Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why homemade baby food? Part 2--- Time Management

I know a lot of people will say that they don't have time for this and well, they might not. I will not judge anyone, as I know how crazy life is with little ones! However, if this is something you want to do, don't let the thought of time deter you.

At this point, it takes very little time for me to invest.

B's cookies--- she eats about 2 a day and a batch makes about 40-50. So when I make a batch, I cut out all of the little shapes but I only bake 16 (enough for one week plus a couple extra) and the shapes I didn't bake, I place on wax paper (in layers) inside of a freezer safe container (so they don't get smushed) and when I am ready to bake some more I can just defrost them in the AM (the amount I need only, of course!) and pop them onto a cookie sheet in the afternoon and voila! More cookies for the week! SO really I am only mixing up the batter every 4 weeks or so.

B's pears--- I am currently in "pear panic" mode, as pears are going out of season here soon, and it is very difficult for us to get produce off season. I also can't get any canned pears except the ones in heavy syrup and well, that just won't work for us! So right now, I am buying them whenever I am out, then pealing, slicing, steaming, pureeing and freezing immediately. This way I have a stash!!!! They should be fine in the freezer for 3 months, up to 6 months if they hang out all the way in the back.

B's bananas--- the only thing I make right before she eats them! We buy bananas around here like most people buy eggs. We go through at least a dozen a week, often more, because not only does she eat them by themselves, but all of B's baked goods use bananas as the egg substitute (with double action baking powder, my new found friend!!!!). So for normal eating, I slice the banana lengthwise, chop it into 1 inch long chunks, and then slap it in the skillet on medium heat, turning occasionally until it is dark yellow and syrupy. I then throw it in the food processor, with or without a little water, and bam! Fresh bananas! I have recently been contemplating trying the different forms of bananas here (there are at least three different types at our grocery stores-- hooray for nearby tropical climates!) but have not yet been brave. If I am, I will report back. . .

B's muffins--- These can be made weekly and I make mini ones and full size ones. Again, that lovely corn flour to the rescue. . .. This recipe was also the one I used for her "birthday cake." It is a really tasty muffin and they rise very nicely. They are moist and very easy for my still toothless one year old to eat. The batter makes about 12 full size muffins and 12 mini muffins, so more than enough for the week. As a result, I sometimes just cut the recipe in half.

B's Treats!--- Special occasions require special treats! We use the muffin recipe for cakes and use the Happy Birthday Girl frosting for well, the frosting. Sorbet can be kept a little longer than the cake, because it is frozen of course. I keep mine for up to two weeks, although I am sure you could probably keep it longer. I did not notice any change in the texture, flavor, or any addition of freezer burn. I just had to pitch it for the freezer space!!!!

So in other words, her food takes about 1-3 hours weekly time commitment, which really isn't so bad. A lot of things can be done simultaneously. I can steam the pears while I am baking cookies and muffins. All will be finished in less than 2 hours. It takes 2-4 minutes before a meal to make her bananas. And I ususally make the new foods for use to trial in the evenings after B has gone to dreamland. We still stick to mostly purees and baked goods, so there is some down time when I am preparing foods for her.

If you want the recipes we use, go to the recipe pages. I am trying to keep them updated, especially the one about recipes under construction. My trials with coconut continue and after learning of my new friend (double action baking powder!!!!!!!!!! I feel like music should be playing here. . .) I am anxious to see how it improves the coconut recipes.

Helpful homemade baby food resources:

and of course, modifications can always be made to recipes. Remember, it really is just all chemistry and some experiments take a little longer than others to turn into something edible! :)

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