Friday, May 28, 2010

Spice it up!

Spices can be added to baby food anywhere from 8 – 10 months. I am right in this window, so I have been looking at different spices and ways that I can use them. Here is a list of baby (in my opinion) safe spices

Anise, Basil, Cinnamon, Dill, Garlic powder, Ginger, Lemon zest, Mint, Nutmeg, Oregano, Pepper, Rosemary

We have been trying to avoid medication with our little guy, so I like to use food remedies when possible. Another benefit is that these spices have a lot of uses:

Cinnamon – good for upset belly, diarrhea, and possible anti-fungal and anti-bacterial

Garlic – anti-biotic and blood pressure

Ginger – good for upset belly

Dill – hiccups, colic, and digestive troubles

Mint – stimulates healthy digestion and helps respiratory issues

Coriander – relieves gassiness, stimulates appetite, and helps rheumatisms and joint pain (not recommended on the baby spice list, but the parents can benefit from this)

I also wasn’t exactly sure how to incorporate these spices into his meals. I found a helpful list of ideas:


Apples: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger

Pears: ginger, cinnamon, mint

Bananas: cinnamon, ginger

Dairy:Plain yogurt: mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger


Sweet potato: nutmeg, cinnamon

Pumpkin: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger

Carrots: basil & garlic – baked cinnamon carrots are yummy, too

Green beans: garlic powder

Potatoes (white): dill, garlic

Winter squash: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger


Pasta: oregano, garlic, basil

Oatmeal or other cereals: fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg

Rice (sweet): cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger

Quinoa (sweet): cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger

Quinoa (savory): garlic powder, pepper, basil, oregano

Since most of his foods are already made and frozen, I am going to add the spices right before serving. Also, if he doesn’t like something, then I won’t have to toss an entire batch of food. And, after reading this list, I plan to add ginger to the rhubarb recipe in the previous post.

Unfortunately, every spice, with the exception of salt and pepper, is already sealed in a box awaiting the move this weekend, so I won’t get to try any of this until (the soonest) next week.
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Feeding 9 Months

For my little guy, the nine month mark is just around the corner and now even more foods can be introduced. Since the last post, he has gotten his first tooth, so I have been using the Earths Best barley teething biscuits (which are quite tasty). Although I prefer those, he has been enjoying frozen washcloths quite a bit more than the biscuits.

These are the foods that (in my opinion) are safe to introduce at 9 months

Cooked and ground: Dried beans, Lentils, and Split peas

Pineapple, Beets, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, Eggplant, Greens (cooked), Kale, Onion (cooked), Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Spinach, Turnips

Finely chopped: (raw) Parsley

I am pretty excited about this list. First of all, we have been regularly receiving beets, greens, kale, rhubarb, turnips, and parsley from our CSA. The only vegetable that I was able to use from our share before 9 months was carrots. Now I can use a lot more. Also, now I can come up with a lot more interesting food combinations. I am excited to try some new things and see what he likes.

As excited as I am about the rhubarb, I have no idea how to turn it into baby food. I searched the internet for a recipe and found this one (which looks pretty tasty to me, especially since my little guy loves pears):

Very Peary Berry Rhubarb

6 stalks of rhubarb* (wash it, trim it and then cut it into small pieces)
3 pears, peeled, cored and chopped (you may leave the skin on if desired)
1 cup water
½ cup organic apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract**
1 pinch cinnamon
½ pound of strawberries, trimmed and cut into fourths***

1. Place water and apple juice in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

2. Add rhubarb* and simmer until tender, approximately 5-10 minutes.

3. Remove rhubarb and allow it to cool. Once cooled, puree and then add back into the saucepan.

4. Add pears and strawberries*** when the rhubarb has cooked to tender

5. Turn heat down to low, add the vanilla** and pinch of cinnamon and simmer for 5 minutes.

* I know that there may be concerns about oxalates and rhubarb. My research has led me to believe that although rhubarb does contain oxalic acid, the highest amount occurs in the leaves. There are very low instances of oxalates in the stalk (which is the part that is eaten), and it is actually believed that the stalk may contain zero levels of oxalic acids. Let me know if you found contradicting information.

