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!
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
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
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
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 …
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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.