Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hey Mom, What's for Dinner?

“You should write about your baby food.”

So says The Husband to a hazy-eyed wifey one night at din.

“For reals?” I mumble in reply, reaching for a glass, well probably a bottle, of wine.

“Yes,” says The Husband. “Your readers probably want to know about it.”

So, peeps. This is The Baby Food post.

Making baby food is really not very challenging and the final products do not look appealing, which is why the notion of writing about them totally failed to dawn on me.

My instructions are pretty much as follows: Cook the living daylights out of XY or Z, and puree the pants off of desired item in your food processor.

Done and done.

Some things don’t need to be cooked. A banana can be smushed up with a fork. But it needs to be majorly over-ripe, like the banana that is headed to the trashcan or your banana bread. Mmmmmm. Banana bread.

You hear all different theories about when to feed the babies. My doc told me to get cracking at 4 months. But some books I have read say 6 months, and I’m sure if you hang with a gaggle of baby-obsessed mommas, you will get a variety of opinions that will probably make your head explode.

We started with the oatmeal and the rice cereal. Next came the carrots, bananas, apples, pears, sweet potatoes, peas, peaches, butternut squash and mangos. Prune juice was also involved because, well, the solid food kinda messes with the bambino’s system at first. Sorry for the TMI.

My doc told me to give each new food a day and then to the next.

Now that Evan is nearing 7 months of age (yikes!), he’s been grooving to some yogurt and blueberries and some chicken concoctions. I’m hoping to try out zucchini this week. I just need to find a moment to cook it.

So, I’m not tsk tsking if you feed your baby food from a container. I totally rock out Gerber every now and again because of convenience. Let’s be real, I barely have time to cook a proper meal for Mommy and Daddy these days. The good news is that you can freeze a ton of bambino food. In fact, once the weather turned warm in my parts, one of Baby Evan’s outings was to the dollar store to get ice cube trays. We also visited the liquor store, but who are you to judge.

Basically, Evan loves to eat anything and everything. My 20-pound roly-poly baby doll is totally down with yum yum time. Yes, sometimes he straight-up gives me WTF face when I’m shoving smashed peas into his gourd. And I can’t blame him. If someone was force-feeding me mushed up peas and pureed sweet potatoes, I would tear a bitch down with my multi-colored Munchkin spoon and Playtex sippy cup. And, Elmo would totally have my back.

But, it’s times like these when I get all Jessica Seinfeld on Evan and camouflage the offensive greens into the happy sweetness of carrots, yams or squash. He also takes the peas mashed into some rice.

His faves are peachies better known as peaches and of course, apples. I make a boatload of apples each week. The gala variety is a win for my Baby Evan. He digs pears as well, but not, I repeat NOT the anjou variety. The anjous produced a grainy puree, and Baby Evan was thoroughly disgusted. So was the Jersey Girl for wasting her time. Plus, I made the babes gag and then felt immense amounts of guilt for causing this situation.

I thin out a lot of the veg and the meat items - yes I puree, chicken - with breast milk or formula. And, there truly is no rhyme or reason to the quantities that Baby Evan consumes. Some days he just wants it shoveled in, and some days he picks a little here and there. C'est la vie.

On a final note, I highly recommend this baby cookery book: "Top 100 Baby Purees" by Annabel Karmel.

Here’s a recipe I made for butternut squash from the book. There's two ways to do it. I did the baking way. Baby Evan loves the orange foods. One squash made a ton of servings, so I was able to freeze some in my ice cube trays. Here's how the squash was transformed from odd shaped veg to smushy baby food:

 I also did a batch of sweet potatoes since the oven was on and I am the queen of multi-tasking:

Butternut Squash
From "Top 100 Baby Purees" by Annabel Karmel
6 months. Makes 4 portions. Suitable for freezing

1 medium butternut squash (1 pound), cut in half and seeded
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (optional)
2 Tbsp. orange juice (optional)

Brush each half with melted butter and spoon 1 Tbsp. orange juice in each cavity. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 1/2 hours or until tender, then blend to a puree.