Tag Archives: baby

A Quick Break From Baby Food Making

What a week it was last week! Thanksgiving is always a crazy time of year, but my dear eldest daughter had to make it more interesting by coming down with a rather nasty stomach bug.

And passing it on to my husband and son.

Fortunately, the baby and I did not get it. It took a lot of effort to keep things that way. Keeping kids apart who normally play together much of the day is rough, and the baby really loves her Daddy.

So what does all this have to do with baby food making?

I’m picky about the conditions under which I will make baby food. A house full of people who have been throwing up is not what I consider good conditions. Too worrying that maybe there was something in the kitchen either causing the problem or that had come into the kitchen with one of the sick people.

Naturally this hit right when I was just about out of baby food cubes. I’d been planning on making quite a number just after Thanksgiving.

I had to resort to jarred baby food!

All right, so it’s really not all that horrifying. Glad I had a good stock on hand. I use jarred food for when we visit family.

Fortunately, they’re all well and I’ve done some serious scrubbing to be sure that no one spread anything too bad around the house while they were sick. So I’m back to making baby food. And very grateful that whatever the virus was, the baby didn’t get it.

Frozen Homemade Baby Food vs. the Dead Microwave

I’ve posted a few times about making homemade baby food. It’s a process I’ve been enjoying.

Serving it, on the other hand, has been a bit more challenging of late. You see, my microwave died.

Well, not so much died as started sparking. Not a good thing, especially since it’s quite new.

Good thing it’s still within the return period.

But that does mean I have to plan a bit more ahead for when Selene wants her meals. It takes rather longer to reheat her food without a microwave.

How I handle it depends on what I’m doing. Fastest is popping it in a small pot and stirring the baby food until it’s about a safe temperature.

But sometimes I’ll put it in an oven safe bowl and put it in the oven to warm up. This is effective if I’m already using the oven for something else. Takes about 10-15 minutes or so, and if there’s a touch of ice still in the food when I take it out, that’s a good thing. Helps to cool off the parts that are already melted and too hot.

Reheating her food this way means that it often has to spend a few minutes cooling back down to a baby safe temperature. That’s no fun if she’s hollering for her meal now! You know how patient babies aren’t, especially when they’re hungry.

I’ll be glad when I get that microwave brought back to the store and get a replacement. It’s just so much faster and I know better how long to heat the baby food to keep it at a safe temperature so I don’t have to cool it back off.

Still, it’s nice to know how easy it is to cope without.

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.

Cloth Diapering Continues to Go Well

It’s been a few months since I last talked about cloth diapering. My daughter is 7 months old now, and it’s still going well.

We’ve encountered some challenges. The home we’re in now has a Homeowner’s Association, which unsurprisingly has rules against clotheslines. That makes it a bit of a pain to dry the diapers outside, where the sun can bleach any stains out naturally.

However, the rule is that it cannot be visible to the other houses. We’re fortunate enough to be a corner house, with a hill and a high brick wall off to that side. That gives me a place to put the diapers out to dry, provided I get them out early enough in the day that the sun still hits them.

They’d dry in the shade of course, especially with the 100 degree weather we’ve been having. But the direct sunlight is better.

There’s no convenient way to put up a clothesline, however. I’ve been making do with some lawn chairs and a baby gate we aren’t yet using indoors, laying the diapers out flat on those. The gate allows air to flow around both sides of the diapers.

The trouble is that they don’t dry as nicely. Everything’s just a little on the crunchy side when they dry like that. I’m thinking it’s the lack of movement from the wind.

I’m planning on ordering a folding indoor/outdoor clothes rack soon to take care (hopefully) of that problem. Going to be needing that gate indoors soon anyhow. Selene’s getting pretty mobile and I don’t think she’s going to accepting her current limitations on her play area forever or even much longer.

We do occasionally have that extra bit of smell from the diapers, which just means that I have to strip the diapers, but that’s really not so hard. Just a regular wash followed by some extra washing with Dawn dish soap and lots and lots of rinsing. Takes care of the problem quite nicely.

And how I love not having to buy disposable diapers! Saves me a ton of driving, much more so than if we had remained in Poway where Target was about 5 miles away. Here it’s about 15 miles. Between the mileage saved on the car and the money saved by not buying disposable diapers, wow! Really and truly worth the extra laundry.

Making Homemade Baby Food

Now that Selene’s old enough, we’ve been feeding her some baby food. And we’re finally settled enough in the new house that I’m making homemade baby food for her as much as possible.

So much cheaper than buying jars and really not that hard!

I’ve been doing it the cheap way. We have a VitaMix and I’m just using the ice cube trays and containers we already own to freeze and store the food. I want to get some better baby food storage containers to avoid BPA and similar issues, but after the move that’s not yet in the budget.

Soon, hopefully.

It’s really, really easy to do, even in the early stages.

Peaches, for example. I cut them in half and put them face down in a pan, then add about an inch of water. Then they cook at 400 degrees F in the oven until tender. If the skin’s still a little tough I may peel it, but often peach skins aren’t much of a problem so long as I’ve washed them well. Pop them in the blender, and away they go! Maybe a touch of water, but not much, if they really aren’t smoothing out well.

The best part is that it all tastes pretty decent even to me. I was never able to stomach jarred baby foods. That stuff is nasty! Even a lot of the fruit ones aren’t that good.

Vegetables are pretty easy too. Steaming works well for most, and you can often use veggies in season. Carrots are a classic, as is squash of various sorts. Selene loves, loves, loves zucchini.

I haven’t tried fresh green beans yet as I haven’t found a good source. I gather they can be a bit challenging to puree well due to the skins. My VitaMix copes pretty well with that overall; it just takes a little extra time.

I’ve not worried too much about baby food recipes yet. I’ll face that more as I start mixing things up a little for her. But if I do as I did before, a lot of it will simply be making mild versions of what the rest of the family is eating.

We haven’t started meats yet either. Most sources don’t recommend that until 8 months anyhow, so I still have time.

This stuff is fun, though! Just a touch of extra work but so much benefit. Less waste for not throwing out or even recycling baby food jars. Cheaper because I’m not paying at least $0.50 per jar. Much better tasting for Selene. And a much better selection of flavors to offer, while still considering foods which may be allergens at this age.