Elements of Baby

My Baby Won’t Eat Meat…and other dinnertime fun.

Something happened to my mini foodie when she turned 11 months old. All of a sudden, she hated solid foods. You would think I was forcing her to eat dirt. Actually, I’m pretty sure she preferred to eat things off the floor than the homemade goodies I was making her. I mean…you should have seen some of the faces she would make. I could not figure it out. She used to devour ground chicken mixed with sweet potatoes, butternut squash with a touch of butter and couldn’t get enough of Babybel cheese for a midday snack. For weeks the dog was getting most of my home cooked baby food that Marielle would simply toss on the floor or push off her plate. This pregnant mama’s patience was wearing out quickly. I was starting to worry about her quickly approaching 1st birthday when formula was no longer going to be her main source of nutrition, and feared that she wasn’t going to get what she needed if she kept this up.

It wasn’t until today, when my mom came over to help with Marielle that I came to the realization that my little foodie was in fact, a foodie, and I was boring her with my cooking! My mom brought over some homemade chicken noodle soup. Not just any chicken noodle soup…this soup had a kick. Full of herbs, spices and lots of pepper. Marielle crawled up to the table begging for a little bite. We gave her one thinking she would hate it…but in fact, she couldn’t get enough of it. For the first time in weeks, she ate an entire bowl of solid food. I was always cautious with herbs and spices, thinking she wouldn’t like them. As it turns out, she loves them, and was protesting the fact that I was depriving her from such wonderful flavors! I guess the lesson here is don’t be afraid to spice up your baby’s mealtime options. While we assume they have pretty basic taste buds, your little one may surprise you and be quite adventurous in the culinary world.

Here is a chicken recipe that I’ve been using, and she’s been rejecting, until I made it a little more interesting for her by adding in some herbs and spices.

Creamy Chicken & Cheesy Potatoes

  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 ounces mashed yukon gold potatoes (make a bunch and freeze them in small containers)
  • 2 ounces baked chicken breast, ground or coarsely chopped depending on baby’s age. (I keep little 2 ounce containers of cooked, chopped chicken in the freezer for convenience)
  • 2 tbsp shredded cheddar
  • Dash of pepper
  • A couple dashes of chopped thyme, ground rosemary or basil for a savory dish, or add a little cinnamon or nutmeg for a sweeter treat.
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the milk and whisk together. Add in the mashed potatoes until a thick puree is created.
  2. Mix in the chicken, pepper and herbs. Stir until heated through.
  3. Remove from heat, and stir in the cheddar cheese until melted. Let the mixture cool to a comfortable temperature for baby.

And enjoy your baby’s expression go from this…(not so merry and bright…)

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To…This!DSC03293

Elements of Baby

Mommy Musings: Two Under Two!

When we first found out we were pregnant with baby #2, we were obviously surprised, as Marielle was only 8 months old. But most of all, we were absolutely thrilled, and felt very, very blessed. I get a lot of questions about if I hope it’s a boy or a girl. I do think that it takes carrying a pregnancy to realize that you honestly don’t care. All you want is a happy, healthy baby. With all the crazy prenatal testing and ultrasounds they perform now, all you can do is hold your breath hoping that little one you’re carrying is healthy and strong. That feeling first hits you when you hear that first heartbeat. I heard and saw the heartbeat with Marielle and this baby at 6 weeks. How amazing is that? So, do I have a preference of a boy or a girl? I honestly don’t. Having one of each would be so lovely, and having two little girls who would be so close in age and (hopefully!) be wonderful friends would also be amazing. I think what hits me the hardest every single day, is knowing my one on one time with Marielle is slowly coming to a close. As excited as I am about having another child, the past (almost!) year has been such an incredible time in my life. I cherish every single day I spend with Marielle and I feel so lucky that I get to be with her all day every single day. This little girl has made me realize how wonderful life really is. Her constant smiles, giggles and expressions of love are what make me wake up excited to start my day, even when I’m beyond exhausted. I am so grateful that she is in my life. I definitely shed a couple tears each time I think about her upcoming First Birthday. How is it that the little baby I wanted so badly, is no longer a baby? Everyone told me this time would go by quickly and to enjoy it. I know that even though there were times of little to no sleep, lack of getting around to feeding myself, a house left uncleaned and unorganized for days at a time, and very little social life for awhile, that it was all worth it. Now, stop growing up so fast, sweet girl. DSC03226

Elements of Baby, Elements of Food

Chicken, Leeks and Apples…Delicious for Mom, Dad and Baby!

