Mar 312015
 

BabyMaking Sundays Writing about and teaching about baby food making is what we are all about.  As you know from our social media posts, I love sharing the great work that other people are doing in the baby food making world. I am happy, in fact, exuberant to share it all: recipes,  products,  tips,  books,  and websites that make baby food making easier, more productive and more tasty and nutritive, One site that is knocking it out of the park is Baby Prep Sundays. I found Baby Prep Sundays on our Instagram feed and I was amazed at the sheer volume of baby food preparation methods that were displayed in beautiful multi-color pictures.  When I visited the Baby Prep Sundays site, I was even more impressed. I decided we had to know more and the creator of BabyPrepSundays, Arianny Rodriguez, generously agreed to talk to us.  I hope that we asked the questions you would have asked and that you learn some helpful hints.

Arianny, thanks for talking with us today. We love your website. Any mom who shares ways to make feeding baby and toddlers easier is a hero to us!

Can you tell us why you got started with your site, BabyPrepSundays.com?

Aw, thanks – but I’m just a mom helping to encourage other moms to at least try making their own baby food. Actually, BabyPrepSundays started out only as a an instagram account. The website just came naturally a few months later. My friend is the mastermind behind the very successful Instagram account @mealprepmondays. This account is about how to prep your meals for the rest of the week so that it encourages people to eat healthier. I had been following him for years. Then one day last summer, I was at home making my daughter baby food which is what I do every Sunday. Out of nowhere I thought “other moms must be doing this today too!” I then posted my prep to my personal instagram account and tagged @mealprepmondays. I asked what he thought about “babyprepsundays” and he loved the idea! And here I am!


Many new moms are intimidated to make their own baby food. They feel that the baby food in jars on the grocery store shelves are better for their baby and that making their own baby food is too difficult. What would you say to those moms to encourage them to try to make their own baby food?

This is a great question. At least once a week I feature a prep from a real mom that l refer to as “Monster Preps”. This is usually over 100 ounces of food at a time. I do this to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment but I am always reminding moms that you don’t always have to make “Monster Preps”. Even I don’t always make them! It’s about doing what you can – a small prep – any prep is awesome! If that’s what feels right for a mom, then by all means, stick to your small preps. Once you get the hang of that, the rest will fall into place. Also, I think sometimes moms that are new to this imagine it to be a very complicated recipe. It’s the complete opposite of that. Combine any two veggies and or fruits, peel and steam them together, and puree. I bet you that most of the time it will taste amazing. No complicated ingredients, no spices – simple is key. When you use fresh, organic produce, it will be delicious!


What is the most important benefit from making your own baby food in your experience?

For sure the answer to this is that your baby is getting the best nutrients possible. Fresh, clean eating. You know exactly what’s in it. You can’t beat that! Then of course, there is the added benefit of it saving you so much money which all families can use.


What is your most helpful tip in making your own baby food in your experience?

Plan ahead! This is true for when an adult wants to eat healthier and this is true for meal prepping for babies as well. My husband does the food shopping every Saturday so every Friday night I’m planning on what meals I want to make my baby for the week ahead. Usually nothing fancy – pick 3 veggies and 3 fruits. Sometimes I don’t have a chance to make it all but at least I have the ingredients in the fridge for when I do have some time to slot in the cooking.


We see you have an ebook for sale on your site, a getting started guide. Can you tell us more about it?

Yes, it’s intended to be a quick start guide. The basics all rolled into a document that you can read on your mobile device when you have some time. It includes: Food chart by age, how to address food allergies, what equipment options you have, how to cook foods, guidelines for storing food, how to thaw the food and of course my favorite recipes! There are some great bonuses as well like how to plan your baby food prep party and some productivity tips for moms.


What were your babys’ favorite baby foods?

My 1 year old absolutely loves bananas. She eats one almost everyday and she’ll eat anything I make with it, like smoothies. My 4 year old loves rice & beans with ground beef.


What is your inspiration for new and exciting baby food ideas?
Usually it’s what’s in season. I had a great time this past fall making all things pumpkin!


Are there plans for a Baby Prep Sundays Cookbook and/or what is next for your site, BabyPrepSundays.com?

