Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Secret to Baby (Food) Makin' ...

I get a lot of emails from my readers. Did I mention you guys rock? Because you do. And I try really, really hard to reply to them all in a timely fashion. Most of those emails I receive are about formula feeding, some of them are about the camera I use and others about Carter's BabyLegs. But the OTHER majority of the emails I recieve? Well, they're about how I make Carter's baby food. For the record, I love every single one of those emails, so PLEASE keep them coming! This post has truly taken forever to put together and it's WAY overdue. So, without further ado- Here's how I make Carter's "num-num's!"

First, choose a recipe source of your liking. I've always started off with I randomly stumbled across this website when I first knew I was interested in making Carter's baby food. Shortly thereafter, one of my favorite blogging Mama's also recommended it to me. This is great resource for making your own baby food for a myriad of reasons. The first being that it's free. The second being that it's both ridiculously quick and easy to access. It's also chock full of awesome information surrounding the perfect fruits and veggies for your babe based on his or her age. I've been using this website as a guide ever since I first introduced Carter to solids around 4-5 months old. Lot's of other Mamas I know swear by a few good "cooking for your baby" type cookbooks so if that's more your thing, that'll work just as good! Just know that there are other options out there, some of which don't require money! (Click to view).

Blender Baby Food: Over 125 Recipes for Healthy Homemade MealsThe Basic Baby Food Cookbook: A complete beginner guide to making baby food at homeThe Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet: Know What Goes Into Every Bite with More Than 200 of the Most Deliciously Nutritious Homemade Baby Food ... More Than 60 Purees Your Baby Will Love

Next, gather your cooking supplies. I steam the majority of Carter's fruits and veggies using my Oster Steamer. We were given this kitchen tool as a wedding gift and without it, I'd be boiling the fruits in a saucepan full of water, straining them and then tossing them into the blender. Once again, know your options. You don't necessarily need one of those fancy shmancy high-end baby food makers (ahem, Beaba Babycook), however if you choose to spend your money on one, go for it.  I've heard it makes the clean-up process a whiz which truth be told, would be quite nice some times. You'll see why in a bit. However, since I already have a food steamer, magic bullet, blender and food processor, I chose to work with what I've already got. My husband would be so proud.

Oster 5711 Mechanical Food SteamerMagic Bullet MBR-1701 17-Piece Express Mixing SetCuisinart DLC-2009CHB Prep 9 9-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless

When it comes to making certain fruits and veggies such as pureed yams, butternut squash and apples, for instance, I prefer to bake them in the oven before pureeing. Reasons being that they hold onto more of their nutrients that way. So in that case, all you'll need then is a baking dish and an oven.

Pyrex Bakeware 4.8 Quart Oblong Baking Dish, Clear

Once steamed, blended and baked, you're going to need a way to freeze and store your delicious food cubes. Once again, you have options. The cheaper option works just fine here in the M household. I freeze the food cubes in standard cheap-o ice cube trays and then store the cubes in the freezer in ziplock freezer bags. Of course, you could always store the food cubes in those adorable, cutesy little food trays. However, let it be known that I've heard they aren't always the best option. Often times the lids don't always fit tight and nobody likes freezer burned fruits and veggies.

Rubbermaid White Ice Cube Tray (Pack of 6)Pyrex Prepware 2-Cup Measuring Cup, Clear with Red MeasurementsZiploc Double Zipper Heavy Duty Quart Freezer Bags (216 Bags)Baby Cubes 2 Oz. Baby Food Storage Contains no Phthalates, Bisphenol-A, PVC (2 Pack)

Once you've managed to procure your supplies, you're going to want to grab your shopping list and go to town at the local grocer. Needless to say I cannot wait for the Farmers Markets to return to our local area so I can stock up on bulk, delicious and local fruits and veggies. If you're just starting out, you'll want to be familiar with good introductory fruits and veggies. Basically this means you'll want to take note of the foods that will be easiest for your little one to digest based on his or her age. Great starter fruits include avocado, apples, bananas and pears.

Once you've graduated to fancier fruits and veggies, you can start to get creative like Carter and me, and mix up delectable fruit and veggie combinations right in your own kitchen. As of right now, Carter is pretty set on his dinners, however we seem to blow through our breakfast and "second meal" fruits and veggies like there's no tomorrow.

Some of his favorite fruit combinations are:

Apples and Oatmeal
Apples, Prunes, Plums and Oatmeal

Today, we'll be preparing a few of Carter's favorites. The disclaimer here is: Be sure to consult with your pediatrician before starting solids and/or before introducing certain foods based on your babe's history. Thankfully, Carter has shown no reaction to any of the fruits and veggies we've tried. On Carter's menu for today? Nectarines, Apples, Plums and Mango. He's also in desperate need of some more Bananas, however I need to allow for a little brown-age to occur before I can toss them into the mix.

For those of you daring to mix it up a bit, we'll be preparing Mango/Avocado, Nectarines and Apple/Prunes/Plums. Carter has been introduced to each of these fruits singally and therefore, I can mix them without worrying about food reactions.   

