Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baby Food for the Working Mom

I was not really sold on the idea of making Bink's baby food at first.  My mom told me how easy, quick, and inexpensive it was, but I rationalized that away.  She did it almost thirty years ago.  She was home with me.  She is superwoman and seems to find more hours in her day than other people have.

Hubby and I talked it over and I decided that I would give it a try.  If I hated it--or Bink hated it--I could always run to Target and buy him some good ole Gerber.  The day Bink got the go-ahead from the pediatrician, I was ready to get started!

 I approached making baby food the same way I approach anything I want to learn... my checking EVERY SINGLE book I could find at the library.  And finding as many websites as I possibly could.
 I settled on sweet potato puree for Bink's first "real" food (after rice cereal...which he hated!).  And I'll let you in on a little secret...baby food is just people food.  Smooshed up.  Without all the added crap.  Amazing.

Bink looooooved sweet potatoes and has been going strong with food ever since.  We have been exceptionally lucky with him in this area.  The only food I have ever seen him turn his nose up at was plain white potatoes.  He actually gagged like I was trying to poison him with them.  Every. Single. Time.  We tried them 10 times like "they" say you're supposed to.  And he gagged.  Every. Single. Time.  Until Hubby sneaked him a little Smart Balance.  Then suddenly potatoes weren't gag worthy anymore.

If you are interested in making your own baby food, I definitely think it's worth it for lots of reasons.  (And if you have questions, email me, I'll try to help!)

  1. You know EXACTLY what your little guy or gal is eating.  We buy almost exclusively organic produce for Bink.  Start checking the labels on some of the big baby food brands.  Many of them are just fine, but sometimes water is listed as the first ingredient.  Water!  That means instead of getting the banana-y goodness or whatever flavor baby should be eating, he's mostly getting water.  Not good.  Our state won't even recognize one of the leading organic brands as OK to be served at day (ie. eligible for the daycare providers to get state funding food supplement money) because the main ingredient is, you guessed it, water.
  2. Your baby can try out lots and lots of foods that don't come in prepackaged baby food containers.  Take a look in the baby food aisle.  Banana.  Apple.  Peach.  Sweet Potatoes.  Peas.  Very few branch out from the old favorites and this THE best time to be giving your baby a little bit of everything.  Bink's favorite puree is Mango.  Have you seen many Mango flavored jar foods out there?  I would never have known if I hadn't made it myself 
  3. It saves money.  I was skeptical about this at first since produce, especially organic, is expensive.  But I did the math (and I do it after most shopping trips for fun...yes, that's my idea of fun).  Don't trust me, check out Wholesome Baby Food's cost comparison sheet.  Yes, they were comparing conventional produce, but the savings are still there on organics if you shop smart. 
  4. It helps relieve a little Mommy guilt.  I feel better knowing he's eating healthy, delicious food that I prepared for him...even if I'm not there with him at lunch time to enjoy it.
  5. It's fun!  I know, after #3 you don't trust I know what fun is.  I don't blame you.  I really do enjoy it though.  And I am not talented in the cooking department.  Just ask Hubby.  Who cooks all our meals for us.  Except once a month or so when he lets me take a stab at it, I burn whatever it was we are going to have for dinner, and he takes the reins away from me again.  Even I can make baby food.  Plus I love looking up fun recipes and trying to think of new things for Bink to try.  Even now when Bink is eating more solid food, I still try to get a cube or two of puree in him so I know he's getting the good stuff (and enough of it).

Look for another post soon (hopefully tomorrow) with some great baby food resources and a step-by-step demo (from my very own tiny kitchen).

Have you tried making your own baby food?  What's your baby favorite thing to eat?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eggless Baby Cereal Cookies

My little dude has become obsessed with feeding himself.  He likes to "eat" puffs, Cheerios, small pieces of bread, rice husks, and teething biscuits.  He also likes to chew on both ends of his spoon.

I've been making almost all of his baby food myself (part of my organic baby stuff obsession), so I decided to try my hand at making teething biscuits.

I found a great recipe on wholesomebabyfood.com (scroll down a little to find it).  Since I had all three (!) ingredients on hand to make it, I dove right in tonight (in between watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, of course).

I started by thawing the apple juice.  The recipe called for any kind of juice, so pick whatever you like best.  You'll need 8 ounces.

Of course we keep our apple juice in the freezer in cubes.  Don't you?

Next there is the flour.  I used unbleached white, but I think I may try to sneak in some whole wheat next time.  You need a cup of this (and maybe a little more later to help when you roll out the dough). 

Then the baby cereal.  I LOVE HappyBaby HappyBellies Organic cereals.  We have stockpiles of the brown rice, oatmeal, and multi-grain cereals in our house.  They are fortified with lots of great nutritional stuff (technical, I know) and the Bink gobbles them up alone or mixed with other food. 

For this recipe I used 3/4 cup multi-grain and 1/4 cup brown rice cereal (because I ran out of the multi-grain, oops!).

Flour and baby cereal in the mixing bowl.

After the apple juice was mixed in, I used the Kitchen Aid mixer to blend it all up.

It forms a sticky, sugar cookie-esque dough.

I added some extra flour (and by some, I mean A LOT, probably a handful or two) to get the dough out and kind of ball like.  I schmoosed (again with the technical jargon) the dough flat and rubbed flour on top of it again.

Then I cut out cute heart shapes with a super special cookie cutter (a left over favor from my wedding).  Most recipes suggest making the teething biscuits into rectangles, but in honor of my little Valentine, I went with hearts.

I plunked them down onto a tin foil cover cookie sheet and baked away.  I would suggest maybe less flour (I over did it trying to roll them out), but I just shook it off. 

Here they are all finished.  My teeny taste tester gave his slobbery seal of approval and ate it all up (all but what he threw on the floor to share with the dog).

Overall, I would probably make these again.  They were very easy, kind of fun, and much cheaper than store bought organic varieties.  Plus these don't have milk or eggs if your little ones have allergies to either.  Try them out and let me know what you think!

To see the Bink enjoying the finished product, check out my mommy blog Pacifier In My Pocket...