Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Your Green Baby Shares Immune Boosting Tips for Your Baby

This week's guest blogger is Kim Corrigan-Oliver, CNP, ROHP.  She is the owner of Your Green Baby, a holistic nutrition practice focusing on the health and well being of mom, baby and toddler. She is the author of Raising Happy Healthy Babies and blogs regularly at She is a first time mom, who is passionate about food, cooking, living sustainably and ensuring the next generation is full of vitality, health and well being.

Supporting the Immune System for the Season Ahead: 
Kim Corrigan-Oliver, CNP, ROHP

Is It The Germ or The Terrain?
When we get sick we often blame “a germ”. Is the germ really responsible? Or is it our terrain that could not handle the attack? Our bodies require a ton of resources to mount and sustain an immune response. If it has not had enough good nutrition, sleep, love and other important substances the immune response will be weak and the body will not be able to defend itself.

Strengthening the Terrain
Many of us are realizing that rushing to the doctor’s office for every little sniffle is no longer a good idea. It is time to go back to natural ways – gentler ways with no side effects, ways that support the immune system.
There are a number of things we can do to strengthen the terrain:

Breast Milk
Breastfeeding as long as possible means a strong immune system for your child. Breast milk is more than food, it supplies factors needed to develop strong immunity and protect your baby against disease. Breastfeed as long as you and your baby are willing participants.

Ensure Adequate Antioxidant Intake (from Real Food)
Antioxidants are immune protectors. Antioxidants are compounds in food that protect and repair cell damage caused by environmental pollution, pesticides, sunlight and normal body processes. They include: beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and minerals zinc and selenium. It is best to get antioxidants from whole foods.

Beta carotene increases the number of infection fighting cells, natural killer cells and helper T-cells, as well as being a powerful antioxidant that mops up excess free radicals.
Sources of beta carotene include: carrots, spinach, apricots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, red pepper, cantaloupe, pumpkin, broccoli and dark leafy greens.

Vitamin C increases the production of infection fighting white blood cells and antibodies.
Sources of vitamin C include: citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, red peppers, pineapple, guava, black currents, cabbage, turnip greens, broccoli, cantaloupe, kale, papayas, cauliflower, spinach and cranberries.

Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural killer cells that seek out and destroy pathogens and cancer cells. It enhances the production of B-cells – the immune cells that produce antibodies to destroy bacteria.
Sources of vitamin E include: nuts, seeds, wheat germ, whole grains, oatmeal, broccoli, sweet potato, alfalfa, lima beans, avocados, liver, egg yolks and butter.

Zinc increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection and helps them fight more aggressively. It also helps white blood cells release more antibodies and can increase the number of infection fighting T-cells.  Sources of zinc include: wheat germ, oysters, clams, liver, other meats, egg yolks, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts and almonds.

Selenium increases natural killer cells.  Sources include: brazil nuts, whole grains, vegetables (if selenium content in soil is high), brown rice, egg yolks, cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, and garlic.

Fats are needed for optimum health, are essential for growth and development, are used for building membranes around every cell in the body and can enhance or impair our immune function.

EFAs – essential fatty acids are vital to normal immune function and require our attention to ensure we are meeting our needs. Deficiencies in EFAs increase our susceptibility to infections; increased arthritis conditions, asthma, eczema, hair loss, liver and kidney degeneration, growth retardation, vision problems and learning problems.

The EFAs of most concern are omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are difficult to find in the diet unless special effort is made to include them. It is the one EFA that most children tend to be deficient in. Sources of omega 3 include flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cod liver oil, walnuts and fish.

For breastfed babies under the age of 1, mom should ensure adequate intake so breast milk is rich in essential fatty acids. For formula fed babies, there are many formulas on the market now which supply essential fatty acids.

The word probiotic means “for life”. Probiotics provide good bacteria for our gastrointestinal tract, where up to 80% of our immune system is located. Probiotics affect the body in a number of ways that promote stronger immunity including increased white blood cells, increased phagocytic (cell eating) activity, increased viral killing cells (kill viruses as they enter the body), they provide added immunity while taking antibiotics and they provide protection for weakened immune systems.

A supplemental form of probiotic is best, as food sources cannot provide enough.
For infants up to 12 months Natogen by Seroyal is an excellent product that is easy to give. After age 1 HMF powder is an excellent choice and for adults HMF Forte. Post antibiotic treatment HMF Replete will help to re-inoculate the digestive tract.

