Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pumpkin Soup for baby (and the whole family)

 This is a great recipe that will allow you to let you baby share the tastes of the fall season with you.  I love these types of recipes that not only allow your baby to try new things (and fall is a perfect time of year as fresh pumpkins will not be available throughout the year).  I try to make the most of the seasonal fruits and vegetables by coming up with fun family recipes that allow the baby to join in.  This is a perfect recipe for that, especially since everyone loves soup.  Even my anti-vegetable 5 year old will eat most soups that we offer to him.   
 
You will note that I have not provided measurements in many of my recipes, the reason for that is that they will vary greatly depending on if you are making a one-meal serving for your baby, enough for your baby to eat now and freeze some for later or enough to incorporate into a meal/side-dish for the whole family.  The measurements included below are intended to make one to two servings of this soup so you will want to adjust accordingly.
 
What you need:
1 to 2 cups of Pumpkin cut into about 1 inch strips
1 Cup of Water
2 tsp of Butter
1/2 cup of Milk
Carrot, celery, onion, other vegetables (possibly any extra purees that may be in the freezer)
pinch of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
a few drops of maple syrup (optional)
**Mommy Tip**
For younger babies replace the milk with breastmilk or formula if you choose.  Note, it is acceptable (assuming your child does not have / show signs of dairy allergies) to use milk to cook for your child before the age of 1.  The reason that doctor's tell you not to introduce milk before the age of 1 because they do not want you replacing your baby's formula/breastmilk with regular milk
 
What to do:
Put Butter and Water in the pan
Add sliced pumpkin
Add other veggies (carrot, celery, onion, purees, as desired)
Cook until pumpkin is tender
Remove from heat and puree, with your pureeing devise of choice
Add Milk while pureeing to get a creamy soup like consistency
Add Black pepper and maple syrup and return to the stove to heat through
 
At this point you have created a wonderful soup for your baby.  Since it has a thicker consistency it won't be to messy for you to feed him/her and it is a great way to introduce some new fall flavors.
 
You could serve this soup to the whole family as is, however, I suggest trying some of the following modifications (that add little or no time to your preparation process) for other members of the family.  I try to make as many baby/family friendly dishes as possible it saves so much time and with some minor modifications everyone in the family will enjoy the meal.
 
For your older baby: 
 - Give baby lightly toasted bread strips for dipping into the soup. 
 - Make baby croutons by toasting small bread dices until hard and add in to the soup as you would croutons.
 
NOTE: Both of these items will cook while the soup is cooking adding no additional time to your meal preparation for these modifications
 
For your toddler / young child: 
 - Make it into a "Thaksgiving Soup" by adding turkey into the soup in the last step when you are heating it through.   
 
NOTE: This modification will add not additional time as the turkey will be added in the last phase of the preparation - your older baby can try this option too.
 
- Or top the soup with an apple and cranberry *salsa* - basically an apple and cranberry sauce cooked down until it is thick and then dolloped on the soup right before eating. 
 
NOTE: If you cook the apple's and cranberries (which basically cook themselves they just need an occasional stir) while the soup is cooking you will add no time to your dinner preparation by making this variation.
 
 - Use holiday cookie cutters (leaves, pumpkins, etc...) to cut pieces of bread prior to toasting.  Toast bread until hard and use as croutons (ok I am copying this idea from the baby alternatives above - but the shapes make it so much more fun as they get a bit older.
NOTE: cook while the soup is cooking and you will add no additional time to your meal preparation for this modifications
 
For you older children/ adults:
 - Top your soup with an Avocado and Jalepeno salsa (see recipe1 below). 
 - After pureeing when you are re-heating through split the batch into two pots (one for baby and one for the adults) and convert you baby's pumpkin soup into a fun Spicy Southwest Pumpkin Soup (see recipe 2 below).
 
 **Mommy Tip**
You can add Avocado to the baby's soup if you choose to as well. Or leave some avocado aside (squeeze with a small amount of citrus to provent discoloration) and mash it up for baby's next meal.  If this is dinner and baby's next meal is breakfast think about mashing the avocado with banana or for your older baby topping their egg with avocado.
 
Before I provide the adult recipes, please note that I have not (to this point) made this recipe - as it was just given to me by a friend the other day.  I have been told that it comes out really good when you spice up this pumpkin soup though so it is worth a shot.  I am hoping to get some time to try it this weekend...so I will update you on how it is :)
 
Avocado and Jalepeno salsa:
 
What you need:
Note all of the amounts below are just estimates and can and should be adjusted based on the amount you are making and the tastes of the people who will be enjoying it.  To make a version for younger children who don't eat spicy food leave out the jalapeño and tabasco or use sparingly.
 
1 1/2 cup Avocado diced
1/2 cup Red Onion diced
1 -2 tbsp Jalapeño minced (adjust the amount based on who will be eating this dish)
2 tbsp Lime juice (I prefer fresh lime juice)
1/2 - 3/4 tsp Tabasco Sauce (again you may want to adjust based on who will be eating this)
Salt, to taste
 
What to do:
Combine all items above in a bowl and mix until completely combined....It is as simple as that!!!
 
I like to throw everything in the food processor to combine until everything is incorporated into the Avocado and smooth.  If you mix by hand it will be lumpier.  You will have to decide which was is best for you based on your texture preference.
 
Spicy Southwest Pumpkin Soup:
To convert your baby's pumpkin soup into an adult friendly spicy treat, think about making some or all of the modifications below.  To save time you can add these ingedients after you have pureed the soup and have put it back on the stove to reheat. This way you can re-heat the baby's soup in one pot and the adult soup in another (adding the additional ingredients) and it won't take you any additional time.
 
Think about adding (amounts will be to taste and based on the quantity of soup):
cumin
chili powder
ground nutmeg
tabasco sauce (to taste)
lime juice
 
Garnish with Sour Cream and Slices of Lime!!!

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