Four-Fruit Compote, Fabulously Fried Sweet Potatoes, and Very Veggie “Meat” Balls from The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet (Podcast #154)

Between us, our kids range in age from 11 to 19, yet today, we found ourselves making baby food again. Ah, the good ‘ol days! Our reason for spending the afternoon mashing and mushing  … a new, beautifully illustrated cookbook called The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet. On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, author Tina Ruggiero, MS, RD, joins the show to chat about tips for making your own simple, delicious and nutritious baby food at home.

Four-Fruit Compote is featured in the book’s Recipes for Eight Months section and calls for an apple, a pear, dried apricots, and dried plums. It’s naturally sweet and, even though it’s technically “baby food,” we loved the flavor too.

The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet (Fair Winds, 2010) serves up 200 playful recipes for babies from six to twenty-three months. Tina and her co-author, Karin Knight, RN, call for pure and wholesome ingredients so parents can sleep easy knowing what goes into every bite. From Ready, Set, Go Avocado Puree in the Six Months section (did you know avocados are a nutrient-rich, super-convenient first food for babies?) to Wonderful White Bean Soup for the toddler set, the recipes are simple yet sophisticated enough to be enjoyed by the whole family. The book is packed with helpful hints for feeding babies, important nutrition advice, and it even has a Feedback Chart at the back. We could go on and on, and we hope you’ll tune into the show to hear all about it!

Four-Fruit Compote

Makes 2 Baby Servings

  • 1/4 cup prunes (dried plums)
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1 apple
  • 1 pear
  • 2 cups water

1. Dice the prunes and apricots. Peel, core, and dice the apple and pear.

2. Place the prunes, apricots, apple, pear, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until the fruit is soft and most of the water is absorbed.

3. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add more water if needed. Mash and serve warm.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1/3 cup): 160 calories, 0.2g fat (0g saturated), 8mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 1g protein, 20% vitamin A, 10% vitamin C

Print Recipe

Tina’s recipe for sweet potato fries is in the Recipes for Eighteen to Twenty-Three Months chapter but could easily be jazzed up for a more mature palate with cumin, chili powder, or other simple seasonings.

Fabulously Fried Sweet Potatoes

Makes 4 Toddler Servings

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Scrub the sweet potato and prick its skin with a fork in several places.

2. Microwave on high 5 minutes. Cool and peel the potato. Halve it lengthwise and cut each half into 1/2-inch slices.

3. Lightly coat a frying pan with oil and heat over medium heat. Add the potato slices, season lightly with salt if desired, and cook until nicely browned on the bottom. Turn the slices and cook 1 minute more until golden and crisp.

Nutrition Information per Serving (2 slices): 57 calories, 3.5g fat (0.5g saturated), 18mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 0.5g protein, 30% vitamin A

Print Recipe

Does this look like toddler food? These vegetarian “meat” balls call for some of our favorite ingredients: eggs, pecans, and cheese.

Very Veggie “Meat” Balls

Makes 6 Toddler Servings

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup grated sweet onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3/4 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated 4-cheese mexican blend or a mix of grated Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the eggs, pecans, onion, and salt (if using) and process until the nuts are completely ground.

2. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs, mixing well. Mix in the cheese and parsley.

3. Form 12 small balls. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the balls and fry, turning often so they will not burn, for 10 minutes until nicely browned.

Nutrition Information per Serving (2 “meat” balls): 277 calories, 20g fat (4.5g saturated), 395mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 10g protein

Print Recipe

GIVEAWAY NEWS: We love this cookbook, and we’re thrilled because Tina is giving one lucky winner their very own autographed copy.

To enter, leave us a comment here on the blog (or on Facebook) and tell us about your favorite baby food or toddler recipe or why you would like to win this book.

We will enter you into the giveaway a second, third, and/or fourth time if you

> Subscribe to our RSS feed.
> Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post.
> “Like” us on Facebook or share the giveaway news with your Facebook fans and friends with a link back to the post.

Please be sure to leave us a new comment every time you do something extra, and GOOD LUCK! The giveaway ends on August 17th at noon, and as always we’ll use random.org to pick our winner.

“Yummy for my tummy” is the best way to describe this meal. We can’t thank Tina enough for coming on the show (via Skype) to talk about easy ways parents and caregivers can expose their babies to a wonderful array of colorful, flavorful, and nutritious first foods.

46 responses to “Four-Fruit Compote, Fabulously Fried Sweet Potatoes, and Very Veggie “Meat” Balls from The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet (Podcast #154)”

  1. Margot says:

    My favorite baby food is a squashed banana. I LOVE watching my little one trying to eat it! 😛

  2. Margot says:

    I subscribe via your RSS Feed.

  3. Margot says:

    I shared this post via Facebook.

  4. caitlin says:

    can’t wait to try the veggie meatballs! thought your readers might be interested in the interview with a dietitian that i posted today: http://closetvanity.com/2011/08/03/take-5-with-ayla-withee-registered-dietitian-eat-simply/

  5. Jennifer says:

    I subscribe to your RSS feed

  6. Jennifer says:

    I like you on Facebook.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I shared your link on Facebook

  8. Melanie says:

    What a great prize, thank you for the opportunity to win! I found the podcast a dew weeks ago and I’m loving past episodes! Also, I have a five month old son who’ll be starting solids in another month, what a great cookbook to have for recipes. Thanks, moms!

  9. Lynn says:

    My toddler loves healthy, whole foods, but I am always looking for more variety. This book sounds amazing!

