Monday, January 24, 2011

Baby Food Sucess: Always have two pots on the Stove

 One of my biggest fears prior to embarking on making baby food for my little man was that it would take too much time.  I work full time, commute and hour each way and most nights I don't even eat dinner until after the kids are in bed.  My concern was that I wouldn't be able to commit to it because I simply wouldn't have the time.  As I started making his food and found out what worked and what didn't I realized that there were a few simple techniques that minimized my time in the kitchen while still allowing me to make my little man's baby food.
I love this tip because if you follow this rule, even one or two days a week you will have plenty of food for you little one and you will have spent little to no additional time in the kitchen (other than the time spent cooking meals for the rest of the family).
Now in a perfect world I would just make dinner for my older guy, my husband and I and then throw it in the food processor and the baby's food would be made.  Believe me there are time (as he started eating combo meals that this was the case), but when they are starting out and can only have one food at a time, or even as they get older but you want to add spices/seasonings that you can't or don't want to give to the baby you need another option and this is it.
While you are cooking dinner for the rest of the family have two pots going.  One for the baby (and possibly younger children) and one for the rest of the family.  You will cut and prepare all of the ingedients one time and they will be on the stove cooking at the same time, but it allows you to give the baby a meal that is appropriate for his/her stage of eating and the rest of the family can have a meal that they will enjoy and you have added no additional "kitchen time" (except possibly puree/storage time, but that should be no more than 5 minutes).  As always add some extra to the baby's pot so that you will be able to freeze some for later in the week or for that night when the rest of the family is eating pizza you don't want to have to venture into the kitchen.
You can use this tip with just about anything but here are a couple of examples:
1.) Easily convert your veggie side dish into baby food:  Many times we sautee veggies in white wine and lemon, but that is not an option for the baby (though the alcohol cooks off there is still a very small amount left so we choose not too feed him these veggie, plus the lemon is acidic for your little ones tummy.  While I have the "adult" veggies in one pan, I will be cooking the "baby" veggie in another.  You chop veggies once, you cook once, but you have created a meal for baby and the rest of the family.  This is an especially useful tip when baby is in the first stages of eating baby food and can only eat one item at a time.
2.) Soups and Stews:  Soups and Stews can be wonderfully healthy foods for you little one's as they begin eating more food combinations and chunkier consistency, but when I am making soup/stew for my husband and I we don't want to feel like we are eating bland baby food. So again you will want to get two pots going, one will make the "adult" version and one will be for the "baby" verion.  This will allow you to make beef stew for you baby (with homemade stock, veggies and beef) that can later be pureed as necessary and a beef stew for the rest of the family (with some red wine, salt, pepper, steak seasoning, etc...).  Once again you have chopped once, cooked once and have meals for the baby as well as the whole family.  The only additional "kitchen time" is the time to puree and store.
As you can see, if you follow this simple tip, even just a couple days a week (especially if you make extra to freeze) you will be able to make healthy baby food for your little one with no additional "kitchen time" required.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pumpkin and rice (Stage 3 - Consistency):

You will want to make this pumpkin recipe for your older babies who are starting to eat thicker/chunkier consistencies.  I make this recipe with brown rice.  However, you can feel free to replace that with white rice if you choose.  I try to choose brown rice for my little guy whenever possible because of the added nutritional benefits, plus in my opinion it is just more flavorful.  Having said that, if we are having white rice with dinner or leftover from the previous night the baby will have that with his meal.
What you need:
Cooked brown rice (as noted substitute white rice if you wish)
Fresh Pumpkin (peeled and chopped)
Water (or homemade chicken stock)
Nutmeg (optional)
Cinnamon (optional)
What to do:
Place the pieces of pumpkin in a saucepan and cover with the water or chicken stock
Let it simmer for about 20 minutes before adding the rice
Continue to cook for 5 - 10 minutes, since the rice is already cooked this is just heating it through.  If additional liquid is needed as it cooks add a small amount of additional water or chicken stock
 - If your baby is eating food with some consistency to it you should be fine to serve as is. 
 - If you need a more uniform texture for your baby you will want to puree slightly adding water as needed.
If you have introduced spices/seasonings to your little one and you wish to add one or both of the optional ingredients above you can add a dash of one or both to the saucepan as it is simmering.
**Mommy Tip**
This is a great side dish to offer to your older children as well.  In the baby version I would include more pumpkin than rice to make it easier for the baby to eat.  In the version for an older child I would re-heat the rice separatly and then add a bit of the pumpkin for a fun holiday twist on your typical rice side dish.

Pumpkin and Parsnip Puree (Stage 2 - Combo's):

You will only want to make this for you little one if they have tried one or both of the main ingredients (pumpkin and parsnip). 
What you need:
1 Parsnip
Fresh Pumpkin (you can use canned pumpkin but be sure to check the label first)
Nutmeg (optional)
Cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp chopped fresh chives (optional)
What to do:
Peel the parsnip and pumpkin and cut into chunks
Steam the pumpkin and parsnip together until they are tender enough to puree
Blend in your food processor (or favorite pureeing devise) until you reach the desired consistency for your baby
If you have introduced spices/seasonings to your little one and you wish to add one or all of the optional ingredients above you can sprinkle on the pumpkin and parsnip before beginning to puree.  You can also add at the end (when you are a couple of seconds away from the desires consistency) the final seconds of pureeing will incorporate your seasonings throughout.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mashed Sweet Potato and Banana for baby and the whole family

This is a great sweet potato combination that is super easy and quick!!!

What you need:
Basic Veggie Puree - Sweet Potato

What to do:
Chop about 1/2 of a banana
Put the banana and the Sweet Potato into your favorite pureeing device
Puree to the desired consistency

Thats it!!! Like I said super easy and quick!!!