Vitamin D
Research is beginning to find that vitamin D, most commonly associated with the development and maintenance of strong bones, may also play a key role in the immune system. Higher levels of vitamin D have shown to enhance immunity. There has been a clear link established between vitamin D deficiency and an increase in the incidence of respiratory infections in children.

Sources of vitamin D include: natural sunlight, unsunscreened skin exposed for 20 to 30 minutes daily, cod liver oil, fortified foods, or supplemental vitamin D in drops or tablets. It is difficult for us to get enough vitamin D, so supplementation is necessary, especially in the winter months.

The Vitamin D Council recommends a dose of 1000IU for children under the age of 1 who are breastfed; those on formula will need 600IU, 2000IU for children age 1 to 4 and 3000IU for those between the ages of 4 and 10.

Staying healthy this winter means more fun, and less stress. Eat real food, ensure adequate intake of omega 3 fatty acids and get your probiotics and vitamin D – while this won’t guarantee a sick free winter, it will make the immune system stronger and better able to fend off whatever comes calling.
Be well and stay well.

Kim offers consultations, workshops and cooking classes focusing on preconception through to toddlerhood. She assists clients with preconception care, pregnancy nutritional needs, pregnancy issues and postnatal care. Her pediatric nutrition services help guide parents to optimize their baby’s health and wellness, setting them up for good health and well being later in life Connect with Kim on Twitter @yourgreenbaby. Check out her blog nutrition blog at and check out her mommy blog Mothering with Mindfulness at

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Monday, October 3, 2011

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

One great way of spreading breast cancer awareness, is spreading the word about lowering the risk of breast cancer through breast feeding!  

Breastfeeding acts in several ways to protect women from breast cancer.  The lymph system within breast tissue, which is important in keeping the breast tissue clean, only develops fully during pregnancy.  Nursing keeps the mother's oxytocin levels high.  Oxytocin, one of the hormones within human body, can help prevent breast cancer because it inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells.  

And studies have shown that women who breastfed for two years or longer reduced their risk of breast cancer by 50 percent!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Winner of the Boon Squirt Spoon Giveaway!

Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry into the Mush End of Summer Giveaway!

Congratulations Erika T. for submitting your tip for feeding your little one on the go!  You will receive the Boon Squirt Spoon which will make feeding your baby that much easier.

Here is Erika's tip:

Quick and easy! We travel from CA to FL a lot. I bring mashed potatoes, Gerber puffs, and apple sauce mixed with rice cereal for a quick snack on the plane between meals. I might get strange looks but it keeps her belly full and there is less mess for me!

Interesting combination.  Thanks Erika!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chill Out with Homemade Popsicles

Over the summer months Dylan has asking for popsicles everyday (he calls them bicycles...but I know what he means).  It's been pretty hot, so homemade popsicles are a great way to beat the summer heat without all the sugar and artificial colors.  Two of our favorite flavors are Coconut Pineapple and Strawberry Banana Yogurt.  I found some affordable popsicle molds (under $5) at Target.  Now is a great time to look for them because it is the end of the season!  You don't need any fancy equipment, all you need is a blender and a freezer.  If you don't have popsicle molds, just use Dixie cups with a wooden stick. 

If you are worried about your little one using the wooden stick, just freeze your purees in the Dixie cups without the stick and cut the popsicle into bite-size cubes once it is frozen.  Mesh feeders work great for this too!

The possibilities for flavor combinations are endless!  Here are a couple recipes to get you started.

Coconut Pineapple Popsicle
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup fresh pineapple

Combine all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth and creamy. Divide mixture into four (4-ounce) Popsicle molds. Freeze for 4-6 hours and serve.

Strawberry Banana Yogurt-sicles 
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
3-4 strawberries
1 banana
3/4 cup milk (any milk of your choice...breast, soy, rice)

Combine all ingredients in the blender until smooth.  Pour into popsicle molds.  Freeze for 4-6 hours.  Drink the left over as a smoothie!  Yummy! 

*If you have trouble removing your popsicle from the molds, just run mold under warm water for 5-10 seconds and the popsicle will slide out easily.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Get The Scoop: Baby Bullet Product Review

With all of the choices these days for homemade baby food making equipment, it's easy to get overwhelmed when selecting a baby food appliance.  Personally, I am a fan of any pureeing and steaming appliances you already have in your kitchen.  There has been a lot of buzz lately about the Magic Baby Bullet by Baby Bullet.

