When I had my baby, my brother, Trung, got me a book called, “The Best Homemade Baby Food On the Planet,” by Karin Knight and Tina Ruggiero. He knew I intended to make all of Camille’s food when I was pregnant and raise her to be a good eater. He gave it to me while we were staying at the Ronald McDonald House , and I remember opening it when it was New Year’s. I remember thinking, “When could I ever make Camille’s food?” at that time, because I could barely function , having to learn just basic activities of daily living. It was a sad time, but I held on to the book in hopes that I could use it one day.
When I was going through my rehabilitation, my mother-in-law would hand me the book and say, “Remember this book Trung got you? Even if you can’t yet make these things for Camille, you can still tell me what you’d want for her and I’ll make it.” She could sense my despair of not being a part of Camille’s first introduction to food. Together, my mom and mother-in-law would puree foods for Camille and fed her the way I wanted to feed her, and I was very thankful for that. Slowly, she began eating foods that I wanted her to eat, and slowly, I regained function to make her meals on my own.
Now, I make her everything. It feels so natural and even though some might think it’s a drag to make your kid some oatmeal in the morning, I’m filled with gratefulness that I can do it. I woke up an hour before she did to make this – she can eat this on a walk to the park or with breakfast. This would be great if your toddler likes yogurt, which you can mix together (after eating it for a few months, mine has decided she doesn’t like yogurt anymore, but I’ll try again later!) Heck, you can even eat it yourself – it’s really good! I call it “Do-What-You-Want-With-It Granola” because you can add whatever you like to it – different dried fruits, nuts (if your tiny tot can have them), seeds, spices. Just make sure you don’t give your child anything that might pose as a choking hazard. I just followed the recipe and stuck to the basics, and had this yummy granola in 20 minutes, which I then tossed with some freeze-dried strawberries. I hope your little one enjoys this as much as I did making it.
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil (I used canola oil)
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place the oats in a large bowl. Heat the maple syrup, oil, and salt in a saucepan until warmed through. Don’t let the mixture boil. Pour this mixture onto the oats and stir until all the oats are coated.
Spread the oat mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring the oats every 5 minutes or so, until the oats are golden.