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Monday, April 2, 2012

Addie's Eats: Lentils and greens

This combination is similar to the potato, kale, and apple mash, but is great for babies who are exploring new textures because the lentils offer a little something different for those little palates.  It combines green lentils, steamed spinach, and roasted apples for a meal that offers tons of nutrients, texture, and a mildly tart taste.  Steaming and roasting are two great ways to prepare any vegetables or fruit that you use for your baby's food so that you retain as many nutrients as possible.  Many vitamins are water soluble, meaning just that, they are soluble in water. So when you boil a fruit or vegetable those vitamins go down the drain with the water you cooked them in.  Depending on how much of this recipe you want to make will determine how much of the raw materials to start with.  I made 8 2 oz servings with what I have listed below:

Lentils and Greens

2 medium Cortland apples (or any kind of apple you like)
1/2 cup green lentils (uncooked)
2 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and stems pulled off

Rinse lentils and cook in 6-8 cups of water for each lb. of lentils.  Simmer slowly in a large pot for about 45 minutes with the pot lid slightly tilted.

Peel the apples and slice.  Make sure to remove any pieces of the core from the inside of the slices (I just use a spoon to scoop any remnants off of the side).
Place apple slices on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes.  Half way through roasting, toss the slices with a spatula to make sure they don't get dried out on any one side.  I like to use a couple of extra apples and keep some roasted slices for finger foods.  I just cut them up into smaller pieces and since their soft, Addie can eat them easily and she loves the independence of feeding herself.
Rinse spinach leaves and tear off any stems.  Place leaves into a steaming basket in a pot with a little bit of water in it.  Steam with the lid tightly on the pot until the leaves are bright green and wilted.
Take 1 cup of cooked lentils, 1/2 cup of steamed spinach, and apple slices (2 apples worth) and place in a blender or food processor.  Depending on the stage your baby is at, make the mixture as smooth or chunky as you would like (smooth for younger ones, chunkier for those who are ready for more texture).  Remember not to serve any textures you don't feel like your baby is ready for though.  You know your baby best, so blend accordingly.
This is a great mix to throw in the freezer for a later date.  Remember, if your little one isn't keen on any new food the first time around, don't give up.  It can take many tries before an infant or toddler accepts a new food, so give them time and be patient.  If you are willing to keep trying, chances are they will be too.  Enjoy!

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