Thursday, March 14, 2013

Homemade Baby Food!

Zach and I are the kind of people who love to find different ways to save money, partly because we have had to live pay check to pay check really pinching those pennies and partly because we enjoy the simple life. We like to call it being "thrifty" or "creative" where necessity really is the mother of invention. For instance, we love shopping at Aldi, using cloth diapers, and making our own baby food. It just so happens that most of these things have a plus side like being eco friendly or just being healthier. When it came time to start Evanna on solids I found a website that has been like my best friend.

I started doing solids with Evanna when she was a little over 4 months old. Pediatricians say somewhere between 4-6 months but 6 months is the typical recommendation. I started somewhat early with Evanna because she had already cut two bottom teeth and had been trying to get our food while sitting at the dinner table since 3 months old. I decided to give it a try with just a regular Banana that I mashed up with a fork and she ate it like a pro.


I think Bananas are one of my favorite things to do for Evanna because they are really simple. They are easy to tell when ripe, you don't have to cook them, and you can just smash them by hand. One of the more time consuming fruits to make is pear. I don't have all the pictures from making them because I apparently got distracted while taking care of my little girl but I do have some. First I had to peel them, then I cut them in half to expose the pit, and after taking the pit out I cut the pear into little cubes. While I was doing this I was heating up some water so I could steam them.

 I do have a steaming  gadget for my rice cooker that I could have used if I would have taken the time to actually find it but to save myself the trouble I just boiled some water in a big pot and used my colander which I covered with the lid to the pot. It worked great! It only took about 10 mins and they were nice and tender. I then pureed them in my food processor. They were naturally watery so I didn't even have to add anything to loosen it. I only did two pears and got 5 jars full and boy does she love em!!

 Probably the most difficult thing I encountered was the Butternut Squash but since it was so big and gave me about 15 jars it was worth it. First I had to cut the booger in half which was not an easy task because the shell is hard but I have to admit I felt pretty good about myself after I conquered it.

 After spooning out the seeds all I had to do was lay them flesh side down into a pan filled with 1 in of water and then put them in the oven for about 45 mins at 400 degrees. Once they were done they looked like this:

 The shell was nice and puckered so it peeled right off and the fork went right into the flesh nice and smooth. Once I was done peeling it I just cubed it up ran it through the food processor and voila! Evanna had fresh Squash to eat.

I seriously had fun doing the Avocados but since little Evanna does not like them I probably won't be doing them again. I don't mind too much though because they are a little difficult to gauge when ripe. At least I found it a little challenging but I had never worked with them before either. Once they were just the right amount of squishy and dark I cut them in half so I could take the pit out.

  From there it was easy as pie. I just used a spoon to scoop it out of the shell and then used a fork to mash it up. From just one I think I got about 3-4 jars and at 45 cents/avocado (at Aldi) that makes each jar 11-15 cents. Now that's what I call thrifty!

 Peaches were pretty simple. I could have made them a number of different ways but I decided to do them how I did the squash, that way I could just put them in the oven, set the timer, and do other things such as playing with my little love bug or doing unpleasant things like laundry. Once I cut the peaches in half, took out the pit, and spooned out some of the leftover seeds I just put them in a pan filled with 1 in of water. After 45 mins in a 400 degree oven the skin was puckered and they were done.

I could have put them in the food processor. I suppose it would have been faster but I really didn't feel like getting it out plus I like for there to be a few little chunks so Evanna can learn how to chew a bit. So, I just used a fork to mash them after I peeled off the skin. It was super easy and made 4 jars out of 2 peaches. When she tried them though, her reaction was priceless. Most of everything that has been put in her mouth has not even phased her but with the peach she wrinkled her nose and eyebrows, puckered her lips, and even twitched her head in dislike. I tasted it just to see and they were a little sour but I guess that is the chance you take when getting fresh fruit. I think I will try mixing it with some banana though and see if she likes it better.

I don't have pictures from making the sweet potatoes but I do have a video of her eating some. Again, I like to make them in the oven so I can just stick them in and not have to do anything with it until the timer goes off. They are pretty easy which is good because it is one of her favorites. (Take notice that Dad is feeding her, hence the large bites. She does actually like it that way though lol)

That is all I have for now but I am going to be expanding her diet soon since she will be 6 months old next week. As for storing the food I just put them in glass jars and then put them into the freezer. I'm sure there are ways to actually jar it and seal it but for now I find this to be easy enough. I just set out the food I want her to have in the morning and it is thawed by lunch and dinner time. I hope you have enjoyed reading and that it inspires you to try making your own homemade baby food!!

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