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Video: Busy parents make time for ‘Baby Love’

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    >>> this morning on "today's" kitchen, we're going back to basics with nbc's norah o'donnell and her husband, they have three young children and busy jobs, but despite all that, they found a great way to give their kids nutritious meals without spending hours in the kitchen. that's a good idea. they're out with the new book " baby love ," delicious ideas for your baby and toddler. you both have busy jobs and yet you're making home made baby food . now i feel great about myself. how do you find time for this?

    >> it helps being married to a chef, no doubt. but when jeff started making these recipes and it just took an hour, i was like this is so easy, you got to tell people about this? he's like nobody cares , i said are you kidding? busy moms like me if they knew that it only takes an hour per week, this could affect people.

    >> i can get a lot of this stuff that's pretty good in a jar and it's not that expensive, what about my time?

    >> over six months we sort of calculated it in the book and you save about $400 during the six months.

    >> you're saving that much money. if you costed it out, a jar of pureed carrots.

    >> you know what's going to your kids food. this is cinnamon apple oatmeal raisen puree.

    >> it's absolutely delicious, it's like apple pie and it takes about eight minutes to make the whole recipe.

    >> are you starting with organic apples?

    >> we're starting with organic apples that way we don't even have to peel it which saves more time right there. we're going to cut up, we have got four apples right here, just easy cut them up. we toss the apples right into our four-quart pop. i'm going to let you do the apple juice here.

    >> in the recipe, you can use water or apple juice . you're using apple juice now, doesn't that add a little sugar to this?

    >> there's no added sugar in this apple juice , you're not going to be using kool-aide or anything like that. but a little extra calories for young kids, it helps them sleep a little bit more.

    >> did you research some of these recipes?

    >> to me the nutritional aspect is a big deal . starting your kids a healthy foundation for healthy eating , so throughout the book you see all these nutrition tips. apples are vitamin packed and processed food in a jar, it gets cooked so much a lot of the nutrients get cooked out.

    >> we have got the cinnamon in there, it really adds flavor. i think it's great that the recipe in the book have all sorts of different flavors.

    >> before going to work, i realized we had no food, i ran out and made it, take a shower and get to work.

    >> and then after that, what did you do, macromay a hammock?

    >> but the house smelled like apple pie . it smelled wonderful.

    >> how long do you cook this?

    >> about eight minutes.

    >> we're going to add the oatmeal and cook it for one more minute. and that will help thicken it up and make it a little richer.

    >> now you've cooked it for nine minutes and you take it out and put it on a food processor .

    >> make sure the top is on tight, we have had this disaster before.

    >> this is the most interesting part, you actually believe in getting your kids involved in the cooking so they start to understand how -- you have to turn that off, i can't talk over that. so they understand the healthier eating right?

    >> yes, like our kids, we taught them how to make pancakes, they crack the eggs and measure things out. so we're making pancakes so it's not egg mcmuffins all the time. you take this and you put it in an ice cube tray and then the idea is one hour every two weeks so you're not making it every single meal.

    >> what we do is i freeze it overnight, then i pop it out and put it in zip lock bags and the fruits and the vegetables will last six months.

    >> look at the colors and i guess it's because it's all fresh, but those colors are beautiful. did you ever eat these yourself?

    >> i do. i'm a total food junky and this is one of my favorites. this is a perfectly basic key. when we made this, look at this, compared to like peas in a jar. you can put like a pat of butter on this and a piece of fish on top.

    >> i'm sticking with the oatmeal raisin apple pie . by the

TODAY recipes
updated 9/7/2010 9:12:01 AM ET 2010-09-07T13:12:01

From their new book, “Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler,” Norah O’Donnell and her husband, chef Geoff Tracy, teach young parents how easy and important it is to create fresh, nutritious and delicious food for their children, and in doing so, to create a foundation for nutritious eating throughout their lives.

Recipe: Cinnamon apple oatmeal raisin (on this page) Recipe: Very blueberry and apple (on this page) Recipe: Strawberry banana pineapple (on this page) Recipe: Perfectly basic pea (on this page) Recipe: Carrot and ginger (on this page)

© 2013 NBCNews

Recipe: Cinnamon apple oatmeal raisin

Ingredients
  • 4 apples
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 ounces water or apple juice
  • 1/2 cup baby oatmeal cereal
Preparation

Wash and peel the apples (peeling is optional). Cut each apple in half. Remove the seeds and stem with a melon baller. Cut each half into 6 pieces. Put the apple pieces, raisins, cinnamon, and water into a 4- quart pot. Turn the burner on high and cover with a lid. Cook for approximately 7 minutes, stirring once.

Add the oatmeal and cook for 1 more minute, stirring throughout the final minute. Pour everything into the blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into two ice cube trays and allow to cool.

