Homemade Applesauce

I make this recipe EVERY Sunday night. Not only because Grace loves it, but it seems like whoever ends up feeding her loves it as well. I cook the apples with the skin on to give the applesauce a nice pink color and I find it easier to scoop the inside of the apple out than peeling all the apples ahead of time.

What you need:

– 2 pounds of Organic Gala apples – I use this Gala because it makes the applesauce the perfect sweetness without needs added sugar or juice like other recipes.

Side note:Try organic if possible since apples are number 1 on the ‘dirty dozen’ list –      which just means they contain the most amount of pesticides out of all the tested            fruits and vegetables. See this website for more information on this.

– 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

– Steam pot – I LOVE this one

Beaba Babycook , Food processor, Blender – Something to puree the apples or a fork if you prefer a chunkier consistency

Steps:

1. Cut the apple in to fourths around the core

2. Place apples into steam basket and cook for about 15 minutes (until the apples are soft and you can stick a fork into them easily)

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3. Let cool – once cool scoop the inside of the apple out of the skins and place into food processor, blender or I use my Beaba Babycook

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4. Add the cinnamon, blend and ENJOY – if you want chunkier applesauce just mash with a fork instead to the desired consistency.

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I portion out 4 containers that I will use in the next day or two (depending on who is all eating it) and then I scoop the rest into a Beaba Multiportion Freezer Tray

Applesauce is great to add to oatmeal, yogurt, meat purees and can be add instead of oil to baked goods for you or baby – it’s always great to have on hand.

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Combining Solid Foods

Following up with my previous post about Starting Solids, I wanted to address how to continue adding healthy foods to your babies diet.

After about a month of introducing foods one at a time, I started making some combinations. I noticed that many other resources often have a fruit and vegetable combinations. I wanted to stay away from that so she would learn to like the taste of vegetables alone without having to have them mixed with fruit. Although every now and then I do include fruit in my combinations.

I started with mixing the food she had already tried. Some combinations were:

– Broccoli and cauliflower

– Asparagus and sweet potato

– Zucchini and carrots

– Oatmeal and Blueberry – I used Earth’s Best to start and then I started making my own but pulsing the oats to a fine powder prior to cooking

Next I started adding additional food items as a third choice. I really wanted to start adding in spinach, kale and other green leafy vegetables. I didn’t serve these items alone because I am not a fan of cooked greens (I love them raw) and I always taste the foods I am serving Grace to make sure they are palatable. I remember when I was taking my nutrition exams we were told that if we didn’t know the answer to a questions that started with “name the best source of”…to ALWAYS choose green leafy vegetables if it was an option because they contain SO MANY nutrients.

Some of my favorite combinations:

– Asparagus, sweet potato and leek

– Broccoli, Sweet Potato and Kale

– Broccoli, spinach and leek

-Blueberry and mango (I used organic frozen mango)

Once I introduced some of these combinations I started to add quinoa to the mixtures. Quinoa is a super grain that is a complete source of protein, high in fiber , high in Iron and high in other important nutrients. I found that adding quinoa to Grace’s diet was much easier than trying the pureed meats.

When starting combining foods I often would puree the foods separate at first and serve them in this divided container. I would slowly mix the two foods a little at a time until I knew how much of each item Grace liked in her combinations (to be honest…she just loved to eating pretty much anything). It also prevented me from wasting purees that I knew she liked by itself but might not like mixed with a certain item. Once I knew she liked it then I started making the combinations altogether from the start.

Happy Mixing!

Starting Solids

Starting solids with Grace was a big production for me since I am a Dietitian or at least that is what I am going to blame it on. I brought out all my old textbooks and notes from my infant nutrition classes. I remembered how important it is to expose your infant to many different textures and flavors before they become picky toddlers. I wanted her to be an adventurous eater so I could continue to cook the foods I liked and would enjoy (I did not want to have a family that has ‘kid meals’  EVERY night – although it is great in moderation and I do enjoy it now and then) . Most of all I wanted to her to be exposed and learn to enjoy healthy foods. I decided to skip the rice cereal since I didn’t think it had enough of a nutritional value to be her first food…I mean it is not even a whole grain! I spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME on deciding what her first food should be. I wanted it to be a green vegetable, not something too awful where she would refuse to have real food and never try it again (like that would happen), not something orange (not really sure why this one was on the list but it was…I guess it went along with “too sweet” and it tends to be favored more than green vegetables), not something too sweet (you would have thought I was deciding on her first dessert) and definitely not a starchy vegetable. After typing that out (and even before typing it) I realized I put WAY TOO MUCH THOUGHT into it.  I finally decided on green beans. At first she gagged a lot and made funny faces like all kids do, but after 2-3 days she seemed to enjoy them. Although once she tried other foods she did not like green beans anymore :).

So here is my chart of Grace’s first month of solid foods

Green Beans Green Beans Green Beans Avocado Avocado Avocado Carrots
Carrots Carrots Blueberries Blueberries Blueberries Cauliflower Cauliflower
Cauliflower Apple Apple Apple Oatmeal Oatmeal Oatmeal
Sweet Potato Sweet Potato Sweet Potato Broccoli Broccoli Broccoli Zucchini
Zucchini Zucchini Asparagus Asparagus Asparagus Banana Banana

These foods worked out so well and led to great combinations that I could make. I will continue to post more advanced foods and combinations for you to try!

If I had to redo my introduction of foods – I think I would have started with zucchini – it is still green, however it purees very nicely for a baby transitioning from milk to solids. It has a very watery consistently so you need less milk for other liquids to thin out the puree and has a mild flavor. I also used fresh blueberries in my blueberry puree. I think I should have cooked the blueberries first because my puree seemed to have a weird consistency due to the skins. I should have cooked them for a bit first.

Grace really loved all of these foods. I think her favorites were cauliflower, sweet potato, carrots, asparagus (which shocked me), apples and zucchini.

Bananas and avocados are nice to introduce early so that if you are running late on time you can just grab one and mash it with a fork – no cooking required.

Hope this helps guide you on what to feed your little one!

To make my food I use the Beaba Babycook. My lovely sister was nice enough to let me borrow hers. It has worked really well and when I feel more ambitious and make bigger quantities – I use a steam pot on the stove. If I was buying one for myself I would get this newer model where you can cook two different options at one time – anything to save time!

When storing my food,  I first portion it out in to this multiportion container and freeze it. When I need food I take it out of the freezer – put it in this container or these glass containers – let it thaw overnight – and then heat before serving.