I would absolutely love to feature preps from real moms! I have a few there now but I’d love to really grow that page and show all the cool little tricks that even I’ve learned from moms like using press n’ seal plastic wrap to cover the ice trays. If you’d like to feature your baby prep, please do email me at babyprepsundays@gmail.com.

Thanks, Arianny, creator of BabyPrepMondays for sharing your ideas, tips, and help! 

You can find Arianny on her Website, Facebook Page, Instagram, and/or Pinterest account.

Feb 202015
 

beet root baby food Why are beets a good idea to feed to baby

Beets are so darn healthy for baby (and you too!) because they contain calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and high fiber. With such a great nutritional report card, I know you are excited to get started feeding beets to your baby. Cooked beets can be fed to baby from 9 months old. A beet is a root vegetable and as such, nitrates are an issue. Babies who are under the age of 6 months old have not developed the stomach acids necessary to fight beet nitrates. Since I do not recommend feeding cooked beets to your baby until the age of 9 months your baby will be safe from nitrates.

How to prepare beet baby food

Beets can be baked, boiled, or steamed and then peeled and pureed. Note that you need a little time on your hands to cook beets:

Steam: Wonderful for holding in nutrients but you need the time, it takes about 60 minutes!

Boil: Simmer whole beets for two hours. Peels will easily come off and juices will be better retained in whole beets.

Bake: Wash thoroughly, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 90 minutes to two hours—the larger the beets, the longer the baking time.

Peel and purée: After cooking beets, remove stems. If you wish, slip off peels under cold running water before puréeing.  Pureed beets will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

Mix: some great foods to mix with pureed beets: sweet potato puree, applesauce, and yogurt!

Freezing: Use the Baby Food Cube Method or Tray-Freeze Method, and keep for up to 2 months. Remember to store in a stainless steel ice cube tray and then store in a organic waxed paper lined plastic freezer bag.

Storing for later use: Immediately remove the greens so that they do not pull moisture from the root. Leave an inch or two of stem on the root, or it will bleed during cooking. Store beets in the refrigerator wrapped in organic, bleach-free wax paper and then in a plastic bag for up to 10 days.

Beet Baby Food Fun Facts:

Leafy green beet tops are edible

Lemon can help remove beet juice stains from your fingers while preparing cooked beets

Beets in your diet can: prevent cancer, boost your immune system, and reduce blood pressure later in life

Beets may put your baby in a good mood…a substance fond in beets, betaine, may relax the mind thereby improving your mood.

In a pinch, canned beets have lots of nutrition too…not as much as you would preserve making them yourself but enough to make it worth your while.

Gross but interesting fact: beets are a good indicator of the time it takes food to pass through your baby…let’s put it this way…you can’t mistake it!

Jan 092015
 

Give Brussels Sprout Baby Food a Try

Brussells sprouts are probably not the first vegetable that comes to mind when choosing a baby food for your baby. They have a bad reputation.  Most of us remember being forced to eat them as children.  You probably also remember their unique smell as they boil.  I am here to suggest that you give them another try. Brussels sprouts are so full of nutrition and goodness.  A member of the cruciferous family, brussels sprouts are considered a Super Green Veggie, chock full of vitamin C, folate, lutein other goodies that are too good to miss!

Preparing Brussels Sprout Baby Food

Babies eight months old and older are ready for cooked brussels sprout. (raw brussels sprouts are a no-no for baby)  tasty brussels sprouts start with selection.  Pick small sprouts whose leaves are tight, firm, and bright green.  Select the smallest ones you can, they are sweeter and will have a milder flavor.  Pick off any yellow leaves and trim close to the stem.  It is important not to overcook your brussels sprouts as they will become mushy and the flavor will be too strong.  Best to steam them whole for 15 to 20 minutes until the stem end is done…then puree and add to cereal or yogurt or freeze using the food cube method for a later time.

Preparing Brussels Sprout to Freeze for the Family

I found a terrific blog post on blanching brussels sprouts to be frozen and used either in a family recipe immediately or frozen for future use.  MommaToldMeblog describes with some great pictures an easy way to blanch the brussels sprouts, place them in an ice bath so that they do not overcook, and freeze at the height of freshness for future use.

How do you like to prepare your brussels sprouts?

