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Sweet Creamy Kale

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The natural sweetness of sweet potatoes effectively balances
out the slight bitterness of kale, helping baby consume more of
these mighty leafy greens. The creaminess and protein offered
by garbanzo beans turns this dish into a satisfying meal.
1 cube Kale Puree
1 cube Sweet Potato Puree
1 cube Garbanzo Bean Puree
Thaw purees together using your preferred thawing method
and gently stir to combine. Serve at a cool or room
temperature, or slightly warmed, as desired.

Creamy Spiced Spinach

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Creamy Spiced Spinach
Spinach and nutmeg are a seemingly underground flavor pairing
that many complex recipes exploit. When combined with the
creaminess of protein-packed cannellini beans, this simple spiced
spinach becomes a filling meal.
1 cube Spinach Puree
1 cube Cannellini Bean Puree
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Thaw purees together using your preferred thawing
method. Add the nutmeg and gently stir to combine. Serve
at a cool or room temperature, or slightly warmed, as
desired.

Peachy Strawberry Salad

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Peachy Strawberry Salad
How many babies do you know who eat salad? Well, yours will
with this recipe. The flavors and colors of this dish form a
delightful combination. Be sure to verbally tell baby that this is
“salad,” and when you introduce an actual salad at a later stage,
there will be a positive association with the name.
1 cube Peach Puree
1 cube Strawberry Puree
1 cube Spinach Puree
Thaw purees together using your preferred thawing method
and gently stir to combine. Serve at a cool or room
temperature.

Berry Figgy Buckwheat

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Berry Figgy Buckwheat
There is no need to even consider offering a fig cookie when
you can whip up this sweet meal. Figs and raspberries
complement each other fabulously, and when swirled over
buckwheat you have a flavorful, fruity cereal. Hemp seed hearts
can be added for extra flavor and a dose of protein and omega-
3s.
1 cube Raspberry Puree
1 cube Fig Puree
1 tablespoon prepared buckwheat cereal, or
¼ cup
whole cooked buckwheat
¼
teaspoon hemp seed (optional)
Thaw the raspberry and fig purees together using your
preferred thawing method. If using prepared buckwheat
cereal, mix the cereal together with the purees until
thoroughly combined. If using whole cooked buckwheat,
swirl the purees on top of the cooked grains and gently mix
to combine. Sprinkle on hemp seed and gently mix in. Serve
at a cool or room temperature, or slightly warmed, as
desired.

Coconutty Mango Lassi

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This recipe turns the popular mango lassi yogurt drink into an
adventurous yogurt meal. Baby just may like the optional
cardamom, so be sure to try it out!
1 cube Mango Puree
⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
¼ teaspoon dried coconut, finely shredded
Thaw the mango puree using your preferred thawing
method (see this page). Sprinkle on the cardamom and mix
into the puree. Add the yogurt and coconut shreds, then
gently stir to combine. Serve at a cool temperature.

Lentils or Split Peas in Full Form

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1½ cups water
1 cup (½ pound) dried lentils or split peas
Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add lentils or split peas and
stir. Allow the mixture to return to a boil, then reduce the
heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 to 45 minutes,
until tender.

