Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yum! Baby Food!

I have been making Adalyn's baby food so I decided to write a post to show how easy it is. We started off our food journey with Billie making Adalyn's food. (I'm pretty sure I had a sweet deal!!) Billie told me that I could borrow her Beaba (that she had gotten at a consignment sale and believe me I had scoured the sales and no luck) once Adalyn started foods.  Well Billie was still using it for Eli at 18 months (seriously you can get some long term use out of these things!) so she made a few foods for Adalyn and brought them to us frozen. 

I started to feel guilty that she was taking the time and effort to make MY child's food so Jonathan found our very own Beaba on Craig's List (my first CL purchase) and when I met up with the girl she said she had only used it once and I believed her. It was brand spankin new! So Billie gave me a crash course in baby food making and also let me borrow her Cooking For Baby book.  The book has great ideas for what foods to start when and it also has recipes! I know there are tons of ways to make baby food and lots more to learn but I thought I'd show you how I'm currently making Adalyn's food.

I decided to make A LOT of food this weekend. I wanted to try three new items (zucchini, cauliflower and blueberries) and I needed to replace her three favorite foods in our freezer (sweet potatoes, acorn squash and apples).  I will admit that blueberries, according to the book, get made differently and by the time I was finished with the other 5 items I was too tired to figure out how to make them. But I will try them soon!

 First, fill up the correct amount of water into the machine for the steaming process. Second, don't move the crap off of the counter in the background of your picture.
 I peel all of the fruits/veggies. I'm not sure if every fruit/veggie needs to be peeled but I'm not willing to chance it.  Then I chop them into really small pieces. (Easier to steam and puree that way.)
 Pile as much as you possibly can into the steaming basket. (I fit all 3 zucchini into the basket.)
 Turn it on to the steam mode. (Like the formula in the background? I'm fancy like that.)
 While your first round is steaming, chop up your next round of food and put it into a bowl for later. (Cauliflower was really messy and she doesn't love it but hopefully we'll try it enough that she learns to like it.)
 Depending on what you cook and how much water you use, it takes different amounts of time. It's usually around 20 minutes and then the light will go off.
 It is H.O.T. So don't burn yourself. The spatula also doubles as a handle to pull basket out.
 When the basket is out, pour the water from steaming into a glass for later. Then dump the steamed veggies into the processor.
 Turn the dial to blend.  The zucchini did not need the cooking water to be added, but there are many veggies/fruits (sweet potatoes, apples, pears) that some or all of the water will need to be poured back in while blending to get a good consistency.  Keep blending until desired smoothness.
 A lot of people use ice cube trays but I didn't have any lying around and lots of people use the Beaba freezer trays which are made of silicone. They are all fancy and also $20 *cough*cough* ouch. And actually I borrowed one at one point and the food is actually pretty tough to get out once it's frozen. Our solution for now is that we use about 3 packs of the small Glad disposable containers.  I fill those up and they work just fine. New foods are much better in ice cube trays because Adalyn eats a smaller portion of new foods. So you can see that I didn't fill much into each cup of these zucchini portions. Oh, and feel free to dribble your zucchini on the counter and make a mess.  The fruits and veggies that she gobbles up get filled all the way up for a larger portion.
 While your next food is steaming, go on to chop more food. Since you chop them while raw, some of the veggies are really hard. So you may have to get your hunky husband with his bulging biceps to slice open your sweet potatoes and squash so that you're able to chop the smaller pieces. You know, hypothetically.
 Chop chop chop. Small pieces are better. And if you're as awesome as me, you might even get a blister on your finger from so much chopping. I'm such a wimp! (In hindsight maybe 5 foods was too much to do back to back.)
 Once the containers are frozen but not too frozen - there is a happy medium so that they are not rock hard but not soft - pop them on out of the containers and into a labeled bag. This is what I ended up with (plus one more cauliflower and one more apple that were already being "used"). That's a lot of food!! Then I stand up the bags in the freezer so that I can easily flip through to find which foods to pull and put back into a Glad container (it's nice that they fit perfectly since they froze in that shape) to take to the sitter with her!
 Added bonus: the leftover juices from the steamer that aren't needed for the food are a great natural juice for Adalyn.  Look how much apple juice was left over from those 5 apples (13 oz)!

Again, I know there are tons of ways to make baby food, but this is what is working for us so far! I hope it helps other people see how easy it really is! I can't wait to try so many more foods!! Oh, and I read on twitter (and you know that is ultimate authority) that if a 6-12 month baby doesn't like a food to try 6-10 introductions and the baby should learn to learn to like it. Supposedly at that age they don't have preconceived taste buds so you can shape them with enough patience. So I'm hoping that is true since I would like to expand Adalyn's tastebuds and also have her eat the green beans and cauliflower that are already made and in the freezer! So don't fear if you take the time to make a food and your baby doesn't like it...just keep trying to introduce it and supposedly your baby will learn to like it! {I wish I knew from experience that that was true!} :)


Janine said...

I have experience in this bottom statement being true! Remember Keagan's gagging and coughing with greenbeans? He finally began to like the pureed version and now eats the "big boy" version with no crazy faces. Almost everything he has tried first has caused a funky face, but I have forced it and not given up and he pretty much eats anything. (I know, I am such a mean mommy...but my kid eats good!)

Anonymous said...

What a great little contraption! I'll admit, when I first started reading this post I was thinking "Why would I spend my money on ANOTHER piece of kitchen equipment when I have a steamer basket and a food processor already?" After finishing your post, I realized it's a very convenient little gizmo! I am seriously thinking of creating a baby registry just to add this and the Cooking for Baby cookbook to it! Keep those mommy tips coming. I'll DEFINITELY need them. :)

Sue said...

That's such a cool little tool, Abby. Glad you found one! I bet it saves tons of money making your own as well as much healthier for Adalyn! You rock, new Momma!! ;-)

Murdock's mama said...

So I think we're going to give this a go tonight. Only question...when you say 'fill up the correct amount of water into the machine for the steaming process,' what is the 'correct amount'?

Thanks...the 'other' Abby! :)

Murdock's mama said...

I should also mention that a friend gave it to us and we don't have the manual! :(