Baby food makin’

So now that Lizzie has reached the ripe ol’ age of 6 months we’re starting to introduce her to the wonderful world of solid foods.  I love this part, especially to see all the funny faces they make when trying  a new food.

I haven’t been able to capture the funny faces on this one yet.  Just the sweet innocent look.  Which she has perfected, the little devil angel.

And in the interest of feeding my kids better quality food and saving money, one of the best ways I can do that for Lizzie is to make my own baby food.  I probably made about 30% of the baby food I fed to Carlie when she was a baby, about 70% for Maddie, and I hope to make it to 90% or more for Lizzie. 

Yes, I think in terms of percents.  It’s the math nerd in me.

But with Lizzie I also hope to use mostly organic.  I never worried that much about organic for the other two.  The organic movement wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it is today and I hadn’t jumped on the bandwagon yet.  I feel like I have another chance to start her off right and not put chemicals and other unnatural ingredients in her body at this young age where so many important changes are happening to her body.

And making baby food is so easy.  In fact, I made a whole bunch this weekend.  There are tons of websites out there with recipes on how to make baby food, but ultimately you’re just cooking food and blending it with water into a consistency that a baby can eat.

Super duper simple.

I freeze the puree in ice cube trays then dump into plastic ziplock bags or tupperware containers and store in the freezer.  Each cube is about 1 oz, so you can defrost as many or as few as you need at each meal time.

Since Lizzie is just starting out I just made a bunch of simple, single food purees.  This weekend was carrots, sweet potatoes, and apples.  Make that sweet potatoes (2), apples and carrots, to correspond to order of appearance below.

I have some pears and bananas still ripening.  And I need to see if I can get organic peas and green beans in the freezer section of Whole Foods this week.

To make more complex flavors I just mix several different purees together and/or add spices such as oregano, basil or thyme to vary it up a bit as she gets older.  I strongly believe exposing babies to new tastes, flavors and textures at this young age is instrumental in developing their desire and willingness to try and like new foods as they grow.

Next to tackle is meat.  This is where I struggle.  I’d love to buy antibiotic free, free range meat to cook for her.  But it seems crazy to buy it when we’ll just be pureeing it, and given that because of cost I won’t even buy it for the rest of us.  I need to ponder this one a while.

I also need to see about making our own cereal, like perhaps grinding down regular oatmeal to make it baby-food consistency.  Because I hate spending $2 or more on an 8 oz box of baby oatmeal when I can get 42 oz regular oatmeal for less than $2.

I enjoy cooking and feeding my children, but I’m sooooo looking forward to when she eats table food with us.  The sooner the better, if you ask me.  That’s why I keep giving her Cheerios every time she’s at the high chair even though she never picks it up.  She will someday.

Did you make your own baby food?  If so what was your or your child’s favorite flavor combination?


8 responses

  1. I make about 98% of Ethan’s foods…and I’ve been pretty adventurous in what I’ve offered him. So far, the only thing that he hasn’t gone for was the lima beans. Right now, E’s favorite food is turnips…he can’t get enough of them!!

    In terms of the grains, I’ve found that if I made whatever it is and then puree it that I have better luck. He LOVES quinoa & lentils. Millet & amaranth are the next two on my list to offer him. When I add dry cereal, I also add either ground flaxseed and/or wheat germ since they both offer so many additional nutritional benefits (DHA, for example). Also, bulgered wheat cooks up into a good texture for him without much additional work on my part. I did read a post from Weelicious that gave stet-by-step instructions for to do other grains, if you’re really interested in trying to make your own….in fact, that’s true for almost everything baby food related.

    I’m still at the point where I make everything single and mix the offering at the table…for instance, 1 cube of quinoa, 2 cubes of squash, & 1 cube of sweet red peppers. I’ve also found that he really likes pumpkin, apples or pears, & yogurt, with my cereal mix (it tastes like pumpkin pie…divine!!).

    In terms of introducing meat, with Ryan, he never really liked just pureed grilled chicken, beef, pork, ham, etc. But, by that time, he had been introduced to a wide range of other foods…so, I just started pureeing whatever it was we were having for dinner. We ate spaghetti, so did he. We ate chicken & rice casserole, so did he. He was getting all of the meat without forming a negative opinion of it and I was getting out of being a short order cook. From there, we just started phasing out the single veggies and making the consistency thicker and more like our food, until it was.

    The other thing to note, not everything has to be steamed or cooked. Kiwi, ripe pears, avocado, bananas…anything soft really…can be served fresh with the help of a food mill. Which, makes everything just a little bit easier.

  2. I made most of Darren’s baby food. Caroline didn’t care for the purees, and instead went pretty much straight to bits of real food – frozen veggies, cut up meatballs, little bits of grilled chicken, and of course cheerios. She also loved to pick up asparagus and suck it like a lollipop.

    P.S. We have the exact same high chair.

  3. One other thing to note, I also freeze plain or plain greek yogurt in ice cube trays and add those to the single veggies when I want to make something creamy. I’m too stingy with my breastmilk (maybe if I produced more, but…) to use in food. He gets enough formula mixed in his diet with the supplementing that we have to do. And, I like that it has live cultures that help with digestion…especially now that he’s on antibiotics.

    If I want to offer a sweet yogurt, I add in pureed fruit…because, even YoBaby has sugar in it. When Ryan got to the point where I thought it should be sweeter (because I was eating it too), I added a little bit of agave or honey (he was older than 1 when I started this) to it.

    In terms of the free range, antibiotic free meat…have you thought about contacting a local rancher to get a side of beef or pork? While it’s a bigger initial investment, you’ll find that your average cost/lb is MUCH cheaper…and, you get to specify you cutting instructions and get the meat exactly the way you want it. I, for example, get my hamburger “trimmed lean with no fat added back” so it’s super, super lean. And, all of my steaks are cut 1.5″ thick, 3 lb roasts, the round steaks are already tenderized, and my hamburger packed in 1 lb packages. One more thing that simplifies my life…and saves on my grocery bill.

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  5. I made most of Isabel’s food too. She loved anything with blueberries, pears and avocados. I once made a batch of blueberry-pear oatmeal which then inspired me to bake a blueberry-pear cobbler. Delicious. One of her fave combos was chicken mixed with pears. I didn’t do a lot of meat except for chicken and ham.

    And for larger servings I found that silicon muffin pans worked really well for freezing portions.

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