** I am not a fan of using vanilla extract for baby food (for numerous reasons), so I will probably omit this when I make it

*** Since strawberries are not recommended under 12 months, I will probably replace this with another fruit (apples?), but after 12 months I will make it with the strawberries
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Getting greener

In a week and a half we will be moving and I have been pretty busy. The baby food production is quite a bit slower since I want to move as little as possible, so we are using up what we have. The CSA and farmer’s market have been plentiful. Unfortunately my weekends have been packed with activity, so I haven’t had a lot of time to spend scouting the market. I hope to spend some time there (and invest in some meat) after we are settled (mid-June?).

I also just realized that I could make my own teething biscuits. I may have to invest in a box of the organic premade first because our kitchen is in boxes, but I plan to try a couple of recipes shortly after the move. If any of them work out, I will post the recipes.

Even as busy as we are, I constantly find new ways to go greener. I hope to have a compost pile for our new house. I don’t think that I am ready for a large outdoor one, but at least a countertop bin. I hate throwing out all of the vegetable remains (carrot tops, kale stems, etc.) after I process my weekly share. I have been looking at functional, yet somewhat attractive bins to use.

Although I love the ceramic and the bamboo, I am leaning towards the stainless steel for better durability. I also want to purchase the “ugly green one” since it holds twice as much as the others. This way I can use that to break down the scraps while I continue to collect in the other. Thanks, Kate, for such great ideas and references.

Even though baby food production has decreased, I have been trying to find ways to improve that, as well. I always hated that I stored the food in plastic zipper bags, but couldn’t think of a suitable alternative to ensure freshness. I considered mason jars, but don’t have any and really didn’t want to make the investment. Then, one day, I was looking around the house and realized that we have quite a few empty glass jars around. Mostly from pasta sauce, but we have a few different shapes and sizes. I made some homemade labels for the jars and just put the food in them. I really like how cute the different sizes look and I love the labels because I made them pretty big, so they are easy to see. There are some cons. Now I fear that the jars will break and it takes a few jars to hold what one gallon bag would hold, so there is a space issue. I have a freezer in my garage, though, so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I also don’t have enough jars right now, but I plan to build my collection. All of his organic fruit juice and our organic pasta sauce are packaged in glass containers, so hopefully our collection will build quickly. I also found out that our city doesn’t recycle glass, so this is a great alternative to the trash.

I also invested in a few WasteNot Saks™. Jason and I were so impressed with our first order that we immediately ordered more. These are great to travel with the little guy’s food and bottles to and from the baby-sitter. I plan to add these to Christmas and other holiday lists so that we can have a nice sized collection. We special ordered a gallon size for the bottles and food and like the snack and sandwich size for future finger food use.

As I make these tiny changes and look back at all of my efforts, I constantly wonder if I am wasting my time, money, and energy. Luckily, I always have some reassurance shortly after that thought. I was talking to a friend over lunch today and he mentioned that I may be onto something with this organic stuff (he was not a huge supporter of the transition – not against it, just not understanding). He mentioned that he saw a news story connecting ADHD in children and pesticides commonly used on produce. After hearing this, I am so thankful that I am taking the time, spending this money, and making the extra effort. Especially for my son, but also for my entire family. And now that other people are aware, they are beginning to believe and make healthier choices, too.
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Lucky winner

I have been registered at House Party for a couple of months, and have yet to be chosen to host a party. When the Ball® Fresh Taste of Summer House Party™ was advertised, I couldn’t be more excited. As I mentioned in previous posts, I really want to start canning. And I can’t think of a better way to start then have a canning company send you a bunch of free stuff and invite all of your friends to join in. Of course I applied, and, believe it or not, got chosen to be a host. The party is June 5th. Unfortunately it is the first weekend in the new house (sorry in advance for the mess), but we will be walking distance from the farmer’s market, so we can buy our produce fresh that morning. We have two recipes to make and can; one for salsa and one for pepper jelly. I am excited to try both and to test out my canning skills. I also love that this is such a family friendly theme, so the kiddos can easily be included. Thank you for choosing me House Party!
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