The "As Seen on TV" type of advertisement may be a little off putting.  And the promo video boasts that it purees "organic baby food"...well that is true only if you are using organic produce.  It's storage containers are BPA free, and it retails for about $59 on most sites.   

Online reviews seemed to be relatively positive with the main complaints being that there is no fill max line printed on the storage cups.  Others mentioned that if the base of the blender is not screwed on tightly it leaks making the "push down mechanism" sticky.  Pros appeared that it was easy to use and clean and came with 2 blades that made pulverizing grains easy.

Here is what Suzy B. from Scottsdale, AZ had to say about her experience with the Baby Bullet.

Q: Which factors were most important to you when choosing this product?
A:  How easy it would be to use and clean, and how well it would work overall.

Q: What features of this product work well for making baby food?
A: The Baby Bullet purees food very quickly and the amounts made seem to be perfect, not too much and not too little.  The storage system, which comes with the product, is very easy to use and has a dial system that enables the user to indicate on the jar when the food was made.

Q: What would you change about this product or what improvements could be made to this product?
A: I would like to see ounce measurement lines on the storage jars because I don't always know how much food I am feeding my baby.

Q: Does this product have any special attachments?
A: The product comes with small batch jars and a large batch jar as well as a milling blade for cereals and a regular blade for purees.  In addition, it comes with a complete storage system and nutrition information and recipes for the various stages.

Q: Is this item dishwasher safe?
A: Yes

Thanks for your input Suzy!

This product can be purchased online at,, and  It can also be purchased in stores at Bed Bath & Beyond.  You can use the Bed Bath & Beyond 25% off coupon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crunchy Munchies: Yummy Snacks That Your Toddler Will Love

Are you sick of giving your toddler animal crackers and cheerios as a snack?  Wish that you could get him/her to eat veggies like kale, and Brussels sprouts?  Sound too good to be true?  That's what I thought but I tried the following recipes and Dylan ate them fact I had to make a second batch for myself.

Kale Chips
  • 1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried 
  • olive oil
  • season to taste
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss lightly with olive oil (if you have a Misto sprayer, just spray a tiny bit of EVOO on the leaves). Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food. 

Brussels Sprout Chips
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed and spun dry
  • olive oil
  • season to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
Trim stem end of Brussels sprouts high enough to loosen most of the leaves. Remove and discard yellow or damaged leaves. Separate as many leaves as will pull away from the center easily. Halve the remaining sprout centers. Place loose leaves and sprout halves in a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle (or spray) olive oil over Brussels sprouts; sprinkle coarse salt and pepper over. Coat evenly and spread leaves in a single layer on baking sheet  

Place baking sheet in 425 degree F oven and let roast for 10 minutes. Remove sheet from oven. Pick out leaves that are dark and crispy and place in a serving bowl. Use a spatula to flip the remaining leaves and sprout halves. Return to oven.  Repeat this process until the majority of the leaves have been crisped. The halved sprouts remaining on the baking sheet should be browned and fork-tender. Place them in the serving bowl along with the leaves and serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

Just thought I would share this great opportunity for FREE baby slings and udder covers.

1.  Go to and/or
2.  Click on "Shop Now" and select any baby carrier, nursing cover and/or breast pads you like.
3.  Once you have made your selection, you'll automatically be directed to the shopping bag.
     Enter the promo code "
Breastfeeding " and both companies have agreed to deduct 100% of
     the cost of the carrier or nursing cover - all you pay are the shipping fees!

Remember: the promo code is "
Breastfeeding " and you can use it more than once - just open a new browser window each time you do.

Coming blog posts and website updates!   

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guest Blogger Wednesday with Wendy Berube

Guest Blogger Bio: Wendy Berube is a San Clemente, CA resident, and mother to 13 month old twin boys. She is a teacher by profession and has taught students from pre-K through high school seniors.  She maintains a column in the San Clemente Patch called Moms Talk.  Her mission is to build a community of support for Moms and their families in San Clemente.  Check out her articles and join the discussions at

I was never really a health food freak.  I ate my share of greasy pizza, fast food and boxed macaroni & cheese.  Since I grew up in Laguna Beach, I was definitely aware of watching fat and calorie intake (you can’t pig out too much when you spend your entire summer in a bikini), but I didn’t really eat very healthy.  I was more into the “fat free” anything and diet soda.  Then I found out what is in those foods.

