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thanksgiving for babies
This month I am sharing thoughts about how to make Thanksgiving tasty for the littlest butterballs in our lives.
That would be babies, not turkeys.
As adults we are lucky to enjoy all the flavors and spices of the season. Turkeys are rubbed with savory herbed butters. Rosemary, thyme and sage play prominent roles in seasoning everything from turkeys, to stuffings to gravies. Nutmeg and cinnamon are wonderful warming spices used in sweet potatoes, yams and pumpkin pies.
How can we bring these flavors to our babies and toddlers?
You might be thinking babies are too young for such tastes, but I assure you they are not! Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to introduce your little one to different seasonings and ingredients. The idea is to use, for lack of better words, baby steps. A pinch of this or a pinch of that is all you need. In fact, each holiday or family feast should be looked upon as an opportunity to broaden your babies’ taste buds. Feeding baby a diverse array of seasonings from the moment they can enjoy solids will enable them to appreciate a wider variety of foods as they get older.
Here are some quick and easy ideas to bring Thanksgiving flavors to your little one’s highchair:
Babies (6 months and up):
Mashed sweet potatoes with a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg
Rosemary mashed potatoes
Butternut squash soup or purée
Roasted parsnip purée with rosemary or sage
Curried carrot purée
Pumpkin purée with cinnamon, clove or pumpkin pie spice mix
Turkey and squash purée with herbes de provençe
Roasted carrots with rosemary (see recipe below)
For Toddlers (12 months and up):
Since toddlers can eat a wider variety of textures, be sure to introduce them to the above spices via your regular Thanksgiving table food. Stuffing and potatoes are obvious favorites. It's ok, and actually encouraged, to give your toddler bites of full-seasoned dishes. If your little one refuses, don't give up! Remember, it can take 10-15 tries before a baby/toddler starts to like the taste of a particular seasoning or ingredient. Experiment and have fun!
Oven-Roasted Rosemary-Carrot Purée
1 lb. carrots, washed, peeled, trimmed and cut into even-sized chunks
Salt & pepper to taste
1 sprig, fresh rosemary
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine carrots, enough olive oil to lightly coat them, salt and pepper to taste, and the rosemary sprig. Toss together until evenly coated.
3. Place carrots on baking sheet. Roast until soft and slightly browned, about 15 minutes.
4. Remove rosemary sprig and purée carrots in food processor with a few spoonfuls of water. Serve warm.