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Apples or Pears

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1½ pounds apples or pears (about 5 medium fruits)
Peel the fruit and cut it into 2-inch chunks, discarding the
core. Place the fruit chunks in a steamer basket and set in a
pot filled with 1 to 2 inches of simmering water. Cover and
steam for 5 to 7 minutes, until the fruit slightly softens and
can be pierced easily with a fork. Uncover and remove from
heat to let the fruit cool down. Reserve the cooking liquid.
Place the fruit in a blender or food processor and puree,
adding reserved cooking liquid, if necessary (probably close
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.
Stone Fruits
Stone fruits have an outer fleshy part that surrounds a shell
(stone/pit) containing a seed and include apricots, peaches,
nectarines, plums, cherries (and technically almonds), as well as
many hybrids. With the exception of cherries, all stone fruits can
be prepared the same way. There is no need to remove the thin
skins before preparing purees.
PEACHES
summer
Peaches come in two colors: white and yellow (referring to the
color of the flesh inside). When selecting peaches, ripe fruit will
have a flesh tender to the touch and a classic peachy aroma.
Peaches will have varying colors of yellow, red, and orange in
their skin (indicating variety, not ripeness), but should never have
green coloring (which indicates an underripe fruit). Avoid
peaches that are too firm, cracked, or bruised. Store peaches at
room temperature until fully ripe. When ripe, they can be stored
in the refrigerator for several additional days. Nothing beats the
flavor of a ripe, juicy, summer peach all by itself, but peaches
also pair well with many other flavors, such as our family
favorite, raspberries (see Flavor Compatibility Guide).
NECTARINES
summer
Nectarines are a variety of peach, and similar tips apply for
selecting ripe fruit. A ripe nectarine will give to gentle pressure,
have slight softening on the seam side, and have a fragrant
aroma. Avoid greenish nectarines, or those that are too firm,
cracked, or bruised. Store nectarines at room temperature until
fully ripe. When ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for
several additional days. Nectarines pair particularly well with
other summer fruits, such as cherries and berries (see Flavor
Compatibility Guide).
PLUMS
summer to early fall
Plums range in color from red to purple to black, depending
upon the variety. A ripe plum will yield to gentle pressure,
especially at the end opposite the stem, and will have a distinct
plum aroma. Avoid purchasing plums with skin damage or plums
that are too firm (indicating they were harvested too early and
will therefore not develop an optimally sweet flavor, even if
allowed to ripen further). Plums have a relatively short season
for availability, but their dried version can be found year-round
(see this page). Store plums at room temperature until fully ripe.
When ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for several
additional days. Plums pair well with many other fruits as well as
green veggies like broccoli and spinach (see Flavor Compatibility
Guide).
APRICOTS
early summer
The apricot is a cousin of the peach, and similar tips apply for
selecting them. Ripe apricots will have a distinct, fragrant aroma.
Generally, the deeper its orange color, the riper and sweeter the
apricot will be. Like plums, apricots have a short season for
availability, but their dried version can be found year-round (see
this page). Store apricots at room temperature until fully ripe.
When ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for several
additional days. Ripe apricots may have a slight tartness (though
really ripe apricots will be supersweet with no tartness at all) that
falls somewhere between a peach and a plum. These golden
orange summer gems pair particularly well with other summer
fruits, like berries and cherries (see Flavor Compatibility Guide).
HYBRIDS (PLUOTS, PLUMCOTS, APRIUMS,
NECTARCOTS, PEACOTUMS, NECTARCOTUMS . . .)
summer
Many different stone fruit hybrids now exist and are increasingly
available: pluots (75 percent plum–25 percent apricot hybrid),
plumcots (50 percent plum–50 percent apricot hybrid), apriums
(75 percent apricot–25 percent plum hybrid), nectarcots
(nectarine-apricot hybrid), peacotums (peach-apricot-plum
hybrid), nectarcotums (nectarine-apricot-plum hybrid), and
more. Tips for selecting hybrid fruits and pairing them with
other flavors are similar to their parent fruits. Store hybrid fruits
at room temperature until fully ripe. When ripe, they can be
stored in the refrigerator for several additional days.
CHERRIES
summer
Several varieties of sweet cherries exist, with the most popular in
the United States being Bing, Rainier, Lambert, and Royal Ann.
Sweet cherries range in color from golden-red to purple-black.
The best way to know if cherries are ripe and sweet is to taste
one, and you need not be shy about asking to do so when
shopping. Cherries should be firm without wrinkling near the
stem. The quality of cherries will quickly decline when left at
room temperature; therefore, cherries should be stored in the
refrigerator to maintain freshness until ready to puree. Also,
avoid washing cherries until ready to puree, as moisture can be
absorbed where the stem meets the fruit and lead to early
spoilage. Sweet, ripe cherries have a vibrant flavor profile that
pairs particularly well with summer and winter squash as well as
many fruits (see Flavor Compatibility Guide).

