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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Good morning everyone!  And Lil Z-Bear wishes you a very good morning too.  He was looking particularly fetching in a yellow Fuzzibunz.

We just started our day with some amazing and easy-peasy french toast.  I’d love to share the recipe:

Never-fail French Toast

6 slices of Challah bread
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter

Cut the bread into slices.

Heat a skillet on medium heat.  Whisk together the eggs, milk, and sugar until frothy.

Spread half of the butter on to the heated skillet (it should sizzle). Dip the bread into the egg mixture and let the bread soak for a few seconds before transferring to skillet to cook.

Cook each side on medium heat until golden brown.  Slightly press on the bread while cooking.  This makes the texture inside the french toast soft while the outside is a little crunchy since it is browned in butter. 

Spread remaining butter on french toast.  Serve with maple syrup or honey.

Enjoy!

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A dollop of organic yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of smoked paprika - One of Lil Z's favorite snacks.

I am enjoying introducing new foods into Lil Z-Bear’s diet.  There is nothing quite like giving a new food to him for the first time, and the faces he makes before he decides if he likes it or not.  But whoever says baby food needs to be bland and boring?  I am taking my cue from cultures all over the world that introduce babies to all types of foods, not just bland cereal and mashed, unflavored veggies.  When I prepare Z-Bear’s food, I warm it and sprinkle it with a dash of spices, and let the aromatics waft through the steam and let him smell it.  I taste everything I let the little cub eat.  And frankly, it’s quite yummy!  Especially since I have smelled and tried the baby food that comes in a jar, and some of it is rather unappetizing.  I have been introducing Lil Z-Bear to all kinds of flavorings in his food, and here are a few items that have him drooling (more than usual, that is). 

(Of course, I check with our doctor before introducing anything that I am not sure about, and I make sure I prepare food properly so it poses no choking hazard.   Like with any other food, when introducing herbs and spices, wait 3 to 4 days in between to make sure there isn’t an allergic reaction.)

Cinnamon:  A great first spice, it is sweet, mildly spicy, and very aromatic.  It’s perfect over applesauce, bananas, and sweet potatoes.

Cracked black pepper:  Great to give food a bit of a kick and to enhance the sweetness in fruits.

Cumin:  Roast a quarter cup of cumin seeds on a hot pan for 1 to 2 minutes, shaking constantly.  Grind in a spice mill or coffee grinder and store in a jar.   Sprinkle some on steamed pureed veggies or poached pureed fruit.  Let your baby smell the delicious aroma that arises when you add it to warmed fruit and veggies and watch him eat it up with delight!

Garam Masala:  A favorite in our house, this mixture of ground roasted spices is great over fruits, veggies, and proteins.  It is readily available in the spice section of most grocery stores.

Rosemary, sage, and thyme:  Throw in some fresh leaves while steaming baby food, and simply remove leaves after cooking (This is to prevent choking hazard)

Garlic:  I have read in countless places that babies love the taste of garlic.  And Lil Z-Bear’s delight in eating food flavored with freshly peeled, crushed garlic (added before cooking) proves it.

Paprika:  Mild flavored (it’s made from ground sweet peppers) and vibrant, this is a great way to introduce baby to pepper.

Basil: Sweet smelling and flavorful, it’s great to add in steamed vegetables.

Ginger: This is excellent in poached apples and pears, as well as sweet potatoes.  Add while cooking, and be sure to puree food well before serving baby.

Other great spices and flavorings that I am looking forward to trying for Lil Z-Bear: Coriander, Turmeric, Dill, Parsley, Cilantro, Lemongrass, and Coconut Milk.  Will keep you posted!

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Ever since Lil Z-Bear was born, we have started a switch to organic in our house. It’s a slow process and we are nowhere near where we want to be. However, everything we put in Lil Z-Bear is 100% organic. Think organic is expensive? Well, it is. But, if you compare buying conventional jarred baby food against homemade organic baby food, organic is cheaper. Way cheaper.

Daunted by homemade baby food? There is no need to be! It’s easy, fun, and inexpensive.  I don’t have any special equipment to make baby food (mainly because we just don’t have the counterspace in our small kitchen) but all I need is the stove and oven, and my trusty Cuisinart Food Processor.  Below are some recipes I want to share that always please Lil Z-Bear!

Butternut Squash

1 medium organic butternut squash

Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and bake half hour to 45 minutes at 400 degrees.  Squash is done when flesh is soft and tender and easily scoops out of the skin.  Mash flesh with fork or potato masher, or puree in food processor.  Add a little water to thin out and make smooth.   Portion out and freeze.  Thaw in warm water or microwave for 30 seconds.  Serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Sweet Potatoes

3 medium organic sweet potatoes (or organic jewel yams, I switch between the two, Lil Z-Bear loves both!)

Boil covered for 45 minutes.  Let rest until cool enough to handle and peel.  Mash with fork or potato masher. Portion out and freeze. Thaw in warm water or microwave for 30 seconds. Serve with a sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper.

Carrots

A bag of organic baby carrots

Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and bake 35 to 45 minutes at 375 degrees.  Carrots are done when soft and tender.  Place in food processor and puree until smooth.  Add a little water to thin, if necessaray.  Portion out and freeze. Thaw in warm water or microwave for 30 seconds. 

Sweet Green Peas

A bag of frozen organic peas.

Boil covered in 3/4 cup of water for 15 to 25 minutes.  Drain and puree in food processor until smooth.  Add a little water to thin, if necessary.  Portion out and freeze. Thaw in warm water or microwave for 30 seconds.

Comice Pears

3 Organic Comice Pears (although any pear will do, and if you can’t find Comice, Bartlett and Anjou work very well, the soft, juicy texture of Comice pears make them ideal for baby food)

Organic Rice or Oatmeal Cereal

Peel pears, remove seeds and stem, and cut into cubes.  Steam or microvawe for 3 to 5 minutes.  Mash with fork or potato masher.  Add 4 tablespoons of organic rice cereal or oatmeal to thicken.  Portion out and freeze. Thaw in warm water or microwave for 30 seconds.

Banana

One small very ripe organic banana

Tablespoon of organic rice cereal

This is probably the easiest baby food to make.  Mash banana with a fork until smooth.  Add a tablespoon of rice cereal and mix well.  Serve immediately.

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