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.

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