feeding babies

Feeding Babies, Entrée, Snack

FEEDING BABIES: TODDLER VEGETABLES EDITION

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My most frequent request is for more feeding babies posts. The consensus being: carbs, cheese, meat are no problem for their kids, but there is concern over vegetable consumption. I don't really feed babies specifically any more, but we are still not quite all eating the same thing. I am feeding toddlers, which comes with both more options and more negotiating than babies. 

Another tip I am trying to implement, which I picked up from my sister in law, is to keep snacks after lunch to a minimum. Aren't we more apt to try new things with an appetite? She only offers veggies and hummus between lunch and dinner and I've been trying to do that. If they are not hungry for that, then they can't really be *that* hungry. No bars, crackers, string cheese, or whatever your kids' most requested snacks are. When I keep throwing snacks at them in that 4-6 window when they're asking for food and I'm trying to hustle back from an afternoon activity and get dinner together, they eat about one bite of dinner because they are not really hungry. They don't want to try new things or even sit at the table. The goal is to have them come to the dinner table hungry if you want them to eat what you're eating. Do you have any other good tips? 

Some of these "recipes" seem silly to write down, but I understand that some of us, especially with tasks outside of our wheelhouse, like to just be told what to do. Below are a couple things that my kids are into lately, and sides we adults enjoy eating too.  Roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce? Yes please. Forever.


VEGGIES AND MONSTER HUMMUS

Makes about 2 Cups

Cut and prep this in advance so it's ready in the fridge when wee ones start asking you for food. The hummus will keep about 5 days before the color begins to brown. When you see how silly easy it is to make hummus at home, you can use it as a base for all sort of vegetable add ins: a cooked beet, jalapeno cilantro, roasted red pepper. I also love the one made with red lentils from Near and Far.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces baby spinach or power greens mix
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • juice of half a lemon, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt and pepper
  • prepared carrots, bell peppers, Persian cucumbers, for dipping

Instructions

Barely wilt the greens, for just a minute, in a tablespoon of water. Set aside to cool.  Into a food processor, combine the garlic, tahini, chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and process until smooth. Tip in the wilted greens and blend again until fully incorporated. Taste for salt and pepper. Thin with lemon juice or water as needed. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Serve with cut vegetables, crackers, or as a sandwich spread. 

Toddler Vegetables . Monster Hummus . Sprouted Kitchen

ROASTED SWEET POTATO WEDGES WITH HERBY YOGURT DIP

Serves 4

I like the taco seasoning from Trader Joes, it does have some sugar, but doesn't have a bunch of other junk in it. If you are looking to just pull from your own spice cabinet, a mix of cumin and chili powder will be great alternative. Rolling them in cornstarch or arrowroot powder first, helps create a barrier to soak up the potatoes' natural moisture content and ensure a bit more crispiness. Even a very discerning toddler will not notice, but I am adding this step because I like to eat them this way :) If you have leftovers, they are a perfect addition to a breakfast burrito with some scrambled eggs, greens and shredded white cheddar. 
A dairy free option for the dip would be to use one large, ripe avocado in place of the yogurt. 

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder, optional
  • 1-2 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning, see headnote
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup whole plain greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. well chopped cilantro (or parsley)
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400'.

Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges, no more than 1/2" thick. Toss them in the cornstarch or arrowroot to roughly coat (optional). Drizzle with the oil, toss again. Sprinkle the seasoning, toss again. Spread the potatoes in an even layer , using two pans if necessary to avoid too much overlap. Roast for 25 minutes until tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, mix up your yogurt dip. Stir together the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro and a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Toddler Vegetables . Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Herby Yogurt Dip . Sprouted Kitchen

EVERYTHING BAGEL CAULIFLOWER

Serves 2-4

The beautiful thing about cauliflower is that is doesn't have much flavor on its own, so it can go any direction. I let my kids sprinkle the seeds on and put this on their plate with a dollop of the tahini sauce or ketchup, when I'm in a pinch. It's also great mixed into some mac n cheese or into cooked brown rice and call it a complete meal. 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. everything bagel seasoning from Trader Joes or make you own*
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 large clove garlic, grated/li>
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • tiny dash of cayenne
  • salt and pepper

* Mix 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp. poppyseeds, 1 tsp. dried onion flakes, 1 tsp. dried garlic flakes, 1/4 tsp. sea salt and pepper.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425'. Break the florets off, away from the core of the cauliflower and cut the core into 1" pieces as well. Toss everything in the oil to coat. Sprinkle on the salt and bagel seasonings and toss again. Spread the cauliflower in an even layer and roast on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, tossing the vegetables halfway through roasting. Remove to cool.