My big epiphany came from reading Skinny Bitch, a book advocating veganism.  This book is full of scary and disgusting facts about the food industry, the slaughterhouses, and the government agencies that were designed to protect us.  I did not become a vegan after reading this, basically because it is too difficult and I don’t like tofu.  I did, however, become a vegetarian.  This lasted through my pregnancy, but when my twins were born last April, I was so anemic that my doctor was contemplating a blood transfusion.

Since I was going to try to breastfeed my boys, I wanted to keep my body as clean as possible.  I wanted to stay away from the hormones, antibiotics, and bad juju from eating animals, but with the increasing demands on my body from breastfeeding twins, I had to go back to eating meat.  Then I read Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which introduced me to grass fed beef and free range chicken.  

When it came time to transition the babies to eating food, I was not about to feed them baby food made in a factory somewhere, with preservatives and God only knows what else in them.  The FDA and USDA claim to protect our food supply, but really they will allow appalling things to be added to our food without even requiring it to be labeled.  The only way for me to know what was going into the pure, clean perfect bodies of my babies was to make the food myself.

At the beginning, it was easy and amazingly cheap.  I could buy a 10lb. bag of organic carrots at Costco for $4.29.  That bag, if I were to use it all to make baby food, would yield approximately 175 ounces of baby food.  Now, an average 4 oz. jar of baby food costs about $.99, $1.29 if you are talking organic.  That’s roughly 25 cents per ounce.  My homemade carrots cost less than 3 cents per ounce.  Frozen peas, green beans, squash, and sweet potatoes were also easy and inexpensive.

All I would do is steam the veggies and then puree them in a blender with some of the water from the steamer.  After a while, I branched out and began mixing them.  I would combine potatoes, broccoli, spinach, carrots and parsnips and steam them.  Then I would add some cheese and maybe even some small pasta like orzo.  Not everything I made was a success.  I learned that cauliflower was not a favorite, even disguised with other flavors.  But I had fun trying different things. 

I had two different cookbooks that I got ideas from; Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes, and Superfoods for Babies and Children by Annabel Karmel.  From there, I made up my own combinations as I found out what my boys liked and as they were able to eat a wider variety foods.  When my pediatrician told me to include meats, I began making stews and soups (with free range and grass fed meats, of course).  Since they were getting teeth at this point, I would put the stews through a food mill instead of blending them so that they could learn to chew the bigger pieces.

I also use the crock pot to make shredded chicken at the beginning of the week, and then I can add it to various dishes throughout the week.  I put 2-3 chicken breasts in, and pour a can of beer over it.  The alcohol cooks off, but the barley and hops give the chicken a richer flavor than water, and the carbonation makes the chicken tender and easy to shred.  One of my new favorites that I came up with is based on a recipe that I would make for my husband and myself.  My boys love it!  I will share it with you.  

1 butternut squash
1 package cream cheese
¼ cup orzo or other small pasta
Shredded chicken (optional)
Salt and pepper (optional)

Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Cut squash in half lengthwise and put facedown in an ovenproof dish with about ½ inch of water in the bottom.  Cook squash for 1-1 ½ hours, depending on the size of the squash.  It should yield to the touch of your finger on the outside when done.  In the meantime, cook orzo or pasta according to package directions.  Let squash cool for about 10 minutes, then scoop out the flesh into a large bowl.  Add the cream cheese and orzo, and season to taste.  Mix well and let cool before serving it to your little darlings.

Have fun experimenting with fun and healthy foods to feed your children.  They will become better eaters, and you can rest easy knowing that you are giving your loved ones the best, healthiest, tastiest food possible.  Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cord Blood Donation...A Generous Gift!

Umbilical cord blood consists of stem cells that can "transform" into various types of healthy cell tissue. That tissue may be a treatment for many serious illnesses, including leukemia and other cancers, sickle cell disease, brain tumors, and osteoporosis. In the future, stem cells from donated cord blood may also be used to treat heart disease, vision loss (due to loss of corneal epithelial cells), Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and diabetes.  Unlike the ethical issues that surround embryonic stem cell research, stem cells from live-birth cord blood are collected from an umbilical cord that would otherwise be thrown away, so there are no moral barriers.

Cord blood banking is a popular topic among expectant moms.  If you are expecting, you get bombarded with info in the mail, at the OB’s office, and in a variety of parenting magazines.  Umbilical cord blood is a very valuable resource that can save lives, but what a lot of people don’t know is that you don’t necessarily have to bank it.  A much less common practice is cord blood donation!

