Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eat your heart out, Martha!

My fellow MarthaStewartclone friends (you know who you are!) will roll their eyes at this post ... but I couldn't not post about how proud of myself I am!

I, Sara Vallier, non-chef extraordinaire, have made a total of 4 batches of baby food this week. That's right. Homemade baby food. I am a domestic goddess.

In all seriousness - I don't really have an issue with the store-bought baby food - especially as there are so many great organic options out there at the same price (Heinz and President's Choice are the ones I've found). And most of the stuff we've tried tastes just like you would expect it would. Pears taste like, well, ground up pears. Squash tastes like squash. Sweet potatoes like sweet potatoes and so on and so on. But there are a few things - like bananas - they're a weird beige colour and I wonder about their taste. Peas - they taste just like mushy peas from a can (I have never understood why canned peas are so incredibly different from frozen - it's strange). And well, the selection is very good, but still limited to the main 'staples' (pears, peaches, apples, prunes / sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, peas) ...

So we started Maddie on these jars as her first solids, but I quickly decided I would also make some food for her that we can't necessarily find in the stores (like avocado or banana - which you can just freeze in chunks, and mash + serve as needed), or to make it more 'fresh' than what the store-bought options are (i.e. peas - I steamed some frozen peas and blended those - they are bright green and taste like fresh peas would taste!).

So far, I've made a big batch of pears (as these are one of Maddie's favourite foods so far), peas (mmm bright-green-freshness), carrots and green beans. I've also frozen chunks of banana - that she loves to eat from her mesh food feeder - great teether option, and keeps her occupied in her high chair while we eat dinner - and I have avocado sitting on my counter ripening as we speak. My plan this weekend is to head to the grocery store and pick up some more veggies and fruits that you can't find in jar form and make those (like apricots, melon, kiwi, zucchini, broccoli and beets).

And my one tip to any of you that may think about making baby food in the future - they say use a blender or food processor ... well - use a blender! At least at first, if you want it to be a smooth texture. I didn't realize this - so our first batches of carrots and peas probably won't be given to her until she has a few teeth and can sort of chew. It's very fine granules, but still - I wouldn't want to be swallowing it without something to wash each bite down with! So yeah - use a blender...

Here's Maddie's 'scorecard' so far...
  • rice cereal - likes okay - prefers when mixed w/ a fruit or veggie
  • oatmeal cereal - really not a fan - but will eat it if mixed w/ a lot of fruit/veggie
  • pears - LOVES
  • prunes - LOVES LOVES LOVES - yes, that's right, I would actually say that prunes are Maddie's #1 favourite food so far - how funny is that?
  • apples - really likes
  • peaches - likes, but initial reaction is always a puckered up face - I can't figure it out - maybe peaches are a bit sour at first taste?
  • sweet potatoes - LOVES
  • butternut squash - really likes (and I HATE squash, so good on her!)
  • carrots - likes, but again, not in the "LOVE" realm
  • peas - so far, not so much a fan ... but I never really liked canned peas either, so I don't blame her
  • bananas - LOVES (but she's only really eaten fresh so far, we'll see how the one jar of bananas we have goes over - it looks weird...)
  • water - not a food, but thought I'd add it to the list as she LOVES LOVES LOVES it. Actually quite obsessed with anyone drinking a glass of water and really enjoys taking 'big girl' sips from the glass. She sticks her little tongue into the water like she's a cat - it's more than amusing.
I'll update you all in a few weeks once we've tried out some new foods on her - see if she has a new favourite...


PS - be thankful that I refrained from going into detail about how all these solids have changed her poop...

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