Friday, August 23, 2013

Favorite Baby Food Tools

I've become a little obsessed with making baby food. I think it's so fun to come up with new combinations for my (hopefully) future foodie to try out. Sometimes I walk down the baby food aisle and check out the commercial baby food for ideas for flavor combinations and sometimes I just think of what looks good at the store/farmer's market and what sounds good together and give it a try. I usually try to make pretty small batches of food because I am not the type of person who likes to eat the same thing every day so I assume she would get bored just as easy.

These are my favorite baby food making/storing tools:

A steamer basket that I already owned (similar to this one)

that will fit in any pot:

A mini food processor, also already owned:

These awesome little baby food holders:

You can just use regular old ice cube trays too but I like these because they have lids and little oz markers and I can just store/freeze/thaw and serve all from the same container.

This random thing that might seem ridiculous but I use it every day. A banana could be served with like 5 separate meals around here! This thing keeps from wasting the rest easily.

And now a demo of the ease of delicious baby food making...on this particular day, we were preparing pear and parsnip puree (which she LOVED by the way)

Take a pear and parsnip (preferably organic):

Peel & Cut:

Pour in steamer basket:

Put the lid on and steam until everything is fork tender (8 minutes or so):

Puree until it's the consistency you want....add water (or breast milk or formula) to help it along if you need to:

Take a taste and make sure the consistency and taste is good:

Put it in containers....2 pears and 2 parsnips made 9 containers worth of meals!

Watch baby enjoy!

...and one more add to our list of loves. This high chair goes everywhere with us and folds up nice and small.

 I can't wait to keep trying new fun combos! Anyone have any baby food tools they can't live without?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Foods

I had decided that I wanted to look into doing baby led weaning with Hannah a while back, but wanted to completely understand it before I started. I am going to touch on some of my feelings and some things we are doing in this post, but would highly recommend you reading the book (I borrowed mine from the library) I figured this would be a fun way to keep track of what she's been eating and how her tastes evolve through the next couple of months. led weaning is basically just waiting until your child is 6 months old and then letting them feed themselves instead of pureeing everything for them and spoon feeding it to them.
For me, the pros were:
  • We can all sit down as a family and eat together instead of one person feeding the baby while the other eats and then trading off.
  • Hannah gets to make her own decisions about what  and how much she eats. She is still getting all of her calories and nutrition from breast milk, so there is no stress about her not getting enough of this or that... I can just let her explore all the different foods I offer her....there is no pressure to "get her to eat" with tricks or whatever else- we just let her eat what she wants.
  • You can just feed them a little of whatever you are having - which in the future will help them become less of a picky eater since she has been eating vegetables, fruit, meat, hummus, casserole, etc since the beginning in it's actual form. This was my biggest pro...I'm really hoping to raise a non picky eater... I know I obviously can't totally control that, but I will do what I can. We had chipotle the other day and I was able to pick pieces out of my bowl for "her lunch"

And at our favorite Indian Restaurant she was able to snack on some garlic naan so mom and dad could enjoy eating their dinner too.

  • They start to recognize the foods they like instead of everything looking the same coming at them in a spoon. She gets so excited when she sees sweet potato fries end up on her tray and goes for them first.
  • It's really fun.
  • It can be really scary. No matter how soft something is, if a giant chunk of it ends up in their mouth, it's terrifying.  That being said, the book said that's when their gag reflex will kick in and they will eventually gag and spit it back out and that happened every time. That doesn't make it any less scary though.
  • It's a giant mess. It's ok sometimes when you're at home to take an hour to eat every meal and have to clean food from every crevice of the baby's body, the high chair, the floor, etc...but sometimes it's not. Especially if you are eating at a friend's house or a restaurant.
  • They don't necessarily eat much. I know "under one is just for fun" when it comes to food and that she is getting everything she needs from milk...but she really LIKES food and gets really annoyed when it all ends up on the floor or in her bib.
You can't tell from this picture, but I have avocado in my ears.
So after looking at all these pros in cons, we decided to go for somewhat of a puree feeding/baby led weaning hybrid. I put "finger foods" on her high chair and let her pick those up and eat them but we also feed her purees. Usually it's steamed carrot sticks, sticks of peeled seedless cucumber, watermelon sticks, sweet potato fries, etc. She can start to snack on these while we finish plating up our dinners and in between bites of purees. I also usually try to give her something appropriate from what we are eating and either cut it up small and feed it with a spoon or give it to her to hold. It seems to be working out well for now and she has loved every single thing we've given her....and we give her a WIDE variety :)

As far as purees go, they are Oh so easy to make. I basically peel (if necessary), steam, puree and then put in containers... It's been fun to think of combinations to put together. I usually try to give one pureed vegetable alone (I want her to develop a taste for veggies on their own) and then one fruit (with some veggies mixed in) We use organic fruits and veggies and bonus points for getting them from one of our many awesome farmer's markets around town (organic, in season AND local!) Zucchini and apple puree was a recent hit... The zucchinis were even from my cousin's garden!