Whole Grains
Whole grains are the entire seed of a plant, containing
the germ, bran, and endosperm (as opposed to refined
grains, which have had the nutrient-rich germ and bran
removed).
Baby can consume whole grains in their full form as soon as he
is ready to receive their textures, probably around the age of
nine to ten months. Fruit, vegetable, and legume purees can all
be gently mixed with any of the full whole grains featured in the
cooking guide. Until then, whole grains can be easily added to
baby’s early meals by grinding grains into their respective flours,
then creating cooked cereal (porridge) from those flours. Highspeed
blenders, such as the Vitamix, easily grind whole grains
into flours. Most other blenders and food processors can get the
job done as well, but be sure to check your owner’s manual
beforehand.
Whole grains are available prepackaged as well as in bulk
containers at many supermarkets. If purchasing prepackaged
whole grains, always check to see if there is a use-by date. If
purchasing grains from bulk containers, smell the grains; they
should smell slightly sweet or have no odor at all. If the grains
smell moldy or like rancid oil, they are no longer good. Whole
grains (unlike refined grains) retain the germ portion of their
kernel, which contains many nutritious oils. During prolonged
storage, these oils have a tendency to oxidize (react with
oxygen to form rancid, off flavors), and heat, light, and air
accelerate that process. Most whole grains can be stored in their
unopened package or in an airtight container for several months
at room temperature in a dark, dry location (pantry or
cupboard), or for up to one year in the freezer. Once ground
into flour, the natural oils from the whole grain germ are more
susceptible to oxidation, so flours should be stored in an airtight
container in a refrigerator or freezer to prevent oxidation from
occurring. Most whole grain flours will keep for up to two to
three months in the refrigerator or for up to six to eight months
in the freezer. Cooked whole grain cereals do not freeze well,
and it is recommended instead to prepare batches of these
cereals on a weekly basis. They can be stored in the refrigerator
for up to one week to be used as needed for baby’s meals.
Gluten-Free Whole Grains
Naturally gluten-free grains should be used to prepare
whole grain cereals for baby during the early stages of
introducing solid foods, because gluten is relatively
difficult for baby to digest. Gluten-containing grains are
fine to incorporate into baby’s diet after the age of ten
months.
Appropriate gluten-free whole grains to use for preparing
cereals include brown rice, oats (if certified gluten-free), quinoa,
buckwheat, and millet. Refer to see Vegetarian, Vegan and
Gluten-Free Diets for more specific information about glutenfree
grains. All of these grains can be prepared the same way
using the recipes on the following recipes, but yields will vary
slightly depending on grain size and the individual grain’s waterholding
capacity.
Feed baby a small amount of whole grain cereal as needed at
mealtime, typically starting with a serving size of 1 tablespoon,
eventually increasing the serving size as baby’s appetite
increases. When serving, adjust prepared cereal consistency as
needed, adding water, breast milk, or formula to thin out the
texture, if necessary. All grains featured here have a fairly
neutral flavor profile that easily combines well with any fruit,
vegetable, or legume puree.
A complete protein cereal can also be created by combining any
of the whole grain flours below with a legume flour.
BROWN RICE
year-round
Rice is typically the grain that many parents first choose to
introduce to baby, mostly because it is a common grain that is
easily digested and widely available. Brown rice is the nutrientrich
choice for rice, as white rice has been refined, with all
nutrients being removed in the process. Choose long-grain
brown rice to avoid the overly sticky textures that can result
when using shorter-grain options. Brown rice has a mild, slightly
nutty flavor that pairs well with any fruit, vegetable, or legume
puree.
OATS
year-round
Oats are available in different forms, and any form is fine for
baby to consume. Whole oat groats are the whole oat grain
with the outer hull removed; steel-cut oats are created by
passing oat groats through steel cutters, cutting the oats into
several pieces; rolled oats are oat groats that have been
steamed and flattened with a roller; instant oats are similar to
rolled oats, but they spend a longer time undergoing the
steaming and flattening process. All oat forms have similar
nutrient profiles, but vary in their textures and cooking times
when prepared in their full form. When creating cereals from
ground grains, however, the cooking times and textures are all
the same; therefore, any form of oats can be used with the same
result. Note that oats do not naturally contain gluten, but they
can be contaminated with wheat during growing and
processing, so look for oats that are certified gluten-free if you
want to avoid gluten entirely. Oats have a neutral flavor that is
slightly sweet. Though oats combine well with any puree, they
pair particularly well with fruits.
QUINOA
year-round
Quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) is actually a seed, but it
functions as a grain in cooking. Quinoa is considered to be
exceptional because it is the only grain that provides a source of
complete protein, making this food a good addition to a
vegetarian diet. Quinoa can typically be found in white, red, and
black varieties. Note that quinoa contains a natural powdery
coating of saponins, which can cause a bitter taste in the cooked
grain. It is commonly suggested to rinse quinoa before
preparation, in order to wash away these bitter compounds.
When using quinoa to make baby cereal, purchasing prerinsed
quinoa is a convenient option that will allow you to bypass this
step. Bob’s Red Mill is a readily available brand of quinoa that is
prerinsed. Cooked quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor, and an
aroma that is reminiscent of peas. Quinoa combines well with
any puree, but pairs particularly well with vegetables and
legumes.
BUCKWHEAT
year-round
Buckwheat is technically a fruit seed, not a grain, but it functions
as a grain when cooked. Despite its name, buckwheat does not
contain wheat. Buckwheat has a uniquely triangular shape, and
is available either unroasted or roasted (commonly referred to as
kasha). Roasted buckwheat has a slightly nutty, earthy flavor,
while the unroasted variety is rather neutral and mild. Either
form of buckwheat is fine for baby. Buckwheat pairs very well
with fruits, but can also be combined with any vegetable or
legume purees.
MILLET
year-round
Like buckwheat, millet is actually a seed rather than a grain, but
it functions as a grain when cooked. Millet has a mildly nutty,
sweet flavor that combines well with any fruit, vegetable, or
legume puree.

