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Book Review: The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet

When I came across this book, The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet By: Tina Ruggiero, I thought it was going to just be another book on how to make your own baby food. However, I was way off base, I absolutely LOVE this book for many reasons.

Best-Homemade-Baby-Food-Cover

After reading just a few of the first pages and thumbing through the book I quickly realized how many actual recipes for baby food were possible to make. The author, Tina Ruggiero, does a phenomenal job in laying out the basics of homemade baby food, the different stages and what to feed your baby, toddler feeding, nutritional information about elements of food, special considerations for children, and in the very back is a feedback chart so you can document what your child liked and disliked.

Basics of Homemade Baby Food

In the first section, Tina equips you with all the knowledge you will need to successfully make homemade baby food.  She lays out a nice list of all the tools you will need to prepare all your foods. She has also put together a nice list of different foods to keep in your pantry for your children, and and extensive list on food safety tips.

Stages of feeding your child

The bulk of the book is broken up into different sections for the different stages you will go through with your child. There are recipes for six months, eight months, nine months, ten months, and eleven months, and she rounds out this section with twelve to twenty three months.

The recipes are compounded of different foods to incorporate into your child’s diet. It is not just a book on how to boil vegetables, blend them and freeze them. Tina has constructed her recipes in such a way that your baby will enjoy each food, and as the parent you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your baby actually likes their vegetables. She has recipes such as Pear Potato Puree, Apple a Day Oatmeal and Blueberry and Banana Breakfast.

The great thing about this book is that it covers a wide age range. I can use this book for my six month old, my two year old, and even my five year old loves the recipes. Such a versatile book, it is awesome.

Nutritional Information

This is a fantastic section to become familiar with. It takes you through the different components of things such as Fiber, Fat, Carbohydrates, and Proteins. It describes what it does, the different types of each nutrient, and the sources of where you can find it. What a great section to give parents knowledge of why each component of food is important in your growing baby’s health.

Special Considerations

Now a days kids can be extremely sensitive to many different things when it comes to food. In this section you will learn information and get a better understanding for lactose intolerant children, high risk children, fish and shellfish, teething and even choking.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I highly suggest if you are new to the world of making homemade baby food, then pick up this book and get to preparing these recipes. They are awesome and your baby will only thank you in the long run. Great Job Tina, for putting together such a great resources for families to feed their children in a healthy way.

To get your copy of this fabulous book CLICK HERE.

For other great articles on meal time for toddlers check out this article by The Mom Crowd’s Contributor, Tara.

Homemade Baby Food is Easier Than You Think

When it came time for my son to start eating solids, I knew I was going to be a DIY mom.  There is something about knowing exactly what my infant is ingesting that put my mind at ease when it came to introducing new foods into his diet.  Any change for a mom and her infant can be a stressful time, I found this approach to be especially comforting during this transition.

baby food 4.51.59 PM

I had been lucky enough to have been gifted a Magic Bullet for one of my wedding gifts, which certainly came in handy when embarking on my homemade babyfood endeavour.  Although, I did find that most veggies were easily mashed with a fork, for making applesauce, I couldn’t beat the Bullet.  Now they have the Baby Bullet which seems super convenient, but for the sake of saving money, do not bother with expensive gadgets, any blender will do the trick.

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Meal Time for Toddlers

by Tara on February 25, 2013
category: 1 – 3 year (toddler),Children’s Health,Feeding

Choosing a meal our child will eat sometimes feels like a gamble.  I can hardly predict the days my child will have a healthy appetite and which days he will turn his nose up at any offering.  Over the year he has been on solid foods we have tried a variety of meals for our tot with mixed results.  Though it sort of hurts my feelings when my little guy snubs my cooking, I have to remind myself that his appetite swings don’t necessarily have to do with my stove-top skills, other factors might influence his desire to eat or not eat, like teething or a growth spur. I try to keep positive about the whole thing and make sure I offer him a variety of healthy meals and snacks throughout the day.  It’s all I can do to ensure that he is getting steady diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and grains.

The following is a list of some of our winning breakfast combinations.

bfast

Proteins and Veggies

Egg Scrambles can be a great start.  This meal provides an opportunity to introduce some delicious super foods to your child’s diet.  I often use spinach, kale, or baby bok choy.  Diced mushrooms also make a good addition to this dish.

