Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baby Food Bonanza

Today, what was meant to be a trip to quickly pick up a sippy cup became a chance to go to town on making my own baby food.

I feel like I run a posh smoothie bar in my kitchen...
I knew we needed a few more fruit pots to make it through the weekend...and then I rationalised that it just made sense to grab another vegetable or two so that I could better use up the fresh veg in the fridge that I had set aside for E's food anyway.

I came out - not only with said sippy cup - but with a carton of strawberries (perhaps the runner up after apples for E's favourite food), a bag of pears, a butternut squash, and some garlic. That last was for me; I've run out of garlic, and considering how much pasta, chili, and assorted chicken dishes I cook, not having any garlic is something of a Big Deal in this house.

R-L: squash & carrot, pearberry, pea-tatoes
If anyone else has babies they want to cook for, here's how my yields worked out for the purées:

1 small butternut squash + 2 carrots = 5 pots of baby food
10 strawberries + 1 pear + 1 apple = 3 pots of baby food
2/3 cup of frozen peas + 2 medium potatoes = 3 pots of baby food
2 medium pears + 1/3 cup apple juice = 2 pots of baby food

Note: I added the apple juice to the pears because my blender wasn't going to make non-chunky pear mush without a bit of help. Everything else was fine without any added liquid.

So, of what I made today, that's 10 jars of baby food. And that didn't even use all the strawberries I bought. Which means more for me to dip in chocolate later on!

More please!
Now, I grant you: it would be loads easier, and not much more expensive (if at all) to just buy the stinking jars of baby food. However, after an attempt to feed Little Mister a jar of rice pudding, I came to the realisation that he gets a rash if I feed him stuff that has milk in it. He seems to be fine with the usual Mommy-made variety, but baby foods with milk in them make him look wind-chapped around the mouth. What this means is that I can't buy him some of the more interesting baby foods in our local Sainsbury's - even some of the veg I'd like him to try - because there's milk in the recipes. This way, at least, I can make him try things like cauliflower or butternut squash or pumpkin without having to worry about his allergy.

(And yes, I seem like I'm being Dr. Google and diagnosing my child without the benefit of a GP's opinion, but I tried him on something else with milk in...and ice cream once, and he only gets his little wind-chapped rash when I give him food with dairy. Since it's a repeatable and observable phenomenon, I feel justified in assuming my kid has a mild milk allergy. At least as far as cow's milk is concerned.)

To be honest, in the end, it doesn't take very long to make all that food. I just rinse out the blender between each new batch, and I got the fruit stuff chopped, blended and jarred, while the veggies I'd chopped where boiling on the stove. I can get through the better part of 3 batches of baby food during one of E's naps. I'd say it took less than an hour. (He didn't take his usual hour-long nap today since we did our shop after a very noisy playdate with some other mums. Rather than his usual nap, E ate and screamed and danced and watched the big kids play.)

So that was our food-making adventure for the day. Not my most interesting recipes, but the munchkin seems to enjoy them well enough. After all: the only complaint I've had so far was about the parsnips...and Momma didn't make those.

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