Tag Archives: baby led weaning

Anasazi Green Beans

If you have seen my previous posts on Anasazi Beans then you know I am a huge fan of the heirloom bean. Although we typically allow them to dry right on the vine and then use the beans as you might use pintos or black beans, I recently learned that Anasazi green beans are another delicious option!

anasazi green beans

Papa Bird has Anasazis growing as vines along our bottom fence, but discovered a gopher had eaten the roots off of one of the plants. Since the plant was on the verge of toppling over, he picked them for use as Anasazi green beans!

For a recipe for the most delicious veggie burger ever, the legend of Anasazi Beans, and more on victory gardens, see my post on Anasazi Bean Burgers. And for more growing tips on Anasazis and a recipe for a twist on a Southern holiday classic, check out Anasazi Bean Hoppin’ John.

Can you recommend a recipe for Anasazi Green Beans?

We usually cook green beans simply, and Little Bird loved to gum them as one of her first “holding” foods at 8 months. But please tell me, what are your favorite recipes for green beans?

Updates and News

Hey all, I’ve got a few quick updates!

1. I’ve joined theboobgroup.com as a regular blogger. My first post, on Breastfeeding While Pregnant, was published this week.

Breastfeeding While Pregnant

2. Next, if you read my post on Our Baby Centered Approach to Introducing Solids, you may have seen that I recently joined a taping of the Boob Group podcast on “Breastfeeding and Introducing Solids” as a panelist. The podcast is now live and available here or through the podcast app on your smart phone.

Introducing Solids

3. And congratulations to Tamara, winner of our giveaway of three of our favorite natural morning sickness remedies! Although her selection was random, I was happy our winner is someone who can currently benefit from some relief. I hope at least one of the products helps her!

Win a Morning Sickness Prize Pack!

Our “Baby-Centered” Approach to Introducing Solids

When our Little Bird was 4-months-old, her pediatrician (who we weren’t really crazy about already) told us that she was ready for us to start introducing solids. I was surprised, since I had heard in breastfeeding support groups to wait until 6 months. In research afterwards, the current consensus in the medical community does seem to recommend 6 months. The doctor also told us to start with rice cereal, and I had already decided NOT to start with a “white” processed food. To make it worse, she suggested sneaking a little rice cereal into her bottle, which just seemed dishonest.

Introducing Solids

We ended up switching doctors for other reasons and although I didn’t follow her advice, the visit did prompt me to start researching all about introducing solids. My previous experience feeding babies was limited to one very messy afternoon of spoonfeeding my niece, over 8 years ago, from a jar. Most of it went all over her and the kitchen and she let very little of it in her mouth. Cute, as the auntie that got to leave afterwards, but less fun day in and out. (And as it turned out she never enjoyed “baby food” –even the organic baby food her mom got her from Whole Foods– and she quickly switched to small chunks of her favorite foods.)

Here is what I knew I wanted when introducing solids:

  • To use organic, pesticide-free and non-GMO food as much as possible.
  • To use vegetables from our garden as much as possible, as well as eggs from our chickens.
  • To make as much as possible myself from scratch, time permitting.
  • To have my daughter enjoy eating, vs. forcing anything on her.
  • To follow in my mom’s footsteps, who brought a small food mill to restaurants, and fed us whatever our parents were eating.

Here is what the internet told me:

  • I could prioritize baby and our breastfeeding relationship by introducing solids according to Baby Led Weaning, where she was only given large pieces of food, and if she couldn’t chew it, oh well, she didn’t need it…
  • To make my own baby food, I should make a large batch and freeze it in small, individual servings and defrost for each of her meals.

Baby's First Taste on BabyBirdsFarm

Here is what I did that worked for us:

  • I didn’t stress!
  • We let her “eat” when we ate.
  • I followed my baby’s behavioral cues of when she was ready to start “experimenting” with solids. (For example, showing interest in our food: Baby Bird at 4 months once grabbed a handful of spicy tahini sauce from my beef shwarma, stuck it in her mouth, and said “mmmmmmm.”)
  • We did end up offering food at 5 months, but we defined “eating” in the first few months as anything from merely tasting to just playing with food.
  • From day one we involved her in the process of cooking and preparing food. It makes her more excited about the finished product. (See my post on Baby’s first Applesauce for a “tree to highchair” recipe.)
  • The first month or so, we only offered food once a week. For example, if we were eating avocado, she got to try some. After 6 months, we offered food once or twice a day.
  • I decided to go with intuition and common sense when deciding when, how and what to introduce, but I did boost my confidence on the order for introducing solids by reading a few good baby food books, such as this one from Sage Spoonfuls.
  • We kept a list on the fridge of all the foods she had tried and tolerated, introduced only one food at a time, and then waited a few days before introducing another.
  • I usually mixed breastmilk into her purees.

Baby Bird's First Puree: Avocado and Breastmilk, mashed with a spoon

  • I didn’t stress about whether or not it was strict “baby led weaning”, which I found restrictive, and offered a mix of purees and whole, soft foods, such as bananas, avocado, pears.
  • I didn’t buy a fancy baby food maker, but used the magic bullet we already owned. It was the perfect size for her meals.
  • I did end up buying a simple food mill, like this one, for about $12. It worked well for rice and meat. (I also purchased the small storage containers from Sage Spoonfuls.)
  • I tasted EVERYTHING I gave her. I figured if I didn’t like it, why should she? For the record, neither of us liked powdered, reconstituted rice cereal. Yuck.
  • I never ended up freezing much food for her ahead of time. Like the point above, fresh food just tastes better. Instead, I gave her some of whatever I cooked for us. Sometimes I reserved some for her before adding salt or ingredients she hadn’t had yet.
  • Up until 9 months, I made sure that all her caregivers understood that introducing solids was to be treated as a fun activity or an extra treat, and that her “job” was to still to consume breastmilk.


