Friday, April 29, 2011

Breast Milk Ice Cream & Other Healthy Baby Desserts!

Yes, it’s a cheap title to lure people in considering all of the insanity surrounding breast milk ice cream.  Honestly, I see no problem with it.  I do think it’s kind of strange there are women out there who are producing breast milk for adults to consume instead of donating it, but hey, it’s your breast milk, use it as you choose.  I just know it must take a rather large quantity (or just a large “tity” yuk yuk yuk) and it almost seems wasteful to make it for some English pub.  THAT’S JUST ME.  So read the article and you’ll get to the breast milk ice cream recipe!
I’ve always dreaded the thought of what’s going to happen when Elias has his first birthday party or when he goes to what seems like one party a week when he gets older.  What will he eat?  Can I allow him to have one piece of birthday cake?  What if that gives him too much of a sweet tooth?  Will he want to eat healthy foods anymore??  Obviously these are things brought on by super-paranoia of a mother who doesn’t want her child to end up a “junk food junkie,” but there are some times when those sometimes-irrational fears can be put to good use.

Here are a few desserts I came up with that aren’t just limited to a giant slice of not-so-healthy carrot cake:

Monster Pudding (6 months-whenever!)
1 ripe avocado
½ ripe banana
Tiny bit of citrus juice (to prevent browning)
           1 T heavy cream (optional and for children over 1 year)

Place avocado, banana, small bit of juice and optional cream into food processor.  Blend until smooth, refrigerate if desired, and serve in decorative cups.  I call it “monster pudding” because it has a lovely green hue that kids love.  You can even call it “dragon pudding,” whatever you like!  Garnish with fruit if desired, but only for kids able to eat that fruit safely.  Recipe makes 2 generous servings. Nutritional perks: A huge load of potassium, vitamin E, and healthy monounsaturated fats as well as essential amino acids.  For an even bigger nutritional boost –this may not be desired by all—throw in a few baby spinach leaves.  They’ll appear to be tiny green flecks in the “pudding.”  My son has never objected.

Faux-Nanna Pudding (8 months-whenever!)
1 ripe banana
½ package “yo baby” plain yogurt
½ crushed organic graham cracker
    (the other ½ used on top as garnish)
1 T heavy cream (optional and for children over 1 year)
Place banana, yogurt, and fine-crushed cracker in food processor and blend until smooth.  For a thicker texture be sure to drain off any excess liquid from the yogurt before placing it in the processor.  You can even substitute the graham cracker for oatmeal cereal if desired.  Recipe makes 1-2 generous servings.  Nutritional perks: Lots of potassium, protein, fiber, and low in fat.  The culture in the yogurt is also great for regulating the digestive system.  Yogurt always makes my little man’s tummy happy!

Mango/Peach “Sorbet” (6 months-whenever!)
¼ cup frozen mangoes, slightly thawed
¼ cup frozen peaches, slightly thawed
4 T apple juice or other sweet juice

Place fruit and juice in food processor and puree until smooth.  If you’d like to make it more like a “sherbet” you can add a couple of tablespoons of breast milk or formula –but not if you’re feeding someone else’s kid, obviously!  In the case of other children eating the “sherbet,” try adding 1 T heavy cream.  If a firmer product is desired, thaw for a shorter amount of time.  Recipe makes about two ¼ cup servings.  Nutritional perks: Vitamin A from beta carotene, alpha carotene, vitamin C, fiber, and no fat! (in the “sorbet” form)

Sweet Potato “Cheesecake” (8 months-whenever!)
1 small sweet potato, baked & pureed (or ½ can plain pumpkin puree)
1 egg yolk (no egg whites until after 12 months!)
2T YoBaby Plain Yogurt
2T crushed melba toasts or graham crackers

Blend together puree, egg yolk, and yogurt then set aside.  Take a small ramekin or mini springform pan and “grease” it with a tiny bit of olive oil or parchment paper (to get it out later).  Use unsalted melted butter to moisten crushed crackers just enough to where it feels like damp sand, then press mixture into bottom of the baking dish and bake at 350F for 10 minutes.  Once cooled, add in puree mixture and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture isn’t “jiggly” anymore –it should look like a finished pumpkin pie!  The reason I call this “cheesecake” is because of the cracker crust and the YoBaby yogurt tastes faintly like cream cheese.  This makes 1 generous serving. Nutritional perks: Vitamin A from beta carotene and other carotenoids, fiber, protein, and low in fat!

