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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fast Food for Babies - On The Road!

Sorry my friends- It's been a while since my last post! William and I were on Cape Cod, visiting my parents and grandfather. William had so much fun at the beach, in the baby pool and at the playground!  Packing for even just four nights away with a baby is a huge job; add in the need for solid food and it's even more challenging! Obviously, there are stores on the Cape, but I wanted to be sure I brought the basics.

My mom stocked up on fresh produce: avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, peaches and pears. She grows fresh basil, and had garlic powder, cinnamon, sea salt and pepper available of course.

I brought some staples of William's diet: ground oat powder, multigrain baby cereal, 2 cups of YoBaby plain whole milk yogurt, 2 pouches of roasted butternut squash, a little jar of flax oil and six jars of fruits and veggies.  I also brought William's favorite spoon, the one that comes with this set: Danesco Bowl with Silicone Spoon Baby Set - Green; one of these spoons: The First Years Take & Toss Infant Spoons One Pack of 12, 4 Month +; but no bowls, as ceramic ramekins are the perfect baby bowls (and the safest to microwave in)!  William ate very basic meal combos during the trip, and I didn't introduce any new foods since we weren't near our pediatrician (per advice of one thoughtful and loving Grandma!).

Here's an amazing recipe for grown-ups and bigger kids that I discovered by accident, and made for my parents and grandfather during our visit. A couple of weeks ago I meant to buy a head of green leaf lettuce at the store, but in the haze of mommy-brain ended up bringing home escarole. We tried it in a salad, but it was quite thick and bitter, so I looked up some recipes and was inspired (specifically by Bobby Flay's "Braised Escarole With Garlic and Lemon" recipe) to make the following:

Braised Escarole over Parmesean Polenta
Prepare 4 servings of "cereal" style (soft) polenta according to package instructions.  I love the Bob's Red Mill Corn Grits/Polenta (yes, grits and polenta are the exact same thing!): great texture and flavor.  When done cooking, add 4 Tbsp butter and salt and parmesean cheese to taste.
Serve topped with the braised escarole.  Great with a simple protein, like roasted chicken or grilled shrimp on the side!

A meal for an infant could quite easily be made based on the same ingredients, just leave out any elements that aren't yet in his/her repertiore, unless you'd like to introduce a new one. For example, I could have fed William the polenta (minus butter and cheese because they aren't yet a part of his diet) with the escarole (a new food) simply steamed and pureed. A meal the whole family can enjoy!

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