Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is in the air and that means PUMPKIN, PUMPKIN, PUMPKIN!! I love pumpkin and the spices that go along with it. Each inhalation of the goodness takes me back to my grandmothers house each thanksgiving. I hold some of my fondest childhood and early adulthood memories from this annual family gathering so I welcome all the fall smells (especially the baking kinda, ha ha).

Not only did the pumpkin in the recipe catch my eye but the oats and maple syrup did too!!! This recipe was inspired by one I found on about.com believe it or not.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 15-ounce can canned pumpkin
  • 2/3 cup canola oil (or oil of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Optional (I didn't add these because I wanted little Asher to be able to enjoy them with us):
  • ----1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • ----1/2 cup dried cranberries


Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a one to two 12-cup muffin pan with liners or lightly oil.
  2. In a medium-large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, oats, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, maple syrup and eggs until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until just combined. Fold in the walnuts and cranberries.
  4. Portion into the prepared muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Yield: 18 muffins-ish
Difficulty: 2 out of 5; it's pretty much a dump and bake recipe
Storage: Air tight container for several days. I wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer bag. I freeze them for a month or two and take them out as we need it; it's great!
Timing: One year due to the eggs however since its cooked egg and we have no history of food allergies and Little Asher was breastfed so long, we gave it just shy of 11 months.
Epicutie Rating (see left side of page for rating descriptions):

  • Little Joy:  Yummy in the Tummy; she tore through nearly two muffins at breakfast
  • Little Asher:  Somewhat Yummy; he is getting like 6 teeth in so he does not want anything near his mouth.  I suspect had his teeth not bothered him he would have followed suit and gobbled it up.  He ate more of this than any other food the past day or so though!





Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tofu Nuggets with Dipping Sauce

Admittedly, I am running low on good finger foods for Little Asher.  At first he was all about finger foods and gobbled them up then recently he has gotten lazy and just wants to be fed.  Awkward age I suppose.  He did seem to really like these as did Epicutie veteran Little Joy.  My husband and I both like them, they taste every similar to a chicken nugget with slightly less flavor on the "meat".  This was adapted from a recipe on wholesomebabyfood.com

Ingredients (Nuggets):

  • 1/2 package firm tofu
  • 1/8-1/4 cup flour (more or less)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup fine dry bread or cracker crumbs (I used Italian bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • A few grinds of pepper
Steps (Nuggets):
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cut tofu into whatever size/shape you would like (perhaps fun shapes for toddlers)
  3. Spread flour on a small plate or flat dish. 
  4. Beat egg yolk in a shallow dish. 
  5. Mix remaining ingredients in shallow dish. 
  6. Coat each piece of tofu in the flour to cover, then into the egg, then crumbs, and then to a baking sheet.
  7. Chill for 30 min to an hour to set the coating (you can just bake right away if you want this isnt a totally necessary step).
  8. Bake 15-20 minutes until crisp.
Dipping Sauce:  I used peach puree.  For my 10 month old I dapped a little on each nugget and for my 2 year old I gave her a little dab on her plate to dip from.  I made the peach puree too (I will have to post about that later).

Storage:  I did not try to freeze them but I imagine it would freeze well and could be thawed and reheated in the toaster oven.  I kept mine in the fridge for about 4 days before it was used up.  I reheated in the toaster oven.

Timing:  8-10 months; these are very soft but watch your little one because they may try to swallow them whole depending on the size you cut them.

Difficulty: 2 out of 5.

Epicutie Rating (see left side of page for rating descriptions):
Little Joy:  Somewhat Yummy; She liked it but I would not say she ate it with her usual zesto.  Course she is a 2 year old and most 2 year olds do not enjoy change.
Little Asher:  Yummy in the Tummy; I had to make Little Asher slow down because he was not chewing well enough.  He had them several times before they were all eaten up.




Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lovely Lentil Stew

This is another great one from Dr Joel Fuhrman.  Its probably the easiest family food I’ve made, and can be eaten at as young as 8 months (as long as you leave out the pepper)!

Items:

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped

Steps:

  1. Cook lentils in water for 30 minutes with onion, pepper, and basil.
  2. Add tomatoes and celery and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Difficulty: 1 out of 5!  Its so easy and only takes one pot, my kind of dish!

Timing: 8 months.  I would leave out the pepper and add it later if serving to children under 1 and using it as a family good.

Epicutie Rating: (See left side of the page for descriptions) Somewhat Yummy.  Little Frances ate this like a champ, but I wouldn’t say that she loved it.  For the record, mom and dad liked it pretty well for such a healthy food with no salt added!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tofu Bites

Tofu is full of protein so I like the idea of eating it, but even after all the time I spent in China--I still do not love it.  However, just because I do not love a food does not mean I should push my preferences off on my epicuties; my worst food nightmare could be my children's delight.  It is my responsibility as a parent to provide them opportunities to experience new things (including food) even if my personal preference is against it (i.e. tofu, cheerleading for Addison, football for Caleb, brussel sprouts, peas, tatoo artistry, etc, you follow me).

Here is a simple way to serve up tofu as a finger food.  It is a great food as an early finger food (particularly those without many teeth like Little Asher) because its super soft.

