Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Puree and Simple

The boys started solids around 6 months. I knew that I wanted to make baby food for a few reasons. With two mouths to feed, it would cut costs on buying baby food. I could also control the types of foods and reduce the amount of chemicals and unnatural ingredients that they would ingest. A surprise plus to making baby food is hubby and I had fun. We spent some time together making something good for our babies and we laughed at all the funny noises the food made when going through a mill.

I purchased the Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food Kit and the KidCo Baby Steps Food Mill with Carrying Case to start with but eventually bought two more food trays. That has really come in handy when we make large batches of squash and apples. Hubby uses the food processor and makes quick work of purees but that contraption is too loud. I like the hand crank mill because it is quiet and I can use it at night without waking the kids. A bonus is it really works the arm muscles.

The Fresh Baby cookbook was a great resource for what foods you can start introducing at certain months of the babies age. It provides recipes for simple, single ingredient fruit and veggie purees with the option to add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg if you choose. The premise is you can combine the cubes to make meals. This concept is perfect when you are first introducing solids. I picked a food and would feed them nothing but that veggie or fruit for 5-6 days. If there was no reaction, we moved to the next food item. I recommend the first foods to be vegetables to get them used to the texture and not so sweet taste. The boys got fruit four weeks into solids. They were so excited to get that burst of flavor in their mouth.

After 2 months, we went through the basic veggies (peas, carrots, green beans, squash) and fruits (apples, pears, bananas) with no reaction. Although I believe the boys have an intolerance to bananas. It gives them the worst gas and diarrhea. I know they did not get that from me because I love bananas.

As the boys progressed, we would mix the frozen cubes and maybe add some single grain cereal or oatmeal to thicken up the mixture. Around 9-10 months, I introduced avocado and recently added tofu to their menu. I used silken organic tofu which breaks up so easily and the boys can easily chew and swallow it. I plan to use a firmer tofu for finger food snacks.

One of my favorite food items to make which happened to be he first puree we made was butternut squash. This particular squash cost about $7 which in my opinion is a little high but I never bought a BN squash before. It yielded approximately 48 one ounce cubes. Basically, it would be about 24 of those plastic baby food tubs, stage 2. Each of those 2 packs can run you anywhere from $.88 to $1.12 depending on sales and organic ingredients. It really is a cost savings making your own baby food.

Butternut squash, (farmer's market) carrots and sweet potato
raw baby food

Boiled butternut squash
Boiling Butternut Squash

Frozen butternut squash cubes
Frozen Butternut Squash

carrots in food mill
milled carrots

We have a large supply of frozen cubes on hand but I also buy jarred food. Mostly meats, combo meals and DHA jars. I use coupons of course and scour ads for sales. Frozen cubes are great for home feedings but jars are so handy to take along when we are away from home. When at home, I use one jar and add about 4-5 frozen cubes to stretch it out and that is enough to feed both boys. For breakfast, I will usually defrost some fruit cubes and mix with baby oatmeal, yogurt or cereal.

I have not had the time to make meat purees but plan to soon. I will probably start with slow cooking a small chicken and then puree that into a thicker stage 3 type puree. Then I can combine the meat cutes with fruit or veggie cubes and the boys will have a three course meal all mushed together.

I don't really have a favorite recipe although I recently got Top 100 Baby Purees and it has some good looking meat and fish recipes that I am itching to try. One site that has excellent information on making baby food and lots of recipes for purees is Wholesome baby food. The site even has teething biscuit recipes.

I would encourage parents to try making baby food. There are lots of resources to help you get started and you don't have to spend tons of money on supplies. If you have ice cube trays, a food processor and a freezer, you are set to make baby food. And afterwards, maybe some margaritas.



letti said...

that's wonderful! And a working mom as well. Kudos!

Craving Cinnabon said...

no unless you get wic, then gerber its just free :p

Kari @ A Giveaway Addicted Mommy said...

I made 90% of all the food for Jake and just started with Luke (he is 15 months - shhhh don't tell him I waited this long).
Girl, you need to get yourself a food processor and steamer! There are also disposable bowls made by Munchkin (I think) that you can freeze bigger sizes. These are also microwave safe.

Just throwing my two cents in.

Oh and leave the meat baby food to the professionals. It is awful to make it yourself and looks awful too. Smelly to boot. Also - I don't recall reading if you use frozen veggies or not but throw that in a steamer (approx $25) and then into a food processor. Aside from the steaming time (which is like 30-40 minutes for frozen and 20-30 for fresh) I can make tons of food for only about 20 minutes total in the kitchen.

Ok, now I am up to 3 cents... sorry.