Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My little cook

I did make the apples that night and he LOVES them. Those sweet fruits seem to be his new favorites. Right after my last blog entry I tried to find organic peaches and mangoes, but didn’t have success with either. About a week later they did restock the mangoes, so I am waiting for those to become ripe before I can make his food. I hope that he likes those, too. He really is getting some diversity with his food now, and I know we are getting close to mixing them together for some yummy combinations. I found a list of foods that are good to mix with mangoes: avocado, bananas, blueberries, peaches, melons, sweet potato, chicken, pork, and yogurt. This should take dinner up a notch. Now if I can just get my hands on some organic peaches.

My CSA share continues to be awesome. We are eating a lot of kale, something neither of us ate before. And a lot of salads with so many different greens, I have no idea what they all are, but they are tasty. I am becoming inpatient for the Farmer’s Market to start again. I am so excited to be within walking distance after we finally move.

My new project is that I have been trying to find ways to make a connection in my son with his mind and his belly and the food that he is eating and how it is getting there. I hope that by triggering this at an early age, it will help with better food choices and a better understanding of what is going into his body down the road. Lately, when I make dinner or make baby food, I have been putting the little guy in his high chair right next to me. The first couple of times I could only get a few minutes out of him (maybe 10 at the most), but now we are up to about 30 – 40 minutes. I usually give him some narrative about what I am making and how, and, of course, add in some silly things that 7 almost 8 month olds enjoy. He actually watched me make an entire dinner on Sunday night. If I am chopping or doing something like that which has some action and is interesting, I can hold his attention. But, when I am stirring or steaming or baking, I find that he gets bored quickly. Which is fine, I know that every aspect isn’t pure entertainment. I still feel that when he is paying attention he may actually be watching, processing, and learning. For some unknown reason, he thinks that it is hilarious when I pull kale leaves from the stems (even without my silly mommy antics thrown in).
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Feeding 7 & 8 Months

I wanted to do an entry every month to update what foods could be introduced, but I am already behind. Since my little guy is going to be 8 months in two weeks and I have the time right now, I thought that I would just do 7 and 8 months together.

7 months

These are the foods that (in my opinion) are safe to introduce at 7 months

Homemade (organic) mixed cereals, Tofu, Cottage cheese, Hard cooked egg yolk (not the white), Peaches (raw), Asparagus, Carrots, Green beans, Peas, Summer squash, White potatoes

All of the fruits and vegetables need to be cooked, strained, and pureed into a smooth consistency, free of lumps. Fruits that are safe to serve raw are indicated.

Juices are now safe to introduce, too. We have been working with a sippy cup with very little success. I do not make my own juice, but buy organic. I would like to make my own some day, but the solid food is priority right now. These are the juices that (in my opinion) are safe to introduce at 7 months:

All organic: Apple, Apricot, Grape, Papaya, Pear, Peach, Prune

Water down all of these juices. Remember that since the introduction of a sippy cup is very new to the baby, the first few times he/she will probably drink very little, so don’t fill up the cup. I use about half water and half juice.

8 months

These are the foods that (in my opinion) are safe to introduce at 8 months

Tahini, Ground nuts, Ground seeds, Brewer’s yeast, Powdered kelp, Natural cheeses, Apricot, Apple, Cantaloupe, Grapes (peeled and quartered), Honeydew, Kiwi, Plum, Watermelon, Broccoli, Okra, Cooked parsley

Although I don’t think that this is going to give him a much larger variety of food (anyone have powdered kelp handy?), it does look like 8 months is a turning point. The purees can be chunkier and thicker. More foods can be fed raw. Also, it looks like a lot more finger foods can be introduced. This is definitely great for convenience, but it also can be a little scary because the risk of choking is greater.

Since my son is at the 7 months mark, I will let you know what he is eating. Right now we are doing two solid food meals a day with a lot of bottle feedings. He takes just a fruit to the baby-sitter and we have a full meal for dinner (perfectly timed to end right before his bath).

We are only rotating two fruits right now, pears and bananas. Pears were an instant favorite. The bananas are supposed to be a great “take along” food because you can just mash it on site, but I find that mashing with a fork still makes it too thick for him, so I have to mix in some formula. It’s actually quite a bit easier for me to put a cube of food in a container (I bought specific “safe” ones to use just for this purpose) for the baby-sitter than dealing with her mashing bananas for him. Because of this, bananas have become more of a weekend fruit. I have some apples at home that I want to make for him soon (maybe tonight? maybe this weekend?) and I would also like to introduce peaches and mangoes. I plan to make those after the apples and really hope that they are available.

His dinner always includes organic rice cereal and avocados. He still loves the avocados, but now that there are more options, I don’t know if I would still consider them his favorite. He really loves those pears. He also has either carrots, sweet potatoes, or winter squash, which I try to rotate. We have a lot more carrots and sweet potatoes than winter squash, so he gets those more often. Carrots are his least favorite of the three, but he likes all of them. I took green beans out of rotation because he just would not eat them.

He has had some juice, but, as mentioned earlier, with little success. I gave him apple at first. He was really surprised when something other than breast milk/formula came out of the cup. He mostly likes to chew on the top. I also gave him some prune this past week. He started sucking it down and drank about an ounce before he realized that it wasn’t formula. If he is having constipation problems I will mix it in his bottle which makes it look like chocolate milk. I have papaya juice ready for him, but he hasn’t tried it yet.

You may notice a lack of incorporating dairy into his diet. He does have a mild milk intolerance, so I have hesitated introducing yogurts and cottage cheese and other dairy foods. I think that he would love them, so it makes me a little sad. I have started research on goat’s milk products, but don’t really know enough yet to form an opinion.