Ingredients:
  • Firm tofu
  • Dusting of your choice (crushed graham crackers, cherrios or infant cereal; wheat germ, etc.)
Steps:
  1. Crush your dusting in a ziplock bag.
  2. Cut tofu into cubes or shapes of your choice.
  3. Place tofu in ziplock bag and shake until well coated.
  4. Serve immediately, discard left overs.
Difficulty:  1 out of 5; super easy, no cooking

Timing:  8 months; Some books say 6-9 months for tofu so I suggest somewhere in the middle around 8 months.  It is soft so it does not require any teeth.

Storage:  Storage any left over tofu according to the package instructions, however I would not save any leftovers of this food.  It seems like the dusting would get mushy--yuck!

Tip:  I would air on the side of too much dusting at first.  I think my children did not like it because it was too lightly dusted.

Epicutie Rating (see left side of page for rating descriptions):
Little Joy (2 years):  Sour Puss; she was a great sport.  She TRIED her hardest to like it but she just did not enjoy it; poor thing.  She rarely turns her nose up at a food so I felt bad she hated it so!
Little Asher (9 months):  Sour Puss; he tried several bites and his face got more and more sour.  It was a texture thing I believe.




HAHAHAHA!

HAHAHAHA!

I AM TRYING MOMMY!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Alien Patties (Avocado Soy Patties)

My husband is much better about adding the fun spin on foods to encourage our little epicuties to eat hence the name of this recipe--ALIEN PATTIES.  I was not at home when our little ones sampled these peculiar patties, but I heard it received rave reviews.

The dairy free recipe hunt is on for our Little Asher; I have noticed that dairy (cheeses, yogurt, milk, etc.) tends to be a common ingredient in foods that are good finger foods so the search can be difficult at times.  However, I am determined to conquer this challenge!

Again, I was skeptical about this recipe, thinking it would taste terrible.  Why am I always so skeptical, because it was surprisingly delicious?  Little Asher is still young enough that every new food is exciting and Little Joy tends to like most foods the first go round.  Little Joy tends to get bored with the same foods unless its mac and cheese or PB&J.  She still eats what is presented, the quantity she eats varies if monotony  exists :)

This is adapted from a recipe in "Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron.

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 cup cooked soy beans (I used fresh frozen and steamed them in my steamer)
  • 1/2 cooked brown rice (I prefer to use short grain brown rice, it is simply delicious in taste and texture)
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard (I used stone ground mustard, see picture)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup (give or take) bread crumbs (I use the kind with herbs/spices already in it)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Steps:

  1. Cook brown rice according to package instructions (this takes the longest).
  2. Steam/cook soy beans according to package instructions; I steamed using a steam.
  3. Coarsely chop onion and place in small food chopper; I almost make a puree out of my onions when feeding it to my kids because I am not the best chopper.  Place in medium bowl, set aside.
  4. Place cooked soybeans in small food chopper **you do not need to rinse the chopper between uses because all the ingredients will be mixed together at the end** and chop as finely as possible (without adding water); place in bowl with onion
  5. Place avocado meat in small food chopper and puree; place in bowl with onion and soy beans.
  6. Mix remaining ingredients together in the medium bowl; add more or less bread crumbs to make the mixture into patties.  Make them thinner than you think so they will hold together while cooking.
  7. Heat olive oil in large skillet.
  8. "Fry" patties in hot oil until browned on both sides.
  9. Serve warm.
Serve:  Warm

Yield:  Depends on the size you make the patties.

Difficulty:  2 out of 5; pretty easy as long as you have made the rice and soy beans ahead.

Tip:  Make the patties a little thinner than you think because the crispy outside is the best part!

Storage:  I have not tried to freeze these, but I imagine they would freeze well.  If I froze them, I would thaw and then toast in the toaster oven.  They would be fin in the fridge for several days.

Timing:  10 Months; Since I pureed the soy beans, avocado and onions it was very soft.  Little Asher only has his two bottom teeth all the way in with the top just barely poking out and he gobbled this up just fine.  As always, be sure to introduce the ingredients individually before testing this on your Epicutie.

Epicutie Rating (see left side of page for rating descriptions):
Little Joy (2 years):  Yummy in the Tummy; she liked it the first time but did not enjoy it as much as a left over.
Little Asher (9 months):  Yummy in the Tummy; he loved this every time I served last week!

Ingredients

Avocado puree

Soy bean puree

Not a great photo but this is them cooking; not sure why it looks so yellow in the pan; there was not much olive oil in there.

Plating/presentation has never been my strong suit

mmmmm

Chewing

Pretty good stuff.



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About the Authors

This blog was started by two Babywise pen pals to document our adventures in high chair manners, making our own baby food and doing our bests to raise happy, healthy, thriving little ones!

Epicutie #1

Epicutie #1

Little Joy at 2 years, Sept 2012

Epicutie #2

Epicutie #2
Little Frances

Epicutie #3

Epicutie #3
Little Asher at 11 months, Sept 2012

Epicutie #4

Epicutie #4
Little Elizabeth, July 2013
  • Yummy in the Tummy: Epicutie thoroughly enjoyed each bite
  • Somewhat yummy: Epicutie seemed to somewhat enjoy the food at first, but seemed to like it less with subsequent bites
  • Not so sure I like it...yet: Epicutie somewhat rejected the first bites, but seemed intrigued. The next exposure may be better!
  • Confused: Epicutie rejected the first bites, perhaps due to texture or strong flavor.
  • Sour Puss: Epicutie gave a sour face indicating she did not like the food. However--if at first you do not succeed, try, try again!

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