 

 

 

May 212014
 

Popeye was right, spinach is good for you.

Greens are all the rage and with good reason, they are so darn good for you and for your baby.  Spinach is a super green that packs a nutritional punch, it is loaded with calcium, vitamin A and iron among other nutrients.

What you should know about homemade spinach baby food

Baby must be at least 9 months old to eat cooked greens, 10 months old for finely chopped raw greens. A young baby (0 -6 months) can not handle the nitrates found in spinach and other leafy greens. Spinach is one of the EWG’s Dirty dozen as well so buy organic!

Selecting and storing spinach for baby food

Buy organic spinach leaves that are loose and not in plastic bags, if at all possible.  Leaves should be young and tender with no thick veins, bright green, crisp and not wilted, insect-free, and have no bruises, decaying spots, or slime.  Rush home from the market and cook and freeze greens the second you walk in the door. If you must store them first, wrap them in white paper towels and place in organic, bleach-free wax paper-lined plastic bags in a cold part of the refrigerator or vegetable crisper.  Use them fast, within a day or two.

Preparing spinach baby food

Examine the spinach leaves and discard leaves with a lot of yellow or decay.  Trim any thick stems or small blemishes before cooking.  To remove any leftover sand, try placing the leaves in a large bowl filled with luke warm water so any sand falls to the bottom of the bowl.  Fish out the leaves and place them in a new bowl that is filled with cold water for one more rinse.  Coasely chop cleaned leaves, if desired.

Steam the spinach leaves in a covered container for about 5 minutes for whole leaves, 3 minutes for chopped leaves.  Steaming in an uncovered container will reduce the strong flavor of the greens but might also mean the escape of nutrients. Drain the steamed leaves, reserving the cooking liquid to be used for pureeing.

Parents.com has a great post with pictures of cooking a pureeing  spinach baby food.

Place steamed greens in a blender or food processor with a bit of the reserved liquid.  Place pureed baby food in a stainless steel cube tray and freeze for later use or storage using the Food Cube Method.

Other spinach baby food meal options

Spinach has a strong flavor as do many nutrient-filled greens.  Adding spinach to other great foods is a terrific way to make it more palatable for your baby.  Mixing pureed, cooked spinach with banana, sweet potato, oatmeal super porridge are just a few ways of masking spinach’s strong flavor. Adding cooked or raw spinach, when baby is old enough, into a smoothie concoction is another great way to serve spinach and its good for Mommy too!

Spinach Fun Facts

In addition to spinach being so nutritious, did you know that spinach can be terrific for your skin?   According to this post by Care2.com, eating spinach can leave you with a glowing completion on the outside as well as healthy on the inside.  This post lists 8 great benefits from eating spinach!

Have you experimented with spinach baby food?  Any tips on preparing, storing, or serving spinach baby food that you would like to share?

 

 

 

 

Apr 302014
 

organic yogurt with blueberryProbiotics for Beginning Eaters

Yogurt with Active Cultures

When it comes to yogurt, some experts recommend waiting until babies are 8 months old, others say yogurt is OK to introduce as early as 6 months. Ask your pediatrician for his opinion before you start feeding your baby yogurt.

When you do decide to begin yogurt as part of your baby’s diet, be sure to select yogurt with live probiotics by looking for words like “active yogurt cultures” or “healthy live bacteria cultures” on the label. Probiotics are absolutely necessary for a healthy immune system. These healthy, good bacteria keep the bad bacteria in your body in check. If the bad bacteria overtakes the good, all types of infections may occur, including the fungal infections thrush and candida.

The first probiotics in baby’s intestines come from mom’s vagina during birth or bacteria in the operating room during a cesarian section. Then baby gets additional probiotics from mom’s breast milk, formula, and the environment.

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Plain Organic Yogurt

Read the ingredients list on the label to make sure it is plain yogurt. Babies need fats, so buy the whole fat or low-fat varieties and not the non-fat type. You could also make your own yogurt by hand.  I have detailed instructions on how to make your own yogurt in the new edition of Super Baby Food.  A quick set of yogurt making instructions as well as pictures can be found on the TheFrugalGirl blog.