Wrap and freeze.

Tips

Baby gets a little spice! Aromatics make food delightful. Just because your little one is eight months old doesn't mean life needs to be bland.

Watch the dried fruits or be prepared to scrub . . . I use dried fruits in a number of recipes. When I do, I increase the amount of liquid in the recipe. This prevents the recipe from burning the bottom of your pot. Keep an extra eye on recipes that have dried fruit to make sure they don't cook down too quickly. It is a mess to clean if they do.

But I only have regular raisins! It is just a recipe . . . modify it any way you want. That's cooking!

Serving Size

Yields 36 ounces for 8 months plus.

Recipe: Very blueberry and apple

Ingredients
  • 4 apples
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 8 ounces water or apple juice
Preparation

Wash and peel the apples (peeling is optional). Cut each apple in half. Remove the seeds and stem with a melon baller. Cut each half into 6 pieces. Look over blueberries for stems. Put the apple pieces, blueberries, and juice into a 4- quart pot. Turn the burner on high and cover with a lid. Cook for approximately 8 minutes, stirring once.

Pour everything into the blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into two ice cube trays and allow to cool.

Wrap and freeze.

Tips

Knowing the antioxidant power of blueberries I tried to make a blueberry puree. Whoa. It was so strong. Henry, acting as the tester, gave it a big rejection by gagging. Blueberries are powerful and need something to balance them. Pears and peaches would work well.

Serving Size

Yields 32 ounces for 8 months plus.

Recipe: Strawberry banana pineapple

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/4 pineapple
  • 8 ounces water
Preparation

Remove stems of strawberries and then wash the berries. Cut each banana into 4 to 5 pieces. Cut the pineapple- see demo below. Cut into pieces approximately the size of the strawberries. Put everything into a 4-quart pot. Turn the burner on high and cover with a lid. Cook for approximately 6 minutes, stirring once.

Pour everything from the pot into a strainer with a bowl underneath to save the juice. Pour the cooked fruit into the blender. Puree until smooth using 2 to 4 ounces of the reserved juice if necessary to adjust consistency. Pour into two ice cube trays and allow to cool.

Wrap and freeze.

Serving Size

Yields 36 ounces for 10 months plus.

Recipe: Perfectly basic pea

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds frozen peas
  • 8 ounces water
Preparation

You will need a colander and a large bowl filled with ice and cold water. You want as much ice as possible.

Fill a 4- quart pot halfway with water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. While water is coming to a boil, get your "green veggie shocking station" ready. Pour the frozen peas into the colander. Run cool water over them to get rid of any ice crystals (which will allow the boiling water to come back to a boil faster). Pour the peas into the boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes on highest heat.

Pour peas into colander. Run cold water over them and pour them into the ice bath. Allow the peas to chill for 3 minutes. Pour the peas back into the colander and pick out any remaining ice.

Pour peas in the blender and add 8 ounces of cold water. Puree until smooth.

Pour into two ice cube trays.

Wrap and freeze.

Serving Size

Yield 32 ounces for 6 months plus

Recipe: Carrot and ginger

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 20 ounces water
Preparation

Put the water into a 4-quart pot and put on high heat. Wash and then peel the carrots. Cut off the stems and discard. Cut the carrots lengthwise and then cut each length into 8 or 10 pieces. Peel the ginger and mince (see notes below). Throw the carrot and ginger into the pot and cook 6 to 8 minutes. The carrots should be tender but not mushy.

Pour the entire contents of the pot into the blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into two ice cube trays and allow to cool.

Wrap and freeze.

Tips

I cut the carrots lengthwise so there is a flat surface. That makes cutting them crosswise easier and safer. line 4 or 5 up in a row and move through this prep work even faster.

The best way to peel ginger is with the edge of a spoon. Try it!

One of the first things a new cook does in his or her first kitchen job is peel vegetables! As a newbie I did my fair share of fifty-pound bags of carrots, potatoes, and onions. The key to mundane and repetitive prep work is to have a system. Saving five seconds per carrot when you are dealing with five hundred carrots saves over forty minutes of work. Remove all the carrots from the bag at once (instead of going in and out of the bag each time). Peel all the carrots without removing the peeler from your hand. Once they are peeled cut the ends off two at a time. Then clear your cutting board of the mess because everything moving forward is a keeper. Finally make your cuts- make your lengthwise cuts and then make your crosswise cuts four at a time. As a new cook, doing this kind of stuff fast gets you promoted. As a new parent it gets you out of the kitchen faster!

Ginger is my favorite flavor enhancer for little babies. It gives food a slightly Asian flavor and I find it very soothing on the palate. This recipe, with a little more seasoning and a garnish of crème fraîche, often makes it onto my menus.

Serving Size

Yield 38 ounces for 8 months plus

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