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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Move Over, Gerber!

I don't know why I did this. But I was toying with the idea of making Zach's baby food for his big start on solids, but hadn't made up my mind. Well, I was doing some volunteer work and part of my project I am working on is to organize their donations they receive from outside. I was sorting through their supply of baby food, organizing it into stages, type, expiration date and more. And I was absolutely appalled in a way I never was when Evan was a baby. That stuff has a shelf life of about 100 years. Which really made me question what it is that they put in there that we are giving our children to consume at a stage when their digestive systems are at their most vulnerable. Gross. Then there was the actual food. I actually found one called "Country Breakfast": pureed ham and eggs and hashbrowns. Seriously. Let's just start them out from birth with diabetes and high cholesterol and hypertension. Then maybe they can have their first blocked coronary artery before high school. So that sealed the deal for me. I'm a smart person. I can do this, right?

My first step was to find containers. I managed to find some BPA-free containers for the bargain price of $8 for 24. They're freezer safe, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe. Score! Next came the food. Wholesome and pure was the goal. So I stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies of every color of the rainbow. The exception was squash because (A) I couldn't find a fresh squash and
(B) I don't think I would know what the hell to do with one if I did. So for that first food, I bought frozen. To reap the health benefits of this project, I needed to cook them in the healthiest way possible to both preserve the nutrients and minimize the use of fats and oils, as well as salt and sugar. I chose to steam and boil. No additives whatsoever.

The first batch I made was the squash and carrots. I steamed the carrots for what seemed like forever after I spent all of that time peeling and slicing them. My fingernails were stained orange for 2 days afterwards. The first batch was actually pretty comical. I didn't want to cook the carrots long enough that I allowed all of the nutrients to escape, but they needed to be soft enough to be able to puree them. So I cooked them, again, for what seemed like forever, then dumped them into a mixing bowl with a touch of purified water to keep them moist. The plan was to first coarsely chop them using an attachment on my hand mixer. (I don't have a food processor because I have never had the need, but if this works out, I may need to invest in one!) Then I planned to put them in the blender to puree them from there. Well they were still too firm, and as soom as the blades from my mixer touched them, sliced carrots started flying and zinging through the air, ricocheting off of my cabinets and just about every other surface in my kitchen. I ended up finishing up by boiling them to get them to a softer consistency, and from there, the process went smoothly. The squash? Well the squash was a piece of cake and went directly from stove-top to blender with no problems and pureed like a dream.

So at the end of my little misadventure, my counter was covered with small containers of homemade baby food for Zach, cooling so I could then freeze them. John looked quite impressed that his non-domesticated wife was capable of doing this, and I was pretty pleased with myself and thought this surely should warrant my nomoination for Mommy of the Year. I figure if I do a little at a time, by the time Zach starts solids at the planned age of 6 months, I will have a pretty nice supply. And I read that they are good in the freezer for about 4 months, so I have plenty of time. Later this week, I have 2 subsequent days off and plan to tackle bananas.

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  1. I think that's awesome & hope you're able to keep up w/ it! And LOL on the carrots - I did that w/ a mixer w/ cookie dough once. I put it in at the wrong angle or something, and there were walnuts EVERYWHERE!

  2. I have heard good things about this product from another mother who started her baby on solids earlier this summer:

    it's supposed to do all of those things at once and reduce time and energy. however, not sure how it works on carrots!
    also, i know you already bought your containers, but i registered for this cool ice cube like tray with a cover at target. nobody bought one for me, but i was planning on purchasing it once we started cole on solids.