Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Simply Eats:: {baby food part deux}

The Why: Making your own baby food is super easy, fun and economical! I broke it down to about 35$ for 238 (1 ounce) ice cubes. That is approximately 95 (2.5 oz) jars of food. Making the Jars about 36 cents each! My math is a bit funny because I don't remember exactly how many cubes I made but this is close! I picked a Saturday and spent the day making enough food for a month. I had a blast and felt great doing something so good for my sweet boy.

Tools: Good quality blender (you will destroy a cheap blender blending sweet potatoes. Either dont blend sweet potatoes or use a good blender.) I LOVE my Kitchenaid Mr. Simply bought me for our first Christmas. Plastic or metal strainers. Ice cube trays. Zip lock bags. Steamer basket.

The Menu: Buy vegetables and fruits based on your values! Want your baby 100 % organic? go for it.. but it will be more expensive. You can buy all fresh foods, but I find frozen helpful. Here is a list of what I bought for our first menu:
Sweet potatoes (3 large)
butternut squash (1 med)
1 large bag pre washed organic green beans
2 small bags frozen peas
4 avocados
2 large jars no sugar added applesauce
frozen peaches (no sugar added)
frozen blueberries (no sugar added)
4 mangoes (i threw out 2 for being yucky inside)

The How: I make baby food in three ways, roasted and pureed, steamed and pureed and thawed and pureed
Roasting~ Foods with a skin like sweet potatoes and butternut squash I  cook in the oven completely and then after they have cooled a bit I scoop out the flesh and blend it with filtered water to the right consistency.
Fresh or frozen vegetables get steamed just until they get soft and then pureed. If too thin I'll pre add some grain cereal to thicken it up. Or leave it runny and add the cereal when you serve it. Up to you.
Fruits~ most of the fruits I give Silas are blended with applesauce. Regular natural or no sugar added applesauce gets a turn in the blender and then its ready to blend with any fruit I happen to have. It helps the texture and makes them go further. Some fruits, like mangoes and blueberries I'll blend and freeze by themselves to use with oatmeal.
Avocados~ quite possibly my favorite baby food. Avocados have a tendency like bananas to oxidize quickly and turn brown. To counter this I cut them in half, take out the pit and then scoop the inside into a plastic baggie. I squeeze out the air and then use a rolling pin to squash it up. When mashed well I snip off a corner of the bag, squeeze it into an ice cube tray and immediately cover it with saran wrap before freezing. Warning: if you keep these in your freezer guard them from husbands who love to grab one to thaw and smear on their sandwich :-).
All purees get poured into ice cube trays and frozen. Then get stored in gallon size zip locks I label with the date and type of food. I'm looking for a better storage container, like a Tupperware box, that I can keep this south Texas humidity out of better!
*first foods~ to make a consistency similar to a jar food stage 1 I'll put the puree through a mesh strainer. My babies have never needed more than a couple weeks worth of this.

** My favorite new toy. The Boon feeder spoon. Amazing. It holds almost four ounces and you can completely feed the baby with only one hand! I take this filled with goodies to baseball games or restraunts. Then I don't have an extra bowl to mess with and dirty spoon to clean. Simply wipe the spoon off and put the cap back on and toss it in your bag! I can buy them at my H.E.B for about 7$. Worth every penny and then some!

In a few weeks I'll post part three:: stage 3 foods and introducing table food

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