Book Review: The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers

Now that #BabyVolde has been eating solids for about a month, this is the perfect time to share my review of the book The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers by Anthony Porto, MD and Dina DiMaggio, MD. I received a complementary copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. 

A book review about a topic that is recently near & dear to my heart... how to feed my baby!

A description of the book from the publisher:

A comprehensive manual for feeding babies and toddlers during the crucial first years of life, written by a team of medical experts who are also parents.

All Your Questions about Feeding, Answered.

The choices of when, how, and what to feed your baby can be overwhelming. With The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers, you have the expertise of a team of pediatric medical and nutritional experts—who also happen to be parents—in a comprehensive manual that takes the guesswork out of feeding. This first-of-its-kind guide provides practical, easy-to-follow advice to help you navigate the nutrition issues, medical conditions, and parenting concerns that accompany feeding. With recipes, parenting stories, and recommendations based on the latest pediatric guidelines, this book will allow you to approach mealtime with confidence so you can spend more time enjoying your new family.

#BabyVolde making short work of some butternut squash!
As usual, my five point review:

  • From the first time I opened this book, the format drew me in. Each chapter discusses a specific age group: 0-3 months, 4-6 months, etc. And, the chapters are broken up by sub-headings in the table of contents so it is REALLY easy to find what you need. Topics include developmental milestones, medical concerns, and nutritional needs… as well as healthy recipes for you and your baby/toddler [once they are in the solid food stage, that is]. I also appreciated the length of the book: at 256 pages long, it’s a good size to share a lot of information but it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
  • My overall favorite part of the book was the perspective from which it was written: a team of pediatricians, a dietitian, a lactation consultant, and two family chefs who all happen to be parents. The result is a wonderful evidence-based yet realistic perspective about how you can feed your child at different stages AND how to deal with tricky situations like picky eating. You can read more about their goals here. As a librarian and a new mom, the evidence-based perspective was particularly important to me. There’s so much information available online that it can be hard to sift through, and this book took care of some of the legwork for me. I haven’t read it cover-to-cover [and it’s not really a book that you would do that with, anyway] but so far it is pretty unbiased especially about hot button issues like breastfeeding vs. formula feeding or when to start solids. I’m breastfeeding my baby, and didn’t start solids until he turned six months old but even if your baby eats formula and started solids at four months, this book will still be useful because it is not biased or judgy.
  • Also, the book is such an easy read, even if the medical field is unfamiliar and/or scary to you. There isn’t any medical jargon or technical details, and there is even a section about what to expect if you have to visit a specialist and how to prepare for that visit. Including details like that makes the book even more accessible and useful. I also appreciated the section on food allergies: what reactions to look for, what to do if a reaction DOES take place, etc. Calmed my nerves before giving my baby his first taste of solid food: sweet potatoes!
  • The recipes are simple and use real ingredients–I appreciate that so much and think other busy parents will too. I’ve only tried one recipe so far–the zucarrot puree [zucchini + carrots, roasted and pureed] but look forward to trying more as #BabyVolde expands his food horizons.🙂 Right now, aside from his favorite mama milk, he eats: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, avocado, zucchini, carrots, oatmeal, some herbs and spices, and on Thanksgiving he tried turkey! While I know I can’t control whether my son will become a healthy, adventurous eater or not, I can introduce him to a variety of real foods to encourage him towards that end as much as possible. Some of the recipes for older babies/toddlers may seem a little too “adult” for them, but I think it’s always worth a shot introducing new foods to kids. If all we give kids is chicken nuggets, that’s all they will know and want. Some of you experienced parents might be laughing at me [and maybe I will laugh at myself in the future too], but I am pretty set on this. And I’m not going to be a short order cook, so this baby better learn to like a variety of foods. Ha!🙂 Just kidding, but really…
  • Overall, this book is a great addition to any baby book and/or cookbook libraries. It includes a wide variety of information on nutritional needs, child development, as well as providing easy recipes that are realistic for busy parents to make for their kiddos. Since I love food and cooking so much, and value healthy eating for myself and my family, I want my son to grow up with that mindset as well. This book will surely help in that quest! I definitely recommend it to anyone who has or works with babies and toddlers.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to for the chance to read this great book!

