Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yummy Yam Puree

So by default I accidentally bought yams instead of sweet potatoes.  My local grocery store has labels above some of the produce instead of directly by each item and I made an educated guess and got it wrong.  But I cooked the yams as I did the sweet potatoes and blended them up.  They were a little more orange but the girls loved them just as much.  I love that sweet potatoes and yams stretch far for what you pay...probably because you have to add so much water or formula to thin them out.  Sorry no price comparison or serving comparison on this one...very similar to sweet potato though.

Kendall - 4 stars
Seren - 4 stars

Friday, July 29, 2011

Jar Heads

*disclaimer:  I've never seen the movie Jar Head though I think Jake Gyllenhaal is generally a good actor*

This morning after the kiddos had filled up on 5 oz of formula and an ounce or two of oatmeal and prunes respectively (Seren gets oatmeal and Kendall gets prunes)...they seemed to want more.  Being that I wasn't interested in heating up cubes that might not be eaten, I broke open my first jar of baby food.  It was one that I had gotten from Beech Nut (4 jars for free) and was thinking about using on a future air travel trip.

The reaction...I don't know if they were actually full or just didn't like it.  I poured out half of the 4 oz jar and put the rest in the fridge.  It was a new flavor so I'm sure that threw them for a small loop but they still were just not eager to eat it.  It was fruit so I thought it was a safe bet.  We ate the rest for lunch and they seemed to do a little better.  I guess they don't see what the big deal is with jarred food.  It is convenient for sure but I think we'll travel with some of the homemade stuff so we can guarantee they eat it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Constipation Aggravation

My poor little Kendall has issues with her "poop chute" as we tend to call it.  She has since she was a baby.  She started out with some jaundice as a baby.  I don't know if this is what has made it hard to move beyond but it definitely caused her difficulty back then.  When she didn't go for almost 4 days we called our doctor and got the go ahead to use some glycerin suppositories (non-prescription but behind the counter at the pharmacy).  The doctor told us to cut them into 1/4 as they were intended for 2 years of age and older.  I think the suppository was suggested due to it being such a time.  From there on out we began using prune juice in her morning bottle on occasion (not the most consistent) and she began getting better.  Then the solids came and constipation reared it's ugly head again.  So....

We tried prune juice in her morning bottle and bedtime bottle.  This helped at times and at times almost seemed to make it worse.  Our doctor suggested giving her prunes in baby food form.  It seems to do the trick better than the juice (I hope).  So far so good.

Prune Puree

First batch:  I bought dried prunes and mixed them in with quite a bit of prune juice and a little bit of apple juice and blended them up until it was a puree.  It was pretty syrupy (that's where the apple juice came in).  I spooned it out to freeze and it didn't freeze so well.  I called it "prune sludge".  I suppose I'm going to try mixing it with another constipation friendly food and see if this helps.

Second batch:  This time I pureed the prunes with all water.  I added more water until it was a little runnier than the first batch.  It froze a little bit better but still didn't pop out in cube form like I desired.  I ended up just storing the prune puree in a small tupperware in my freezer.  I scoop out what I need and throw it in the microwave and then serve it.  No more ice cubes for this one.


Constipation in babies is common with the introduction of solids.  Constipation typically means fewer bowel movements (usually 3 or 4 days between) and when there is one it is firm or even pebble like.  It often distresses the child (think crying and screaming;  grunting and some straining is typical of normal bowels for a baby) and can cause pain.  The pain then compounds the problem as the child may hold it next time, which allows the body to absorb more water as it waits and this then makes the stool more firm causing another painful movement to occur.

From what I have read most recommendations include adding diluted prune juice (either with water or with the child's formula).  Some also recommend apple juice or white grape juice.  Our doctor advised also to not overdue it with starchy food such as carrots, bananas, apples, potatoes and rice (we had already dropped rice cereal for oatmeal).  It was not to avoid these foods as they have their benefits but to use them within reason.  Foods that may help constipation are pears, peas, plums, prunes, green beans, oatmeal and fiber rich food.

