Monday, January 17, 2011

Baby Food

I am kicking myself for not making Amelia's baby food when she was ready for it.  I'm trying to remember now why I didn't; and I think it was a combination of things. 

She was my first baby, and I was SO particular about everything.  Rafe was still deployed; I was still working until she was 9 months old (she was in a daycare right down the hall from where I worked, so I still nursed her); I was tired basically being a single parent; I wanted her to have only organic foods, especially dairy.  As a matter of fact, she's only a few months ago had her first regular milk that wasn't organic.  I totally jinxed myself - she could taste the difference and stopped drinking milk.  She didn't even see the carton, she just told me the milk tasted funny and she didn't like it.  I finally had to switch back.

Since I was the only one who needed "real" food, I hardly ever cooked at home.  I just ate mostly fresh fruits and veggies and the food I cooked at work.  I bought Amelia's food, but the range of organic foods was limited in the area we lived in.  She never liked the taste of meat unless it was some concoction that had brown rice, beef and peas in it.  I don't blame her, I've tasted meat baby food and it's awful. 

The bottom line is that I didn't give her quite the variety of foods I should have when she was a baby.  I wanted to make her food, but for some reason I had it in my head that it was this arduous process with precise recipes.  HA!  I was so wrong. 

So now I am making Livie's food and having so much fun doing it.  It's so much easier than I ever thought.  For the most part, I just cook really good meals and then puree parts of them.  I've also recently bought some things just to make her different combinations of fruits and veggies.  I've been using my handy dandy ice cube trays (love those things!) for freezing them.  I freeze for a couple of hours, pop the cubes out and put in labeled freezer zip loc bags and fill them up again. 

One thing I've realized is how much I have been getting ripped off buying baby food.  To get that nice thin consistency that baby food stage 1 comes in, you add a lot of water to a small amount of puree. 

So far we've done:
Plaza III Soup
Beef Stew with Mushrooms
Garlic Roasted Chicken (added a bit of stock to this)
BBQ Smoked Turkey (the real smoked whole turkey, also added a bit of stock to this with the bbq sauce)
Pumpkin Applesauce (used up a bunch of apples hanging around and our Halloween decoration pumpkin)
3 Apple Sauce
Sweet Potato with Cinnamon
Butternut Squash
Roasted Root Vegetables (turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, carrots, celery, onion, herbs)
Corn, Peas, Carrots

I bought some carrots and parsnips and tomorrow I'm going to roast and puree them; pears were on sale so I'm roasting those; maybe some chicken and leeks I've got hanging around in my veggie drawer and needs to be used; cauliflower; collard greens; black eye peas and rice;  I might do something with spinach and potatoes...I think I might have some brown rice in the pantry.  I might even throw in some wheat germ or flax seed into some of the mixes. 

I've decided to cheat a little and look on baby food websites to get ideas of combinations also.  I don't bother with a recipe, just the main ingredients (like Sprout, Jack's Harvest, Happy Baby, etc)
It's so much easier than I ever thought.  Just cook, throw in food processor, blend.  Add liquid as/if needed.  Freeze.  That's the whole recipe right there.

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