Tag Archive: baby

Toddler plates

I just found a bunch of old pics and I couldn’t help but share…meal ideas for little fingers?

Home-made dehydrated crackers with home-made nectarine jam + edamame

Gwyneth’s baked tofu + black beans + avo and quinoa bowl

Sun butter waffles + pear

Rice + chicken and green beans

Lettuce cups with pulled pork + rice bowl

Mashed potatoes + gravy

Times two

Pot roast + potatoes + carrots

Pumpkin + rice bowl

Bread + jam + pepitas + veggies

Chickpeas + corn + potatoes + avo

Fried zucchini

Eggs + blueberries + zucchini

Bacon + mushrooms + bell peppers

Pancakes + grapes

With a 🙂

Early Learning Kits

[Warning: This post is kid related and may not be of interest to anyone else]

Our library is pretty awesome, although I only have a few others to which to compare it.  But the kids section is like my second home in the winter months…so I’ve spent a lot of time there.

They have boxes called “Early Learning Kits” that you can check out.  Each has a particular theme (this one is “owls”) and comes with books and an interactive/craft type thing relating to the theme.

The books were a huge hit and for some reason, the part that stuck the most was that they eat mice.  So I decided to make mice as a project with them because there were owls puppets in the box to “hunt” them.

Oh man did this ever turn into the game of all games.

Months have gone by and we still play a version of it (without the owls since we had to return the box already). It’s basically hide and go seek now.  With paper mice.

My kids are spazzes, but I thought I might share in case you haven’t thought to check if your local library does something like this too. It’s easy to overlook this resource, but for us, it has been a huge source of enrichment.

I may be away from hhh for a bit because Kyle’s parents are in town and we are celebrating Mr 4 year old this weekend.  And now I’m off to make the requested blueberry cake… (??)

What I Ate (12 month old edition)

I’m starting this post with an 11 month old but I have no faith in my timeliness so I’m titling it as if she’s 1.  It’s soon!

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6 am: wake up and nurse

8 am: breakfast
This is a smallish meal for her since she has usually just nursed and will nurse again after her morning nap.

  • fruit (right now it’s alllll about blueberries but bananas, melon, and apples work too)
  • home-made puree (#1) of some kind

930-1000: wake up from first nap and nurse

1130-1200: lunch
I try to make this mostly finger food that she can eat on her own while I make P’s lunch.

  • protein and starch with substance (sweet potato, butternut squash, peas, beans, chickpeas, tofu)
  • fruit (something different from her breakfast)
  • veggie (that’s different from whatever is in her morning puree)

1 pm: nurse after mid day nap

3 pm: nurse after afternoon nap

5-5:45 pm: dinner
I aim for lots of fat and satiating foods in this meal because I want it to hold her over through the night.

  • avocado
  • home-made puree (#2) of some kind

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She goes to bed around 6 pm and then we eat dinner as a family of three.  P is generally a slow eater and so I take the 30 or so minutes after Kyle and I finish eating to prep for the next day’s meals and such.  I pack Kyle’s lunch first, because that usually involves leftovers of the meal we just ate.  Then I make oatmeal or pancake/waffle batter (for me and P and sometimes V).  And then I make purees for V.  We mostly do (did) baby led wean gin (BLW) but in order to fill her up I supplemented with pureed stuff after letting her dabble in self feeding.  The purees I make all follow the basic formula of grain/protein + veggie with a sweeter fruit to make it more palatable.  I try to puree things she wouldn’t otherwise be able to eat (meaning, things that aren’t finger friendly) but it just depends on what we have on hand.  Ideally, she will continue to get closer and closer to feeding herself entirely, which she already has, and that will mean less pureed stuff from a spoon and more self feeding.  I started out with BLW approach the same as I did with P, but in those early weeks/months it’s mostly just play.  That said, she definitely prefers doing things on her own as opposed to being fed.  From 7-9 months of age I did 50/50 purees and finger food.  Since then, I have been following her lead.  Sometimes she wants to do everything herself and refuses the spoon, and sometimes she realizes it’s easy and delicious to let mama feed her.  She’s the boss.

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I always have two different mason jars of pureed food in the fridge (sometimes more if I have a good chunk of time to prep stuff).  One is grain based and then other is (vegetarian) protein based.  I always write the contents on the jar out of habit because my memory is not at all reliable and it’s necessary (a) in case there’s a reaction so I know exactly what the possible culprits are and (b) to keep me aware of what needs extra caution around P (if there’s breast milk, dairy, or wheat I make different decisions in feeding her).

