Roasted pear and yellow squash puree

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Potty training has (haltingly) begun. And so I've renewed my commitment to vegetables and good fats in M's diet. To, ahem, keep things moving. 

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Even though he's well out of the puree stage, I still like to whip up some seasonal fruit and veggie purees when we have produce that's about to turn. Plopped into a pouch or mixed with some yogurt, they make a great snack and are sometimes the only way to get a largish amount of vegetables into M at once. ALSO, I like to use purees as dipping sauces for whole grain waffles and pancakes in lieu of syrup. It's a fun and sweet way to skip the concentrated sugar at breakfast and focus on the good stuff instead.

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A couple of notes: Roasting is always my preferred cooking method because I think it intensifies the flavor of fruits and vegetables more than steaming does. In this recipe, we're not looking for much color, so keep an eye on it. Also, powdered ginger works here, but fresh is best.

 

Roasted pear and yellow squash puree

4 medium pears
1 medium yellow squash
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ tsp fresh ginger (or slightly less powdered ginger)

Preheat oven to 375. Wash and roughly chop the pears and squash. Toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and roast for 15 minutes until the produce is soft and fragrant, but not yet browning.

Place the pears and squash into a blender or food processor. Add the remaining Tbsp of olive oil and the ginger. Puree until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: about 2 cups of puree.

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Blueberry and beet popsicles

Whooooeeeey, what a week. I completely missed popsicle week last week, interestingly, because I was busy making popsicles for my very sick child. Have any of you dealt with Coxsackie? I had never heard of it before having children, but apparently it's a virus that's been around forever and we've all had it.

Also, it's terrible. Thanks to a really sore throat and a high fever, M basically ate nothing for two days, so we tried lots of different frozen treats. Aside from these blueberry and beet-sicles, we made carrot, apple, and coconut treats using carrot juice, apple juice, and coconut milk; Orange coconut creamsicles using orange juice and coconut milk; and a roasted mango concoction that I'm still working on. I'll be honest, the ones with vegetables didn't go over as well while M was sick, but when he's healthy, he gobbles them up. 

Can I confess something? I don't really like beets. I also HATE cooking them myself, though everyone claims that it's sooooo easy. Whelp, I bought the beets in this photo because they were cheap and pretty at the farmer's market, but I fully used the organic pre-cooked ones you can buy at the grocery store that are vacuum sealed in plastic. I refuse to ruin my cutting board for a vegetable I don't even like.

However, I DO like beets when they're mixed with other things; chocolate, goat cheese, blueberries, etc.

This puree is great on its own or when mixed with yogurt, cooked grains, or pureed proteins for more advanced eaters. I personally love eating these as popsicles and would one day like to spike them with some sort of alcohol. For M, I mixed the blueberry/beet puree with a yogurt, almond butter, and honey combo that cut the fruit and veggies with something a little creamier. I also encourage you to make popsicles using just the yogurt mixture because they. are. great. Even my sick,-as-a-dog child ate the frozen yogurt. 

A couple of notes: If you have the temerity to cook the beets yourself, here's how. Otherwise, do what I do and use the precooked ones. Be sure to roast the blueberries (don't skip this step!) because raw ones in frozen treats don't have a strong flavor. Does anyone else notice that frozen raw fruit tastes blander? Anyway, I also recommend eating these only while wearing dark colors and/or when you can immediately dunk your child in water to clean up because they're a little messy. But isn't that half the fun of a popsicle?

Beet and blueberry puree and popsicles  

For the puree:
1.5 cups fresh blueberries (about 1 pint, minus whatever is filched by your toddler)
¾ cup chopped beets (about 3 very small)
¼ tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375. Spread the blueberries on a foil- or parchment-covered baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, until the berries are soft and fragrant, but haven't burst. Place the blueberries and beets in the blender, add the cinnamon, and puree until you've reached your desired consistency. 

Yield: 1.5 cups or 12 oz of puree

For the pops:
1 cup full fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp almond butter (preferably salted)

Fill the popsicle molds 1/2 way with the blueberry and beet mixture and freeze for at least 30 minutes or until the mixture begins to set. Fill the rest of the molds with the yogurt mixture and freeze solid, at least 5-6 hours.

Yield: 4 large ice pops

Cheers!

Cheers!

Roasted strawberry yogurt

M hates yogurt. I don't know why I care, really. It's just yogurt. Except that I keep getting duped into buying these appealing mini yogurts that are both expensive and loaded with sugar and he NEVER eats them. ("But they're European, and Europeans aren't sugar addled like we are!", says my, admittedly sugar-addled grocery store self.)

The offending yogurts. #meandthemoose #roastedstrawberryyogurt #yogurt #strawberries

So, I made my own. The process is simple: Dump frozen berries (it's February, after all) onto a parchment or foil-covered roasting pan and pop in a 350 degree oven until your kitchen smells like summer. You want the berries to be mushy, but not burned. They'll release their juices (I hate that phrase, but that's exactly what happens), so keep an eye out to prevent scorching. Bitter berries are not delicious. They should look like this:

Roasting strawberries brings out their sweetness and juices. #meandthemoose #roastedstrawberryyogurt #yogurt #strawberries

Let these cool for a minute and then puree in a blender or food processor. We have some variety of Ninja blender and are a little bit obsessed. Food gets so smooth! Mix with plain, full fat yogurt (Greek or non, you pick). 

Roasted strawberry puree with yogurt. #meandthemoose #roastedstrawberryyogurt #yogurt #strawberries

The density of the yogurt made a pretty parfait shot almost impossible, but you know what? HE ATE IT. I guess M doesn't hate yogurt.

Finished! This roasted strawberry yogurt is free of refined sugar and super delicious. #meandthemoose #roastedstrawberryyogurt #yogurt #strawberries

 

Roasted strawberry yogurt

1 bag frozen strawberries
Plain, full-fat yogurt

Heat the oven to 350°. Spread the frozen berries on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the berries are soft and have released their juices (that expression again, *shudder*) but are not browning, about 20-25 minutes depending on the intensity of your oven and the size of your berries. Let cool slightly. Carefully transfer the berries and juices to a blender or food processor and blend. You shouldn’t need to add extra liquid, but if necessary, add 1/8 cup of water to start and keep adding liquid in 1/8 cup increments until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Combine with plain yogurt in whatever proportions you and your little prefer.