Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Little Foodie: Finger food and Gourmet Purees

We think that Evelyn is going to be following in her mother's footsteps on the course to being a foodie. Last month, we introduced her (earlier than we had anticipated) to her first purees. Now, just a short four weeks later she is showing desire for finger foods. When the family is at the table eating, she watches our every move. Her eyes flitting from our forks to our mouths, her little jaw chewing simultaneously with ours.

On Friday, I wanted to bake some cookies but wasn't sure if I had all of the ingredients. With Evie in arms, I pulled items out of the cabinets. Coming to the chocolate chips, I popped a couple in my mouth (naughty mama!) Evie's gums, almost like a reflex, began that tell-tale up and down motion. Drool flowed from her mouth. She moved her face in closer to mine until our noses were just barely brushing, and the look in her eyes said "I am going to take that food out of your mouth."

That's it, this little girl is getting some cereal puffs!

I was amazed as I watched her go, in just one trial of finger foods, from fist grabbing to the pincer grasp. After exploring them for a minute or two, she began popping them in her mouth as if she were a seasoned pro at this food stuff.
Of course she still loves a good meal of purees. Here is one of her favorites that we introduced to her as a holiday treat. We used the apples that I made for her in the fall; after I made the sauces from the fruit I used an ice cube tray to freeze individual cubes. Each cube is one ounce of puree. I have also included the instructions for Oatmeal cereal, because the "recipe" calls for it!

Oatmeal cereal:
Scoop rolled oats (not instant!) into your blender or food processor. Blend until you have a fine powder. If your infant is older and accustomed to textured foods you can blend the oats to a coarser texture. In a small sauce pan, bring about 1/4 cup of water to a simmer and stir in the blended oats. You'll have to experiment with the amount of water to the amount of oats you use. I haven't been able to pin down a good ratio. Simmer the cereal for a minute or two, until the cereal is a good consistency for your baby, and the oats are a soft mushy texture. I like to add some breastmilk during the last thirty or so seconds of cooking. I don't recommend adding formula (it doesn't cook the same as breastmilk)

Apple Crisp:
2 cubes apple puree
2 Tbl oatmeal cereal (measure dry, then cook)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of grated vanilla bean (do not use vanilla extract in baby's purees!)

*note about spices: introduce your baby to only one spice at a time. This will help to get your baby used to having spices and avoid tummy aches. And will also give you an idea of how baby's digestive system reacts to spices without overloading it. Keep in mind that extracts contain high amounts of alcohol, and should only be used in baked or highly cooked dishes, as the alcohol will cook out in those instances.

Thaw out the cubes of apple puree and heat until it is room temperature. The oatmeal will add some heat, and you don't want baby's food to be hot. It should barely be above room temp when serving. Add the spices to the puree and stir until well combined. Cook the oatmeal and add it to the puree, stirring until all of the ingredients are incorporated.

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