Mom Life: Starting Solids

Olivia is just a week shy of 7 months old – and should be well on her way to enjoying solid foods. I say should lightly because I don’t REALLY agree that babies should master certain milestones by certain ages. That being said, most parents begin to feed their babies solids around 4-6 months. Since we were in California when the clock struck 6-months… we delayed just a bit past the target window. Almost 2 weeks ago, at 29 weeks, we finally decided to take the plunge…

Many month ago, I picked up a copy of Tyler Florence’s “Start Fresh” and started planning. All along, I’ve known that I wanted to make Olivia’s food. Mostly, I’m concerned with the amount of preservatives and additives in even the organic varieties available on the shelves. Obviously, we also considered the cost-factor as well – knowing that it would be significantly cheaper to DIY. I love Tyler’s one-family, one-meal mentality… Kids should eat the same meal that the family eats for dinner. Mom WILL NOT make multiple meals to please multiple family members’ tastes. Very much aligned with the “You don’t have to like it, but you have to try it”  rule. His book includes recipes slightly altering “the family meal” for babies, toddlers and younger kiddos.

Buy Here

Totally in-line with our pediatrician, Tyler suggests starting with cereal (rice or oat) for the first few weeks then moving to veggies for the first month or so before introducing sweeter (more desirable) fruits. He suggests creating combos (adhering to the 3-day rule) after baby has mastered several foods, at around 9 months. His cookbook includes wonderful combos and stage II/III meals for older baby/toddler.

My daughter, who puts EVERYTHING in her mouth, and I do mean EVERYTHING, doesn’t want ANYTHING to do with food. Two weeks of our most desperate attempts to get Olivia to swallow even ONE bite… and she’s STILL completely uninterested.

We started with 3 days of Rice Cereal, then 3 days of Oat Cereal, followed by 3 days of sweet potatoes, 3 days of avocado and now we’re making our way through 3 days of carrots. I’m out of ideas…. Ready to call the pediatrician on Monday if things don’t turn around. OR give it a break and wait a few more weeks. I mean… what’s the harm? She doesn’t seem hungry, or cranky… and there’s lots of earthy-crunchy material suggesting that it’s perfectly healthy for babies to exclusively breast feed until 9-12 months.

Oat Cereal

Sweet Potato


Believe it or not – we did start with a plastic bib… when she seemed more interested in eating it… it came off and I decided that Rice Cereal wouldn’t stain and I could easily just toss her outfit in the laundry… then came sweet potatoes… knowing that those might stain, we tried a cloth bib… after a week+ we’ve resolved to eating in the nude. Still followed by a hose-down in the sink…

Note: Ignore the fact that I still need to DIY a high chair cover… notice that even it got caught in the crossfire and ended up in the laundry before Avocado day.

COOKING GEAR: We decided against the uber fancy BEABA or Baby Brezza mainly because of the cost. When we put in perspective the span of time that we would be making pureed foods – it just seemed silly to invest. We even decided to forgo the BabyBullet  in favor of using the high end blender/food processor we own. With limited freezer space (we’re storing close to 500 ounces of frozen breast milk) I’m still unsure of the most compact way to store prepared food. We have some of the Oxo Tot 2oz and 4oz containers that I like (and will probably buy more of as I have 20% off coupons to BBB/BBB).

Interested in trying these Tovolo Silicone Ice Cube Trays too.

Recently I’ve done some more searching online and found some other great resources that are worth sharing…

Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food – A friend referred me to this site – Awesome nutritional information, suggestions on what foods to start with, recipes, etc.

Tyler Florence’s Sprout Organic Baby Food – Tyler Florence’s line of organic baby food + more recipes.

Mash Your Heart Out Baby Food – great recipe and combination ideas

 Featured Image Here


In the Kitchen: Homemade Granola

Following my momma’s lead – I’ve gifted homemade granola on many occasions. Like her, I believe that handmade gifts are the best variety – especially edibles. Homemade granola wrapped in a mason jar + tea towel makes the perfect hostess gift (A la Pinterest)

Meg’s Homemade Granola

(Respectfully adapted from Mrs. Renee Sensabaugh’s Recipe)

  • 12 Cups Old-Fashioned Quaker Oats Oatmeal (NOT Quick Oats)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Shredded Coconut
  • 2 1/2 Cups Chopped nuts (Suggested equal parts chopped pecans and chopped walnuts)
  • 1 T Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil (* See Variation Below)
  • 2 T Honey
  • 2 T Vanilla

* Because I’m sort of a coconut-nut (Evidence Here)… I like to sub Earth Balance Organic Coconut spread

Mix all dry ingredients well in a (REALLY) large bowl. Mix all wet ingredients in separate container.

Drizzle liquid over dry mixture – combine with clean hands!

Spread even layer covering 3 baking sheets – Bake at 200 degrees (lower if your oven allows – I set mine at 170) at least 4-5 hours until dry, crispy and toasted.


Stir every half hour or so. Great dry or with milk. Makes a delicious parfait topping or my husband’s fav Acai Bowls!  Keeps well in air-tight container for a couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Homemade Blueberry Acai Bowl

Yogurt Parfait

Because Poppa G says, “EVERYBODY Love Parfait”

In the Kitchen: Fourth of July

It never really hits me that summer has arrived until the 4th of July. I find myself saying “I’m not ready for summer as it gets warmer and warmer… then BAM! Summer is here; full effect. 100 degree + temps, mosquitos, and outrageous electricity bills. Summer is NOT my favorite part of living in the great state of Texas but somehow I’ve survived it. Wanted to share a few of my favorite summer-time recipes. Keep Cool + Stay Happy!

Gazpacho Soup

Serves 6

(From the Kitchen of Mary Lou McElyea… respectfully altered by Me)

Gazpacho Soup

1 “Family-Size” Can Campbell’s Tomato Soup

1 “Family-Size” Can Water

1 12oz Can of V8

6 Tbsp Olive Oil

4 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

2 tsp Minced Garlic

1/2 tsp or more Cayenne Pepper

1 Large Cucumber, Chopped

1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped

1 Orange/Yellow Bell Pepper, Chopped

3 Stalks of Celery, Chopped

2-3 Large Tomatoes, Chopped

2T Green Onions, Chopped

2-3 Avocados

1/2 Cup Sliced Black Olives


Mix liquid ingredients.

Add cayenne and garlic.

Add vegetables, stir well and chill for at least 4 hours.

Notes: Veggies should all be chopped at roughly the same size and on the small side… you want to be able to get a variety with each bite. Also – Keeps in the fridge for about a week. I usually add the avocado one bowl at a time if I’m just making a batch to have in the fridge.

Like a liquid salad, this is the perfect summer-time lunch paired with a chicken salad sandwich or bagel chips for dipping.



Peach Cobbler

Serves 8

Peach Cobbler

Combine and Toss together:

8 Cups Peaches (ripe, peeled and sliced)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar

2 t. Lemon Juice

1 T. Vanilla Extract

1 t. Cinnamon

Pinch of Salt


1 Cup Flour

3/4 Cup Sweetened Coconut

3/4 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Coarsely Chopped Pecans

1/2 t. Baking Powder

1/4 t. Salt

1/2 Cup. (One Stick) Butter, cold, cubed

1 Egg (beaten)

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients, coconut & pecans. Use pastry cutter or two knives to cut in the butter. Should look like peas & sand when combined. Mix in one beaten egg. Mixture will be quiet gooshy. Put peaches in a 2 qt baking dish, add topping in small blobs on top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

(Note: Good idea to place a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch the bubbly goodness that you don’t want to be cleaning off the bottom of your oven.)

Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream.

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