Thursday, December 24, 2009

Making Homemade Baby Food

I’ve always been a “natural” food eater.  Yes, I enjoy my florescent orange cheese puffs now and then, but I will always prefer fresh fruits and vegetables and a balanced meal to prepared grocery foods.  I hold the same values for my child’s meals.  Packaged baby food is as natural as packaged food can get.  It usually contains water plus whatever the food is and ascorbic acid, which has vitamin C.  Perfect!  But, the jars can get expensive, especially if you buy organic.  I have the luxury of buying packaged baby food when it’s on sale, and I make the rest at home.  The jarred food is extremely convenient for travel, and when I haven’t had time to make purees.

I use the Beaba Baby Cook to steam vegetables and fruits.  I feed Henry the steamed veggies in finger pieces, or in the same contraption, I blend the food into the pureed consistency I choose.  The Beaba Baby Cook also reheats frozen foods.  It’s extremely convenient, and there are fewer dishes to clean.  The only caveat is that it is on the small side, which means I have to make multiple batches of food now that Henry seems to eat the same amount of food as I do.  This issue doesn’t bother me, however, as Henry doesn’t like to eat the same food every day.  And I’ve stopped freezing most his food, as he finishes the fresh food before it goes bad.  When we started solids, I would freeze the extra food in ice cube trays, and then pop them into a Ziploc bag.  

We received a few baby food cookbooks as hand-me-downs and gifts, and have found them somewhat useful.  They are not necessary, as there isn’t much to steamed carrots.  They are helpful to know at what temperature to roast chicken, etc.  I’ve mostly gone to for recipes.  I found a great meatball recipe there, which Henry likes.  And the site gives ideas on what foods go well together.  Before I found this site, I was mixing together things like avocado (raw) and prunes (steamed and pureed), which made my sister gag. 

I generally buy Henry’s prepared baby food at 4 places: Target; Toys ‘R Us; the grocery store (Jewel or Dominick’s) and Milwaukee.  The stores in Chicago have promotions on certain brands regularly.  I love stocking up on food in Milwaukee generally, as there is zero sales tax!  It’s a very progressive philosophy – the government doesn’t tax the “necessities” of life.  We visit Milwaukee once every month or two to see Chris’ parents, not to solely to buy food.

Henry enjoys the jarred food, and I’ve found that Earth’s Best has a great variety of organic puree mixtures.  It’s on the pricey side, however, and I’ve found the “O” organics brand of baby food at Dominick’s, which is more affordable than Earth’s Best and Gerber Organics.  Henry doesn’t eat exclusively organic, but I try to feed him mostly organic foods, just in case it actually makes a difference in his health.

He's turning out to be a great eater, and onlookers watch amazed as he shovels large amounts of broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, bread, dumplings etc. into his sweet little pie hole.

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