Saturday, March 05, 2011

baby food 101

I never in a million years thought I would be one of *those* moms. You know, the kind of mom that won't give her baby formula (although at this point, its not by choice anymore...more like a call of duty than anything) or actually makes her own baby food. But once I started looking at prices for these teeny little jars of baby food for $1 (okay, 85 cents if they were on sale), I got curious: what on earth am I paying so much for? After my epic fail in the blending-up-green-beans department, I could understand buying baby green bean puree. But when I looked at the label for "apples", I got REAL mad. I JUST PAID A DOLLAR FOR AN OUNCE OF APPLESAUCE?!? What a rip off. I had a 32 ounce jar of applesauce in my fridge that cost me all of $1.50, thank you very much, Gerber. So I started researching baby food making and was entirely convinced I need a baby food cookbook.
 Right. I "need" a baby food cookbook about as much as I "need" Swiss Rolls. A nice luxury to be sure, but certainly one I could live without. So I started gathering up random bits of produce and putting my food processor to work. Don't you love how much Baby D loves potatoes? You should see him laugh when I de-stem asparagus. So the only "real" purchase I made in this baby food-making deal was the Annabel Karmel (she's like the Guy Fieri of the Baby Puree world and wrote the only baby cookbook I was considering purchasing) silicone freeze tray. You just throw some food into the food processor (while Baby is far away of course... Baby D HATES the noise of any loud kitchen appliance), add water, and presto! Baby food out of leftovers.
*Confession Time* I've already broken two of our ice cube trays (sorry, Mr. D) trying to get baby food out (which doesn't come out quite as easily as a block of ice does), but I guess that's what I get for buying cheap ice cube trays! I initially bought two of these freeze trays (on the left of the photo), but then I read somewhere that you just use the trays for initial freezing and then you can put the cubes in another container. So I returned the extra and only use the one shown below. Plus, I love these trays because they make about as much as Baby D will eat in one feeding, and regular ice cube trays are about half the size/depth.
 Fresh (soon to be frozen) on the left, frozen on the right. On the right, I have made carrot puree (orange), eggplant+carrot (brown), acorn squash (yellow orange) and sweet potato (light yellow). I've also made mushrooms, but I don't recommend pureeing mushrooms because they turn jet black and stink so bad, I just ended up throwing those away. On the left side was my experiment tonight, asparagus+potato+mango (Bountiful Basket leftovers). Sounds a little sketch, but I tasted it (I don't feed my kid anything unless I taste it first...yeah, I'm also one of those moms) and it was actually a really good combination.
I thought I wouldn't have time to do stuff like this, but it only takes a few minutes and I only do a batch or two about once a week. Plus its a good way to utilize any leftovers we have before they go bad. I take out a few cubes from the freezer the night before and leave them in a bowl in the fridge, then pop them in the microwave for 10-30 seconds (only to defrost it, I don't heat any food I give Baby D...that's too much work!). It's taken a little adjustment (sometimes we have to add milk or oat cereal to it to make it creamier) since we started off with commercial baby food, but I actually kind of like making baby food, thinking up new concoctions to mix together. It's like a (money-saving) game.

Now, as my little disclaimer, I am NOT trying to make anyone feel guilty for buying commercially made baby food, since there is NOTHING wrong with that. I have just had a couple people asking me lately "how I find time to do it" and I wanted to show how it really doesn't take that much extra work, only a little planning ahead. But don't worry, I will certainly not be attempting to make Puffs or Oat Cereal anytime in the near future, and those are major staples in Baby D's diet right now.  I would personally just rather spend any extra money (that we're not already spending on diapers, wipes, stain remover, and Dreft) on real food that I can take part in eating too. Because I'm selfish (and always hungry) like that. :)

So I guess what I'm saying is... give it a try. You'll probably like it. And if you have extra cubes, you can melt the veggie ones into pasta sauce and thrown the fruit ones into a smoothie. :) It's a win-win.


Andrea said...

You're awesome Ruth. Genius ideas are flowing outta your brain and being stored into mine for when the time is right :)

Emily Rebecca Jacobs said...

I watched a documentary on baby food once... it was gross to say the least.

It's common sense that homemade fresh food is a ton better for you, besides being cheaper! But, like you said, it's just the time :) You're a great mommy, Ruth! Hopefully when I have youngsters I will do the same :) Plus it looks like total yum!

Michelle said...

Freezing baby food...genius! I love this idea and I'm totally going to copy you. I wish we were together raising our little men. Miss you sweetie-pie!

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