Making The Most of Baby Food…The Sequel

Yes, I’ve been enjoying Noodle Kugel, Chicken Curry and even a small ham sandwich for lunch…my first red meat in over a year (anything with four legs is considered red meat, by the way)!  And, I’m still buying baby food fruits and veggies.  They’re convenient, already portioned plus they’re pureed and strained, making them easy on the tummy-tums.  Despite the progress I’ve made over this past year I’m still a very cautious eater because: chant it with me now…Nothing tastes as good as being well feels!  I periodically give my tummy a rest in order to enjoy a few more highly seasoned solids.  According to the Registered Dietitian I saw shortly after I was diagnosed, all baby food is considered acceptable on the Gastroparesis Diet and anything that spared me from some of the endless pureeing in those days was a blessing.

Back in September, I posted the original Making The Most of Baby Food with a recipe for No Puree Baby Food Sweet Potato Bisque and promised to revisit the topic.  I’m still enjoying my daily vanilla Activia yogurt with a jar of baby food fruit poured over the top.  My favorites are Gerber 1st Foods prunes, Gerber 2nd Foods peaches, peach cobbler smoothie, pears, pear with wild blueberries and pear with pineapple and Earth’s Best Organic pear with raspberries.  Except for the peach cobbler flavor, which is sweetened with white grape juice and thickened with rice flour,  none of the fruit has added starch or sweeteners and at approximately 60 calories each are considered a serving of fruit.  I’m allergic to apples so I haven’t been able to try the varieties that are cut with apple like Gerber 2nd Foods cherry and in my opinion anything mixed with mango is revolting.  Each flavor has one to three grams of fiber but since the fruit has been cooked, pureed and strained it hasn’t bothered me (which is why I use it as a very sneaky way to include a little “legal” fiber in my day).  I still buy canned peaches and pears packed in juice for when I want to enjoy fruit I can chew or use in a quickie recipe.

Baby food veggies are a different story.  Because they have no added sugar, salt or flavorings like adult processed food, they require a great deal of seasoning.  I stick to the veggies that are not considered GP-friendly except in baby food form like peas and corn.  I’m able to eat frozen chopped spinach and preferred it pureed (when necessary) to other forms of spinach.  I absolutely love crisp blanched french green beans so I haven’t been able to bring myself to try baby food green beans and am allergic to carrots so I haven’t been able to try any varieties mixed with carrots.  I heat up a package of Gerber 2nd Foods peas whenever I have fish or scallops for dinner.  They are especially good poured over baked or mashed potatoes but be warned, because we are all so used to processed adult food (even frozen and canned peas are packaged with salt and sometimes sugar) they are blander than bland without some serious salting and peppering, garlic powder or onion powder.  As far as fiber is concerned the same is true for baby food veggies as is with baby food fruit…each serving has one to three grams of fiber.  The veggies have been pureed and strained and I haven’t had any difficulties with the small amounts of fiber.

Recently, after a cold day out I wanted an easy cup of warming soup with a little substance.  No Puree Cup O’ Green Pea Soup was born.  Thicker and more substantial than a broth based soup and not tomato based it was savory and felt hearty and substantial without being overwhelming.  My newest baby food veggie find is Earth’s Best Organic corn and butternut squash.  It actually inspired me to develop (with a little inspiration from two Whole Foods recipes for Cod Chowder) the following recipe for Non-dairy Baby Food Corn & Cod Chowder.  Unlike some of my more recently posted recipes with curry and cumin this chowder is warming, plain and comforting…yes, I said “plain” but I mean it in the most positive way possible.  The corn, potato and cod are gentle, simple flavors that make this mild soup very easy to eat.  I have found white fish very easy to tolerate even on more symptomatic days.  So if thoughts of curry, cumin or anything tomato based make you recoil this is the soup for you.  Hubby and I enjoyed it with Ritz-type crackers because I forgot to pick up the oyster crackers.

No Puree Cup O’Green Pea Soup

Serves 1

1 package Gerber 2nd Foods peas

1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 teaspoon onion powder

pinch Herbes de Provence or oregano, pulverized with a pinch of salt to form a powder (I use a coffee grinder specifically to grind spices or use a mortar and pestle)

1/4 teaspoon salt (can always add more but can’t take away)

pepper to taste

pinch Spanish smoked paprika (optional)

well-cooked or canned diced potato, carrots (if tolerated) and/or lowfat ham (optional)

Combine peas and chicken stock in a small saucepan.  Whisk in seasonings.  Bring to a simmer and adjust salt to taste.  Optional: add well-cooked or canned diced potatoes, carrots and ham if “Chunky”-style pea soup is desired/tolerated.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: (does not include additional potatoes, carrots or ham)

52.5 calories, .5 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 3.5 grams protein

Non-dairy Baby Food Corn & Cod Chowder

Serves 4  (Can be easily halved.  For a true “dump recipe” if you’re too tired to peel and dice potatoes, drained and rinsed canned diced potatoes can be substituted for the diced fresh potatoes just reduce the chicken stock by half.)

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, ground to a powder with a little salt

1 pound red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

4 4 ounce jars Earth’s Best corn and butternut squash baby food

1 pound cod, cut into 1″ chunks

salt and pepper, to taste

Spanish smoked paprika (optional)

Bring almond milk, stock, spices and potatoes to a boil.  Simmer until potatoes are very tender (approximately 20 minutes).  Stir in baby food and bring back to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper and be generous with the salt as up to this point there has been very little added to the chowder.  Add cod chunks (do not stir) and cover.  Simmer until cod is cooked (approximately 7 minutes).  Dish up bowls of hot chowder and garnish with Spanish smoked paprika, if desired.  Serve with Ritz-type or oyster crackers.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

315 calories, 3.3 grams fat, 3.6 grams fiber, 29 grams protein


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