When Lois started eating, Daniel and I made the firm decision that she would start with real foods - none of that rice-and-bland cereal. So naturally, her first food was an Azalea Yam – produced locally by…ahem…my husband. While her initial reaction was less than enthusiastic, in a couple of days she caught on and I have been making her whole, delicious meals from scratch ever since.
Now my reader might want to percieve some kind of heroic overtone in that last sentence. Perhaps that first paragraph should have been written with its own score and an ever deeping horizon á la Star Wars. However, I am writing to dispel the myth that baby-food-making is only for the super moms among us. I certainly do not fall into that category and well...
The truth is this:
Making your own baby food is so much easier and cheaper and there is TONS of excellent support on the internet. Further, I am here to encourage my reader that there is nothing special about it - the working mother CAN do it! Your baby will reap all the benefits of beginning a strong love of nutritious foods early, and you’ll save money. Win, Win, Win. In addition, you won’t be left wondering for hours on end why your child’s “butternut squash” is a deep and mysterious khaki.
What follows are some hints, tips, and recipes that I have had a lot of success with. If you find this at all helpful, please subscribe to my site over yonder (your right) for recipe wins, losses, and other tiny foodie exploits.
Basic Equipment – A Food Processor and Ice Trays. I do have a Baby Beaba, but honestly – it isn’t necessary, I don’t use it that much (I do use it some) and you’ll be able to continue using your food processor long after your children are grown.
Helpful Literature, etc. – I cannot more enthusiastically plug Maggie Meade’s little book The Wholesome Baby Food Guide. It is accessible, encouraging, and full of easy recipes (including most of what is included on this blog). It is a book I keep on my nightstand to peep when I start wondering about what foods we should soon be exploring. Buy it here. Along with her great book Ms. Meade has also created a powerhouse Momtastic website that is also chock full of recipes and other parents on this same adventure.
Our Method – Perhaps I should have lead with this because if you guys aren’t sold on the ease of it all, I doubt you’ll care about equipment and literature. Alas I lead with those things because honestly, between the book, website, and food processor, I do almost none of the work. Well, I do watch the oven. (Those of you without children will not appreciate the skill and concentration it takes a new mother to remember that something is in the oven. Those of you with young children might feel compelled to forward a badge of merit my way – I accept.)
Taking a note from Ms. Meade, I simply exploit the oven. EXPLOIT THE OVEN. I had to yell that because it is genius, and it isn’t my idea. But it is one of those simple revelations that changes everything. Exploiting the oven (or crock pot or stove) is why making your own baby food is a breeze.
Exploiting the oven requires little thought and can best be described with a simple narrative:
Katie wakes on a Tuesday and decides to make lasagna for dinner. She realizes that Stouffer will require her oven to be set and on at 400 degrees for an hour or so. Katie then remembers: Pumpkin, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, and all kinds of wunder-squashes can also be baked at 400. So after a quick visit to the frozen food aisle for what is definitely better lasagna than she could (or would) craft on her own, Katie stops at the produce section and grabs some of the aforementioned veggies. When the time is right, she then preheats the oven, pours herself a heaping glass of vino, puts in the lasagna and her other veggies – making sure all of her oven shelves are full of delicious delectables. Katie has exploited the oven.
That riveting tale illustrates the ease with which Daniel and I have been able to produce healthy meals for Lois. The steps that were not in the narrative are as follows:
- Make an easy decision, perhaps based on what looks good at the market.
- Once the veggies have finished cooking, place each in the processor and puree
- Pour Puree into ice trays and freeze.
- When the allotted meal-time then arrives, pull a couple of cubes out of whatever veggie, or combo of veggie you choose.
- Feed to baby
This is the first post of many. In the next few days I will begin posting recipes that I have had some good success with and meals that Lois has really enjoyed. If you're not a subscriber but still interested click on "baby food" in the tag cloud, or "Cooking" under categories for my other posts that discuss baby eating. Follow along and comment what has worked for you!