Thursday, July 17, 2014

Delicious Homemade Baby Food for a 6 to 8 month old

So I now have Tashi in my life and she is simply a sweet, happy, strong awesome 8 month old who loves to eat -- I am enjoying every minute!  Being a new mom and a fan of cooking, I got very interested in cooking baby food at home.  Let me tell you that there are very few websites providing guidance on delicious foods for babies.  The minute I tasted the food in those jars, I decided that I was going to make T's food. So here we go.....

The time to start introducing foods should be confirmed by your doctor but it is usually around 6 months.  Other guidelines -- try and start organic, wash thoroughly, always peel the skin, feed one fruit or vegetable at a time to test for allergies initially. Later on they can be mixed.

The best "first foods" in my opinion are:

1) Sweet Potato
Wrap in saran wrap and zap for 6 minutes or bake if you have time
Cool, scoop out and use a hand mixer to puree. Add quite a bit of water to make thin, You should be able to pour it into a bowl -- that's when you know its right.

2) Apple
Red delicious or any other variety work.  Peel and steam in a saucepan for covered for around 15 mins.  She loved and still loves her apples/applesauce.

3) Lentils
Pressure cook the lentils to save time or just boil in water.
The ratio is 1 cup to 2 or 2.5 of water. Add a pinch of salt you can skip the salt if you like but it was a lot tastier for her with a pinch)

4) Peaches or Pears
I live in Georgia and we are the Peach state so peaches are everywhere! They are sweet, soft, juicy and delicious so I thought this would be a good idea. T just loves them and eats up full bowls of peaches steamed or stewed.

Pears also come out great. You have to peel, cut and steam for 15 mins.  The puree is a nice thickish consistency.

5) Carrot and Melon (Cantaloupe melon)
This is a wonderful combination because the cantaloupe is too thin on its own but the carrots thicken it up to make a just perfect consistency.

6) Yellow squash
This one I peeled, cut and roasted in the oven for 25 mins at 400 degrees. Then I pureed.

7) Green Beans
These are easy. I bought organic at first.  They need to be washed well.  After that, cut, steam, puree and freeze.

8) Chicken, carrot and pea stew
I used a couple chicken tenderloins and sauteed in little olive oil, salt and pepper.  When browned I added some carrot and peas.  Add a bit of water, cover and cook. Taste it -- its a yummy simple stew.  Now of course you have to puree it for the little one. T loved this too and ate it every evening for dinner.

I ended up making my own system. I ordered Oxo Tot containers from Amazon  OXO Blocks Freezer Storage Containers . They come with trays. Don't spend on labels. I just used Mask tape -- its easy to peel.

STAY AWAY is what is difficult to puree:
- Stay away from Blueberry puree. It makes a gelatinous mess!
- Plums are ok but they were hard to peel after steaming or boiling. They were also bitter after boiling and I had to add apple or pear to sweeten so its a lot more work than I expected
- Potato doesn't freeze well and is not good unless its mashed potato made and given immediately

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Banana nut bread

This recipe has a secret ingredient (buttermilk) that makes it really delicious, moist with a crispy crumb on the exterior.  Its the perfect snack and it helps you get rid of those mushy bananas that are exactly what is needed or this recipe. I've also use whole wheat flour for a healthier version and it was great. Note also that I don't use a stick of butter like 90% of the recipes call for. I think the canola or vegetable oil actually make it more moist.

Dry Ingredients:
All purpose flour  -- 1 and 3/4 cups
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar

Pecans crushed 1/2 cup

Wet Ingredients:
Bananas (blackish mushy) 3
Vegetable or canola oil  1/2 cup
vanilla (optional -- the essence doesn't come through because of the bananas so I would say this is an optional ingredient)
Buttermilk 1/3 cup (Mix 1/3 cup of milk with 1 tsp of white vinegar to create buttermilk)
Eggs 2

1) Heat oven to 350
2) Butter and flour a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan (steel or glass)
3) Mix dry ingredients
4) Whisk the wet ingredients (except pecans)
5) Fold in the pecans
6) Bake for 1 hour and 5 mins or till top is golden brown. Insert toothpick and make sure it comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack for 15 mins and turn bread out onto the rack to cool completely.

Slice with bread knife and either dust with confectioners sugar or serve with cream cheese (yummy!)