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February 26, 2011

I’m back! I have to say, this new, puree-free era of food and eating that Owen is dragging Mommy into kicking and screaming boldly entering has proved to be a bit of a challenge, both in general and certainly from a “Chowdownbaby” perspective. However, the following recipe will hopefully revive Chowdownbaby from it’s nearly defunct state. May I present to you……Almost-Completely-Organic-Chicken Pot Pie!

You need:
Pre-made pie crust (Sure, sure, you can make your own, using organic wheat flour and the like. Knock yourself out. Bu this mom has to draw the line somewhere.)
Organic, cooked chicken tenders–roughly 3/4 a pound
Organic, low sodium chicken broth–1 cup
1 bag organic mixed veggies (peas, carrots, corn and green beans)
1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg
Various herbs and spices

Place bottom pie crust into 9 inch (standard size) glass or aluminum pie pan. In a separate bowl, toss cooked, diced chicken (I baked mine in the oven for about 25 minutes prior, with some herbs and chicken broth) with the frozen veggies (no need to cook or thaw them.) Mix chicken broth and corn starch, then add that to the chicken veggie mix. Add all of that to the pan with the bottom pie crust. Now add the top pie crust, making sure to pinch the sides all around so that the pie is closed. (Poke a few holes into the top crust with a fork to vent.) Beat the egg and then brush that over the top of the pie crust; I’m not sure what the point of this is, exactly, but my mother always did it, and it will make it shiny and beautiful. Throw a few more herbs on top of the pie for extra color. Parsley and thyme are nice choices.

Bake for 35 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Also, make sure you actually share some with your child. Seriously, don’t eat the whole thing yourself, k?

PS: Here is a lovely picture of the one that I made!


The Spaghetti Incident

February 11, 2011

The other night, Owen was enjoying a veritable feast of baked chicken, peas, carrots, and shredded cheese (all served as finger foods) as well as some leftover strawberry puree from a few days ago that I was trying to get rid of. I generally try to eat dinner at the same time–occasionally eating the same thing that Owen has, although usually not. This has never been an issue before. However, as I sat down last night with Owen and began to eat my lovely bowl of whole wheat spaghetti with roasted garlic tomato sauce, all hell broke loose. My normally happy, obedient little 10 1/2 month old suddenly began to pitch a fit–grunting, whining, and gesturing wildly towards my bowl. This kid wanted spaghetti, and he wanted it NOW.

I’m afraid our baby food days are over, friends.

So what does this mean for the fate of chowdownbaby? Well, a lot more finger food recipes, as well as recipes more appropriate for baby-led weaning. My baby is growing into a toddler, and with him, this blog will be growing into a toddler-food blog. (That is, if I can ever get it together enough to write the actual blog!)

Anyway, cue the music and fasten your high-chair trays, because I think we’re in for an adventure.


January 30, 2011

So Owen (ie, the baby of “chowdownbaby”/my personal baby food guinea pig) will really only eat banana if it’s mixed with another fruit, and more often than not, I mix it with pumpkin. In my pre-mom life, it never would have occurred to me to mix those two foods together, but it’s pretty delicious. (One of these days I’m going to get my you know what together and make pumpkin banana bread–now, doesn’t that sound fantastic?)

Pumpkin and bananas are both very good choices for first foods for both baby and Mommy–mild-tasting and easy to prepare. You should know that bananas are known to be kind of binding (which, given your needs, can either be a positive or a negative attribute) and pumpkin is high in fiber, so the two sort of even each other out in that department. Bananas, of course, are extremely easy to find; however, pumpkins have a fairly short season (September to November) and actually making pumpkin from scratch can be rather time consuming. That being said, I see nothing wrong with using canned pumpkin. Farmer’s Market Foods offers a great organic canned pumpkin that I’ve been able to find in my “regular” grocery store (ie, not Whole Foods.)

To make Bananakin, you need:
1 can (organic) canned pumpkin
1 large (not necessarily organic) ripe banana

Combine pumpkin and sliced banana in your food processor and puree……(Go ahead. I’ll wait)……
Boom. Done. Baby food in under 2 minutes! See how easy that was?

Makes about 3 four oz servings.

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January 26, 2011

chowdownbaby is also a socialnetworkingbaby!!!

