We’ve had her in our lives for a whole year. And what a year the first year of life is! A baby grows from a shapeless, snuggly bundle of tiny fingers, big eyes, and warmth into a little person who can play peekaboo and demand bananas. It’s been a good year.
A birthday, at our house, calls for a cake. I know there are birthday-pie people and people who think one-year-olds shouldn’t eat sugar (they probably shouldn’t), and we aren’t even really cake people so much but…. Birthday. So cake. I have made this same cake for all three of my little ones’ first birthdays. Here it is.
You can think of this particular cake in two ways. If you want to feel virtuous, you can describe it as a tender, butter-free whole wheat cake, glazed with a maple-sweetened cream cheese frosting, chock full of carrots and tinted pink with beet. If you want to feel honest, you can describe it as a total sugarbomb of a cake, well-suited to any celebratory occasion.
If you don’t have a baby of your own, don’t go anywhere. This applies to you too. Because who doesn’t love to eat baby food sometimes? I’m KIDDING. But if you know someone with a baby, and want to do something nice for them, you could ask if they would like the gift of homemade baby food. Parents are always busy and anyone who offers to lend a hand is doing a public service. It takes a village, people.
I have always been confused about why people who care what they feed themselves buy jarred food for their babies. Even if the label says organic happy super-healthy baby food, I can’t help but imagine that the fruits and vegetables that go into the puree are not the gorgeous specimens that would otherwise be gleaming in the produce aisle. But maybe I’m just suspicious like that. Plus, buying baby food is expensive and making it is cheap and easy.
Here’s the big recipe for DIY Baby Food: peel and steam or roast an organic fruit or vegetable. Puree or mash it (older babies can eat chunkier foods). Freeze solid in ice cube trays, then pop them out into a freezer bag for storage.
Some easy classics: carrots, peas, apples, pears, winter squash, peaches. Find something that’s seasonal and delicious. Babies learn to love real food through these early experiences.
Today my own baby enjoyed sharing bites of tofu and egg out of my spicy bowl of pad thai, so I am thinking the days of smushed-up baby food are close to over around here. But if I can help out a friend, you can bet I’ll be making it again soon.