Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cube-n Cuisine

Before the boys were born I decided I wanted to try making their food. I had no idea I would enjoy it so much and get so serious about it. With the exception of rice/oatmeal cereal, I have made everything else. As of 10.5 months, the boys have never had a bite of food from a store-bought baby food jar (or formula). Here's the process - and a process it is.

Step 1: Purchase fresh produce, allow to ripen if necessary. This summer it was fun to visit the Minneapolis farmer's market on Saturday mornings. The boys got to ride along in their baby bjorns.

Step 2: Peel the fruits and vegetables. There are some that I do not peel, like apples.

Step 3: Cut and place into pan for cooking. I steam vegetables such as beets, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, beans, and peas. I bake apples and squash. I do use some seasoning (but never sugar or salt). I add cinnamon to the apples and nutmeg to squash, carrots, and yams before I steam or bake.

steaming sweet potatoes

Step 4: Bake in a pan of water or steam until very soft (easily pierced with a fork). Baking typically takes 45 minutes to an hour and steaming takes 15-20 minutes depending on how small you cut up the fruit/vegetables.

apples in a pan with an inch of water, sprinkled with cinnamon

Step 5: Blend or mash. Pears are easy to mash. However, I blend apples because I leave the skin on them and the blender will puree the skins so you don't even notice them. I also blend squash because it gets a little stringy. The left over cooking water is good to add to the blender so the puree is nice and smooth. I did everything in the blender when the boys were younger and I have tried to do more mashing lately so the boys get used to different textures.

mashing pears

blending sweet potatoes

Step 6: Pour/spoon into ice cube trays. We have about 20 ice cube trays on hand and I try to make enough to fill all the trays when I am getting everything out and dirty.

Step 7: Cover the trays with press-n-seal and place in the freezer overnight. If your freezer looks anything like mine you'll need to do some rearranging to make room for the trays. Make sure to mark the trays so you know what is what. Otherwise peas look like beans and apples look like pears.

Step 8: Remove the frozen cubes from the tray and place in freezer baggies. I use a permanent marker to write what is in the bag and the date. Frozen food is only good for a few months but with these two hungry boys I have not had a problem with food getting old. 

When the boys first started out on solids I would spend 3-4 hours on a Saturday making food for them and it would last a few months. Now a batch of 20 trays will only last about 2 weeks! 

Here's a list of what I have tried:

  • Veggies: butternut squash, acorn squash, beets, carrots, beans (both fresh and frozen), peas (frozen)
  • Fruits: apples, pears

Other fruits and vegetables, such as avocado and banana, are also very yummy and fresh, so baking or cooking isn't necessary.

If you are interested in learning more, check out this website. It is an excellent resource and I have used it a lot.

Are you motivated to start cooking yet!?

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