Greek yogurt is another choice.  It is thicker than regular yogurt and more appropriate for a Stage 2 eater. Before the advent of Greek yogurt, manufacturers would strain the whey from regular yogurt to make “yogurt cheese,” which is similar to Greek yogurt.

Yogurt – Flavor Your Own

Much of the “fruit” yogurt in supermarkets have gobs of unhealthy sugar and flavors added to them, even the yogurts that have healthy-looking pictures of fruit on their containers.

Ignore everything on the carton except the nutrition facts panel and the ingredients list, and this goes for all foods in packages at all stores, even health food stores. Flavor plain yogurt with the age-appropriate real fruit and veggies you freeze using the baby food freeze cube method.

TIP: Yogurt (and other light colored food) is a great food to have fun mixing food colors into, and I do mean food coloring, like the liquid from canned beets, turmeric, frozen berry juices. Let your child mix them together into yogurt for fun new colors and for learning color combinations.

Other Probiotics Food Choices

Examples of other foods that contain probiotics are kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented foods. All these foods in the supermarket might be fakes–they can contain only dead bacteria–including baby yogurts that are shelf stable. Buy only the foods that indicate that their probiotics are still alive and kicking, with your doc’s approval.

Apr 152014
 

beet root baby foodBeet Baby Food

Purple beets have such a lovely spring color.  I thought it would be nice to do an informative post on beet baby food – How to select the beets, how to prepare them, how to store them and why they are so gosh darn good for your baby.

How old to feed baby beets and why are beets so good for baby

The prevailing wisdom tell us baby must be 8- 10 months months old to eat cooked beats.  I say keep it safe and use the nine month mark as your guide.  Raw and grated beets, a bit more rare to feed baby, is for the 10-11 month old. Although beets are not one of EWG’s dirty dozen, there is a nitrate issue with beets.  By 9 month’s old however, that nitrate  risk is no longer an issue.  Beets are so darn healthy for baby (and you too!) because they contain calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and high fiber.  With such a great nutrition report card, I know you are excited to get started feeding beets to your baby.

The ins and outs of feeding your baby beets

Grated beets can be fed to your baby raw. Cooked beets are tasty and very colorful. They can be used as a decorative touch or even a food coloring in baby’s food. Beets do stain, so use a good bib when feeding your baby beets. Beet stains are impossible to get out of cloth, plastic surfaces and wood. Stool alert: Be aware that several hours after your baby eats beets, her stool will be quite red in color.

Choosing and Storing Beets 

Equivalents: 6 medium beets = 1 pound = 2 cups sliced.

In season: Available year round; peak June through October.

Choosing: Beets are sold with or without their green tops. The tops, called “beet greens,” should be fresh-looking, thin-ribbed, and deep green, with no brown or red edges, and with no trace of slime. If they are a little wilted, the flavor of the red root should not be affected because the greens rapidly deteriorate while the root remains good. Beet greens are edible.

Beets without their greens should have at least 1⁄2 inch of stem left on top and their bottom roots should be at least two inches long. The bulbous root should have a lush, deep red color and smooth, firm skin with no cuts or soft spots. Roots should have no scaly areas or circles on the top and they should be a nice round shape, not elongated.

Buy small to medium-sized beets, as large beets tend to be tough with inedible, woody cores.

Storing: As with other root vegetables, immediately remove the greens so that they do not pull moisture from the root. Leave an inch or two of stem on the root, or it will bleed during cooking. Store beets in the refrigerator wrapped in organic, bleach-free wax paper and then in a plastic bag for up to 10 days.

Preparing and cooking beets for baby food preparation

Preparation for cooking: Scrub well under cold-running water.

Steam: Wonderful for holding in nutrients but you need the time, it takes about 60 minutes!

Boil: Simmer whole beets for two hours. Peels will easily come off and juices will be better retained in whole beets.

Bake: Wash thoroughly, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 90 minutes to two hours—the larger the beets, the longer the baking time.

Peel and purée: After cooking beets, remove stems. If you wish, slip off peels under cold running water before puréeing.

Freezing: Use the Baby Food Cube Method or Tray-Freeze Method, and keep for up to 2 months.  Remember to store in a stainless steel ice cube tray and then store in a organic waxed paper lined plastic freezer bag.