Flavor Compatibility Guide

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Use the following Flavor Compatibility Guide as a reference
for combining whole foods for optimal flavor when building
meals. It was designed for each whole food featured in the
Simple Puree Recipes (chapter 3). These lists are a general
guide and by no means comprehensive, so feel free to be
adventurous and create your own combinations.
Multiple whole foods within any given category can be
combined. Start by combining frozen puree cubes within any
category in a 1:1 ratio. For example, by looking at the Apples
category, you will see that 1 puree cube of apples can be
combined with 1 puree cube of carrots. For a more complex
meal, 1 puree cube of kale can also be added.
If you find that baby does not like a given meal combination due
to particularly strong flavors, adding a cube of fruit for enhanced
sweetness often does the trick. Include any of the mix-ins
discussed earlier for additional flavor.
APPLES
Apricots • Avocados • Bananas • Beets • Black beans
Blackberries • Blueberries • Broccoli • Cannellini beans
Cantaloupe • Carrots • Cauliflower • Chard • Cherries Figs •
Garbanzo beans • Green beans/Haricots verts Honeydew
melon • Kale • Kidney beans • Kiwifruit Lentils • Mangoes •
Navy beans • Nectarines Northern beans • Papaya •
Parsnips • Peaches • Pears Pinto beans • Plums/Prunes •
Raspberries • Spinach Split peas • Strawberries • Summer
squash Sweet peas • Sweet potatoes • Turnips Whole grains
• Winter squash
APRICOTS
Apples • Bananas • Blackberries • Blueberries • Carrots
Cherries • Mangoes • Nectarines • Papaya • Peaches Pears •
Plums/Prunes • Raspberries • Strawberries Whole grains
ASPARAGUS
Bananas • Carrots • Cauliflower • Parsnips • Spinach
Summer squash • Sweet peas • Whole grains
AVOCADOS
Apples • Bananas • Beets • Black beans • Blackberries
Blueberries • Cantaloupe • Honeydew melon Mangoes •
Nectarines • Papaya • Peaches • Pears Pinto beans •
Raspberries • Strawberries • Whole grains
BANANAS
Apples • Apricots • Asparagus • Avocados • Blackberries
Blueberries • Broccoli • Cantaloupe • Carrots Cauliflower •
Chard • Cherries • Figs Green beans/Haricots verts •
Honeydew melon • Kale Kiwifruit • Mangoes • Nectarines •
Papaya • Parsnips Peaches • Pears • Plums/Prunes •
Raspberries Spinach • Split peas • Strawberries • Summer
squash Sweet peas • Sweet potatoes • Watermelon Whole
grains • Winter squash
BEETS
Apples • Avocados • Carrots • Edamame Garbanzo beans •
Parsnips • Pears • Sweet potatoes Whole grains • Winter
squash
BLACK BEANS
Apples • Avocado • Carrots • Mangoes • Papaya Parsnips •
Pears • Summer squash • Sweet potatoes Whole grains •
Winter squash
BLACKBERRIES
Apples • Apricots • Avocados • Bananas • Blueberries
Cantaloupe • Carrots • Figs • Honeydew melon Kiwifruit •
Mangoes • Nectarines • Papaya • Peaches Pears •
Plums/Prunes • Raspberries • Strawberries Watermelon •
Whole grains
BLUEBERRIES
Apples • Apricots • Avocados • Bananas Blackberries •
Cantaloupe • Carrots • Cherries • Figs Honeydew melon •
Kiwifruit • Mangoes • Nectarines Papaya • Peaches • Pears •
Plums/Prunes • Raspberries Spinach • Strawberries •
Watermelon • Whole grains
BROCCOLI
Apples • Bananas • Cannellini beans • Carrots Cauliflower •
Garbanzo beans • Lentils • Navy beans Northern beans •
Parsnips • Pears • Plums/Prunes Sweet potatoes • Whole
grains • Winter squash
CANNELLINI BEANS
Apples • Broccoli • Carrots • Cauliflower • Chard Kale •
Parsnips • Pears • Spinach • Summer squash Sweet
potatoes • Whole grains • Winter squash
CANTALOUPE
Apples • Avocados • Bananas • Blackberries Blueberries •
Honeydew melon • Kiwifruit • Mangoes Papaya • Pears •
Raspberries • Strawberries Watermelon • Whole grains
