More Peas, Please!

Learn how team member and first-time Mom Christine rises to the challenge of making dinner for baby and dad using the same main ingredient: green peas.

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!

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