Breast Milk "Ice Cream" (No ice cream freezer required!)
Sounds nutty, but think about it: do you let your kid drink cow’s milk yet? Maybe not.  Do you want your child to enjoy ice cream like the rest of the world?  Yes!  It’s not that crazy.  May be a lot less fatty and be a little icier, but come on, it’s MILK.  How many other ice creams would you actually feel good about giving your child?  So it may not have the same exact nutritional contents as milk straight from the breast, but at least it’s not made from suckling an entirely different species.  Also, “ice cream” is in quotations because ice cream can’t legally be called “ice cream” unless it has a certain amount of butterfat and since there is no butterfat in breast milk, it’s faux.  We can call it “frozen mother-dairy dessert.”  So here goes:

1 cup (8oz) breast milk (I’d love to have that much just lying around!)
½-1 T raw sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)
3 cups ice
¼ cup rock salt (or kosher salt if you absolutely have to)

Mix together milk, sugar, and vanilla, place in a quart-sized ziptop baggie and make sure it is closed securely.  Fill a gallon-sized ziptop bag with the rock salt and ice.  Next place milk-filled bag inside the ice-filled bag and shake/massage the bags until a soft-serve “ice cream” is made.  It’s just like the “ice cream” you made back in elementary school!  It really only takes about 5-10 minutes to make this ice cream and the recipe can certainly be doubled if you’ve got a LOT of breast milk to spare.  However, all super low fat dairy recipes will freeze nearly rock-solid if you put them back in the freezer because of their high water content.  Nutritional perks: It’s your BREAST MILK.  Nothing more nutritious than that!  It’s made to suit your baby perfectly.  Can you imagine a better way to cool down a fussy child in the summertime??  In my experience, my son doesn’t like cold things, but once your child is older I’m sure he/she will enjoy this treat :)

That headline is a little misleading because I plan to do another article on the same subject because I’ve still got more ideas in the ‘ol noodle!  I just thought it would be a painfully-long blog if I put all of them in one post.  So be sure to keep your eyes open for more recipes in the next few days!  I have been a lot busier these days so I apologize for the long waits.  In fact, I have to move again.  This will be the second time in just under 3 months!  With a child who will be 8 months old May 2nd, it’s quite a feat to finish important tasks, to say the least.  I love writing for people who are actually interested so I promise I’ll try my best not to let you all down.  Happy eating, as always!
-Elias’s mommy

JA handful of chopped baby spinach can pretty much be added to anything and still be undetected by your child’s palette. 
=NEVER feed someone else’s child your breast milk-laden goodies (I never thought I’d have to say that!)
<ALWAYS talk to parents before parties to see if any of the children attending have food allergies or are fed a special diet so they aren’t alienated from the rest of the group. 
=NEVER sweeten with honey until child is older than 12 months to prevent possible botulism poisoning. 
=DO NOT feed egg whites until after 12 months of age unless recommended by your pediatrician.  By all means, have fun!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Raspberry Puree, I think I loooooove her.

