It’s been about a month since I’ve given an update on our eating adventures and a lot has changed. Isla is about 10 days shy of 10 months old and by this point I think most babies are exploring with finger foods, even if they started with purées. That being said, I’ve created a monster. The food snob kind. And I’m kind of proud. Except that it means I spend my entire day cooking and cleaning up the mess we make. You see, Isla has decided she no longer wants plain old veggies and fruits. She wants recipes. On the bright side, having to cook all out meals for her means two very good things: 1. she now officially eats what we eat and 2. I can pack as many fruits, veggies and meats into each meal as I want. The more the better actually. The more flavor, the more she’ll eat.
I don’t have pictures of every food this time, unfortunately, but I’ll go through each one quickly. Our foods in today’s post are: peas, peanut butter, smoothies, pumpkin, spaghetti squash primavera, chicken cacciatore, turkey meatballs, baked apples, homemade applesauce with cinnamon, roasted butternut squash, pasta with tomato sauce, orange and corn. Not mentioned in today’s post because we’re cooking it tonight is cod, which will be Isla’s first taste of seafood. Also, I made sugar-free, egg-free pumpkin applesauce muffins and they tasted like poison so we won’t be talking about that either!
And one more thing before we get started. Her pincer grasp is pretty well established at this point so grabbing little bits of food is not only easy, it’s preferred. I was still trying to give her big, long chunks of food and she wanted no part of them. I was stumped for a bit until I realized she prefers the bite-sized pieces.
And onto the food …
Peanut Butter. I mentioned peanut butter in my “overview” post but I wanted to give it a proper introduction. I first gave Isla peanut butter on toast at eight months. She was kind of blah about it and I didn’t give her very much that very first time because of the whole allergy thing. Then the next day I smeared it on banana and the sky opened up and this light came shining down and she raised her arms in the air and started singing an opera song. Or something along those lines. She’s obsessed. And for some reason she always wants to rub it on me. No thanks.
Peas. Her second favorite. I kid you not. This kid will eat them cold, warm, room temperature, from my hand, off the floor or found later in her sweater pocket. They are the perfect on-the-go snack for us. I buy the frozen kind, which take about two minutes to cook in the microwave or on the stove, and pack them in a little container for when we’re out and about. They’re also a great snack to keep her busy while I’m cooking. Pea perfection.
Roasted Butternut Squash. Yum. I love this stuff. She wasn’t as impressed with this as I thought she’d be, but it was probably because I served them to her plain. I need to figure out a recipe. Any suggestions? Here’s how I baked it: peel, chop and toss pieces in olive oil, garlic powder and black pepper, then bake on cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Baked Apple and Homemade Applesauce with Cinnamon. I tried baked apple when Isla was eight months old and she wasn’t very into it. I peeled it, removed the core and baked it in the oven in an inch of water with a dollop of butter in the center. She threw more on the floor than she ate. “This is boring, mom.” is what I think she was saying. So I made applesauce instead and she loves it. I spoon-feed it to her in the mornings and use it in recipes as its own ingredient or as an egg replacement. It’s really easy to make, too. Here’s how: peel and remove the core, dice, sprinkle with cinnamon (to taste), cook on medium heat with a few inches of water until the pieces are soft and then mash in a blender or with an immersion blender. I left ours a little chunky because that’s the way I like it. This was our first time trying cinnamon, too, which some say you should avoid for the first few months because it can cause skin irritation or digestive problems. So far so good. I might put some on sweet potatoes soon.
