It’s almost asparagus and strawberry time in Ontario, the beginning of *hopefully* a long and prosperous growing season. My cousins run an incredible Organic farm and it’s amazing to be so close to the hard, hard work that goes into their CSA and production every year.
It’s given me a passion for eating locally, of course.
The strawberry & asparagus festival in Toronto is June 2nd, 2013.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of what’s in season when, because you really can’t tell the difference from going to the supermarket. So I’m here to remind you that May is Asparagus season in Ontario! (Why am I so excited about this??), followed closely be Strawberries in June!!!!
I can’t wait to take RZ to pick Organic fruits and vegetables! She’s been fascinated with the outdoors since birth, and LOVES plants, trees, and….food.
… the Asparagus and Strawberry Festival!
Date: June 2, 2010
Venue: Cedarvale Park – Children
Address: 433 Arlington Ave, Toronto, Ontario,M6C 3A2, Canada
Today Parents Magazine had a feature on When to Buy Organic. It was well done, educational, and actually scarier and more factually accurate than I expected. Like Global Warming, there’s a stigma attached to buying Organic – and where you fall on the spectrum means someone on the other side thinks you’re crazy or snobby or a bad mom.
Sometimes I feel I have to defend my choice to buy organic produce, milk, and meat. Why am I purposely spending more money on food that has questionable differences from the other ‘normal’ food? Does it make me a rich bitch? A hippie? Both? In most cases, people resolve themselves to one side of this argument or another, and feel that they’ve made the right decision for their family.
Well, here’s my take.
We don’t do it for the environment. Sorry environment. Guess I’m not a hippie after all. Or because it’s shinier and fancier. Because usually it’s not. We don’t do it as a mark of pride, either. It’s actually shameful that we have to buy a food that essentially stamped “not toxic!”.
In our family, we buy Organic out of evidence-based, factual reasons that it will do LESS harm. In other words, we fear the hormone and pesticide soaked ‘regular’ stuff.
The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees:
“Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity. Acute poisoning risks are clear, and understanding of chronic health implications from both acute and chronic exposure are emerging. Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.”
– American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on Environmental Health
Does that sound extreme? I just don’t want to take the chance on my daughter’s health. My husband’s family suffered with Grave’s disease and Lymphoma. My side of the family has turned up insidious diseases like Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidoisis. All of these have been linked to environmental factors. There is enough out there on the outside that puts us at risk. I want to try to limit the toxicity she’s battling from the inside.
Cold salads aren’t the first thing you think of for little people with 8 or so teeth, but these are kid-approved. I’m kind of obsessed with them right now actually, because they are so easy, and perfect for the warmer weather.
1. Toddler’s Picnic
2 cups of cooked corn
3 -4 hearts of palm and/or artichoke hearts in oil (diced. Don’t use the tough leaves either, just the tender ones.)
As many Cherry tomatoes as you can dice before getting bored (around 6?)
Dressing: a dash of mayo, a dash of lemon, some olive oil, and Herbamare or sea salt
2. MonsterPasta Mix (some cooking required)
2 cups Rotini (spiral pasta)
1 bunch Asparagus Tops (steamed well in water first, chopped diagonally is good)
1/2 Avocado (Diced)
1/2 cup Peas
Dressing: Olive Oil, Lemon, Mayonaise (a dash), Dill (a dash),Soy Sauce/Tamari (a splash), Herbamare
It’s such an adventure to figure out what to feed a baby sometimes; but the older the baby gets, the more the kitchen and pantry options seem to expand. I find it so much fun to experiment with new foods and recipes. Many of the foods in this list, Raquel has been eating since she was 8 months old. So here it is… the list of 50 healthy, simple, first foods!
Once you’ve graduated to more food combining, check out some of my toddler-friendly recipes (some teeth help) or if you’re just beginning to give your baby real food, check out my earlier posts on how we started Raquel on food, using a “no-puree” method sometimes called baby-led weaning. <– The name is dumb. It could also be called “eating food.”
Here’s a picture of us last summer, with her eating (more like sipping and gumming, at that stage) some fresh honeydew.
50 Healthy Baby Foods for the First Year:
Avocado (a good very first food)
Mango (In the winter we use the frozen, already chopped. Blanche and Dice.)
