Thursday, June 26, 2014

Homemade Baby Food

I am not a complete health nut, since having Jemma 10 months ago, I pretty much crave donuts on a daily basis. However, I have been trying to keep my little family filled up on healthy meals. As a nurse, I have seen numerous cases of childhood obesity and diabetes; the majority of which are brought on by high carb foods and sugary snacks, provided by the parents. These children have an over-developed "sweet tooth" due to these foods being eaten too frequently. Our impact on our child's food preferences and habits starts as soon as we begin giving them solids. Babies are born with a fully developed sense of taste just ready to be shaped. As soon as we start feeding our babies solid foods, we are impacting their taste development. Studies show that "Infants developing a sweet preference may “pattern” their eating habits for later in the toddler years for sugar and fat intake." The types of foods we chose to give our kids now, will influence their food preferences, weight, and overall health. 

Many parents give their babies apple juice in their bottles. Thankfully, this is less common as more and more doctors are warning against it. High intake of sweets can lead, not only to obesity and diabetes, but also dental carries, even if the baby has no teeth at the time they are drinking the juice. 

Sugar content wasn't the only reason that I decided to make my own baby food...have you tasted it?  Most of it is disgusting!

When I first thought about making my own baby food, I thought it would be way too much work, or take too much time. But it doesnt. It is so easy and I typically make a 2 week supply each time. I found this wonderful little system by Infantino on Amazon for under $18.  Infantino says that food can be stored for up to 2 months in the freezer and up to 48 hours in the fridge. This means you could make a 2 month supply each time! It comes with only 10 food pouches (hence my 2 week food supply) but you can buy more bags and stretch out the time between making the food. The Infantino bags technically are not reusable but I haven't had any problem washing them out in the sink. I usually also run them through the dishwasher to sterilize them. 

I often include a boiled chicken breast as it is a great source of protein which baby girl needs more now that she is nursing less. I also always have cooked sweet potatoes around for snacking on so they are easy to include as well. When attempting to make baby food for the first time, keep it simple. If your baby doesn't like the taste after a couple of tries, then add another carrot or a few strawberries to sweeten it a little bit. Natural sugars are easier for our bodies to utilize and digest.

Homemade Baby Food

1 Chicken Breast
1 Cooked Sweet Potato (bake at 390 for about 50 min depending on size)
3 Cooked Carrots
1/2 C Cooked Squash
1/2 Avocado
A handful of Spinach
Plus any other veggies you want to try

These are rough measurements. Think of them more as guidelines.  Cut each ingredient up and add them to your blender. Add water a cup at a time until you have blended everything to the consistency of apple sauce. If you were working with warm ingredients, then let it cool before you bag them. 

Tips & Tricks
Slide pouch into stand, then roll up the food pouch from the base to squeeze the air out before pouring the food into the tube. This will help reduce the amount of food that comes back out when you unscrew the tube

Getting children to eat healthy foods will always be a battle. However, as their role models we can determine how big or small that battle is by what foods we keep in our homes, what we eat ourselves, and how creative we are with our recipes. If the food tastes good, they will eat it!!! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

His First Father's Day

Yes, I do realize it has been weeks since Father's Day came and went, but I had to get this recipe out there. It's that good. And unbelievably easy. Which is basically all I require. As a new momma, I don't have a ton of time to cook...well, that's not true. While I consider myself to be somewhat of a "foodie"(thanks to my foodie husband), I don't love to cook. 

That being said, when I cook for a special occasion, I want it to be amazing....foodie husband, remember? Plus, this was his first Father's Day. It needed to be special.

 I don't even remember what I typed into my Pinterest search engine but somehow one of the first things I saw was a linked photo to Jenny Hobick's "Homemade Truffle Fries." The "foodie" in me was curious, while having major reservations about how long it would take to prep and make these fries. 

Once I opened up her page however, I was surprised to read that she used Frozen Fries!!! Now, even I was having doubts, but I pinned it and continued reading and found two other dishes she had served for a truly elegant dinner party. Cabernet & Thyme Mushrooms arranged beautifully around a Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin. I couldn't have been more pleased to see that not only had she chosen recipes that were mostly hands off, but she had even been so kind as to provide a timeline for cooking everything! It all seemed too easy. As we were hoping to eat around 6pm, I started the mushrooms at 2pm in my Le Creuset Dutch Oven. It took roughly 5 min to prep, allowing me plenty of play time with my family. 

Once 5pm rolled around, I started on the tenderloin. I had planned on it needing about 30 min of cook time, but had gotten about 2lbs of the pretty thick beef cuts and it ended up taking about 40 min to cook to medium rare. Since I had only gotten two cuts and not the whole chunk, I wasn't sure what to do with Jenny's instructions about tying it tight with twine. I also didn't have cooking twine, just some rough craft twine that was fraying. However, I was not to be deterred, so I forged ahead and burnt off those frays as best I could, then I tied those two pieces together! I have no idea what purpose it served, but oh my word, it was the best tenderloin I have ever had.

The fries came last. I drizzled Truffle Oil on the pan, then on the frozen fries and popped them in with the other ingredients. Then I drizzled again when they came out. They may have been a little heavy on the Truffle flavor, and next time I would just drizzle the oil on the pan, mix the fries around, cook, and then drizzle for a second time once they came out. Regardless, they were paired perfectly with the tenderloin and mushrooms, had a wonderful flavor of their own...and definitely did not taste frozen. Fooled that foodie husband, I did!  

And, since dinner was turning out to be so easy, leaving me with so much free time, I decided to include a little appetizer!  Peaches, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil with a little basalmic vinegar drizzled on top. There is a lot of drizzling required on this meal!  

Trader Joe's came through with dessert! 

Anyone else put together the perfect meal recently?