Purple carrot and coconut applesauce

Toddlerhood is a time of highs and lows, for the toddler and for his parents. This week, for example, M, started saying "Go away, Mama;" screaming at the very top of his lungs when he wanted something; and spun in a circle so much that he barfed. But he also said, "I miss you, Mama;" spelled his name (he's a genius! or at least, a genius mimic); and was completely focused and determined while trying to use chopsticks, all of which made my heart grow about ten sizes.

In our bad moments, I'm desperately trying to remember that M's acting out is normal limit testing and that it'll pass, but it is SO HARD. Living with a toddler is like having an irrational, demanding, perfectionist, narcissist for a boss, but who's sometimes so cute and wonderful and effusively loving that you can forgive his disturbing lack of empathy.

All that to say, my kid is normal. And like all normal toddlers, really really loves applesauce. To bulk this one up, I added carrots because then I feel like he's getting more than just some fruit. I also tossed in some coconut milk to add a little fat for those days when applesauce comprises a meal. Also, though we're far from apple season, our farmer's market always has barrels of over-wintered apples that are cheap, local, pesticide-free, and perfect for applesauce.  

A few notes: I didn't bother to peel my apples because a lot of the fiber is in the skin, but mostly, I'm lazy. However, if your little likes things very smooth or is just starting out with purees, go ahead and peel them. I also roasted these because I like the flavor and a chunkier end product, but if you're looking for a smooth puree, do a boil/steam combo as described in this recipe

Purple carrot and coconut applesauce

2 lbs apples (about 3 very large apples)
8 oz purple carrots (about 2 large or 4 small carrots)
¼- ¾ cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 400. Peel and chop carrots and apples (don't bother peeling the apples; see note above). Place on a sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes or until carrots are fork tender.

Puree the apples, carrots, and coconut milk. Start with ¼ cup and add more coconut milk until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Store in the refrigerator, but heat for 15-20 seconds before serving to loosen up the coconut milk. Stir and test for hotspot

Yield: 26 oz or about 3-3 ½ cups.

Cucumber, green apple, and grape puree

Cucumber, green apple, and grape puree | Me & The Moose. Lightly steamed apple, raw grapes, and raw cucumber make a refreshing puree, frozen pop, or gummies. #meandthemoose #toddlerfood #fingerfood #cucumber #grapes #apple #puree #babyfood

Finger foods are rough, y'all. At least, they are in this house. M still does better when most of his veggies and proteins pureed, but he's really into feeding himself and gets ANNOYED when we try to help. He'll happily eat a pouch of broccoli, apples, and green beans (and is getting better at squeezing into his mouth), or fling pureed veggies and proteins from a bowl in the direction of his mouth with a spoon. But if I put a piece of broccoli or a green bean in front of him, he looks at me like, "What is this poison?" So, we're bridging the gap by adding grass fed pastured gelatin to a lot of his purees. This makes them more like gummy snacks, which he can grab easily, but don't look like what they actually are. And they're a lot less messy than purees. The only down side is that the gelatin seems to dull the puree's flavors, so I've had to add honey or maple syrup. Wah wah.

This puree is like a day at the spa and since it's finally SO HOT out, the combo is refreshing for everyone. Below are directions for a straight up puree, frozen pops, and gummies for those finger-food in-betweeners like M.

Also, I realize that there are kiwis in all of these photos, but I'm on the fence about kiwi. I really wanted to include it in this puree, but I initially used a kiwi that wasn't ripe enough and it make my throat tickle. Then, I waited too long and the kiwis had gone a little far south of ripe. If you're a better judge of kiwi ripeness than I am, feel free to throw in a few. I would add an extra tbsp of gelatin if you're making gummies because something in the kiwi softened the gelatin a bit in my tests. 

Cucumber, green apple, and grape puree | Me & The Moose. Lightly steamed apple, raw grapes, and raw cucumber make a refreshing puree, frozen pop, or gummies. #meandthemoose #toddlerfood #fingerfood #cucumber #grapes #apple #puree #babyfood

Cucumber, green apple, and green grape puree

2 large Granny Smith apples
30 green grapes
3-inch piece of hothouse cucumber (if using regular cucumber, remove the seeds with a spoon and use 1/2 cup chopped)

Core and chop the apple into large chunks. For a very smooth puree, skin the apple first, but otherwise, feel free to leave the skin on. Bring a few inches of water to a boil and add apples in a steamer basket. Steam for 8-10 minutes. Puree with raw grapes and cucumber in a food processor or blender. Also yummy is adding 1 Tbsp of melted coconut oil or olive oil to this puree.

Cucumber, green apple, and grape puree | Me & The Moose. Lightly steamed apple, raw grapes, and raw cucumber make a refreshing puree, frozen pop, or gummies. #meandthemoose #toddlerfood #fingerfood #cucumber #grapes #apple #puree #babyfood

For ice pops: Spoon puree directly into ice cube trays, dixie cups, or whatever vessel you prefer and freeze with popsicle sticks for several hours or overnight. Or, you can purchase these fancy pop molds.

For gummies:
2 cups of puree
3 Tbsp honey
5 Tbsp gelatin

Heat puree in a pot or sauce pan over medium low heat until just steaming (do not let the puree boil). Add honey and stir to combine. Slowly (I mean, really slowly) shake in the gelatin while stirring constantly with a whisk. Try not to let the gelatin clump. Once the gelatin has dissolved, continue stirring for a few minutes until puree thickens slightly and all clumps of gelatin have melted. Do not let the combination boil. Pour into any dish large enough to allow for just a .25- .5 inch layer of puree and gelatin mixture (I use this 9 x 9 pan). Allow to set in the fridge.
 

Cucumber, green apple, and grape puree | Me & The Moose. Lightly steamed apple, raw grapes, and raw cucumber make a refreshing puree, frozen pop, or gummies. #meandthemoose #toddlerfood #fingerfood #cucumber #grapes #apple #puree #babyfood