Apr 20, 2010

Finger Food Fun

We started giving Jane finger foods (cheerios and such) when she was around 7 months old... starting with a little toast, over-cooked veggies, cooked fruit (like apples), mushed banana and so on (you get the picture).

Since then, Jane started going through this independence stage about two months ago - not wanting to eat anything from the spoon, unless she's holding the spoon herself... I have numerous food groups on my ceiling because of this.

As a result, I've been focusing a lot of attention on finding a wide variety of finger foods to fill her belly... at first, I will admit, it was challenging. However, with a little help from Wholesome Baby Foods and some common sense, it seems to be working out ok so far.

I thought I'd share a few of my favourite finger foods and by my favourite, I mean Jane's! :) I'm not going to list out the obvious foods, but some things I never thought of initially or that I've found good tricks for - everyone knows how to cut up carrot!

  • Blueberries - WARNING: if you do not have a full-body bib, designate blueberry eating clothes as they stain everything. We use frozen wild blueberries which are juicier than fresh, so that makes a difference too. The frozen are sweeter and smaller as sometimes the fresh can be as big as a grape.
  • Watermelon - seedless. I cut it up into 1cm x 1cm blocks.
  • Avocado - is this a fruit? Again cut up into a little bigger than 1x1cm blocks as avocado is so mushy when it's ripe.
  • Pear - Jane loves super ripe Danjou pears. They are super soft and sweet.
  • Apples - I'll peel an apple, chop it up and throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds and this makes it soft enough for toothless chewing.

  • Sweet potato - I buy fresh sweet potato and the packaged sweet potato fries too - sometimes I'm just too lazy to make my own. I don't bake the packaged ones, I throw a few on a plate and in the microwave for 1 minute and this makes them hot and soft. Cut 'um up and voila, she loves them.
  • Frozen sweet peas - I hated peas. YUCK. Then my sis introduced me to President's Choice frozen sweet peas (Canadian only). They come in a white bag in the freezer aisles and they are Jane's absolute favourite snack. I just throw 'um under some hot water to thaw them out.

Proteins and Carbs:
  • Tofu - I buy firm tofu from Costco. I chop it up into bite size pieces and toss it in graham cracker crumbs because they are a little sweet or wheat germ... something to give her a little traction so she can pick it up easily. You don't have to warm/cook tofu, it's fine as is. Tofu (and edamame - below) are great alternatives to chicken/beef if you're too lazy too cook - and a lot cheaper too!
  • Cheesestrings - quick and easy, avoids having to chop up cheese - I just peel it into four sections and break it apart. She loves cheese.
  • Macaroni and Cheese - I over-cook some whole wheat macaroni, toss it with a little butter and some parmesan cheese. Always a hit.
  • Beans - I love beans... not like mushy beans or baked beans or anything like that. Just plain beans - in quesadillas, salsas, soups, etc. So I always have leftover from my recipes. I rinse 'um (usually black beans) and Jane loves 'um. They really have very little flavour but are full of protein and fibre.
  • Eggs - what I didnt' know about eggs was that once babies reach 9-12 months, you can introduce eggs but eggs YOLKS only (the yellow part for those who are having "one of those days"). It's the egg whites that have the vlutalutenens (I just made up that word) that babies are allergic too. ha ha ha. The best way to avoid egg whites it to hard boil your eggs and pop the yolk out, cut it up and voila, that's all.
  • Edamame (a.k.a. soy beans) - both a veggie and a protein, you can usually get them frozen and shelled. They are a good size (a little larger than peas) and with a little salt, I love 'um and so does Jane.

Some other tips that have worked for me is tossing veggies (like sweet potato) in a little brown sugar - it adds a little sweetness and sometimes that's all it takes for them to shovel in the veggies. Also, just make variations (less oil, less sugar, less cheese, less spice) of the same things you're eating - like grilled cheese sammies, quesadillas, chicken dishes, etc. Whenever I'm cooking dinner, I always modify a small portion of what I'm cooking so Jane can eat it as well - this saves me having to cook two separate meals at lunch and dinner.

Through friends and my own research I've found several recipes for muffins and other things (e.g. black bean brownies) that are made with fruit and veggies (as alternatives to butter and eggs). I shared the recipe for the Cauliflower Banana Chip Muffins I made a few weeks ago. This week, I tried out Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins (thanks for sharing Lindsay) and they are just as good (actually better because I put more chocolate chips in them :p).

If you click the link above, you'll get the original recipe, here's what I used instead and they turned out fab:

Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins for Baby and Momma

3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup shredded zucchini (1 large)
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and flax. Combine the egg, applesauce, milk, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done. Makes 12 muffins.

I love these and so does Jane - you can't taste the zucchini at all - if you I would have pretended I didn't make them and would definitely not be sharing the recipe! They make a great snack for both of us!

If you haven't discovered cheerios, you are missing out. Most Moms know this "trick" but a 1/2 cup of cheerios can give you an hour of freedom. They are also perfect for keeping kids busy while in their strollers or out on the go. Cheerios are a Moms best friend, I bring them every where.

Ok, that's all I got today - to be honest, I completely forgot about the blog this morning as I was working on my photography assignment! I'm losing it! :p

Winner posted for our Clorox Green Works Giveaway in sidebar! :)

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Mom vs. the boys said...

great finger food tips!

Angelene said...

Hahahahaa... I'm taking ownership as the inspiration for this post... ;)

Great ideas on the finger food ideas... I guess I just need to get over my nervousness and introduce Abby to some of these tasty options. I'm just worried about her choking on the finger foods, but we've gotta give it a go sometime eh?!

Thanks again for the ideas and motivation!

Angelene said...

Oh... this is totally off topic, but have you seen "Make room for multiples" on TLC yet? It's on in the afternoon sometime... Those tiny babies are so sweet! Makes me wonder how those Moms get it all done though!


Kate said...

I'm so glad you posted this - thanks for the tips!

Jen said...

Yes, Angelene, I owe you for the inspiration - as I was sitting there yesterday, late again, thinking what the heck am I going to write about. Looked at my little monster eating her watermelon, remembered your message (that I have yet to reply to I know) and said VOILA! Thanks!