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More Peas, Please!

By Christine O'Connor, January 20, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Christine O'Connor

I am a first-time Mom on a budget. My mission: to create healthy, organic meals that appeal to both my baby and husband. My first challenge is peas and this is NOT going to be easy! I consider peas to be a bitter-tasting, economical vegetable. The perfect challenge. So, let’s get started. I begin with one bag (2 cups) of organic peas and I place them in boiling water for two minutes. I strain the peas and puree them in my super speedy blender until smooth. I pour half of the mixture into a baby food tray and leave the other half (approximately 1 cup) in the blender. You’ll see why in a second. Now I size-up the bright green slop. How am I going to turn these pureed peas into a delicious meal for my husband and me? Perhaps, a healthy vegetable soup using the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of organic peas (mashed)
  • 3 large organic tomatoes
  • ½ large organic onion
  • 4 cloves organic garlic
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil
  • ½ cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s give it a whirl! Simply chop the tomatoes, onion and garlic and then sauté them until they are soft (about 5-7 minutes). Then, add the basil, broth and other spices to the vegetable mixture and let the ingredients simmer for an additional two minutes. At this point, add the entire mixture to the blender, combining it with the pea base. Puree for 30 seconds and, like magic, those mashed-up peas are transformed into a delectable dinner. Or are they? As our little family sits down to eat, I serve the soup with whole wheat bread and a salad for my husband and me – the perfect winter meal. My husband tastes the soup and he is very impressed. In fact, he says that he loves it so much that he would like it again for dinner tomorrow. So, that’s a big win! But now, the real test is the happy, smiling baby staring at me. He gets ¼ cup of peas, served at room temperature. I am very excited! This is his first time eating peas and I cannot wait to see his reaction. I proudly feed him a big spoonful. And, to my dismay, my baby makes a horrible face as if to say, “Yuck, Mommy! What are you trying to do to me?” and he spits out the peas. I feel totally defeated. Help! My mind flashes forward to my son at age 5 and I imagine myself saying, “He won’t eat anything except peanut butter. He just doesn’t like vegetables.” Yikes! I have to do something here and it better be good! Then it dawns on me. I recall some advice from a good friend who told me to try adding a little lemon juice to the baby’s vegetables. So I tried it. Strike two! Too sour for my baby boy. Then, I peer at the batch of brown rice cereal that is cooking on the stove. (By the way, did you know that you can cook your own rice cereal at home? Just take 1/8 cup uncooked brown rice and run it through the blender until it turns into a powder and cook it in ½ cup of water for 6 minutes.) I feed my baby a few spoonfuls of rice cereal and he likes it, as expected. Then, I devilishly mix in some of the pureed peas. I slowly feed him a bite, and…success! He eats it with a smile on his face. I couldn’t be happier! It took trial and error, and a little trickery, but I was able to get my baby to eat those peas. Now he gets the benefit of the Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber, protein and iron. And I can be the Mom at the dinner table where everyone says, “More peas, please!




