Thursday, October 6, 2011

intro to baby food

Mister Man has recently started eating food from a spoon! Hurray! It is a load off my boobs to not have to provide his sole nutritional needs (although I do still plan to continue breastfeeding until he is at least one year old), and it is fun to revisit some of the yummy recipes I know Little Miss enjoyed not too long ago. And thinking back on that time, I am pretty sure that making my own baby food is what started me on this desire to make meals ahead of time. By making a big batch or two of baby food for Little Miss, I was able to feed her hungry self quickly every day and I loved just being able to pop a little cube or two of food out of the freezer and be sitting down with spoon in hand for her just a minute or two later. Hardly enough time for her to work herself into a hunger-induced meltdown and I was able to know exactly what was going into her tiny body at each meal. 

left: peas in a food mill
(it leaves the hard-to-digest shells behind)
right: the last ounce of sweet potato from the freezer
both appliances from KidCo.

In order to identify any potential food allergies, pediatricians recommend offering just one food at a time for several days before introducing something new (this way, if baby does have an allergic reaction, it will be easy to pinpoint what food gave him the trouble), so for now, Mister Man gets pretty singular meals - for example, just sweet potato or just peas. No combinations other than vegetable with rice cereal (to thicken) or breastmilk (to thin) yet, so I haven't really started making batches of food ahead of time for him. The only food that I have prepared ahead for him so far is the sweet potato because obviously one whole potato is too large for a single serving so after I baked and mashed one the first time, I took the remaining potato and divided it into one-ounce freezer portions (pictured above. looks like I need to bake some more!). Soft foods like banana or avocado, just mash it up with a fork right before serving. For peas and other frozen vegetables, such as broccoli, I do a quick steam in the microwave and then run it through a food mill (also pictured above, on the left) with a little of the cooking water to thin it out. The food mill is really fast and I can feed Mister Man directly from the bowl of the mill, so there is hardly any cleanup. 

yummy peas!
Today I will be preparing the following multi-ingredient meals for Mister Man in batches to be frozen:
  • Baked Banana and Brown Rice
    • from "Dinner At My Place" by Tyler Florence
    • this was also the first dish I prepared for Little Miss once she was past the mono-veggie stage
    • everything that is in this dish has already passed the three-day allergy alert window
  • Sweet Potato with Greens puree
    • from "Top 100 Baby Purees" by Annabel Karmel
    • all ingredients Mister Man has already eaten, plus a new one - spinach!
I'll be sharing more baby food-making details as I get farther along in this process myself but if you're looking for more information right now, I suggest checking out and also any of the baby food books by Annabel Karmel. And of course, follow the advice of your babies doctor above all else.

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