How I Got My Toddler To Eat Vegetables

I had completely forgotten about this cookbook, and the yummy meals it had afforded me in college, until my two-year-old claimed that broccoli—a vegetable that he had gobbled just three days before—was “yuck!”

I dug through some old boxes, and there it was, my beloved cookbook! Now, a perfect mother would veggie-fie every meal, but since she doesn’t live at my house, I simply choose one weekend a month to get my Deceptively Delicious out, hunt for recipe ideas, and plan some veggie-infused meals.

Warm Apple and Butternut Squash Salad with Sugared Pecans

This salad, while sounding very fancy and healthy, is my middle-of-the-road answer to those cravings. It is loaded with good-for-you fats and antioxidants, but also has a bit of that naughty sweetness to keep you coming back for more. 

Feeding Your Future Foodie

I've heard "wisdom is knowledge applied." So, as we read books and blogs, talk to experienced moms, live in community with other wise parents we take in their knowledge and turn it into wisdom. Let's not just read these words, but try to apply them and share them! I only started on my health journey after my 3rd son was born. Unfortunately, the wisdom of whole foods, foundational nutrition for my kids and their development, and the simple tips to follow when feeding them were not presented to me. Or maybe, I didn't listen to my healthy friends.

When my daughter started eating solid foods, I remember feeling lost, nervous, and scared. It's an incredible responsibility to be sure she was receiving all that she needed.  I thought I had to buy the expensive magical jars on the shelf that had been there for who knows how long, cooked to oblivion, and filled with some unnecessary ingredients. This was 10 years ago! We are so blessed now with Pinterest and amazing blogs to help us now. Admittedly, I did not feed her very well. Now, I'm happy to share with moms about some easy and wonderful tips to feeding your baby! I wish someone had sat me down and shared this with me.

Today, by some amazing act of grace, my 3 kids are all very healthy. I believe it's never too late to start building their immunities up again. They love fruits and vegetables now, and we do our best to keep an abundance of fruits and vegetables in our systems with smoothies, soups and salads!

First, is your baby ready for solid foods? Here are a few signs that he or she is ready, but be sure to talk to your pediatrician to be certain.

  • Lets you know she's full from a meal of nursing or bottle by turning away
  • Can sit up and hold her head up without assistance
  • Newfound interest in your food
  • Doubling of birth weight

Some basic tips about starting solid foods:

  • Try one per week to be sure there are no allergies
  • Start with non-sweet veggies first (babies will enjoy sweet fruits more, and possibly not enjoy veggies when introduced)
  • No salt or sweeteners are needed for their foods
  • Room temperature is best to avoid burning their tender mouth
  • Don't assume they don't like something, re-introduce it another week
  • Talk to your pediatrician

Handy tools you might need:

  • A food processor, or high powered blender like a VitaMix
  • A good vegetable peeler
  • Apple corer
  • Small mason jars for storage
  • Ice cube tray for freezing
  • Potato masher or fork

One day on a trip to Our Father's Farm, I learned of an interesting food for babies. An egg yolk a day beginning at 4-6 months. The egg yolk supplies cholesterol needed for mental development as well as important sulphur-containing amino acids.

The white, which contains difficult-to-digest proteins, should not be given before the age of one year.

Please make sure to find egg yolks from pasture-fed hens or hens raised on flax meal, fish meal or insects are also rich in the omega-3 long-chain fatty acids found in mother's milk but which may be lacking in cow's milk. These fatty acids will assist in the proper development of the brain. Parents who feed egg yolk to baby have been known to have children who speak and take directions at an early age.

A couple ways you can serve an egg yolk:

  • Place and egg yolk in a bowl and pour simmering water to lightly cook it, let cool and serve.
  • Mix in an egg yolk with hot cooked rice cereal, cool and serve.

First foods for baby:


A great first food for baby, avocados burst with essential fats and nutrients that a growing baby needs. Smooth and creamy, avocados are easily digested and well tolerated by most babies! Like the banana, it's a portable food in its own wrapper!

Vitamins: A, C, Niacin, Folate Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium

1. Peel and take out the pit of a ripe avocado - do not cook 2. Cut “meat” out and mash with a fork 3. There should be no need to use a machine as just like bananas, avocados have a very soft consistency and texture. Avocados do not need to be cooked 4. Add breast milk or water to thin or add cereal to thicken up if you'd like

Acorn or Butternut Squash 

1. Cut acorn, hubbard, or butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds 2. Place an inch of water in a baking pan, then place squash halves "face" down in the pan. Check on water level while baking 3. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until the “shell/skin” puckers and halves feel soft then scoop squash “meat” out of the shell 4. Place squash "meat" into the food processor and puree 5. Add water as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency 6. You can also peel the squash, scoop out the seeds and then cut into chunks and boil/steam until tender (like when boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes) 7. Follow steps 4 and 5

Yams/Sweet Potato

Vitamins: A (24,877 mg ), C, Folate Minerals: Potassium, Sodium, Selenium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Calcium

1. Wash and poke holes in sweet potato with fork then wrap sweet potatoes in tin foil - do not peel for baking 2. Place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes or until soft 3. Let cool and puree the potato in a blender or food processor


1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small chunks 2. Place chunks into a pan with just enough water to slightly cover potato 3. "Steam" boil until tender, be sure to check on the water level 4. Reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the sweet potatoes 5. If you have baked your sweet potato, remove skins and use liquid from your preferred source 6. Place sweet potato into the processor and puree 7. Add the reserved water or other liquid as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean


Peas are high in protein, vitamin C and A! Anything green has amazing detoxifying properties. As with any of these fragile vegetables, don't over cook them as you will lose some of their valuable nutrients.