Have I mentioned how much I love Real Simple? I do. I love the magazine, the cookbooks and the website. It’s my go to for simple, healthy meals. I honestly haven’t tried a recipe from it that I haven’t loved. The best part about their recipes is that they use very few ingredients and it’s always whole, healthy ingredients, so I can feel good about feeding them to my family. Marielle’s tastes (and appetite!) are growing, and evolving into loving the foods that my husband and I eat. Dark meat may not be the healthiest part of the chicken, but it’s incredibly tasty and reheats beautifully without getting dry. This recipe gives baby lots of new flavors (Rosemary and Leeks) along with familiar tastes (Chicken and Apples) Removing the chicken from the bone, adding the apples, leeks and some of the cooking liquid and either pureeing for younger babies, or mashing for older babies makes a delightful meal for your little one. And you!

Recipe courtesy of Real Simple (slightly adapted)

Ingredients

  • 4 small apples (I used Honeycrisp and Haralson for both sweet and tart flavors)
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts), washed and chopped into 1/2 inch circles
  • 6 small sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4-6 chicken thighs

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a large roasting pan, toss the apples, leeks, rosemary, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper and nestle, skin-side up, among the vegetables.
  3. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the apples and leeks are tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
Elements of Baby, Fix & Freeze

Beaba Babycook: Fall Butternut Squash, Yukon Gold Potato and Apple Stew

Fall has arrived! I was so thrilled to find that winter squashes have started appearing at our grocery store.. Marielle has started “chewing” her food a little more, and seems more interested in things with a bit more texture. This recipe is great because you can puree one or more of the ingredients leaving the others a bit chunkier, and cater to your little ones preferences.

Ingredients

  • 1 small organic butternut squash, washed, peeled and cubed ( I always wash things before peeling because then you’re not transferring any dirt or bacteria from the store when you cut into them)
  • 6 small organic yukon gold potatoes, washed, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large organic Honeycrisp apples, washed, peeled and cubed (I used Honeycrisp because I wanted to eat the leftovers :

Directions

  • Using your Beaba, steam the butternut squash and the potatoes until tender. You can steam these two veggies together because they both use level 3 water. However, I find that separating them allows me to better measure how much of each ingredient I put into the final dish. Reserve the cooking liquid from either the squash or the potatoes.
  • Instead of pureeing the squash and potatoes in the Beaba, I mashed them by hand using a fork so that I could give them a chunkier texture. I added the reserved cooking liquid to make a consistency that was easy to blend.
  • Steam the apples using water level 2 and blend into a smooth puree.
  • In a large bowl, mix the squash, potato and apple together. You can use any ratio you like, mine was heavier on the squash, then potato, and lighter on the apple as to not make it too sweet. The butternut squash is sweet enough on its own.

This medley can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Butternut Squash, Yukon Gold Potato and Apple Medley

Elements of Baby, Fix & Freeze

Beaba Babycook: Millet, Apple and Zucchini Medley

Millet, Zucchini and Apple Medley

Once your babe has gotten used to eating single ingredient foods, mixing multiple flavors and textures together is a new, fun culinary adventure for your little one. The easiest way to start this is by mixing your little one’s favorite foods together. Gradually, you can introduce new ingredients and textures into various mixtures. This is a great way for your child to become accustomed to new flavors. Not sure what flavors to mix together? Really, anything. But for some inspiration take a look at pre made purees at the grocery store, or buy a baby cookbook. I love my Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes book. Lots of great recipes and inspiration and you can change things up a little as you see fit to cater to your baby. I found this recipe in the book and Marielle loved it. It was a great way to introduce another healthy grain into her diet as well as some fresh herbs. Marielle already loves zucchini and apple on their own, so I thought this was a perfect combination. Millet is a small , easily digestible, nutritious grain, about the size of couscous. It takes about 35 minutes to cook, so plan ahead. You can make a batch and freeze any leftovers for mixing into various purees for a new texture. I found organic millet at Whole Foods.

I prepared my apple and zucchini purees in my Beaba and prepared the millet on the stove. You can buy the grain basket for the Beaba, but I find it is just as easy to put it in my own saucepan. I combined them into one mixture and finished it off with fresh chopped basil. She loved this combination! She also thought playing with it was a lot of fun…the texture was something new for her.