Legume Flour + Legume Cereal

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Legume Flour
DRY-GRIND RECIPE •• MAKES 1 CUP (16 TABLESPOONS) FLOUR
1 cup (½ pound) dried lentils or split peas
Place the lentils or split peas in a blender or food processor
and grind into a fine powder. Store the legume flour in an
airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to
use for preparing legume cereal (see recipe below). Legume
flour will keep under these conditions for 2 to 3 months.

Option 1: Canned Beans

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1 cup water
2 (15-ounce) cans of beans
Bring the water to a simmer in a pot over medium heat.
Rinse and drain the canned beans in a colander. Add the
beans to the simmering water, stir, and allow the beans to
heat until thoroughly warmed, about 5 minutes. Remove
from heat and drain beans, reserving cooking liquid.
Place the beans in a blender or food processor and puree,
and, if necessary, add reserved cooking liquid (about ½
cup), until desired consistency is reached.
Pour the puree into a freezer tray and cover with plastic
wrap or waxed paper. Place the freezer tray in the freezer
for 24 hours, or until completely set, then transfer frozen
cubes from the freezer tray into a labeled freezer storage
bag.

Sweet Peas

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2 pounds fresh sweet peas in pods, or 1 pound shelled
sweet peas (fresh or frozen)
Shell peas by removing the stem end of the pod, then peel
the fibrous string from the seam, open the pod, and run a
thumb along the interior, scooping out the peas and
discarding the pods. Place peas (fresh or frozen) in a
steamer basket and set in a pot filled with 1 to 2 inches of
simmering water. Cover and steam for 2 to 3 minutes, until
peas turn a bright green color. Uncover and remove from
heat to let the peas cool down, reserving cooking liquid.
Place cooked peas in a blender or food processor and
puree, and, if necessary, add reserved cooking liquid (about
½ cup), until desired consistency is reached.
Pour the puree into a freezer tray and cover with plastic
wrap or waxed paper. Place the freezer tray in the freezer
for 24 hours, or until completely set, then transfer frozen
cubes from the freezer tray into a labeled freezer storage
bag.
NOTE
Shelling fresh sweet peas will add extra time to the
Amazing Make-Ahead Strategy timeline; use frozen
shelled peas to avoid adding extra time.
Dried Beans
Dried beans are shelled beans that are harvested after
the pods and beans inside have completely dried. Dried
beans can be purchased dried or canned (already
cooked). Canned beans are nutritionally equivalent to
dried beans that are cooked at home and are
significantly more convenient. Puree recipes for both
canned beans and dried beans are provided here;
however, canned beans should be used to
accommodate the time frame of the Amazing Make-
Ahead Strategy. Preparing dried beans at home requires
a significant amount of time. Dried beans can generally
all be prepared the same way.
PINTO, BLACK, NAVY, KIDNEY, CANNELLINI (AKA
WHITE KIDNEY), GARBANZO (AKA CHICKPEAS), AND
NORTHERN BEANS
year-round
When shopping for canned beans, look for those with low or no
salt added. Always rinse canned beans well to remove any
sodium that may be present. Also, choose beans packed in cans
with BPA-free liners, identified as such by a statement on the
label. Eden Organic is a brand that packs beans in BPA-free lined
cans. Their beans also have no salt added, and they are cooked
with kombu (see below). Canned beans can be stored for up to
five years.
If shopping for dried beans, select beans that are uniform in size
and color, with a firm surface. Avoid beans that are broken or
wrinkled. Dried beans can be purchased prepackaged or in the
bulk section of some supermarkets. Dried beans can keep for up
to one year if stored properly. For optimal shelf life, dried beans
should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry location,
such as a cabinet or pantry. Beans exposed to high
temperatures or humidity may not cook well. Beans that are too
old will take longer to cook or may not soften at all. Dried beans
always need to be soaked before preparing. Soaking not only
rehydrates the beans (accelerating cooking time) but also
dissolves gas-producing starches (oligosaccharides) that make
bean digestion difficult for some people. The soaking method
developed by the California Dry Bean Board is incorporated in
the recipe provided here. Always discard the soaking water
before cooking, as the water contains most of the dissolved
indigestible starches.
Kombu is a sea vegetable that can be added during the cooking
process of beans to decrease naturally present gas-producing
compounds. Kombu can be found in the Asian section of the
supermarket, next to other seaweeds. Most beans have a fairly
neutral flavor and creamy texture that combine well with many
other foods (see Flavor Compatibility Guide). Beans are a go- to
source of protein to incorporate into meals, especially for
vegetarian diets.