In my research and questions to my pediatrician it was recommended not to add too much prune juice or other juice as the formula or breast milk is most important for you baby to get nutrients from.  Also my pediatrician did not recommend the prunes to help with constipation until 6 months.

**As always seek advice of your pediatrician if this a problem that you are having with your baby or child**

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Plum Puree

I have been slacking off a lot lately.  Not on making baby food (I still am adding new things to the menu quite frequently) but I've kind of grown bored of posting  "steam this fruit or vegetable and then puree" repeats.  Some of the new things we have added and plan to try soon are:  plums, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes (as soon as they ripen in my garden), pumpkin and yogurt.  I'm also interested in trying pasta bits and cottage cheese once the girls get a little better at texture.  That's the other plan is to add more texture (they still don't love it).  Seren loves almost everything I throw her way and Kendall is inclined to all the veggies and the sweet fruit (apples and pears) but nothing tart (peaches, apricots, plums, etc).

But for now here are my pureed plums:

Plum Puree

I prepare this like I do with peaches and apricots.  I cut it in half around the pit and then take the pit out and boil the fruit until the skin starts to peel off (approx 5 minutes).  Then I douse it in cold water and let it cool before taking the peels off.  Then into the small electric blender and frozen in ice cubes.

Plums all pitted and ready to boil
 Ready for the freeze 
Ready for the taste test 

Prep/Cook time:  15 minutes
Servings:  14 oz  (11 oz to freeze and 3 oz  for eating)
Cost:  $0.98 per pound (I think I bought 1.5 lbs but I lost my receipt) ; $1.47
Cost Comparison:  $0.11 per ounce (vs $0.13 with Beech Nut and $0.16 with Gerber)

Tools:  paring knife and small electric blender 

Kendall - 2 stars (she is starting a pattern of not liking tart things)
Seren - 3 stars 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mix n' Match

Lately since my freezer has been stocked full of frozen purees and I haven't bought more to make due to vacation coming up we have been doing a lot of mixing of what we have.  I thought I would share what I have tried and what has gone over well and what hasn't.

Blueberry Cereal (just oatmeal with blueberries)
Kendall : 2 stars (she doesn't like blueberries)
Seren: 4 stars

Blueberry Pears (1 cube pears with a teaspoon of blueberries)
Kendall:  2 stars
Seren: 4 stars

Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips (1 cube of each)
Kendall:  4 stars
Seren: 3 stars

Apricots and Pears  (1 cube of each)
Kendall: 2 stars
Seren: 3 stars

Pears, Apple and Mango (2 pears, 1 apple and 1 mango)
Kendall: 4 stars
Seren: 4 stars

Pears and Plums (3 cubes of pear and 1 cube of plum; trying to sneak the plum in on my picky eater Kendall)
Kendall: 3 stars
Seren: 4 stars

Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans (2 cube sweet potato and 1 cube green bean)
Kendall: 4 stars
Seren: 4 stars

*see the trend of who is being the picky eater.  Kendall loves sweet food and veggies but doesn't seem to like anything that is a little tart (ie peaches, apricots, blueberries or her teething pain aid that is cherry flavored)*

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Batch Day

I decided to have a "batch day" a few days ago.  I made the rest of my organic purchases:  pears, apples and acorn squash.  The process for apples and pears were the same as before.  The acorn squash was done the same as butternut squash with the exception of time cooked being 1 hour (I would reduce this to 45 minutes in the future or cover them with foil as my skins were charred thus browning some of the squash).
 *88 ounces of home made goodness*
*fridge is stacked full*

Batch Schedule
9:25 am - 10:00 am  
Acorn squash prepped and put in the oven
Pears prepped, boiled and pureed
Apples prepped and left to boil on the stove for approx 15 minutes (I pulled it to cool but didn't count the cook time on my schedule as I was out of the kitchen feeding babies)

10:30 am - 10:40 am
Pulled squash from the oven to cool
Pureed apples

11:10 am - 11:45 am
Dispensed pears into ice cube trays
Dispensed apples into ice cube trays
Dispensed acorn squash into ice trays
Kitchen Clean Up

