Once a week I usually lay out what I plan to make for the following week with a list so I can gather all of the ingredients in one go. Then I get completely distracted by farmers markets, sales at the grocery, or the arrival of my Food and Wine mag so my plan evolves, or devolves. Either way, it’s usually delicious and generally pretty economical. Here’s what evolved this week. What’s your favorite weeknight cooking tip? Continue reading
Tag Archives: baby food
Katie is eating people food. She’s 5 1/2 months and has finally taken to spoonfed meals. I know that’s still early for many kids, but since our son was practically eating spaghetti dinners without spilling a drop at 6 months I had expected she’d be on to hors d’oeuvres by now.
So, obviously, to each their own. But, now that she is interested, I’m going to town making her a ton of meals and freezing them in 1 ounce portions.
I really debated with her whether or not I’d make all of her food like I did for Nicholas. I loved doing it, but my situation has changed with her: we’ve got a 3 year old at home that takes a ton of energy, I’m making her food out of season so I can’t source my ingredients from the farmers market like I did with Nicholas, and chefs like Tyler Florence have come out with lines of baby food which look pretty darn good.
But, when it comes down to it, she’s my little girl and I want to make her what I think is best. Plus it really doesn’t take much time. Now and again I’ll puree something up along with whatever I’m making for the rest of us (see butternut squash risotto with pureed butternut squash).
And once every few weeks I’ll set aside some time and make 2 or 3 meals just for her. I figure it’s the least I can do.
So, here’s what I’ve made her so far and in the order that I’ve introduced it.
Pureed Butternut Squash
Pureed Sweet Potatoes
Pureed Squash and Broccoli (mixed 2 purees together)
Pureed Kale, Green Beans, and Potatoes
Roasted Apple & Grape Oatmeal
Pureed Sweet Potatoes and Brown Rice
How do you introduce foods to your baby?
The morning after Christmas, everyone is playing with their new toys. It’s a beautiful sight. Nicholas is practicing becoming a rock star with his new keyboard and microphone that Santa brought him. Dan is wearing his new shoes. And I’m playing with a new look on my site thanks to Dan! What do you think of the logo? He surprised me with it, and I love it!
I’m also having total gift envy. My sister got Tyler Florence’s new book Start Fresh–baby food recipes for the first year. It looks awesome: Spinach and Banana pudding, Plum Spiced Applesauce, babies never knew they could have it so good. Katie hasn’t really taken to solids much yet, but we’ll be kicking it into high gear when we get back from holiday. So it looks like I’ll be getting one extra gift for myself this year!
That, plus my new food saver system, and we should be ready to get Katie eating just like her big brother. Who is currently eating his second breakfast. Man, that kid can eat.
So, baby food to come in the new year! But for now, how about a pasta recipe? Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower. So easy after our big Christmas dinner.
One of our favorite weekend activities is walking with the kids down to the local farmers market. We each have an agenda for the excursion: I shop for veggies, Dan gets some locally produced pickles for his lunches, and Nicholas pick out an apple then sits on a bench and gobbles it up.
Last weekend I grabbed one of my favorite fall veggies: butternut squash. It’s delicious just roasted as a side dish, or mixed into a pasta or risotto dish. One of my favorites is Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Parmesan from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. It’s a simple dish, with very few ingredients, but is elegant enough to serve for dinner parties or special occasions. If you roast the squash ahead of time, the risotto comes together in less than 1/2 hour. I also like that it uses roasted squash, because then I simply make some extra squash for Pureed Butternut Squash for Katie.
I loved making homemade baby food for Nicholas, and I’m looking forward to doing the same thing for Katie when she starts eating solids. I find that making my own baby food is easy, cost effective, and gives me the satisfaction that my baby is eating something that I personally prepared for him or her.
I bought one pound of organic sweet potatoes from the farmers market the other day for $1.50. That made 24 ounces of sweet potato baby food–you have to add water to the potatoes to get them to a good baby consistency, hence the 1 pound of potatoes making more than a pound of baby food. My baby food comes in at about $0.06 per ounce. Jarred organic food is $0.30 per ounce, and conventional baby food is $0.28 per ounce. So, you’re getting an 80% discount for making your own food.
Know What Your Baby is Eating
When I bought the sweet potatoes at the farmers market I chatted with the folks selling the produce, heard about their organic farming techniques, and learned that their farm is less than 20 miles from my house. Then I went home and did all of the preparation myself, so I knew everything about what is going into that food. Of course, you don’t always have the luxury of buying food at the farmers market. In fact, Katie is going to start eating in late November, so most of her pureed food is going to come when the farmers markets aren’t even open. But even by buying grocery store fresh or frozen food, at least I know exactly what she is eating, even if I couldn’t meet the people that grew it.
Your Kids Eat What You Eat
I do NOT make separate meals for my children, and I never have. Nicholas has essentially eaten what we’ve eaten since he was 4 months old. Or some variation of what we’re eating. And now at almost 3, he eats just about everything. We sit at the table and talk about our day over dinner nearly every night, and it’s a habit we got in when he was just a baby.
So yes, I think it’s worth the effort. I don’t have anything against jars of baby food and I do buy them. They are great to have around in case you run out of your own food, or to throw in the diaper bag for a meal on the run. But when I can plan for it, I prefer to serve up something homemade.
Here are my homemade baby food recipes so far:
And I’ll be adding more over the next few months as I stock my freezer for Katie’s introduction to solids.