Finger Foods: Week 1

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Day 1, Monday – Lois is eight and a half months old and starting to get bored at meals. Well, I assume she is bored because she has begun refusing her food and seems to have much more fun batting at the spoon than eating. Upon investigation, I find that this is normal and that perhaps it is time to step up my game. Seeing how this is my first child, I haven’t read much on the subject, and I am desperately afraid of choking, so my first thought is that she needs new flavors. I have told you before that my first thought is almost always the wrong thought. Alas:

Chickpea and Curry “Tabbouleh”

1/2 c. Bulgar Wheat

1/2 c. Chicken Stock

1 can chickpeas

1/4 t. Madras (yellow, not spicy, simply delish) curry

Bring chicken stock to a boil, add the bulgar and let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, open, drain, and rinse can of chickpeas. Mash them with fork. When the time is right, stir in the peas and the curry. Freezes well.

I also cooked a pack of sweet, green peas on the side unsure if she is ready for a whole food but believing they would be small and soft enough. Further, Daniel and I will enjoy them with our dinner. I like the idea of her beginning to see us eating the same thing as her.

I end up mashing the peas too and adding them to her supper. Lois is less than impressed and moves on to more important things, i.e. yelling “TATA” at the top of her lungs – What happened to my g-rated baby?

Day 2, Tuesday – Shut down from an unnsuccessful night before, I go back to her favorite: Butternutsquash Risotto. I have plenty frozen and stored. She redefines “scarfing.”

Butternut Squash Risotto

4 T. unsalted butter

2 c. whole wheat orzo

2 small onions, finely chopped

1 small butternut squash, peels, chopped, and diced into small, similar pieces

6 cups chicken stock

1/2 c. apple juice

Optional – cooked chicken and/or freshly grated parmesean cheese.

From The Wholesome Baby Food Guide: “In a large saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat and then add the rice and onion, cooking until transulcent. Lower the heat, add the squah, and cook for five minutes. Slowly add the sotck and juice, stirring with each addition. Cover and simmer on low until all liquid is absobed, approximately 20 minutes. Peek inside to check on progress. Once risotto has fully cooked, add shredded or diced cooked check or sprinkle Parmesan if desired.” Freezes well in cubes.

Day 3, Wednesday – I decide to really step it up. If she is interested in working on her motor skills, I’ll give her a chance. I make some heady, whole wheat penne, cut it up into menageable pieces – the hole in the penne gives me comfort. Instead of putting peas in her mash, I pour them on the tray with the pasta. It works. She exersises her pincer grasp while I am able to slip bites of the afformentioned tabouleh into her little gullet. Bingo.

Finger food accomplished! – At least the introductory phase.

Day 5, Friday – The Nanny is sick, so I have time to fill the morning with fun. I decide to introduce Lois to the joy of butter and pancakes. Luckily, I have on hand some real butter from the market and whole wheat pancake mix.

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Step 1: Put baby in high chair in middle of kitchen, near your work station.

Step 2: Pour muesili, oats, or unsweetened cheerios all over tray.

These first two steps are important as they allow your baby to see what you’re doing and it makes it easier to redirect her attention as needed. Babies must be taught to wait and this is much easier to do when you can talk casually with her about what you are doing and thus why she is waiting.

Step 3: Make pancakes. This morning I also made myself two beautiful poached eggs because in case you didn’t know, poached eggs go beautifully with a single whole wheat pancake.

While making the ‘cakes I decide to add a spce to the mix. Although wheat is itself a dense flavor, Lois is used to it and I am always looking for an opportunity to introduce new food experiences and flavors. I want her tastes to be broad. I go with pumpkin pie spice. You decide how much. (Hint: 1 t. is too much, a pinch is too little)

Step 4: Enjoy pancakes together. I pinched up about half of 1 pancake and put it on her tray. She enjoyed working on her grasp and loved the ‘cake. Everyday, more and more food makes it into her mouth. It is hard to believe I only introduced FFs 5 days ago. In the span of this short week she has gone from pushing the bits around in circles, to figuring out that they are supposed to go in her mouth occasionally, to working intently to get each bite between those chompers!

Follow my Baby Eats Pinterest board for recipes and interesting links – also check out these helpful sites:

HelloBee – Veggie Finger Food Cubes

iVillage – 50 Finger Foods, Plus Tips

ReDomestication – Easy and Delish Recipes for Baby

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