“It’s time to stop making excuses about what we put on our tables and in our children’s bodies and recognize that companies that produce cheap food are not doing you any favours.” – Tyler Florence
Tyler is one of our favorites here at Scratch is Better, so we knew in order to create some new baby food recipes, we’d have to give his cookbook Start Fresh a try. Tyler’s philosophy is simple: Forge a foundation early on with your children for a healthy relationship with food that will last a lifetime. This cookbook is good one to keep handy since it begins from single-ingredient purees (4-6 month old baby) all the way through 12 months and beyond. So it’s not just a baby cookbook, rather a cookbook that speaks to the whole family.
Tyler’s recipes explain the importance of making baby food taste as good as food you would serve to the entire family. Nothing is fake or processed and he encourages you buy certified organic whenever possible. We like that he simplifies preparing baby food. All you need is a steamer basket and a blender, which you probably already have in your kitchen. He also suggests roasting fruits and vegetables instead of just steaming – adding a different, yet tastier dimension to the food.
The single-ingredient purees are a no-brainer but the rest of the sections – the flavor combinations he suggests are pure genius! He claims his parsnip, pear and fig puree tastes like Christmas – we couldn’t resist trying it out! The mango, carrot and apple puree is so delicious even we licked the spoon! We really enjoyed his Turkey Meatball Stroganoff and it has definitely made its way into our weekly rotation. Tyler even includes a recipe for Baked Halibut fish sticks, which is kid friendly and easy to prepare. The mantra of sitting down and eating dinner together as a family never gets old and Tyler makes this act seem doable and necessary.
Even though Tyler focuses on fresh healthy foods, we found that a few of the recipes, especially the stage two section (6-9 months) contained a heavy salt and sugar content. Many fruits and vegetables already have a natural sweet taste so there really is no need to expose children to extra salt and sugar. He also encourages you to add Parmesan cheese and maple syrup to baby food recipes, which we thought was unnecessary. We just omitted these ingredients when trying out his recipes, and the results were still fantastic!
There are a lot of excellent baby food books out there, but we found Start Fresh to stand out. Tyler allows us to gain appreciation for creating not just edible food for children, but tasty and flavorful food combinations that are healthy. By the end of the book, you will think twice before opening up a jar of runny goopy fruits and vegetables that are slopped together. Of course we all just want what is best and healthiest for our baby and Tyler hits it with the nail on the head – by starting fresh.
Here is one of our favourites from the cookbook:
Carrot, Apple, Mango Puree
In his book, Start Fresh, Tyler claims this puree to be “one of the best things I’ve made”- so naturally we had to give it try! This beautiful puree has a wonderful sweetness that makes it very delicious. Your little one is in for a treat!
Taken from Start Fresh by Tyler Florence
Makes about 2 ½ cups
1 mango, peeled and cut into chunks.
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a roasting sheet with parchment and add all the ingredients. Roast for about 20 minutes, until carrots are soft and tender. Puree with a hand blender or Vitamix.