Saturday, November 20, 2010

On feeding baby

All this talk about Thanksgiving and Christmas meals has got not only my stomach rumbling, but has also got me thinking about what my little Sophie will be indulging in on her first holidays. It's only now that I realized I haven't spelled out any of my favorite baby food recipes to share. My blender has never felt so loved (previous life only knew margarita mix and Tequila). I know I don't have to say it again, but all of the food I've ever made for Sophie has been organic. We use Absolute Organics delivery of fruit and vegetables to the house, and I buy organic chicken and ground beef from Costco. I even found organic turkey lunch meat at The Home Economist. I would say that in the past that I made 95% of the food she ate. Lately I'd have to change that to 75% thanks to Cheerios, Gerber puffs, and these yummy things that a friend told me about:

They are uber convenient, organic, and they make some really great flavor combinations. There are other brands that are also organic and come in these little Capri Sun-like pouches - Plum Tots is one of them. But back to cooking. The mere thought of making my own baby food made me nervous. How could I possibly make anything better than money could buy? Now, now, new mommy, what you can make at home is 100x better than store bought. Reasons to make your own baby food include but are not limited to:
  • it's more fresh
  • it has more nutrients
  • it's less expensive
  • you are in control!
  • make your own combinations
  • you ensure the quality of ingredients
If you are on the fence, just try it. If you feel it takes too long or the mess too big, or you just don't find it rewarding at all, then you tried. I happen to love cooking to begin with, so making Sophie's food was just as fulfilling to me as breast feeding her. There is a lot to know as far as what foods are gassy, what foods are constipating, and how to balance them all out in your baby's little belly. Sometimes it comes by trial and error. Or, you could just read a book or two for some hints! It is best to try one food at a time, waiting about three days before introducing another (you want to keep any eye out for reactions and it's easier to pin-point if they've only eaten one thing the last day or so). Once you've introduced foods on their own - get to mixing - the combinations are endless.

Without further ado, here goes some of our tried and true baby meals.
No cook purees:


All of the above easily peel, mash with a fork, thin with breastmilk, formula or water until the consistency was so that it slid off the back of the spoon. (If using breastmilk or formula, serve immediately, do not store). Sophie hated avocado - still does. I know it's a popular one for most babies though.

Now we get cookin':

Green beans
Sweet potato
Butternut squash

All of the above were easily washed/peeled/chopped, then steamed/simmered/boiled until tender, and then pureed in the blender until smooth. Sometimes the consistency was too thick with just the fruit or vegetable which I then used the water from the bottom of the pan to thin (with the exception of carrots - too many nitrates build up in the water when steaming carrots). I would then pour the puree into my baby food cube tray and freeze. Once frozen solid, I would pop out the cubes and store in a labeled gallon Ziploc bag (inside the gallon bag I would use smaller quart bags to keep the flavors separate). Good in the fridge for about 48 hours, good in the freezer for about 6 weeks. I use these KidCo BPA free storage trays:

Chicken with Sweet Potato and Apple

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 oz boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 apple (any kind), peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup chicken stock

Heath the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and cook until soft. Add chicken and saute until opaque. Add the sweet potato and apple, and pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour into blender and puree until smooth.

Her First Ground Beef

1 red pepper
2 tomatoes, peel and seeded
1/2 zucchini
1/2 lb ground beef

Roast the red pepper (or use jarred pre-roasted) over gas top flame until charred, set in a bowl and cover tightly with saran wrap for 20 minutes. Remove from bowl and peel the skin and de-seed. Steam the 1/2 zucchini and chop. Puree roasted red peppers, peeled tomatoes and steamed zucchini. While browning the ground beef, break into tiny tiny bits. Mix the vegetable puree with the ground beef and serve alone or with tiny whole wheat pasta.

Cheesy Chicken and Carrot Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato, peeled and seeded
1/2 cup brown rice
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

Heat olive oil in pan, add chicken, cooking until opaque. Add carrots and chicken stock then bring to a slow boil. Add rice and simmer until all liquid is absorbed. In a separate pan, warm tomatoes and cheese. Remove chopped chicken from the rice and carrot mixture and puree with the tomato and cheese mixture. Stir puree back into cooked brown rice and carrots.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Look at this little turkey making her best elephant sound. Happy 11months baby girl! She is on a food strike, sort of, after the croup, an ear infection and a tummy bug, so I don't have any new baby recipes to share but I'll soon be spelling out some of our old favorites. Her new tricks include letting go of things and standing, cruising like mad around the coffee table, crawling up the stairs by herself (supervised, of course), climbing on top of anything actually, and closing doors.

Well, mommy turned 30, baby turned 11 months, Maddox turned 5. If there is something we don't skimp on around here, it is birthdays. My new birthday camera has been hard at work, (new pictures above and below), and Bryan took me out for an amazing dinner over the weekend at Zebra which touts itself for carrying local sustainable food (obv the seafood isn't local). We had Blue Point Oysters, Lobster, Duck Duet, Creme Bruele and Chocolate Cake (oh, and it took me like four samples to pick out a bottle of wine - two weeks of not drinking from being sick and it was as if I had forgotten what wine we like!). We hired a legit babysitter for the evening who is really sweet! Once we hit the open road with baby under watchful eye at home, the conversation went a little like this:

Bryan: I kind of feel like we should paint the town tonight!
Bryan: But that will fade as soon as I get food in my belly.
Amy: Um, I wore my standing shoes, not my walking shoes. And besides, I'm going to need a RedBull just to get through dinner.

Are we old as dirt, or what?! We did have a lot of laughter, reflected on our lives together, I shed a few tears (what's a 30th birthday without some sentimental tears), and really lovely conversation all evening. Believe it or not, we only talked about baby a few times!

Sophie's birthday invitations are in the mail, Christmas cards have been ordered, and I am almost done Christmas shopping this year thanks to my forward thinking and some really great websites like Etsy, Amazon, Zulily and The Mini Social. How can it be that another year is almost over? I just haven't bought much for baby girl because between her birthday and Christmas and her four grandparents that love her to pieces, I think she will spoiled enough.

A little photo update from my new camera!

Monday, November 8, 2010

30 in 30

My 30th birthday is right around the corner. I've recruited some really really special women in my life to help me come up with a reading list for part of my birthday challenge (first mentioned here if you haven't been keeping up). I am going to attempt to read 30 books to celebrate my 30th year and I'm really excited. here is a list of some of my future evening companions:

Good Morning, Merry Sunshine by Bob Greene, Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay, Water For Elephants, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Feel the Fear... and Do It Anyway... I know some of you wanted the full list and once it's compiled, I will share!

Bryan came home recently with my early birthday gift and I've put it to work already. The Canon Rebel T2i with a 18-135mm lens (came recommended by two of our favorite photographers, John Bentham and The Dottens (woop woop!)) has been shutter-bugging all around this house the last few weeks. As soon as I get the software and the photos downloaded just watch out - you thought I took a lot of pictures before?!

Picking out the camera was no easy fete. I went from once photo-excellent to more recently: housewife who wants a fancy camera to take pictures of birthday parties and pets. Sad face. I couldn't exactly explain to the sales guy who I used to be; how I used to get paid to take great pictures. Oh well, gives me more to prove ;)

30 is going to be lovely, I can feel it.