CARROTS
Apples • Apricots • Asparagus • Bananas • Beets Black
beans • Blackberries • Blueberries • Broccoli Cannellini
beans • Cauliflower • Chard • Edamame Garbanzo beans •
Green beans/Haricots verts Kale • Kidney beans • Lentils •
Navy beans Northern beans • Parsnips • Pears • Pinto beans
Plums/Prunes • Raspberries • Spinach • Split peas Summer
squash • Sweet peas • Sweet potatoes Turnips • Whole
grains • Winter squash
CAULIFLOWER
Apples • Asparagus • Bananas • Broccoli Cannellini beans •
Carrots • Chard • Edamame Garbanzo beans • Kale •
Kidney beans • Lentils Navy beans • Northern beans •
Parsnips • Pears Plums/Prunes • Spinach • Split peas •
Sweet peas Sweet potatoes • Whole grains • Winter squash
CHARD
Apples • Bananas • Cannellini beans • Carrots Cauliflower •
Garbanzo beans • Lentils • Navy beans Northern beans •
Parsnips • Peaches • Pears Plums/Prunes • Strawberries •
Sweet potatoes Whole grains • Winter squash
CHERRIES
Apples • Apricots • Bananas • Blueberries Kiwifruit •
Mangoes • Nectarines • Papaya • Peaches Pears •
Plums/Prunes • Summer squash Whole grains • Winter
squash
EDAMAME
Beets • Carrots • Cauliflower • Parsnips Summer squash •
Sweet potatoes Whole grains • Winter squash
FIGS
Apples • Bananas • Blackberries • Blueberries Pears •
Raspberries • Strawberries • Whole grains
GARBANZO BEANS
Apples • Beets • Broccoli • Carrots Cauliflower • Chard •
Kale • Parsnips • Pears Spinach • Summer squash • Sweet
potatoes Whole grains • Winter squash
GREEN BEANS/HARICOTS VERTS
Apples • Bananas • Carrots • Nectarines • Parsnips Peaches
• Pears • Summer squash • Sweet potatoes Whole grains •
Winter squash
HONEYDEW MELON
Apples • Avocados • Bananas • Blackberries Blueberries •
Cantaloupe • Kiwifruit • Mangoes Papaya • Pears •
Raspberries • Strawberries Watermelon • Whole grains
KALE
Apples • Bananas • Cannellini beans • Carrots Cauliflower •
Garbanzo beans • Lentils Navy beans • Northern beans •
Parsnips Peaches • Pears • Plums/Prunes • Strawberries
Sweet potatoes • Whole grains • Winter squash
KIDNEY BEANS
Apples • Carrots • Cauliflower • Parsnips Pears • Summer
squash • Sweet potatoes Whole grains • Winter squash
KIWIFRUIT
Apples • Bananas • Blackberries Blueberries • Cantaloupe •
Cherries • Honeydew melon Mangoes • Papaya • Pears •
Plums/Prunes • Raspberries Strawberries • Watermelon •
Whole grains
LENTILS
Apples • Broccoli • Carrots • Cauliflower • Chard Kale •
Parsnips • Pears • Spinach • Summer squash Sweet
potatoes • Whole grains • Winter squash
MANGOES
Apples • Apricots • Avocados • Bananas Black beans •
Blackberries • Blueberries • Cantaloupe Cherries •
Honeydew melon • Kiwifruit • Nectarines Papaya • Peaches
• Pears • Pinto beans Plums/Prunes • Raspberries •
Strawberries Watermelon • Whole grains
NAVY BEANS
Apples • Broccoli • Carrots • Cauliflower • Chard Kale •
Parsnips • Pears • Spinach • Summer squash Sweet
potatoes • Whole grains • Winter squash
NECTARINES
Apples • Apricots • Avocados • Bananas • Blackberries
Blueberries • Cherries • Green beans/Haricots verts
Mangoes • Papaya • Peaches • Pears • Plums/Prunes
Raspberries • Strawberries • Summer squash Watermelon •
Whole grains
NORTHERN BEANS
Apples • Broccoli • Carrots • Cauliflower • Chard Kale •
Parsnips • Pears • Spinach • Summer squash Sweet
potatoes • Whole grains • Winter squash
PAPAYA
Apples • Apricots • Avocados • Bananas • Black beans
Blackberries • Blueberries • Cantaloupe • Cherries
Honeydew melon • Kiwifruit • Mangoes • Nectarines
Peaches • Pears • Pinto beans • Plums/Prunes Raspberries •
Strawberries • Watermelon • Whole grains
PARSNIPS
Apples • Asparagus • Bananas • Beets • Black beans
Broccoli • Cannellini beans • Carrots • Cauliflower Chard •
Edamame • Garbanzo beans Green beans/Haricots verts •
