Our daughter just turned the Big 1 year! Hubs and I confidently carried our little one into her 1-year follow-up expecting, for the first time in our brief parenting tenure, to get a great report along with the standard marching orders “just keep doing what you’re doing.” We’d been receiving those same instructions at every previous check-up along with high praise for our daughter’s diverse food intake and her preference for spinach and love of scrambled eggs.
But this time, we were hit hard by our pediatrician’s orders to transition our daughter to all solid food within 60 days. Most alarming to me, I was told to stop pureeing or mashing her foods starting right away…I was appalled! I thought we were doing so well. I’d been cruising along using our trusty NutriBullet to puree everything from broccoli and carrots to salmon and chicken, and she was doing so well eating that stuff…just as long as it was smooth with no lumps. She’d basically refused to eat anything with lumps or texture except her beloved eggs. I had created these yummy Veggie Puffs which she liked, but they’re pretty labor-intensive so I rarely make them and don’t relish the idea of making them several times per week.
Now my head was spinning as I pondered all the changes I’d have to make and worried how baby girl would respond to the transition. On the other hand, I can’t stand the idea of giving our little girl the highly-processed chemical-laden transitional toddler foods sold in stores.
Hubs – recognizing the look of consternation on my face – said, “Baby, it’ll be okay. We’ll just start by giving her those foods she already likes. What about sweet potatoes? We know she loves those.”
Of course! That’s what I’ll do! She loves sweet potatoes. I’ll start there, I thought to myself. I decided to try to recreate one of our favorite treats – sweet potato fries – without the funky hydrogenated oils and preservatives. Baked with a little extra virgin coconut oil and some pure, unsweetened apple juice, these “fries” take only a few minutes to make and both my daughter and husband love them! Their an easy, inexpensive and delicious treat you can make in less than hour (including cook time). The secret is the combination of coconut oil and apple juice that the “fries” bake in. The result is slightly sweet and just the right combination of soft and crisp to be considered the perfect healthy transitional food by even the most persnickety pediatrician. Score one for Mommy!
• 1 Large or 2 Small Whole Sweet Potatoes, Washed and Peeled
• 1 Tbsp. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
• 2 Tbsp. Unsweetened Homemade or Organic Apple Juice
• 1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
• Light Sprinkling of Sea Salt, Ground Ginger, and/or Allspice
• Large Chef’s Knife (the sharper the easier this will be)
• Cutting Board
• Parchment Paper
• Medium-sized Cookie Sheet or Baking Pan
1. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celsius). Cover baking sheet/pan with parchment paper. Then set aside.
2. Slice sweet potato (or potatoes) length-wise into 4-5 slices of roughly equal width (as pictured below).
Then cut slices into match sticks (or french fry shape). When cutting sticks, try to avoid pointy or sharp edges.
3. Pour oil and apple juice onto parchment paper and rotate pan gently to blend the liquids (you can also use a fork or other utensil to swirl the liquids together). Then place the sweet potato sticks in a single layer atop the liquid mixture. Lightly sprinkle with spices, and then gently shake the pan again to distribute the liquids and seasonings.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Then remove from oven and test for doneness.
Makes about 2-3 Toddler Servings
Notes and Serving Suggestions: If you’re serving a toddler, you want the fries to be softer so stick with the shorter bake time. Check first after 40 minutes. If not quite done, stick the pan back in the oven for 3-5 more minutes. For adults, bake for 45 minutes before checking for doneness for a crisper texture. If not quite done, bake for 5-7 minutes longer, but keep a close eye on them. They go from crispy to burned very quickly.
Wisdom for the Day:
So, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, don’t have stubborn hearts as they did in the rebellion, on the day when they tested me in the desert.”
~Hebrews 3:7-8 (Common English Bible)
Read more here.