I warm a small amount of olive oil first and add my greens and mushrooms.  I stir them frequently until they are cooked.  While the veggies are cooking, I crack and scramble the eggs adding a little milk for a fluffier consistency when cooked.  Once my veggies are cooked I add the eggs to the pan.  Once in a while I will also add a small amount of ham for flavor and an additional source of protein.  I stir the mix until it starts to harden and then add some shredded cheese, because who doesn’t like a little cheese?! Once the cheese melts I remove the pan from the heat and allow the eggs to cool before serving.

Dairy

Yogurt is a great choice  You’d be hard pressed to find a child who does not like yogurt and my toddler is no exception.  There is an array of yogurts out there to choose from and I change it up, usually selecting ones that have fruit mixed in and whatever is on sale.  If my child refuses to eat everything else on his plate, he will most likely still be interested in yogurt so it it a breakfast staple at our house.

Grains

Oatmeal can be a hit or miss but it is a great start. This was not an immediate hit with our guy.  I had to offer it to him several times before her took the bait, but he finally went for it and now enjoys it a few times a week.  There are all sorts of flavors you can find at the market, our little guy prefers the type with brown sugar added.

Toast can also be a great whole grain. This is a simple addition to any breaskfast plate. Make sure you choose whole grain breads that are not enriched.  My child enjoys toast and my hopes are that he never develops a taste for plain white bread!

Fruit

Fresh fruit is a great choice but you have to find the right one.  It seems my toddler goes through phases of liking or disliking certain fruits, so I go through a rotation of melon, bananas, apples, pears, cuties, strawberries, and grapes.  This might be the first thing he goes for the last thing on earth he wants on his breakfast tray but I offer it always anyway.

As you can see, variety is the secret to my success.  If my son doesn’t eat his fresh fruit, I snuck a little in with the yogurt.  If he doesn’t end up eating all of his yogurt, he gets some dairy in his eggs.

Feeding a toddler can feel discouraging some days, but with a little creativity and consistency, you can make sure your child is getting the nutrients he needs to thrive.  Still trying to get the most out of your child’s meal times?  Here is a great guide to your child’s overall nutrition:

What to feed

  • Low-fat milk (It’s okay to switch to low-fat or nonfat milk once your child is older than 2, but check with your child’s doctor if you have questions.)
  • Other dairy like diced or grated cheese; low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding.
  • Iron-fortified cereals like rice, barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals.
  • Other grains whole wheat bread and crackers, cut-up bagels, rice cakes, ready-to-eat cereal, pasta, rice.
  • Fruits, sliced fresh or canned, avoid those in excessive sugar.
  • Dried fruit, soaked until soft so it won’t pose a choking hazard most kids like apples, apricots, peaches, pears, dates, pitted prunes.
  • Vegetables, cooked and cut up into pieces they won’t choke on.
  • Proteins like eggs; cut-up or ground meat like turkey meat or poultry; boneless fish; tofu; beans; smooth peanut butter)
  • Combo foods like macaroni and cheese, casseroles
  • Fruit and vegetable juices (100% juice)

How much per day

One serving for a child this age is about a quarter the size of an adult serving.

  • 2 cups dairy (1 cup milk or yogurt; 1 cup = 1 1/2 ounces natural cheese or 2 ounces processed cheese)
  • 4-5 ounces grains (1 ounce = 1 slice of bread; 1/3 cup ready-to-eat cereal, or 1/4 cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups fruit (fresh, frozen, canned, dried and/or 100 percent juice) Emphasize whole fruits rather than juice.
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetables
  • 3 to 4 ounces protein (1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish; 1/4 cup cooked dry beans; or 1 egg)

Have a favorite that is sure to please? Share it in our comments section!

 

Happy Cookie Day! 5 Christmas Cookie Party Ideas

CookieDay In the last 24 hours I have been invited to 2 different cookie parties happening this month. I don’t think that they will be my last two either. This is the first Christmas that my first child will understand a few Christmas traditions and I am so excited!  I am sure she will be elated to know that Christmas cookies are a yearly tradition.

Here are 5 ideas for Christmas Cookie Parties if you are thinking of throwing a party.

Cookie Exchange Party

A cookie exchange party can happen in the evening for a girl’s night out or during the days with kids and chaos.  My friend Tashi is hosting a Christmas cookie exchange this year and here are her rules that you could follow as well.

1. Bring 7 dozen of your best and yummiest cookies.
2. Bring 12 copies of your recipe.
3. Bring 1 dozen of your cookies arranged nicely in a basket or platter.
4. Bring a container to take home your new cookies.
5. If you don’t have time to bake or have ruined your recipe but still want to attend, just go to your local bakery and pick up 7 dozen yummy cookies.

