Feeding a growing boy gets really interesting once he decides to be independent and feed himself. Get ready for prunes smeared in the hair and far flung bits of Cheerio to appear in random places days later. I just happened to discover some crusty green stuff on the back of a dining room chair leg the other day. It took a butter knife to scrape it off and I have no idea what it was. Nice. One of the ways to avoid a little of the mess and to allow your little to still explore the fun of self feeding is combo finger foods. Jude had issues with finger foods at first, in that all he could pick up were Cheerios and puffs. Banana chunks slipped right from his fingers like a bar of wet soap. Even when rolled in baby cereal. Any cooked fruit or veggie shot right out of his hands. It was sad to watch, really. He'd try so hard to pick up a bite, only to have it escape him inches from his mouth. And a kid can't live on baby puffs, even if they are fun to stick to his forehead.Peanut Butter and Jelly Baby Truffles
10 oz. pitted dried dates
1/2 cup dried strawberries
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Place everything in a food processor and pulse until a ball forms. Using a one inch cookie scoop (or fine, use a spoon) scoop into balls and roll in your palms. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and chill for an hour. Then you can transfer them to a container without them sticking to each other and store in the fridge for up to a week. Freeze them if you won't eat them that fast. Depending on how many teeth your kiddo has, you may want to let them come to room temperature before serving!Variations
Substitute almonds for the cashews and apricots for the strawberries. That's my favorite:)
You can also use raisins, cranberries, prunes, dried pineapple with coconut... Let me know if you come up with any yummy flavor combos! Carrot Apple Cheddar Bites
makes 2 dozen
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded apple
1 cup shredded chaddar cheese
4 egg yolks
1-1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, bread crumbs, or baby cereal (I use Earth's Best Rice Cereal)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Toss all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out the mixture and press it firmly into the scoop. You can also use a tablespoon and roll into balls with your hands. Place a few inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown at the edges.
Store a few bites in the fridge for up to three days. Freeze the remaining bites in ziploc bags for up to a month.Variations
Zucchini Ricotta Bites - Substitute 2 cups of shredded zucchini for the carrot and apple. Add 1/2 cup ricotta and increase dry ingredients by 1/4 cup.
Sweet Potato and Pear Bites - Substitute 1 cup shredded sweet potato and 1 cup shredded pear (use a firm pear like Bosc) for the carrot and apple.