On May 11, 2010, Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers by Anni Daulter will be released. I’ve known Anni for many years and had the pleasure of interviewing her on the eve of her first Cook Book launch. I’ve known about this project for quite a while and am thrilled that its finally here. Anni’s gift for food and her eye for beauty promise to make this an exquisite book to look through and use for years. I really believe that she will take cook books geared towards children and families to a higher level of consciousness and practice that is both delicious for children and nourishing for their whole beings.
Elena: Anni, I’ve known you now for over 13 years! I can’t believe how much time has passed… In that time I’ve had the honor of watching you become a mother and blend your creativity, conscientiousness and dedication into a parenting style that is truly inspiring to me. So of course, it was no surprise that you would eventually write a book like Organically Raised. Tell us a bit about the conception of this book and how the vision became a reality for you.
Anni: Well this all started with Zoe, my almost 13 year old! Wow, I cant believe that…but when he was a baby, I really didn’t want to be the type of mother who didn’t know how to cook and I wanted him to have the best foods. So, I basically taught myself to cook and learned conscious cooking at Tassajara , a Zen Buddhist retreat center. You know that place! Fast forward 7 years and with the birth of our daughter Lotus, we also gave birth to an all organic fresh baby food company, Bohemian Baby. After feeding hundreds of babies, I was inspired to write this book and help conscious parents get all of the most updated eco-friendly information, all while giving them great recipes that I knew were proven and taste tested by moms and babies all over the U.S. So after almost two years of recipe revisions, photo shoots and a lot of writing, Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers was finally born, and I could not be more proud of what has come to fruition.
Elena: What ages are you gearing this book towards?
Anni: The book is for babies ages 6 months all the way to kids and families really. Although there is valuable information in the book on breast feeding, first foods, rainbow eating, purees and blends, there is even more recipes in the book tailored to toddlers and young kids and really the recipes are so tasty, I bet you would love them. So don’t forget to buy your copy Elena!
Elena: Do you have any thoughts on what you feel the ideal baby diet should be? Is there an ideal diet for infants and toddlers?
Anni: The ideal diet is filled with a rainbow of fresh, organic foods that start with fruits and veggies and then goes into using whole grains and eventually proteins. However, what I would like to stress is that solid foods are just a supplement of the perfect first food of breast milk up until age one. So moms don’t need to be stressed if their babies are not eating tons of foods in the beginning. My best advice is to start slowly and follow the natural rhythms and cues of your baby. Also, stay away from processed shelf stable products if at all possible. Fresh is always best!
Elena: You have dedicated a section in your book to Conscious Cooking and Mindful Eating. I would love it if you would share a few thoughts on both, as you know these are both topics close to my heart and this blog.
Anni: I call mindfulness the “first ingredient” and really conscious cooking is creating a sacred practice in the kitchen where we are present with our experience, who we are cooking for, taking time to honor the ingredients and respect our connection to the earth and really pour our loving intentions into the food. The secret ingredient to all of my recipes is LOVE – pure and simple. This practice is especially important when cooking for babies, as they have these untouched little systems and need these fresh foods prepared with our love to help nourish, not only their bodies, but their spirits as well. In the book, I talk about setting up a simple Sacred Kitchen and how the visual can really help be a grounding force of recognition that speaks to this mindful act of cooking for our families.
Elena: One of the things that I struggle with in my daily life is coming back to the kitchen on a daily basis to make fresh organic whole food from scratch. Our lives seem to get fuller by the day and I can’t imagine what it must be like for parents out there that work and have children that they are preparing food for. Its, sadly, what makes these prepackaged preservative laden foods and fast food so tempting for parents who barely have time for much else. How does Organically Raised lend support to parents who want to be conscious of how they feed their children, but struggle with time restraints?
Anni: I would like to say that cooking fresh foods doesn’t take any time at all, but I wouldn’t be telling the truth. Lets face it, cooking from scratch does takes time, but the time put in is well worth it in the end. When foods are prepared fresh for babies, it helps shape their culinary pallets for a lifetime. This investment of our love also gives babies the opportunity to learn what real food tastes like, rather than the monotonous flavor profiles of shelf stable foods that could have been on the shelf longer than their baby has been alive. I do get the time restraint issue though, and knowing that is a reality, the recipes in the book are relatively simple and easy even for a novice cook.
Elena: Can you share a delicious recipe with the readers of Food Practice?
Anni: Certainly! I will share a baby & toddler recipe!
::BABY TALLULAH’S “SPRING FLING” KIWIFRUIT, PEAR AND RAISIN BLEND::
This recipe combines the wonderful tropical flavor of kiwi with sweet pear and the slightly grainy texture of raisins. I promise that your baby will love this! Kiwis are packed with vitamin C and potassium.
Makes 2 servings
2 large pears (Bartlett is best)
1 tablespoon raisins
1. Peel and core the pears. Cut the pulp into 1-inch pieces.
2. Steam the pears and raisins together for 10 minutes, or until the pears are soft. Reserve the liquid from the steamer.
3. Peel and cut the kiwis into 1-inch pieces.
4. Combine the pears, raisins, and kiwi in a food processor. Puree until the raisins are finely chopped. Add the reserved liquid in scant 1⁄8-cup increments to achieve the desired consistency.
variation: pear, blueberry, and raisin blend (summer)
Blueberries are a wonderful natural antioxidant. This flavor combination is a huge hit with babies. It was my daughter’s absolute favorite blend.
2 large Bartlett pears (or Anjou or other green pear)
1 tablespoon raisins
1⁄2 cup fresh blueberries
::MACKENZIE’S SUPERSTAR SWEET POTATO CAKES WITH SOUR CREAM::
Every toddler and grown-up who has ever tasted these cakes absolutely loves them. Made from the delicious sweet potato, the cakes melt in the mouth. These are even great cold the next day or as a midnight snack for a breastfeeding mama!
Makes 8 servings
1 medium garnet yam (sweet potato)
4 Yukon Gold potatoes or 2 large russet
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon wheat germ
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄4 cup grated Romano cheese
3 tablespoons unbleached or all-purpose
1. Peel and dice the potatoes and place them in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked. Drain the potatoes and let them cool.
2. Peel and dice the yam into 1-inch pieces. Steam the yams for 20 minutes, or until soft.
3. Place the yams and potatoes in a large bowl. Mash until well mixed and only a little lumpiness remains. Set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add the onion, salt, pepper, and wheat germ. Cook until the onion is soft and begins to brown. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Remove from the heat. Add to the potato mixture.
5. Beat the eggs and cream together in a mixing bowl. Stir them into the potato mixture along with the cheeses and flour.
6. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat or set a nonstick electric skillet to 375˚F. Flatten 1 heaping tablespoon of batter into a round cake and place in the skillet. Repeat with the remaining batter. Cook the cakes for 5 minutes per side, or until a brown crust forms on each side.
7. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream as a dipping sauce.
Elena: Where can people find you on the web if they want to know more about your book and what you’re doing?
Elena: What else can we expect to see from you in the future?
Anni: Well first, you can expect to see my 4th baby! My newest little baby boy Daulter is due May 12th – River Love.
Next, Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers will be available nationwide on May 11th. It can be pre-ordered now so please do support it!
I currently have two other projects in development called Popsicle Craze (Sellers, Spring 2011) and The Organic Family Cookbook (Sellers , Fall 2011). So this next year will be a busy one for sure!
Elena: Anni, thank you so much for spending time with me, and for sharing this amazing new project with us!
**All pictures taken by www.sabatellafoto.com**