For even more information, take a peek at Super Baby Food, 3rd edition. It includes a complete alphabetical list of fruits and vegetables with same information included as shown above!

 

Jan 172014
 

Happy New year, Super Baby Food fans! It is a whole new year and you have decided to try making your own baby food. Good for you and your family!  You will soon learn that it is much easier than you thought to make organic, homemade, tasty baby food.  Before you get started, though, here are a few safety measures to keep in mind and put into practice when making your own baby food.  For those of you who already do make your own baby food, consider this a mini-refresher course.  Please add your own additional safety ideas and tips in the comment section.

Baby Food Preparation Safety TIps

  • Wash your hands…So simple, I know, but always the first step!  Wash, wash, wash!
  • Wash your produce – both fruits and vegetables – even if it is organic…wash, wash, wash.  As you may already know some fruits and vegetables are ‘dirtier” than others…Check out EWG’s dirty dozen and clean 15 for a refresher.
  • Thoroughly clean all food preparation surface areas and utensils with hot, soapy water – the counter surfaces, the high chair tray surface and all of your utensils and operating equipment, including blenders, food processors, etc. (For more information on high chair safety click on the link.)
  • Beware of bacteria! Moisture and warmth can equal bacterial growth! Yuck! To get food cooled as quickly as possible, store it in small and/or shallow containers (you know from the 3rd edition of Super Baby Food that I prefer glass or stainless steel containers)
  • Do not leave prepared baby food at room temperature for more than a few minutes. Serve it right away or freeze it for later use.
  • Thaw all foods in the refrigerator and never refreeze food that has been cooked then frozen and then thawed.

Baby Food Precautions

  • Baby food can be spoiled without necessarily smelling bad. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Any leftover homemade or commercial baby food or juice that has come in contact with your baby’s saliva must be discarded.
  • Commercial baby food jars (I know you are only using commercial baby food in a pinch;)) must “pop” when opened to insure the content’s freshness!
  • If commercial infant/baby/toddler cereal has been mixed with liquid, serve it immediately and discard the leftovers.

For many more safety tips on baby food preparation safety and baby food safety, be sure to check out the new edition of  Super Baby Food, now available on Smashwords!  There are  three chapters in an entire section of the book dedicated to safety. It is very important! Please share your own safety tips developed along the way with me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 152011
 

grains-baby-foodOne of our fabulous Super Baby Food parents asked about saving time by grounding up the grains for Super Baby Porridge and Freezing for use later.  we thought it was such a great question that we would share Ruth’s answer.

Regarding the freezing of Ground grains for use later, Ruth says:

I’m not really sure how long (ground grains) will keep in the deep freeze after grinding.  I know that I put in my book, Super Baby Food, that they will keep for two months at refrigerator temperatures, so in the deep freeze, figure about six months or more.

Please note that in the next edition of my book (due out soon), also entitled Super Baby Food,  that I will be recommending that you do NOT grind in advance.  I will be recommending that you grind them immediately before cooking.  The reason for this is the fresher the grain and the more recently that it has been broken open by grinding, the more nutrients it has and the less nutrient loss to air, light, and heat.  So if you have a blender/grinder, I would suggest you use it daily.  If you do not have a blender/grinder and borrow someone else’s to do batch grinding, then it might be more convenient if you store in the fridge up to 2 months or in the deep freezer in good-quality freezer containers for about 6 months.

Thanks for writing!
🙂
Ruth

May 302011
 

Happy Memorial Day!

The Super Baby Food Blog would like to highlight two blog posts this week that we feel are particularly well done.

Ali at MomSpark.net put together a fantastic post to help beginners start to make their own baby food.  Super Baby Food lovers know that the first step can be a bit daunting but once in the groove, making your own baby food is as easy a one, two, three.  Momspark.net identifies one, two, three for you to help you get started in a quick and easy way.

Naomi Odes Aytur of  Babble wrote a terrific post with a recipe of homemade baby food made with cauliflower and millet.  She made it sound and look easy and her testimonial of her baby’s love for the dish is inspiring.  Thanks, Naomi, for posting this terrific recipe for homemade baby food.

