Photo Courtesy of Baby Gourmet
Baby's first holiday season is full of exciting times! Why not make their adventure with food something just as exciting as their first meeting with the big man in the red suit? This is a great time to introduce your baby to the wide variety of foods that come out during the holidays, such as the traditional turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. When planning your holiday menu, here are a few things to consider when it comes to including the VIP (your baby!)
Introduce foods that the rest of the family would be eating.
They can easily be part of holiday meals, just be sure the texture is suitable for their development. For example, babies just starting on solids should have their food pureed to a consistency that works for them. If you notice them gagging or spitting out, they may be telling you to puree a little longer or add little liquid to thin out the consistency.
I always cook a little extra knowing that I plan to puree and freeze up baby portions to keep in the freezer. If you are going to all the trouble to make this delicious meal, it doesn't take much to make a little extra to save yourself cooking time over the coming weeks. You will be so grateful to have a freezer full of baby portions for future meals.
Make tasty combinations.
If you are cooking a number of dishes, try making your own unique combinations to create a variety of meals for baby. For example, puree up some turkey, potatoes, and a dash of gravy and drop of cranberry sauce or if baby is ready for bite-sized portions try dicing up your holiday meal for self-feeding. My favourite was giving baby a bowl of mashed potatoes and watching them eat. It may be a little messy but so much fun!
Spice it up!
Try new herbs and spices when combining your cooked ingredients to create new flavour sensations. For example, add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice to your mashed sweet potatoes, or a pinch of ground rosemary to your turkey and potato blend. Be sure to avoid seasoning their portion with additional salt.
Celebrate by eating together.
Nothing makes a baby feel more like part of the family than when they are included in these festive meals. Even if its for a short period of time, allowing your baby to watch the rest of the family enjoy their beautifully prepared meal together sets a wonderful example for how families come together and show appreciation for the delicious food.
Here is one of my favourite recipes for holiday leftovers, Turkey Pot Pie:
2 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 rib celery, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
¼ tsp. each salt and pepper
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sodium reduced chicken stock
3 cups cooked turkey, diced
2 tbsp. fresh sage, thinly sliced
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1-2 cups cooked leftover veggies, chopped (such as brussel sprouts, carrots, peas)
½ cup evaporated milk or half & half
3 cups mashed potatoes
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook onion, celery, sweet potato, salt and pepper for about 7 minutes.
- Stir in flour; cook, stirring for 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened and potato is tender, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in turkey, veggies, sage and nutmeg; cook until turkey is heated, about 4 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk.
- Pour turkey mixture into a casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- For BABY: Remove ½ cup potpie and pulse in the mini processor 5-15 times, with 3 tbsp. milk until desired consistency is reached. Cool and Serve.
- For the rest of the FAMILY: Serve.
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