Creamy Tomato Soup

 

tomato_soupSo I know what you are thinking–“how the hell do you give a baby soup if they aren’t even coordinated enough to use a spoon?!”  So not to burn them, I serve it luke warm.  Then I give them a vehicle (other than a spoon) to help them sop up the soup; with Baby Monster, I cut up grilled cheese and add it to the soup.  You can also use bread you have lying around the house, but I would toast it up first.  I also put a spoon in the bowl in the off chance he will try and use it.  He usually gets frustrated and sticks with his hands.  This meal will get very messy–there’s no way around the mess.  Just make sure you lay down a tarp on the floor, and you should probably smock up your baby too!

Ingredients
1 can diced tomatoes
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken broth (you can substitute with vegetable stock if you want to make it strictly vegetarian)
1/2 cup heavy cream
handful leaves of basil, roughly chopped
1/2-3/4 cup of olive oil
pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Drain the canned tomatoes, but save the juice.  In a bowl toss the tomatoes in olive oil (~1/4 of a cup) and pepper.  Then spread on a cookie sheet and place in the oven to caramelize, about 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large sauce pan, heat the rest of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add your garlic, onions, carrots, and celery in the pot and stir around until softened.  Then add your caramelized tomatoes, tomato juice, broth, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer, for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the carrots are soft.

When the carrots are soft, take off the heat, remove the bay leaf, and add your cream and basil.  Then take an immersion blender and blend the soup and until smooth.  Add more pepper to taste.

Banana Oatmeal Bites

 

banana_oatmeal_bitesIt has become abundantly clear that Baby Monster is incredibly picky about textures.  Right now he prefers crunchy, hard textures, and I’m not sure if this is more a symptom of teething or not.  Even though Daddy Monster is happy to give him toast at every meal, I am less inclined to do so.  I have been trying to come up with creative ways to give Baby Monster the texture he craves, but with the fruit and veg he needs to give himself a more well rounded diet.  So I introduced these banana oatmeal bites, and with great success for both Baby and Daddy Monsters.  They are super easy to make, they are great to give at breakfast or a snack on the go; you can even put them in the freezer and save them for later!

Ingredients
1 large ripe banana
~1/2 cup of oatmeal
1-2 tbs. of dried fruit, like raisins or craisins (optional)*
Non-stick spray

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Take a cookie sheet and spray some non-stick spray.

In a bowl, mash up your ripe banana.  Mix in your dried fruit (I chose craisins because we are a craisin family) then set aside.  This part is totally optional depending on you and your baby, but you can put your oatmeal in the food processor to grind your oatmeal a bit finer (but not enough to turn it into powder).  I ran mine through the food processor for a minute or two to make the oats a bit smaller for the baby.  Add your oats in with your banana mixture.  You want to achieve a doughy consistency, so the amount of oats you use depends on the size of your banana.  For this particular batch I used about half a cup.  When you have thoroughly mixed everything, ball up your mixture and place on your pan.  I used a small cookie dough scoop for this.  You can also shape them into bars if you think your baby prefers this shape,  or even flatten them slightly to make a cookie.  Then pop the pan into the oven for about 15 minutes, or until your balls are golden brown.  Cool, then serve or you can put them in a freezer bag and store for a month.

*According to Baby Center, the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer considers raisins a choking hazard.  Make sure you separate the dried fruit (often times raisins and craisins clump together).  If you use dried fruit that are larger, like dates, cut them up so they are more manageable for a baby.