Thursday, January 26, 2012

Homemade With Love

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When I was pregnant with Lily, I decided that I was going to make all of her baby food.

Let me preface this by saying that I have nothing against store-bought food. That is all I fed to Dylan, and mostly what Lexie ate. I did make a few purees for her, but never really put much thought into it. I even have a few "just in case" containers of store-bought food for Lily.

After much thought and reading up on it, I made my decision. I figured that I already make homemade dinners for my family 5 nights a week, so why not hers?

I began making her food shortly after she started solids, and have quite a collection stored in the freezer now!

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I can honestly say that it's easy. It's incredibly inexpensive. It's healthy. I know exactly what goes into her food.

I've been making her food for almost two months now, and I have learned quite a bit!

{1} You do not need an elaborate baby-food making system. All you need is a blender, BPA free ice cube trays, and freezer storage bags.

{2} It's not very time consuming. I can make a batch of baby food in ten minutes or less.

{3} The vegetables have to be steamed before pureed (as do some fruits). If you serve steamed vegetables with dinner, set aside a portion to turn into baby food, before serving. Many times, I have pureed some vegetables while preparing our dinner.

{4} It saves SO much money! I can get the equivalent of 16 jars of stage 1 baby food from one bag of organic frozen peas, bought for $1.00 (with a coupon). If you know somebody with a garden, ask for extras. That's "organic" gardening at it's finest. I received a bag of home grown sweet potatoes for free!

{5} You can adjust the thickness and amount of cubes your child will eat as he/she grows.

{6} You thaw out only the amount of cubes your child will eat. If he/she wants more, it's easy to just thaw one more out. Less food waste!

{7} Most food can be stored in the freezer for 3-6 months. Because of this, you are likely to always have a wide variety to choose from!

{8} Food should be thawed in the refrigerator or it can be microwaved. Leaving it on a counter to thaw promotes bacteria growth.

{9} Homemade food looks a lot different than store-bought food. You can make it thinner by adding breast milk, formula, or water, or you can just simply puree it as is to make it thicker. A lot of store-bought food seem gelatinous in comparison.

{10} Soft foods such as bananas, berries, and avocados do not need to be steamed first.

{11} Think outside the box! There are many different flavors and combinations to try: Pumpkin, Avocado, Blueberry/Banana, Apple/Blueberry, Apple/Strawberry/Banana, Carrots/Apples, and Squash/Pear to name a few! Lily's favorite food is pumpkin!

There are many different ways of making your own baby food. After much research, I found a method that works for me.

I choose the fruits or vegetables I'm going to use, and then steam or boil them. I strain out the cooking fluid into another pot, and then transfer the food to the blender. I begin to puree, and add some of the retained cooking fluid to adjust the thickness. In the past, I've also used pumped breastmilk, but more often, I use the water the fruit/vegetable was cooked or boiled in.

Once the food has reached the desired consistency, I pour into BPA-free ice cube trays, and freeze.

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After several hours in the freezer, I transfer the cubes to freezer storage bags. I write the date and flavor on the outside of the bag.

When it comes time for Lily to eat, I transfer the cubes to a glass bowl. Sometimes, I will do this in the morning, and allow the food to thaw in the fridge, but most of the time, I do heat the food in the microwave.

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I typically microwave for 30 seconds, always in a glass bowl, and then stir to dissolve the remainder of the frozen sections. The food is the perfect temperature for Lily!

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It took a few weeks, but Lily is finally starting to enjoy solids! She loves apples, pumpkin, and apple/strawberry/banana blend. I love the fact that I have a freezer full of healthy baby food to feed to her!

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21 comments:

  1. I never would have even thought to try that, but I didn't realize how easy it was! She seems mighty happy with it!

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  2. I can second everything in this post!! I made all Graham's food and I did it the exact same way! The only thing that could be a lot of work at times was peeling and chopping depending on what you make, but it saved so much money and I loved knowing exactly what I was feeding him. I plan to make Macy's food as well, once I figure out what she likes.

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  3. Oh she is so cute! I made my own food for the twins - it's so easy, cheap, and healthier too! :-)

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  4. I can't wait to start...well let me rephrase. I can wait to start but am excited to give it a whirl. =) I'm curious about the pumpkin...I've never cooked or anything with pumpkin.

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  5. This is fantastic! You're giving her such a great start. She'll know what real foods taste like, not what prepackaged junk tastes like, which means she'll be more likely to enjoy them when she's older! Way to go momma!!! You can also throw those frozen cubs into a blender and make smoothies for the older kids! Great way to get some extra fruits and veggies during the day. My kids LOVE green smoothies (fruit and spinach), they call them "shrek" smoothies.

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  6. mommy brain Here....never thought to put the cubes in bags!!!

    Now I am going to start combo foods!!!

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  7. Wow, that is awesome mama!! I made my own food for Hayley. I have been slacking on Zane. This reminds me I need to start!

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  8. Wow! Good for you. I just bought my kids food...maybe I'll make it next time (if there is a next time :))

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  9. I used to love to look at my stash of colorful cubes when John was little. Even though John wasn't a fan, I loved having a freezer full of organic healthy food for him!

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  10. I'm really impressed that you're doing this. What do you do when you go out to eat? Is that a time that you take jarred food with you? (I mean, since you aren't supposed to thaw at room temp)?

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  11. Very cool!! This is awesome!! We make a lot of our own too and just save the jars friends have given us from their collections to toss into the diaper bag.

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  12. I remember getting all those pamphlets about making your own baby food when my daughter was smaller. I always bought the store-bought kind but I'm definetly attempting homemade if I ever get the chance :).

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  13. I've been following your blog for awhile but never have commented! I love your blog! I am stopping by to let you know I've nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award.. details are in my latest blog post over at http://jamiesjourneythroughlife.blogspot.com

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  14. I did the same thing with Lily. :) Complete with a blender and ice cube trays. No food processers, no baby food makers.

    I was so happy with the choice and the variety!!

    Glad this is working for you too!
    xoxox

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  15. I LOVE making Addison's food. It's these small things that bring me so much joy-- like seeing all the pretty colors of the foods after they've been frozen haha. :)

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  16. Matt and I are really excited about doing this with the new one. I did did it here and there with our meals, but didn't store it like this. It's the new thing now and so much better than those odd jar smells lol! Thanks for all the helpful hints <3

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  17. You ae crazy busy!!!

    I tagged you on my bloggy blog too :)
    http://anirishitalianblessing.blogspot.com/2012/01/tag-youre-it.html

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