Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Homemade Baby Purees

Justin's at the age now where he's loving his purees and I love making them for him.  I'm not strict about it and he eats out of a jar just as often as he eats homemade baby food, but when I have the time, I really love getting out the blender and making it myself.  There's something that feels so good about it...  maybe it's the fact that I end up snacking as I'm cooking?? 

My two go-to books for inspiration when making baby food are Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel and Jessica Seinfeld's Decpetively Delicious, which I'm sure you've heard of: 

When my babies were brand-new, the level of exhaustion Dave & I were at made it a bit difficult to really feel inspired or get excited about cooking although, normally, it's one of our favorite things to do.  (WE LOVE EATING and a good meal at the end of the day is such a nice way to wind down.)  Once babies are ready for purees (mine were there around 5 or so months) things have gotten drastically easier.  I found I was excited about meals again and had so much fun chekcing out these 2 cookbooks.  I love how Jessica Seinfeld's has this adorable vintage feel:

She goes over a bunch of different vegetables and includes their steaming/ cooking times which is so helpful for someone like me who was new at it. The concept pf her book is all about "sneaking" vegetable purees into your kids's food.  I know people have given her flack  about the idea, saying we should teach our kids to eat veggies and yada yada, but regardless of whether you tell your kids the veggies are in there or not (and we do) it's a great concept to add more nutrition to almost anything.  It kind of becomes second nature once you really get into it and you find yourself wanting to add a puree to everything.  (We often do carrot puree in our burgers and it's such a yummy moist burger but you really don't taste the carrots.)  It's fun to follow along with the recipes and then get creative and make up your own.

Top 100 baby Purees is my other go-to.  I kid you not, these purees are seriously good.  When we do these, I'll typically make the same thing in an un-pureed version for Dave, Christian & myself because I already have all of the ingredients out. 

And kids love them!!  (Even Christian is always asking for Justin to "share" his food.) 

When I'm doing veggie purees, I like to do a bunch at once because I have all of the gear out.  If we're slammed for time, I'll even get the precut organic vegetables from the grocery store (I know it costs more but there have been times when a butternut squash sits and rots in my fridge because I never felt like cutting it up...  how bad is that??)  So wash all the veggies...

And then steam them:

{Ikea steamer/ pot}

I love this steamer from Ikea.  It's seriously one of the best purchases we've ever made (about 4 yrs ago.)  You can bake or cook the vegetables any way you like (think roasted red peppers- the kids love those- or baked butternut squash) but steaming retains the most nutrients and the fresher (is that a word? ;) your vegtables are when you get to them, the more nutrients they have. 

I don't have a food processor or one of those magic bullet things, but the blender works just fine.  Add in some of the leftover water from steaming because it's chock-full of nutrients & because you'll need water anyway to get it to the right consistency.  (You can even save it and use it for making broths if you have more leftover.)

We got a bunch of these "fresh baby" puree trays from Babies R Us when we had Christian.  They're amazing because they have lids.  I've used ice cube trays too in a pinch, but love the fact that I don't have to get into messy plastic wrap or any of that with these.   (And you know I'm not one for gadgets, so if I get them, trust me, they're worth it.) 

So we just fill up the little trays and label them for the freezer:

And you pop a couple of cubes into a little bowl and microwave until they're warm whenever you need them.  (transporting them is super-easy because they're frozen so they just unthaw for you.) 

And then let your little one go to town on them:

(I still haven't figured out how to make this process easy ;)

xoxo, Lauren