Total Time Spent : 80 minutes
Total Ounces Made:  88 ounces

Cost Comparisons:
*Apple and Pear added to the prior posts

Organic Acorn Squash

Prep/Cook time:  prep 10 minutes and cook 45 minutes
Cost:  $2.98 for 2.16 lbs (one medium to large squash)
Cost Comparison: $0.10 per ounce (vs $0.13 per ounce with Beech Nut and $0.16 per ounce with Gerber; non-organic types) *some say that FDA regulates baby food to have no pesticides or chemicals also so buying organic for this reason alone may not be necessary*

Kendall - 4 stars
Seren - 3 stars

Butternut Squash

Wash your squash and then cut in half length wise.  Scoop out the seeds and "squishy stuff" with a spoon (similar to a pumpkin).
Place face down on a cookie sheet or baking sheet with water.  Place in oven at 400* F for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours depending on size of squash (I did 1 1/2 hours for a somewhat large squash).
*I have to note that this a small cookie sheet (about half size)*
You'll know it's done when the meat of the squash is soft and starts to peel away from the skin.  Remove from the oven once cooked and allow to cool.  Scoop out the remaining contents from the squash (leaving the skin) and then throw it in a large blender and puree.  Dispense into ice cube trays and freeze.
Prep/Cook Time:  Prep 10 minutes Cook 1 1/2 hours
Servings:  45 oz for a large squash (3.18 lbs)
Cost: $4.61
Cost Comparison:  $0.10 per ounce (vs $0.13 for Beech Nut and $0.16 for Gerber)

Kendall - 4 stars
Seren -  3 stars

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blueberry Smoothie

This morning I made myself a smoothie and ate it while holding Seren.  She was completely interested and seemed to want some.  But being the genius common sense mother that I am, I realized it had raspberries and blackberries in it among other things that were a no-no for my girls.  But I did figure why not make them a smoothie as it is a warm day and with possible teething the cool might feel good on their gums.  I introduced blueberries on this one as I've read that blueberries do not fall under the same rule as strawberries and raspberries (even though those rules are changing somewhat too).  I have read conflicting information on when to introduce blueberries.  Some books say 6-9 months is okay while others push the mark back to 8-9 months, being more cautious if your child has issues with allergies.  Based on no family history of allergies and a somewhat functional memory (I recalled 6 months at the time I made this) blueberry smooth was a hit with the girls.

Blueberry Smoothie
1/4 cup blueberries (these are Dirty Dozen)
1 cube frozen peaches (they've done fine with these although it's not their favorite)
1 cube frozen mango (one of their favorites)
1 regular ice cube
apple juice

Put all the frozen stuff in the small power blender  first.  Then poor enough apple juice (diluted if you wish or other fruit juice can be used also) to cover the frozen stuff.  Blend all the chunks and ice down til smooth.  Serve.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings:  approx. 1 cup (you could freeze it but I chose to drink what they didn't eat)

Kendall - 3 stars
Seren - 4 stars

*Note:  Seren did get a diaper rash after having blueberries.  I don't know if it was the undigested skins irritating her or not.  We have put off further blueberries until later.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Organic Apricots

Cut apricots in half and take the pit out.  Submerge in water and boil for about 5 minutes or so.  Allow to cool after boiling and then peel the skins off.  I wish someone had told me about this trick with peaches!  It worked awesome.  Once peeled simply toss them in your blender and puree.  These mash up fairly well also but my girls were still not having anything to do with texture.

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Servings:  18 oz (16 frozen storage and 2 fresh)
Cost: $2.98 for 2.16 lbs
Cost comparison:  $0.17 per oz (vs $.13 per oz with Beech Nut and $.16 per oz with Gerber) Unsure if apricots are available in the jar.  Also price comparison is with regular baby food not organic, although according to some things I've read buying organic baby food in jars is not necessary.

Tools:  paring knife, small electric blender, ice cube trays

Kendall - 2 stars (moving to 1 star...first just pulling face but then started crying)
Seren - 3 stars
*I thought apricots were more mild then peaches but these were still pretty tart*