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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, May 19, 2008

Baby-food recipes to make at home

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

William Maroldtries steamed carrots at his family's home in Indialantic, Fla. "Most people are not aware that they can make food for their children," says Dorothy McCullagh, Ph.D. "If you stick to the fruits and vegetables, they're easy to do. Just steam them and put them in the blender." (Gannett News Service, Craig Bailey/Florida Today)

CRAIG BAILEY | Florida Today

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Sure, bottled baby food and packaged toddler meals are convenient, but some people prefer the DIY method; freshness (plus peace of mind, if you choose organic ingredients) are among the reasons. Some recipes:


Peel, core and cut an apple into slices or chunks. Place in a pan with enough water to slightly cover apples. Boil until tender.

Mash apples with a potato masher to achieve a smooth applesauce consistency.

Peel a ripe banana and mash in a bowl with a fork. (Heating in the microwave for about 20 seconds will soften the banana.)

Add applesauce to the banana. If desired, sprinkle with wheat germ or crushed Cheerios (see note).

Puree if necessary (mashing with a potato masher should smooth the mixture).

Note: Banana-applesauce mush is appropriate for babies 6 months and older. Banana-applesauce mush with wheat germ or Cheerios is appropriate for babies 8 months and older.




Makes 12-14 (1-ounce or heaped tablespoon) baby servings

1 medium-size ripe cantaloupe, cut into eighths, rind removed, seeds discarded

Place prepared cantaloupe wedges in a steamer basket set in a pot filled with a small amount of lightly boiling water. Cover tightly (for better nutrient retention) and steam for 3-5 minutes or until fruit is soft, replenishing water during steaming if necessary. Check for doneness with a toothpick or fork; fruit should pierce easily. Set cantaloupe aside to cool. Strain cantaloupe in a food mill or puree in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. No additional liquid is required.

Microwave directions: Place prepared cantaloupe wedges in a microwave-safe dish. Add 1/4 cup water, and cover with plastic wrap, pulling back one corner to vent. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes, rearrange wedges, re-cover, and cook for 30 seconds to 2 1/2 minutes. Check for doneness, and proceed with recipe.

Notes: Introduce cantaloupe and other melons at 12 months.

— "Mommy Made and Daddy Too! Home Cooking for a Healthy Baby & Toddler"



1 cup cold and cooked boneless chicken, chopped into 1-inch or smaller pieces

1/4 cup plain water or cooking liquid from the chicken

Place chicken chunks in a blender or food processor, and puree until a very fine, crumbly mix is formed. Slowly add water, and puree further until a smooth consistency is created.

Add as much liquid as needed to make a consistency appropriate for your baby.

Note: This puree can be introduced at 7 to 8 months of age, with the advice of your pediatrician.




Makes 2 (4-ounce) custards

1 egg yolk, beaten

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients together. Divide mixture between two 4-ounce custard cups. Set custard cups in a pan in preheated oven. Create a water bath by pouring hot water around cups; the water level should reach halfway up their sides. Bake custard for 30 minutes or until done. (A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.)

Variation: Add 2 teaspoons of fresh pureed fruit or vegetables to the custard mixture. Divide between three 4-ounce custard cups, and proceed with recipe.

— "Mommy Made and Daddy Too! Home Cooking for a Healthy Baby & Toddler"



Makes 4 to 6 (1-ounce or heaped tablespoon) baby servings

1 4- to 6-ounce piece of flounder fillet (or any mild, firm-fleshed white fish)

Place fish fillet in a steamer basket set in a pot filled with a small amount of lightly boiling water. Cover tightly (for better nutrient retention), and steam for 5-7 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, replenishing water during steaming if necessary. Set fish aside to cool, reserving steaming liquid. When cool, flake fish with a fork, discarding any bones, then mash to desired consistency. If necessary, thin fish with water or a bit of the steaming liquid.

Microwave directions: Place the fillet on a microwave-safe dish. Add 3 tablespoons water, and cover tightly with plastic wrap, pulling back one corner to vent. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes. Test for doneness, and proceed with recipe. (To adjust consistency, use liquid left in cooking dish).

Note: Introduce white-fleshed fish (not shellfish) at 12 months.

—"Mommy Made and Daddy Too! Home Cooking for a Healthy Baby & Toddler"



1/4 cup ground oats (see notes)

3/4 cup water

Bring liquid to boil in saucepan. Add ground oats while stirring constantly. Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly.

Mix in formula or breast milk and pureed fruit, if desired. Serve warm.

Notes: Don't use instant or quick-cooking oats. Grind oatmeal in a blender or food processor. Oatmeal cereal is appropriate for babies 6-8 months old.




1 pint sugar snap peas


Breast milk or formula (optional)

Cut the tips off the peas, and remove the strings along each seam.

Add water to saucepan about 1-inch high. Place steamer basket inside saucepan. Add sugar snap peas, bring to a boil, and steam until peas are tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Transfer the peas to a food processor, and reserve the cooking liquid. Puree to desired consistency. Use the cooking water, breast milk or formula to thin the puree, if necessary.

—Michelle Orgill, Green Baby Bistro



Makes 8 to 10 (1-ounce or heaped tablespoon) baby servings

1/4 cup brown rice

1 cup water, milk or stock (or 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup apple juice)

Place brown rice in a blender or small food processor, and pulverize into fine powder — about 4-6 minutes at high speed. Bring liquid to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add pulverized brown rice, and immediately lower heat. Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring constantly (to discourage lumping). If mixture thickens too much, add a few tablespoons of water while cooking.

Serving suggestions: Rice cereal can be mixed with any fruit or vegetable puree, including banana, peach, acorn squash or peas. For toddlers, add chunks of steamed fruit (apple, pear, peach), a few raisins, a bit of maple syrup or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.

Note: Introduce brown rice at 8 months. Don't buy seasoned rice. The fresh seasoning and herbs you add will taste far better, and the rice will be additive-free. Try high proteins like quinoa and amaranth (available at health food stores) instead of rice.

— "Mommy Made and Daddy Too! Home Cooking for a Healthy Baby & Toddler"



Makes 3 cups

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup thawed apple juice concentrate

1/3cup quick-cooking tapioca

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups cantaloupe puree (see recipe on Page E5)

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

Bring water and apple juice concentrate to a boil in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Gradually add tapioca while stirring. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool slightly, add salt, and fold in cantaloupe puree and vanilla yogurt. Pour pudding into custard cups. Allow to set for 4 to 5 hours in refrigerator before serving.

— "Mommy Made and Daddy Too! Home Cooking for a Healthy Baby & Toddler," by Martha and David Kimmel with Suzanne Goldenson