Since this is supposed to be a food blog, maybe I will do a post on some baby food making fun.... There is really nothing to say about it besides what I already said but I can share what we're eating and what my favorite tools for baby food making and storing are. (See that post here and an update on what we are eating now here)

And today I leave you with this video...because it shows how much she absolutely loves to eat. Hysterical.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Recipe - Copycat Whole Foods Greek Orzo Salad

The Whole Foods Prepared Food counter is like my McDonalds. It's where I go when I don't want to cook. You can get a piece of chicken and 2 sides for like $6. It's kind of the best deal in town, especially knowing that you can trust what you're eating.

Every.single.time I go I get the greek orzo salad as one of my sides.... I try new things as my second side sometimes, but one of those coveted spots in the 3 compartment plate goes to that delicious orzo salad. I always give whoever is making it some big eyes and ask them if they could try to scoop me a few extra olives (sorry whoever gets there after me) in my salad I can add as many freaking olives as my heart desires without my embarrassing my husband.

Let's start cooking shall we. Also, all these ingredients can and should be adjusted to what you like or don't like....if I wasn't bringing this one to a party I would have probably doubled the amount of red onion I put in because me and red onion have a special kind of friendship....but I toned it down because I know not everyone does....

1 lb orzo
1 cup Kalamata Olives from the olive bar - (the smallest container pretty full. and save the brine!)
1/2 of a red pepper, chopped
1/2 a red onion (or less or more), chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of spinach, chopped
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1 container feta cheese (whatever you feel like-this time I got it with basil & sundried tomato)
Salt & Pepper to taste

 Boil your orzo per the directions on the box:

While that is happening, chop up your red pepper, red onion, spinach and olives (save the olive brine!)

After you drain the orzo, add in a tablespoon of olive oil and the olives with the brine to keep it from sticking together and to let the pasta suck up all that olive-y salty goodness.

Let it cool for a few minutes and then add the rest of your ingredients.


Peppers & Onions:

Red Wine Vinegar:


Stir it all up and marvel at the colorful creation you have made:

Add another drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste (you might not need too much salt with all the olives in there so be sure to taste it first)

Try not to eat all the leftovers yourself that night after you get home from the party. Not that I know anyone who has ever done this.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

6 months!

We now have a baby who is half a year old! Is that the craziest thing you've ever heard?

This month has a been a big one.. her first vacation, first foods (post coming soon!), and just the other day she started to sit up on her own! Her personality continues to come out more and more every day...

She continues to smile at everyone she meets....and she definitely has an opinion of what she likes and doesn't particularly care for.

She still grabs at everything in site including most recently people's noses. She has quite a grip! It's usually pretty amusing. She's still an awesome sleeper and so far not a picky eater at all...both things mommy and daddy are super excited about.

She is definitely starting to recognize the people she loves and gets excited to see them.

We still feel like the luckiest parents in the world :)

Happy 6 months baby Hannah!!

See month 4 update here and month 5 here!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cousin Photoshoot

Last Friday was my grandma (Oma)'s for a gift we decided to get a little picture of her two granddaughters together. We knew it was going to be a challenge to get a 16 month old and a 6 month old (who just learned to sit like 3 days before) together for a picture...but we were going to try. It definitely helps to have ridiculously adorable subjects... but it was no easy task.
Here are a some shots of  our effort :)

At first Hannah was happy to hear/see her parents going crazy and singing and Lexi was like wtf is wrong with you people?

Then after a while Lexi relaxed and looked comfortable and Hannah was making this face for about 100 pictures:

Then this happened:

Then we decided to give them a prop! We were geniuses:

Then Hannah, being 6 months old, obviously this happened:

Then Lexi decided to roll with it and do the same:

At the end of the day we decided this was the cutest pic of the bunch:

Love these sweet little ladies :)