Kale • Kidney beans Lentils • Navy beans • Northern beans •
Pears Pinto beans • Plums/Prunes • Spinach • Split peas
Summer squash • Sweet peas • Sweet potatoes Turnips •
Whole grains • Winter squash
PEACHES
Apples • Apricots • Avocados • Bananas Blackberries •
Blueberries • Chard • Cherries Green beans/Haricots verts •
Kale • Mangoes Nectarines • Papaya • Pears • Plums/Prunes
Raspberries • Spinach • Strawberries Summer squash •
Watermelon • Whole grains
PEARS
Apples • Apricots • Avocados • Bananas • Beets Black beans
• Blackberries • Blueberries • Broccoli Cannellini beans •
Cantaloupe • Carrots • Cauliflower Chard • Cherries • Figs •
Garbanzo beans Green beans/Haricots verts • Honeydew
melon Kale • Kidney beans • Kiwifruit • Lentils • Mangoes
Navy beans • Nectarines • Northern beans • Papaya
Parsnips • Peaches • Pinto beans • Plums/Prunes
Raspberries • Spinach • Split peas • Strawberries Summer
squash • Sweet peas • Sweet potatoes Turnips • Whole
grains • Winter squash
PINTO BEANS
Apples • Avocados • Carrots • Mangoes • Papaya Parsnips •
Pears • Summer squash • Sweet potatoes Whole grains •
Winter squash
PLUMS/PRUNES
Apples • Apricots • Bananas • Blackberries Blueberries •
Broccoli • Carrots • Cauliflower Chard • Cherries • Kale •
Kiwifruit • Mangoes Nectarines • Papaya • Parsnips •
Peaches • Pears Raspberries • Spinach • Strawberries •
Whole grains
RASPBERRIES
Apples • Apricots • Avocados • Bananas • Blackberries
Blueberries • Cantaloupe • Carrots • Figs Honeydew melon
• Kiwifruit • Mangoes • Nectarines Papaya • Peaches • Pears
• Plums/Prunes • Spinach Strawberries • Watermelon •
Whole grains
SPINACH
Apples • Asparagus • Bananas • Blueberries Cannellini
beans • Carrots • Cauliflower Garbanzo beans • Lentils •
Navy beans Northern beans • Parsnips • Peaches • Pears
Plums/Prunes • Raspberries • Strawberries Sweet potatoes •
Whole grains • Winter squash
SPLIT PEAS
Apples • Bananas • Carrots • Cauliflower • Parsnips Pears •
Summer squash • Sweet potatoes • Turnips Whole grains •
Winter squash
STRAWBERRIES
Apples • Apricots • Avocados • Bananas Blackberries •
Blueberries • Cantaloupe • Chard Figs • Honeydew melon •
Kale • Kiwifruit Mangoes • Nectarines • Papaya • Peaches •
Pears Plums/Prunes • Raspberries • Spinach Watermelon •
Whole grains
SUMMER SQUASH
Apples • Asparagus • Bananas • Black beans Cannellini
beans • Carrots • Cherries • Edamame Garbanzo beans •
Green beans/Haricots verts Kidney beans • Lentils • Navy
beans • Nectarines Northern beans • Parsnips • Peaches •
Pears Pinto beans • Split peas • Sweet peas Sweet potatoes
• Whole grains • Winter squash
SWEET PEAS
Apples • Asparagus • Bananas • Carrots • Cauliflower
Parsnips • Pears • Summer squash • Sweet potatoes Turnips
• Whole grains • Winter squash
SWEET POTATOES
Apples • Bananas • Beets • Black beans Broccoli • Cannellini
beans • Carrots • Cauliflower Chard • Edamame • Garbanzo
beans Green beans/Haricots verts • Kale Kidney beans •
Lentils • Navy beans Northern beans • Parsnips • Pears
Pinto beans • Spinach • Split peas Summer squash • Sweet
peas Turnips • Whole grains
TURNIPS
Apples • Carrots • Parsnips • Pears Split peas • Sweet peas •
Sweet potatoes Whole grains • Winter squash
WATERMELON
Bananas • Blackberries • Blueberries • Cantaloupe
Honeydew melon • Mangoes • Nectarines • Papaya
Peaches • Raspberries • Strawberries • Whole grains
WINTER SQUASH
Apples • Bananas • Beets • Black beans • Broccoli Cannellini
beans • Carrots • Cauliflower • Chard Cherries • Edamame
• Garbanzo beans Green beans/Haricots verts • Kale •
Kidney beans Lentils • Navy beans • Northern beans •
Parsnips Pears • Pinto beans • Spinach • Split peas Summer
squash • Sweet peas • Turnips • Whole grains