1. Bring a cup of water to boil 2. Add frozen peas, cook until just tender 3. Blend in food processor or blender 4. Cool and serve


Bananas are another great first food for your baby. Research indicates that bananas and their mucosal properties actually help coat the tummy and help aid in digestion. Bananas are sweet, which may help baby more readily accept the first food experience.

Vitamins: A, C, Folate Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Magnesium, Calcium

1. Peel a ripe banana - do not cook 2. Place banana in a food processor/food mill or blender and puree 3. You can also mash the banana in a bowl using a regular fork – heat in microwave for 25 seconds prior to mashing for extra softness 4. Add breast milk or water to thin or add cereal to thicken up if you'd like

Apples (Applesauce)

Vitamins: A, C, Folate Minerals: Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium

This recipe is written so that you may use any amount of apples you wish 1. Peel, core and cut apple into slices/chunks 2. Place slices or chunks into a pan with just enough water to slightly cover apples 3. Boil/steam until tender; be sure to check on the water level and stir. 4. Apples may be mashed with a potato masher to achieve a smooth applesauce consistency. If your masher will not achieve a puree type of consistency, then follow steps 5 – 7 5. Reserve any leftover water to use for thinning out the apples 6. Place into your choice of appliance for pureeing and begin pureeing 7. Add the reserved water as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin puree 8. Add cereal to thicken if you'd like 9. Ask your pediatrician about adding some cinnamon for new tastes


Vitamins: A, C, Folate Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium

1. Peel and cut into chunks so as to avoid the little seed portion. 2. Steam gently until tender; 3. Place in a blender/food processor and puree until smooth. You may be able to just use a fork too. 4. Use the leftover cooking water if needed but Pears tend to be very runny and watery without adding liquid - Add some baby cereal to thicken if needed.

Mango (6-8 months or older)

Vitamins: A (1262 IU in one cup), C, E, K, Folate Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium

1. Peel 2. Scoop our the "meat" 3. Puree in a food processor, or mash up until smooth

Organic Brown Rice Cereal

If you decide to make homemade baby cereal, make it with brown rice (organic if preferred). Whole grains are more healthy and nutritious for your baby (and for the whole family).

1/4 c. rice powder (organic brown rice ground in blender or food processor) 1 cup water

1. Bring liquid to boil in saucepan. Add the rice powder while stirring constantly. 2. Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly, mix breast milk, egg yolk and fruits if desired Serve warm

For more tips on a healthy family and a community of healthy minded friends, please check out and our facebook page!

Recipe of the Week - Savory Homemade Brunswick Stew

Autumn beckons, and for me that's soup season. This recipe is a winner for us because it's very flavorful, reasonably healthy, and makes a HUGE amount for delicious leftovers which somehow taste even better when reheated! Our version is based on a recipe from Southern Living magazine years ago, but with lots of tweaks over the time we've been making it. Feel free to customize it yourself and call it your own. This makes anywhere from 8 to 16 servings depending on how hungry everyone is!

1 whole chicken (small to medium size is good, say 3-4 lbs) 1 large onion, diced 2 green bell peppers, chopped 1.5 Tbs olive oil 1 large (28 oz) can and 1 small (15 oz) can of whole peeled tomatoes, undrained, coarsely chopped (I use kitchen shears to snip them up while still in the can to save some mess) 1 small (8 oz.) can tomato sauce 1/4 cup sugar 3 Tbs white vinegar 2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce 2 Tbs all-purpose flour 1.5 lb. white or red potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 tablespoon Cholula or similar hot sauce (if you like it spicy, add more!) 1.5 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (Don't skip this! And watch out because it'll dye your wooden spoons yellow.) 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 16 oz. frozen or canned corn, drained 16 oz. frozen or canned lima beans, drained


  1. Rinse the chicken and remove any giblets, etc. Place in a deep pot and cover with water. Boil for 45 minutes or until done.
  2. Remove chicken from broth and place on a plate to cool. Allow the broth to return to a boil over medium to low heat, and let it cook down until it is quite concentrated, boiled down to about two cups.
  3. Skin, bone, and chop chicken. Don't chop it up too small or it will all disintegrate later when reheated. One inch cubes are good.
  4. Cook the onion and bell pepper in the oil in the bottom of a large soup pot (this is a great recipe for a big enameled cast-iron pot if you have one, but any large pot will do, really, even the one you boiled the chicken in). When softened, add the chopped cooked chicken, both undrained cans of tomatoes, the tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Carefully scoop about 1/2 a cup of your reduced chicken broth from the pot it's been simmering in, into a glass measuring cup. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Stir into the chicken mixture. If there are a few lumps, don't worry, just stir things around and it will incorporate.
  6. Add the rest of the reduced chicken broth, as well as the potatoes, hot sauce, salt, turmeric, and pepper.
  7. Cover and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are fork-tender. This can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending on your potatoes. When this is done and you are about 10 minutes away from serving, add the drained corn and lima beans, and continue to cook for the remaining 10 minutes or so. This is fairly forgiving if you need to leave it on the stove on low for a bit.

Serve over rice or with warm crusty bread.

Again, this reheats beautifully. We have frozen single servings of it to have as a quick go-to meal for later, and it's one of my favorite things to see a stack of these in the freezer!

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