|My little pumpkin getting ready to try avocado for the first time!|
Dane loves to eat. Mom loves to cook. We were a match from the start. I knew even before we started thinking about children, that I wanted to make my child's baby food. It was not because I was over health-conscious, or to save a ton of money...but just because I love to cook & it sounded fun. I know so many mama friends who don't like to cook and/or don't have the time...no problem!
And their kids are just fine. :)
We are all doing what works best for our families, and I think that is the most important thing to remember.
I waited until Dane was 6 months old to start solids. He didn't start sitting up until a little after turning 6 months anyway, so the timing was perfect. A friend from church offered to bring her baby food maker & freezing trays & show me the ropes. It really was unbelievably easy & in just a few hours we made weeks of baby food that could be stored in the freezer and conveniently thawed for meals. Healthy foods + saving money =
more shopping for Abigail more grocery money for the month! Per our doctor's advice, we started with vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, avocado, green beans) and later tried fruits (banana, pears, mango, peaches, apples). Dane is an excellent veggie eater and I am convinced that is because we started with vegetables! Each food was introduced one at a time to make sure we were clear of allergies, and then new foods were added every few days. Some vegetables were added later (like carrots, who knew they could be full of nitrates? Not good for infants. Berries were added in later as well, common allergen) My sweet friend Allyson also suggested the book Super Baby Food & I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone thinking about making their own! It has user-friendly charts for each month recommending foods to try/add, tons of recipes and is just very informative. I also made Dane's oatmeal and rice cereal to begin with (also super easy!) & recipes for those were found in that book as well.
Now that Dane is 18 months (I can't believe I just typed that) the baby food days are over, and I am a little sad! I really loved making new foods & pureeing different things together to see what he liked. We have moved on to real "people food" for him & that can be just as fun! Dane typically eats what we eat for meals, and does a great job in his high chair. His favorite meal is probably breakfast...and mine as well! He loves French toast, pancakes, muffins, fruit, yogurt, eggs...basically anything that goes with coffee. :) Lunch is usually some sort of sandwich (pb&j, ham & cheese, grilled cheese, quesadillas, etc), plus fruit and veggies and dinner is whatever we eat as a family. He has grown accustomed to Mommy's Famous Meatloaf which is great since it is on the Carter dinner rotation quite frequently! Snack time is another favorite for Dane and is typically offered after waking up from his nap, or before dinner if he is acting hungry. Sometimes I run out of snack ideas and don't always want to offer a "cracker" type of snack...although he definitely smiles for his beloved Goldfish! Some other popular snacks for us are: grapes, banana slices, cheddar cheese & baby Triscuits, Puffs, graham crackers, or string cheese.
Because Dane loves breakfast, I included two of my go-to recipes below. I love both of these because the recipes make a lot and both freeze well. We all know that when the Today Show is on, Mama likes to thaw something out quickly for breakfast and not have to worry about being in the kitchen all morning! I also love both of these recipes because you most likely have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now. Happy cooking!
Whole Wheat Pancakes (adapted from the Super Baby Food book)
*makes a lot, depending on size of pancake. I usually do a silver-dollar size*
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons oil (coconut, veggie or canola)
1 very large RIPE banana, smashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon to taste
Mix wet ingredients together. Add in dry ingredients; do not over mix. Pour silver-dollar sizes on griddle & cook until golden brown. Top with pure maple syrup. Freeze up to 1 month. *Can sub pumpkin for banana (I loved to do this in the Fall!) I also have added mini chocolate chips to spice them up as well!*
Heavenly Banana Oatmeal Muffins (adapted from Skinnytaste Cookbook)
* makes 12 large muffins, or 20 mini muffins*
1.5 cups quick oats
1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup ripe banana, smashed (about 2 large bananas)
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour (I used spelt flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12 muffin tin with cupcake holders & then lightly spray with Pam. In a large bowl mix oats and milk together and put in fridge for 30 minutes. After soaking, add in wet ingredients - then dry. Mix well and pour into muffin tin. Bake about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Dane loves his with butter or even fancier - a little peanut butter on top!
And there you have it. Simple. Easy. Yummy. Three prerequisites in my cookbook. Now you share!
"Food tastes better when you eat it with your family."
~ author unknown