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Cooking For Baby

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Written by Heather Jones   
Friday, 10 April 2009

ImageWhen my oldest daughter was a baby I didn’t really think about making homemade baby food; I was still in shock that I had actually given birth to this precious creature and was trying to feel my way through new motherhood.  When she was first born I had planned on breast feeding, but when a post delivery health situation left me unable to nurse I gave her an expensive name brand formula and never missed a beat.  When the pediatrician said it was time to start with baby food I happily went shopping and stocked up on those cute little glass jars of food.

Now, nearly 4 years later the food situation in this country is horrendous, not a week goes by without hearing about some report on e. coli or salmonella in yet another food product.  This has caused me to really start re-thinking my families eating choices and when my youngest daughter was born I knew immediately that I would be making her food from fresh, healthy, organic ingredients.

As before, I planned on nursing, but once again I was unable to (I quickly found out that I was no Elyse the cow, I couldn’t keep up with my little dumpling).  Instead, I started her on formula as I did with my oldest,  but this time it was a well-known organic brand.  Anxiously awaiting the opportunity to give her that first spoonful of applesauce I knew I needed a good resource to guide me on the basics of cooking for baby so I was thrilled when I found out that author and teacher Lisa Barnes had just released such a book.

"Cooking for Baby" gives you all of the information you need to get started on making healthy and tasty meals for your baby or toddler.  The book begins by giving you an overview of which foods to start feeding with and how to prepare and store them.  The rest of the book offers a wide range of recipes broken down by age group from 6 to 18 months.

I was elated when I found that I could make my own brown rice cereal (see recipe below) and shocked that you could give a 9 month old a Blackberry & Ricotta parfait (see recipe below). But, I have to say that my little Rachel is pretty grateful.

The recipes are some of the most original that I’ve seen and most are definitely geared to us Foodie parents that hope our children will follow in our footsteps -  Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese puree anyone?

The author provides you with tons of invaluable information and never strays away from her main focus, providing healthy, flavorful meals that will put our children on the path toward a lifetime of good eating.  This book is a perfect gift for all of those first time moms out there and veterans alike. 

Baby's Rice Cereal

From Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months by Lisa Barnes (Fireside 2009)

  • 1/4 cup brown rice

Put rice in a blender and pulverize into a powder, 3-5 minutes on medium to high speed. Bring 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown rice powder and reduce heat to low. Cook, whisking constantly, until water is absorbed, 4-5 minutes. Add water, breast milk, or formula to thin the cereal to a consistency your baby can handle. As baby gets older and tries more foods, combine rice cereal with fruit or vegetable purees.

NOTES: Commercially prepared baby rice cereal is usually fortified with added iron. If you prepare rice cereal at home, discuss your baby's iron needs with your pediatrician. Young babies can get iron from a range of foods, including breast milk, formula, meat, poultry, prunes, and dried apricots. To store, refrigerate cooled cereal in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or fill ice-cube trays or other containers to freeze for up to 3 months.

Blackberry & Ricotta Parfait

From Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months by Lisa Barnes (Fireside 2009)

  • 1 cup blackberries, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon


Puree blackberries in a food processor until smooth. There will be seeds in the puree. To remove them, put the puree in a fine-mesh sieve over a small mixing bowl and push puree through sieve with a rubber spatula. In a small mixing bowl, stir together ricotta, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In a dessert cup, alternate layers of blackberry puree and ricotta mixture. Finish with a halved berry on top.

NOTES: Blackberries are less allergenic than strawberries or raspberries, but if allergies run in your family, you may wish to delay introducing all berries; consult your pediatrician. To store parfait, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

About Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months


Image The 80 recipes in Cooking for Baby make preparing delicious meals for babies and toddlers a breeze, even for busy parents. The recipes are organized by age, showing how to introduce cereal grains and simple vegetable and fruit purees to your infant at 6 months, how to move on to chunkier foods by 8 or 9 months, and how to graduate to real meals for young toddlers of 12 to 18 months to enjoy along with the entire family. When you see how easy it is, with a few smart tips on preparation and storage, you'll never go back to the jars.

Available at Amazon.com

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 11 April 2009 )
Isis (Registered) 2009-10-23 02:58:59

I prefer homemade food to other outside food for my baby.

Isis
Louise (Unregistered) 2011-06-09 16:14:05

How ludicrous to alternate layers of blackberry and ricoota! For a 6 month old baby!!
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