Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Super Baby

While the life flux continues, I think that I'll try to get in some posts about the everyday stuff that we're trying to do to live more sustainably in the here and now. The Bean turned seven months yesterday. We had a lovely Easter dinner with my younger brother and his girlfriend: strata from my favorite all-around vegetarian cookbook, along with coleslaw, garlicky green beans and a few slices of ham for the meat eaters. Oh, and some oat and brown sugar coffee cake. Yum! Of course, the Bean is too young to partake in that kind of feast. But since we introduced solid foods a couple of months ago, we've fed her only homemade, organic foods. It makes me feel good to know exactly what's going into her tummy, we avoid the excessive packaging of tons of baby food jars, and it's a whole lot cheaper. Turns out it's pretty easy too.

I use Super Baby Food as my basic guide for how best to prepare the baby foods. There are timetables for when to introduce new foods, tips on how to store homemade baby food, and lots of pointers and recipes for feeding infants and toddlers whole foods. We introduce a new food every 4-7 days. Right now, the Bean eats mango, green beans, sweet potatoes (her hands down favorite), asparagus, banana, whole milk yogurt, pear, tofu, avocado, and zucchini. We usually mix those foods with store-bought rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, or multigrain cereal and some breast milk or water. Of course, some preparation is necessary to get those foods into baby form, but a little work upfront and a good Cuisinart go a long way.

My typical process goes like this:

1. Buy fresh organic produce. Steam, bake, or gently boil it. Drop into food processor. Puree, adding water as necessary to get the right consistency. If I’ve boiled the veggies or fruit, I just use the boiling water that has all those good nutrients. (Some items, like mangoes, don’t need to be cooked first.)



















2. Use small glass jars to set aside any that we’ll feed the Bean over the next day or so. Pour the rest into ice cube trays. Below is a mixed tray of sweet potatoes and zukes. It’s amazing how far one sweet potato can go! I usually get about two dozen cubes from one.

3. Cover with foil and freeze. Put into freezer bags for storage.



When we’re ready to feed the Bean, we pop one of the cubes into the microwave to defrost for just a few seconds and mix it with the other ingredients. I don’t freeze the tofu or the bananas because those are so easy to mix up right before mealtime. I can’t wait for the summer produce to start rolling in so that Bean can enjoy the freshest local items. I’m sad that we won’t be able to have our usual community garden spot this summer, but I’m optimistic that we’re going to be in a new house in Pennsylvania by late spring/early summer. We probably won’t be able to get much in the ground for this summer, but we can get to work on figuring out where the Bean’s food will grow next year.

6 Comments:

  • At 10:00 PM, Anonymous laura said…

    i am looking forward to using this method with our peanut in the future! glad i have a good tutor!!

     
  • At 10:45 AM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Way to go! It's great that you are introducing The Bean to so many different kinds of food, rather than just the usual. Bridget will not touch anything that comes from a jar but loves anything she can pick up herself. I find that I can give her small bits of what we are eating - any sort of soft vegetable or fruit. Her favorites are cooked carrots and bananas. Yogurt is her breakfast of choice, and of course there are crackers and cheerios for snacks - all organic, of course! Maybe it's because she is my third, but I don't really worry about introducing certain foods at certain times (with the exception of spinach, honey, milk, and peanut butter). A mother once replied to me, when I asked if her three-year-old could have popcorn, "He's my third. You can feed him nails if you want." Of course it was all in jest.

    Keep up the good work! I wish more parents were more particular about what their children eat.

     
  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger Patty said…

    Wonderful to be making such good baby food ! It pays off to introduce them to many kinds of veggies early on.
    Enjoyed reading your blog today.
    I see you are near Boston. I will be in Stoneham in June. Grew up in Medford.

     
  • At 5:56 PM, Blogger lauren said…

    Thanks for the comments! It makes me feel so good to give my daughter the best start that I can with breastfeeding and organic foods. :)

     
  • At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Vegan Momma said…

    I had to smile at this post since it made me think when I was preparing all of Aiyana's foods this way after she started eating solid foods. She nursed for 8 months straight! Your doing fabulous. I know you have to be excited about the garden. It is so much fun growing your own produce. My daughter "helps" in the garden of course her helping creates a lot more work, but I enjoy her help. :-)

     
  • At 1:32 AM, Anonymous green LA girl said…

    This is SOOO cute! You're gonna be like Jennifershmoo of Vegan Lunch Box fame when baby grows bigger --

     

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