Here is something that you may not know about me; I have two small children, yes, count ‘em, two. Okay, that isn’t earth shattering nor is it an anomaly, but I bet you didn’t know that I personally make a point of making all the food that they eat. I know that there are many of you out there that are in the same boat as me, and while may want to make your own food, you may think it is either time consuming or difficult. Guess what? It is neither!
It all began for me less than two years’ ago when Zoe (aka “Crazy Train”) started eating solid foods. As you probably know, I am a “cook” by trade , but does cooking foie gras and shaving truffles make me a baby food maker? Nope. Does my profession make it easier for me to pump out really great and tasty baby food? Maybe. I am by no means an expert in the baby food making field – but I do have two little monkeys that have managed to eagerly eat just about everything I put in front of them.
I am currently back in the process of making my own baby food as my big ‘ol baby boy, Philippe, a whopping 25 pounds at 10 months, is currently eating me out of house and home! Yes, believe it or not, a baby can do that.
What did I start Zoe and Philippe on? That’s a question I’m often asked by fellow friends who also have small kids. I started them on the traditional mashed banana, applesauce, pureed pears and sweet potatoes. Add in some rice cereal and then oatmeal cereal and you have a pretty good base. Making your own applesauce and fruit/vegetable puree is dead simple; just steam or boil in a small amount of water and puree in a blender or with a hand blender. A tip for the pureeing of foods is to keep any liquid that is in the pot to help blend and puree.
As the 6 month mark passed, we moved on the more vegetables and added in some protein. I find that adding some soft tofu to the fruits and vegetables is an easy way to introduce protein. A favorite of both of my kids is when I boil chicken breast with brown rice, sweet potato and a little ginger root. Just cover with enough water, cover and cook until very soft and puree. Any leftover food can easily be put in ice cube trays and frozen for future use!
Another great item for babies is quark. I buy quark from Fox Hill Cheese House and keep half in the fridge and the other half in the freezer. I will sometime add pureed fruit or even sweeter vegetables to it and Philippe goes crazy for it! Yogurt is also another big hit with my baby at the moment. I buy the heavier, Mediterranean style yogurt and mix it with fresh berries and flax seed oil for a hearty breakfast.
We are now at the 10 month mark. Philippe eats everything that the rest of us do! I puree lamb stew, curried lentils and even chili. Mind you, I try not to over season the food my kids are about to eat, and only add my “spicy” touches after their food has been plated.
I think it is very important that our kids eat what we do, and try different tastes, textures and styles. Too many children these days rely on pre-packaged, frozen or processed foods, and it is not their choice, nor is it necessarily the parents’ choice, but often a necessity for busy families. Making food for your babies and small kids is easy, and takes only a little bit of time. Make a big batch and freeze what is leftover and you will realize that you will get into a pattern of making your own and will always have some handy.