This was a very productive day when it comes to Maeve and her eating. I was inspired by my beloved sister-in-law (my only sister-in-law) this weekend when she arrived at my parents' house for a ski weekend with what seemed like dozens of little colored containers with interesting varieties of food for her son, my children's only first cousin Wyatt who is seven months old. Although I do try to cut myself a little bit of slack since I do have four children and she has only one, it did make me think a little sheepishly of the wrinkly old ziploc bag in my freezer which contains the dregs of about 36 original frozen food cubes, all different varieties of orange roots. Of course, I had not brought any of those cubes with me and at the time that Lisa was unpacking her (new and unstained) lunchbox full of this nutritious, varied food for her little son I was rustling up some stale cheerios and a leftover piece of broccoli for Maeve to pick at in lieu of a planned meal. I had intended to make more food for her, and intended to bring it, but....
And then today, I had one of those moments: there will never, ever be a day when I decide, TODAY is the day when I have time to make baby food. So I just set to work. Below are the recipes for some nutritious possibilities for your baby, if you're lucky enough to have one just now. These recipes will help you to avoid some of the pre-made fortified foods and have some carbs in them as well as molasses for iron and potassium. I freeze everything in ice trays and pop out the cubes into bags in the freezer to thaw later.
Yummy Breakfast Cubes
1 cup cooked rolled oats
1/2 lovely ripe banana
1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
Whip it up in the blender. Yum.
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup kale
1/4 cup brown rice, cooked
Steam for quite a while. Whip it up. I even pushed it through a sieve to make it extra yummy.
2 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup kale
Steam these together for quite some time, then add a dollop of molasses and whip it up. Beware, this one looks yucky, but it's actually delicious. And your baby doesn't actually SEE what's in her diaper, so she won't think it looks gross.
Lastly, these are my favorite entertainment for mealtime to keep a baby who has a limited repertoire of finger foods. This recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour cookbook so I can take no credit for its genius. You can tell from the way it's written that I'm not actually copying it from the cookbook, so I will take credit for the brilliant instructions on how to make these. The biscuits are hard as cement and can't be bitten, and I usually give my pre-molar babies one a day and rinse it off after each meal and then throw it out at the end of the day. Truly most of what you mix up will end up in the trash but it's still worth it for the entertainment value. I have made exactly four batches of these in my life-- one for each baby. By the time they get through one batch the phase is over and we're both tired of them.
1/2 cup whole milk (or milk substitute- I use rice milk)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
Stir in 1 1/2 cups EACH of whole wheat and all purpose flour. The dough will be very stiff, and you will have to knead it together for about 5 minutes to get it smooth. This step is important because if the dough is crackly you will get cracks in your biscuits which can break the biscuit while baby gums it (bad). So knead it nice and smooth, and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
Then roll it out about 1/4 inch thick and cut it into bars about 1 by 2 inches. Of course this will involve some re-kneading and re-cutting to use up all the dough. You can prick the biscuits with a fork a few times for good measure. Let them rest for 10 more minutes, and then pop them in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, and let them cool completely to harden.
So now my freezer is full, I've got biscuits in the cupboard, and even though I do believe there's some real good in my baby eating cold broccoli off of her sister's plate, at least I'll have some food I put my heart and soul into to supplement whatever dregs I pass her way.