Since Brianna was born... well, technically, since she was six months old... I have been making her food. Sure, I have bought baby food in jars just like everyone else, especially when it was on sale or just for convenience. But 95% or more of her food has always been homemade. It's getting much more fun to make now that she's older and can eat so many more things, with spices and things like that. I love trying new recipes on her, but I also go with old favorites that she's eaten from day one of solid foods. I can't count the amount of people that said they never even thought to make baby food, but it is so easy. I definitely encourage anyone with a baby or toddler to create food for them rather than buying jarred food, if you have the time to make it. If you set aside an hour or so one day you can make several pounds of food at a time, ready to go! These are some of my favorites to make:
When preparing squash for your baby or toddler, all you need to do is peel the squash and chop it. Put the pieces in water, and boil until tender. In earlier months you may want to puree the squash in a blender or food processor, but as your baby gets older you can probably just mush it up and feed it directly to her. Squash tends to be really runny so I like to add a little rice to thicken it up. Also, Brianna doesn't like the peel for some reason which is why I peel it, but if your child will eat it, go for it!!
Sweet potatoes can be prepared exactly the same way as squash. Many times they don't even need to be pureed; if you stir them up really well they will be mushy enough that they will puree on their own.
I do carrots the same way as these other ones. One option, though, is that after you boil the carrots to a certain softness you can just feed the baby the carrots that way. I pureed these particular ones because I'm freezing food to take on vacation for Brianna. I pour the puree into ice cube trays and freeze them. Then I transfer them to ziploc bags and label them for future use.
"YELLOW, RED AND GREEN":
I like to make this puree for her. I saute a tomato, zucchini (2), and squash (2) in cooking oil, and sprinkle basil and garlic salt on it. When all the vegetables are soft I puree them and freeze them, especially because I'm taking these on vacation with everything else!
Now, beets are not something I usually purchase for our household. Stephen and I have actually not ever tried them, but they came in our food co-op delivery last week and I wanted to test them out on Brianna. I simply boiled them (peeled and chopped), pureed them, and mixed them with mashed potatoes. She loves them! (And I'll remember not to freak out when she has a red-filled diaper!)
Applesauce (or pear sauce, if you have pears) are made the same way as everything else. Peel, chop, boil, puree. I like to add a bit of cinnamon to my applesauce and pear sauce, but you definitely don't have to.
We also got peaches in our food co-op delivery and I wanted Brianna to have them. To make these, I simply cut an X in the skin with a knife, and then boiled the peaches. When the skin fell off, I knew they were done. I cut them apart around the pit and then I ended up pureeing them with the apples to make peach-applesauce. I tried it and it was delicious! I'm sure Brianna will enjoy it too!
These are just a few of the "meals" I've made for Brianna in the past two days. I am making her food and freezing it so that we can take it on vacation and hopefully spend less money having to buy things for her. There are so many ways to make food for babies, though, and you don't need anything special! I know people who swear by fancy food processors and so on, but I've got a plain old blender that's as old as our marriage (that sentence didn't come out right...) and it works just fine.
The only thing I would love to have is a FoodSaver. They usually run almost $200, so I'm not ready to shell out for one yet, but if I see one at a yard sale I just may break down and buy one. For now, ziploc bags are doing a lovely job!
A website that I really looked to when I was first making Brianna's food is Wholesome Baby Food. I HIGHLY recommend this website. There is information on every single food particle you can imagine.
What recipes do you make for your kids??