By Tina Ruggiero M.S., R.D., L.D. with Karin Knight R.N.
Fair Winds Press, December 2010
$21.99, paperback with color photos and illustrations
I am a health-conscious and time-conscious mom. While I wish for my baby to have the most nutritious food for his growing body, I also don’t have a lot of time to devote in the kitchen to prepare everything “from scratch”. This book claims most recipes can be made in 10 minutes or less. This is especially important for me as anything that’s remotely inconvenient I tend to stay away from these days! I picked 5 recipes from the book and put that to the test. Here it goes…
Brendan’s Reaction is represented as:
Recipe #1: Broccoli Au Gratin (pg. 84)
This was the quickest recipe of the bunch! My son hasn’t had dairy yet, so I used the non-dairy type of cheese. Personally, I don’t think that kind of ‘cheese’ is very good, so that may have impacted Brendan’s reaction on this one!
Total prep/cook time: 4 minutes
Recipe #2: Lovely Little Pasta Soup (pg. 80)
This was appealing as I’m trying to move away from the pureed foods and increase the textures of the foods my little guy eats. I also diced up carrots and included them in the recipe.
Total prep/cook time: 10 minutes
Recipe #3: Sweet Potato and Cauliflower puree (pg. 85)
I didn’t have any cauliflower on hand, so I substituted broccoli (look at me–taking liberty with the recipes already!). This turned out to be a good substitute, as it was his favorite of these 5 we tested.
Total prep/cook time: 15 minutes
Recipe #4: Chicken in the Grass (pg. 84)
Total prep/cook time: 7 minutes
Recipe #5 Lentil and Banana Mash (pg. 92)
Who would have thought—beans and bananas! The cook time on the lentils was the longest part of this, taking 15 minutes. Thankfull, it didn’t require my full attention.
Total prep/cook time: 17 minutes
Average time for all 5 recipes=10.6 minutes! I am by no means quick with the knife in the kitchen, so your prep times may be shorter on some of these. I also included my 3.5 year old in the preparing and cooking process (she loves the kitchen!), so I subtracted 3 minutes from each of the recipes she was involved in above to allow for that (Recipe #3 and Recipe #5). I also stuck to the 9 and 10 month-old recipes as they seemed most appropriate for my son. He’s still toothless, even at 10.5 months, so I didn’t want foods that were too chunky, but still wanted to offer him varying textures. I always taste the foods I offer Brendan. The homemade versions are DEFINITELY better than the jarred stuff I usually buy, hands down. Like the authors say, there’s nothing like the taste of fresh, homemade baby food. I love sweet potatoes, but I notice they lose a lot of flavor when they come out of a jar! The authors also tote the increased nutrient value of the homemade versions, since you do not have to subject the food to high heat (as is done commercially to sterilize the food and to extend their shelf life).
As a bonus, here is one of Brendan’s favorite recipes for you to try out (reprinted with permission):
Lovely Little Pasta Soup
Pastina literally means “little pasta”, and is commonly used in soups. This recipe will easily adapt to your baby’s age and tastes. Try adding Bright Eyes Mashed Carrots (page 58), Dreamy Creamy Spinach (page 83), or tiny bits of brocolli, chicken or turkey.
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
2 (22g) tablespoons uncooked pastina
STOVETOP METHOD: Bring broth to a gentle boil and add pastina. Cook, stirring frequently 7 or 8 minutes or until pastina is cooked. Serve warm.
This recipe, covered tightly, will last for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, just add a bit of water.
YIELD: 4 baby servings, 1/4 cup (55 g) each
EACH SERVING CONTAINS: 50.8 calories; 0.2 g total fat; 0.1 g saturated fat; 1.9 mg cholesterol; 225.6 mg sodium; 9.6 g carbohydrates; 0.4 g dietary fiber; 2.4 g protein; 2.2 mg calcium; 0.4 mg iron; 0.5 IU vitamin A; and 0.0 mg vitamin C.
Included in the book is a helpful discussion on buying organic foods. This book also features:
- More than 200 baby food recipes for ages six to 23 months
- Helpful finger foods for your growing infant
- Month-by-month feeding guide
- A discussion on fish and shellfish, and a ‘shopping list’ of low mercury fish
- Beautiful, full-color photographs
- An easy-to-spot snowflake symbol next to recipes which can be frozen
- A fun recipe evaluation chart, so parents can rate meals their little ones like best
- Insight about infant nutrition, allergies & intolerances, and more!
The recipes are yummy, and are all foods I would eat anyways (except, maybe, pureed chicken!). You never know, you may find yourself sharing your babies’ dinner tonight.
That’s IT Mommy friend, Heather
About the Authors
Karin Knight, R.N., is co-author of the best-selling book The Baby Cookbook (more than 43,000 copies sold) and 1-2-3 Cook for Me. Before turning cooking into an occupation, she spent twenty-five years working as a registered nurse.
Tina Ruggiero, M.S., R.D., L.D., is a sought-after nutritionist, spokesperson and author. Fondly called The Gourmet Nutritionist, Tina is heard on TV and radio and her writing and interviews have appeared in magazines such as Family, Men’s Health and First for Women. Tina is founder of her own nutrition-consulting firm where she helps both
corporations and consumers. She is also a nutrition correspondent for NBC’s syndicated television show, Daytime, where 65 million viewers see her regularly. Tina is also the Food and Nutrition Expert for Brooke Burke’s ModernMom.com, the most comprehensive mom-focused community online today, reaching 500,000 moms every month. Her blog, www.voiceofreason.net, is often cited in magazines, newspapers and on
the Internet for its reliable, accurate and inspiring content.
Tina hosts monthly contests on the book’s Facebook page and through her e-newsletter, The Gourmet Baby. Tina gives away copies of the book, bowls, spoons, high chairs and other feeding essentials. Check out their website for more info!
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