Yesterday's Menus

Cooking up retro menus from vintage cookbooks

1987 Toddler Time

on June 9, 2015

Wednesday menu for an 18 to 24 month old:

Breakfast: open-face toasted cheese, orange juice

Snack: apple slices

Lunch: Pastina with Cheese and Vegetables*, milk

Snack: Peanut ‘n’ Jam Square*, milk

Dinner: Brown Rice Paella*, leafy green salad, juice

*recipe provided

Today’s menu comes from the 1987 Baby Let’s Eat by Rena Coyle.  How exciting for my toddler that he gets to be roped into mama’s retro food obsession.  (Baby, I’ve got Better Homes and Gardens’ 1963 teen “Burger-que” bookmarked for when your older.  Don’t forget to invite the gang! I won’t embarrass you…much).

This 1987 cookbook isn’t all that much difference than a current baby food book except for now déclassé recommendations for juice and an obsession with overweight toddlers.  I could only imagine pint-sized Jazzercisers with adorable headbands every time she brought it up.

On to breakfast:


The results:


While my son didn’t provide verbal feedback, he ate all of his first half that I gave him (minus the crust) and a good amount of the second half I gave him after him scarfed the first serving.

Snack:  Slight snafu.  My husband took the little guy to Costco and returned reporting that he really enjoyed the pizza and free samples.  Nutritional sigh.  I ate the apple.



Quick and easy dish.  I couldn’t find anything labeled pastina in the store but a Google search told me that it was small pasta so I went with macaroni.  I even saved a sliced of apple just in case.



No dice on the apple, but the pasta was so popular, he required a refill.  In fact, while I was cleaning up, I noticed he was under the table eating bits he had dropped.  Less to clean up?

Afternoon snack:


I gave him two pieces.  I may have erred a bit in letting him eat it while sitting on the floor playing with Megablocks.



He finished approximately one piece and the vacuum was required.  I thought it was great (other than than being mess-tastic).


Sadly, a complete fail.  The listed cooking time was one hour.  An hour and a half in, I still had very crunchy rice and one grumpy baby (and husband). We had burritos from the freezer instead.  An additional hour later, the paella was finally done.  I refrigerated it for dinner the next night:




Still a fail.  The apple juice was acceptable.  He rearranged, but didn’t eat the salad.  He had a few bites of the paella, but not much.  I found the paella to be bland and boring.

Overall, I enjoyed the day and the little guy seemed to like the food quite well.  I plan on trying a few more recipes from this book (with short cooking times).

Pastina with Cheese and Vegetables

1/2 cup pastina

1 cup milk

1/4 lb muenster cheese, grated or cut into small pieces

2 large eggs

1/2 cup cooked peas, mashed (I skipped the mashing)

1/2 cup diced cooked carrots

1 medium tomato, cored, and coarsely chopped

1. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil; stir in the pastina.  Cook until just soft, about 5 minutes.  Drain the pastina and set aside.

2.  Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the milk.  When it begins to simmer, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese, until it melts.  Whisk in the eggs.  Place the pot over low heat and whisk until the sauce thickens, 5 to 7 minutes.

3.  Remove the pot from the heat.  Stir in the pastina and cooked vegetables.  Cool slightly and serve.

Peanut ‘n’ Jam Squares

1 cup all-natural chunky peanut butter

3/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed

2 large eggs

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup finely ground unsalted nuts or sesame seeds (I used sesame seeds)

1/2 cup fruit-sweetened jam

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan, using whole wheat flour.

2.  In a mixing bowl, blend the peanut butter and juice concentrate together.  Add the eggs and blend thoroughly.  Add the flours, baking soda, and baking powder to the bowl.  Fold in the nuts or sesame seeds.

3.  Pat the dough in the prepared pan and spread it evenly.  Spread the jam over the dough.  Bake until the cake pulls away from the pan, about 35 minutes.

4.  When the cake has cooled slightly, remove it from the pan and cut into 1-inch squares.  Wrap them in plastic, store in an airtight container or freeze.

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