Tag Archives: baby and me dishes

Baby’s First Seder Plate

Last year at Passover our Baby Bird was just starting to eat solids. She loved eating with us and participating in meals. So I wanted to be sure to include her in our seder. She pretty much only ate purées at the time, except for some naturally creamy foods, like avocado and banana, and had just started egg yolks. Here is what I came up with for her:

Ideas for Baby's First Seder on BabyBirdsFarm

  • Lamb Shank → Stuffed Lambie AND Yam (Yam is also an option for Vegetarian adults.)
  • Parsley → Avocado (Still represents the green freshness of spring)
  • Egg → Hardboiled Egg (But for her I chose one of the small eggs laid by our Ameraucana instead of a larger egg)
  • Charoset → Applesauce (Could also do an applesauce and date puree)
  • Horseradish → A puree using beets, as a beet-colored horseradish is fairly common)
  • Matzo → Rice cereal (As I recall it was mixed into the purée)

For comparison, here was the adult seder plate:


The mango you ask? Well, I didn’t have any oranges.

Oranges?? Why would there be an orange on a seder plate?

Being a good feminist I always put an orange on my seder plate! The urban legend goes that an old, conservative rabbi once said that “a woman belongs on the bimah [the podium from where the rabbi leads the congregation] like an orange belongs on a seder plate.” Another meaning is that by eating an orange and spitting out the seeds, all of the participants are rejecting homophobia.

I also make sure to have my prettiest crystal filled with a glass of water for Miriam (Moses’ brother who followed him down the river to protect him).

Anyway, these are just my ideas and opinions. I believe that a seder should be a ritualized tradition, but that it is an organic and changeable one. We find our own meanings, as we create and define them for our families.

And just for fun, here is a link to the full episode of the Rugrats Passover.

Raw Cashew “Horchata”

Horchata is a sweet rice drink found in most Mexican restaurants around here. I love it, but it is so sweet and not that good for you. Let’s just say I wouldn’t give it to Baby Bird. My husband the other day made a comment about how I should honor myself enough to eat as well as I feed her. Hmmm, something to think about.

Anyway, I’ve had this bag of raw cashews that I have been wanting to use. The other day I threw a few in a version of this puréed butternut squash soup, which was good, but I was still wanting to try out a nut milk with our new blender. I was inspired today to try making a horchata-inspired cashew milk.

raw cashew horchata

Forgive the poor photo quality and any typos as I’m blasting this off from my phone.

Raw Cashew Horchata Recipe

  • 1 cup of raw cashews
  • 1 Tablespoon of agave, golden syrup or sweetener of your choice, or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cups of water
  • Ice

Place first 5 ingredients in a blender and blend very well. Serving chilled over ice vastly improves the flavor.

Variation: This would probably be delicious with raw almonds as well.

And the verdict? Two sippy cups quickly drained and baby sign for “more.”

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!

Baba Ganoush

Perhaps our baby bird is a rare one, but she absolutely adores eggplant. She gobbles down the soft roasted vegetable faster than I can cut it for her. But she loves it best made into a garlicky baba ganoush.


I’ve found that the easiest way to prepare eggplant is to stab it once or twice with a fork and stick it whole in a hot oven for an hour. If you don’t puncture the skin, steam within the eggplant may cause it to explode in your oven. (Yes, it can really happen.) Roasting–or grilling–whole, there is no need to cut or salt it to reduce bitterness, or to use oil in order to make the flesh tender.


The eggplant is done when it gets soft and easily can be mushed in. After cooling, it looks wrinkly and is easy to peel. One more reason why I love this preparation is that it becomes easy to separate the tentacles of flesh from the seed pods with your hands. I personally prefer not to eat the seeds.


Easy Roast Eggplant Dip: Baba Ganoush Recipe

  • 2 medium to large eggplant
  • 1/4 cup of sesame tahini
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 or more cloves fresh garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • smoked paprika and cumin
  • (optional) 1 T. of toasted sesame seeds
  • (optional) paprika, zatar and/or olive oil for garnishing
  • (optional but delicious) pomegranate seeds for garnishing

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place eggplant in a baking dish. Pierce the skin of each eggplant with a fork or knife. Bake for about 1 hour, until the skin is easily indented and the flesh feels mushy. Allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel and discard the peel, stem and seeds. (Eggplant can then be stored for later use. Try roasting an extra eggplant for baby food or other recipes.) Reserve any liquid with the flesh.

2. Put eggplant flesh and liquid, tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin and sesame seeds in a blender. Note: quantities are all suggestions. Blend until smooth. If the blender struggles, try adding more oil or liquid. Taste and adjust the ingredients to your liking.

3. (Optional) Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, zatar, fresh pomegranate seeds and/or a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with pita chips, pita wedges or crudites (aka veggies). Also great in pita sandwiches.


Tips for Feeding Baby:

Our baby has loved this as a puree starting at 9-10 months. Before that I pureed the roast eggplant with other vegetables, starting at 8 months. Small cut bites of soft roasted eggplant make excellent finger foods for baby led weaning. She also likes baba ganoush mixed with rice, either eating it with her hands or practicing her spoon skills.

Our baby has never had any digestive issues from eggplant, but her skin does turn red when she applies baba ganoush topically, perhaps from the eggplant, but definitely from the lemon juice and garlic, too. She loves to rub her food into her face and hair, so I try to keep it out of her eyes.