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One of the benefits of making your own baby food is the ability to get creative. I walk through the baby food section in the grocery store pretty often—just out of sheer curiosity and perhaps a bit of inspiration. While some of them sound pretty delicious —strawberry dessert, pears with prunes, beef stew, I know for a fact they aren't all delicious. And while I would like the convenience of simply opening a jar, my wallet can't justify it. And whats more, I know my food is delicious!
Here is how I made my daughter one of her favourites—curried sweet potatoes with lentils! She much prefers savoury to sweet, so I get to have a lot of fun in the kitchen making food that I would enjoy, and sharing it with her! She loves lentils and always smacks her lips while eating this lovely dish.
Just a quick note—before making any baby food at home, please discuss this with your family doctor or paediatrician. I have been very fortunate in that my daughter does not have a very sensitive stomach and enjoys new foods, but there are plenty of little ones out there that will not react happily to new foods. There are also lots of ingredients that you wouldn't think are dangerous for babies but in fact are. Just get the OK from a health care professional, and once you do, get in the kitchen and have some fun!
- 4 medium sweet potatoes—If you've read my sweet potato pie recipe, you'll know the way I differentiate yams from sweet potatoes... right now we're looking for long, smaller root veggies that are yellow in colour. Truly, they taste like sweeter, starchy potatoes!
- 4 cups of lentils (I like red)
- 6 cups of veggie stock—Use low sodium! Don't give that little one salt! I also recommend just making your own, that way you really have control of how much sodium is in it.
- 1 tablespoon mild curry
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- Pepper to taste
What You'll Need
- Cutting board
- One large pot
- One medium pot
- One bowl (or two, depending on blender size)
- Any Blender will do! If you're not new here, you'll know I often only have access to a magic bullet, and it works just fine!
- Peel those 'tatoes! Again! Remember—for an extra boost of fibre you can leave the skin on provided you clean it very well. Absolutely scour the thing. It may be harder to blend and your end result will be a bit grainier, but sometimes these are the sacrifices we make for health! Cube them to medium dice and place them in the large pot with some water and boil until soft. The timing of this really depends on a lot of factors, but I like to check every twenty minutes.
- Cook your lentils. Pour the lentils into the medium pot with your veggie stock. It's important not to add salt here—we don't normally salt babies' food, as sodium is really not good for little ones, but on top of that, adding salt to lentils and their cooking liquid will cause them to harden. Keep it soft! The lentils will take anywhere from 15-20 minutes; they should be soft when finished, and easily mashed with a fork. You may need to add some water, and that's totally okay!
- Once your sweet potatoes are soft and easy to mash, strain them in your colander and add them to a blender. If you're using an immersion blender, just blend them in the mixing bowl. Half way through I like to add my curry and cumin. Try not to over blend your potatoes, as they'll start to get gluey and sticky.
- Because my daughter prefers texture, I like to add the cooked lentils to the blended and potatoes and just mash them in with a fork. You can always blend them as well, but the texture is helpful when weaning. Just make sure everything is nicely incorporated.
- Taste! Adjust accordingly and remember—babies have sensitive palates, and a tiny bit of seasoning goes a long way for them. Stay away from the salt, but if you feel it necessary you can add a bit of black pepper. If needed, you could add a dollop of sodium-free tomato paste. Sometimes if a recipe is "missing something" or tastes a bit flat, all you need is to add in an acid. Tomato paste will give this a nice "zip."
Once this is delicious, cool and then store however you like! I personally like to use ice cube trays. I spoon the food into each cube and freeze; once its frozen solid I like to pop them out into ziplock bags and store in an air tight container in the freezer.
I recommend pulling a couple cubes out at night before bed to ensure that the food is thawed so that all of my girl's meals are ready to be heated for the next day!
And that's it! Super simple, and quite delicious. Remember—if you don't want to eat it, why would you feed it to your precious little baby! I sometimes have this as a side dish with my own dinner, so we can enjoy our food together.
Have fun with it, and stay delicious!