Building Amazing Meals

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Building Amazing Meals
grain cereals, you are ready to build meals. To effectively
use your supply, I recommend meal planning both daily and
weekly.
Daily Meal Planning and Thawing Frozen
Purees
The best way to prepare for meals is to select meals for baby the
night before, according to your weekly menu (described on the
following pages). Place frozen puree cubes for each meal in a
separate container with a lid and store in the refrigerator
overnight to thaw. Meals will be thawed and ready to eat the
next day. Purees prepared from recipes in chapter 3 do not
require heating and can be consumed cool or at room
temperature. If taking meals on-the-go, just grab your
prepacked containers right out of the refrigerator. If you do not
take the time to thaw frozen puree cubes the night before, you
can still thaw cubes on the stove top in a small pot over low
heat. Frozen puree cubes may also be microwaved, though I do
not personally recommend this approach, as unnecessary
nutrient loss may result. Refer to chapter 2 for additional
thawing information.
Weekly Meal Planning
Meal planning on a weekly basis makes it easier for you to
ensure that a well-balanced, diverse assortment of foods is
offered. Weekly menu plans should vary each week and become
progressively more complex as baby grows and his palate
develops. In the early stages of introducing solid food purees,
baby will eat just one food per day, one time per day.
Eventually, baby will eat three meals per day, with multiple
foods at each meal. Every baby is different, so there is no one
correct amount or strict advice to give regarding quantity of
solid foods. Most babies start off eating one cube at a time, but
some may start off eating three cubes at a time! Follow baby’s
cues. You choose what to feed baby, but let baby decide how
much to eat. A sample three-month menu of meals is provided.
When creating weekly menu plans, there are several things to
remember.

The Amazing Make-Ahead Strategy

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The Six Steps
The Amazing Make-Ahead Strategy is a flexible plan that
allows you to build a custom baby food supply using whole
foods of your choice. You also have the option to use the
sample menu, shopping list, and mise en place plan
provided in this book, instead of creating your own. This
strategy will show you how to turn the ingredients you see
on the opposite page into the compact basket of cubes
pictured.
Step 1: Select a Menu of Whole Foods
The first step of the Amazing Make-Ahead Strategy is to choose
the whole foods you would like to use to create your threemonth
supply of baby food. Refer to Simple Puree Recipes in
chapter 3 to choose a total of eighteen different fruits,
vegetables, and legumes to puree, plus two or three whole
grains to grind, taking care to choose foods that encompass a
rainbow of colors. I recommend the following quantities of
whole food categories to allow optimal flexibility for creating
flavorful, nutritionally balanced meals: 8–9 fruits, 6–7 vegetables,
and 3–4 legumes (for a total of 18), plus 2–3 whole grains. Note:
you can also make lentil and split pea flours in addition to the 18
whole foods, as these legumes are “dry-grind” recipes and
therefore do not require use of the freezer trays for preparation.
If building your own menu from scratch, refer to the Flavor
Compatibility Guide later in this chapter when making whole
food selections, as you will gradually begin combining these
individual whole foods into balanced meals. Otherwise, use the
Amazing Whole Foods Menu provided below, which is designed
to make the food-planning process easier while offering a robust
variety of flavor and nutrients.
The Amazing Whole Foods Menu will produce a rainbow of
approximately 270 frozen fruit, vegetable, and legume puree
cubes, plus whole grain and legume cereals.
AMAZING WHOLE FOODS MENU
FRUITS
Apples •• Avocados •• Bananas Blueberries •• Cherries ••
Mangoes Peaches •• Pears •• Prunes
VEGETABLES
Broccoli •• Butternut squash •• Carrots Kale •• Parsnips ••
Sweet potatoes
LEGUMES
Black beans •• Haricots verts Red lentils •• Sweet peas
GRAINS
Brown rice •• Oats •• Quinoa
You could also use the Amazing Whole Foods Menu as a
template, and substitute any whole food as desired (for example,
substitute spinach for kale, pumpkin for butternut squash, and so
on). The shopping list, mise en place plan, and three-month
menu of meals provided in this chapter are all built from this
Amazing Whole Foods Menu.