Why Donate: Cord blood banking can be very expensive. It costs approximately $1,400 for the collection and storage then about $125 per year.  Donating cord blood is usually FREE.  Whether you plan on banking or donating your cord blood it requires some research and preparation prior to the birth of your baby.  If your labor and delivery hospital is not a collection site, there are private collection centers that will send you the paperwork and collection kit prior to the birth of your little one.

Umbilical cord blood is so valuable, yet it is most often discarded.  People are simply unaware that if you don’t want to bank it, you can donate it!  Another important factor that the banking centers don’t tell you, it that in many cases if your child or a family member needs a cord blood transfusion, it needs to be from an unrelated donor. 

How it Works: Your cord blood donation will be screened for diseases and genetic issues. If the blood does not meet eligibility criteria, it may be used for research (if you gave consent for that use). If the cord blood does meet requirements, it will be stored at a public cord blood bank and entered on a registry which doctors can search to find matches.  Stem cell research has given "the miracle of birth" a whole new meaning: A newly delivered infant has the potential to save the life of another human being, just by donating umbilical cord blood that would otherwise be thrown away.

For more information on umbilical cord blood donation and for a list of collections centers near you check out the link below:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Check Out the Do's and Don't of Post Partum described by Mama Vee

A friend recently sent me the link to this blog post because we are both expecting.  In this post Mama Vee, a Vancouver, BC mother, outlines the do's and don't of visiting families with newborns.   Her blog is called "There Are No Ordinary Moments" While reading this post, I remembered back to all the times I had visited families with new babies and when we had visitors when Dylan was born. 

I think she gives a lot of great tips, ones that I will be sure to follow in the future, but I don't think that I would feel comfortable either cleaning up someone else's kitchen/bathroom, or having someone in my kitchen/bathrooms wiping down the counters, or taking out my garbage.  I could see how this would be a really nice gesture, but personally, I would probably feel a bit insulted if someone did this.  Although setting a time limit is probably a good idea, I remember wanting visitors and was happy to see a familiar face after feeling a bit isolated with a newborn.

I LOVE the part about visitors washing their hands before holding the baby.  You would think that people would just automatically do this, but they don't.  I just kept hand sanitizer out in the open and "subtly" suggested to visitors that it was there.  

Check out her post at the link below, it's definitely worth reading!
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Baby Led Weaning by Guest Blogger Amanda McMahon

As this blog generally surrounds making home baby food, the following post does the same, but gives another alternative. Baby-led weaning (BLW) is a way in which we can introduce foods to babies that requires less preparation, but perhaps a bit more diligence. While the name may sound like it is a way to top a baby from breastfeeding, it is not. Of course, with the introduction of any solids, we do start the “weaning” process, but, nutritionally, it is important that for the first year the main nutritional source is breast milk for a nursing baby (or a baby receiving pumped milk).

Once a child is beginning to show signs of desiring solid food, has the ability to move the tongue appropriately, has teeth, a pincer grasp, etc, solid food can be given. While some may introduce mushed baby food between 4-6 months of age, BLW is better with an older child, almost never before 6 months.
Baby led weaning is about introducing foods to a baby that a baby can feed themselves. This way, the child is able to stop when full, and also physically decide how and when to eat. Yes, this can be messy(er), but it also means less preparation. If you’re eating healthy food at home, not adding a bunch of salt, then when you’re eating may be a possibility as some of their early foods.

Common first foods are sliced avocado, slightly teamed carrot chunks, mango, a bit ripe banana or pear or other softer fruit). However, if you start when a baby already has teeth, other common foods are apples, sliced toast, broccoli, or other food that is suitably sized.

Once baby has a good idea of how to go about feeding themselves, most of what you’re otherwise eating can be given to baby. Be sure you’re supervising baby appropriately. If you’re going to be distracted, be safe – don’t walk away when you give your baby that first sample of toast or other “hard” food. Instead, grab the camera, and watch your baby enjoy food! If they aren’t interested, cut back for a week and try again. This can also beneficial for when you’re out and about – much easier to hand baby some of the veggies off of your plate, than to try to maneuver the jars while you’re out at a restaurant or visiting friends and family.
Many do still follow the general idea to not introduce too many new foods at once. However, you will notice that many who even “dabble” in BLW, choose to forego many of the early grains. Nutritionally, breast milk on demand, according to the World Health Organization should cover all the nutrients for a baby’s first year. There may be concerns about iron, but once a baby starts solids, they should still receive the milk they were before for that first year. Any solids should be practice for the mouth muscle, actions, as well as that lovely palate.

