Homemade Baby Food: Flavour Combinations

With our first son I was determined to make his baby food. We got a baby bullet as a shower gift and it turned out to be really easy and affordable. The one thing I wasn’t sure about was blending flavours, so I turned to packaged baby food to introduce some variety. There’s some great options and I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t be bothered to try.

Now that I’m a little more kitchen savvy, I decided to use my new talents with food for our second child. He’s nearly seven months and has been on solids since 5 months. He’s tried a lot of fruits and vegetables and has lived everything – peas, carrots, avocado, sweet potato, squash, zucchini, apples, pears, bananas and mango.  All of these were basic purees – steam and purée with water or unsalted chicken stock.

 While I’m continuing to use the three day allergy rule for introducing new foods, I’m also starting to introduce combinations of the foods he likes.

 I found these books at the local library when we were waiting for a mom and baby program to start.  I particularly like “easy gourmet baby food” because it offers a lot of tips and substitutions.

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This morning the little guy woke at 530 and by 730 we were well into our day. I noticed some overripe bananas on the counter, and that started a frenzy of baby food making! I started with roasted banana purée, he loves this and it’s so easy!

Roasted Banana Purée:

Place bananas (with skins on, ends cut off) on a baking sheet and roast at 250 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove and pour liquid into baby bullet. Once bananas cool, squeeze out banana and liquid. Purée.  When you roast the bananas they stay yellow, even after freezing, and they keep their consistency.  When you simply purée, they turn black very quickly.

 Roasted Banana & Blueberry Purée

Then I decided to use more of the blueberries I bought the other day.  I actually froze them in case I forgot about them.  I used two of the roasted bananas and 1/2 cup of blueberries (boiled until tender, liquid drained) and puréed them.

 Peach & Carrot Puree

I had some peach slices in the fridge packed in water and decided to make those his next fruit. I made a batch of straight peaches and then found a yummy blend recipe.  I peeled a carrot and used the potato peeler to shred 1 1/4 cups of carrots (so they would cook faster) and cut up 2.5 cups of peaches and boiled them until the carrots were tender, then puréed the two (liquid drained, peaches are juicy enough).  It smells fantastic.

I had some leftover puréed peaches so filled the cups to half and filled the remaining space with jarred organic unsweetened applesauce, then mixed.

As I’m sure you can see, I’m all about simplicity when cooking. I don’t have a lot of time but I also don’t want to spend a lot of money. I will buy fresh produce when it’s available, but I also like the convenience of frozen. It’s already cleaned, peeled and chopped, so it speeds the process dramatically.  I also buy pre made applesauce, it’s cheap and takes a long time to make myself (I hate peeling apples).  I think I will buy some additional blueberries and other seasonal producer and freeze it so I can use it in the off season.

 Some may think it’s an awful lot of time invested when I could easily but it, but I like knowing what’s in his food and it saves a ton of money.  And as far as time goes, it took me just over an hour for 24 servings – which would easily be $24+ (I probably spent about $9.  And I managed to use the same pot, knife and cutting board for the whole processor the dishes were limited.

But to be clear, I’m not against prepared food. I just like to make it myself when I have time!

Here’s the finished product,  all ready for the freezer. There’s roasted bananas, roasted bananas and blueberries, green beans (frozen and puréed with water), peaches, peaches and carrot, peaches and apple.  

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And here’s how I store them – once frozen I pop out of the trays and put into zip lock bags:

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My next batch will be the slightly more involved recipes with more than two ingredients. What are your favourite baby food resources and recipes?

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Delicious & Simple Blueberry Muffins

Since I finished the cake decorating class I’ve been preoccupied with projects around the house and making homemade food for our 6 month old. Baking has been pretty limited, mainly due to the lack of holidays and family functions. The only thing I have baked is cupcakes for bbqs, so quick and easy and always a favourite! For the last batch I used canned frosting – boy is it a disaster to work with when you’re used to homemade buttercream! It kept melting and wouldn’t hold any kind of shape.

Yesterday I bought a big container of fresh blueberries. I used half for baby food and decided to make muffins with the rest (I only used 1/3 of what’s left so I may make another batch!). I found a great recipe on allrecipes.com. I’ve learned to read through the comments before trying a recipe both for honest reviews and also for pointers on what to change to make it better.

This one had great reviews and for the most part people left it alone, so I did too! They turned out great – crunchy on the outside and super fluffy inside. Next time I may add other berries or more blueberries! I also didn’t try the topper because I didn’t have cinnamon and didn’t want to add extra sugar, but I bet it tastes yummy!!

What’s your favourite muffin recipe?

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Recipe yields 8 large muffins (with my scoop I made 11 medium sized muffins)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder.

Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture.

Fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

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