Menu Plan

Hope you guys all had a lovely [and delicious] Thanksgiving! We sure did… it was so nice to relax! But now back to reality… at least until Christmas in a few weeks. Can’t wait! I love getting to be home with my little guy.🙂

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Monday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Tuesday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Wednesday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Thursday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Friday

  • DAY OFF – Go out to eat or order in!

Saturday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Sunday

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Side Dish

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Dessert

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

Foodtastic Mom | The Spiffy Cookie | Big Bear’s Wife | The Pajama Chef | Pies and Plots | The Cooking Actress

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

Weekly Meal Plan - lots of great eats for the week ahead via thepajamachef.com and other great bloggers!

 

SRC: Loaded Cornbread Waffles

Cornbread waffles filled with cheese, peppers, and onions are loaded with sausage, tomatoes, a creamy avocado spread, and a fried egg for an impressive brunch like no other! This is a fantastic restaurant-worthy dish that’s easy to make at home. You’ll be sure to love it!

Cornbread waffles filled with cheese, peppers, and onions are loaded with sausage, tomatoes, a creamy avocado spread, and a fried egg for an impressive brunch like no other! This is a fantastic restaurant-worthy dish that's easy to make at home. You'll be sure to love it! #secretrecipeclub

I can’t believe I’m writing my LAST Secret Recipe Club post! So sad. But I’m glad the club is going out on a good note…it was a good run, guys! And this month, I had a GREAT SRC assignment. I was assigned to choose and make a recipe from April’s blog, Home Sweet Homestead. April lives in the great state of Indiana [YAY I still love Indiana even though I now live in Tennessee]. She always is making lots of delicious recipes that her carnivore husband loves while still accomodating her food allergies. I’m always impressed by her creativity and innovation in the kitchen. It was hard to narrow down the list, but I eventually decided to choose between the following: Swedish Meatballs, Fish & Chips, Peanut Butter Quinoa Protein Balls, Chicken Fried Chicken, Apple Pie Breakfast Quinoa, or Loaded Cornbread Waffles. I think by the title of this post you can figure out what recipe I chose, but MAN was it hard to decide. I guess I had frying things [even though I rarely do that] and quinoa on the brain when I browsed her blog… and I chose neither, ha.

Cornbread waffles filled with cheese, peppers, and onions are loaded with sausage, tomatoes, a creamy avocado spread, and a fried egg for an impressive brunch like no other! This is a fantastic restaurant-worthy dish that's easy to make at home. You'll be sure to love it! #secretrecipeclub

For those of you who know me, you know I’m a breakfast fiend so when I saw loaded waffles I said, “sign me up!” April’s original recipe is gluten and egg-free, but I just used my regular all-purpose flour and an egg because that’s what I had on hand. I’m sure the original recipe is wonderful too! It’s been a long time since I’ve made waffles so I was glad to dust off my waffle iron for this delectable meal! It is absolutely perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. No matter when you serve it, everyone is bound to enjoy this savory take on waffles. [Unless you don’t let them, like poor #BabyVolde below.]

There is so much good stuff in and on these cornbread waffles. Though loaded dishes are super popular at restaurants, I rarely order them because usually the base [fries, tortilla chips, potato soup, etc.] is soggy and/or bland and the dish itself isn’t very healthy. While I won’t say this is the healthiesbreakfast or brunch on the planet, it’s better than some–and these waffles are certainly NOT bland or soggy.🙂

Cornbread waffles filled with cheese, peppers, and onions are loaded with sausage, tomatoes, a creamy avocado spread, and a fried egg for an impressive brunch like no other! This is a fantastic restaurant-worthy dish that's easy to make at home. You'll be sure to love it! #secretrecipeclub

The waffles are filled with peppers, onions, cheese, and garlic and are the crispiest, heartiest waffles I’ve ever made at home! That’s the cornmeal for you! They truly DO deserve that cornbread title. These aren’t cornmeal waffles; they are cornbread in waffle form. Yum. In terms of toppings, I took a slightly different route than April–I added some ground sausage and a fried egg to the mix. But don’t forget April’s fresh toppings! These waffles wouldn’t be the same without the creamy avocado spread, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, or sour cream. I suggest using all these toppings but feel free to use what your family will enjoy.🙂 No matter how you make them, they are sure to be great!

