Saturday, September 1, 2012

Week 1 - Quinoa Banana Mash & A Few Baby Food Tips

This is week one of my attempt at 52 weeks of Pinterest. I'm starting with an easy one - something I would have had to do anyway!

Today I made Baby M some baby food based on this pin; the recipe is from Weelicious via an article on iVillage. We make our own baby food, so I've kept an eye out for good recipes to try out.

When Marshall was born, I wasn't sure if we would be up for making baby food for him. It seemed like a lot of work. I decided to try it out and see, and we've been making his food ever since. If you've thought about making your own baby food, but aren't sure if you can do it, here are my thoughts about it:

  • Get. a. Magic. Bullet. If you haven't already been introduced to the awesome, life-changing appliance that is the Magic Bullet, you need to be for baby food. I was already head-over-heels with my Magic Bullet prior to having a baby; I made smoothies almost daily and Preston made hummus. For making baby food, it's a must have. What is it? It's basically a small blender. The benefits are that 1. you don't have to wash a huge blender for something small; 2. the parts go in the dishwasher; 3. you can make things right in the containers you are going to use (cups for smoothies, etc.); 4. there are multiple blending cups, so you can still keep going if something is in the dishwasher. Tip: if you make anything with seeds (smoothie with berries, etc.) be sure to rinse out the parts while it's still wet - the seeds are a pain to wash off once dried and they won't wash off in the dishwasher.
  • Prep a bunch of food at once and freeze it. Okay, so this may be obvious... but we typically make about 2 weeks worth of food at a time. This way we can do it on the weekends - and plan ahead for weekends we might be too busy to get to it. Ice cube trays are easy and cheap, but we need the food to be ready to go for daycare, so we use the OXO Freezer Storage Containers for his daycare food. Side note - our old daycare used to provide food labels and they were amazing. The new daycare does not, so I had to go hunting for them. I haven't been able to find anything like the old ones, but I did find these and they work just fine. They also dissolve in the dishwasher if we forget to remove them. I'm going to keep shopping around because $25 seems expensive - even for 250 labels (=10cents/label). If anyone has recommendations, please leave a comment!
  • Have a bunch of go-to quick foods. There will always be a time when you just didn't get around to prepping the food. Bananas are perfect for this. They're easy to keep on hand and quick to blend or even fork mash. Not to mention that most kids love them.
  • Keep a few jars of baby food on hand, just in case. So far we've always used one of our quick go-tos (bananas and avocados) to fill in when we run out of pre-prepared food, but having a few jars on hand gives me peace of mind. We have used the jars of food when we have traveled and didn't have a way to keep his food frozen.
  • I like knowing what's going into his food. 
  • It's cheaper to make your own baby food. Plus, you can purchase the ingredients from locally grown suppliers, etc. and let your $ go to supporting those folks vs. the baby food manufacturers.
  • I have control over the consistency of his food, and can progress it as he matures. As far as I know (please correct me if I'm wrong), baby food pretty much comes in one consistency. Making it myself has allowed me to do things like fork mash bananas and leave some small pieces for him to get used to chewing and swallowing.
  • Our biggest challenge has been the timing of making his food and the timing of the buying and/or the ripening of the ingredients.  Because life happens, not everything always gets made the weekend we planned on making it. Another frequent problem is that we'll purchase avocados or mangos on the weekend and they don't ripen for a couple of days. By then we're back at work and forgetting about the fruit. We try to remember to stick it in the fridge, etc., but that doesn't always happen. It always makes me sad when food ends up going to waste. The best things I've been able to do to combat this are to try to reign in my plans and try not to buy more than we can realistically make; and to buy a balance of time intensive items and easy items.

So far it has been quite reasonable to make his food. We'll see if that holds true with toddler food!

Okay, okay. On to the Quinoa Banana Mash. I made a few adjustments: first, I did not use yogurt. Since Marshall has a dairy intolerance, we haven't introduced yogurt yet. We're staying extra cautious. Instead, I mixed up a small amount of formula and added it in 1/2 tablespoon at a time to get the right consistency - which ended up being about the same as the suggested measurements for the yogurt.

I doubled up on the recipe and got about 6 oz. of food from it. Here's how it went:

End product looks great... and yes, I snuck a taste and it was delicious! We'll see what Baby M thinks of it. Stay tuned!

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