05 April 2011

I ♥ Home-Made Baby Food: Part I

I really enjoy making our own baby food for Little Panda. It's nothing fancy. I buy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep on hand all the time, and even though we do go through a good number of jars of prepared baby foods (I like Earth's Best - he eats Stage 1 & Stage 2 foods now - the convenience is great as well as the product!), it's nice to make some stuff up for him to eat so that *I* KNOW what's in his food. The following are just some thoughts and recipes that I've used that have become a hit with baby Kola... I'll add more in series of 4 or 5 at a time...

HomeMade Baby Food!

Steamed Carrots & Parsnips
1. Take 1 Medium Carrot - Wash Thoroughly and Peel (Save the Peels for your Compost Pile!)
2. Take 1 Medium or 2 Small Parsnips - Wash Thoroughly and Peel (Compost!)
3. Dice Carrots and Parsnips in 1/2" - 3/4" pieces and place in a steam basket
4. Steam until tender
5. Transfer Steamed Veggies to a Bowl for Mashing or Food Processor for Chip-Chop-Pureeing
6. Mash with a Potato Masher or Food Process in a Food Processor until a desired consistency is reached. You can add a small amount of water from the steaming, breastmilk, or complementary fruit juice.
7. Add a pinch (ie. less than 1/8 tsp) of cinammon and/or ginger. Mix in well.
8. Divvie up into jars. I usually get 3-4 3oz jars. Label and refrigerate or freeze.
9. Enjoy!

Pastina & Tomatoes
**Tomatoes commonly cause allergies and rashes on the way out**Introduce slowly!**
1. Pick out a Pastina (Little Pasta, like those Baby Stars or Little Alphabets) at the store - Kudos if you find it in a Whole Grain!
2. Boil your Pasta with a half pinch of salt. Make it extra tender. My box of pasta suggested 8 minutes for tender pasta - I let it go to 10.
3. Rinse pasta with cool water and drain carefully! It's likely that this pasta will flow through your strainer - either use a sifter or pour off water carefully! Set Pasta aside.
4. You can use a good quality, organic, low-ingredient pasta sauce or you can make your own really quickly! Take a can of good quality tomatoes or a few fresh ones. Boil the fresh ones very briefly and peel the skins off. Take your peeled tomatoes and add a little water. Boil, and as the tomatoes start cooking down, add some fresh herbs - a sprig of rosemary, a sprig of thyme, a small pinch of salt (not a lot!), a few fresh basil leaves! Dried herbs can be used, too, just a little more sparingly. Cook it down until the tomatoes are very soft. You can add more veggies if you dare - asparagus, mushrooms, itty-bitty broccoli heads; make sure anything you add is cut small enough for your baby to eat, taking into consideration their current progress in the solid food department.
5. Let the sauce cool, and then mush and mash it to your desired consistency. You can alternatively place it in a Food Processor or Blender for a quick minute and puree it as smooth as you'd like.
6. Add the pasta and sauce together as you serve it - Do not store it together. You can add a pinch of cheese if your baby is ready for it. Try a fresher cheese with lower sodium - stay away from parmesan shavings, although some in moderation isn't very bad.

Acorn Squash with Dried Fruit (The Pooper!)
**This is great if you need to induce a poop! Add additional prunes and raisins if you have a serious problem pooper!**
1. Halve and clean a small to medium acorn squash. Save the seeds to make a treat for mom!
2. Into each half, place 2 dried prunes, 1 tbsp golden raisins, 1 tbsp black currant raisins, a small pat of butter (ie. 1 tsp or less), and 1 tsp of maple syrup. Give each half a quick shake with a little ginger. Cover each half in foil or place in a baking pan with a lid.
3. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes at 350F, until the squash flesh is tender.
4. Allow the squash halves to cool adequately.
5. Scrape out the contents of each squash half into a mixing bowl and mush! Make sure that the dried fruit skins are adequately broken and incorporated or removed.
6. Serve and enjoy!

Fresh Mango & Banana Juice and Puree
**The juicer really does the work for you here... BTW... You need a juicer for this one**
1. Clean one medium mango or two champagne mangoes. Cut the flesh into good-sized strips and remove the pit. Peel one banana.
2. Juice mango and banana. Rinse juicer with 1/4 cup distilled or nursery water.
3. Rejuice the remaining pulp. Rinse with 1/4 cup distilled or nursery water.
4. Rejuice and rinse.
5. Rejuice.
6. You should end up with about 1.5-2 cups of liquid, giving you about a 50% juice 50% water mix. You should have a nice collection of pulp with a little bit of a goopy feel.
7. Move your liquid into a sealable 32+oz glass container. Fill to 32 oz with distilled or nursery water. This should give you about a 10-15% juice; you can add more or less water depending on your baby's current needs - we currently dilute about 1 part juice to 7 parts water since it's still pretty new. Remember, fresh juice is really sweet and contains a lot of sugar. Even though it's natural, it's still a lot.
8. Save the remaining pulp. It makes a great meal, dessert, or add-on in yogurt or oatmeal for baby. Add a small amount of your diluted juice if it needs some liquid.

We're going to continue experimenting with new foods, and if you like, I'll keep posting some of our creations for you to try at home! 

So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being. - Franz Kafka

Do you make baby food at home? What are some of your favorite recipes? Any recipes you'd like to see? Share in the comments or on the FaceBook.
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  1. I make the gnome's food too but so far nothing fancy. He's just turning 6 months so we're still in the one food at a time phase. I've made him avocado, banana, sweet potato, carrots, and applesauce so far.

  2. Avocado is great! Kola loves it, too. I make him "Baby Guacamole" and add bananas and mango to it. It's fun while they're in the one-at-a-time phase, but once they really start going, it's great to see their food preferences come out and compare to your own.