Ella’s Kitchen Stage 2 Textured Meal Pouches

We’re jumping forward a bit here from the Stage 1 stuff that I’ve previously reviewed because I wanted to follow along our dinner progression path for a bit. I mentioned that we started out with veggie purees, to which I began adding a bit of meat or couscous as the weeks went by. At 6 months, we moved on to Stage 2 meals entirely, which are “textured not lumpy”, as the pouches point out. They list these meals as 7 months and up on the label, but based on what I’ve read and Blob’s willingness to try everything, we thought it’d be okay to start a tad earlier.

Disappointingly, Finland seems to only carry three of the two dozen or so flavors that exist in this range. I suspect this has to do with what they think the local market is willing to try, since I do find an overabundance of the meat-and-potatoes type fare here and a very small number of alternative flavors (call them “ethnic” if you will). There’s exceptions, of course, but we’ll get to those much later on. It’s because of these somewhat homogeneous choices that I do make the majority of my own baby food, and make a point of trying the brands that actually do something a bit different.

Vroom Vroom Veggie Lasagna, with a sprinkle of cheese. 23% tomato, 19% vegetable stock (water and vegetables: carrots, parsnips, swedes, onions and leeks), 13% carrots, 11% zucchini, 10% onions, 6% eggplant, 6% red bell pepper, 5% pasta (durum wheat and egg whites), 4% mozzarella cheese (milk), 2% creme fraiche (milk), 1% garlic, <1% mixed herbs (basil, oregano).

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I wanted to like this, because the list of ingredients really sounded nice. I tasted it and found it a bit on the sweet side, but still with more flavor than your typical jarred baby food. Blob, however, seemed somewhat ambivalent about it. This could have just been because the whole different-flavors-in-one-meal thing was new to him and this was the first one we sprang on him. He ate an acceptable amount of what was offered, but he didn’t really get all vocal and demand more like he does with stuff he really likes.

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Chick-chick Chicken Casserole with rice. The version currently listed online says “with apricots” instead. Perhaps they revamped this recipe since we tried it? Then again, I took a look at the ingredients in the newer version and it barely seems to have changed, so maybe it’s more of an advertising thing — apricots sound healthier than rice, eh? 😛 33% vegetable stock (water and organic vegetables: carrots, parsnips, leeks, onions, swedes, peppercorn, marjoram, parsley, thyme), 24% carrots, 11% broccoli, 11% onions, 11% chicken, 5% apricots, 5% rice, <1% mint.

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This was probably one of the least appetizing-looking baby foods I’ve served up to date. It looked disturbingly like vomit, though it smelled pleasant enough. The taste was even milder. Go figure. Guess that’s why it’s best served in the pouch.

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Surprisingly, this was hands-down his favorite flavor. I suspect that it was because of the broccoli. He definitely has a fondness for broccoli, which I both approve of and find rather odd. Unfortunately, the combination of broccoli and onions in this meal did make for a rather smelly baby afterwards. He’d have strong breath for the rest of the evening and I rather dreaded what the diaper would be like the next day. Still, he genuinely adored this flavor so I would occasionally just take one for the team and let him have it.

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Lastly, there was Lip Smacking Spag Bol with a sprinkle of cheese. 37% tomatoes, 19% vegetable stock (water and organic vegetables: parsnips, carrots, leeks, onions and swedes), 11% carrots, 10% beef, 6% broccoli, 6% onion, 5% spaghetti (durum wheat and egg whites), 4% mushrooms, 2% cheddar cheese (milk), <1% garlic, <1% mixed herbs (thyme, parsley, sage, marjoram, oregano), <0.1% peppercorns.

This was another one that I really hoped he would like — I found it rather tasty myself. It could have passed for something we’d have the table, with a bit more salt. Blob didn’t so much go for it, though. It seems that he has it out for this brand’s pasta dishes, for some reason. Not that he outright refused to eat it — he just nibbled halfheartedly. I do sometimes wonder if time has changed his opinion on these meals, since he has since shown a consistent liking for pasta dishes. Curiosity does not win out over cost at this point, however, since he now eats table food anyway.

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