Saturday, May 16, 2015

Real Deal Baby Food: Garlic Beef with Easy Butternut Squash Mash

I believe in real food for ALL people and that includes teeny, tiny people. Also known as babies. There are lots of magazine and TV ads that will try to convince you that you need all those little jars of baby food, but I have news for don't need them at all! In fact, with a little planning, your baby can eat the exact same foods that you do.

Avery is almost two now and has a full set of teeth so he can take down pretty much anything, but when baby's are just transitioning to solid foods (between six months and a year) you need to cater to their tastes and abilities just a bit to make real food work for your whole family. I am busy and I know you are, too. I don't have time to prepare my own meal AND a separate meal for my baby so I look for recipes that my whole family can eat. Less time in the kitchen, less dishes and MORE happiness for me. :)

This #realbabyfood recipe is easy for all babies to eat, even if they are still working on cutting that first tooth. The beef is slow-cooked all day so it is super tender and shreds easily. Perfect for little babies to pick up and chew or suck on. The butternut squash mash is, well, mashed so baby can just pick it up by the handful and squish it around in their hand (hello, sensory learning!) or practice using a spoon.

This recipe is also a nutritious first food for baby because it incorporates bone broth, a super nutrient dense food that promotes bone strength, immune function and digestive health. These are important for moms and dads, but especially for young babies who are in the stage of rapid growth and development. I have to get a little sneaky around here with bone broth because Avery isn't a big fan of drinking it straight up. Trust me, I tried, and it ended up with me drinking a sippy cup full of broth. If you don't already make your own bone broth I highly recommend you give it a try. Bone broth is popping up in more and more health food stores, but you can sub organic broth or stock if you don't have bone broth available. Just check the label for nasty additives.

I recommend letting the beef roast cook overnight or in the morning so it is ready when the dinner bell rings. The butternut squash mash comes together in no time, but can be made ahead of time if you have a meal prep day sometime during the week. This recipe makes enough for leftovers, even for a family of four, so it is a great timesaver. I would totally eat this for breakfast, too. When you cut out the cereal and pastries breakfast starts to look a lot different.

Feel free to switch up the seasonings to suit your family's tastes. I love garlic for its many health benefits, but also because I wanted to expose Avery to the strong and, in my opinion, delicious flavor from an early age. You may notice red irritation around your baby's mouth after eating the cinnamon in the butternut squash mash. As long as there are no other symptoms, it is most likely due to baby's sensitive skin and not an allergy. They usually grow out of this, but feel free to leave out the cinnamon if you are concerned.

I challenge you this week to throw out the baby food jars (or at least hide them) and take homemade baby food to the next level...starting with this delicious Garlic Beef with Easy Butternut Squash Mash!

What is your favorite real baby food recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Real Baby Food: Garlic Beef with Easy Butternut Squash Mash

Garlic Beef with Easy Butternut Squash Mash
featuring products from Barefoot Provisions
Time: 6-8 hours
Serves: 6-8

For beef roast:
  • 2lb grass fed beef roast (chuck, brisket or round roast)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup bone broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For butternut squash mash:
  • 8 cups butternut squash cubes (precut or the equivalent of 2 small or 1 large butternut squash)
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup organic applesauce (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Place roast in a large slow cooker. Rub minced garlic over roast and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour bone broth over roast. Place cover on slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours, until tender and meat shreds easily with a fork.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss butternut squash with melted ghee. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until soft and beginning to turn golden brown.

Transfer squash to a food processor with the chopping blade attached. Add applesauce, cinnamon and nutmeg to food processor with squash. Process until smooth, scraping down sides if necessary.

Serve shredded beef over butternut squash mash.