Friday, September 14, 2012

Infants and Toddlers CAN Love Fruits and Veggies

This is the post that was featured on Thrifty Nifty Mommy, I thought that all of my mommy readers would be interested in seeing this on MCO as well. 

Thus far, the toughest part of being a parent is figuring out what to feed my son that is nutritious and tasty. His absolute favorite thing in the world are frozen chicken nuggets and it makes me feel like such a terrible mother to feed my son something from the frozen section! He'll eat chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, jelly sandwiches, lasagna and breakfast foods (pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, etc), but he won't touch ravioli, chicken that I cook, and veggies. He loves Plum Organic baby food pouches but they are so pricy that we can only choose to feed them to him when we are out and about. so I started thinking about it. What can I feed my son that is packed full of nutrition and that he'll still love? A friend of mine told me that her sister in law was making her daughter fruit and oat pancakes as a snack. I loved that idea but getting fruit into my son wasn't the problem! Getting the veggies down was and I knew I'd have to be creative to get him to eat them. Using my friends idea, my sons love of pancakes, and my determination, I created these recipes. The first is a purée that you can use with little ones with no teeth and the second is a recipe on turning that purée into a pancake for your little one to enjoy! You can vary the recipe(s) depending on what fruits and veggies that you want to feed your child- my "rule of thumb" is simply to make sure you add more veggies than fruits! My recipes will be made of yellow squash, spinach,  apple, and blueberry. Here's what I do!

Purée Recipe

What You Need:

1/2 Cup of Frozen Spinach (I use organic)
1 Small Yellow Squash
1 Apple (I used Fuji)
Approx 20 Baby Carrots
1/3 Cup of Blueberries
1  1/4 Cup of Water 
1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon (optional!)

What You Need To Do:

Wash your vegetables, slice and peel them (if applicable) so that they are ready to be steamed (please note, i do not steam the blueberries!!) Steam your fruits and vegetables until they are able to be mashed with a fork. I use my Food Network double decker steamer (purchased at Kohls, retail $50 but I waited until I had a $10 off coupon card AND 30% off coupon to purchase!) and I am able to steam everything at once making it much easier! I steamed everything for about 30 minutes but the carrots needed some extra time so I took out the rest when was ready. I combined everything in a large bowl to cool while waiting for the carrots. Once the carrots were soft and cooled I grabbed my Baby Bullet (given as a baby shower gift, you cause a blender, a food processor, or even by hand if you have a good masher and mixer!). I put half of the veggie/fruit combo into the bullet and added 1/2 cup of water and blended until everything was smooth. I then add the second half of the veggies/fruit into the mixture and another 1/2 cup of water. Once the second half is smooth, I add my blueberries, another 1/4 cup of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional!). Blend it together in the purée and you are good to go! I like to add this purée to baby oatmeal, I feel like it helps fill the tummy longer and makes for more of a meal than a snack!! I freeze the puree to use as we go and the purée I don't freeze I use within three days if making! Remember, you can use whatever fruits and veggies you feel would be best for your child! 

Pancake Recipe

What You Need:

Fruit and Veggie Purée (Make the purée according to the recipe above)
1/2 Cup of Whole Grain Oats (uncooked)
2 Eggs
1/2 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
1 Cup of Flour
Splash of Vanilla Extract (Optional)

What You Need To Do:

Start by using your baby bullet, blender or food processor, process the oats until they are thin. Using your mixer (Kitchenaid or hand held) combine oats, eggs, baking powder, flour, vanilla (optional) and purée until the mixture has the constancy of regular pancakes. If for some reason your mixture is to thick, add tiny bits of water (tablespoons at a time) until your mixture reaches the ideal consistency. The purée may vary in consistency depending on the fruits and veggies you used so do not be alarmed if you have to add water! If the mixture is to thin, add tablespoon by tablespoon of flour. Once your mixture is ready to go, grab your griddle or large non stick pan, spray lightly with a vegetable oil cooking spray or butter and pour your pancake mixture onto the griddle/pan. As a pre warning, your pancakes will take quite a bit of time to cook since we are cooking fruits and vegetables. Do not be alarmed if it seems like it may still be slightly gooey in the middle, it is because of the vegetables. I made these pancakes once using peas and was getting so upset that my pancakes were turning out terrible before I realized that it was the peas! Brown the pancakes on each side until the middle feels firm and take them off the griddle/pan. Repeat until the entire batch is completed! I allow my pancakes to cool entirely before I wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze. When I'm ready to feed Baby A a pancake, I simplest unwrap, microwave on high for 1 minute (maybe a few seconds longer depending on the size of the pancake), let cool, cut and serve! 

Baby A loves the pancakes and eats them daily! I feel great about serving them since I know exactly what is in the pancakes and I know that he is getting the fruits and vegetables that he needs in his diet. I will say this, do not be discouraged if your pancakes do not turn out perfect, as I said above, the vegetables may affect the cooking process slightly depending on their consistency (don't use peas!). It took making this recipe a handful of times before I finally had it down but at times it still doesn't come out perfect! The batch of pancakes made for this blog post have lasted a week and I still have about five pancakes in the freezer waiting to be eaten. I highly recommend trying these out for your little one, they'll love them and you'll feel great about serving them!

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