banana, blueberry, and beet

i know, it sounds weird. but i’m telling you, fritz loves it. this puree is very sweet (thanks to the bananas) and packed with nutrients. the beets and blueberries are from the farmers market, though the bananas are not (obviously). i would advise feeding this to your child while they are shirtless though, as it does stain. also, please do not be alarmed you find a diaper is full of bright red poop. it’s just the beets.

credit for this combination once again goes to happy baby foods. fritz tried this on vacation and really liked it a lot, so i recreated it for him at home (lucky little squirt).

banana, blueberry, and beet puree

  • 6 medium beets
  • 4 bananas, peeled and cut into 1/4 ” discs
  • 1 package fresh blueberries
  • olive oil
  • pinch of salt

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. remove the green stems from the beets, and wash them well (i used a little potato scrubber). quarter them and then cut each quarter into thirds. toss with just enough olive oil to very lightly coat them and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. very lightly dust with a pinch of salt. roast for about 30 minutes, remove and toss around, return to the oven and roast for an additional 30 minutes. they should be soft when pierced with a fork.

add the beets, bananas, and blueberries to the food processor and whiz up until they are smooth. pour into freezer trays and freeze.

notes: this is good. like, really good. i don’t normally go for beets (i mean, i’ll eat them, but i don’t dream about them the way i do with mangoes) but this made me reconsider. a very nice combo!

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sweet potato, apple, and cinnamon

this combination is a real winner, it is sweet, creamy, and full of warm spiciness from the cinnamon. fritz is a huge fan. i should say that i don’t usually make apples, it’s just as inexpensive to get applesauce at the store, and with the ‘no sugar added’ varieties on the market, it’s just as nutritionally sound (just make sure you read the ingredients—apples, water, and some form of citric acid to prevent browning should be the only three ingredients included). however, we had some gala apples laying around and i decided to try something new. this gets a 5 out of 5 “nums” on the fritz scale, he particularly likes it paired with shredded chicken breast.

sweet potato, apple, and cinnamon

sweet potato, apples, and cinnamon

  • 2 gala apples
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

preheat the oven to 350 and scrub the potato skins. place the potatoes on the rack (with a pan or piece of foil underneath to catch the sweet sticky drips) and cook for about 35 minutes. check to see if they are done by pricking with a knife…if they are still firm, continue cooking in increments of 10 minutes. once cooked, remove and set aside to cool.

wash and core the apples, but keep the skin on. steam the apples in the beaba on water setting #2. if not using a beaba, steam on the stove top in a pot with a steaming basket or attachment. the apples should be soft, but not mush…you don’t want to cook out all of the nutrients. puree in the beaba or with a food processor. you will need to puree for a while to make sure the skin pieces are small enough to not be a choking hazard.

slice the potatoes in half and remove and mash the flesh. (i put mine through a potato ricer to get rid of the stringy bits of fiber…though this may have gotten rid of some of the nutrients as well, fritz is just too young to chew those up, so use your own discretion.) mix together with the apples and add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. transfer to freezer trays and freeze.

asparagus, green bean, and mint puree

fritz loves green beans…he’s like his father that way. i seriously think i could give him just green beans for an entire meal and he’d be ok with it. i recently decided to pair his favorite vegetable with another vegetable he loves, asparagus. i added a touch of mint to keep it bright and fresh, and he gobbles it right up. warning: this puree will give your sweet smiling baby asparagus pee…do not be alarmed, it is perfectly normal. this recipe gets 4 out of 5 “nums” on the fritz scale.

asparagus, green bean, and mint puree

asparagus, green beans, and mint

  • one bunch asparagus
  • one bag (or 1/2#) of green beans
  • mint

remove the woody ends from the asparagus  (and if you are like us, save them for the dog, he’ll thank you) and cut into chunks. remove stems from green beans and cut into chunks. if using a beaba you will need to steam the asparagus and the green beans in batches on the #2 water setting. if you are using a pot and a steaming attachment or steaming basket, you can cook them all at once. once everything is steamed add it to a food processor (or work in batches using the beaba) and then add finely minced mint. pour into freezer trays and freeze.

