How to Bake a Whole Squash – No Peeling, No scraping out seeds

Easy winter squash bake for baby - the seeds are way easier to scoop AFTER baking - awesome

Food for the first year is for fun, exploration, and a little bit of nutrition. For the first year, babies are getting the bulk of their nutrition from breast milk.  Some babies may LOVE to be included with real food in the family meals, and some may not care to ingest food at all, favoring to get everything they need in the form of human milk. Either way is okay. I’ve had babies on both ends of the spectrum of eating, and in fact my largest baby (11 lbs at birth, over 20 by the time he started solids of any kind) preferred to only nurse for his food until 11 months. He grew fine and slept fine – the thoughts that moms don’t produce enough milk or nutrients for big babies (or small babies) is a myth, as is the thought that they will sleep better once they start solids.

Today we’re going to look at sweet winter squash and how to cook it super easily for the baby, and use it as a side dish for the rest of the family.  Busy moms with little ones underfoot will appreciate this no-peel method of cooking squash whole in the oven, it also makes the seeds super easy to scoop out as well.

Whole kabocha squash baked in the oven

This is a kabocha squash – it’s my favorite kind of winter squash, the bright orange inside is sweet and dense, it’s similar to a sweet potato in consistency and takes on sweet or savory flavors, as well as healthy fats, very well. Any hard winter squash can be used for this recipe.

Bake whole

First just rinse the squash, place it whole in a baking dish, and place it in the oven. Bake at 350 for an hour, or until it’s easy to pierce with a fork. Turn the oven off and allow to cool until it’s comfortable to touch, another hour or two.

Kabocha squash after baking

Open up

Slice in half- see how much easier it cuts after baking?

Scooping out winter squash seeds

Remove seeds

Scoop out the seeds and pulp- also much easier than doing this before baking.

Cross hatching winter squash for baby

Cross hatch within the skin

Rather than dicing up the squash after removing it from the skin, use a paring knife to cross hatch the flesh while it’s still in the skin to save time and create nice uniform pieces.

Winter squash baby lead weaning baby food

Serve the baby

Scoop as much as you want to give baby onto the plate.  I start with about a tablespoon, he’ll be able to pick apart the little pieces easily.  Add salt if desired, I added a little glob of coconut oil as well for healthy fats. I don’t encourage or discourage any eating from him, I just provide him with one or two nutrient dense options for meals.

Baby lead weaning easy squash bake and flash freeze for later

For the rest of the family

I like to serve the baby what the rest of the family is eating – you can do this same thing for them, cut into bite sized pieces and top with butter, coconut oil, or olive oil, sea salt, and pepper.

Flash freeze squash baby food

Freeze

To save the rest, scoop into meal sized portions onto a stainless steel cookie sheet or baking dish that has been greased with coconut oil. Freeze until solid (overnight) and then transfer to a freezer proof glass container or freezer bag.

Thaw

To thaw, pull one one meal sized portion, place it on a plate, cover if desired, and let sit out for a couple hours.  If you need it in a hurry, you can add a little chicken stock to a lidded pot, and simmer it over medium-low heat.

 

Interested in learning more about healthy baby ideas? I’m writing a book to help you make informed decisions while pregnant, and during the first year for things like starting solids.  Read more about the book here, or sign up for the FREE newsletter here for first food ideas, weight loss after pregnancy tips, and more!

 

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New to cooking? Here’s how to make sure your recipe goes well

New to cooking

Whether you’re just starting out cooking as a teen in your mom’s kitchen, or are 30 and determined to break the fast food cycle, or you’re switching from cooking standard american food with many pre-packaged ingredients in favor of whole foods and traditional recipes, these tips will help you make sure the recipes turn out.

  1. Double check your recipe. Did you find it on Pinterest and does it seem super different than what you’d expect (ie no eggs in a cake, or only 3 ingredients in a casserole)? Check out the comments, or do a quick Google search of the recipe title.  Sometimes recipes end up on Pinterest that haven’t actually been baked before, and the picture is just taken off another person’s site and a made up recipe is used.
  2. Once you have a recipe from a reputable blog or cookbook, read all the way through before beginning to make sure you have all the needed time, ingredients and equipment.
  3. Plan on making the recipe first without any substitutions. If you have allergies, or can’t find an item, choose a different recipe that meets your needs.
  4. Write your shopping list for what you don’t have that the recipe calls for.
  5. Purchase needed ingredients. If you’re not sure what something is, a quick search on Google Images can help, as can most grocery store clerks.
  6. Give yourself plenty of time to cook. Even if the recipe says it can be made in 10 minutes, it often takes a beginning cook longer. That’s okay!  You’ll get faster with practice.
  7. Now start with a clean kitchen – I like to take out the trash, make sure all the dishes are done and the sink is empty so I can wash as I cook.  Clear countertops will help keep the process streamlined (click here for help keeping a clean and organized home)
  8. Get out all your ingredients and start the recipe as instructed.
  9. Pay careful attention to phrases such as ‘add the remaining…’ or ‘add all flour except for 1 tablespoon’ so that you don’t end up with extra ingredients that you forgot to add, or don’t add too much of something when you’re supposed to save some of it for later.
  10. As you use them, put the ingredients away. This way you’ll know if you forgot to add the eggs later, they’ll still be on the counter. Or you’ll realize that you *did* already add that baking powder, since it’s put away.
  11. Only try one new dish per meal. Food pictures can be inspiring, but it’s confusing and can get frustrating to try to do more than one new thing at once.
  12. Enjoy the process!  Delighting in the daily routines such as cooking and cleaning help us to live a more fulfilled life.
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