a complete meal for baby
Rice porridge (otherwise known as congee or muai) – is the boss’ favourite meal. When my mom visits she always makes a big pot of it for her and it’s gone within a couple of days. I know other babies like it too, because I usually bring a jar of it with me just in case I’m in need of something to feed the boss and her little friends try a bite and want more! It’s actually also one of my favourite meals (see slow cooker congee). The great thing about rice porridge is that the combinations are endless – and to me, as long as there is some protein, some veggies that bring sweetness, fibre, and good nutritional value – then that’s perfect! Traditionally the base of congee is white rice, but in this recipe I substituted half with lentils, which gave a bit more texture, fibre and nutrition.
You can also make this same recipe in the slow cooker – place all ingredients in the cooking vessel and set on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
prep: 10 min cook: 1 hour yield: about 12 mason jars
what you need:
- 1/2 cup dried red lentils
- 1/2 cup short grain rice (I used a mix of brown and white)
- 6 asparagus
- 1/2 large sweet potato
- 3/4 cup green peas (I used frozen)
- 1 portion of cooked salmon (about 4 oz or so) – I used left over BBQ’d salmon from last night’s dinner
- 5 cups of water
what to do:
- Rinse rice and lentils well, then drain.
- Place rice, lentils and 5 cups of water in a medium or large pot. Cover with lid and place on high heat to bring to boil.
- While you are waiting for your water to boil, prep vegetables by washing thoroughly, trimming asparagus ends, and peeling sweet potato. Chop sweet potato and asparagus into small baby bite size pieces (about the same size as the peas). Set aside.
- Flake salmon using your fingers – I like to use my hands to do this part to ensure that any fish bones get removed.
- Once your water comes to a boil, add the prepped bowl of salmon and veggies to the pot and then lower the heat to medium-low for a simmer. It will need to simmer away for about 45 min – 1 hour, but set a timer for 20 minutes to come back and give it a good stir. You will know it’s ready when most of the water is absorbed and it is an oatmeal type of consistency – don’t worry if it seems a little soupy, as it cools down it will thicken even more.
- Remove from heat and remove lid, then allow to cool before transferring to storage containers. I use mason jars and glass containers, so it was okay that it was still warm when I transferred it.
*If you are enjoying it yourself or serving it to an older child/toddler, feel free to season it lightly with a little bit of salt & pepper, or a tiny drizzle of soy sauce on top. When I eat this, I also like to top it off with chopped green onion and cilantro for garnish. Enjoy!
like clockwork, the boss eats a whole jar at 5am!
gently spice infused fruit cup
This baby food smells so good and tastes so good…you’ll want to eat it yourself! For sure this beats a store-bought fruit cup. Chutney is an aromatic delicious condiment that originated from India and is usually some sort of fruit that has been cooked with spices to give it a fragrant intense flavour. This baby version uses only 3 spices and is gently infused so that it will just get your baby started on some new flavours without overwhelming the actual taste of the fruits. Be sure to save any extra liquid after the cooking process – it will be full of flavour! – and it can be used to sweeten up yogurt, oatmeal, or blended up in a smoothie.
prep: 10 min cook: 3-4 hours (slow cooker) or 45 min yield: 6 small mason jars
what you need:
- 3 pears (I used anjou pears)
- 1 mango
- 3 thin slices of fresh ginger
- 2 cardamon seeds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3/4 cup water
what to do:
- Wash fruit and peel. Dice fruit into small chunks. Place into slow cooker pot.
- Peel ginger (the easiest is to use the side of a spoon and scrape off the peel) and cut 3 thin slices. Lightly smash cardamon seeds with the side of a large knife, to expose the little seeds within it. Place cinnamon stick, cardamon seeds, and ginger slices into a spice bag (don’t have one? make your own with cheese cloth and string!).
- Place spice bag into slow cooker with the fruit and pour water over everything. Make sure the spice bag is nestled down under the fruit and in the water.
- Cook on lowest setting for 3-4 hours.
can you spot the spice bag?
- Remove lid and allow to cool. Once it’s cool enough to handle, store in mason jars. Enjoy!
*If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can make this on the stove top. Simply put ingredients into a pot with a lid on, bring to a boil then turn it down to medium-low heat and keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally and adding water if required (to avoid burning) – should take about 40 minutes or so.
This is so easy to make and has great blueberry flavour. Adding cinnamon gives it a pie feel and of course will be enjoyed even more by your baby! Cooking the apples helps to intensify their flavour and will give it a longer shelf life (in your fridge of course). It smelled so good even sweetie pie pie (my toddler) had some! Usually she is very adamant that the mushy stuff is for “babies only…I’m a BIG girl”…but this time I guess she made an exception:)
what you need:
prep: 5 min cook: 15 min yield: about 5 small mason jars
- 2 small granny smith apples
- 1 cup frozen wild blueberries
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp water
what to do:
- Wash apples thoroughly and peel if desired. Since I bought organic apples this time, I kept the peels on.
- Remove apple cores and cut into bite size chunks, then place in a small pot with water and cinnamon and cook on medium, for about 5 minutes. Turn it down to medium low for another 5-10 minutes, just until apples are fork tender.
- Mix apples with frozen blueberries (which will bring cool them down fast) – and blend into a smooth puree or just pulse a little for a chunkier texture. Because I left my apple skins on, I went for a smoother puree. The mixture may seem a little liquidy but it will firm up (almost like a jam) after it is completely cooled and refrigerated.
- Store in mason jars in the fridge, or freeze for future use.