Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pumpkin Puree

This is the only puree that I'm aware of where it is completely acceptable (maybe even encouraged) to purchase canned goods.  Just make sure that you buy the 100% pure pumpkin and not the pumpkin pie mix.
I purchased Libby's 100% Pumpkin (29 oz can) and mixed it with formula to get the right consistency.  I'm trying to decide how to start storing thicker or more textured purees but in the meantime I want my ice cube trays to work.  Also with the pumpkin I was tempted to add in nutmeg or allspice (especially now that the girls are 8 months) but thought it best to just mix these in when I heat it up so I could obey the 4-day rule and also so if they hate it I haven't wasted anything. 
Prep/Cook time: 5-10 minutes (literally opening the can and mixing it up)
Servings: 36 oz to freeze and 4 oz fresh to eat;  40 oz total
Cost: $
Cost Comparison:

Seren - 3 stars
Kendall - 2.5 stars

2nd try with cinnamon:
Seren - 4 stars
Kendall- 3 stars

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Traveling With Baby...

We recently made a trip to Florida to see my parents so I thought I would share some of the things I learned while preparing and while flying with the girls and all of their gear.  Most of these tips are regarding air travel.  Check with your airline and also check with TSA's website for tips regarding travel with children also.

Baby Food - during travel
1.  You can bring pre-mixed formula bottles through security but you can not bring water alone through security (at least from what I read).  I always fed the girls a few hours before our take-off and then made a hot bottle of formula to put in the diaper bag.  It cooled enough to feed them at take off.  Security / TSA never had issues with the bottles, baby food, juice or formula (although they did some extra testing on the formula that they had us observe).

2.  Feed your child at takeoff and descent to avoid earaches or pain.  You can also use a binkie, teething rings and toys they like to gnaw on if you have bad timing.  I brought juice as a "bribe" for my girls to drink if I needed them to.  We fed them at take off but didn't seem to have issues with landing although I had diluted juice at the ready if needed.

3.  TSA security allows for baby food, formula, breast milk and juice for your child in reasonable quantities.  Their site advises on travel with children.  There is not specific measurements only "reasonable quantities" for your need of travel.  I brought a small 8 oz canister of formula, two small 4 oz juices, two 4 oz containers with my homemade baby food inside and some baby cereal with no issues whatsoever.  I also had two 8 oz bottles of premixed formula and 6 extra bottles for feedings.  I found TSA agents to be extremely helpful with our travel.

4.  Be organized and prepared for TSA security check.  Make sure your liquids (including baby food) are pulled out of diaper bags or carry-on luggage.  I packed a separate thermos type bag just to simplify things for myself with the baby food items.  Use your quart size bags and know where you place these in bags for quick pull out and inspection.

5.  Need to make bottles...think Starbucks (or at least we did).  We simply got a small hot water and a larger cold water and mixed them together.  The hot water was scalding though so be careful in the water temp before feeding your child.  Also many other restaurant and eatery style places were happy to provide water if needed but we liked the control over the temperature with Starbucks (plus you can find one in every airport and frequently too).

Baby Food and Needs - at your destination
1.  If you have someone you are visiting it is to your advantage to have them pick up things ahead of time if needed (diapers, formula, food) so that you can save trips and pain when you arrive.  If you don't have someone it is still easier to purchase these items upon arrival (especially as you realize you run out of pack space and weight limit quickly).

2.  I packed ice cube trays and travel containers.  We purchased a few of their favorite foods and made enough to last a week using my parents blender.  You can also purchase take-n-toss type styles that are cheaper.  I brought take-n-toss sippies to the airport just due to concern that security might not allow for the amount of extra bottles and containers that I was bringing (they did with no problem).

3.  I have heard of people using little bags to keep outfits together in their diaper bags to reduce the need to dig for items.  I didn't do this but just packed coordinating clothes for any accidents.  I also changed the girls immediately prior to take off and during layovers while in the airport to avoid changing them on the plane.  For longer flights you would obviously want to change them on the plane and in the facilities on the plane.

4.  Purchase new toys that your children haven't seen or played with.  Also take away their favorite toys for a week prior to travel so that they seem new and exciting again (or at least they are sure to appreciate them).  I chose toys that were quiet and not annoying to show courtesy to our fellow passengers.  I also chose toys that could be used with links or strapped on with binkie tethers so that if my girls tossed the toy or dropped it I wasn't on my hands and knees looking for it.

Other Tips:
- If you are traveling with multiples or more than one child and planning to use "Infant in Arms" (where a child can fly for free on your lap until the age of 2) then I would strongly suggest calling a reservation assistant and also locking in your seats if possible.  I arranged our seats online far ahead of time and everything was fine until we showed up to check in and all of the sudden our seats were not compatible with the air mask capacity of where we were assigned.  My belief is that an agent moved our seats next to each other without checking our special needs (ie Infant in Arms).  We had to hassle the gate agent to arrange our seats closer together as all of our packing was based on sharing a diaper bag and being within arms reach of each other for this purpose.  We also had trouble with this on the flight home when our first flight was cancelled and our new flight was not arranged with Infant in Arms in mind.  Check your seats and check with your gate agent to confirm your seats prior to boarding.

-Bag your car seats or rent them.  If you are renting a car at your destination I have heard you can also rent car seats.  We didn't rent a car or seats but I like the idea and if we travel again I would consider this (depending on the fee).  You can check car seats for free with most airlines.  Also you are allowed to gate check them and if there is a free seat in your row you can also be permitted to use the car seat if it is approved (this does come with the hassle of car seats through security and the airport for a small chance of using them).  I recommend just checking them if you did not purchase a seat for your child(ren).  We double bagged ours in large black trash bags and then used duct tape over the top to wrap around the handle and sun visor of the seat.  Worked like a charm.  Pack extra bags and throw your duct tape in your checked bag for the return flight and you're set.