Cookie Decorating Party

christmas_cookies_2 A cookie decorating party is completely fun for the kids and adults during the day time. Everyone can have fun while making a mess and eating delicious cookies.

My friend Jennifer C. is hosting a cookie decorating party and she will be providing the cookies and frosting. If the weather cooperates the party will be happening in the back yard. The guests only need to bring 3 things: (1) their kiddos (who aren’t in school), (2) some sprinkles to share, and (3) a take home container.

I am sure you can ask other moms chip in to bring cookies and ask someone else to bring frosting if you don’t want to provide all of the elements.

Cookie Bake Day

My family has had a cookie bake day almost every year. All the women get together and bake cookies in the same kitchen together. There is always a line for the oven, we are on top of each other, and making a mess on every counter space available, but it is so much fun! At the end of the day we have massive amounts of cookies and we trade what we made. It’s really fun being together and being silly.

Baked Ornament “Cookies”

Perhaps you aren’t looking to gain a few extra pounds this December and would prefer a non-edible party – you can always hang your cookies on the tree instead! I have never made these myself, but I really want to this year. It seems like it would be fun do with my kids and other kids as well. Here is a link to make Christmas Dough Ornament Crafts.


Cheer up homeless shelters and hospitals with your cookies!

cookie_boy After you have a cookie party you can package them up to give to a local hospital or shelter. You can get the kids involved and tell them who the cookies are for. They could even write a note or draw a picture to go with the cookies. You can even take it a step further and collect children’s books to give away along with the cookies. There are homeless shelters with children too. I am sure they would love cookies! A step further would be to gather your friends, family, or church, and provide a cookie decorating party for the children at the shelter. Here in San Antonio, The Strong Foundation, helps homeless families get back on their feet. Check with your local shelter’s volunteer coordinator to see if you can help.

Have you ever hosted a cookie party or participated in one? What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

Thankful for Thanksgiving Food: Link up your recipes!

by Amanda on November 23, 2009
category: Feeding,Humor/Random

We don’t usually talk about recipes here on The Mom Crowd, but how can you NOT when its Thanksgiving? I LOVE Thanksgiving food. I always look forward to eating several Thanksgiving meals during this season. I can’t wait for the leftover stuffing, turkey and gravy that is going to fill my fridge at the end of this week.

My family is spending the night at my in-laws house the night before Thanksgiving this year. We will be cooking the night before and getting up early to cook some more. Each family member is responsible for different parts of the meal. I am always in charge of green beans. Last year I added creamed corn and this year I will also be baking a ham. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law usually handle the turkey.

Here are the recipes that I will be using this week. Please link up your favorite thanksgiving food recipes at the bottom in Mr. Linky.

beans Fresh Green Beans with Bacon

I made up this recipe based on how I remember my my mom making them. Fresh green beans are so easy to make and so good! You can even make these the day before. If you make the day before, store them in their boiling juice to preserve the bacon flavor.

2 pounds of green beans (or more)
4 to 5 strips of bacon (this can be Maple bacon, Peppered Bacon, or regular bacon. I have used all different kinds)
Water
pinch of Salt and Pepper

1. Snap the green beans by snapping off the ends, then breaking the rest of the bean into bite size pieces.
2. Rinse the snapped beans
3. Cut the bacon into 1.5 inch pieces.
4. Put the beans, bacon, salt, and pepper in a pot and fill with water.
5. Boil the beans for about 30 minutes. Pull one bean out to taste to see if it is cooked through enough for you. Be careful not to boil too long or they might get mushy.

Links to other recipes I use:

Cream Corn - I LOVE this Cream Corn recipe on Allrecipes.com. I have made this one several times and it is so good and easy to prepare.

Ham Honey Glazed Ham – I don’t usually eat ham, but for some reason I was craving one this year. I didn’t want to spend the money on a Honey Baked Ham and the pre-done ones at the grocery store were too expensive. I found a regular ham at the grocery store on sale for $.99 a pound! So I bought a big one for $7 to practice with. I made this Honey Glazed recipe and it was delicious! The recipe says to use the broiler at the end for a few minutes. My ham burned on the very top when I used the broiler, but I cut off those burnt bits.

I then used the ham bone and made this Crock Pot Ham Bone and Beans recipe. We licked our bowls clean after this dinner!

I really enjoy discovering new recipes that have already been test driven. Please use Mr. Linky below to post any recipes that you love to make for Thanksgiving!


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