mango, pear, and spinach puree

when we went on vacation recently i served fritzy happy baby food pouches, and this combo was his favorite. ever the devoted mama, i decided to recreate it at home…much to his enjoyment.

mango, pear, and spinach puree

  • 4 bartlett pears
  • 2 mangoes
  • 5 oz baby spinach

remove seeds from pears and—retaining the skin—chop into 1″ cubes. if using the beaba, steam the pears on the #2 water setting. if not using a beaba, steam in a pot with a steaming basket or steaming attachment. transfer pears to the bowl of a food processor. peel and cube mango, and add to the food processor. place spinach in a bowl and add about 1/4 cup of water. place in microwave and cook on high for 1 minute, stir through. if the greens aren’t fully wilted, that’s ok, go ahead and add them to the food processor. process everything until it is smooth, transfer to food trays and freeze.

this earned a 5 out of 5 “nums” on the fritz meter. he really likes it. i have to say it’s sweet (because of the fruit) but packs a serious punch in the vitamin category from the spinach. a real winner.

the easiest paella ever

some may not call this paella and i call those people spaniards. for everyone else, this is a close enough facsimile of the real thing.

my version is a bastardized version of the mark bittman paella that he has published in his book, in his column, and on his website. it’s different enough that i’m ok with providing a recipe here and not crediting him, but it’s similar enough that if you’ve tried his before and liked it, you’ll like this as well. papa fritz isn’t usually fond of the bittman repertoire, he finds the recipes bland. i like their simple ingredients and the short time required to cook them. and my response to papa fritz is that the easy solution for bland is to add some spice and herbs here and there.

the beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity. there are not many ingredients, and therefore, the ones you use should be of the highest possible (or available) quality. each ingredient is a key player here, so don’t skimp.

paella

Paella

  • olive oil
  • one small onion, diced
  • salt + pepper
  • 2 cups arborio* rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • one 28 oz. can plum tomatoes
  • pinch of saffron (optional)
  • smoked paprika (optional)
  • chorizo, cut into chunks
  • shrimp, peeled, cleaned, and de-veined

preheat the oven to 425 degrees. in a large heavy-bottomed pot (preferably a dutch oven) heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. add the onions, salt, and pepper (to taste) and stir until the onions are glassy (but not browned). at the same time, heat the chicken stock and saffron in a second pot over low heat until just warmed through. the stock will change color from the saffron.

once the onions are glassy add the rice and stir until it is all coated in the oil and onions. continue cooking for about two minutes (this will give the rice a nice nutty flavor). add the tomatoes, chorizo, paprika (to taste, but about two teaspoons), and stock. stir through and bring to a boil. once the stock is boiling stir through once more and then add the shrimp to the top, cover, and put in the oven.

cook for 25 minutes, remove from the oven, and stir. check to see if the rice is done. if it’s too dry, add some more stock. return to the oven in 5 minute increments—adding more stock as needed—if the rice isn’t cooked, otherwise, remove from oven and serve.

*i was running low on arborio rice and had to use 1 cup of japanese sushi rice to supplement, it worked really well. just don’t use long grain rice here, it needs to be short and fat. heh.

notes: i didn’t have any shrimp when i made this, so they aren’t pictured above, but they really do “make” this dish. i use the san marzano tomatoes because they are the best, and i put them in whole along with their juices from the can. the cooking process breaks them down, so don’t expend any energy doing that with a wooden spoon or your hands. also, fritz really enjoyed this and he’s only ten months old (not the chorizo part, just the rice part), so it’s totally kid friendly. the sausage would still be too spicy for most kids, but the shrimp would probably be more appealing to them.

carrot and cardamom risotto

i recently whipped up a batch of carrot and cardamom risotto for fritz. i knew he liked carrots. i knew he liked grains. i had no idea, however, that he would take to risotto so enthusiastically. of all of the recipes i’ve made for fritz, this is the most labor intensive, though that is just due to the nature of risotto, which requires constant vigilance (a little dodgeball reference for your wednesday afternoon).

i’ve been slowly introducing fritz to the idea that his food can have flavor, and to do this i’m using spices and herbs. when concocting this recipe, i went through a whole series of compliments to carrots including sesame, coriander, and cumin. cardamom is one of my favorite spices though, and vastly underutilized in this country, so i went out on a limb. you will note that there isn’t a large quantity included and that is due to babies having a very sensitive palate. however, feel free to adjust the seasoning to meet the desire of your child.

