If I didn’t know better, I would swear that we are in the midst of another baby boom. It seems like all of the ladies I know from the age of 20 to 40 are “creating a family.” Still childless, I find myself hunting for useful baby shower items, not really knowing what the best gifts might be. A bit too shy to be the breast-pump giver, my prior gifts have remained with the ever-safe “onesies” and teething rings. But lately, I have wanted to give something a bit more personal. Something that I think my friends will enjoy and use, but that expresses a little bit more of the giver…
As a lover of food (with an addiction to clipping recipes), I was elated to discover Simply Natural Baby Food by Cathe Olson. Filled with tons of easy baby food recipes it seemed the perfect gift to help my cash-strapped friends (building families and buying their first homes!).
The book is petite, as it should be; yet the writing is large and easily legible. Cathe’s format emphasizes the simplicity of the recipes (that moms can literally whip up in minutes and freeze in batches for later use). Nonetheless, while the recipes contain just a few ingredients, Cathe emphasizes the importance of nutrition, and ensures that her recipes are well rounded from a nutrient perspective for each stage of an infant’s development. In fact, there are numerous healthy tips and the chapters are broken down by age:
Starting Solids: 4 to 7 months
Intermediate Foods: 7 to 10 months
Older Baby Foods: 10 to 14 months
Toddler Foods: 14 months and up
Actually, I found several of the older baby recipes (apple oat pancakes and pineapple carrot cake) and toddler recipes (whole grain waffles and minestrone soup) enticing myself! Really, the recipes cover breakfast to dinner tastes, and everything in between. This book even offers recipes for homemade animal cookies and graham crackers!
Worth noting, no diets are excluded from this handy guide. While there are a few omnivorous recipes, most of the recipes are vegan/vegetarian or offer easy alternatives. Along those lines, there is a plethora of dairy-free, wheat/gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, and nut-free recipes for any child born with allergies or other diet-related autoimmune condition. The only thing that I think would benefit this book futher is a food allergy index.
Cathe does use some unique ingredients on occasion, which are popular among the macrobiotic diet, but I did find that most could be easily omitted (sea vegetables) if you didn’t feel like seeking them out, or have already hit the mainstream (quinoa and millet). But, if you are looking for a recipe guide on how to use Cheerios, Jell-O, or cake mixes, look elsewhere, this is a from-scratch cookbook.
It was hard for me to believe that over 150 recipes were packaged into this easily manageable cookbook, but after perusing the contents I was sold. Each of my expecting friends will be getting a copy!
If you are or aren’t expecting, check out Cathe’s other cookbook, The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook. I had planned to pass this onto one of my expecting friends, but have become a fan of the recipes myself, and have not yet been able to part with my copy.