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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Super Easy Applesauce for Baby (and the whole family)

1. Peel, core and cut apple into slices/chunks

2. Place slices or chunks into a pan with a little bit of water not completely covering the apples

3. Put a lid (or some tin foil) to cover the pan and let the apples stem until tender

It doesn't get much easier than that!!!! I love this recipe for a few reasons (1) there is no prep work except for peeling a few apples (2) you can throw it in the oven with whatever you have cooking (3) the house smells really good while it is cooking.

What to do once the apples are cooked:

For baby:

1.) Put the steamed apples into your blender, food processor, etc...

2.) Add some cooking liquid, if needed for desired consistency

*Serve this to baby as plain applesauce or mix with other fruit purees, veggie purees (carrots and apples go great together and I can even get my 5 year old who won't touch a veggie to eat it) or meat purees (chicken with apples). Applesauce with blueberries is a favorite in our house.

For older baby - who likes some consistency:

1.) Use your blender, food processor, etc... to break down the apples to smaller more manageable pieces or at this stage you should be able to mash them fairly easily too

2.) or just let them cool and dice them

3.) Once they are 8-10 month old (talk to you pediatrician first) you can add spices too, try a little bit of cinnamon or a cinnamon and nutmeg mixture

*Serve to you older baby as plain applesauce, mixed with meat or veggies, as finger food (apple dices).

**If they are too slippery for your little one to pick up, throw some cheerios in the food processor and grind them down into a powder, roll the apples in the cheerio powder to make them less slippery (I can't take credit for this idea, I borrowed it from wholesomebabyfood.com)

For you toddler:

1.) You can mash up / dice and serve as an applesauce

2.) Or serve the way it is (just cutting into smaller pieces as necessary) in place of baked apples

3.) For you toddler you can begin to make fun modifications: add spices (as noted above), sprinkle a little brown sugar on top, add raisins or dried cranberries (or other dried fruits)

*Once your toddler is at the age where consistency is no longer a problem you can do just about anything with the steamed apples. You can mix apples with just about any fruit for yummy variations to this applesauce. Instead of steaming, cook down some cranberries on the stove add the apples and have a cranberry applesauce which is a great compliment for chicken and turkey, or use this to replace those yucky jar cranberries for baby's first Thanksgiving. You may need to add some sugar if the cranberries are too tart - instead of sugar, many times I add fruit juice (the 100% juice kind)...it will sweeten your cranberries with less added sugar.

For the whole family:

There are a couple of options when it comes to making this applesauce to be enjoyed by everyone in your family. I usually just make sure I have really flavorful apples, steam them, and then portion out some that will blended for the baby and the rest that will be eaten as is (nothing fancy - just apples) by the rest of the family.

I also really like making two pans of it...one for baby (or anyone in your family who may prefer the plain version) and one for the rest of the family. The one for baby will be just plain apples. The one for the rest of the family will have fun additions as noted above.

*You can simply add some raisins / dried cranberries when it is cooking for a nice side dish to chicken , pork, turkey,etc...or you can mix it into your oatmeal in the morning. Another favorite is to peel and chop a sweet potato, place them in the pan with the apples and some dried cranberries and cook until the apples and sweet potato are tender. Then mash, combine and serve.

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