Carole says ...
Cute story and great ideas for cooking with peas! Thanks for sharing!
01/20/2011 10:52:28 AM CST
Jim says ...
Nothing like some good homemade soup to get through the winter months.
01/20/2011 10:53:33 AM CST
Sally says ...
I am in the same situation myself and I have hit a few bumps in the road BUT you can cook some great inexpensive dishes that are suitable for junior and also tasty for Momma and Poppa. I favor Shepherd's Pie (lean organic ground beef, organic mashed potato and some organic frozen mixed veg), Cauliflower Cheese (I use organic cauli, organic cream cheese and organic cheddar), Mushroom Barley Soup (organic mushrooms. organic barley) Carrot and Cilantro Soup (organic carrots, organic cilantro) amongst others. For the soups you can always thicken with rice cereal, ground quinoa or another grain which will make it much easier to feed to your little chap. Oh and as for peas, I actually love to throw some fresh parsley, mint or other herb in there and use it as 'sauce' for another vegetable. It is the only way I can get my picky Husband to eat those little green critters :-)
01/20/2011 12:07:56 PM CST
Erin says ...
Yum! I don't have a baby but I would eat that soup!
01/20/2011 2:37:26 PM CST
Melanie C says ...
Love this blog and looking forward to even more ideas for healthy babies! Anything for older toddlers (12-24months) would be much appreciated as well. Well done, Christine!!
01/20/2011 4:20:40 PM CST
marta szwaya says ...
When can I expect to see tulips in my local Whole Foods for sale. For years that has been the truesign that spring is coming. thanks, marta
01/20/2011 4:34:13 PM CST
Melissa says ...
Impressive! As a working mom with a picky eater, I'm always looking for new meal ideas.
01/21/2011 5:33:11 AM CST
jenna says ...
Great article! Would love some finger food ideas too as my 8 month old has taken to eating everything with his fingers... Even oatmeal!
01/21/2011 7:23:59 AM CST
Ashley says ...
The soup sounds delicious, and I can't wait to make it for my family. I'm hoping they like it as much as your husband did! Looking forward to more great meal ideas from you...
01/21/2011 9:56:26 AM CST
Angelica says ...
Ah- great idea to add the cereal to the peas. Tricks like that are so great to hear. I'm always looking for meals we can eat and serve our little one-year old who only has two teeth so far, so thank you!
01/21/2011 2:46:14 PM CST
Peggy says ...
Thought the story was interesting and well written. Clever to turn the project into a meal for mom and dad too. A time saver. Could not help thinking how cute the baby in this story is. Grandma
01/21/2011 7:27:12 PM CST
Barb says ...
How lucky that little fella is, in addition to the lucky daddy! You're getting that little guy off to a great start! Keep cooking, writing & sharing, Christine!! Barb B.
01/22/2011 3:59:38 PM CST
Brittany says ...
I think this is wonderful, however I was wondering if you used fresh, frozen or canned peas?
01/26/2011 2:02:51 PM CST
Stefani says ...
Mix in some organic applesauce with those peas and he won't get enough and you won't mind eating the leftovers. Who knew peas and applesauce?
01/26/2011 8:30:58 PM CST
Christina says ...
Thank you for this story! I'm a first time mom of a 16 month old son. We eat pretty healthy but, he's not too keen on veggies. He'll eat them if they've got some other flavor with them. So, I'm DEFINITELY gonna try this! Thank you!
01/27/2011 2:01:54 AM CST
Adela Buzescu says ...
Try mixing the peas with bone broths (only grass fed and pastured meats), then add butter and sour cream to you vegetables, plus some Celtic sea salt, he's got to like it, if it tastes bad, he won't eat it, hell, you wouldn't eat it either. You only feed you baby carbohydrates, you put him on the same path the entire country is on. Don't ruin his metabolism before he even knows what that is! And by the way, he cannot digest grains before he's at least one and a half. Read "Nourishing traditions" by Sally Fallon. We've all been lied to. The result: we're a nation of fat and sick people. We don't need all the processed grains (read cereals) and we need the saturated fats: butter, coconut oil and all animal fats. You want your child to grow healthy and straight teeth, make sure he eats PLENTY of the fats I listed above. Although if you haven't had enough good fats in your diet, it may be a bit late for straight teeth. But what you feed him now will protect his teeth from cavities in the future. So do your homework and feed him the old way: bone broths, raw milk, raw butter, raw cream, etc. Bone broths and no pasteurized dairy will protect him from the epidemic of food allergies. No vaccines will also help him build a very strong immune system too.
01/27/2011 1:48:44 PM CST
Ted says ...
One "trick" that we use with our toddler is to give her frozen organic peas when we're in the kitchen as a snack. We don't heat them up, just straight out of the freezer. She loves them and I do too! Plus when she sees us eat them she is encouraged to eat more. As a bonus the clean up is super easy and in the summer it's a great cool-down snack. Extra-bonus: it helps with teething pains.
01/27/2011 4:42:46 PM CST
anisha rehama says ...
hi i rad rhisha a i like this it's vary nice page
01/27/2011 6:08:59 PM CST
Viviane says ...
Next time try steaming the peas instead of cooking in water : ) Good Job! Viviane
02/01/2011 7:11:14 PM CST
Fawci says ...
It's great that your baby liked (maybe too strong a word?) the mixture, but my baby was able to recognize when I tried to sneak vegetables in her cereal. She's now 2 1/2, and to this day, she hates vegetables.
02/02/2011 5:38:51 PM CST
Lorrie says ...
Cute article! Just a warning though - if you're baby isn't on a formula fortified with iron, or eating much meat, making your own rice cereal will not provide the same amount of iron as a rice cereal from the store. Whole Foods has great brown rice cereals that are fortified with iron that will help your baby get most of the iron they need. Most babies (especially breastfed ones) need quite a bit of iron after 6 months of age. Healthlink BC has lots more great information on feeding infants: http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/dietitian/infants_children.stm
02/02/2011 10:07:00 PM CST