seaweed flakes

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Your baby eats WHAT?!

My baby is over 8 months old already! Time flies!

He's been eating solid food since about 5½ months. Now we've started adding in more herbs and spices into his food. My hope is that as he gets older he will be more receptive to eating a wide variety of foods.

My main inspiration for this is my sister! I think she has done a fabulous job with raising her kids in a way that they are very open to new foods. My niece and nephew are now 13 and 11, but even before they old enough to go to school, they would eat a wide variety of foods, and continue to do so. How many kids do you know that would beg for sushi, clams & mussels, Ethiopian cuisine, etc.? My niece and nephew do, and have since they were little!

Here's my game plan:

1. Eat a wide variety of foods and flavors while pregnant.
Done, obviously!

Eating the same thing all the time is boring! I always like eating a variety of foods. I especially made sure to do so while pregnant, as to expose my unborn son to as many flavors as possible!

Studies have shown that the flavors that mothers eat pass into the amniotic fluid and their unborn babies start forming food preferences in the womb! I was lucky that I didn't have any nausea or food aversions. While I was pregnant, I ate: Ethiopian, Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese/Sushi [not raw], Italian, Mexican, spicy foods, etc. 

(See: Baby's Palate And Food Memories Shaped Before Birth @ NPR)

2. Introduce baby to a variety of vegetables/fruits when starting solid foods.
Done! I didn't count exactly, but in the first month of starting solid foods I guesstimate my son had at least 10 different vegetables and fruits.

(See: Early Vegetable Variety: The French Advantage @ It's Not About Nutrition)

3. Introduce baby to a wide variety of herbs, spices, and flavor combinations.
We've started on this! Here's a sampling of some of the more notable foods and flavors he's had thus far:
  • Tabbouleh with quinoa (Middle Eastern salad)
  • Kheer (Indian spiced sweet rice pudding)
  • Crab cakes egg benedict
  • Curry
  • Spicy Hummus
  • Mexican
  • Italian
  • Various fish (salmon, tilapia, crab, shrimp)

4. Only have "food", not "kid food" and "adult food".
Obviously my son isn't far enough along that this is an issue yet. But I plan to raise my kid(s) that variety in food is normal and no food is "weird".

There will be no separate special food prepared for kids. My kids will not subsist on mac & cheese, chicken strips, etc.!

I do plan to have several options available as part of the meal, so if my kid(s) dislike something they aren't forced to eat it. They'll have to try it, but I won't be a "finish your plate" parent. I will be a "try it" parent.

So far, we've been lucky and my son has eaten and liked pretty much everything we've given him. The few things he didn't like the first time (like bananas), he's warmed up to. Hopefully when he turns into a stubborn toddler, any pickiness will be temporary.

Will it work? Only time will tell, but I think we're off to a pretty good start!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eat This, Not That!

I will begin by saying that I hate the "Eat This, Not That!" books. All they do is tell you which processed crap is lower in calories, both options still full of the same type of crud: chemical preservatives, hydrogenated oils / trans fats, dyes, etc.

These substitutions are truly healthier options, not just lower calories options:

Eat This

Not That

Ingredients: rice flour, almonds, potato starch, salt, expeller pressed safflower oil, natural almond flavor, natural butter flavor. Ingredients: unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate {vitamin b1}, riboflavin {vitamin b2}, folic acid), soybean oil, sugar, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, salt, leavening (baking soda and/or calcium phosphate), high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin, malted barley flour, natural flavor.
Ingredients: Dates, Chocolate Chips (unsweetened chocolate  sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla), Almonds, Unsweetened Cherries, Cashews, Sea Salt  Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Semisweet Chocolate Chunks (Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor), Sugar, Almonds, Rice Flour, Chicory Root Extract, Fructose, Dried Cranberries, Canola Oil, Dried Cherries, Maltodextrin, Vegetable Glycerin, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Barley Malt Extract, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Mixed Tocopherols
Ingredients: Organic Cultured Grade A Milk, Organic Strawberry Puree (Organic Strawberries, Natural Strawberry Flavor, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Natural Fruit Pectin, Lactic Acid) Organic Skim Milk, Organic Cream. Ingredients: Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Strawberries, Modified Corn Starch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Aspartame, Potassium Sorbate Added to Maintain Freshness, Natural Flavor, Red No. 40, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.
Ingredients: Roasted tomatillos, tomatoes, green chiles, onions, cilantro and garlic, citric acid, salt, evaporated cane juice.

