Friday, July 24, 2009
Nooo, I'm not making Mountain Dew slushies, silly (I wish). I'm making baby food!
I always looked at making baby food from scratch, the same way I looked at making everything else from scratch... a chore. A big annoying part of my life that could easily be prevented by a trip to the store. Plus, for some reason, I really enjoyed going down the baby aisle and spending 20 minutes staring at the bazillions of jars, wondering which one baby would like the most. It was overwhelming, and I almost always forgot something, but It was therapeutic, and I felt it was something I couldn't live without. I'm not the only mom that does that right? Baby food shopping really is fun.
When my oldest (now nearly 3) was a baby, I wanted to do everything organic. I bought expensive foods, and snacks, and lotions, and... yes, that was me. I thought she had to have all of the newest toys, and clothes, and... ugh. 3 years and another baby later, I see where I went wrong. Not that there is anything wrong with feeding your child an organic diet (I'm all for it, and more power to ya if you've got the patience and the money) , I'm not trying to get myself into trouble here, haha, its just something that didn't work out for me.
A few months back, we purchased the mother of all blenders. The Vita-Mix. This sucker can whip up a gallon of sorbet in less than 60 seconds... seriously. It means business. Since we did spent an arm and a leg on the thing, we make sure to use it as often as possible. I can't remember how we got along without it now that I wonder. I make everything with my Vita-Mix. I've even gone so far as to join Flickr groups for the dang thing. I'm in love with it. Its seduced me with its abilities to pulverize an avocado pit.
When it dawned on me that it was time for fat baby (just a nickname I have for my too-big-than-any-other-baby-ever, Charlie) to start testing the waters of solids, I admit, I went out and bought a few jars of the pre made purees. Both of my kids are prone to food allergies, and I wasn't going to jump right in and waste my time and efforts on making a large batch of something that would cause my child's face to break out in a rash and load up the diaper with a rotten version of what was just eaten.
Sweet Peas... check.
Sweet Potatoes... check.
Prunes... definitely not a check. Wow.
I was ready. My super mom kitchen strength kicked in, I found this website (seriously moms, if you're wanting to make your own, this website is a big help), and I got down to business. I started with green beans. I bought a big bag of frozen green beans (the nice kind, the ones that actually look like food), I defrosted them in a strainer in the kitchen sink for an hour or two while I finished up some chores, and then when they looked good enough to cook, I steamed them in my steam pot until they turned a dark green. I poured them into the Vita-Mix, with a splash of the same water that I used to cook them in (helps preserve the vitamins and nutrients), and I pureed for about a minute on a medium setting. 5 minutes later, the thick green bean soup was evenly divided into clean white ice cube trays that I previously purchased at Target for this very occasion, and set inside the freezer to harden.
Really, it was that easy?
In less time than it took me to empty the dishwasher (oh I hate emptying the dishwasher, don't you), I had made my son at least 4 weeks worth of green beans. I decided I'd do a new food every couple of days, making sure I wasn't overwhelming myself, and sure enough, my freezer is now packed full of zucchini, squash, pears, sweet potatoes, and of course the green beans. After the ice trays has completely frozen over, I popped out the little food rectangles and put them into labeled zip locks. It takes about a minute to defrost the cubes in the microwave, when preparing multiple cubes at a time. I know some mothers would probably rather defrost it on the stove, but as a mother of more than one, the microwave works just fine for me.
So, apparently making baby food isn't as hard as I thought. You don't need a Vita-Mix to do it, a magic bullet or food processor, or whatever you have on hand will work just as well. I've saved a ridiculous amount of money, not to mention given mother earth a slight break in the wasteful packaging department.
Now its time to start experimenting with some mixed baby food cuisines. A combination of bananas and pears? Yeah, things might get a little crazy in the ice cube trays, watch out!