Foods for Little Tummies

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Jessica Reineke is our first guest blogger!  Welcome, Jessica!  She is my best friend and lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and baby boy, Braver.  Enjoy her post about making homemade baby food!

My baby is about to turn one in just under a month….Each day he jumps into the world, constantly curious. No matter how hard I have tried to stay on schedule, he frequently reminds me that “Mom, you might try to be in charge all the time, but you don’t have control over everything.” It is hard to believe that we have gone from nine feedings a day, I did not think I was going to make it, down to five fun meal times. For right now, one piece of the puzzle that I do have control over is what food is served at meal times.

As soon as Braver turned four months old, he began devouring baby cereal. From there, we started on jarred stage one baby foods at five months. I was giving him store bought foods and just hadn’t taken the leap to preparing my own baby food. Two friends reminded me that they had been making their own baby food. I was inspired. I can do this! (…and in mommy terms- I got a little competitive…) I want him to eat healthy, fresh foods.

My husband jumped on the bandwagon as well, and we were off. He’s actually much better in the kitchen than I to tell you the truth. Two cookbooks fueled our first foods and helped us learn the process – Top 100 Baby Food Purees and Baby Love. Also, the website wholesomebabyfood.com provides a wealth of information. We try to make four recipes at a time, which helps us feel like we are not always having to cook baby food.

To begin, find recipes that are appropriate for your baby’s age. Early on, we started with basic purees like apples, pears, and a dash of cinnamon or just steamed carrots. Now, we have moved on to slightly more complex purees, but so far, he does NOT like it when we get too creative with our combinations – for instance lentil soup (took me a longer time to prepare and it made a ton) had too strong of a flavor for him. Like all things with my little one, it’s a guess and check to see what he’ll like.

One of my favorite experiences this year has been using my father-in-law’s fresh spinach. Talk about straight from the source! I had a feeling Braver would not enjoy just spinach. So I searched through our cookbooks, combined a few ideas and decided on apples, pears, and spinach.

Spinach-Apple-Pear Puree

-Large handful of fresh spinach-the leaves were huge!

-One large pear-chopped

-One large apple-chopped

-1/2 cup water

First wash the spinach thoroughly and then steam the spinach on the stove. Then, in a different pot combine about ½ cup water, apples and pears. Let them boil for about five to six minutes or until soft. Combine spinach, pears, apples and some of the liquid from the steamed spinach into a blender. (We love our Vitamix!) Make sure the puree is well blended. Next, pour the puree into ice cube trays. Basic ice cube trays work well. I let the trays cool a little before placing in the freezer to harden.

spinach in a blender

spinach in ice tray

Usually the next day, I remove the cubes and place in a labeled baggie and back in the freezer they go until needed. I hate using all the baggies but it is what it is right now.

spinach in bag

At mealtimes, I take out two cubes, defrost and voilà – homemade baby food!

braver

Perks:

-I know what’s going into my little one’s tummy.

-I save a ton of money making my own food.

-It tastes better! I taste everything before I give it to him, and I can honestly say I love the purees way more than store bought food.

-My husband and I make Braver’s food together.

What would you put in your baby food puree combo?

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