Stage 1 Food: Butternut Squash

January 25, 2011

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a number of “recipes” for some Stage 1 fruit and vegetable purees that are both easy to make and extremely nutritious. As you will see in forthcoming posts, I’m a big fan of mixing fruits and veggies together. Any two of these basic purees can be mixed to make a delightful new combination.

Butternut squash, like many other root vegetables, is a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium. It has a lovely, nutty aroma and a mildly sweet taste, making it a fantastic “first food” choice for baby. It also mixes well with other vegetables, including peas, carrots and corn.

You need:
1 container of (or one self-contained) butternut squash
1 Tbs butter OR 1/2 cup organic chicken or vegetable broth

So you can easily find pre-packaged, cut up butternut squash (particularly in the fall/winter months) and I see nothing wrong with using it. I will freely admit that I have never personally cooked a whole butternut squash before. I would imagine it would be time consuming….although, maybe not. However, I personally like to buy the pre-packaged butternut squash halves and slice them at home myself. It doesn’t take long and it does save a few pennies–plus you can control the size of your slices. And scientifically speaking, thinner slices cook faster, so you save on energy as well. *pats self on back*

So, with that being said….

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees
-Arrange sliced squash in a lightly buttered baking dish (or if you’re choosing to use the broth, add it after you put the slices down in the dish.)
-Bake, uncovered, for 35-45 minutes (depending on how much/how thick your slices.)
-Puree with a little water or broth until smooth

This is definitely one of Owen’s favorites!!!!


January 24, 2011

Mmmmm…..Cheesetina. Even better than X-Tina and definitely not as dirty. (Sorry, that was terrible. Well, it’s not like I didn’t warn you about my sense of humor.)

(Editor’s note: The above nonsense was a thinly veiled excuse for me to practice my cool new html skillz. Whut whut?)

Um…anyhoo…It’s basically baby food mac and cheese.

4oz Pastina….(if you have organic or whole wheat pastina, that’s fantastic, but I have yet to find it anywhere.)
2oz shredded (organic) shredded cheddar cheese
1oz breast milk OR 1 scoop powdered formula (optional)

Cook pastina in boiling water (no salt) until very tender; about 6-7 minutes. Drain well and return to the pot.
Add breast milk or powdered formula; stir. (Again, optional. It does make it creamier, though.)
Add shredded cheese and stir until well blended.

Despite the fact that Owen doesn’t really care for it (eh, he’s just a baby, what does he know?) I happen to think this is a great little recipe. The best thing about it is that it makes a nice base for other foods, particularly strong tasting green vegetables like broccoli and spinach.

I would consider this to be a Stage 3 food, although if you puree it, it could easily work as a Stage 2 food.

Ridiculously Good Applesauce

January 23, 2011

Ok, I’m just going to put it out there: I make the best applesauce in the entire world. No lie. It can make a screaming baby start giggling with joy. It can make your significant other want to take out the garbage. It can even make some people seem less annoying. It’s THAT good. And you, lucky readers are about to get the coveted recipe. Yes, I love you too.

Ridiculously Good Applesauce

You need:
-6 or more (preferably organic) Gala apples (Sometimes I’ll mix it up and use Cortland, but I find that Galas are the best for applesauce. They’re the sweetest, and their flesh is nice and firm–rarely mealy. They peel quite nicely, too.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and core apples, then wrap them in tin foil and put them in a baking dish (you don’t HAVE to put them in a baking dish, but even with the tin foil, these tend to get drippy and may leave stains on the bottom of your oven, so better safe than sorry. No one likes cleaning an oven.)
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on the counter for about an hour. When cool, peel tin foil carefully from the top (because you want to try to save any juice, if you can.) Slice/pull apart apple flesh and place in blender or food processor. Add any juice that you’ve collected from the tin foil or the baking dish.
Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and nutmeg, and puree. No need to add water.

This is a GREAT puree to make in bulk, if you can set aside the time do it once every couple of weeks. Owen has applesauce for breakfast pretty much every morning. I usually mix it with organic baby oatmeal, although sometimes I mix it with another fruit puree and some Greek yogurt, or even with some ricotta cheese. The possibilities are endless. Seriously, you’re going to want to take a bath in this stuff. It’s THAT good.

Enjoy! (….Did I mention that it’s really good?)