Nora’s Eating at 20 Months

Nora is slowly becoming less picky. She still prefers meat, but her repertoire is expanding gradually. In particular, her sudden willingness to eat green peas is a huge win. (My dad eats them for lunch nearly every day. One day, she decided she wanted some. The next day, she ate a lot. The day after that, she allowed a small amount of frozen mixed veggies to be included among the peas.)

New staples

  • peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • steel-cut oats with milk, walnuts, and lots of raisins
  • green peas
  • meat and fish stews with grains and veggies
  • milk
  • eggs
  • Cheerios
  • pizza
  • nori

Need to try Again

  • bean stews
  • edamame
  • carrot peanut soup
  • peanut noodles

Consistent standbys

  • fruit
  • meatloaf (with carrots, cabbage, onions, and water chestnuts)
  • salmon
  • slow-cooked pork shoulder
  • bread
  • yogurt

On-the-Go Snacks

  • fruit
  • squeezies
  • peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Cheerios
  • Trader Joe’s salmon jerky

Veggies (usually small quantities and inconsistent)

  • mashed yams with lime juice, olive oil, and salt
  • kale chips (only the expensive farmer’s market ones – Trader Joes’s was rejected)
  • homemade kale chips
  • grated orange salad with currants (went for currents first, but also ate carrots)
  • nori


  • cookies
  • candied ginger (go figure!)

Still rejects

  • cheese
  • tofu
  • tempeh
  • potatoes (hash browns, mashed potatoes, even French Fries)
  • Western-style pasta (need to try smaller ones, like macaroni)
  • ice cream (this won’t last long, so we might as well enjoy it while we can)

Fish Head Stew

This fish head stew turned out to be quite good. I made the stock in the Instant Pot, but cooked the stew on the stove top. The consistency of the stew is intended to be like a very soft porridge – spoon-feeding consistency for a toddler.

  • Two King Salmon fish heads and trim
  • 1 cup millet
  • 2/3 cup frozen green peas
  • 2/3 tbsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Put the salmon trim in the Instant Pot with 6 cups water and salt. Cook on High pressure for 20 minutes (this could probably have been way less – I’ll try 10 minutes next time).

When the stock is done, transfer the liquid to a pot on the stove, bring to a boil, and add a cup of millet. Let the millet simmer for about 20-30 minutes. While the millet is cooking, work with the fish heads over a colander to extract the salmon flesh and remove the bones. There will be a lot of tedious little bones.

Add the salmon flesh and any stock that dripped through the colandar to the stew. When the salmon bits are hot, add the frozen green peas. Stir and remove from heat.

When we served the stew to Nora, we also added some leftover baked salmon we had in the refrigerator. This was a tasty addition, but not strictly necessary.

Ramen-Style Noodles in Pig Trotter Broth

I bought two big pig trotters at a farmer’s market, then let them sit in the freezer for a while because I didn’t know what to do with them. This is a more time-consuming recipe than chicken broth because of all the extra steps (roasting, cooling to skim off fat), but it’s very good. The pork broth makes for a nice, gelatinous ramen-style broth.

  • 1 pig trotter
  • 1/2 pound pork stir-fry meat (optional), finely sliced
  • 5-6 shiitakes, soaked in boiling water until soft
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 head of Napa cabbage
  • 2 bundles of udon noodles
  • soy sauce to taste

Roast the pig trotter in the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes per side. More is probably better, but I still haven’t figured out what’s optimal. Any temperature between 400 and 450 and any time range between 20 minutes and a full hour probably works – more is better, but the perfect shouldn’t undercut the very good.

Put the pig trotter in the Instant Pot with a bay leaf, 2/3 tbsp salt, and water between the halfway and 2/3 of the way up the pot. A splash of cider vinegar too, if you remember (it’s supposed to help pull minerals out of the bones). Cook on high pressure for 2 hours.

Remove bones, pull off and reserve meat (there won’t be much, but it will be very tender). Let cool in refrigerator and skim off fat. This removes most of the gamey odor, which I personally am not a fan of.

Make the rest of the soup the stovetop. Stir-fry the onion and carrots on the bottom of a large pot. Add the shiitakes and broth. When the broth is boiling, add the stir-fry pork. Cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the stir-fry pork is done. Add the reserved meat from the broth and the noodles and cook until the noodles are done. If desired, add a small amount of soy sauce, to taste.

I added the extra stir-fry pork mainly for Nora’s benefit. She enjoyed the broth and was willing to eat the veggies and noodles, but only if there was a little bit of meat on the spoon.