Asparagus

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1½ pounds asparagus spears
Snap off and discard the woody ends of each asparagus
spear (the woody part naturally breaks off at the right point
when the spear is bent). Place trimmed asparagus in a
steamer basket and set in a pot filled with 1 to 2 inches of
simmering water. Cover and steam for 4 to 8 minutes,
depending upon thickness, until the thickest part slightly
softens and can be pierced easily with a fork. Uncover and
remove from heat to let cool, reserving the cooking liquid.
Place the asparagus in a blender or food processor and
puree, and, if necessary, add reserved cooking liquid (¼ to
½ cup), until desired consistency is reached.
Pour the puree into a freezer tray and cover with plastic
wrap or waxed paper. Place the freezer tray in the freezer
for 24 hours, or until completely set, then transfer frozen
cubes from the freezer tray into a labeled freezer storage
bag.

Legumes
Legumes are a type of vegetable pod that opens along
a seam. Most legumes are considered high-protein
vegetables.
Fresh Beans and Peas
There are two basic categories of fresh beans: (1) edible
pod beans, so called because the pod that holds the
beans is edible, and (2) shelled beans, which are beans
that must be removed, or “shelled,” from their pod
before eating, because the pod is not edible. Both types
of fresh beans are suitable for baby when properly
prepared. Some peas also have edible pods, but infants
should only consume shelled peas like sweet peas,
because edible pea pods are difficult for infants to
digest.
GREEN BEANS (AKA STRING BEANS OR SNAP
BEANS)
late spring–fall
Green beans are edible pod beans that enjoy a long season of
availability, starting late spring and lasting into the fall. When
selecting fresh beans, choose those that are bright green in
color, crisp, and free of blemishes. Sweeter beans will be slender
(no thicker than a pencil). Do not purchase beans that have
seeds visible through the pod or those that are too stiff, as these
beans will be more fibrous. Store fresh green beans in the
refrigerator, where they can last four to five days. Green beans
combine particularly well with sweet potatoes and squash (see
Flavor Compatibility Guide).
HARICOTS VERTS (AKA FRENCH GREEN BEANS
OR FILET BEANS)
late spring–fall
Haricots verts (pronounced “ah-ree-koh-ver”) are edible pod
beans that are longer, thinner, and more delicate than regular
green beans. Haricots verts may be used interchangeably with
regular green beans, though their fibers are softer and their
flavor is slightly more complex. When selecting haricots verts,
choose fresh beans that are bright green in color, crisp, and free
of blemishes. Do not purchase beans that have seeds visible
through the pod or those that are too stiff, as these beans will
be more fibrous. Store fresh beans in the refrigerator, where
they can last four to five days.
EDAMAME (AKA IMMATURE GREEN SOYBEANS)
mid-August–September
Edamame is a highly nutritious shelled bean that offers one of
the very few vegetable sources of complete protein, making this
an excellent staple in a vegetarian diet. Edamame is rarely sold
fresh in the United States, as very few farms are dedicated to
producing this type of soybean. If you are lucky enough to find
it, fresh edamame should be used within twenty-four hours of
harvesting, so it is best to purchase this legume directly from a
farmer. Select edamame with green pods that have not started
to yellow. Edamame is readily available frozen year-round in two
forms: shelled or in pods. Since pods are inedible, save the
trouble and purchase shelled frozen edamame for baby food.
When baby gets older (around one and a half to two years old),
it will be fun to eat edamame out of the pod as a snack.
Edamame combines well with squash (see Flavor Compatibility
Guide) as well as plain yogurt.
SWEET PEAS (AKA ENGLISH PEAS)
early spring
Sweet peas come from a pod that is not edible, and so they must
be shelled. Fresh peas have a relatively short season. Once peas
have been harvested, their sugars immediately start converting
into starches, so fresh peas should be used as soon as possible
after purchasing for optimal sweetness. Frozen peas will actually
taste better than fresh peas that have been stored too long after
harvest and have subsequently become too starchy. When
selecting fresh peas, choose smaller pods, which contain
sweeter and more tender peas than larger pods. Select pods
that are firm and green, avoiding those that are yellowing or
wilting. To really know whether peas are fresh and sweet, break
open a pod to look at the peas inside. Peas should be bright
green, small, and firm. Once the pod is open, taste a pea or two;
the pea should be tender and sweet. Store fresh peas in the
refrigerator for no more than two to three days before using.
Sweet peas pair particularly well with orange veggies, like
carrots and sweet potatoes (see Flavor Compatibility Guide), and
they also make for a great simple finger food when baby is ready
to move beyond purees. Although whole edible pod peas, such
as snow peas and sugar snap peas, are not appropriate for baby,
they can be introduced as a nutritious snack food when baby is
around one and a half to two years old.