Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ansley Eats: Spinach Cheese Dip with Roasted Carrot Sticks & Breakfast Smoothie

Concern over the variety of food Ansley ate hadn't been an issue until recently. I was kind of crazy during the start of solids with making sure she got a wide range of tastes. I even went as far as trying to give her at least one food from each category of the "Feeding Baby Green" biodiversity chart. I like to think this is what helped her become a fairly good eater, but something tells me it was probably 99% her personality, 1% my effort. She's become a little pickier lately and learned two words that I'd hoped she wouldn't for a few more years... french fry. It's our fault. What started out as "it's so cute how much she loves sweet potato fries" has turned into an obsession with any french fry in her sight line. It's really only a problem when we go out to a restaurant, but even at home she's become more particular about what she wants to eat. Fruit is no problem. She will eat any and all fruit presented. Most grains are fine too. It's just the veggies and proteins that have become hit or miss. Here are a few of my attempts to introduce some new options to our weekly rotation.

Spinach Cheese Dip with Roasted Carrot Sticks

As mentioned, Ansley has become obsessed with french fries. She has also learned the word "dip" and wants to dip her food into sauce (bbq, ranch, ketchup, salsa, etc.) if she sees us doing it. I thought this recipe might resemble sweet potato fries and dip enough to win her over.

Spinach cheese dip (modified from the "Cooking For Baby" cookbook)
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1.25 cups milk
1/2 cup cheese
pureed spinach

It's a basic cheese sauce (makes enough for multiple servings, about 1.5 cups) which I figured isn't much worse then when she gets straight cheese as a snack, but has the pureed spinach added

Roasted carrot sticks
Halved baby carrots roasted in oven with olive oil and sea salt until desired mushiness

I thought this would be a hit because she actually likes roasted carrots. Instead, she just dipped the carrots into the sauce and sucked the cheese off. She repeated this until the carrot became too mushy and then discarded it to the side of her tray, starting again with a fresh one. I may try again with whole grain tortilla pieces instead of carrots. I was happy that she got some spinach from the deal, although it was pretty marginal.

Breakfast Smoothie

1/2 cup of milk
3/4 cup of yogurt (I accidentally bought vanilla instead of plain so I'm sure it added to the sweetness)
1/2 banana
Little over a cup frozen cherries
Handful of ice cubes
1 Tbsp ground flax seed

This was almost enough for the both of us. Ansley would have totally eaten the ingredients on their own too. She loves fruit and yogurt. The only problem is it's messy for her to feed herself and takes time for me to spoon feed her. She LOVED it in the smoothie and giggled with joy at every sip. I accidentally bought a sippy cup without the spill saver a few months ago, but have discovered it's perfect for thick drinks. Lately during breakfast Ansley will eat all of her fruit and leave whatever grain or protein is there. She drank all of this though, which definitely had some protein in it. I wish I could add a little more, but I'm pretty sure you can't give protein powder to a one year old. Maybe ground almonds or peanut butter? I'm going to be making this again so I can experiment. It was a yummy breakfast for Ans and me, especially now that the weather is getting warmer.

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