Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why homemade baby food? Part 1-- the equipment

Because it takes so much of the hassle out of reading labels and it removes so much of the stress regarding cross-contamination!!! Also, we are limited to the prepared foods we can get anyways because of where we are, so it really just makes sense. Fortunately, I was planning on doing mostly homemade food for my B long before any of this FPIES business was suspected, so I already had some recipes and the equipment that I needed.

The equipment:
I have a mini food processor (about 3 cup size), an Oster blender with a baby food setting (as well as 13 other settings), a dishwasher safe colander (for steaming), a medium size skillet, a medium size saucepan, a large spatula, a brownie pan (which doubles as a cookie sheet), and ice cube trays, two of which are covered and made especially for baby food freezing (set of two was 9.99 at amazon and they are dishwasher safe!) I use other dishwasher safe utensils, bowls and plates that we already had and I just sanitize them on super high heat in the dishwasher in between uses. I like having a set of cookware for B's food because I don't have to worry about our foods potentially contaminating her stuff. 

Sound crazy? Here is what triggered it: I had just started making all of her food after being fed up with the guessing game of "what is really in this?" with premade baby food. So I found out she will only eat bananas if they are cooked and then pureed. Ok, awesome. So I cooked them in our regular skillet (my fav one that we got as a wedding gift!) and after eating the bananas, she was colicky acting and had some really bad diapers. I did it a second time and we got a repeat performance. At this point she had been safe with bananas for a few months, so I was pretty sure they weren't giving her issues. I thought to myself, well, it is cheap enough to go buy a decent skillet to keep for just B's food and if it doesn't seem to really solve the problem, I can at least always use another skillet. And the result? Worked like a CHARM!!!! No more problems! Just normal diapers and no tummy aches! So at that point, I was sold! Any baking/cooking implement that cannot go in the dishwasher on high heat, we buy a separate one for me to make B's food with. Obviously, she doesn't have as many cookware items as our family set has, but we have all of the basics. And if spending an extra 50 bucks overall can help my little girl feel better and actually succeed with a food, I will do it!

So I have this great cookbook and although it is not FPIES specific or even food allergy specific, I really like it and have found useful ways of using it. It is called

"Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for Kids From 6 to 18 Months"

I like it because it gives you some great recipes, excellent directions on preparing foods, but most importantly, it tells you why and how certain foods work or don't work for your baby. It tells you excellent nutritional info and how to cook the item so it has the best flavor and nutritional makeup. It is really a great stepping stone to coming up with your own recipes and whatnot.

The ice cube trays I use our "Fresh Baby" brand and they have covers for them. However, you can just use cheapo dollar store ice trays. Just make sure to not have anything smelly in your freezer and have the trays in a safe place where they can't be spilled or have something spilled on them (you could also wrap them in plastic wrap to help with this!) And take them out after 12 hours or less. I usually make the food at night and then take it out first thing in the AM. I then separate the cubes into prelabeled freezer bags (label with item and date) and then double bag all of the bags of one food inside a large freezer bag. Making a three week batch of food usually takes about an hour, sometimes less depending on the food.

More to come. . .

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