Sunday, May 24, 2015

Real Deal Baby Food: Basic Cauliflower Rice

A great first food for babies with flavor options and batch cooking freezing instructions

You might be surprised that I am throwing cauliflower rice out there as a good first food for babies, but hear me out. First of all, I like to share foods that the whole family can enjoy and this one is great for us grown ups, too. We definitely eat rice in this household (in fact, my new favorite is Trader Joe's Sprouted Organic California Rice) but on my website I like to share recipes that all families can enjoy, even those who are grain free.

And don't even get me started on rice cereal as a first food! Most guidelines recommend introducing solids around 4 to 6 months as a compliment to breastfeeding or formula. A baby's digestive system is still forming at this age, though, and it can be very difficult for their little bodies to digest grains, including rice cereal. There are so many foods that are more nutrient-dense and better on baby's developing system than rice cereal. Hence, my recommendation for cauliflower rice!

A great first food for babies with flavor options and batch cooking freezing instructionsYour baby will love cauliflower rice because it is easy for baby to grab and shove into his little mouth and doesn't need to be chewed if you are still waiting for that first tooth to push through. Even better, it is a wonderful vehicle for BUTTER, which contains some important nutrition that your growing baby needs (much more than that rice cereal). Butter and ghee (clarified butter) contain saturated fat, just like breast milk, which is made up mostly of fat. Babies need fat for growth and bone and muscle development. Butter and ghee also contain the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid.

Just to rattle off a few, these nutrients facilitate proper vision, brain and immune function and growth of strong bones and teeth.

You will love cauliflower rice because it is quick and easy to prepare and there are a ton of ways to mix it up and add some fun flavors! You can also make a double or triple batch and freeze it so you can easily thaw it out and serve it up at a moment's notice. Don't worry, I'll hook you up with some seasoning options and freezing instructions at the end of this post.

Basic Cauliflower Rice
featuring products from Barefoot Provisions
Time: 15 Minutes
Serves: 4-6

1 large head of cauliflower
2 tbsp grass fed butter or ghee
Salt and pepper
Additional seasonings and toppings*

Wash cauliflower and pat dry. Remove leaves and core. Chop the cauliflower into individual florets.

In batches, place the florets into your food processor with the chopping blade attached. Pulse until finely chopped, about the consistency of rice.

Heat butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add cauliflower rice to pan and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, until cauliflower is softened.

If desired, top with additional butter before serving.

Seasoning Options
Mexican - Before serving, stir in juice of 1 lime and 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro.
Curried - Before serving, stir in 2 tsp curry powder and 1/4 cup golden raisins
Rainbow Veggie - Before adding cauliflower to pan, sauté 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced, 1/2 cup peas (thawed, if frozen) and 1 diced carrot.

Freezing Instructions
Before cooking cauliflower rice, place into freezer safe bags (one large bag or you can use smaller bags for individual portions). Press as much air out of the bag as possible and press the cauliflower flat. Place in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator or on counter for about an hour. Cook according to directions.