Friday, August 29, 2014

Introducing Solid Foods

     We've entered new territory- solid foods! I originally intended to use the Baby-Led Weaning method in which the cereals and purees are skipped in preference to offering whole foods. I still believe in many of the advantage points of this method. However, the fact that nourishing the baby wouldn't be entirely on my shoulders (because our breastfeeding experience has been a challenge, but I'm proud to say we're still going!) was a deciding factor to going ahead and starting solids with purees. Plus, Tennyson is so curious and eager to explore new things that I was excited for him to begin experiencing the many tastes and textures of food.
      I liked the idea of purchasing real fruits, vegetables, and grains and making our own purees. There are no additional ingredients, just the actual grain, fruit or vegetable. I can also vary how thick or thin to make the puree according to his abilities. Moreover, there is also a cost advantage to homemade baby purees. I puree a larger batch of a vegetable or fruit and then freeze it in tablespoon size portions in an ice cube tray. Whenever I need that particular food, I simply pull it out of the freezer, let it thaw and then rewarm it (adding breastmilk to cool or thin it out if need be).
      In order to have greater ideas for foods to offer and in various combinations, I purchased the book 201 Organic Baby Purees by Tamika L. Gardner. I don't necessarily do the "organic" part, but I have otherwise really enjoyed this little book! The book includes lots and lots of great recipes from beginner single food purees to rather complex ones for older babies. We've tried about fifteen so far with great success. I've browsed the other recipes, and they appear to be pretty tasty and nutritious. My favorite part is the menu plans! The recipes are divided into sections based on age: 6-7 months, 8-9 months etc. At the end of each section is a weekly menu plan with the recipes inserted for breakfasts, lunches, and dinner (and then later snacks for older babies). I would've created a similar calendar on my own, and so I love that one is already done for me! The menus make planning and preparing his meals very simple. And like I mentioned above, I frequently make a puree in a large batch and then freeze it so all I have to do when I come across it on the menu is to pull it out the appropriate foods and thaw.
     I'm always eager to see what foods he'll get to try the next day! He hasn't had one of those picture moments in which he makes a funny face in response to a food. He is loving solid foods! So far, he's had: pumpkin, green beans, butternut squash, rice, oatmeal, zucchini, cantaloupe, apricot, mango, banana, apples, peaches, sweet potato, avocado, and pear.  His favorites are apricot and green beans.  We often can't spoon it into his mouth fast enough! He gets all excited and pops his little mouth open like a baby bird when we ask/sign "more" to him (see video).  We're enjoying this new stage of his and excited to see his response to even more food combinations!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies
     These cookies have very quickly become one of my favorites when I want something sweet but not full indulgence. The ingredients include lots of healthy (and yummy!) alternatives to traditional cookie ingredients such as whole wheat flour and oats and flaxseed meal. It sounds a bit odd for a dessert, but trust me- they're delicious!

3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. + 2 T old fashioned oats*
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. + 2 T. peanut butter
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. flax seed meal
2 T + 2 t water
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1 egg
1/2-1 c. chocolate chips**
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

*I sometimes substitute half quick oats 
** Try adding butterscotch chips or peanut butter chips. mmm!

1. Combine whole wheat flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.

2. In a second bowl, mix together peanut butter, butter, sugars, vanilla, flaxseed meal and water until creamy. Mix in egg.

3. Gradually add in flour mixture. Then, add nuts and chocolate chips.

4. Spoon onto baking sheet in tablespoon portions. These don't rise much, so you can really fit a bunch on a single pan.

6. Bake at 350F for approximately 12 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Created To Be His

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