Thursday, June 23, 2011

When to Spice Things Up?

One more thing I love about making my own baby food is the ability to add variety.  Trust me, they don't offer parsnips, turnips, papaya, pumpkin and many other foods in a jar on the shelf (at least not that I've seen).  My girls have loved meals that a jar fed baby (or even adult; I know I'm a case in point there) may have never tried.

Yet another way to add variety to your baby food is spice and herbs.  **You should still wait 4 days in between a new food or new spice**.  But what a wonderful thing to let them try.  It is recommended not to add salt, pepper or sugar to your baby's food until they are a year old (pepper bumps back to 18 months).  Most pediatricians recommend waiting until 8 months of age to introduce spices but if your child is doing well with foods then some will tell you to jump right in.  Use caution and parental instinct I think.

So, I had read about spices and had always wanted to add a little dash of cinnamon to their cereal or apples. And yesterday I did just that...a very small dash of cinnamon to their apples.  The verdict...they LOVED it.  I could not get the previously "could care less" apples into their little mouths fast enough before they were wiggling and whining for more.  Now that I've read the 8 month recommendation I think I will put off on anything else for a couple months but so far so good on the cinnamon (no issues have been witnessed).

Here are some spices to consider:
garlic - minced or powdered 
lemon zest 

curry powder (also use caution as it can cause diaper rash)
combination spices (clear individual ingredients first and skip the salt, sugar or pepper blends)

**also noted in some reading was the concern of purity in some spices. More info on that here.  The synopsis is that some manufacturers add colored corn starch and dyes to their spices;  look for the ISI or AGMARK certification and clearly mention the dates of manufacture and expiry on sealed packets. Avoid buying unbranded and non certified products sold loose**

*Certification Symbols or Trademarks;  Images are copyrighted by such*

Here are some combinations that recommends:

Apple(Sauce): use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, ginger
Pears: use ginger, cinnamon, a drip of vanilla or even mint
Bananas: use cinnamon, ginger, allspice, vanilla
Plain Yogurt : use with mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, allspice, cardamom
Sweet potato: use with nutmeg, cinnamon and/or cardamom
Pumpkin: use with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and dash of vanilla
Carrots: use with basil & garlic - baked cinnamon carrots are yummy too.
Green beans: use with garlic powder
Mashed potatoes(white) : use with dill weed or garlic
Winter Squash (acorn, hubbard, butternut etc.): use with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger
Pasta: use oregano, garlic, basil
Oatmeal or other cereals: use fruits, cinnamon & nutmeg, dash of vanilla
Rice (sweet) with cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger
Quinoa (sweet): use cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger for sweet
Quinoa (savory): use garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, basil, oregano and others
Chicken/Turkey with cinnamon and/or coriander
Chicken/Turkey with garlic powder and basil
Chicken/Turkey with lemon zest and pepper
Chicken/Turkey with basil & oregano
Chicken/Turkey with garlic and pepper
Chicken/Turkey with sage, rosemary and thyme
Beef with garlic and pepper
Beef with onion powder and pepper
Beef with Orange Zest

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