Tuesday, October 20, 2015

homemade baby food -- carrots & peaches

I had intended to continue to update this blog regularly throughout my pregnancy with Madelyn and since she was born but I basically slept and took care of Isaiah until she came and then it has been a lot of survival mode since then.  Having two sweeties only 13 months a part is definitely not a picnic! I was a little surprised at just how hard it was to go to two from one but a lot of my mommy friends who have similar age differences in their kiddos have encouraged me it gets easier as they get bigger.  I can definitely already see that and I always do better when Maddie sleeps at night.  Unfortunately she has still not been consistent with this and I have exhausted all the things I can come up with to try to remedy it so guess we will just stick it out for now.

So for my first post "back" I have to share with you one of my new DIY discoveries, make your own baby food!  I dabbled with this a little bit with Isaiah but I was so overwhelmed physically and mentally with being pregnant and caring for him that I definitely didn't do as much and I kept jars around for when we were going out or sometimes for when we traveled to San Antonio with Jonathan.  This time with Maddie I was determined to save even more money on baby food and see if I could get away without buying any at all.  Well a friend gave me a bunch of baby food she wasn't going to use that was soon to expire so I have been using that here and there to test out new flavors on Maddie before I make a big batch and also for taking places but I have also successfully traveled with homemade baby food.  I knew in my head that this couldn't be so bad but I feel really silly now that I'm doing it that I didn't do it with Isaiah.  It's just too easy to be paying 50 cents a jar for baby food (and that's for store brands/non organic if you're into that sort of thing).

We started out with some of my favorite fall backs with Isaiah like bananas and unsweetened applesauce in a jar.  That is one thing that to me is worth buying already done because it's fairly cheap already.  I also tried avocados since I discovered the amazing world of Aldi's (39 cents an avocado??).  Initially these were all successes but since then she has refused bananas and avocados both!!  Isaiah LOVED bananas and ate at least one a day until only very recently when he has occasionally turned it down.  This is crazy right??  But she has made up for it by being very receptive to most everything else I've tried so far.  We are just starting to get into the fun combinations but carrots and peaches are two of our favorite single foods so let me show you just how easy it is to make your own.

Carrots

Start by peeling your carrots and chopping the ends off.  

Then dice into smaller rounds for quick steaming.

I put mine in the steamer basket and checked them after about 10-12 minutes.
When nice and soft dump into your blender or food processor (I have a Ninja) and puree!  I like to add a little butter to my veggies and if you want the consistency to be thinner and smoother you can add a little of the water you steamed them in until it looks good.

I left my carrots a little thicker because she is 7 months now and I want to start moving towards the softer pieces soon.


I like to freeze mine in ice cube trays, and since I just had a bag with leftover carrots in it I don't know how much they weighed but these five carrots made about nine 1-oz cubes.  Maddie usually eats two cubes of food at meals.


Peaches

Some people like to peel theirs but I scrubbed mine good and just threw the whole peach in the steamer basket.


Depending on how ripe your peaches are will change how long it takes to steam so just check on them.  Mine were already pretty soft so they were ready at 10 minutes.

I cut them in sort of sections off the pit and threw them in my Ninja and pureed.  Because of the high water content in peaches they are super runny if you puree them completely but I'm okay with this.


A lot of times for breakfast I mix a cube of fruit with an equal amount of plain yogurt (I'm currently making my own of this too and it's super inexpensive!  tutorial to come soon!).  Then I thicken a little with some peach-apple oatmeal cereal I picked up marked down at the grocery store.  I've heard you can take regular old fashioned oats and grind them up a bit instead of using store bought oatmeal cereal but I haven't tried this yet because I had my marked down box that we haven't finished up.  I don't imagine we will need it because by the time we get to the end of this box she will be ready for pieces of food rather than purees.  I had two very large peaches and they made a full ice cube tray so this will last us awhile.



For a price comparison, a 2 lb bag of carrots at Aldi's is $1.29 and the peaches were from Sam's 4 lbs for $7.98.  Remember a 4 oz jar of baby food is 72 cents at HEB for the store brand!!  This is HUGE savings.  If you're an organic kind of person you will have to run your own numbers but I imagine it's still far cheaper to make your own than to buy it. This week I saw pears are 99 cents for a 28 oz package at Aldi's so we are going to grab some of those and do pears and green beans next time.  I will also post how to make your own yogurt because that is another huge money saver.  My kids love yogurt and you know those little baby yogurts are uber expensive.  Isaiah eats fruit yogurt in the big container but even those are almost $3.  My goal right now is to spend $300/month on groceries, toiletries, and diapers so I'm working very hard to find anything we can do cheaper as long as it doesn't require an exorbitant amount of extra work.

I store my baby food either in 4 oz leftover dishes or glass mason jars when in the fridge, and the cubes in ziploc bags in the freezer. What first foods did your kiddo like the best?