*originally written 2/27/2011*
While doing our usual browse through the supermarket produce section, my baby son and I decided to grab a pint of raspberries.  Well, I decided to pick them out, he decided to grab on to the pint and try to put it in his mouth!  Either way we got some raspberries because I am still slowly, but surely, introducing him to fruits.  Now raspberries are tricky because they have an abundance of seeds and they’re not super-sweet, especially if you have the displeasure of not growing them on your own!  Of course I don’t have a raspberry plant, but I trusted that this generously-priced pint of berries would be good.  They were, but they were still a bit tart.  This is a common occurrence with a lot of berries so they tend to play second fiddle to sweeter fruits in baby food recipes to offset their tart flavor.  Most babies don’t do well with acidic or bitter tastes; it’s because we are programmed to enjoy sweet things like breast milk as infants.  I’m pretty sure you’ll never find a totally raspberry or strawberry baby food, so I combined it with the sweetest fruit I could think of: BANANAS.  Once I added that my son loved his “banana-berry” baby food :D  You can take a look at my entry about bananas here:

Nutritional Perks
I actually found a neat website that gave me nutrition facts on a lot of different serving sizes for raspberries, so the nutrition facts given here are for just ¼ cup of raspberries.  That was really helpful because that’s really all I use in my banana-berry recipe!  In a ¼ cup of raspberries there are only 16 calories, 0 grams of fat, but the big perk is 13% of an adult’s daily intake for vitamin C, so raspberries, according to the USDA’s laws of food-labeling, would be considered an “excellent” source of vitamin C.  You can read more about the importance of vitamin C in one of my previous blogs,


Frozen vs. Fresh/Organic vs. Non-Organic
I’m not going to pretend that raspberries are inexpensive because they’re not.  Raspberries are difficult to harvest, difficult to get at their peak ripeness, and even more difficult to ship them unscathed, so the price reflects all the hard work.  Period.  If raspberries are just too expensive to stomach, I am not above using frozen.  In fact, the frozen kind actually process better because they will be partially-mushy once thawed in the refrigerator because of all the ice crystals that pierced the fruit!  Obviously fresh will always be better because you never know exactly how long those raspberries have been frozen, but I live on a budget and I won’t tell you to never buy frozen.  In the produce section “organic” means that the fruit or vegetable has not been genetically modified, no chemicals have been used in the fertilizer, and no pesticides were used on the fruit.  There is a list of the top fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides and raspberries are on that list.  If you’re concerned about your child imbibing pesticides or preservatives, buy organic.  You can attempt to wash the raspberries by soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar added, but if you’re still worried, buying USDA certified organic is the way to go.  “Locally-grown” does not mean “organic.”  That sounds like a big “DUH” but I always assume local farmers don’t use additives.

Call raspberries the “Gladys Knight” of the fruit world because they’re full of PIPS!  Yeah, that was a pretty bad joke, but raspberries have little, hard seeds called “pips” (not kidding) that are totally-indigestible –as most seeds are—and aren’t very fun to try and pick out.  When I make raspberry puree I use a sieve to remove all of the seeds.  Instead of paying in upwards of $50 for a French “chinois” (a cone shaped strainer) I just buy a cup-sized “tea strainer” for the job.  It fits right over the mouth of most cups, it’s as easily stored as a whisk, and it’s really inexpensive!  They are usually found in the section of the store with all the wooden cooking spoons and whatnot.  I get a lot of use out of that little guy so I don’t feel quite as bad for going through the “gadget” section of Walmart and picking up nearly everything in sight :D  So when you’re done processing the raspberries you just push the puree through the strainer with the back of a spoon & voila!  Perfectly processed produce!  Raspberry puree is pretty runny, but that’s another reason it combines well with other fruits.

Elias didn't take well to raspberries at first so I assumed he didn't like it, but I learned that it can take as many as 8-12 times before a baby accepts a "new" food.  He likes them now!

Banana-berry puree.  Hooray!
1 half ripe banana
2 T raspberry puree (1/4 cup raspberries pureed in processor and pushed through a sieve to remove seeds)

Place ingredients in food processor and pulse to desired consistency.  For an older child, like my son who is 7-1/2 months now, you can just mash the bananas and raspberry puree in a bowl and proceed to feed it as is.  This is intended to be 1 serving of banana-berry puree.