If you give BLW a try, don’t feel like you have to only do BLW, there’s no 100 percent way to feed your child, just something that works for your family and is nutritionally complete

Click the link below to check out a video of Amanda's son Rohan eating his first foods using Baby Led Weaning:

About the Author:  Amanda is mom to vivacious Viveka, her 3 year old who taught her about life, and 11 month old Rohan, who with his VBAC entry to the world, healed her: Both keep her smiling daily in Arizona, where she and her husband, Ravi live. In her spare time, she works full time as an analyst, moderates forums for attached parents, and posts on her blog at

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'll Bring the Appitizers...Mush Homemade Baby Food Joins the Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

If you are a blogger, enjoy reading blogs, or like winning free stuff, you should check out the Ultimate Blog Party.  This site literally has hundreds of links to mom/parent/kid related blogs, businesses, FB pages, and Twitter feeds.  Tons of free giveaway links to amazing stuff!

5 Minutes for Mom is a site dedicated to bringing moms together through the incredible power of the online mom community.  They provide an essential, go-to site for moms that entertains, informs, and promotes the online mom community.   

We love this site and are excited about being added to their blog directory!

Click the link below to view the Mush Homemade Baby Food Interview with 5 Minutes for Mom.
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Friday, April 1, 2011

And the Winner is...

Homemade Baby Food - Carrots 
Congratulations to Runa B. for her winning entry into the Super Baby Food Book Giveaway!  She won a free copy of Super Baby Food, by Ruth Yaron.  This book is an excellent reference for any parent who is starting solids, making homemade baby food, or just has a little one at home.  It's brimming with tips and recipes!  Thanks to Super Baby Food for donating the book copy to our readers for this giveaway!

We would like to thank everyone who submitted an entry.  There are lots of great mommies out there who make baby food because it is healthy for their babies!  Runa B. summed it up best in her response below.

"I make baby food for my little guy for several reasons. The first being that I think it is the healthiest way to go since everything is fresh. When my son started solid food, I bought a jar of organic carrots baby food and made homemade carrots. My husband did a blind taste test and confirmed that the carrots I had made tasted better. Another reason I made baby food for my son is because we have food sensitivities in our family and I worked closely with two naturopathic doctors in introducing single foods and food combinations. By making the food I could control every ingredient that my son ingested. Lastly, I feel like it is money saving to make homemade baby food. And besides all that, it was FUN!!"-Runa B.

Runa's favorite recipe comes from a book called Blender Baby Food.

Tropical Fruit Breeze
juice of your choice 
Blend until you reach the desired consistency.
"I liked it because I could enjoy it too!"-Runa B.

Sounds yummy!  Keep on the lookout for upcoming giveaways for baby food and feeding related products!

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ready Or Not...Here I Come!

Over the past couple of months we have been excitedly preparing for the new addition to our family.  Although it seems like we are physically ready, I wonder if we are mentally ready.  Dylan is only 17 months old, so the memories of sleepless nights and 24/7 feedings haven't faded.  And part of me feels like I have just started to get the hang of this parenting am I going to manage two little ones? 

As much as I worry about the how life change will be for us (me and my husband), I am concerned about how Dylan will react to having a new baby in the house.  I just read an article about preparing your child for the new baby and it was somewhat helpful, but it was definitely geared toward preparing older children for the change.  Although there is no way to know how Dylan will respond, we have been doing our best to make the transition as smooth as possible.  Here's some of the things we have done:

1.  Place Baby Equipment Around the House.  At the beginning of the 3rd trimester I took out the bouncy seat and baby swing and put them in the living room.  When I first took out the bouncy seat Dylan kept climbing into it.  My fear was that once the baby came, he would climb in on top of the baby.  After a few weeks of playing with it, the novelty wore off and now he couldn't care less about the bouncy seat or the swing.

2.  Spend Some Playtime in the New Baby's Room.  As we were setting up the nursery, I brought a few toys of Dylan's into the room so that he could play while I hung up baby clothes, folded blankets, and decorated the walls.

3.  Allow Your Toddler to Help with Preparing Baby's Room.  As counterproductive as it may be, I encouraged Dylan to help me place folded clothes in the baby's dresser, load diapers into the changing table and hang decals on the wall. 

