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9-12 Months: Exploring New Tastes - Fun with Finger Foods (part 2)

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Oven-baked Sweet Potato Wedges

These sweet potato wedges are a tasty and healthy alternative to fries. I have left the skin on the potato because it contains a lot of extra vitamins and fiber. To vary, sprinkle on some Parmesan; or, for babies over a year, make the wedges a little spicier. They are good served with a sour cream and chive dip.

5 minutes

20 minutes

NOTE

2 baby portions

  • 1 small sweet potato, scrubbed

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp finely grated Parmesan (optional)

  • For older babies (optional)

    • Salt and pepper

    • 1/8 tsp paprika or fajita seasoning

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Cut the potato lengthwise into about eight wedges. Put the oil in a bowl, add the wedges, and toss to coat. For babies over one, you can season with a little salt and pepper and the paprika or fajita seasoning.

  3. Lay the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing them out. Bake for about 10 minutes, then turn them over and bake until tender, about 10 minutes longer. If you are not using the spices, you can sprinkle the wedges with the Parmesan, then bake for 1 more minute.

  4. Let cool slightly before serving. Once cooled completely, the wedges can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 day. Reheat in a dry nonstick frying pan for 2–3 minutes, turning once.

Sandwich Ideas

Finger sandwiches are good for children of all ages, for lunch or a snack. I like to flatten the bread—this does make a difference for small children, as they get a better ratio of filling to bread, and the sandwiches are suited to little mouths. Keep fillings fairly smooth.

Maple-banana Sandwich

Spread 1 tsp maple syrup over one slice of lightly buttered bread, then top with 1/2 small mashed banana. Add the second slice of bread.

Avocado Sandwich

Mash 1/4 small, ripe avocado (pit removed) with a few drops of lemon juice. Spread this over one slice of lightly buttered bread and top with the second slice.

NOTE

You could also try mixing avocado with cream cheese and chopped tomato.

Cream Cheese-strawberry Sandwich

Mix 1 tbsp cream cheese with 1 tsp fruit spread or low-sugar spread. Spread this over one slice of lightly buttered bread and top with the second slice.

Swiss Cheese Sandwich

Cover one slice of lightly buttered bread with a slice of Swiss cheese. Top with the second slice of bread.

NOTE

Try adding a couple of thin slices of peeled cucumber or tomato.

My First Tomato Sauce, with Pasta Stars

Sweet vegetables blended with tomato make a nice early pasta sauce for babies, helping them to get used to the new texture of pasta. Small stars or alphabet shapes are ideal first pastas because they are easy to swallow. You could also use couscous.

10 minutes

45 minutes, plus pasta cooking

NOTE

6 baby portions

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped

  • 1/4 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and grated

  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated

  • 14oz can crushed tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock or water

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 tsp light brown sugar

  • Pepper

  • Per portion

    • 1–2 heaping tbsp pasta stars or other small shapes (according to appetite)

    • 1 tbsp shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok and gently sauté the onion, squash, and carrot until soft but not browned, 3–4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, tomato paste, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, partially cover, and let simmer until thickened, about 40 minutes. Season to taste with a little pepper.

  2. Cool slightly, then blend to a purée. The sauce can be frozen in individual portions; when needed, thaw for 1 hour at room temperature, or in a microwave for 30–60 seconds.

  3. To serve, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to the pan, then stir in the pasta sauce and cheese, if using. Stir until the cheese melts and the sauce is piping hot. Cool slightly before serving.

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