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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lets talk Baby Food

It seems these days that convienience is the way to go when it comes to baby food. Let's stop for a minute and think about what we put in our bodies... does it all come from bottles, cans or jars? If the answer is no (which I would hope it is) then why would we subject our babies to food full of preservatives when baby food is soo simple to make and just as convienient.

2 months ago our newest little baby started solids, when the other two were young we started them at 6 months but this little guy was ready at 4, and at the moment this seems to be the magic age to start.
Making baby food doesnt have to be fiddly and different just one vegetable or fruit in each cube is all you need. I started with nectarine (I know an interesting one but I got a bag of nectarines cheap at the supermarket). You could start with something more generic like apple, pear or sweet potato.

For fruit:
To start all you do is peel and core your fruit, removing any pips etc so all your left with is the flesh. I generally do around 8-10 apples or similar each batch.
Then cut the fruit up (for an apple I cut each quarter in half) and put it in a pot with about a cup of water and let the fruit simmer on the stove till the fruit is soft. Depending on the fruit this could be any where from 10 minutes to 30. Remember to watch the water level, you don't want lots of water but just a small amout to prevent it burning.

For Vegetables:
Most vegetables respond well to steaming. I am lucky enough to have a steam oven and a pressure cooker (both work fabulously) but a steamer pot on the stove, a bench top steamer, microwave steamer or even just in a pot with some water in it on the stove will do.
Potatoes, sweet potato, pumpkin and any other starchy vegetables work well in a pressure cooker or in some water on the stove. Brocolli, carrots, beans, zuchini etc work well steamed. Basically any way you cook your vegetables will work.
I generally steam cut up vegetables for around 7 minutes but check your appliance for more detailed timing.

Once your fruit and vegetables are cooked:
Once soft, depending on the fruit/vegetable, you can either just mash with a fork, use a stick mixer to blend or use a ninja mixer or similar. I recently have been using a mistral gourmet wizard which is like a ninja. These little mixers are great but they tend to puree and I like to keep some texture to the fruit. Some vegetables or fruit need a little bit of water as they could be a bit dry and thick (such as carrot or potato) just add a bit of cooled boiled water till the food becomes the right consistence (thick enough to stay on a spoon but not so much that its dry and will be difficult for your baby to swallow, perhaps think thick tomato sauce)

Don't forget when making vegetables for yourself just make more than you need and freeze the rest for your baby.

Now to freeze your food. I have two different types of cube containers, Tupperware cool cube ice trays and some Happy Baby ice cube trays I got from Big W (see pics below). You can use any type of icecube containers but I like the ones with lids to keep the food clean.
Spoon the mixture into the trays, secure the lids and pop in the freezer for a few hours till set.
Once set remove the cubes (with clean hands of course) and put into zip lock bags. I always label the bags with whats inside and the date created. You would be surprised how much food is orange and looks the same!
I generally keep all vegetables and fruit separate as you can then create your own meal each night, ie potato, carrot and zuchini.
Store the zip lock bags in the freezer and when ready take out a few cubes to create your babies meal.
Pop in a microwave bowl and cook in the microwave for around 30 seconds till defrosted or alternative leave on the bench till defrosted. I like to heat up the vegetables till luke warm before serving.
Any food your baby doesn't eat should be discarded. You can defrost the cubes and store in sealed containers in the fridge for a few days.

Every baby is different but for our 6 month old we have been giving him 2 fruit cubes with 2 tbls of farax or similar with 4tbls of cooled boiled water for breakfast
and for dinner around 4 ice cube vegetables.

be creative, mix it up each night. Some of our favourites are:
sweet potato. pumpkin, carrot and zuchini
potato, apple, carrot
sweet potato and potato
pear, carrot and zuchini

with an hour or so you can create some home made, delicious, healthy baby food your baby will love.
I generally create two different items, tonight it was apple and pear, every few days till I have a supply and then when im running low I cook what I need.

Carrot, Zuchini and some apple cubes ready for the freezer.  The back right containers are tupperware cool cube trays and the green, purple and blue containers are made by Happy Baby.  All these  ice cube containers have lids.  As you can see the the carrot in the back is much thicker than the zuchini cubes in the front.  This makes a great combo together as is has different textures and creates a nice mix.

This pic has pear and apple in the containers.  The mix is smooth and easy to eat as I mix it with farax for breakfast.  You can also add a fruit cube to a dinner time meal too.

In a few weeks I will cook up some meats to add to his diet too, I will post on this when done.