Monthly Archives: October 2009

Phew! Thought I Killed My Blender!

It’s still aliiiiiive!

I’ve been working on introducing meats to Selene. Making baby food cubes is a bit harder with meat than with fruits and vegetables. Not only do you have to be very thorough with your cooking, it’s harder on the blender.

Even when it’s just ground beef. Amazing how hard that stuff is to puree.

My first round with it the blender caused it to quit. Now this is a really good blender, a 15 year old (or thereabouts, my husband has had it since well before we married) VitaMix. That thing blends just about anything. But if you make it work too hard it will quit rather than burn out the motor.

I tried it again in the morning. It took some work to get the beef out, as it had become a rather firm, kind of gelatinous mass. Blender couldn’t do a thing with it.

But a bit of heating in the microwave on the stuff I pulled out, plus a good bit of water, and it blended up nicely.

I’m quite relieved to have not killed my blender. It’s a good machine. My husband campaigns for a newer VitaMix here and there, but while this one works I’m not spending the money. It still does everything we need it to do quite well.

Homemade Baby Food and Smoothies?

I’ve been keeping really busy making homemade baby food. I was thinking of it as something just for the baby, but it’s turning out to be good for the rest of the family too.

My son likes to snack on the frozen cubes of fruit. Can’t complain about that. But I was pretty surprised when my husband started throwing cubes of baby food into smoothies.

But it made sense really quickly. They’re kind of the same thing.

Homemade baby food is a really easy way to add some vegetables into a smoothie. Green beans hardly change the taste of the smoothie at all. We’ve always tended to throw a carrot into smoothies. We’re thinking squash should work well too.

It just nice being able to throw the fruit and some veggies into the blender and come up with something healthy to drink or make into popsicles. Using the baby food means that vegetables are just that much easier to add, since they don’t need more preparation.

Sugary Cereals are Deceptively Labeled? You’re Kidding!

I’m rather pleased to see that the FDA is looking at food labels again. This ABC News article focuses on how cereals such as Froot Loops and other types of food are marketed and labeled to appear healthier than they really are.

The focus is on the Smart Choice label, which is supposed to be on nutritious food choices. While they may be fortified with however many vitamins, Froot Loops and other such cereals that focus on appealing to the sweet tooth scarcely qualify as healthy last time I checked.

Must be some new definition of healthy I’m not familiar with.

Admittedly, many healthier cereals may not be so good for you either once you’re done preparing them. I don’t know if the habit is common anymore, but I remember always having a spoonful of sugar spread over my cereal as a kid any time it wasn’t one of the sugary sorts. Wouldn’t eat them any other way back then. Thank goodness my kids haven’t heard of that habit.

My mother told me a while back that when a study was done comparing different kinds of cereals and the way they were really eaten, sometimes the sugary ones would come out ahead in nutritional value just due to how much sugar people would add at home to less sweet cereals. Now this may well have been done when different sweeteners were used, I don’t know, but it’s an interesting tidbit to consider if you still add sugar to your own cereal.

Better yet and potentially cheaper can be to buy oatmeal and have that for breakfast. No worry about artificial colors. You may have the sugar issue going again, depending on your sweet tooth, but you can easily add naturally sweet things such as raisins to make it a bit better. My kids love oatmeal, although they do want more brown sugar or honey in it than I really like to give.

There’s a good side to this kind of labeling, however. It’s a great teaching point for parents about advertising and how you really can’t trust everything you see on a box or on television. It’s a way to teach kids to be more cautious consumers.

October 24, 2009 – Can You Join the International Day of Climate Action?

On Saturday, October 24, 2009 there will be events around the world aimed at building awareness of the need for an international climate treaty to try to bring CO2 levels in our atmosphere down to 350, which is believed to be the highest safe level. Yes, we’re beyond it now.

You can find events in your area with this map. It’s just one more way for you to learn what you can do and show politicians that there is support for fighting climate change.

It’s Pumpkin Time!

We went to our local pumpkin patch here in Yucaipa this weekend. It’s called Live Oak Canyon and it’s a pretty fun place.

yellow pumpkinOne of the employees told us that they grow the majority of what they sell there, but a few varieties came from other local growers. The variety of pumpkins, other winter squash and gourds was pretty amazing. So much more than your classic plain orange pumpkin, or even the white ones.

My daughter picked a yellow one. My son was just too tired as the day was a touch warm, so we’ll probably be back this weekend for his. Prices weren’t too bad either – a bit higher than grocery stores, but you just don’t get that kind of selection at the store.

They have a lot of fun stuff for the kids too. There’s a petting zoo, which we didn’t go into but my kids did get quite a kick out of the goat who had made his way to the top of some equipment they had. There’s a corn maze, some bounce houses and things like that. A bit pricey overall, but a bit pricey is typical for these kinds of places in my experience. We just used it as a chance for the kids to learn to budget their tickets to pick the things they wanted to do most of all.

Overall, it was fun. As I said, we’re going back for another pumpkin soon.