Munchkin Meals – 8 Months & 2 Years

Linking up this week for Munchkin Meals again!

Nothing too exciting when it comes to food in the past month. We’re continuing doing a combination of purees and actual solid food with Phoebe. Alas, I’m still struggling to find time (and let’s be honest, motivation) to make her baby food, so we give her organic food pouches. I think we’ll be able to cut back on the food pouches a bit, though.

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In the beginning she didn’t want to drink as much formula and just wanted to eat food, but since she doesn’t have teeth when she gums food half of it ends up on her bib because she pushes it back out with her tongue, which is why she was getting so much pureed food. Now she seems to be interested in drinking more bottles and is less interested in purees, so time for me to step it up a notch and keep our fridge and pantry stocked with things we can safely give her to nom on.

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So far that hasn’t been anything that Phoebe won’t eat. She’ll try everything, which is a big switch from her big brother, who even as a baby could be very particular about his food. It looks like this girl will take after her mama who will eat just about anything. Give me all the food!

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Enzo has been doing pretty good as far as meals go. There is often a delicate balance between snacks and actual meals and timing, though. While we don’t want him to be hungry, he is so much more willing to try everything on his plate when he is, so we have to very carefully time snacks and make sure we communicate who gave him what and when. He’s been a little more adventurous lately when it comes to trying different things (he was on a meat strike for a while). We obviously don’t want to force him to eat things, but we do encourage him to have at least one bite of everything and then we’ll consider offering him an equally healthy (less fancy and quick) alternative.

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The kiddo does have his favorites, though, including frozen waffles (whatever is healthy and generally whole wheat and organic). He’s been a little picky lately about what kinds of fruits and veggies he wants, so we try to keep some variety on hand. It’s hard to know if he’s going to like grapes one week or strawberries, and then out of the blue he’ll eat a pint of blueberries. I get it, I get bored with certain foods sometimes too.

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I figure it’s just a normal toddler phase to be somewhat picky, which maybe has something to do with creating some kind of control in their lives (also understandable).  As long as we can get him to eat a minimum of healthy things either stealthily (green smoothie) or by randomly hitting upon something he wants then I’m sure he’ll be just fine. It’s just temporary, right?  If anything maybe Phoebe will be a good influence on him and encourage him to try new things. 😉

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Munchkin Meals – 7 months old (almost)

Linking up for Munchkin Meals (hosted by Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life) this month!

Forgive the long wordy, picture heavy post as we explore the beginnings of our girl’s relationship with food.

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Phoebe has thoroughly been enjoying food lately. As you’ll notice, we’re still doing mostly pureed food, but offering larger pieces of fruits and veggies that can be held in her hand while we sit by to make sure she doesn’t choke if she manages to gum off a bigger chunk.  We’ve only been giving her really soft foods, though, so we haven’t had any choking scares.

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That being said, over the past few days I’ve noticed that she hasn’t been as interested in grabbing food herself, and has been preferring the spoon or the “feeder” we got her over attempting to hold onto actual food.  We think it must be a part of teething because while she likes the food, she also really likes to gnaw on the spoon and the feeder especially.  It’s a nice squishy rubber that combined with fruit from the fridge probably feels really nice on her gums.

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We aren’t really worried about allergies since food allergies don’t run in either of our families and Enzo had no troubles, so, seeing that she is doing so well, we’ll probably start giving her a lot more options to try.

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Some of her big favorites are sweet potatoes and butternut squash (not too surprising), as well as pears and nectarines for fruit.  She seems to be on the fence as far as bananas go, but she really won’t refuse anything. She was also on the fence with avocado, but seems to think it’s okay. She really liked the roasted carrot we gave her, and she gave the broccoli a good go as well.

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While I do make some of her baby food, I admit it’s been much easier this time around to buy organic baby food.  I had so much more time with Enzo, so sometimes it can be difficult to put forth the effort to make up a bunch of baby food when I can reach into the pantry for food that sounds more interesting than anything I made.  The biggest thing is that Phoebe is a much different eater than Enzo was.  Enzo ate a lot more formula and would kind of explore solid food and eat here and there, but he really didn’t eat a ton of purees or solid pieces of food.  Phoebe, however, gets bored with her bottles and wants to eat solid food and can eat a full jar of baby food in one serving (Enzo never did this). She doesn’t quite have the patience to slowly gnaw and explore whole foods, which is why we got the feeder so she could more easily eat slippery foods at a faster pace. She ate almost an entire nectarine this way the other day. We do feed her a bottle before solid meals so she isn’t starving when it’s time to put her in the high chair, but she still seems to prefer whatever method is quickest and easiest, and for now that seems to be giving her the spoon after we load it with food.

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I’m sure we’ll find a decent groove soon, and slowly phase out more of the pureed food.  It’s funny just how different things are the second time around, though.  They are both such different eaters, and I thought this time around would just be a breeze. I’d quickly whip up some baby food and have time to prepare soft foods for Phoebe to handle herself because Enzo would amuse himself while I did this. Well, we’ll make it work. Now I just need to show Phoebe how fun solid food can be, and see how we can get day care on board as well.

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Starting Solids

It’s been a fun few weeks introducing Phoebe to the world of solids… well, sort of.  Can you call pureed food a solid?  As with Enzo, we’re kind of doing our own version of baby led weaning by doing what is easiest for day care (as well as ourselves), but without limiting Phoebe too much. Much like Enzo, she’s the one who made it clear to all of us that she was ready to move beyond just bottles – she wasn’t finishing them and seemed bored and started reaching for our food. So, we thought we’d see how she did with some oatmeal, and she loved it!