4.  Use a Doll to Introduce the Concept of Baby to Your Toddler.  A friend of mine told me that they were using a baby doll to teach their little one how to interact with the new baby.  I absolutely loved this idea, so we bought a doll at Target ($15), and dressed it in actual baby clothes to make it more lifelike.  We even put a newborn diaper on it.  We have used the baby doll quite a bit over the past month to teach Dylan how to use "gentile touching" and to prevent some of the potential jealousy that the new baby may stir up.  When we first brought out the doll, Dylan was obsessed with trying to poke his finger in the doll's eyes...I guess it's better he does this with doll, and not the real baby.  It was really important to us not to let Dylan play with the doll, or treat it like another one of his toys.  The last thing we wanted was him dragging the baby around the house by it's leg.  Over the last month we started keeping the doll out during the day, either in the bouncy seat or in the swing.  When it's nap time or bed time, the doll goes to sleep in the new nursery.  It may sound crazy, but I am hoping that it will help with the transition. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

5 Favorite Homemade Baby Food Websites-Check Them Out!

Weeding through the thousands of websites dedicated to homemade baby food may be one of the hardest things of making baby food from scratch.  I have found that there are a few tried and true websites that I always turn to when moms ask me for online resources.  The following links are brimming with tips and recipes to make your experience with homemade baby food an enjoyable one.

1.  Wholesome Baby Food

2.  Homemade Baby Food Recipes

3.  Nurture Baby

4.  Weelicious

5.  Simple Kids Parenting, uncomplicated

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Super Baby Food Book Givaway

Would you like a chance to win the best selling baby food book of all time?  Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron, covers everything from introducing solids to how to minimize allergies.  It includes over 350 quick and easy recipes for your little one.  I constantly recommend this book to new and expectant moms who are looking for a comprehensive guide to feeding baby.

If you would like a chance to win this incredible baby food reference, simply tell us about why you decided to make your baby's food from scratch.  Be sure to include your favorite baby food recipe.  The winner will have their story and recipe featured in our blog.  Entries should be between 300-500 words.  The winner will be chosen on April 1st and will be notified by email.  The winning story with be posted on the Mush Homemade Baby Food blog during the first week in April.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Click the link below to enter for a chance to win Super Baby Food
Super Baby Food Book Entry Form 
 Good Luck!
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Casserole: "True Food" Favorite

Finnish macaroni casserole
This Spaghetti Squash Casserole recipe will surely be a family favorite!  I recently had this casserole at a local restaurant and searched for high and low for a comparable recipe.  Your little one is sure to love it and it's easy to puree for babies who are just starting multi-ingredient pureed foods. 

Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to traditional pasta and is
packed with nutrients!

  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 2-3 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Large Zucchini, diced
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 leaves of fresh Basil, finely chopped
  • 2 Teaspoons Oregano
  • 1 jar Pasta Sauce
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese or sliced Fresh Mozzarella
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

PreparedImage via Wikipedia

1. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds, splash with water and a little salt and cook in the microwave for 7-10 minutes (each half). Shred with a fork once cooled slightly and put into your casserole dish (discard the shell). 

2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions, zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, basil, and oregano. Cook until the onions and zucchini are tender. Add to the casserole dish.

3. Stir all the ingredients until mixed well, then add the pasta sauce until covered.  Top with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese or shredded mozzarella.

4. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-25 minutes until it is bubbly and the top is slightly browned. Let it cool for 5 minutes before serving.
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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Dirty Dozen

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 12:  A gen...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
I know "The Dirty Dozen" sounds like some kind of mobster movie for the 70's.  But when you are talking in terms of produce, the dirty dozen and clean fifteen are references to fruits and veggies with the highest and lowest pesticide contamination levels.  Ever since I have been teaching classes on homemade baby food, I have had moms asking me whether they should be using organic produce.  Personally, I use this list as a guide for when to go organic, and when conventionally farmed fruits and veggies are okay.  Unfortunately our weekly budget doesn't allow us to go totally organic, so we need to pick and choose when to spend the extra money.

Eating produce without pesticides may reduce your risk of getting cancer and other diseases. And according to the Environmental Working Group, avoiding fruits and veggies containing pesticides or choosing certain organic produce can reduce the amount of toxins you consume on a daily basis by as much as 80%.

