She Says… Eating Baby Food

Owen started eating solid food quite early (the day he turned four months old, if I remember correctly). It was a combination of him being a tiny little dude, his own interest in food and eating and his breastfeeding/nursing/reflux issues, plus the pediatrician’s recommendation and my own excitement about sharing my love of food with him. It all started with some avocado mixed with breastmilk. Soon I was pureeing and freezing all kinds of fruits and veggies. Then proteins too. And now we’re long past the point of pureeing and I’m cutting my own food up into bites for him to feed himself. My how time flies!

To this day, he has never refused a food. The kid will taste anything! Certainly as he’s gotten older and started feeding himself he has a lot more choice over what he eats (and what he throws on the floor). Some days he eats everything I put in front of him; some days he eats a few bites and waves his hands in the air doing his version of the “all done” sign. Some days he adores broccoli, some days it goes on the floor after 1 bite. Some days he gobbles down sausages or roast chicken, and other days he leaves that alone and chomps on strawberries and green beans, clapping his hands along the way (his version of the “more” sign). He loves spice and strong flavors, which I attribute to starting him on early (I used to flavor his purees with garlic, cumin, cinnamon, etc.). And bacon. What can I say? The kid loves meat.

I try not to get worried or frustrated when he refuses something and just offer it to him again the next day or in a few days. I love that he is beginning to show me his personality and his likes and dislikes, even if it means some food on the floor or, his latest trick, pushing chewed up food out of his mouth with his tongue while laughing hysterically while it dribbles down his bib. Or his shirt, since he already took off his bib. Sigh.

Anyway, Owen has been eating only “bites” for several months now. All of sudden around 10 or 11 months, I think, he stopped eating purees. He would not let me feed him. Pureed food, yogurt, hot cereal, applesauce… anything too mushy to pick up was NOT making the cut. He also isn’t digging slimy things that slip out of his hands (like pasta with any kind of sauce). He wants to pick it up and put a BIG piece in his mouth. The bigger the better. At the time I thought we had a few more months of purees left; or at least that I could do one bowl of puree a day in addition to bites to clean out my freezer stash of homemade purees. No such luck,

So here we are now, with 1/3 of our freezer being taken up by frozen purees. Instead of just throwing them out (they are lovely, organic veggies prepared with love!), I’m trying to be creative with how I use them.

– The other night we had some new neighbors over for apps and drinks. They are vegetarian/vegan, so I wanted to make a quick, easy appetizer they could eat without going to the store (yep, I’m lazy). I had a flash of brilliance when I saw the baby food. I defrosted 2 big ziplocs of pureed white beans, roasted a whole head of garlic in the oven, mixed them together in my food processor and added olive oil and rosemary. Instant white bean dip to have on pita chips and veggies!

– I defrosted some frozen sweet potatoes, black beans and peas and mixed them with cooked quinoa and some spices and gluten-free baking mix to make little veggie burgers. They are a bit crumbly, but they hold together enough to break into bites for Owen, and he loves them. I’ve even had a few for lunches on salads or in a sandwich.

– I’ve used frozen pureed spinach cubes in stir fry and other dishes to go over rice.

– I’ve made little egg puffs for Owen to take for breakfast at daycare (frozen pureed asparagus, fresh eggs, whole milk, shredded cheese and soy crumbles poured into a muffin tin and baked until set to make individual muffin-sized omelettes/souffles).

So our puree stash is dwindling. Finally. I still have frozen pureed edamame, broccoli, chick peas (easy hummus!), asparagus and lentils (maybe an easy lentil soup for Benjamin and I?). Any ideas for things to make with these?

Have you ever used baby food as an ingredient in your own cooking? When do kids learn how to use a spoon to feed themselves liquidy things? I would love for him to eat yogurt or hot cereal again for breakfast.


What We’re Eating: This week was a weird week to start sharing our dinners. Benjamin is out of town, so I’m not really cooking a whole lot in the evenings. Last night I grilled up some spinach and feta chicken sausages and asparagus and ate them with a side of applesauce for me, and that’s what Owen is having for dinner tonight as well. The best part? No dishes since everything was on the grill!

11 responses to “She Says… Eating Baby Food

  1. Many pureed fruits can be used in baking: I have used apples, apricots and prunes in different recipes.

    When my eldest son was a teenager he had braces on his teeth. Never much of a sweeteater to begin with, his favourite treat was pureed bananas. Nothing to get stuck in the braces.

  2. You can use the broccoli and asparagus as bases for soups. And the edamame can turn into a dip for sure.

    I am impressed with your creativity.. I am guessing I would have just thrown it all away.

  3. I was really hoping for a story of you slipping breastmilk into some dip to serve guest. Now I’m sad. 🙂

  4. @Kara, Hahaha. No, no, my frozen breastmilk days are long gone!

  5. I’ve used several different purees as quesadilla filler… black beans, spinach, chicken & red beans. The whole family loves it!

  6. I was doing the Sneaky Chef stuff for a while and still do sometimes. Two of the most successful puree-into-regular-food experiences for me were the purple puree (made from spinach and blueberries) in brownies (you seriously can NOT tell it’s there) and the orange puree (carrots and sweet potatoes) in quesadillas and in macaroni and cheese. I’m sure you’d rather actually taste the vegetables you have used (instead of hiding them), but if you have just too much on your hands and need to use them up, those are pretty easy ways to go.

  7. Oh, and my first son started using a spoon/fork sometime around 18 months, but my second insisted on using a fork to eat his bites when he was a year old. Spoons take a little more practice because kids don’t know how to keep them level so the food doesn’t fall off. My 4-year-old still hasn’t figured this out.

  8. I start giving my kids spoons and a bowl early, with the goal of spoon proficiency (within reason!) at 18 months. Wes is now 16 months and pretty much has it…as long as I expect a big mess. I would say he has been “experimenting” with a spoon since he was a year old. He gets one to play with while I use another to actually get some food in his mouth. Works well!

    I have used frozen purees for easy soup bases – just mix in to a roux or add to some stock for extra flavor and nutrients. Easy-peasy! Kind of reminds me of the Jessica Seinfeld “cooking for kids” book…that I’m actually not a fan of because it “hides” all of the veggies, but nonetheless, a great way to use spare babyfood!

  9. Sounds like there are some great suggestions there. Thanks for the update on what Owen is eating. It’s interesting to read about what I can expect in the coming months 🙂

  10. I’m soooooo loving the home decor and foodie/baby foodie angle you’re taking lately with some posts. Besides IF/TTC blogs, obviously (!!), those are the ones that I j’adore. Good stuff, Kate! xoxo

  11. Pingback: Dr. Greene Spoke, and We Listened | Parenting Starts Here

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