Here are some of my recipes for Homemade Baby Food and Recipes for the Whole Family.

Although strict Baby Led Weaning was not practical for us, I really wanted to like it and I still admire some of the philosophy and believe it is worth reading up on. We ended up doing a combination of BLW and purees. Every baby is different so see what works for yours! Try this article for a good balanced view.

I only recently stumbled upon an article on the Montessori approach to weaning and found it resonated with me.

And here are two overviews for introducing solids from Kelly Mom and Dr. Sears.


I’m honored to have since joined a taping of the Boob Group podcast as a panelist for an episode on “Breastfeeding and Introducing Solids.” The episode is now available to listen and download here. I am a big fan of the podcast, hosted by Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, and owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center (also check out her awesome blog.) The episode features expert Barbara Robertson, IBCLC, Director of The Breastfeeding Center of Ann Arbor, and Director of Professional Development for the United States Lactation Consultation Association. She had a lot of great, evidence-based information. I won’t provide spoilers, but one tip I got that I will do differently with baby #2 is to start proteins and good fats early. With baby bird #1, I focused on vegetables, fruits and a few whole grains in months 6-8. I’ve since learned babies really benefit from easily digestible proteins (lamb, liver, etc) and fats such as coconut oil and olive oil. There was a lot more great info, so be sure to check it out!


I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. Please consider the opinions of your own healthcare practitioners and your own child’s unique needs when introducing solids. I’m just a mom who put a lot of thought and research into it, and found a simple approach that worked for my child. She happens to be a great eater, but who’s knows how much all of the above contributed. Please remember that every baby is unpredictably different. If I leave you with any message, it’s that there is no WRONG approach. You may find a few ideas that work for your family–or not. Just like with all of parenting, there are so many different ways of doing things. Go with what works for you, whether it’s strict BLW or strictly from a pouch, or all of the above like us.

I am an Amazon Affiliate, meaning qualifying purchases made through links in this post, any post, and in our Store, are fulfilled by Amazon and may result in a small referral fee being paid to Baby Birds Farm. Your price will never go up because of that, in fact, you will automatically get the lowest price Amazon offers. Purchasers are strictly anonymous, and we are never informed of who makes purchases or what they buy. If you do buy something, we appreciate your support!

Hoppin’ John with Black Eyed Peas: Good Luck for the New Year

Happy New Year!! It is gray and chilly today, even here in San Diego, and it is an absolutely perfect day to be cozy and lazy together at home. Southern tradition dictates that you simply must eat black eyed peas on New Year’s in order to have good luck and prosperity in the coming year.

 “Hoppin’ John” is a simple dish. And although it could be dressed up with bacon and/or Southern greens, I found the homeyness comforting after a night of rich food, like baked brie and short ribs, and alcohol. (Luckily I was the designated driver and escaped a new year’s hangover.)

Hoppin' John with Black Eyed Peas

Traditional Black Eye Pea Hoppin’ John Recipe

  • cooked brown rice
  • cooked black eye peas (about 2 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne to taste
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth

Sauté the onion and celery in olive oil. When soft, add the garlic and spices and sauté another 1 minute. Add the cooked peas and broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over rice.

This is a baby friendly dish. Obviously defer to your own child’s needs, but try from 9 months on.



Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash

Quinoa is an all around great for you food. It is an ancient grain, originally the primary nutrition source of the Incas, and has been popular the last 10-15 years–with good reason. It is naturally high protein. Unlike other vegetarian sources of protein, like lentils and other beans, which must be combined with something like rice in order to provide a complete protein, quinoa is one of the few grains that is a complete protein on its own. Although we are not vegetarian, there are many reasons why I try to reduce how often we eat meat, including environmental, economic and health concerns.

Quinoa is also a great source of fiber, iron, magnesium, essential amino acids and other nutrients. It is naturally low fat, low calorie and gluten free. I serve quinoa as I would rice, along side fish, chicken or vegetable mains. It is also great mixed into salads. I love it most, however, mixed into stuffings and veggie burgers. Whenever making it (which I usually do simply, with just water in a rice cooker) I make extra so as to have leftovers.

This recipe is a twice baked butternut squash with quinoa and parmesan cheese mixed in. I made it super simple as I was juggling a squirmy little one. I would normally sauté an onion, at least, and maybe a carrot, some celery, garlic, etc. and mix it in. But it tasted surprisingly flavorful as is!

Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash Recipe

  • 1 large Butternut Squash (any winter squash will do)
  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper, paprika and/or a seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Reserve the seeds and toast them for snacking (click here to read how.) Salt and pepper the squash and place on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat. Bake until soft, or when a fork is easily inserted, about 35-50 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.

Remove the squash from the oven. When cool enough to handle, scoop out most of the flesh into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mix, and then refill the shells. Bake another 20-30 minutes, or until the stuffing is heated through.

Tips for Feeding Baby:

This is a great dish for babies. Even the earliest eaters (6-7 months) will enjoy the baked squash mixed with quinoa (reserve some for baby before mixing in the egg.) Quinoa on its own is impossibly messy, but mixed with squash it sticks together much better (and tastes better), especially for the independent babes who want to feed themselves. My daughter enjoyed this both with her hands and practicing her growing spoon and fork skills. We served her just the stuffing, while the presentation in the half shell of a squash is pretty enough for company!