One of J’s most frequently consumed foods – since starting solids! – has been oatmeal. This kid has always loved oatmeal and eats it at least 5 of 7 days per week.
Probably when he was around 7 months old I began giving him oatmeal. I milled the whole oats in my blender until they turned to powder, cooked on the stovetop, and mixed in a fruit or veggie puree to change up the flavors. We tried other homemade whole grain cereals too – brown rice, millet, bulgur. But oatmeal was always his favorite by far.
These days, J eats regular old fashioned oats, and I have perfected his favorite recipe after many trials. I make this recipe about once per week, and it lasts us three days. He loves his oats!
We alternate between this recipe, and an Apple Cinnamon Blueberry Oatmeal recipe I came up with.
To make three days’ worth of pumpkin oats for 12 month old J, I use 1/2 cup old fashioned oats and 1 cup liquid (3/4 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup water). That is the base of the recipe. From there you can go crazy.
For flavor and a nutritional boost, I add in a frozen cube of canned pumpkin. I like to buy a can of pumpkin puree and freeze it into cubes so it lasts longer (1.5-2 oz cubes). It lasts about one month in the freezer.
For sweetness, I used dried apricot puree. This might sound complicated, but it’s really not. I buy dried apricots (unsulphured) and combine then with water (1 part apricot, 2 parts water), cover, and microwave for 5 minutes. The apricots will soften and plump up. Add the apricots and water to a blender, and blend until smooth. The consistency will resemble a caramel sauce. From there, I freeze the apricot puree into cubes and this makes a wonderful natural sweetener for many of J’s foods. (Spread on bread, mix into oatmeal, add to smoothies, etc.) Bonus: dried apricots are a good source of iron.
Two other ingredients I add for texture and nutrition are 1 tsp chia seeds (healthy fats!) and some raisins. I add the raisins during the last couple minutes of cooking so they’ll soften and be suitable for a baby with just eight teeth.
I also add cinnamon! Sometimes I add a little nutmeg too.
Baby boy loves his oats! Actually he turned one last weekend. Does that make him a toddler now?
He’s entering this stage where he wants to spoon-feed himself, and absolutely won’t have it if someone else wants to spoon-feed him. My baby boy is already wanting some independence!
Jack’s Perfect Pumpkin Oats
(makes 3 servings for him)
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup liquid (we do 3/4 c whole milk + 1/4 c water)
- 2 oz canned pumpkin
- 2 oz dried apricot puree
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 oz raisins
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- Bring liquid to a simmer then whisk in oats. Reduce heat to low and simmer (uncovered) 8 minutes, whisking frequently.
- Stir in pumpkin, apricot puree, cinnamon, and raisins. Simmer another 2 minutes
- Remove from heat and mix in chia seeds. Transfer to three containers.
- To reheat, microwave (covered) for 20-25 seconds and stir. Let cool before serving. Top with fresh fruit if desired.