While the cauliflower roasts, mix the tahini sauce ingredients. Stir together the tahini, garlic clove, maple, water, lemon juice, cayenne and a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Toddler Vegetables . Everything Bagel Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce. Sprouted Kitchen


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Entrée, Gluten Free, Dessert

FEEDING BABIES : COOKING WITH MY NIECES

Cooking with my Nieces . Sprouted Kitchen

I could pick out clothes or a new lego set, but what I really wanted was quality time with my nieces, who are turning 7 and 4 this month. My sister-in-law actually came up with the idea, I just needed to plan and execute a cooking class with them. I mentally prepared myself to forget trying to keep everything tidy and I asked them their favorite foods to be sure we made something they'd like. These girls are great eaters, the only request was to not have mushrooms or curry involved, which left me a lot to choose from. After a few attempts in the past, I will be honest that I don't really enjoy teaching. Not cooking at least. It is something I just have a feel for by way of experience and am pretty quick with because of that. I find it difficult to teach things that I've learned by trial and error myself. I can tell when cake batter looks too wet or smell if a vinaigrette is too oily only because I've messed those things up myself. Luckily, a four and seven year old are mostly concerned about when the cookies will be done and who gets to put the kale down the food processor shredder, so they were forgiving students. Leading the girls through this opposed to adults was refreshing. They were eager to touch and work and less concerned with the reasons and science that can be involved in making food taste good. It was so nice to have an afternoon with them even if I'm not sure I taught them anything, per se.

I can't speak as an authority on the subject, but I learned a few things about cooking with kids through this. First, the mise en place thing was huge, especially with baking. I measured and set out all of the ingredients, but they got to do the pouring and the mixing. I basically prepared half of the recipes in advance to keep their attention and for it to not take all day long to make some tacos and cookies. Example: I made the slaw dressing, but I saved the limes for them to squeeze in. Or the fish was cut and set in it's dish, but they were able to oil and season it. Yes, it's slightly more work than doing it yourself, but they were so excited to eat what they made I'd slow down again in a heartbeat. I am in the clean-as-you-go camp but that just doesn't work with kids around. Let the sink pile up and do it later. On recipes. Like I said, these girls, thanks to their mom, eat all sorts of things and are great with vegetables. Curran (2), prefers things a little more hidden and is exercising his own autonomy by using "no" often. In order to make one meal please everyone, I pulled out some crunchy beans on their own for his plate, and made his taco with melted mexican blend cheese, fish, easy slaw, rolled it up and called it a burrito because he'll eat nearly anything if he thinks it's a burrito (so long as any green vegetables are cut very small). 

I realize I was sharing kid friendly recipes based on how I was learning to eat well with a young toddler and then jumped ahead a few years on you but this can still work. On a normal day, I am not making everyone here different meals, we are just rearranging the one meal, to please everyone. 
The taco recipe is below and for the cookies, I worked off this thumbprint cookie recipe from Green Kitchen Stories. Based on my own pantry, I swapped in almond meal for the sunflower seed meal, whole wheat flour for the buckwheat flour and used the whole egg in the dough since I didn't put seeds around the outside. I also used store bought jam to save time and it worked great. 

Cooking with my Nieces . Ingredients . Sprouted Kitchen
Cooking with my Nieces . Sprouted Kitchen

FISH TACOS WITH CREAMY KALE SLAW AND CRUNCHY BEANS
Serves 4

The beans and fish need to be made fresh, but the dressing and slaw can be prepared in advance. I used wild rockfish here, but halibut or salmon would be great as they are in season now. If you are not a fish person, sub in your protein of choice, or even some mashed black beans or sweet potatoes could work. 

1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained and dried
1 generous Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400'. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Spread of the dried beans and drizzle the oil, chili powder, cumin and generous sprinkle of salt. Toss to coat. You want them coated well to get crispy. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes or until crispy. Set aside. 

2 lbs. firm, white fish or wild salmon
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning

2 heads lacinato kale, spines removed
1/2 of a small red cabbage
4 green onions

// cilantro pepita dressing //

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup toasted pepitas
1 tsp. capers
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 larger bunch of cilantro
juice of two juicy limes
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. agave nectar
2-3 Tbsp. mayonnaise or vegan alternative
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. each sea salt and pepper

8 corn tortillas
crumbled feta cheese
hot sauce, for serving

Cooking with my Nieces . Thumbprint Cookies . Sprouted Kitchen
Cooking with my Nieces . Cookies . Sprouted Kitchen

Put the fish filets in a baking dish and oil both sides. Sprinkle on the taco seasoning and salt if your mix is unsalted. Brush or rub the mix into the flesh of the fish. Set aside.

For the dressing, in a food processor, blitz the garlic, pepitas, capers, jalapeno together until mostly blended. Add the cilantro, lime juice, agave, mayo, oil and salt and pepper and blend for 30 seconds until mostly smooth. Taste it and season to taste. This will be a dressing, so it should be thick, but still easy to distribute. Adjust oil and lime juice as needed. Set aside. The dressing can be made up to a week in advance. 

Shred or chop the kale and cabbage very thin. I use the shredder blade on the food processor to get a fine, consistent cut. You should have about 4-5 cups of shredded vegetables. Cut the onions and add them to the mixture. Toss with desired amount of dressing and set it in the fridge while you cook the fish.
Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill the fish about 4-5 minutes per side until just cooked. Timing will vary based on thickness of the fish. Note, it may also be broiled if you don't want to grill. Broil for about 8 minutes total.

Heat your tortillas over the grill or stove. Assemble with a piece of fish, slaw, crunchy beans and crumbled feta cheese.

Cooking with my Nieces . Fish Tacos . Sprouted Kitchen


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