Step 1: Wash fruit thoroughly and peel. As baby gets older, skin can be left on certain fruits and will serve as an additional source of fiber. Until then, no skin for sensitive tummies.

Step 2: Slice and toss into steamer.

Step 3: Allow fruit to steam for desired amount of time (typically 10-15 minutes based on ripeness). Carter and I chose to play and read books during this time.

Step 4: Spoon slices into food processor. Add filtered water or fruit juice to acheive desired consistency. Make sure to check your recipe before using the water or juice that the fruit was cooked in. I only say this because you should never puree carrots using the juice or water they were steamed in due to too high levels of nitrates. Here, I threw in some frozen halves of avocado that I had cut up a couple of weeks ago.

Step 5: Pour puree from processor into measuing cup. I found out the hard way that it's sometimes difficult to pour directly from the processor into the ice cube trays. And when I say difficult, I mean really, really messy. 

Step 6: Freeze ice cube trays for 2-3 hours. 

Step 7: Crack trays, transfer cubes to LABELED zippies and store in freezer! 

Step 8: Clean up your giant mess. Or, if you're like me, claim insanity and leave it for The Husband.

Wha-la! There you have it. Sure, it's tedious and now that Carter is eating three meals per day, I find myself following these steps all too frequently. However, it's worth it to me to know exactly what Carter is eating! Not to mention that it's pretty darn cost effective. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at iloveyoumorethancarrots (at) gmail (dot) com!  

And just for good measure, here are the photos of the most delicious Nectarines and Apples/Prunes/Plums and Oatmeal that I've ever tasted in my whole life.

Happy Wednesday, Loyals!


  1. Thanks a million, friend! This is just what I needed! We've had to take solids S-L-O-W-L-Y because of Kitty's allergies, so she's only had rice cereal ( which we both think is gross!) and bananas. Tomorrow, we're doing avocados and in the coming weeks I hope to have graduated to many of Carter's faves!

    Thanks for giving me a place to start - it seems so overwhelming!

  2. Thanks for the tips....we will be doing this in no time!

  3. After seeing that process, once again I am glad we are at the end of making food and going to table food. Not that I didn't love making Connor's food! Life has gotten busy (if you haven't noticed my lack of blogging!) and feeding him food we cook is just as easy.

    Have you done any zucchini yet? Just dice, with skin on, bake/steam, and puree! It can get watery so it is great to mix with peas, which Connor hates on their own, but with Zucchini, he doesn't even know they are in there :)

    You are brave for buying Mangoes that way. I just do frozen bags, same with peaches. Saves on time.

    Great post!

    Umm... but today is Wednesday. No Wee One today?!?!?

  4. Thank you so much for this very informative post. I will be trying some of your combos here. And I love our steamer too...perfect for babies and adult meals :)

  5. Girl you are sooooo much better of a mommy than me. I can't even wrap my head around the idea of trying to make my own baby food. OMG. I would be up until 2am every night.

  6. I agree with Lindsey.. where is the wee one post?

    JUst a tip not sure if you have tried it but after I puree I pour into pastry bags, or you can use a gallon ziplock, cut the corner tip to make it like a ziplock, and it makes it soooo easy to get it into the cube trays

  7. Thank you so much for doing this post! I think it's going to be so helpful when we enter this fun stage. I do have one question though. I know it will be different for every food, but in general how many of each fruit/veggie do you start with and about how many servings do you end up with? If I know myself, I'll either start with either way too many or not nearly enough! :)

  8. Kuddos to you! You really do make it look super easy, though I have to agree with KLaw on this one (excpet fo the better mommy part, I think I'm a good mom regardless of making my own food) there aren't enough hours in my day to warrant making food. I tried. It was stressing me out too much when I started my new job. Now I just scour the sales and coupons and find I can do just as good pricewise as when I was making my own. Makes me feel a little less guilty. I'm intrigued by the mango/avacado mix though. My little man loves both, I'd never thought about mixing them!

  9. You officially rock my world {even more!} after this amazing, informative post!! I can't WAIT to try out my baby food makin' skillz.

    now if only I had a steamer...hmph.

  10. This is "Mrs. D" by the way. I was signed into the wrong account! whoops!

  11. Thanks for this. I'm just starting out with all this bizniz ... she is not interested in food. At all. Turns her head away. Clamps her mouth shut. The whole bit. But I'll just keep trying.

  12. Great website! I make G's food too and I love doing it. It's SO easy. I need to let him try some avocado (and not just so I can share it with him)!

  13. This post is absolutely PERFECT for moms who want to make their own baby food. I did it and I used all those supplies you wrote about and I visited more than facebook haha!!

  14. Great post!!! I'll have to include your link in my last baby food post!! :) I also like how you added the delish combos! So fun!!

    p.s. Grean beans & peas by Sprout - I picked it up yesterday - you know bc St Patty's day... um lets just say Trey needed a mid day bath... lol


Thank you for reading ILYMTC. If you have any questions about a post or want to get in touch with me (or any of the cast of characters here at ILYMTC) email me at iloveyoumorethancarrots(at)gmail(dot)com.

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