I try to write other notes to myself throughout the week to keep myself organized and streamline the prep – like when I need extra of various ingredients for her purees (rice or quinoa from our dinner) or when I need to cook carrots or sweet potatoes.  I have a mini slow cooker that’s great for hands off steaming.  I alternate which liquids I use between soy milk, almond milk, and occasionally breast milk.  I have MONTHS and MONTHS of breast milk frozen.  I almost always add flax or chia seeds to thicken things up so they have a nice texture for V.

In terms of allergens, V hasn’t had any reactions yet but she still has several foods to try, including peanuts, sesame, certain tree nuts, fish and shell fish.  She had a touch of ground beef a few weeks ago when I was making some for the whole family, but otherwise is basically vegan/vegetarian.  I don’t really know where I see our family’s diet going in the future.  My only goal is to make one thing for us all to eat.  Until she has enough teeth for that, I will continue to feed her as similarly as P and Kyle and I eat as possible.  Since Kyle eats wheat and dairy, she occasionally has access to those foods, but I don’t seek them out for her.  I have to be strategic if I’m giving her cow’s milk yogurt or whatever because she shares toys with P and there’s always a risk for exposure (to him) with that.

Another thing to note is that I am very committed to eating seasonally, so the organic produce that we have access to now isn’t as plentiful as it may be once summer arrives.  In order to keep our diets both organic and affordable, I either omit out of season produce from the grocery list entirely (i.e. strawberries, grapes) or buy it frozen (i.e. green beans).

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Below are some examples of purees:

  • squash/white bean/spinach/apple (I use frozen squash in a pinch and applesauce)
  • coconut milk/hemp seed/carrot/date
  • soy milk/raisin/oat/pumpkin
  • rice/almond milk/banana/chia seed
  • green bean/flax/apple
  • sweet potato/pear/chia seed/breast milk
  • kale/quinoa/apricot/soy milk (I soak dried fruit before pureeing so it’s soft and easy to blend)

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8 pm: I pump and freeze my milk because she doesn’t nurse after 3 pm and I would wake up crazy engorged if I went all that time without relieving myself.  She only recently dropped her 5 pm nursing session so this is still a work in progress as we figure out the best system.  Also worth noting is her wonky nap schedule.  She takes 3 short naps and it’s not really ideal, if I’m being honest.  She seems to want something different (probably two longer naps that are more evenly spaced apart) but thanks to P’s activities, it’s difficult to do.  I don’t remember what I was doing with P at this same age, which may be for the better because each kid is so different, it’s better for me to just tune into her cues as best I can.

Five ways to get your kid to eat broccoli

I am one of those moms who is lucky enough to have a very adventurous eater.  P will try almost anything and has a pretty diverse palate.  He’s not remotely picky.  He likes kale and brussels sprouts as much as his mama (SO MUCH!); he enjoys prosciutto, dried figs, dates, and home-made (allergy free) pesto; and he asks for tofu with tamari by name on a regular basis.  But there are also things he very much doesn’t like.  He is not down with potatoes in any form, nor does he enjoy tomatoes much (he will tolerate them in a curry sauce and gives them a try straight from the summer garden once a week just in case).  And until he was about 14 months old, he did NOT like broccoli.  I tried giving it to him over and over and over and over and all of a sudden – BOOM – he loved it.  It was the biggest 180 I’ve ever seen in my life.  Rather than take credit for this (or any of his taste buds’ curiosity) I will simply offer a few ideas if you’re struggling.  Maybe these were factors in patty-cakes’ change of heart…

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FIVE WAYS TO GET YOUR KID TO EAT BROCCOLI*