carrot and cardamom risotto

carrot and cardamom risotto

  • 1 bunch/bag organic carrots
  • 3/4 cup of arborio or sushi rice
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

peel and scrub the carrots and then chop them into chunks. if using a beaba steamer fill the cup to “3” and steam. otherwise, steam the carrots in a pot fitted with a mesh strainer or a steaming basket (being sure to reserve water). puree the carrots, adding water to them to thin them out and maintain nutrients. mix in the cardamom, set aside.

heat the chicken stock in a pot over a very low flame.

in a large  pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. add the rice and stir though to coat in the oil. cook the rice for 1-2 minutes until it takes on a toasty smell. begin to add the chicken stock about 1/2 cup at a time, stir through, and when it is absorbed (this will happen more quickly in the beginning of the process) add another 1/2 cup. continue to do this until all of the stock is absorbed and the rice is very soft (much softer than if it were being served to someone with a full set of teeth). turn off the heat and stir in the carrots. distribute into freezer trays (we use the beaba 2 oz. version) and freeze, or serve immediately. this will only keep in the fridge for a few days, so be sure to freeze it or use it as soon as possible.

notes: if this seems like a disproportionate amount of stock for 3/4 cup of rice that’s because it is. the rice needs to be a little softer than usual so that they babies can gum it. once your little ‘un gets some teeth you can use less stock and not let it get so soft. also, it should be noted that if an appropriate chicken stock is used, this recipe is gluten free!

some updates

diapers

we are back in cloth! i put out the bat signal to my local cloth diaper shop and got back a response very quickly. she recommended a lot of very hot water and a very hot dryer. she also recommended sunshine, which apparently kills bacteria. however, since this weekend was full of torrential downpours, the heat will have to do. i was pretty over the disposables, though i can see their allure. the only downside of this is that fritz will now have bubble butt again, meaning his clothes will no longer fit. (bubble butt is cute though…just sayin’.)

baby food

i spent the bulk of the weekend making meals for fritz. he seemed totally unimpressed by my effort…it’s like he thinks it all just grows on a food tree. at any rate, i have 5 new baby food recipes to share with you over the next few days, yay! fritz has tested each of these and really likes them all. i’m going to be using a newly patented fritz rating system for consistency, so stay tuned for that.

grump* food

as you probably know by now borders is going out of business. because of this their entire store is 30-50% off right now so naturally we went and bought a ton of books. i got three new cookbooks, and have decided to do reviews of each of them for you. my plan is to make a recipe every day for one week from the same book, then write a brief review of each recipe and an overall review of the book. i will probably go back and do this with some of my older books as well (of which i have many…papa fritz likes to imply that i have a ‘problem’, but he’s wrong). at any rate, the first book is so easy by ellie krieger.

*this is what my brother and i called grown ups when we were kids. we were so cute.

big boy

my big boy got a hair cut in an actual salon over the weekend. which is good, because his hair was like a mop that trapped nothing by food particles. i kinda miss it’s messiness though, i’m not going to lie. also, my son is suddenly a big boy. i’m not sure when it happened, but he is officially very decidedly not a baby any more. just take a look at this:

8.19 straw

that is a sippy cup with a straw! and he’s all nonchalant about it…why can’t we just trap them at this age for a few years? i’m not ready for him to grow up!

a lip smackin’ good time

fritz recently learned how to smack his lips. he’s become obsessed with it. if you look at him and smack your lips, he will break out into a huge grin and start doing it as well. most of the time he walks around (supported by our hands still) very purposefully, and smacks his lips. he’s very busy.

speaking of lip smacking, here’s what fritz had for dinner last night:

Dinner for Fritz

from top left to right: shmushed up fresh peach from the farmers market, shmushed up avocado, cous cous, and roasted salmon.

bacon, swiss chard, and feta frittata

so the shrieking has improved. makes me wonder if fritz had a little tummy bug or something that was making him not himself. then i wonder if i’m a bad mother for not taking him to the doctor, but that’s a subject for another post entirely.

