Jamesie was just about 6-months old when he began reaching for my food. His apparent eagerness and interest to participate in this new world of food encouraged me as a mother to satiate his curiosity. The first food I gave Jamesie was puréed sweet potato, and ever since that first taste he hasn't looked back. He is a great eater relatively speaking. I am lucky to have a son who is so willing and excited to try new foods and educate his palette. He is does of course have his preferences, and he certainly makes these preferences clear based on the amount of food he hurls off of his highchair. I have always been a healthy eater. Aside from some indulgences every now and then, I have maintained an attitude that the food I consume should be real, it should taste good, and most importantly - it should feel good. These are aspects I strive to meet when feeding my son. So, here launches the first of a series of "Mama Tastings" -- homemade baby recipes and insights into my developing baby culinary expertise.
My whole philosophy around food is that eating should be an enjoyable experience. It should not evoke feelings of guilt or anxiety and it most definitely shouldn’t leave you feeling ill. Food is nourishment and it should be received as such both in our minds and in our bellies. I am feeding my son under this understanding of food. (This is not to say he never has sweets – trust me, the kid goes bananas for ice cream and that is perfectly fine every once and a while). My son was exclusively breastfed for approximately 6-months and now he eats three full meals, plus a snack (or two) along with continued breastfeeding (although this is much less frequent these days). My developing repertoire of meals are easy and stress free. Nutrition is always at the forefront of my dishes, and my goal is to provide busy Mamas with quick and simple meals that their babies will enjoy.
This layered dish is perfect for breakfast or dinner, and can even be used as an after dinner treat for an older toddler or child looking for dessert. Because of the diary product and roughage of the blackberry seeds used, I would recommend this meal for children 9-months or older.
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup puréed blackberries
Combine ricotta cheese with cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.
Place blackberries in blender and purée until desired consistency. If you desire, you may strain the blackberry purée and discard the roughage.*
Layer 1-tablespoon blackberry purée with 1-tablespoon ricotta mixture in a small glass and repeat layering until containing it filled.
Ricotta cheese - Fresh is best, but this is difficult to find when it comes to ricotta cheese. Unless you have an Italian marketplace nearby that sells homemade ricotta (thank you Perotti's), look for whole milk ricotta cheese without many other ingredients. Ricotta cheese is an excellent source of calcium (better than cottage cheese), protein, and Vitamin A.
Blackberries – Raw blackberries are packed with antioxidents and rich in Vitimin C to keep your little one healthy and strong.
Depending on your child’s age they may eat the whole serving or just a few bites – the key is to follow their lead. A healthy baby will let you know when they are full and if they do or do not like something. It is important to honor these signals and avoid pushing food on them. This may lead to overeating and a negative attitude towards certain foods.
For all of the health conscious Mamas out there (or any health/wellness minded people for that matter) – look out for posts to come in a series called “Mama Muscles” featuring fitness tips for the post-pregnancy figures.
Full Disclosure: This and all future Mama Tastings include recipes that I have created or adapted while cooking for my son. Mama Tastings is a resource for mothers who make their own baby food, and for babies who like to eat! Each feature includes appropriate age suggestions and ingredients nutrition facts. If you have any questions or requests feel free to comment below!