Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘squash


One thing about a toddler is that they like hanging around with their parents. Whatever the task, however meaningful or menial, these little tykes can be found lingering underfoot, just looking for ways to get involved. In these situations there are two options: include them or don’t. But whatever you decide – to include or not to include – their little hands will find things to occupy them, and if it’s guided by you, you might appreciate the outcome a little more than if they’d gone off and say just decided to colour on the wall or something (but I’ll leave that particular story for another post).

Anyway, Thanksgiving was upon us last weekend, and the cooking escapades started around 9:30 am, with just enough time to enjoy a couple cups of coffee before the labour began. Of course little Niko was lurking, literally squeezing his way in between me and the counter and doing his best to see what was being chopped and diced on the area just above his eye level. (See pic in top right corner: Innovative Niko standing on a makeshift stool – a.k.a. ice cream container – just trying to get a glimpse of the action.)

At first I sort of let him do his own thing, which involved rummaging through his favourite kitchen cupboard, and pulling out whatever caught his eye. Which on this particular day was the empty ice cream container. Oh the fun a toddler can have with an empty, ice cream container. He carried it around with him, doing laps, banging a spoon on it and eventually ended up putting it on his head in an attempt to sing Happy Birthday (see video clip 0:17). How does he think of these things? It was then, when I saw him donned his make-believe birthday hat, that I decided to get him involved in helping, and didn’t he turn out to be a willing set of extra hands. Mind you the tasks did take a little longer, but having him there and focused with me, just enjoying his company and still getting the stuff done that needed to be, was all worth it.

That day I was thankful. Thankful for those little hands that just wanted to help – or colour on the wall, whatever the case may be. Love you big guy!

HOW MY TODDLER HELPED WITH THE THANKSGIVING PREP…

He blended,

picked up the squash rinds,

and put them all in the compost! What an environmentally conscious little guy.

Break time: Snacks replete with complimentary dance moves and giggles (see video clip 0:22).

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Yesterday I headed to the grocery store, armed with a list and a mindset to buy the particular ingredients needed to create some new flavours for my Little Man. The world of internet blogging has introduced me to a site called Carrots are Orange where you can basically find a different baby food recipe each day. This lovely blogger (creator of Carrots are Orange) has a knack for kitchen creativity and I, or should I say Baby Niko, is reaping the benefits.

Luckily for Niko, I’m expanding and improving my culinary skill set since the Campfire Squash incident. Yes, I’ve stepped up my domestic game a notch and my repertoire now includes: skinning tomatoes (easier than it sounds), poaching sole (although my poaching technique is questionable) and thus creating “Sole” Mate Puree, all in the name of making baby food for my Little Man. Now wouldn’t Borys like it if I put so much effort into making adult food for my Big Man. Actually to be fair, here’s a conversation that transpired the other day:

Borys: I’ve noticed you’ve been cooking more lately. I like it!

Me (with an air of contentment and pride): Yah, I guess I have been cooking a lot.

Borys: Whoa there. I didn’t say “a lot”, just “more” than before. But I still like it.

Me (somewhat dejected): Oh…

B and Me: har har har 🙂

Yes I’ll admit it, for quite some time PC frozen lasagnas and countless other PC varieties made daily appearances at Chez Alli & Borys. But now, and maybe in part due to the years (yes, years!) of eating them, those frozen entrees just don’t have the same appeal. Thank goodness…

So today I will continue on my baby making, nix that, on my baby food making adventure. And what lies ahead, you may wonder: Chicken Pot Pie and an Avocodo, Banana, Blueberry puree (ingredients, at least at this stage in the game, I would never have dreamed of combining!) So, thank you Marnie, from Carrots are Orange – Niko’s taste buds are happy and all the while I’m honing my cooking skills.


There’s nothing like the smell and taste of campfire food. I love camping, and after a day of portaging a meal cooked over the campfire really hits the spot. But in the comfort of my own home, as I sit here, with the campfire smell wafting around me, saturating my clothing and furniture, I begin to wonder if I should rethink making my own baby food.

Rewind to about two hours ago. There I was going about my morning, drinking coffee and getting ready to make squash for little Niko. Have I ever bought squash before? No. I don’t think I’ve ever even cooked with one, but when the public health guide for making baby food recommends squash, I was motivated to buy squash.

People ask me: why are you making your own baby food? Which has got me thinking: why am I? I have come up with two solid answers: 1) This way I know exactly what he is eating. 2) The recipes are so simple: wash, cut, steam, blend, (add water if desired), and serve. It helps to build up my culinary confidence: at least that’s what I thought, up until this campfire squash incident. Let me just preface this by saying, there was no real fire (although maybe there could have been if more time would have passed…).

So there I was, dicing up a butternut squash – doing the best I could with it, seeing as I had never cut one up before – and feeling pretty good about myself for making Niko’s food from scratch. Once diced, I popped it in the steamer, added some water to the pot below and let the boiling water do its work. After a few minutes I realized it was not quite soft enough so timed it for a few more. Well, those minutes ticked on and I was in the other room with Niko when I smelled a distinct burning odor. Who knew you had to add so much water for steaming?! I’ve steamed a lot of veggies in my time and never run out of water, but this squash seemed to have absorbed some of it and boiled the rest away. By the time I got to the pot, the squash was smoking (black smoke!), and the base of my pot, which once held what I thought was enough water, was completely charred! Yikes. Anyway, once it had cooled down, I tasted the squash – not bad for a campfire, but I was cooking on my STOVE!

Now I just can’t bring myself to feed this version of the squash to Niko. His taste buds will have to wait for the pleasures that are squash until our next grocery day. And lesson learned: the more water you add for steaming the better, and the safer. Now I just have to decide: can I bring myself to eat this campfire version?


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