  1. Put it in a smoothie – Go ahead, be sneaky.  Trickery only works so long with little people, you may as well embrace it for the short time period that you can.  Use a cup that’s not transparent and so long as you have other good flavors going on (banana, applesauce, berries, whatever), your little one will never know.  Same approach can be done with muffins (or any baked good) too.  Just puree whatever your kid won’t eat and bake it into something they will.  I have put everything from beans and hemp seeds to broccoli and beets in his smoothies.  He’s never been the wiser.  He also now thinks those are “normal” things that people put in smoothies.
  2. Be the role model and try, try, try again – JUST. KEEP. OFFERING.  It’s as simple as that.  If you don’t offer it, they can’t say yes.  I think I offered broccoli 2-3 times a week and he dramatically gagged on a tiny piece each time before refusing the rest.  I never pushed it too much, just tried again next time.  In the interim, he saw the rest of the family eating it and enjoying it (so be sure to model the behavior you want).  And then one day he just went for it.
  3. Offer something to dip it in – Kids (and adults?) seem to like dipping things.  Who knows the psychology behind it, but use it.  We are a mayo family and whenever there is something he is giving the side eye, I ask if he’d like to have some mayo on the side to dip it in.  It’s like a crutch.  It gives him a way to say yes when he thinks he wants to but isn’t sure.  Then he can dip it or not.  I don’t comment on his choice and sometimes after a few times of eating it “with” the condiment he doesn’t need (or ask for) the condiment any more at all.  Tamari is another sauce that he loves to dip things into; and honey/maple syrup is what I use for non-savory items.  A little (like 1 tsp) goes a long way – it’s more about him having the control.  [PS Thrive Market has mayo that’s practically home-made with fewer ingredients than you can count on one hand, including avocado oil]
  4. Revamp the look – Roast it, bake it, steam it, keep it raw.  Spiralize it, julienne it, make it in cute shapes to make a face on a plate.  Do anything new and exciting to change the look/taste/texture/mouth-feel of it.  For a long time I offered steamed broccoli and then one day there was a veggie platter at a friend’s party and next thing I know raw broccoli is flying into his face.  What?!?!  Just because you don’t think your kid will like something, don’t let it bias how you present it.  Maybe you don’t like raw bell peppers, so you never think to give them to your kid.  Or maybe you don’t like sautéed bell peppers, so you never think to offer them that way.  You get the point.  Experiment with how you do or don’t cook things.
  5. Put “worse” things on the plate – If there’s nothing on the plate your kid wants to eat, then they have to chose something right?  I guess not necessarily, but the reality is, if there are a bunch of offerings on the plate, your kid will eat the best things first.  So make the plate a bunch of foods that are not their favorites and see what happens.

*Or any other food he or she won’t eat

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Allergy trial [update]

I’ve been trying to find a way to write this in order to maintain privacy for P but still share enough details to be helpful for other allergy moms.  It’s a fine line, which is why it has taken me so long to post.  But I know other people find the allergy posts to be some of the most useful so here’s the latest.

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Last week we went to Stanford for a screening.  Ok, let me back up.  Months ago I read this article and immediately reached out to the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford.  They have long been the leading researchers in the food allergy arena so I figured I may as well try to get my son involved if there’s any availability.  Stanford is just a few hours away and that’s something we should take advantage of!  They emailed me back saying there weren’t any studies at the time but they asked for his medical history and allergies and such in the event that a trial did open up.  So I collected the requested documents, got the blessing of our allergist, and emailed them back.  I really expected nothing so my hopes were not high.  A month went by – I kinda forgot about the whole thing – and then I got an email from them!  WEEEEE!

Thank you for your interest in food allergy research at Stanford. The Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford University conducts cutting-edge allergy research and clinical trials with the goal of preventing allergies and developing new and safe therapies.

Under the leadership and vision of Dr. Kari Nadeau, our center brings together leading clinicians, researchers, and a broad network of resources from across the medical community, all working to achieve a common goal: leading the way to an allergy-free world.

According to our files, your child is between the age of 1 and 4 years and may be eligible for an upcoming clinical trial. At this time, we would like to schedule a screening visit with you and your child.

OMG.  To say I was thrilled would be a huge understatement.

I tried to talk myself down from all the optimistic thoughts that were racing through my head, but it was hard.  What if he got to do the trial that gave increasing oral challenges of peanut doses and he ended up being able to “accidentally” ingest a small amount without, well, dying!?!

The reality is that this visit was not for any studies at all.  Yet.  They wanted to meet him, get his history and do a physical and then do scratch testing and blood testing to confirm his allergies, and then after ALL THAT he would be in their database for future studies IF HE FIT the criteria.

I’m still hoping he does get called to participate in their (groundbreaking!!!) research, but until then, we got new results from the scratch testing that we were over the moon about!

First the bad news: he is still allergic to peanuts, sesame, cashews (other tree nuts?), and dairy.

