Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How to cook nourishing baby food

"Third time is a charm."
It is time to start feeding my third child solids. What do I feed him?
As a Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter Leader and having just finished reading the "GAPS Syndrome" book by Natasha Campbell McBride and dealing with yet another child that seems to deal with reflux issues I am motivated and enabled more than ever to start out on the right foot. (or should I say "food"?) So I vowed to never buy a single jar (or plastic container) of baby food for this baby and I am finding out it is not that difficult and so delightful to me to go to my freezer and pull out what I want to feed him. I feel so good knowing what I am feeding him. I want to know what kind of chicken is in my baby food!

Philosophy behind this approach:
I used Natasha Campbell McBride's chapter on Introducing Solids to guide me in what to introduce first. I believe that her suggestions take into account what is most nourishing to the baby at that time in their life, hopefully having had only breastmilk up to that point. Also she focuses highly on digestibility of the food, making sure baby has enzymes and such present, to be able to digest the foods that are introduced.
That means of course that no starches (grains and starchy vegetables) are introduced since baby lacks most of the enzymes to digest starches well. (See the GAPS website for more info on the hows and why's of the diet.)

4 Steps to nourishing baby food:

1. Cook
2. Puree
3. Freeze
4. Select, mix and match

To have on hand:

1. Blender or hand blender
2. Ice cube freezer trays
3. Zip lock bags and permanent marker

Getting started

1. One of the most nourishing foods on the planet are bone broths. If you already cook broths regularly this will be an easy first step for you. If not here is my post on how to cook Basic Chicken broth.
2. So your broth will have carrots, onion and celery in it (chose home-grown, farmer's market or organic if possible) and a healthy local chicken if possible.
  • To make your baby food, carefully strain out the vegetables making sure you don't have chicken bones in with them and place them in another pot (if you are using a hand blender) or in your blender. (Note: I tried using my food processor and it does not make a smooth puree that way. My hand blender did a much nicer job. It looked creamy just like out of a baby food jar. Just beautiful!)
  • Over the vegetables I poured some of the broth just enough so they are sitting in it. Here you will just need to decide how thick or runny you want it to be. Start with a little less and add more broth if you want it thicker. Also remember that it thickens a little.
  • Blend this up, fill into the ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Next day label your zip lock bags and pop the cubes into them.
  • To use: take out one or two cubes for a meal and store in a glass container with lid such as pyrex in the fridge. To warm up, set it into a pan with a little water and heat until warm. You can feed right out of that container.
Next steps:

  • Now that you have learned the basics you can go ahead and print out the guideline for introducing solids that you can find at the link above.
  • In week three you introduce pureed meat. I recommend on the same day you made the broth and vegetable cubes to make some cubes with broth and chicken meat, cartilage and skin blended up and freeze as well as some cubes with squash and broth or cauliflower and broth, or just squash or just cauliflower. When you get to week three you can go ahead and take out two cubes per meal, one with meat and one with veggies and you can mix and match! So much fun and a little different for baby each time. I like to use cauliflower, squash, carrots and broccoli.

Monster bars

This is my final adjusted version of healthier Monster bars and they are great!
They are not healthy but the best I can do when I need to have a treat in the house, lest I succumb to even worse stuff from the store, heaven forbid!
(Notice there is no wheat in this.)

So here they are:

1/2 cup butter
2 cups rapadura (evaporated cane juice)
about 2-3 Tbps. molasses (I don't measure. Can't go too wrong here.)

Cream together. Then add:

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (I used Skippy natural)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups quick oats
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Gently spread in greased jelly roll pad. Do not push down.
Sprinkle over top:

1 mini package mini M&M's (left over from Halloween!)
(Just enough to make it look pretty but ends up being just one per square.)

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Be careful not to overbake!!

Boy were my kids excited when that came out of the oven today. I have not baked anything for a long time and I was the best Mom in the world all of a sudden!