Homemade Baby Food

01/24/2012

It sounds really complicated but really Homemade Baby Food is just fancy words for softened (steamed, baked, mashed), blended food frozen into small portions. It’s easy and it’s inexpensive. For Christmas, Precious got this wonderful Baby Bjorn bib that my friend recommended. It’s made from a stiff silicon-ish material so the food catching lip doesn’t collapse. Also, the neck is adjustable so it will fit for a while. Perfect for Precious’ reintroduction to solid foods. (We started on rice cereal at 4 months old but neither of us was really ready yet. Now, at 6 months she’s ready. And I am, too.)

She also got some great Oxo Tot baby food freezing containers for Christmas. Oxo is my all-time favorite kitchen gadget brand. This Oxo Tot freezer tray pretty much just looks like any old ice cube tray but it has a lid—a pretty green lid—with a special function. It’s curved at the ends so you can dump just one ice cube out at a time. Smart, huh? It makes 1 oz. portions. Perfect for introducing new foods. Once the cubes are all frozen, I’ve been popping them into freezer bags so I can label and date them.

The Oxo Tot baby blocks six pack tray and 2 oz. containers are handy for taking larger portions on the go. I haven’t seen these in action yet but the first batch of pureed carrots is freezing right now. So far I have made avocado, carrots and bananas for Precious. Next on my list are sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, apples and pears. I’m curious to hear from you: What were the first foods you fed your kids? What foods were their favorites? Did you make baby food at home, blend up whatever you were eating or buy baby food pre-made?


Being Fruitful

04/18/2011

We haven’t planned many vegetables this year. Arugula. Romaine lettuce. Tomatoes. And tomatoes can technically be considered a fruit. But we have 3 strawberry plants, a black raspberry bush and a peach tree already established. This year we added 2 cherry trees and a pear (Black Tartarian Sweet Cherry and Stella Sweet Cherry to cross pollinate, and Keiffer Pear which is self-pollinating.) The new trees are pretty much just a twig with some leaves … we definitely won’t be getting any fruit from them this year.

(Unfinished side of the fence…) From left to right the arrows point to: cherry, peach, pear, cherry.

From the other end of the yard:

Our peach tree. Last year we had pests. The year before mold. We think we’ve solved both problems and we have really high hopes this year!


Fruit (Veggie, Grain) Smoothies

02/21/2011

Lately my breakfast of choice is a smoothie. I’ve been experimenting with many different combinations of fruits and vegetables and I haven’t found one I don’t like yet! Recently, the Pioneer Woman had a post about smoothies and after skimming the comments, I got some new ideas for smoothie ingredients. I thought I’d share my favorites.

Frozen Berries
PW used fresh fruit and ice in hers but we prefer to use frozen fruit. Fresh fruit can be frozen when it’s in season and out of season fruits are usually cheaper to buy already frozen. I buy bags of blackberries, strawberries or mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries plus the former two).

Frozen Bananas
I prefer the texture of a frozen banana in my smoothie to a fresh one. (Too slimy.) I peel and freeze my own bananas. You may be able to buy them already frozen, I’ve never looked. Frozen bananas are also great for cooking. Bananas also add sweetness to the smoothies.

Milk or Yogurt
I often add a splash of milk to thin out a thick smoothie or to lighten it to a more appealing shade of pink. It’s true. I’ve used yogurt for the same purpose in the past. Obviously skip this if you’re looking for a dairy free smoothie.

Applesauce
This was a suggestion I saw from a comment on PW. Applesauce can be used instead of milk or yogurt. Apples alone hurt my stomach so I like the idea of mixing applesauce into other recipes. Applesauce also adds sweetness.

Honey or Sugar
If I make a smoothie without applesauce or banana, I like to add sweetener. I prefer the taste of sugar but I try to be good and use honey instead. We always purchase local honey and supposedly having a spoonful of local honey everyday is good for building an immunity to local pollens and allergens.

Spinach
Add a handful of fresh green spinach to a smoothie. It’s undetectable!

Oatmeal
Another addition I’ve tried based on a comment from PW’s post. The first time I added a spoonful of dry oats I couldn’t taste them at all. The texture is a little bit gritty but with all the berry seeds it’s hard to tell. The second time I added way too many oats. That’s all I could taste. I gave Jason the other half and he couldn’t detect the spinach or oats. Maybe it was just psychological.

Carrots
The other day I was making a salad for lunch at the same time as I was making my smoothie so I threw in some matchstick carrots. I couldn’t see them or taste them in the smoothie at all.

Mango, Guava and other fruit purées
I’ve only tried mango so far, though I have guava in the freezer right now. I bought a package of 4 pouches of mango purée from Trader Joe’s. Running the pouch under hot water for a minute or two thaws it enough to mix into the smoothie.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions. If you try any of these, let me know what you think!


Our Vegetable (& Fruit) Garden – June 2010

06/21/2010

In a continuation of Thursday’s post about our garden, here is a look around our vegetable garden and the fruit trees, plants & bushes we have around our yard.

Our green and red pepper plants are not doing so great and we’re not sure why. The plants each have a pepper but have few yellowish leaves and don’t seem to be growing much. We have one head of romaine lettuce, one brussel sprout plant and lots of grape, cherry, better boy and beef steak tomatoes. (BTW, we’re much happier with the beef steak than the better boy this year. I think this is the last year we’re going to plant better boy.)

The peach tree is doing pretty well. We have some little black spots on our peaches but not the big black mold spots like last year (known as Black Spot, from too much rain.)

I can’t wait for these babies to get ripe!

I’ve been loving the black raspberries this year! I’m looking forward to the bush getting bigger so we can eat more than 1 or 2 berries at a time.

Foreground – flowering yucca in our cactus garden. Background, l-r – vegetable garden, compost bin, peach tree.

I know it’s out of focus but that there is a cute, teeny little watermelon. We have 3 or 4 of these pea size cuties so far.

Jason’s Mexican (key) lime tree is looking good. I wonder if we’ll have enough to make a key lime pie.


Our Vegetable Garden – May 2010

05/17/2010

A few weeks ago we had the first “harvest” from our vegetable garden: a handful of tiny, delicious strawberries. This weekend we shared our first small cherry tomato. Isn’t it cute? It was yummy.

The raised vegetable bed with 4 varieties of tomatoes, red peppers, green peppers, brussel sprouts, arugula and romaine.

Baby green pepper:

Better Boy tomato plant:

Looking forward to these in a few weeks! Thanks to our greenhouses, we should have an early crop!

The herb garden:

Raspberry bush:

Peach tree:

Yesterday we bought two blueberry bush stems on clearances at Lowes. Not expecting any harvest this year but I’m looking forward to blueberries in the future!

I forgot to snap a picture of the Key Lime tree Jason bought a few days ago. We’re also considering adding some more fruit trees this year to make a mini orchard – maybe pear and fig. I’m so excited to have all these fruits and vegetables right from our own urban backyard!!


Fruit-sicles

08/21/2009

If you live in Nashville surely you’re familiar with Las Paletas, our local gourmet popsicle dealer. They’re delicious and absolutely creative in their flavors (all made with real fruit and natural ingredients).

popsicles

But… they can be a bit pricey. So I decided to make my own. Hubs and I make smoothies at home all the time so this was a simple adaptation. I blended up a mix of way-too-many kinds of frozen fruit (we buy bags of frozen fruit and freeze our own bananas), sugar, and water. Then I carefully spooned the mixture into my popsicle molds. Easy peasy!

process

Might as well make yourself a smoothie while you’re at it…

inthefreezer

Afterall, it takes a while for the fruit-sicles to freeze.