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We’ve since tried carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, avocado, bananas, pears, apples… the list goes on.  Most of them have been pureed, but we’ve also offered some whole foods as well.  We were actually surprised at just how quickly she started grabbing the spoon and from the get-go she was able to navigate it to her mouth.

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While she’s at daycare, they typically feed her themselves – she’s one of many infants, but when she’s at home with us we generally load the spoon for her, and then bring it within her reach and she grabs it and puts it in her mouth.  She’s been eager to try larger chunks of food as well, and we’ve let her experience several of them, but I’ll save that for another post.

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The most suprising thing is that we haven’t really run into anything yet that she has no interest in.  With Enzo there were a few foods he just had no interest in (like avocado) and sometimes peas, but this little girl has been willing to eat them all.  I really hope that’s a great sign of things to come.

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In the meantime, maybe she can show her big brother that trying new foods is totally cool and he should do the same. 😉

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Pizza!

We really love pizza in our house, but it’s not always feasible (or healthy) to order out, so another great family friendly alternative is to just make our own.  I used pizza dough and sauce recipes from the Weelicious Lunches cookbook, but made a few alterations. I love Catherine McCord’s cookbooks and highly recommend them!

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While Enzo can’t help me with everything, he loves to dump the ingredients in the bowl, and when I pull out the mixer, he’s generally excited.

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Pizza Dough

1 package of active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)

1 1/3 cups of lukewarm water

1 tbsp olive oil (and more for later)

1 tbsp honey

3-4 cups white whole-wheat flour (or whole wheat if you’re feeling especially healthy).

1 1/2 tsp of salt

For flavored pizza dough, a little bit of rosemary or some Italian seasoning can be a nice extra.

First, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water in a small bowl for 5 minutes so it gets nice and foamy. Then add the olive oil and honey and combine all of the ingredients. I used a small whisk to do this.

Combine at least 3 cups of flour and the salt in a large bowl. I have a stand mixer, so I used that and the dough hook.

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine thoroughly. You’re then going to want to knead the dough on a clean surface or simply turn your mixer on low watch it do the work for you.  If the dough is sticky, add a little more flour until it reaches the right consistency.  You don’t want it too tough or too wet, but to be somewhat pliant. When you’ve decided it’s finished, put the dough in a greased bowl (I use olive oil) and cover with a slightly damp towel in a warm location and let it rise for about 30 minutes and it’s doubled in size.

Now is a good time to open a beer while you wait.

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You’ll want to preheat your oven to 500 degrees (which you’ll probably want to do while the dough is rising if your oven is as slow as mine).

Lightly flour a clean surface and knead the dough for a few seconds.  I then divided the dough into four round balls since we were going to be making personal size pizzas.

For the pizza sauce, I used another of Catherine’s recipes and just adjusted it to suit our family’s tastes more.  I usually make this before I start on the dough, though, as it takes a while to simmer.

Veggie-Heavy Pizza Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

1 bell pepper, diced (any color will do) More like half of one – a full pepper had a pretty strong flavor that was a bit much for us

2 medium carrots, peeled  and chopped

1 small onion, diced

1-2 celery stalks

Garlic – we always have a huge jar of minced garlic on hand, so I generally just add a big spoonful. I don’t believe there’s such a thing as too much garlic.

1 tbsp sundried tomato bruschetta (or 1 tbsp of tomato paste)

2 28oz cans of dice tomatoes, drained

Start by heating the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add your veggies and garlic and sauté until everything is soft, so about 5-7 minutes.

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Add the tomatoes and turn the heat down so you can simmer everything for around 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer everything into a blender (or if you have a better stocked kitchen then I do, use an immersion blender in the pan) and blend until mostly smooth.

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Return the sauce to heat and simmer for another 20-30 minutes until the sauce is thick, stirring occasionally.  If you have more time, the sauce will thicken the longer you let it simmer, so if you have an hour or so, just leave it on the stove, but be sure to remember to stir!

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Once you’ve got your dough rolled out into personal sized pizza discs, add the sauce and whatever toppings you like.

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Brush the edges with olive oil, and pop into the oven for 10-15 minutes (or until golden brown).

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Proceed to nom.

A little frozen

An ice cream maker is one of those purchases that can be hit or miss. So often people will get one only to let it sit in a cupboard barely getting any use, and I didn’t want to be one of those people.  We’ve actually gotten some decent use out of our Cuisinart maker so far, too!  I could have gotten the Kitchen Aid attachment for my mixer, but the cheaper Cuisinart had actually received better reviews.  We haven’t done anything too adventurous yet, but now that I’ve got the basics down, I think I want to try some fancier versions.  I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to have homemade vanilla ice cream with homemade fruit crisp, though.

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We’ve tried both a very basic vanilla ice cream, and a custard style ice cream (which uses egg yolks).  I think I like the egg version better, even if it adds a few extra steps and some time.

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Right now I just use the recipe that came with the ice cream maker, but like I said, I’m ready to branch out a bit and maybe start adding some fruit and maybe a boozy treat as well.

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I think the biggest surprise of all is that while Enzo enjoys watching me make ice cream, and really likes to help (“I dump it!”) he never eats of any it.  It’s rather disappointing.

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I’m trying to think of when he stopped liking it because last summer he thoroughly enjoyed sharing the ice cream we got when out and about and would have eaten all of my Pumpkin flavored awesomeness had I let him.  We think he may have bitten into some ice cream and that’s when he decided he no longer liked the stuff.

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It’s a bummer, for sure, but it also means I can add whatever I want without worrying about whether it’s too sweet or too crunchy or too otherwise.  😉

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