  10. Lynn says:

    I subscribe via RSS

  11. Lynn says:

    I like you on Facebook.

  12. Miranda says:

    I like to mash bananas and add tiny slivers of peaches for my baby

  13. Miranda says:

    I subscribe to the feed

  14. Miranda says:

    I like you on FB.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Loved-loved-loved this topic. I feel like you’re reading my mind. Last week, the grain topic was perfect because I’ve been wishing I knew more about grains so I could make them for my family more.
    The morning before the podcast posted, I was thinking about emailing you to ask for a baby food podcast. I had my fourth baby in June, and was thinking about getting some food made and in the freezer since all this great produce is about to hit the farmers’ markets!
    I made some of my first 3 children’s baby food, but never got very efficient at it, and still ended up buying lots of commercially prepared jarred food. This time, I’d really like to see if I can’t change that balance to much more homemade food. . .this will help!

    I really hope I win, but this is the second week in a row that I’ll definitely buy this book if I don’t. And, I have 2 friends who also have either a brand-new baby or who are expecting–if I do win hte book, I’ll buy one for them!

  16. Jennifer says:

    I also like you on FB, and posted the link to your podcast on my FB wall. I saw that one of my friends “liked” your page just after I posted it =)

  17. Claire says:

    My favorite baby food is a squashed banana.

  18. Mmm that looks lovely.

    I made a grilled sweet potato dish the other day, love sweet potato:
    http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/07/recession-busting-recipes-grilled-sweet.html

  19. Debbie says:

    Great recipes- thanks! I liked you on facebook as well!!

  20. Julie says:

    My little man turns 6 months on Aug 17th. Time for solids! Perfect time to find out about a book about making nutritious food for my baby. Thank you!

  21. Kristin says:

    I love making zucchini pancakes and my 10 month old loves them!

  22. Kristin says:

    Like you on fb!

  23. Jen says:

    My baby (almost one) loves turkey burgers with apples, red onion, and thyme. I would love to win this book!

  24. Jen says:

    I follow you on FB

  25. Jen A says:

    the meatballs sound amazing. we never had any trouble getting our “first ” kids to eat healthy when they were little, cause that is all we had. Our last baby has been more difficult because of choices he sees his brother and sister making. It would be fun to influence them with his food

  26. Christa says:

    My favorite baby food recipes are smoothies. I can make them for the whole family to enjoy.

  27. Darcy says:

    My son loves beans and cheese!

  28. Jamie Schaefer says:

    It will soon be time to start my little one on solids and this would be the perfect book to help me do that!

  29. Amy J. says:

    I don’t really have a recipe, but my 1yo eats a lot of veggies – I buy the frozen bags of mixed veggies, microwave them, cool them, and dump them on his tray. I’d love to have actual recipes that I can feed him and the rest of the family with though ;).

  30. Amy J. says:

    I like you on Facebook.

  31. Amy J. says:

    I subscribe to your RSS feed.

  32. Amy J. says:

    I tweeted about this giveaway.

  33. Jody Hinkleman says:

    I am going to try making the sweet potatoes, my family loves sweet potatoes. If I win this book I will have to have another baby!

  34. Rachel says:

    My li’l guy just turned 6 months. So far we’ve made him plain peas, sweet potatoes, summer squash, and avocado. The squash was a bomb, but he’s loving the rest (well tolerating in the case of avocado). We made and froze our 3 year old’s food way back when, but this book sounds like it would make our solids adventure much more interesting. 🙂 (My gal and I already love sweet potato fries. I know there will be many more treasures in the book!)

  35. Rachel says:

    I “like” you on Facebook too! 🙂

  36. Rachel says:

    I shared the link via Facebook. 🙂

  37. Rachel says:

    I just subscribed to the RSS feed as well. I have soooo many episodes to catch up on!

  38. Miriam Gin says:

    I have 2 kids: 2.5 years and 5 months and so I am constantly thinking about meals that my two year old will eat. I haven’t started solids yet with my 5 month, so I am eager to try new recipes!

  39. nel says:

    My little one was a great eater until few months that she is being reluctant to eat veggies, I keep trying but need to boost my imagination she still loves, brocoli, sweet potatos and ANY fruit..

  40. Tiffany says:

    As I sit hear reading this with my 7 month old niece in my lap, I am certainly going to pass along the recipes you attached to my sister. We would love a copy of the Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet Cookbook!
    Thanks!

  41. laura says:

    my favorite baby food is avocado mashed up. My littles ones love it too!

  42. laura says:

    I liked you on facebook!

  43. virginie says:

    Baby #1 loved avocado mashed with organic whole milk plain baby yogurt (which I cannot find in the store anymore) and lentils. Now baby #2 is on the way and we’ll see what his favorites are.

  44. J says:

    Everything looks so tasty!
    A question, though: Is something(s) missing from the recipe ’cause I don’t see any veggies – except onion – in the Very Veggie “Meat” Balls?

  45. Christa says:

    I homemade baby food for my first 2 children and plan on doing so when my baby starts eating solids. I love making smoothies for my babies and instead of using cow’s milk or soy milk, I mix a little “mommy milk” in. Of course I only feed this to the baby and not the rest of the family.

  46. Jessica says:

    Thanks for doing a podcast for baby food! I’m back in the game of making babyfood, and really needed the inspiration. Check out Tyler Florence’s Fresh Starts book…lots of great recipes for babies and toddlers in there. My favorte= parsnip, pear and fig puree. I’d eat it!

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