January 27, 2015 1 Comment
A pesco-vegetarian is someone who eats no meat except fish. That’s what we do when we’re at home and most of the time when we eat in other places. Our 8-month-old daughter, Lydia, is abstaining from cow’s milk until after her first birthday, because I have some family history of dairy allergies that may have been triggered by too-early exposure to cow’s milk. However, she’s an enthusiastic eater of just about everything we’ve let her eat! We also have a 10-year-old son, Nicholas, whose preferences have some effect on our menu.
I highly recommend the book Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair, not so much for the specific recipes as for a laid-back, nutritious approach to feeding a baby, toddler, or preschooler. I’ve been looking at it often to get ideas for ingredients we could set aside or prepare a little differently for Lydia, and to support my conviction that we can (again) raise a child who’s open to trying lots of interesting foods. The Picky Eater’s 30 Family-Friendly Recipes are great inspiration, too! Unlike Nicholas when he was little, Lydia is not keen on being fed ground-up food with a spoon but prefers to feed herself, so we’re constantly looking for soft foods that can be picked up in blobs and for foods that are firm enough to be cut in chunks but soft enough to be bitten and chewed without teeth.
Here’s what we ate for dinner for four weeks in December and January. I plan our menu up to a week in advance and do the weekend cooking and some ingredient preparation during the week, while Daniel cooks our weeknight dinners so that we can eat as soon as I get home from work. Lunches are usually leftovers and sandwiches.
- Sunday: Masoor Dal over rice and lettuce leaves left over from making the salad to go with our Christmas Stuffed Shells. Plain yogurt on top for the dairy eaters. Lydia loves Masoor Dal as much as the rest of us! We didn’t even tone down the spices for her. She was wearing a large bib, and I kept pushing up her sleeves, but still she managed to mash oily, turmeric-seasoned lentils all over her clothes. I changed her outfit and doused the stained one with Bac-Out immediately after dinner!
- Monday: Sauteed mushrooms and kale, in lots of olive oil with lots of garlic, over whole-wheat couscous. I mixed some nutritional yeast flakes into mine. Lydia sampled a mushroom slice but had trouble with it–she doesn’t have any teeth yet–so her main course was leftover Masoor Dal.
- Tuesday: Falafels made from bulk mix. Cucumber slices. The last of the lettuce. Yogurt. Lydia was happy eating just the falafels. We make them small (easier to get them cooked all the way through without burning or crumbling) so they were an appealing size for her to pick up, hold, and gnaw on.
- Wednesday: Japanese Udon Noodle Soup with daikon radish, sweet potato, mushrooms, and nori seaweed. I got to cook this meal, after leaving work early on New Year’s Eve. I made the daikon and sweet potato into strips about 1″ x 1/4″ x 1/4″ and cooked them soft, but not falling apart, so that Lydia could hold and eat them. She loved them! Each of us older people also had a scrambled egg in our soup.
- Thursday: We thawed out quarts of Mexican rice and black beans that I’d brought home in November, when somebody had ordered far too much food for an event at work and the leftovers were up for grabs. The only meal cheaper than beans and rice is FREE beans and rice! We also had avocado with this meal. Avocado is a great baby food, and I remember Nicholas loving it, but Lydia ate only a few strips in favor of totally chowing down on the beans! We couldn’t believe she packed such a large volume of beans into her little body! An almost equal volume of beans was scrubbed off her highchair, face, neck, hair, arms, and floor…and the hideous black stains were completely removed from her clothing by Bac-Out! I expected some diapers filled with masses of obvious black beans, but in fact she digested them quite fully.
- Friday: Whole-wheat spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce from the batch I’d made for the Stuffed Shells–similar to this sauce. Lydia ate a lot of saucy spaghetti (as well as admiring the wiggly noodles and tossing them about) and 24 hours later had a diaper rash from too much citric acid. We need to be more careful about tomatoes and other acidic foods until her digestion matures.
- Saturday: We visited Daniel’s grandfather in Ohio for his 99th birthday!!! We had an excellent brunch of baked oatmeal and various egg dishes at the Green Marble Coffee Shoppe, where Lydia enjoyed the fruit served on the side–it seems cantaloupe is her favorite–as well as a jar of apricot baby food. Then we visited with Herschel at his home until late afternoon. We got home around dinnertime and decided to go out to the New Dumpling House, the Chinese restaurant near home, for hot and sour soup (contains pork), tofu with black mushrooms, and mixed vegetables in garlic sauce. Lydia had been asleep in the car, fell asleep again as we walked over to the restaurant, and stayed asleep in the sling carrier while I ate most of my dinner! That was nice. She woke up in time to enjoy some tofu.