Millet, Apple and Zucchini Medley

  • 1/2 cup organic millet, cooked in 2 cups of boiling water for about 35-40 minutes. Simmer the millet on low heat. You will get about 2 cups of cooked Millet.
  • 4-5 Tablespoons apple puree
  • 1 cup zucchini puree
  • chopped basil

Mix all ingredients together. Use the cooking liquid from either the zucchini or apple to thin out mixture if needed.

Mixture can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Bon Appetit!

 

Millet, Zucchini and Apple Medley

 

 

 

Elements of Baby, Fix & Freeze

Béaba Babycook: Purée Parfait

Making Marielle’s baby food has become a lot more interesting in the past week. Now that she basically eats anything that’s put in front of her, we’re going from single ingredient purées to multiple ingredient purées. It’s always best to use foods your baby has already tried when mixing purées together. Marielle loves sweet potatoes and apples, and I wanted to make sure she learned to like proteins as well. I call this recipe, Baby’s Thanksgiving. Why? It’s a turkey, sweet potato and apple purée parfait. Why parfait? I don’t know, aesthetically it’s more appetizing to layer the ingredients and then freeze them than mix them together 🙂 This way, she can have varying amounts of each food with each bite. I mean, as appetizing as baby foods can possibly look, right?

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of organic ground turkey, cooked on the stove with 1/4 cup of water and blended in a food processor until smooth. You may need to add additional water to get to the right consistency.
  • Organic Apple Purée
  • Organic Sweet Potato Purée

Bring all finished purées to room temperature and layer them in 4 ounce baby food containers. Freeze for up to 1 month*

*Fruit and veggie purées may be frozen up to 3 months, but meats should be eaten within 1 month.

beaba babycook puree parfait

Elements of Baby, Favorite Things

Things We Love: gDiapers

When it comes to the one thing that your baby wears every single day, you better love it and make sure that baby is comfy and dry. Yes, I’m talking about diapers. I have to say, choosing a diaper for Marielle was extremely tricky. There are so many options, brands and types. When she was first born, we ended up using Pampers Swaddlers because that’s what our hospital used, and they were the softest with the best fit. They did work well. However, as with most disposable diapers, they had a light fragrance that I wasn’t crazy about and I was shocked at the amount of diapers she could go through! I had contemplated cloth diapering with Marielle but knew it might be a lot to take on as a first time mama. I myself was a cloth diaper baby and the way my mom described the washing process seemed quite tedious and time consuming. I did a little research on cloth diapers and came across gDiapers, which are hybrid cloth diapers. The perfect combination of reusable and disposable! Unlike most disposable diapers, gDiaper’s disposable inserts are 100% biodegradable. They are 100% fragrance free. No inks or dyes. No polypropylene. No perfumes. No elemental chlorine. I can definitely feel good about that. gDiapers are available with cloth inserts if you are interested in fully cloth diapering. For me, semi cloth diapering was perfect for us.

How They Work:

Choose a gPant (available in tons of adorable colors and patterns) and tuck an insert (either disposable or cloth) into the pouch and there you go! It’s just as simple as using disposable diapers, except gDiapers are incredibly breathable keeping diaper rashes away and baby comfy and dry. Once we switched to gDiapers, I found her diaper rashes were SO much better! I also found that the gDiaper inserts hold a lot more than a traditional disposable diaper as well, meaning no leaks and less diaper changes.

When it comes to diaper changes, simply remove the soiled insert and toss, compost (wet ones only!) or flush! Yes, that’s right you can flush them down your toilet. Simply tear off each side of the insert, allowing the absorbent inner core to fall out, break down and flush away. How’s that for getting rid of your diaper pail? Now, if you have older plumbing or plumbing that may be filled with tree roots, etc…just toss them in your diaper pail like you would a regular diaper, but feel good that they are environmentally friendly.

You only need to wash the gPant when it gets dirty. I change the waterproof, nylon snap in pouch if it gets soiled and after each day, and both can be machine washed and dried.

I love that Marielle can wear just a gDiaper and a cute shirt and that’s her outfit for the day if we’re hanging out at the house. Perfect for warm summer days, easy diaper changes and a happy, dry baby. She’s on the move and gDiapers allow her to move around comfortably. There are only two sizes of inserts, so once your baby hits the M/L/XL size, you don’t have to worry about what size diaper you need to buy ever again! The gPant sizing is amazing too…Marielle wears a Medium at 7 months and will continue to wear that size until she is 28 pounds. We’re so happy we found gDiapers!

gdiapers

gdiapers

gdiaper nylon pouch

gdiaper with insert

gdiaper outfit

photo

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Elements of Baby, Elements of Food, Fix & Freeze

Béaba Babycook: Baby’s First Chicken & Apples

The time has come to introduce Marielle to her first protein. At 7 months old, she hasn’t rejected a single type of food that we’ve offered her, but I was definitely skeptical about steaming chicken and pureeing it…First of all, have you ever seen anything look so unappetizing? But, I have to say, it tasted great, just like chicken should. My concern was that the texture would freak her out a little, and it definitely did. She didn’t spit it out, because the flavor is good. But the texture is definitely strange for a baby. This is definitely one to have the camera ready for! The look was priceless. Unfortunately for babies, they don’t get to slather BBQ sauce on their chicken…so it’s a little dry and pasty when pureed.