Step 2

: Prepare a Shopping List
After selecting your menu, prepare your shopping list. See the
sample shopping list the opposite page. To create your own
shopping list, refer to Simple Puree Recipes in chapter 3 for
quantities and other details of whole foods needed. Your list can
include an indication of which foods may be found frozen if
unavailable fresh, notes on how to select produce, whether or
not organic is necessary, substitutions you will use if some foods
are not available, and so on. Here is a key to the icons used
throughout this book:
AVAILABLE FROZEN
This food is typically available frozen.
CLEAN 15
This food is part of the Clean 15 list.
DIRTY DOZEN PLUS
This food is part of the Dirty Dozen Plus list
EDIBLE SKINS FOR LATER
This food has skins that should be peeled before ten to
twelve months of age.
AMAZING WHOLE FOODS
SHOPPING LIST
null
To download a printable version of this chart, click here: http://rhlink.com/mab005.
* If selecting frozen, purchase one 16-ounce (1-pound) bag.
** The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends purchasing organic
versions of produce on the Dirty Dozen Plus list, while indicating organic may not be
necessary for produce on the Clean 15 list.

Step 3

: Create Space
After the shopping list has been developed, create space for
storing the whole foods you plan to bring home. Have adequate
refrigerator, freezer, and counter storage space available.
Once the whole foods have been pureed, sufficient freezer
space to store six freezer trays after each cooking session is
necessary. The stackable silicone freezer trays used in this book
each measure 4½ inches wide by 7¼ inches deep by 1¼ inches
tall. Once frozen, puree cubes will be transferred from their
freezer trays to labeled freezer storage bags, which should then
be organized in a freezer storage basket for easy handling. The
freezer storage basket used in this book to hold a three-month
supply of baby food measures 11¾ inches wide by 12½ inches
deep by 7½ inches tall.

Step 4

: Shop for Whole Foods
Bring the shopping list created in step 2 and head out to do your
shopping! Bring your whole foods home and store appropriately
until ready for preparation. Refer to chapter 2 for tips on
selection, storage, and controlling ripening.

Step 5

: Create a Mise en Place Plan
After all whole foods have been procured, make an organized
plan for preparing them. Mise en place (pronounced “meez ahn
plahs”) is a French term that literally means “put into place.” This
phrase is used among food professionals to refer to getting
“everything in place” before beginning food preparation. A mise
en place plan details what equipment, tools, and ingredients are
going to be used, what is going to be done, and in what order,
allowing the chef to work efficiently. A mise en place plan will
help avoid last-minute trips to the grocery or kitchenware store
because something was forgotten. Prepare the plan after you do
your shopping, just in case last-minute food substitutions have
to be made. Use the mise en place plan provided on the
following pages, or use the following tips to develop a mise en
place plan tailored to your specific menu, incorporating details
from your chosen simple puree recipes in chapter 3.
• Divide individual foods equally among the three cooking
sessions by evenly spreading out “no-cook” recipes (which
take the least amount of time) and recipes with longer cook
times (like winter squash or root vegetables), to keep each
session balanced at approximately one hour long. Each session
should use six whole food recipes requiring freezer trays (all
recipes except “dry-grind” recipes require freezer trays).
• Make sure all necessary equipment and cooking tools are
written into the mise en place plan.
• Thaw any frozen “no-cook” foods by the time the cooking
session begins. (Frozen foods that will be cooked do not need
to be thawed beforehand.)
• Avoid being idle by planning to prepare “no-cook” recipes and
do other tasks while foods cook.
• Plan to “dry-grind” grains, lentils, and split peas at the
beginning of a cooking session, to ensure availability of a dry
blender/food processor bowl.
• Foods that take the longest time to cook should be started
first.