(Note: Use Hass Avocados, not Slimcados!)
Ingredients: Maltodextrin, salt, onion, nonfat dry milk, modified tapioca starch, red bell peppers, sour cream solids (cream, nonfat dry milk, and cultures), garlic, corn syrup solids, jalapeno peppers, cultured nonfat dry milk, lemon juice solids, parsley, lactic acid, citric acid, extractives of red pepper, and natural flavors.
Ingredients: Pasteurized cream, salt

(Also see: Butter!)
Ingredients: Vegetable Oil Blend (Liquid Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil), Water, Whey (Milk), Salt, Vegetable Mono and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, (Potassium Sorbate, Calcium Disodium Edta) Used to Protect Quality, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (For Color).
Ingredients: Raw almonds. Ingredients: Roasted peanuts and sugar, contains 2% or less of: molasses, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (soybean), fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (rapeseed and soybean), mono- and diglycerides and salt.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Paleo/Primal Misconception

This is a short & sweet post simply to address a huge misconception of Paleo/Primal eating.

I see and hear a lot of people saying "paleo/primal is a fad diet", "paleo/primal is unhealthy, it's bad to only eat meat", "paleo/primal is extreme", etc....

What many people THINK Paleo/Primal looks like:

What Paleo/Primal ACTUALLY looks like:





Disclaimer: Photos acquired from Google images search. If one of these is your photo and you wish to have it removed or have it credited/linked to your blog, just let me know.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Happy 6-month birthday to my little one!

And I've been successfully breastfeeding for 6 months! We've started solid foods now too, but I plan to [hopefully] continue also breastfeeding him up to at least a year.

I'm not going to talk about the benefits of breastfeeding, you can find that information many places. I'm going to talk about my personal experiences, trials and tribulations, and success!

It Will Be Hard, Then It Will Be Easy

One would think breastfeeding would come naturally. I grew up on a farm, I saw plenty of animals nurse their young, so how hard can it be for a human to do the same? But I soon learned that there is a learning-curve! I will admit, it was tough at first.

My son was born on a Saturday, and the hospital's lactation consultant only worked on weekdays, so we didn't get to visit with her until the day we were getting discharged. In the meantime, I had various nurses trying to help me, but they all had different ideas and none of them really helped much. I hate to admit it, but those first few days, I absolutely dreaded every time my son needed to eat! It would take us 30-45 minutes just to get a latch! It was frustrating and exhausting. It crossed my mind several times "so this is why so many people use formula!"

Once we mostly figured out the latch and were home from the hospital, it often took both my husband and I working together to feed the baby for the first week or so; my husband would hold my baby's hands so they weren't in the way, and I would have one hand on baby's head and one hand on my boob trying to put the two together. It was rough for the first couple weeks.

Good Things to Have

But we made it past those first couple weeks. And I promise, it does get easier! In fact, it's EASIER and MORE CONVENIENT than formula! (And cheaper too, since it's free!) I am so glad I don't have to warm up bottles in the middle of the night, or pack bottles in the diaper bag when we go out & about.

Myth: You Must Give Up Your Favorite Foods & Cannot Drink Caffeine or Alcohol

You don't need to avoid your favorite foods or drinks! This is a myth I heard a lot when I was pregnant, that while breastfeeding I wouldn't be able to eat broccoli, garlic, spicy food, have a glass of wine, etc.. There are some cases where the baby has an intolerance to something you eat, but this is not true for the majority. In fact, they say that if eat a wide variety of food when you are breastfeeding, it may help your child be more accepting of many different flavors of food as they grow up. I nurse my baby no matter what I eat (including after eating Indian, Ethiopian, Mexican, etc.), no problems!

You can have your morning coffee; most babies get along just fine when their moms drink some caffeine. And God knows in those first few weeks after we got home from the hospital, coffee was essential to me even being able to function at all!

And yes, you can even treat yourself to an occasional glass or wine or beer. I'm not condoning getting sh!tfaced every night, but it's okay to have alcohol in moderation while breastfeeding. The general rule of thumb is safe to drive = safe to nurse. I wait until right after nursing to drink any alcohol, so the alcohol has longer to metabolize out of my body before baby's next feeding.

Breastfeeding As A Working Mom

As much as I wish I could be a stay-at-home-mom, that isn't going to be happening any time soon. I took 12 weeks off of work when my son was born, then it was back to the grind. I'm fortunate that I work in a very pro-breastfeeding organization (a children's hospital). I pump twice a day at work so I have milk to send to daycare. I highly recommend getting an electric dual pump. I have the Medela Pump-In-Style Advanced (PISA) and I've been happy with it. And get a hands-free pumping bra so you can use your phone or read a magazine/book, else you will be bored out of your mind just sitting there holding the bottles while you pump!

Must-Haves for Working Moms:

Some great breastfeeding resources!

