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Winter squash is a favorite in our household this time of year, with acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash abound. Kids and adults love it for its bright color and sweet and earthy flavor! Many families like it with a lot of sweetness added, such as brown sugar and cinnamon, but it’s actually tasty in savory dishes too. Plus, they’re packed with nutrients that are crucial to the pregnant mama and the toddler alike.

It's high in vitamin C and Vitamin A that support healthy immunity, which expecting moms need extra of. For toddlers, try using vanilla extract, grated citrus zest, spices like ground nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and cloves or herbs such as tarragon, rosemary and thyme. Below are a few of my favorite family- friendly squash recipes -- also suitable for (and loved by) children. Enjoy!

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Winter Squash Fries with Hummus, (10 months old & up).

Winter squash makes tasty bite-size fries, and your baby will love dipping them in the flavorful chickpea dip. It’s a high-fiber treat with lots of nutrients, perfect for growing bodies and grasping fingers!

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings):

1 cup acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼-inch matchsticks

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/3 tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. sweet paprika

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained

1 tbsp. tahini

1 tsp. olive oil

½ tsp. grated lemon zest

1 small garlic clove, peeled

Directions:

For the fries: Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss to mix. Place the squash fries in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the squash starts to brown and is tender, about 15 min. Store any extra fries in the fridge for up to 3 days.

For the Hummus: In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Store any in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Protein Power Smoothie, (10 months old & up).

This recipe calls for just a few ounces of tofu to pack in the protein without affecting the taste. The sweet banana pairs well with the butternut squash delivering a tasty and healthy blend for you and your little one.

Ingredients:

6 oz. milk

2 ounces tofu

2 (1-ounce) freezer tray cubes butternut squash puree, thawed

½ banana, peeled

½ tsp. ground ginger

Directions:

In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Process until smooth.

Turkey and Squash Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce, 10 months old & up.

Winter squash, sage and cranberries give these meatballs a tasty fall flavor. Turkey is a great source of protein for your baby, and the squash is loaded with Vitamin A, which supports your baby’s developing eyesight.

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs:

8 oz. ground turkey

¼ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped

¼ onion, grated

½ cup grated winter squash (acorn or butternut)

½ tsp. dried sage

For the Sauce:

2 (1-ounce) freezer tray cubes cranberry puree, thawed

¼ cup plain, full-fat yogurt

Pinch dried sage

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with Parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix until well combined. Formed mixture into ½-inch balls and place them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freezer for 6 months.

For the Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a spoon. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

White Bean + Butternut Squash Stew, 12 months old & up.

Hearty and comforting, this is a family-friendly stew to warm everyone up on a cool winter night. To save some prep time, purchase frozen organic butternut squash chunks and thaw 2 cups overnight in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil

½ onion, finely chopped

½ butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (14-ounce) can white beans, drained

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

½ tsp. dried rosemary

¼ tsp. sea salt

Directions:

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and butternut squash. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans, tomatoes, rosemary and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Store unoffered portions in the refrigerator for up to 3 day or in the freezer for 6 months.

You can find these recipes, and many more, in Stephanie Middleberg's book, "The Big Book of Organic Baby Food."

It may have been hard to imagine just a few weeks ago, but life with your baby is probably starting to feel like the new normal. From establishing sweet rituals throughout the day to finding ways to carve out that all-important time for yourself, you are really doing great, mama!

Your baby is also getting the hang of life on the outside, too. Especially if you two waged a battle against colic together, this is the point where you are probably claiming victory, which means interactions are getting all that much sweeter. As your baby feels more comfortable with their new world, you will probably notice that some new routines are falling into place, which makes this a good time to reinforce some healthy habits around nap time and bedtime.

With more reliable sleep schedules, you two might also have more energy to take on some stimulating at-home activities. If returning to work is also on the radar, whether in a home office or in a workplace, you might be wondering how you will balance it all. Trust us when we say that you can and will figure it out, just like millions of mamas and babies before you. Thankfully, you can also learn some of the best tips and tricks from them, too.

As you continue to settle into this exciting phase, here are some of our 3-month essentials for you and baby:

To takealong a favorite toy anywhere: Infantino Playtime Pal

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Now that your baby is awake for longer stretches of time, a tactile toy can help keep their focus while you cross tasks off the list around the house.

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To keep organized: GO by Goldbug stroller organizer

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Why is it that blow-out diapers happen at the worst times?! Keep everything you need organized and within reach with a stroller organizer so you don't spend precious time searching for the wipes.

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To bottle-feed with ease: Dr. Brown’s bottle set

Dr. Browns

Cleaning bottles can feel like a part-time job, so make it as simple as possible for yourself with a set that is easy to clean. (A bottle-specific brush helps, too!)

$39.99

To offer tummy-friendly formula: Up&Up gentle formula

Babies often arrive in this world with mighty sensitive stomachs. If you are formula or combo-feeding, finding an option you both feel good about can do wonders.

$19.99

To entertain your mini Mozart: Baby Einstein ocean orchestra

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Piano lessons might still be years in the future, but it's never too soon to start fostering your baby's music appreciation! By stimulating multiple senses during playtime, research shows babies experience even stronger cognitive benefits.

$19.99

To simplify pumping breaks: Spectra breast pump

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Whether you are going back to a job outside the home or simply want to help your baby get comfortable with an occasional bottle, breastfeeding mamas are going to want a workhorse pump that makes those pumping sessions as easy as possible.

$200

To keep breakfast simple: KIND breakfast bars

Kind bars

Gone are the days of taking your time to get ready in the morning. Make sure you always have breakfast covered with a supply of nutritious bars you can eat while multitasking.

$2.99

To get past the midday slump: Keurig k-mini single serve

Keurig

Unfortunately, multiple wake-ups during the night doesn't mean you'll get to sleep in longer. If the alarm went off too early, it can help to have a midday coffee break (or two).

$89.99

To protect your lobes from a grabby baby: A New Day stud earrings

New Day earrings

If dangling earrings are suddenly feeling like quite a hazard in the proximity of a handsy baby, swap them out for some stylish new studs. Your ears will thank you!

$7.99

To manage your day: The Time Factory mom life planner

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Show mom brain who is boss by keeping all of your tasks and commitments together in one place. Now you'll know exactly what you're supposed to do on any given day.

$8.19

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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