Now the good news: Former allergens soy and wheat tested negative.  [Also walnuts tested negative (but this wasn’t a new result – his 9 month old blood tests also were a “0” for walnuts).]

TREE NUTS are confusing.  They are all in their own category apparently and it’s all completely individual in terms of tolerance.  P tested negative for both walnuts and pecans which are close relatives and therefore expected to align in reactivity, but he was split in his reaction to cashews and pistachios which are also supposed to be linked.  This confused even the staff present.  Most people who don’t tolerate cashews also don’t tolerate pistachios.  And while P has never tried either, he is very reactive to cashews in blood and skin tests and shows little to no reaction with pistachios.  Nothing is black and white with allergies.  Everything is compared on a gradient and what’s more, it’s a constantly moving target.  Back to back tests could even show different results!  And blood vs skin testing results don’t necessarily parallel either.  So confusing.  The size of the reactive allergy welts are also compared to the histamine scratch as a baseline, so while pistachios were technically a “negative” because the site’s reaction was smaller than the histamine site, it still had some redness.  I don’t know what to think.  After they’d already done the first round of scratch testing I asked about other tree nuts and that’s when they told me they were all different.  So I asked if we could do some more…which is when they added almond and hazelnut.  The results were fuzzy.  Both were smallish reactions about the same size as the histamine site.  They classified the hazelnut as positive and the almond as unknown (negative?), but I could see them both going either way.

Prior to this, P had never had any tree nuts.  Even though his blood test when he was 9 months old was negative for walnuts it was just easier (for others to understand) if we took a NO NUTS stance.  I also didn’t know much about tree nuts and their classifications back then so I assumed his strong response to cashews would (should) translate to no tree nuts period.

After seeing a visual of his exposure to walnuts (which literally looked like nothing) I decided that once we got home we should try them…which we did.  And…NOTHING HAPPENED!  I blended two walnuts into his smoothie that weekend (when Kyle was around – just in case) and zero symptoms.  Sweeeeeet!  I waited a couple days before trying anything new because I figured that was a reasonable amount of time for any latent symptoms to show up.

Next up was SOY.  Full disclosure, I gave him tofu once when he was a teeny baby and first starting solids.  That was back when I thought his cradle cap, eczema, and constant spit up/regurg were just annoying things to deal with (and “just what babies do”).  Maybe that’s the case for other kids, but for P, his skin and spit up was resolved when he stopped ingesting his allergens through my breast milk.  So while I was a little scared of this new oral challenge, I kept reminding myself that he had it before and so his reaction would at least not be a life threatening one.

The first thing I gave him was a gluten free waffle with “canola and/or soybean oil” listed as an ingredient.  There are a few reasons I chose this.  First, soybean oil is not even considered soy as per the FDA.  Meaning companies don’t have to label their products with a warning of any kind if they have soybean oil in them (I’m looking at you marinara sauce companies that shall remain nameless).  While I think this is ridiculous for many reasons (like who wants soy in their marinara?) it’s not a battle I have the energy for right now.  Anyway, soybean oil may or may not have even been in the waffles.  That’s about as low of a dose as you can get.  Also, it’s the form of soy that you are most likely to see on ingredient labels these days.  Tortilla chips, crackers, and all sorts of processed food (even the “healthier” ones free of other allergens like gluten!) had labels with canola/sunflower/safflower “and/or soybean oil”.  He ate one waffle and then we waited.  Once again…NOTHING happened.  The next day I gave him five edamame.  Once again…nothing happened.  The next day I gave him 15 edamame.  Nada.  Eggs sautéed in tamari the next day also had no symptoms.  You get the point. Soy is safe.  I consider this one of the biggest wins because now we can include SO MANY more plant based meals into our family’s diet.  Tofu and tempeh and edamame are such solid proteins that I’m thrilled thrilled thrilled to reincorporate into the family meal plan.  Weee!!!!

And now we move on to WHEAT.  I’m not sure when or how I’m going to try this one.  Kyle is out of town this weekend and some of next week and so I may just keep doing new kinds of soy and wait on wheat until later.  TBD.  For now I’m just so encouraged by this update.  Not only does it expand his options, but it gives me hope that he can and will outgrow some of his other allergies.  It’s just really wonderful news.

So if you see tofu (or walnut) recipes in the weekly menus to come, now you know why.  🙂