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Making Homemade Baby Food!

By December 7, 2015 Parenthood & Children, Recipes
babyfood

Baby food is super easy to make and probably a lot less processed than most everything you can get in the store.  I couldn’t believe how simple is was to prep, cook, and store my own baby food.  I think I find satisfaction in making my own things but I also do enjoy cutting down on my costs.  My parents always have a huge garden and rarely know what to do with all their produce.  I fortunately had a perfect idea of how to use a good amount of it!

I created baby food out of sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, apples, and pears.  There are a ton of other fruits and vegetables you can use but this is just what I started with because it was available to me.  I designated a couple hours each day to work on these mostly because you can only freeze so much at a time unless you have unlimited ice cube trays and freezer space.  I used the Wholesome Baby Food site to start my baby food making experience.

Items you will need before you start: Fruit and/or vegetables, large pot or pan or crock pot, slotted spoon, non slotted spoon or ladle, table spoon, magic bullet or machine to puree, ice cube trays (I used both smaller and larger trays to accommodate different portion sizes needed as they grow), and gallon sized plastic bags.  Then utilize the processes below depending on the fruit or vegetable you are starting with.

Sweet Potatoes and Carrots: Clean and peel vegetable and then slice into a large pot.  Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the vegetable, then boil until tender.  Allow contents to cool enough to avoid scolding the skin.  Use a slotted spoon to scoop the potatoes or carrots into the blender (I used my magic bullet but you can use any machine that will puree).  Puree the vegetable adding the cooking water, clean warm water, or breast milk if its too thick (I have heard that its best to avoid using the cooking water from carrots).  After pureeing, spoon into ice cube trays.

Butternut squash: Slice squash in half to scoop the seeds out of the middle.  Then place the halves face down in a pan of water about a half inch deep.  Cook at 350 degrees until the skin turns a light golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can safely place the halves in your hand (for quicker cooling flip the halves face up with a hot pad and/or utensil).  I did not have to puree the butternut squash and was able to mush it will a fork a little before adding it to the ice cube trays.

Apples and Pears:  Peel, core, and slice apples or pears placing them in a crock pot.  Once the crock pot has been filled to the brim add the lid and cook on high for a couple of hours.  You will not have to add water because when they cook down moisture seeps out of the fruit.  I mixed each batch a couple of times to ensure they cooked evenly.  Once the fruit is tender turn off the crock pot and allow to cool.  Use a spoon to again place the fruit into the magic bullet to puree (I did not use all the liquid in the pot but use as much as you need for a smooth consistency without making it too runny).  Again spoon into ice cube trays.

Once you have gotten either your vegetable or fruit puree into ice trays cover them with tin foil or saran wrap and place in the freezer.  Once frozen pop each of them out and place into gallon sized bags to store in the deep freeze for later use.  Make sure to mark each bag with the date and type of food. Happy cooking!

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Yum Yum- Chocolate Zucchinni Loaf Cake

By November 20, 2015 Recipes
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Ever since I was a young girl I have loved helping in the kitchen and have admired all those who were expert canners, bakers, and cooks.  By no means is my cooking fabulous but I still enjoy trying new things and making use of all the food items in my refrigerator.  During this past year I have become a part of the Bountiful Basket program (http://bountifulbaskets.org/) in our community and have also had a lot of produce from our family garden.  Since I hate wasting anything, I am always in search of tasty ways to use the items in my refrigerator.

I came across Chocolate-Zucchini Loaf Cake recipe in the Dec. 2014 issue of Cooking Light.  I found the recipe to be similar to a cake that my mom used to make when I was a kid so I thought I would try it out.  I altered it slightly only because currently I am unable to include dairy in my diet.  The two things that I altered were the butter and chocolate chips.  For the butter I found a great dairy and soy free version and in regards to the chocolate chips I chose not to omit them.

I have included the original recipe with a few notations of the changes that I made.

Chocolate –Zucchini Loaf Cake

Hands-on: 25 min.

Total: 1 hr. 50 min.

2 cups shredded zucchini (about ½ pound)

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter; softened (dairy and soy free butter)

¼ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Baking spray

 

Topping (optional):

1 tablespoon cocoa

½ cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon 2% reduced-fat milk (dark chocolate almond milk)

Dash of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Place zucchini on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 10 minutes, pressing down occasionally. [if you leave it too wet it will take longer to bake and often the bottom gets hard before the entire thing is cooked]
  3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 6 tablespoons cocoa, and next 3 ingredients (through ¼ teaspoon salt) in medium bowl, stirring with a whisk
  4. Place sugar, brown sugar butter, canola oil and vanilla in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until lemon-colored (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed 1 minute or just until combined. Add zucchini and chocolate chips; beat at low speed 1 minute or just until combined.  Spoon batter into a 9×5-inch metal loaf pan coated with baking spray.  Bake at 350 for 38 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Loosen edges from sides using a narrow spatula.  Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.
  5. Combine powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon cocoa, milk, and a dash of salt in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over loaf.

Ta-Da there you have it, used up the zucchini or summer squash in the refrigerator and had a tasty desert that you can argue has some nutritional value. I am hoping to see if I can substitute the squash for apples and the cocoa for PB (dry) in the future.  I’m not sure how well it will work but it sounds kind of tasty.

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