La Leche League
Breastfeeding Law

Future moms, I urge you to at least give breastfeeding a chance. Don't give up after a few days, give it at least a few weeks to see how it goes!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Breakfast In A Glass

This smoothie is a throw-back to my childhood; I'm not sure where the original recipe came from, but it truly is "Breakfast In a Glass": egg, fruit, milk, and juice!

1 cup milk
1 banana
1 raw egg
1 large spoonful OJ concentrate
1 squeeze honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 T wheat germ (optional)

Throw it all in a blender:

A word about raw eggs: People tend to freak out about salmonella whenever raw eggs are mentioned. It is extremely unlikely that you will get salmonella from eating a raw egg. The contamination rate of eggs with salmonella is 1 in 20,000-30,000 eggs. With average egg consumption, this comes out to a person maybe coming across a salmonella-contaminated egg once every 42 years!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Making Baby Food

My son has only been on solid foods a few weeks; but it didn't take long at all for me to realize how expensive baby food is! For the organic brands (Earth's Best, Plum Organics, Ella's Kitchen, Happy Baby), prices are mostly between $1-2 for a ~4 oz jar or pouch. That's $4-8 per pound! I'll keep a few premade servings of baby food on-hand for "just in case", but with those prices, I think I'm going to be making most of my own baby food.

The "recipe" for starting baby foods is easy, so obviously I won't be posting recipes about this simple of a concept:
  1. Steam vegetable or fruit
  2. Mash or puree

Even easier for things like banana and avocado:
  1. Mash

I have found some premade things are cheaper to buy the non-baby-food version:

About $0.25 / oz

About $0.15 / oz

About $0.15 / oz

About $0.10 / oz

I also like to venture "outside the box". I've fed my son things that aren't commonly found as premade jarred baby food, such as avocado, parsnips, turnips, and coconut milk.
Note: Do not give babies honey, it can be contaminated with botulism!


We haven't really started with meats yet, that will have to be a later post. Meats are a great early food for baby, in Canada they are even recommending meat for baby's first food! But pureed meat skeeves me out, so we haven't done much with it yet.

You may be wondering "where's the rice cereal?", we decided to skip it. (We started with avocado for his very first food.) There's no real reason to give rice cereal, other than tradition. In recent years, the trend has been away from using rice cereal.

From Frank Greer M.D., who is on American Academy of Pediatrics's Committee on Nutrition:
"Complementary foods introduced to infants should be based on their nutrient requirements and the nutrient density of foods, not on traditional practices that have no scientific basis." "Newer thinking is that the emphasis for complementary foods should be on naturally nutrient-rich foods. This includes protein and fiber, along with vitamins A, C, D, and E and the B vitamins." "Rice cereal is a less than perfect choice for the first complementary food given to infants."
Stay tuned, as we venture into more complex meals I'll be posting recipes I've made for my son!

In the meantime, here are some good resources:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

Found this recipe on Food TV's website. I was skeptical of cranberries and green onions together, but I figured I'd give it a whirl! Yummy! I took these to a family Christmas and they were a hit!

This is enough to make 8 tortillas worth of pinwheels.

Filling Ingredients: 2 8oz containers whipped cream cheese,
1 1/2  6oz containers feta cheese, 1 bunch green onions,
1 bag dried cranberries

Mix together all of the filling ingredients. Spread filling onto tortillas, it may be patchy due to the clumpy nature of the ingredients, but that's okay.

Tightly roll, then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour (I left mine in overnight because I got busy with other stuff).

Cut into pieces, I made mine about 3/4-inch big.

So pretty and festive!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Horrible Product: Smoothie Mixes

While I was perusing through the produce section at my local grocery store, I spied these on an end-cap:

On the package it states: "Just add fruit, milk, and ice!"

Um... what else is in a smoothie?! Is it really that hard to make a smoothie?!

Curiosity prompted me to check them out further. Here's a sample of what I found:

  • Concord Foods Strawberry Smoothie Mix:
    Sugar, corn syrup solids, nonfat dry milk, xanthan gum, natural and artificial flavors, sodium citrate
  • Concord Foods Chocolate Banana Smoothie Mix:
    Maltodextrin, nonfat dry milk, cocoa (processed with alkali), natural and artificial flavor, xanthan gum, aspartame
  • McCormick Produce Partners Orange Smoothie Mix:
    Sugar, Nonfat Dry Milk, Egg White Solids, Dextrose, Propylene Glycol Alginate (Thickener), and Natural Flavor
  • McCormick Produce Partners Pineapple Smoothie Mix:
    Sugar, Nonfat Dry Milk, Citric Acid, Egg White Solids, Propylene Glycol Alginate (Thickener), and Natural Flavor

So in addition to making your smoothie more expensive, these packets are just a bunch of sugar and additives. Skip them. Make your smoothie from real food!