I still use the same method to make all of this food. If I can, I will steam the produce and then just puree it in the Magic Bullet. Otherwise, I will bake it and then puree it. The sweet potatoes and winter squash were baked. After that, I put it into the cube tray, freeze it overnight, and then put it into a labeled (food and date) bag the next morning.

I don’t really like using the plastic bags, and I just read a great tip on another blog: mason jars. They are reusable and they are glass, so BPA free. I think I am going to invest in a few the next time that we go to Sam’s Club. I am really trying to cut back on that kind of thing, so I am looking into WasteNot Sacks, too. I think that these will be great to transport his bottles and his food to the baby-sitter.

I haven’t made my own cereal yet. I haven’t needed to. We have only bought one box of the organic rice cereal and are still using it. I am interested in trying to make it, but I am also thinking that if a box lasts this long that it may not be worth the effort.

I found that I really hate peeling fruit. I really don’t know why. I don’t think that I am very good at it, so I feel wasteful and it’s time consuming. Anybody have any tricks or anything to make this easier/better?

I still can’t believe how easy it has been to make this baby food. I always procrastinate, like it’s some big chore, and then once I finally make myself do it (usually right before the produce is about to turn) I always wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. The most it has ever taken is about 30 minutes, and that's when I have to peel fruit (ugh).
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CSA Share

I ran into some obstacles getting my CSA share. The first time I went to the meeting spot and couldn’t find them. I even went twice and brought someone with me the second time. I contacted them and they gave me further instructions for the next week and also offered to double it up, which was super nice. I wasn’t thinking clearly and didn’t get a picture of the share the first/second time, but by the third time I got myself together, picked up my share like a pro, and took some pictures.

I have been taking the celery with me to work as a snack and used all of the carrots to make baby food. Those were some beautiful carrots – red, yellow, and orange. I prepared the kale two different ways. The first way was boiling it down with some bacon (similar to collard greens) and the second way was making “chips” with it by sprinkling olive oil and sea salt and baking in the oven. Surprisingly, my picky husband liked it both ways (that’s what she said – sorry, couldn’t pass it up). The mixed greens made a few nice salads and I plan to make some rhubarb muffins this weekend. I have some chives and other herbs that I haven’t used yet, so those should be yummy in something soon.

I love that spring is here (well, mostly) and that I have fresh vegetables in my house again.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Seventh Generation

I never intended this to be a coupon or deal finding website, but 7th Generation is giving a $5 rebate right now if you purchase three of their products. If you are buying this stuff anyway or wanted to give it a try, this is a nice opportunity to get a discount. The rebate can be found here. I think that the only items it excludes are the single roll toilet paper.

Some more information to help with this deal is that the 7th Generation website has some pretty generous coupons. You do have to register to receive them, but it is worth the time. I also heard that starting April 9th, Toys-R-Us is having a BOGO 50% off all of their 7th Generation products. And that a lot of the products are on clearance right now (I suspect a label or packaging change).
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Green beans, carrots, and winter squash

I was uploading pictures of the little guy last night and realized that I had taken some pictures of baby food making and never wrote about it. Overall, the baby food has been going very good. I really thought that I would start this project and after about a week realize that it is time consuming and resign to buying baby food. That isn’t the case, though. Each time I make the food it takes anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes (minus cooking time which I don’t count because it is either steaming or baking and neither of these methods take any effort on my part).

I have made green beans, carrots, and winter squash since my last post. I made the green beans and carrots at the same time and that is when I took the pictures. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the squash. I bought frozen organic green beans and just steamed them. I used the water from steaming to help with the consistency. My son was not at all impressed with the green beans. I even added some butter and salt the second time around, but still no luck. Fortunately, I didn’t make a huge amount, but now I do have pureed green beans just sitting in my freezer. The carrots were on sale, so I got the organic baby carrots for $1. I also steamed those, but I read somewhere that the water from steaming should not be used when pureeing due to high nitrate content, so I used formula instead. The carrots also did not go over very well at first, but I think that it was mostly from confusion. They look very similar to the sweet potatoes and I am sure that he thought that’s what he was getting and was surprised when it wasn’t what he tasted. Anyway, the second try with carrots went much smoother and they are in our regular rotation now.

A couple of weeks later I decided to tackle squash. Quite honestly, I was kind of frightened of it. I think that it’s because I don’t eat much squash, so it felt like unfamiliar territory. I couldn’t even tell you which kind of squash I used. I had a friend with me (who has a pretty green thumb) and she helped me choose one. I cut it in half, put it face down in a casserole dish with about an inch of water and baked it for about 1 ½ hours at 400 degrees. The recipe suggested 40 minutes, and the skin should “pucker” and the squash should feel soft, but mine was doing neither, so I increased the time. In retrospect, I wish that I would have done less time because it did start to burn a little around the skin. After it was finished baking and cooling, I peeled it and used the water from baking in the puree. Squash was an instant favorite with my son. He actually had it for the first time for Easter dinner and it is eaten regularly now.

I have only made four different types of food, but he also eats rice cereal (which I bought organic, but have not made myself) and avocado at every meal. Avocado is still his favorite (I would have never guessed that in the beginning) with the winter squash and sweet potatoes a close second. I rotate the carrots, potatoes, and squash, and for at least right now, this seems to be plenty of variety for him. I am also introducing a sippy cup with apple juice (store bought organic that is quite watered down). He had the same reaction to the juice that he did the carrots, but now he likes the taste.

I did learn something with the avocado. When I originally froze the pieces, I just chopped it up and put them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. The pieces ended up frozen together and difficult to break apart. This time I cut the pieces and just set them in one of the trays and once they were frozen I put the pieces in the Ziploc bag. Now each piece is separate and it is much easier to grab one to thaw.
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