10.30.2011

How to: homemade baby food


I've had questions, and, you guys, it's ridiculously easy. And in this particular instance, it probably cost me about $3 to make 16 meals for Luke. Considering he eats the equivalent of about one jar of baby food per meal, I'm saving mucho. It took me less than 15 minutes to make pears, broccoli, and carrots. And that INCLUDES boiling time. I do this once every few weeks- just as I notice we're running low on a particular food item.

No cook baby food: bananas and avocado. Just smash and feed. (I would not recommend freezing these however. I mean, it's fine, but they both turn brown and it doesn't look too appetizing)

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If I'm using canned foods, it's already soft enough to blend. Throw it in your blender, food processor, magic bullet, etc. If it is a thicker food, like sweet potatoes, you will have to add a little water to help get a smooth texture.
If I'm using fresh fruits or veggies, I peel and slice then boil water until soft before blending. (or you could steam them, or roast them in the oven) Save the water you boil in to add back as you blend. Nutrients will leech out into the water as it boils, so this way, you're adding them back. 

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Then I divide up the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, I pop them into two separate bags- one for fruits and one for veggies.  Then when I'm ready to use them, I select my cubes and pop them in the microwave for 30-40 seconds. I have also cooked them over a flame with a mess kit while camping.

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Sometimes I make fruit or vegetable blends, but usually I freeze the foods separately. This gives me more creative freedom when I'm making the man's meals each day. I also like to add different spices, and you can't do that as well if you already have specific flavors mixed. My hopes are that exposure to different flavors will help him become an adventurous eater. Maybe he'll still be picky, but so far he loves everything. Plus babies like strong flavors (like pickles) because their taste buds aren't fully developed yet. Also, who wants to eat bland food? Not me, and probably not my baby either.

When Luke was new to solids, I just gave him single ingredient meals- no spice. Once I new he wasn't allergic/liked the food, I mixed it with other foods and then with spices. This way I'm able to tell if it's just the spice he doesn't like or if it's the actual food. Although I haven't found anything he doesn't like. 

For fruits and watery veggies (like beets or squash) I mix in cereal to thicken. 

Some of Luke's favorite combinations are:
1 carrot cube
2 pear cubes
dash of ginger

1 peach cube
1 pear cube
1 apricot cube
dash of cinnamon 
(okay, really, he loves anything with cinnamon. we use it with a lot of things)

1 pear cube
3 mandrin orange cubes (they're really watery and don't make much)
dash of nutmeg

2 sweet potato cubes
dash of curry powder

4 cubes Summer Squash
dash of chili powder
dash of cumin

2 green pea cubes
1 carrot cube
dash of garlic
sprinkle of black pepper

Another great thing is that this is an excellent way to use up leftovers. Once my dad made a pot roast and roasted vegetables with it- onions, carrots, squash, potatoes. After we reheated leftovers twice, there was still lots leftover, and they were getting a little mushy. They were totally fine, but the texture wasn't so great for those of us who like to chew our foods. It was going to just get tossed because no one would eat it-but wait! Blend it all up with a little of the gravy and tiny meat bits, and Luke has himself a delicious pot roast dinner. He loved it.

Basically, I just think, would I like to eat this? And if the answer is yes, then Luke likes it too.

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