this post is about food. the deliciously cheesy, vegetable laden protein bombs more commonly referred to as frittatas. we eat a lot of these in our home because they are easy and you can put just about anything in them. sometimes we go totally vegetarian in our fillings, but not this time. frittatas are so easy it’s almost obscene, which makes them perfect for a weeknight meal! if you are more motivated than me you can serve yours alongside a nice salad.

i’ve been finding some really beautiful swiss chard at the farmers market lately. i think the most delicious way to eat this vegetable is in a frittata. i played around with the flavors, and have settled on this combination.

bacon, swiss chard, and feta frittata

  • 1/2 pound of bacon, sliced into lardons
  • one bunch of swiss chard, cleaned well
  • 6 ounces of feta (we use low fat, but it’s entirely up to you)
  • 12 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

clean the swiss chard very well and then dry it and separate the stalks from the leaves. chop the stalks into little chunks and cut the leaves into ribbons. preheat the oven to 350.in a large bowl whisk 12 eggs together.

heat a large pan over medium high heat and add some olive oil…maybe 2 tablespoons. once it’s heated, add the bacon lardons. i know it seems silly to add fat when the fat will render out of the bacon, but you will need all of the fat to wilt the chard, so bear with me. once the bacon has begun to brown add the chard stalks. stir until they begin to soften, then add the chard leaves in batches, stirring them through the fat until each batch wilts. once all of the chard is wilted, sprinkle the feta over the top and reduce the heat to medium. pour the eggs over the bacon/vegetable/cheese goodness, and use a rubber spatula to make sure it gets around all of the edges. cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the bottom and sides begin to set, but the center/top is still runny. pop into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the top is set and the edges of the frittata have pulled away from the sides of the pan. enjoy!

also, though completely unrelated to the recipe, i wanted to share some ‘fritz food’ with you today. this is what my little man has for breakfast every day:

that’s a little tropical salad of kiwi, strawberry, blueberries, and mango. he also gets some oatmeal and yogurt. what a lucky boy, huh?

dinner for fritz

the instant i found out i was pregnant with fritz i knew i would be investing in this machine. i was (and am) committed to making food for fritz that is local and organic whenever possible. in addition to starting him out with a healthy appreciation for a natural approach to food, it is considerably cheaper to take this approach. i won’t lie to you and tell you it takes no time at all, but i will say that it is time well spent.

in the beginning fritz just had steamed and pureed vegetables. but lately (now that he is 9 months old) we’ve begun to introduce some blends. i thought i’d share two “recipes” with you. fritz really liked both of these dishes.

Dinner

on the top/left is steamed and pureed summer squash, no recipe needed there. i got the squash from the farmers market and i used the beaba to steam and puree.

on the right is a blend of red new potatoes, asparagus, and basil. i got all of the vegetables from the farmers market. you can do this without the beaba, but i used that to make it easier. either way: wash the vegetables and herbs, do not peel (a lot of nutrients are in the skin of vegetables). dice the vegetables and add to a pot with a steaming attachment (or use the beaba on water setting 3). steam until fork tender and then puree until desired consistency. mince the herbs and add to the vegetables, pulse a few times to incorporate. transfer to freezer tray and freeze. you can serve this immediately as well, though it should cool. it will only keep in the refrigerator for a few days though.

on the bottom is cous cous with basil and tomatoes (spaghetti for babies)*. (check your package for exact measurements, but these should be good across the cous cous spectrum.) heat 1/2 cup of water in the microwave for two minutes. add 1/3 cup of plain cous cous to the water, stir, and cover. let sit for 5 minutes, then remove cover and fluff with fork. add a teeny tiny bit of salt and some extra virgin olive oil. finely mince a few leaves of basil and stir through. top with diced tomatoes. i keep this in the fridge for a few days (but keep the tomatoes separate) and it keeps fine. sometimes he eats this topped with salmon instead (his favorite).

he topped off this meal with some halved blueberries and diced peaches (also from the farmers market). i’ll post more blends as i come up with them.

*cous cous is pasta, and therefore contains wheat, a common allergen. if you have not introduced wheat to your child, please monitor them after giving them this dish to ensure that you catch any possible reaction.