Check out the lists below:


The Dirty Dozen

  • Peaches- 96.7% of samples tested positive for pesticides, 87% for multiple pesticides
  • Apples- 94.1% tested positive, 82.3% for multiple pesticides
  • Sweet Bell Peppers- 81.5% tested positive, 62.2% for multiple pesticides
  • Celery- 94.1% tested positive, 79.8% for multiple pesticides
  • Nectarines- 97.3% tested positive, 85.3% for multiple pesticides
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Kale- 53.1% for multiple pesticides
  • Lettuce
  • Imported Grapes
  • Carrots- 82.3% tested positive
  • Pears


The Clean Fifteen

  • Onions- no detectable residues on 90% or more of samples, zero samples positive for multiple pesticides
  • Avocado- less than 10% tested positive, less than 1% for multiple pesticides
  • Frozen Sweet Corn- no detectable residues on 90% or more of samples, zero samples positive for multiple pesticides
  • Pineapples- less than 10% tested positive, less than 1% for multiple pesticides
  • Mango- less than 10% tested positive, less than 1% for multiple pesticides
  • Asparagus- no detectable residues on 90% or more of samples
  • Frozen Sweet Peas- 77.1% had no detectable pesticides
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage- 82.1% had no detectable pesticides
  • Eggplant- 75.4% had no detectable pesticides
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon- 28.1% tested positive, 9.5% for multiple pesticides
  • Broccoli- 65.2% had no detectable pesticides
  • Tomatoes- 53.1% had no detectable pesticides, 13.5% positive for multiple pesticides
  • Sweet Potatoes and Grapefruit tie

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Breakfast Quinoa=Warm+Yummy

Quinoa is not a grass, but its seeds have been...                         Image via Wikipedia
Quinoa (keen-wa) has become Dylan's (and my) new favorite breakfast food, especially on chilly winter mornings!  It is a great alternative to oatmeal, and is just as easy to make!

Quinoa is packed with nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%).  It contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods.  It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron.  Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest.
It is getting easier to find this product in the supermarket.  I usually get it at Trader Joe's or Wholefoods, but I saw it in the grain aisle last time I was at Safeway.  It has a hardy, nutty flavor, that just makes you and your baby feel warm inside.  You can prepare quinoa in a variety of ways and it is not just limited to breakfast food.  It can be cooked with veggies and broth as a side dish for chicken or fish, it can be used in salads, the possibilities are endless.

Here is the recipe I used this morning for breakfast quinoa...I promise you and your little one will not be disappointed!  Oh and it is thick enough that it sticks to a spoon so if your toddler is practicing his spoon skills, it will give him quite the workout!

Breakfast Quinoa with Maple Syrup and Berries
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups water
2 Tbs Maple Syrup
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 cup berries of your choice
1/2 milk (optional)

Rinse and drain quinoa, place in sauce pan with water.  Cook on medium heat approximately 15-20 minutes until Quinoa is tender and water is absorbed.  It will double in size.  Add maple syrup and cinnamon.  Fold in berries (try apples, peaches or raisins for variety).  Pour milk on top for thinner creamy consistency.  Enjoy!
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Are you a "Tiger Mother"?

So I am usually opposed to using this blog as a platform for controversial issues, but I just couldn't help myself when I saw Amy Chua on the Today Show.  She was promoting her new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  Now keep in mind that I have not actually read this book and I was trying to keep an open mind when listening to her speak about the book and how it was a recollection of her journey through motherhood, raising her two daughters using a strict cultural philosophy.  In the interview she explains that the foundation of her family was one of love and respect, and in the next breath she is telling of how she used verbal threats and name calling to achieve excellence with her children.  Frequently throughout the interview she compares "Western" and "Eastern" parenting styles, which seemed to be a huge generalization and almost an excuse to defend her extremist ways.

It's not surprising that this book has grabbed the attention of the media, child development experts, and most of all parents.  It sounds like Chua's approach to parenting is highly controversial, forcing us to examine the fine line between wanting our kids to succeed, and demanding excellence at the expense of our children.  I guess success is all relative.  Chua is a Law Professor at Yale and her children are both on their way to academic success, but I wonder how they interact and maintain relationships with people.  Although the importance of education and learning has always been held high in my family and my husband's, it is clear that social and emotional factors play a key roll in a child's development.  In this interview, Chua boasts that her children were never allowed to attend play dates or play on the computer.  The true irony is that, as I watched this interview, my 15 month old son was watching a Baby Einstein video on my computer, and after the interview was finished we left for a play date.  I guess my "roar" is more like a "meow".

Watch the full interview at the link below:

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