Tomato Sauce. Finally! I’d been wanting to give her tomato sauce since she was six months old just so I could see her make a mess, but with her sensitive skin and possible allergies we decided to wait on citrusy foods. I used this recipe from the Baby-led Weaning Cookbook, which I do not own but found in an online preview. We dropped the onions since she has a possible allergy and the sauce is a bit bland, but does the trick. Chris and I eat it now, too, and with some other spices and lots of garlic it’s pretty good. Also, if you want to eat some I suggest you double the recipe. It doesn’t make much. Oh, and she LOVED it! She gets tomato sauce all the time now and it’s not only the cutest thing ever, but she eats huge portions of whatever it is. And speaking of huge portions …
Chicken Cacciatore. My uncle Jimmy is known in our family for his cooking. And that’s about all he’s good for. I kid, I kid! I love him! But seriously, I love his food. A couple of weeks ago he made chicken cacciatore and I decided to let Isla try a bit. It was a late dinner so I didn’t think she would eat much. Um, she ate an adult-size portion! And by that I mean she ate MY portion! I had to go back for seconds just so I could eat. She was quite loud about it, too, hooting and hollering and demanding more. I was proud and I’m sure it was the best compliment Jimmy has ever received regarding his cooking. Quite the food critic, that girl. It was her first taste of dark meat and the recipe had mushrooms in it, though I didn’t give her any pieces.
Spaghetti Squash Primavera. Since realizing Isla will eat anything covered with tomato sauce and after watching her house my uncle’s chicken I decided to make spaghetti squash primavera for the whole family. She loved it so much she ate leftovers for three days. This kid. I used this recipe, only I skipped the shallots and the pecorino romano, which gave her hives last time, and put the melted cheese on our portions, but not on Isla’s.
Orange. Blah. That’s about how she felt. I gave her a few slices and she threw them on the floor. We’ll have to try again later.
Corn. Another blah. All over the floor. Next.
Fruit and Pumpkin Smoothies. Since she’s vetoing plain fruits I decided it was time to introduce smoothies and a straw cup. I buy frozen blueberries and strawberries and blend then with a little yogurt. The first time she drank six ounces in one sitting and had the remaining two ounces later in the day. Today we decided to be festive and try a little pumpkin in our smoothie. She drank four ounces in about two minutes as a mid-morning snack and I’ll be sure to give her the rest later. Bonus, the recipe (below, from WholesomeBabyfood) made enough for me, too! Also, we use the thinkbaby Thinkster bottle with a straw. I started spoon-feeding it to her but it was a little too runny. She still doesn’t tip her sippy cup back on her own but right away she figured out how to grab onto the two handles of the thinkbaby bottle and suck the smoothie from the straw. And she could not seem to suck fast enough!
Pumpkin Banana Smoothie (makes 16 oz):
1/2 cup plain, vanilla or banana yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of ginger
1 frozen banana
Turkey Meatballs. Remember the beef meatball crisis of 2014? Let’s avoid that, shall we? This time I nixed the egg and made a simple baked meatball with ground turkey. Chris and I ate them in pasta but I gave a few to Isla plain. The first night they were great and she ate three! Reheating them made them a little dry though so the following two days she had them for lunch with a little hummus, which did the trick. Also, these are really good with hummus! I might have eaten some of her lunch. Shhh.
Turkey Meatballs (makes about 15 small meatballs):
1 lb ground turkey
2 cloves minced garlic
handful fresh basil
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
cracked black pepper to taste
instructions: preheat oven to 350 degrees; combine all ingredients then, with your hands, roll them into little balls and place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper; bake for approx. 10 minutes or until no longer pink inside.
And that’s it for our baby-led weaning update! Questions? Suggestions? Recommendations for a pumpkin bread/muffin recipe (light on the sugar and without egg) that doesn’t suck? Next up: fish and more fancy recipes! Also, Thanksgiving! I’m thrilled she’ll be able to eat what we eat!
One more thing: Anyone know a good vegan bakery in Philadelphia for Isla’s birthday cake?
For more about our journey with BLW:
BLW week one | BLW part two | BLW part three | BLW part four |
BLW: an overview | BLW part five | kid-friendly cheesy broccoli bites |
egg-free banana-blueberry yogurt pancakes
Instagram (hashtag #BLWwithIslaBee)