Green peas (First Food) (Blanche, steam, or boil)
Hearts of Palm (Dice)
Artichoke hearts (From Jar. Dice, hearts only, with olive oil)
Brown rice (Well cooked – 2 to 1 water to rice or 45 – 50 min.)
White rice (but brown rice is healthier, for the record.)
Raisins (7+ mos.)
Puffed wheat/rice cakes (7+ mos.)
Almond butter on toast (7+ mos.)
Israeli cous cous (7+ mos.)
Pear (Soft, Diced)
Broccoli (Well steamed or boiled til mushy)
Banana (First Food)
Spaghetti with pesto, olive oil, cheese sauce or tomato sauce
Rotini, same as above .
Pita and cream cheese (7+ mos.)
Scrambled/Chopped egg (7+ mos.)
Green Beans (Pre-cut, frozen – blanche, steam or boil)
Carrots (Blanche, steam or boil)
Bluberries (Organic is best for thin-skinned fruits)
Steamed Squash (Diced.)
Clementine/tangerine pieces (7+ mos. Diced and Deveined.)
Yoghurt (Also great as dressing or dip)
Cheese Curds (big hit)
Plum (Skinless, Diced.)
Asparagus tops (Blanched, Boiled, or Steamed until ‘gummable’.)
Beets (Boiled til soft)
Cauliflower (Boiled or Steamed until soft)
Spinach (Blanched or steamed. Chopped.)
Tofu (Raw. Mashed or Cubed)
Black beans (slightly mashed)
Kidney beans (slightly mashed)
Turkey! With cranberry sauce! — Ok, this one might take a little work ; )
Went to Yoga today and had a great class. What was way too easy in September was totally challenging today. I’m in very good spirits despite any silliness around me. I just can’t wait to meet her and hang out; feed her and dress her and bathe her. Hey I guess motherhood IS like playing Barbie. Especially when it’s a girl. I’ve somehow gotten my heart set on the name Raquel, even though J’s been rooting for that name for months. It’s grown on me and now I just love the uniqueness and the joy of the ‘el’ ending. Raquel Zara. So lovely.
Can babies eat BBQ? The short answer is yes. (Yay!)
My concern was about carcinogens found in charred meat, but the solution to that is pretty simple. Don’t give your little one any food with black bits on it. But those parts generally accompany the tough parts of food anyway. Baby BBQing is all about keeping foods soft and juicy. For achieving this, we use foil and ‘slow and low’ heat to make sure food is cooked-through and not dried out on the grill.
Extra-precautions: Use FOIL to cook food that’s being BBQ’d for baby – especially on a less-that-super-clean BBQ (hey, it happens) safe away from char, dirt and grunge, BBQ brush wires or other stray objects.
Some starter ideas:
Super checked, double-checked, 100% boneless/deboned white fish or salmon pieces (cooked in foil with a little butter or olive oil and dill or light seasoning).
Portabello mushrooms in foil (cooked until juicy and soft)
If your BBQ is clean and you trust the surface doesn’t contain any hazards, here are some other no-foil ideas we’re trying out this season:
Grilled Fruit (Pineapple, apple, pear, banana, kiwi) Cook on a skewer or tray and then de-skewer (obviously) , cool, and dice up. *If you haven’t tried grilled fruit, you will love it! It gets caramelized and sweet and juicy.
Blueberry-stuffed peaches (OMG. baby food? Mommy Food!) Here’s a recipe (drop the sugar though, not necessary at all)
And a little more labor intensive and ambitious, but SUPER healthy:
Sunshine Burgers “Raw or Cooked” *Substitute the celery and carrot in this recipe for cooked/soft green peas and green beans *the recipe is about half way down the page. What I was looking for was a burger recipe that is fine even if it doesn’t cook through and through, so that you don’t need to char it or overcook it. These burgers are fine even they are basically raw inside, because the ingredients are cooked brown rice, ground flax, and ground sunflower seeds. For a less labor intensive meatless burger, any of the “just add water” quinoa variety are worth trying, or pre-packaged sunshine burger mix!
And then last of all, below is a picture from about 5 or 6 months ago (which would make RZ about 9 months old) trying out her first fried chicken…. not the healthiest option, but she sure loved it! We’ll be experimenting with BBQ chicken, but probably will shred it! Also, leftover BBQ chicken is good for a BBQ chicken pizza the next night ; )