May 122011
 

Choosing, Picking, and Preparing Carrots to Feed your Baby

Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A that is not toxic, even in large doses.  Your baby should get a vitamin A veggie every day!  Here are some details for feeding you baby carrots:

Age: Baby must be at least 7 months old for cooked carrots, 10 months for finely grated raw carrots.

Choosing: Carrots should be firm, and not pale.  The smaller the carrot, the sweeter the carrot.

Storing: Carrots need cold temperature and high humidity.  Store in the refrigerator in plastic bag with holes.  When properly stored, carrots retain their nutrients for up to two weeks.

Preparation for cooking: Nutrients are most concentrated in the peels of carrots and just below.  You don’t have to peel or scrape young or small carrots if you give them a good scrubbing with a vegetable brush.  Older, bigger carrots are probably better peeled.

Steaming: Steam whole carrots 15 minutes, carrot slices about 10 minutes.

Baking: Large carrots can be baked in the oven.  Scrub them and leave whole and unpeeled. Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes.

Freezing: Freeze pureed carrots using the food cube method for up to 2 months.

For tips on preparing and feeding more vegetables, check out Super Baby Food book or check right back here at the Super Baby Food Blog.

Mar 232011
 

In a previous post, we outlined the Super Baby Food Food Cube Freezing method.  Freezing food is an important step. Thawing the food is the next important step.  It’s important to thaw the food “safely.”  “Safely” here has two meanings.  First, baby food should be thawed in a way which prevents bacterial growth.  Baby food should never be thawed at room temperature, and baby food should not be kept at room temperature for more than several minutes.  Second, “safely” means thawing baby food so that it is not too hot or too cold to be a danger to your baby.  If it’s too hot, it may burn your baby’s mouth.  If it is too cold, and therefore not thawed thoroughly, it may contain frozen food chunks that are choking hazards to your baby.  Food that is too cold may also “burn” your baby’s sensitive mouth.  In thawing food, you simply want to take the chill out of baby’s food, you don’t want to make it hot.

Here are a few ways to safely thaw those frozen baby food cubes:

Thaw Food Cubes on the Stove Top:

Place frozen food cube in a pot and thaw over very low heat stirring often.  A double broiler can also be used.  This method takes a while so begin to warm the cubes 15 minutes to 1/2 hour before mealtime.

Thaw Food Cubes in the refrigerator:

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.  Be sure to stir insuring that no frozen chunks are left.  If you need to warm the food a bit, place container in a larger container with hot tap water.

Thaw Food Cubes In the Microwave:

Many experts recommend avoiding the microwave altogether because of the uneven heating that microwaves are notorious for.  It’s a fact that parents use the microwave regardless so, if you are going to use the microwave to thaw, be careful.  Place the frozen cubes in a little microwave-safe bowl.  With experience you will know exactly how long to thaw a frozen cube, probably between 30 seconds and a minute.  Once thawed almost all the way through, mash the remaining cube to even out the temperature.

Here are a few tips to make sure that baby’s food will be safe for baby to eat:

  • Stir, stir, stir baby food thoroughly to distribute heat
  • Always test the temperature of your baby’s food BEFORE feeding to your baby
  • Never re-freeze thawed baby food!

For additional information, check out Super Baby Food and check back with us here at the Super Baby Food blog.  Remember to subscribe to our feed to keep up with informative blog posts!

Mar 152011
 

Pureed, cooked vegetables are a large part of the Super Baby Food Diet.  To save time and energy, cook and puree large batches of veggies all at once and freeze them in ice cube trays using the Food Cube Method.

The Food Cube Method involves two steps:

1) Placing the food in ice cube trays and letting it freeze until solid, and

2) Transferring the frozen food cubes into plastic freezer bags.

Remember, the pureed food in the ice cube trays should be frozen as quickly as possible.

After the the food cubes are frozen solid (8-12 hours), transfer them to freezer bags (you must use Freezer bags, not storage bags) removing as much of the air in the bag as possible. Label and date each bag with a freeze date and a expire date.  It’s safe to say that frozen vegetables will keep up to two months.  A timesaver tip is to mix together several days worth of orange and green vegetable cubes and avocado cubes in the same freezer bag.  This trick makes it easier to find, pull out, and open ONE bag instead of three!

For more details on the Food Cube Freezing Method check out  Super Baby Food or check back to the blog for more informative blog posts!