**some of this is really simple and some of it won't apply to your situation.  I probably missed some things. But how I wish someone would have layed out the basics for me so I didn't have to hunt down the best strategies...therefore here I am laying it out the way I found most helpful**

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beans Beans The Magic Fruit...

Beans aren't a fruit.  Perhaps it should be "beans beans the magic legume" but I suppose it doesn't have the same ring and it doesn't rhyme with "toot" either.  Anyway we went to have some Mexican food the other night and the girls had their first experience with a real high chair. The kind with nothing but a strap between their legs to keep them from falling out.  They didn't seem to mind.  Out came our food...holy cow this place makes the best Mexican in the state. I can even stand to eat the refried beans at this place.  I tasted them and they were mild (no spice I could really taste...though probably salt) so I decided to give the girls a bit to try.  Oh how they loved them!  They opened their mouths and leaned in for more and fussed when it didn't come immediately.  I hope there wasn't too much seasoning or salt in them but something had to make them ultra delicious.  Or maybe it was that mommy was eating it so that meant it had to be good.  Either way it was adorable to see them diving after food.  I hope they like my beans just as well.  We'll see.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Recent new foods...

We have been trying a little bit of yogurt recently (only 2 or 3 times).  I purchased a StonyField Whole Fat organic yogurt.  I have mostly been introducing it with fruit (apricots and mango) and once with a little avocado.  The girls haven't loved it  but it's not their least favorite thing either.  I suppose it could be mixed in with many things and after reading Wholesome Baby Food ideas on yogurt (ie sweet potatoes, green beans and carrots; besides just fruit) I am definitely going to be experimenting with this addition to make food more creamy and smooth.  So far they don't love yogurt though.

Multigrain cereal
We have also introduced Multigrain baby cereal in the last few days (not yogurt and this at the same time).  The girls seem to really enjoy the multigrain and it doesn't take convincing them much to eat it, like rice and oatmeal seemed to.  I like the idea of introducing this so that we can get a feel on pasta and bread later on as finger foods.  I don't plan to actually introduce finger foods until 9 or 10 months and probably leaning more towards the latter.  I have read about early introduction of finger foods causing frustration for baby and a negative experience with self-feeding so I want to make sure they are ready.

Next on the menu:

Beans.  I purchased bags of dried beans.  Black beans, kidney beans and red beans.  I am excited to give these a try but will likely wait until after our upcoming vacation.

Pumpkin.  I also purchased a can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) which is sitting in my cupboard and awaiting it's grand entrance into baby food land.  I imagine this will be another food that gets some yogurt mixed into it.

Also to come in the 8-10 month range:  Eggplant, Mushrooms, Eggs (scrambled or hard boiled), Beef, Pork, Turkey, Tofu, Cottage Cheese and Fish, among other things.

*it is always crazy how much the next age range opens up so many new dishes and flavors.  I don't know if I'll make it through so many of these and others that are options*

**as always check with your pediatrician on the introduction of food and especially if there are foods that concern you.  It is always okay to put off food until later on.**

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Organic Broccoli Puree

Sorry for my slacking.  I think I've reached the point of some boredom with pureeing...again.  I don't mind making it but posting about it is not as fun.

Organic Broccoli Puree
I used 3 stalks of broccoli florets.  I cut off the florets and put them in my pot steamer basket.  Steamed for about 8 minutes.  I tossed them in my large blender and added some water (add water slowly...I put too much in so this batch will be more of a mix-in than a stand-alone).  Since it was so liquid though it did make it really easy to pour directly from the blender to the ice cube tray.

Prep/Cook Time:  15 minutes
Servings:  approximately 20
Price: $1.54 sale ($1.66 regular) @ Smith's
Note:  This was pretty runny when I reheated it from the freezer.  I've been using it as a mix-in with other vegetables and they seem to like it.

Kendall - 2 stars
Seren - 2 stars
*I mixed it in with some squash for dinner and it improved the ratings to 3 stars*

Monday, August 1, 2011

Goodbye Organic Store...Hello Smith's

I made my second trip to the organic store near my house to (hopefully) pick up some broccoli, sweet potatoes, pears and apples.  Their produce selection was a disappointment to say the least.  The only items they had were apples, pears, oranges and some sad looking vegetables that weren't even on my radar for baby food (ever).  I decided to get some pears and apples as these are always favorites at our house.  I asked the cashier when they expected to get more produce and got thee lamest excuse ever.  He told me he didn't know and that they ordered it and then the supplier brought it when they could (and if they did) and that the big box stores were probably getting their produce.  Oh boy!  Really?  The big bad box store is stealing your produce?  Can't you just admit you don't know because generally I think people get what they order (if they pay for it).  I hate Walmart just like everybody else but I still shop there.  Although I've looked for organic produce there and with the exception of carrots haven't had much luck.

So I headed over to Smith's to check out their produce and discovered they have an organic section in their produce department.  Sweet!  I will be making stops here more often with this new found knowledge.  They had as good of a selection as the organic store and prices were also comparable.  So if you are interested in anything organic try your local Smith's or keep an eye out at other large grocery store and let me know what you find.  Thanks.

** I am not 100% organic so I'm sure there are benefits to shopping at these stores if you are.  Also I would love a Whole Foods close by but have no such luck in my area **