DIY Baby Food

baby food

Making your own baby food is super cheap and easy. Before my son started eating solids, I started squirreling away food for him in the freezer. Basically you take a food, run it through a blender or food processor until it’s smooth, then store it until you feed it to a baby. It’s seriously that easy. I do have a few hints and tricks to make it even easier. I mean, of course I do. I couldn’t call myself That Clever Chick if I didn’t, could I? Well, not without shame.

Cooking:

To start off, you want to keep each food completely separate from everything else, meaning no apple banana blends until you make sure the kiddo doesn’t have a food sensitivity. I’m sure you’ve read all about this in your baby books, so I’m not going to go into exhaustive detail. So the first ingredients in your baby food will be just the food and probably some water.

I never peeled anything, like apples or pears, that I would normally eat the peel on. I did cook these things, rather than just blending them up raw, at least at first. Bananas don’t need to be cooked, but I think everything else should be. You can steam, boil, or bake your foods. For apples and pears, I cut them up into chunks and put them in a glass baking dish with some water. I put this in the oven at 350 until they were mushy. Wait until it cools to run it through the blender.

For first foods, whatever you’re making for the baby, you basically cook it until it’s mushy and will blend easily. So instead of steaming broccoli until it’s still crisp, let it keep going until it falls apart when you push on it. Once the baby gets a little older and is ready for more textured food, you can cook it a little less. Eventually you can just mash up what you’re having for dinner, and skip the blender altogether.

Tips:

Make extra of whatever you’re eating. Are you making broccoli for yourself? Make extra (without any spices or seasoning) for the baby.

Once you have the blender or food processor out, make several things at once. You can microwave a sweet potato, or just blend up some raw bananas if you don’t have anything else prepared for your little munchkin.

Rinse the container out in between batches until you’ve established what foods your baby is not allergic to. After that, run them through starting with safe foods, and ending with new foods. So you know your baby can have bananas just fine, but haven’t tried peas yet? Blend the bananas first, store them, and rinse the blender. Now when you run the peas through, if there’s a tiny bit of banana residue left behind, it’s no big deal.

Something too runny? Add a little baby cereal to thicken it up.

Too chunky? Try adding water, then blending it some more. Still not working? Run it through the microwave a bit to cook those stubborn bits.

Need ideas? Check out the baby foods at the store. They have quinoa and stuff in them! You bet I made some quinoa for my kiddo. I mix it in with fruit or veggies to add protein, and he loves it.

Storing:

I used normal ice cube trays to freeze the baby food into small, ~1 ounce portions. Once these were frozen, I popped them out and stored them in freezer bags. The food cubes fit into baby food jars, so you can just grab one, pop it into a jar, and then store it in the fridge or put it on the counter to thaw. They’re so small, they thaw pretty quickly. I got baby food jars from a friend who bought her baby food, but you could also buy your first few jars. You can also use Tupperware. Nothing says you have to feed your baby out of those classic glass jars.

Note: If you’re going to make baby prunes, soak them until they’re soft first. I destroyed my old food processor trying to blend them up too enthusiastically. Also, they DO NOT pop out of ice cube trays, so when making prunes, freeze them in small, individual containers. They stay sticky and never freeze solid. I haven’t tried other dried fruits, but I would take the same precautions with them.

 

I hope you’ll try this. It seems like there’s some special process Gerber goes through to make their baby food, but there really isn’t. Making your own is surprisingly easy, and cost effective. By my rough estimation, homemade costs half as much as store bought, if not less. Think of all the toys you can buy with the savings! Or something boring, like college savings.

September 29, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Baby Stuff, Cooking, Thriftiness is Cool. 2 comments.

Baking Day

What to do on a hot summer day at home with the family….heat up the whole house by baking a bunch? Why not!? Maybe it wasn’t the best plan, but Hubby and I had a fun day working in the kitchen together, while our baby, Nacho, played on the floor. It was such an adorable scene of domesticity, Donna Reed would have been jealous. So what did we make? 

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Goat cheese and pear pie! I know it sounds super fancy, but I got the goat cheese at Costco super cheap, and the pears were home-canned ones Mi Madre made. I used this recipe, but I used store-bought pie crust (cause I’m classy), and left out the pine nuts (cause I didn’t have any). It tasted like goat cheesecake. It was great!

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We also made cookies! My sis-in-law gave us one of those jars of cookie mix for Christmas, so we finally got around to making them only 8 months later! Not too shabby. You can tell a couple of them got a little extra “love” from the oven, but they all tasted great.

No real advice today, I just wanted to prove that I’m still alive, and active, and use these pictures I took. Oh, and brag about my delicious goat cheese pie!

September 27, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Cooking. 1 comment.

Just in time for fall

I finished a couple crochet projects, and I just want to brag and show them off. The thing is, I finished them both literally just in time for summer, and just now uploaded the pictures. I guess having a kid kind of fire bombs the blogging schedule…

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Here we have a little scarf I made for my BFF. I started it AGES ago, before either of us had kids. I hoped to finish it for her last Christmas, but failed. I DID, however, finish it in time for her birthday this year! But then didn’t see her for a couple of months…and then gave it to her on a blazing hot summer day. Great. Hopefully, Kay enjoys it this winter!