Cornbread waffles filled with cheese, peppers, and onions are loaded with sausage, tomatoes, a creamy avocado spread, and a fried egg for an impressive brunch like no other! This is a fantastic restaurant-worthy dish that's easy to make at home. You'll be sure to love it! #secretrecipeclub

Thanks, April, for a great recipe. And thank you to everyone who has been a part of the Secret Recipe Club–it’s been fun and tasty, guys!🙂 I’ll miss checking out posts every Monday but look forward to other blogging events in the future.

one year ago: Simple Teriyaki Chicken
two years ago: Chaider
three years ago: Pizza Frittata 
four years ago: Lemon Herb Eggs in Ciabatta 
five years ago: Honey Whole Wheat English Muffins
six years ago: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Loaded Cornbread Waffles

  • Servings: 3
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Print

adapted from Home Sweet Homestead

Ingredients:

for avocado spread

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • salt

for waffles and toppings

  • 1/3 to 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1/2 bell pepper – approximately 3/4 cup, finely diced
  • 1/4 onion – approximately 1/4 cup, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped tomato, for topping
  • cilantro, for topping
  • sour cream, for topping
  • 1 egg per person, for topping
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for topping

Directions:

In a bowl, mash avocado. Mix in cilantro, lime juice, and a sprinkle of salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a large skillet, brown ground sausage. You’ll only need about 1/3 pound for 3 servings, but you could make a whole pound and have leftovers–this is what I did!

When cooked through, remove sausage to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

In the same skillet, add peppers, onions, and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened.

Meanwhile, prepare waffle batter. In a medium bowl, stir togehter flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. In a measuring cup, whisk together milk, cheese, egg, and butter. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and stir gently to combine. Fold in softened vegetables and a healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper. Batter should be thick but still able to be poured, so add a little extra milk if its too thick. I ended up adding a bit TOO much milk so I had to add another tablespoon of cornmeal too.

Cook batter in your waffle iron according to manufacturer instructions, until crisp and golden brown. Batter should yield about 3 waffles.

While waffles are cooking, fry one egg per person using, you guessed it, the same skillet as before! Scrambled eggs would also be delicious–or no eggs too if that’s what you prefer.

Top each waffle with a smear of avocado spread, sausage, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro, cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a fried egg. Enjoy!


Be sure to check out all the other SRC recipes linked up today below!

Menu Plan: Thanksgiving Style!

What are your Thanksgiving plans? We are hosting this year–just a small gathering, Ben’s brother and his new wife. And of course, it’s #BabyVolde’s first Thanksgiving! He started eating solids about a week and a half ago–so far he’s tried sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and butternut squash… and he’s totally a fan.🙂 Coincidentally, those are totally Thanksgiving foods so he’ll fit right in at the dinner table.

Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner!

So I was supposed to post this on Sunday with the rest of my meal plannin’ friends–but I forgot. Whoops. I was sick this past weekend, so I don’t know what happened exactly. But here it is now! Hopefully not TOO late for you. I’m not making everything on this list, but some of it is definitely under consideration. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side? I personally can’t get enough of the stuffing and cranberry sauce. Mmmm!

We’ll be taking a meal planning break for next week, but then we’ll be back with more good eats after the holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey

Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner!

Rolls

Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner!

Potatoes

Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner!

Stuffing

Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner!

Corn

Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner!

Cranberry

Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner!

Dessert

Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner!

Dessert

Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner!

