Just because we aren't spoon-feeding our babies doesn't mean we can't still offer them soup, right? Chunky soups make a great meal option for the self-feeding baby. Just leave out the liquid and give them the soft chunks. In this case we had zuppa toscana on the menu (think 'Olive Garden,' but vegetarian-ified). I drained the liquid and dumped some kale, potatoes, and vegetarian "sausage" onto Buttercup's tray.
I knew she wouldn't have a problem with the potatoes and sausage. It was interesting to watch her eat the kale, though. I never noticed before how stringy kale is! I even got some stuck in the not-quite-up/not-quite-down area of my esophagus. For Buttercup there was a lot of this going on: pick up, chew, spit out, repeat. I was amazed at how persistent she was. She just kept trying to eat those darn leaves. Eventually she succeeded; I just didn't think she would be that motivated to eat something that was putting up such a fight. I guess Buttercup's inner dietician was telling her she needed some vitamin A (hello, 354% RDA!).
PROS: power-packed nutrition
CONS: hard to chew and swallow