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And for myself, I finally completed my hoodie scarf! It’s a scarf with the hood built in! When I was modeling it for pictures, though, I guess it didn’t occur to me that my jammies would be visible. Here, let me fix that real quick…

scarf princess

There, now I’m a princess! My awesome hoodie scarf is covering my crown. And you’ll just have to ignore the dirty mirror. MS Paint can’t do anything about that. I’m not posting a pattern for the hoodie scarf because A) I want to have the only one, and I know how ya’ll copy me, and B) I just made it up as I went along. I don’t know if I could ever recreate this, even if my life depended on it. But I make a dazzling princess, right?

September 25, 2014. Tags: , , , . Arts and Crafts. 2 comments.

Dog Toy Repair

Our corgi, Flapjack, has been a bit neglected since my son, Nacho, was born. Neglected as in “no longer receiving endless attention”. To remedy this, his Aunt Lis brought him a new toy! Star Wars themed, no less! Unfortunately, Boba Fett is strong enough to withstand the Great Pit of Carkoon, but not the Mighty Jaws of Corgi. But Flapjack still loved his busted bounty hunter, even bringing him up to bed each night. I had to perform some armor repair.

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You can see I very crudely wrapped denim around the torso, and sewed it shut. The denim is way tougher than the initial material, and has not lost a single thread yet. So maybe Boba Fett seems to be wearing a bath towel…and one arm is still attached a bit tenuously. Flapjack is happy, and Boba’s guts are protected.

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I basically wrapped the fabric around, tucked the raw edges under, and whip stitched the whole thing. I mean, this is going in my dog’s mouth. I love him, but not enough to hand him a work of art.

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See? He doesn’t care. He’s just happy to have Boba back where he belongs: begging for mercy from a giant beast.

September 24, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Arts and Crafts, Nerd Stuff, Thriftiness is Cool. Leave a comment.

Target Ice Cream

I happened to be at Target the other day, with a coupon for their Market Pantry brand ice cream. As I perused their selection, I noticed several flavors I hadn’t seen anywhere else. This led to a month-long (so far) obsession, and the testing of 5 news flavors (so far).

Target has the basic ice cream flavors, like chocolate, coffee, and 5 different kinds of vanilla, for some reason. I was interested in the weird ones. The first one Hubby and I tried was Caramel Waffle Cone ice cream.

waffle cone

This is vanilla ice cream with caramel swirls and fudge covered waffle cone pieces. I had high hopes for this, but it was slightly disappointing. The waffle cone bits were completely covered in that waxy “chocolate” stuff endemic to ice cream, and the caramel swirls were scarce. I was hoping for crunchy chunks of cones, but that’s probably not feasible with current ice cream technology. The ice cream itself is light and fluffy, just like I like it. Hubby wasn’t as happy with that aspect, since it stays fairly soft when frozen, and melts quickly.

The next one we tried is called Mini Doughnuts, and I can’t find it on their website. It sounds weird, I know. I was expecting vanilla ice cream with soggy bits of fried dough, but that’s not what I got. Instead the ice cream is more like vanilla bean, with those little black specks of ground up vanilla that somehow make it so much better. The most surprising part was the “doughnuts”. They were actually more like cookie dough, with a bunch of cinnamon mixed in, like maybe snicker doodle dough. It is FREAKING GOOD. If you find it, you try it, for realsies. Your pants will hate you, but your mouth and brain will love you, and you can always get new pants.

This next one is more debated in my house. Monster Cookie ice cream is one of Hubby’s favorites, but I really don’t care for it.

monster cookieIt’s vanilla ice cream with ground up M&M cookies in it, I think. There’s no actual description on the page, so I wasn’t sure if I should expect cookies or dough. Personally, rock-hard, frozen M&M’s are not appealing, and neither is grainy cookie shrapnel, but Hubby loved it. It also seemed to have a peanut butter flavor to me, but I could just be nuts (hahahaa, Dad joke!).

The Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream totally makes up for the Monster Cookie.

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The chocolate ice cream is creamy and chocolaty, and the brownie bits are amaaaaaaazing; more like brownie dough chunks than cooked brownies. I would eat this for breakfast if I could.

The last one, is my absolute FAVORITE, possible my favorite ice cream OF ALL TIME:

smores

S’mores ice cream is the greatest flavor ever. The chocolate ice cream is very rich, almost like a dark chocolate. That’s probably the best part. The marshmallow swirls weren’t really noticeable, but the graham cracker bits were surprisingly tasty. This is the first one Hubby wanted to get, and I overruled him to get the caramel cone one. Boy, was I wrong. I want to buy a tub of the s’mores ice cream and just eat it all at once, while sitting quietly in a candle-lit room. And it’s seasonal! What a travesty! Go out and buy a bunch right now so they’ll keep making it!  Each tub is only about $3, so I expect each reader to buy 80 gallons worth. Then deliver it to my house. Then leave so I can quietly gorge on it.

 

 

September 3, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Random typing. Leave a comment.