Step 6

: Prepare Baby Food
Now you are ready to make baby food! Start each cooking
session with your specific mise en place plan and individual
whole food recipes available for referencing. Read the mise en
place plan and recipes from start to finish, then implement the
plan, laying out all equipment and ingredients before beginning.
In each cooking session, you will prepare six whole food purees
and “dry-grind” one or more whole foods. Note that a quick
rinse of the blender is all that is necessary between purees.
When the first cooking session is finished, freeze the purees for
at least 24 hours (or until completely solid). The second and third
cooking sessions can start any time after the frozen puree cubes
have been transferred into freezer storage bags, at which time
the freezer trays will be available for use again. By the end of
session 3, you will have three months’ worth of baby food made,
compactly stored, and ready for feeding baby!

TIMELINE AND MILESTONES FOR FEEDING BABY

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Allergies and Food Intolerances
Food allergies and intolerances can cause not only discomfort
but also potentially life-threatening conditions. Care must be
taken to monitor and intervene if any such reaction occurs.
ALLERGIES
When baby begins eating solid foods, introduce individual foods
one at a time in order to screen for food allergies. New foods
should be offered for three to five days (which is how long it
could take for an allergic reaction to appear) before introducing
another new food. Remember: one at a time, then combine.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and
Immunology, approximately 8 percent of children will develop a
food allergy. Infants are at greatest risk for developing food
allergies if they already have an atopic disease (asthma, eczema),
or if either parent or a sibling has allergies or other atopic
diseases. A food allergy causes an immune system reaction that
affects numerous organs in the body. In most cases, food
allergies are mild, but in rare cases they can be severe,
sometimes triggering life-threatening conditions. If a food
allergy is present, even a tiny amount of the offending food can
cause an immediate reaction. Many different foods can trigger
an allergic reaction, but the following eight foods or groups of
foods are responsible 90 percent of the time:
1. Cow’s milk
2. Eggs
3. Fish
4. Peanuts
5. Shellfish
6. Soy
7. Tree nuts
8. Wheat
Common signs of an allergic reaction include, but are not limited
to:
• Hives
• Rash
• Difficulty breathing
• Face, tongue, or lip swelling
• Wheezing
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Gassiness
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) previously
recommended in its 2000 feeding guidelines that parents delay
or avoid feeding infants and young children some of these
highly allergenic foods to help prevent the possible development
of food allergies. The AAP revised its guidelines in 2008,
however, after finding that there is no convincing evidence that
avoiding these foods during the early months and years will
prevent food allergies. The AAP no longer recommends avoiding
highly allergenic foods, unless baby is at high risk for allergy
development (baby already suffers from another atopic disease,
or has a sibling or parent with allergies or other atopic disease).
Discuss this issue with your pediatrician if you have specific
allergy concerns. If you suspect a food allergy or intolerance,
stop offering the suspected food and consult with your
pediatrician. If baby has trouble breathing, has swelling on the
face, or develops severe vomiting or diarrhea after eating, call
911 immediately.
FOOD INTOLERANCES
Food reactions (sensitivities) are common, but most are caused
by food intolerances rather than food allergies. Unlike allergies,
food intolerance symptoms do not involve an immune system
reaction and are instead related to the body’s inability to
properly digest the food. Symptoms may include gas, cramps,
bloating, heartburn, headaches, or general irritability. With a
food intolerance, small amounts of the offending food may be
consumed without causing symptoms, but a true food allergy
will always trigger an immune response.
Common food intolerances include lactose intolerance, gluten
intolerance, and sensitivity to food additives (including
preservatives, colorings, flavorings, and sulfites). An intolerance
to sulfite can even trigger asthma attacks in some people. Many
infants display food intolerances for specific foods due to their
immature digestive systems, but they outgrow them between
their first and second birthdays.
Digestive Health
Understanding baby’s digestive health can go a long way to