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

Pies and Plots | The Cooking Actress | Foodtastic Mom | The Spiffy Cookie | Big Bear’s Wife | The Pajama Chef

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner! Thanksgiving Menu Plan - lots of great ideas for the perfect holiday dinner!

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch… no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice…or two…or three of!

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

On Halloween, a Dairy Queen opened about five minutes from our house. Dangerous! Before that, we had to drive a decent distance to reach one. Some of the folks in our area were upset, saying the DQ would “ruin” the area with another fast food area. Ruin the area? Ummm, no! Ruin people’s diets, more likely! Haha. Is there anything more delicious than a Blizzard or a dipped cone? I don’t think so… unless it’s this Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake!

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

Now I realize that Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake and Dairy Queen don’t really relate to many of you. But for longterm DQ lovers like me, do you remember the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Blizzard? I used to get them all the time in college and then they took them off the menu. It was a very sad day. Some stores would make them, and others wouldn’t, which made NO sense to me because it’s just strawberries [that they already have from the sundaes!] and chocolate [like chips/shavings OR that dipped cone topping…yum!]. Yum and yum. It’s so basic, but so good, ya know?

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

Now, I haven’t been to my local DQ [I just got chills typing that, you guys…yay!] yet to see if they’ll make me my favorite Blizzard, but right now I have this cake and the world is a-okay. You can make this fresh strawberry cake with fresh or frozen strawberries, making it a great year-round treat. There’s absolutely nothing fake or artificial in this cake, just lots of pure strawberry goodness! If you want more of a pink/red color, you’ll have to use a little food coloring but I was happy with the color of my cake without that. The strawberry cake is light and fluffy, and when combined with the rich chocolate frosting is absolutely heavenly! I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did!

one year ago: Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
two years ago: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins
three years ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
four years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro {A Family Farm in Tuscany}
five years ago: Homemade Maple & Brown Sugar Almond Butter
six years ago: Pumpkin Soup and Homemade Croutons

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Print

for Fresh Strawberry Cake

for Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

for cake

  • 24 ounces very ripe strawberries, hulled – or frozen strawberries work too!
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar, optional
  • 1/4 milk, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • red or pink food coloring, if desired

for frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar [plus up to an extra 1/2 cup as needed]
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, melted
  • 8 ounces sour cream

Directions:

If using frozen strawberries [I did!], set in a fine strainer placed over a bowl. Let rest until thawed, tossing occasionally to remove excess juices. Reserve liquid for another use or discard as desired.

If using fresh strawberries, hull and toss with 1-2 teaspoons sugar. Let rest at room temperature for an hour or two, until juicy.

Place strawberries in a food processor and pulse. Reserve 3/4 cup puree for the cake. Use the rest for something else–I stirred mine into plain yogurt. Yum!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round baking pans. Mine are 9 inches. If desired, you can also grease pan, line with parchment circles, then grease and flour again.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup strawberry puree, 1/4 cup milk, egg whites, and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. While mixer is running on low, add butter. Mix until moist crumbs form.

Add strawberry puree mixture to bowl of stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for about a minute, then turn off mixture. Scrape sides and stir together by hand for about 30 seconds. Add a drop or two of food coloring if desired–original recipe said that batter won’t get pinker so add food coloring if you want more of a pink/red color!

Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops with a rubber spatula, then bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I usually start checking around 18 minutes and cover with foil if top is browning too much.

When finished, let cake rest in pan for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile… make that frosting!

In a small bowl, mix 3 cups powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt. With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.

Add cocoa mixture to cream cheese concoction in 1/3 cup increments, mixing until fully incorporated. Pour in the chocolate [it helps to melt it in a glass measuring cup with a spout] while mixer is running on low, then add sour cream and beat until combined, scraping the sides as necessary. If desired, add additional powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

Frost the cake once cooled–first between the two layers, then on top and sides. Some people use the extra strawberry puree in between the layers but I didn’t do that. Check out original recipe for more details! Enjoy!

P.S. I stored the leftovers in the fridge due to the frosting. It’s great cold!