To help her with the texture, I added her pureed apples into the chicken and mixed them together, and she LOVED it! You can try adding pureed sweet potato, apple, pear or whatever food is familiar to your baby to make the introduction to proteins a little more tolerable.

To make pureed chicken breast, fill your Babycook with Level 3 water. Cut one or two organic, boneless chicken breasts into 1/2 inch cubes and place in the steaming basket. Turn on the Babycook and let it cook away. Once it’s finished, puree the chicken with a little of the water until it forms the consistency your baby will tolerate. I think I added about 4 tablespoons of water total to create the puree, and then added her apples to the mixture just before serving.

As your babies tastes develop, try adding in some fresh herbs such as basil or parsley for a savory treat!

 

Beaba Babycook Puree Chicken Breast

Elements of Baby, Fix & Freeze

Béaba Babycook: D’Anjou Pears & Zucchini

At 6.5 months, Marielle has started enjoying all sorts of foods, which makes cooking for her a lot of fun. I’m pretty sure she’s a little mini foodie, and loves all types of cuisine, just like her daddy! Our pediatrician said at this point, Marielle can try anything she wants (pureed or chopped fine of course) with the exception of honey, due to botulism. I’ve introduced her to several flavors of yogurt, green veggie puffs, spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, bananas, sweet potatoes, green peas, and now we’ve added pears and zucchini to the list! I was a little worried she wouldn’t like the zucchini because unlike sweet potatoes and green peas, there isn’t even a hint of sweetness. I steamed and pureed a couple of organic zucchini for her to try and much to my surprise, she LOVED them! A huge smile came across her face as she tasted the bright green squash for the first time. I have no doubts that she wouldn’t love pears…I used organic D’Anjou pears for her puree. As always, I try all her foods before I give them to her and the pears were definitely a winner. I love how easy it is for me to create nutritious, homemade food using the Beaba Babycook! In another week or so, we can introduce her to a couple of meats, such as chicken and turkey. This will be a whole new flavor profile and texture for her, so we will see how it goes! If for some reason baby doesn’t enjoy green veggies, try mixing in a little pear or apple puree to begin with, and gradually eliminate the sweetness until they are eating the veggie on its own.

When buying produce to create purees, keep this in mind. To make a 2 ounce container of babyfood, it takes 1 small apple or 1 small pear, for example. My containers are all 2 ounces so it’s easy to determine how much produce I need to buy to make a full batch. Fruits are generally cooked with Level 2 water in the Beaba and veggies are usually Level 3.

Beaba Babycook Pureed Zucchini

Elements of Baby, Elements of Food, Fix & Freeze

Béaba Babycook: Baby’s First Applesauce

Beaba Babycook ApplesauceThe time has come to introduce Marielle to her first fruits. Besides yogurt, she has only had veggies and cereals. I wanted her to get used to the not so sweet foods before introducing the fruits, which I am sure she will absolutely love. There were a few options for her first fruit. I wanted to do pears, but I couldn’t find good organic pears, so I decided to try apples first. It’s important to choose an apple that has low acidity and is naturally sweet. This will make it easy to digest and yummy in their little tummy! This is truly a treat…I think I ate about 1/3 of the recipe myself…What? It’s important to try it before feeding it to baby! 🙂 I used 6 organic Gala apples, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes. Using water level 2 in my Beaba, I steamed the apples until the Beaba was finished (about 15 minutes) I poured the cooking water into a measuring cup and placed the steamed apples back into the Beaba. I pureed just the apples first to see what the consistency would be. While it was very smooth, I wanted to thin it out just a bit. I added about 1/4 cup of cooking water to the puree and processed until velvety smooth. I have a feeling she’s going to love this one. Clearly, I did!

Because apples cook down so much, 6 small apples made about 6-7 containers of applesauce.

Beaba BabyCook Apple Sauce DSC02789 DSC02798