Monthly Archives: September 2009

What Equipment Do You Need to Make Baby Food?

I’ve been having a lot of fun making baby food for Selene. She loves it too. She hasn’t minded jarred food when I have to give it to her, but she seems more enthusiastic about the homemade stuff.

If you’ve ever tasted jarred baby food then homemade, you’d know why.

It’s really easy to make baby food. You probably even own much of the equipment you absolutely need, although to avoid BPA and such you may choose to buy newer products.

I bake or steam most of her fruits and vegetables, so that’s just products I already use for regular cooking. Nothing special needed there. You can buy a special food steamer or get a stainless steel vegetable steamer insert for a pan if you don’t have anything along those lines yet.

Then you need a good blender. I like my VitaMix, and I understand the newer ones are BPA free for if that’s a concern. But if you don’t want to spend that kind of money, find something within your budget. But remember that a good blender also works for smoothies, which are fun for any age.

If you’re making baby food in any sort of quantity, you’ll need to freeze it next. Ice cube trays do the job, but you can buy baby food storage trays that may do a somewhat better job, as well as give you more choices as to what it’s made out of. You can buy ones without phthalates, BPA and PVC.

I also consider my crockpot to be a baby food maker. It’s a great way to make meat tender, which makes pureeing it much simpler. Also nice when you don’t want to be fussing with the exact time that everything is done cooking.

As baby gets older and doesn’t need pureed food, a food mill becomes a much better choice. I’ve had mine since my oldest was a baby, and it’s still in great condition. Just pop the food in and start cranking.

There’s one more piece of equipment that’s really nice to have if you can afford the space and time it takes… a garden! What better way to really know what goes into baby’s food. We can’t all have gardens, of course. But if you can, it’s a good way to make food for baby and the entire family.

With any luck, you have at least some of this on hand before you start wanting to make baby food.

CO2 is What???

Just came across this ad and had to share it:

Wow. Just wow. Industry really will say anything to avoid regulation. Even flat out lie.

But we knew that one already.

They want you to believe that their new organization knows more about what excess CO2 will do to the planet than all the scientists who point out the dangers. It’s time to focus on more green technologies to reduce our dependence on products that produce so much CO2.

via Care2 and Green Living Ideas.

Will You Join Blog Action Day 2009?

I just signed up with this blog for Blog Action Day 2009. This year’s topic is climate change, obviously a topic near and dear to my heart.

If you aren’t familiar with Blog Action Day, here’s the idea. One day a year they get as many bloggers as possible to blog on a particular topic of global importance. This year it’s climate change.

It doesn’t matter what the regular topic is of your blog. You can join in anyhow. Odds are you can find a way to make the topic relevant to your readers.

It also doesn’t matter if you have a ton of followers or just a few. Just join in.

11 Tips for Saving Energy in the Kitchen

When you’re an at home parent, you probably make a lot of meals in the kitchen. At least, I hope you’re not eating out too much.

It’s easy to be a little inefficient with your energy use in the kitchen, however. Here are some tips to help you be just a little more efficient.

1. Check that refrigerator seal.

Is it clean? If not, wipe it down.

You can test how effective your refrigerator door seal is with a piece of paper. Close the door on the paper and try to slide it out. If it moves easily, your seal isn’t tight.

2. Full loads in the dishwasher.

Handwashing is necessary for many things in the kitchen, but wash what you can in the dishwasher. Most use less water than handwashing does. That’s less water and less energy from the hot water heater.

If you have kids, full loads are probably pretty easy to come by. The fewer people in the house, the harder this one can be.

3. Put a lid on it.

Your pots and pans come with lids for a reason. Putting a lid on as you cook makes foods cook faster and reduces the amount of energy lost. While this won’t work for all recipes, especially if you have to stir a lot, try to remember to use lids when you can.

4. Size matters.

Using the right size pot or pan can be a help in heating food faster. But that’s not the only time to think about size, at least if you have a toaster oven.

A toaster oven can be more efficient than heating up your full size oven for smaller meals. It’s not so great that I would necessarily say run out and get one, but if you have one anyhow, use it. And if you’re really going to use it enough, it may not be a bad purchase at all.

5. Consider the microwave.

I know some people aren’t fans of microwaved foods, but when you have one and it’s appropriate, you aren’t going to beat the microwave for energy efficiency in heating up food or liquids.

6. Pile on the pressure.

Pressure cookers aren’t exactly the same as they were in our grandparents’ time. Modern ones are pretty safe so long as you follow the directions. And they’re pretty fast at cooking up food.

7. Take it slow.

Microwaves are great for heating things up fast, but slow can pay off too. As in a slow cooker or crockpot.

I’ve long been a fan of my crockpot, especially when dealing with a baby. I can start dinner at almost any time of the day. First thing in the morning if I know things are going to get crazy or I just want to get dinner going. Middle of the day if morning didn’t work out or I think of it later. Just a matter of picking the right temperature.

It’s also great for getting meats soft enough to grind up for baby food.

8. Cut the cord.

Or at least stop using so many little electric gadgets for things that can be done by hand. It doesn’t take that much effort for most people to open a can with a regular can opener. Do you really need that food processor to do the slicing for you? What about a mandoline?

9. Keep it clean.

Clean ovens and stove tops can be much more efficient. They’re designed to reflect energy while you cook, and dirt changes where it goes and can cut the efficiency.

10. Shut it down.

Just because you turned off the heat doesn’t mean your food stops cooking. Whether it’s on the stove or in the oven, it takes time for things to cool down enough to stop the cooking process completely… especially if you use lids on the stove and keep that oven shut until you’re ready to take the food out.

11. Don’t cook everything.

Lots of fruits and vegetables are great raw. Why not take advantage and just not cook them?

Do you have any tips to share?

Is the Trouble of Going Green Worth It?

One of the reasons I hear sometimes for not worrying about how a particular person can be more environmentally friendly in their day to day life is that the difference isn’t big enough. Some people feel that we need the big corporations to take steps first, and that should be the focus.

No doubt, that would be a wonderful thing. But it’s not exactly easy to convince big corporations to do such things without a pretty impressive social movement behind it. They’re businesses, after all. It’s easier for them to do things that make money than for currently abstract ideas of what will happen if they don’t make changes.

Yes, your individual changes and sacrifices only make the smallest of differences when big ones are needed. But they’re a part of what it takes to make those bigger changes.

Admittedly, not all the changes are exactly ideal. There’s more pressure for companies to carry organic goods, for example, and so the standards for organic have changed and been made easier to reach.

“Green” goods get marketed more so that people can play at being green while enjoying their usual shopping habits without really looking at whether or not the product is needed or produced in a way that is minimally damaging to the environment.

There’s a reason why green consumerism is a bit of a problem.

On the plus side, individual interest is probably a big part of why reusable shopping bags are so easy to find now. Many of the stores I go to even have more interesting ones now than the plain ones with a simple store logo on them.

Not to mention government rules protecting the environment. The rules may get weakened and strengthened depending on the party in office, but at least they’re there!

In so many ways you can say that if we individuals don’t care, there will never be a reason for corporations or governments to care. And if they don’t care, they won’t change. And if they won’t change, what will?

It can be frustrating dealing with people who don’t see how their small contributions can add to your small contributions can add to other people’s small contributions. But the difference is more than just the carbon you produce, the plastic you avoid and so forth. It’s the momentum built.