But I guess I like Baby J more (kidding) because I have REALLY gotten into it this time. I have a couple of books for ideas, but most of it is pretty easy to improvise. Once Baby J was past the initial phase of only being able to eat bananas, rice cereal and orange veggies, things got interesting. I must admit, I don't strictly follow all of those allergy rules. My kids seem to have pretty hearty digestive systems and I do generally avoid all the bad stuff (and of course, things like peanuts are an absolute no-no). Here are my tips:
1. Once she reached 7 months or so, I realized Baby J could eat almost every (organic, but of course) vegetable available. Even if the rest of us weren't going to be eating something, I would get her a single parsnip, some beets, kholrabi, different colors of carrots, squash, kale, you name it. Just about anything except for tomatoes which I thought would be too acidic (now she eats them and yes, I realize the food police says she should wait until she is a year or something like that). I bought me some of these :
They are made of the "good" plastic, plus I didn't have any extra ice cube trays laying around. They are available at Whole Foods, ladies, if you don't want to mail order.
Away I went steaming all sort of vegetables, pureeing them in the food processor (or using the immersion blender), pouring them into the trays... into the freezer and voila! Healthy, fresh, delicious baby food 30 seconds away (that's how long my microwave takes). Boy, did I feel like Jessica Seinfeld. After about 30 minutes of prepping and cooking, I had made probably 50 meals for Baby J (she does have a tiny tummy, which helps).
2. This next idea comes from my mom. It's probably the only thing she insisted I have when C-Man was born (remember, she was/is an anti-consumerism recovering hippie).
(Don't worry, it's BPA/Phthalate free.) This little food mill is perfect for spontaneous meals (if you haven't yet filled those big trays or if you're just bored with what's in them). Throw in and grind up what you are having for dinner (within reason), or maybe some fresh mangoes, peaches, figs, plums, pears, or any of the above steamed veggies...the possibilities are endless. Plus, it's easy to clean and even dummies (like me) can figure out how to use it. It's available at Babies R Us and it costs like $10. It's not in a sexy package and they usually hide it in the corner because it doesn't have Elmo, flashing lights and a little theme song, but that is a good thing in my mind.
3. Here are some specifics. I like to always keep some sort of healthy starchy filler to make sure her tummy is full and increase the chances that she will sleep through the night. Like: steamed peeled potatoes, mixed whole grain cereal, cooked brown rice, steamed lentils, etc. If I have those things on hand, I can mix in any fruit or vegetable. Easy peasy. Plus I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH BETTER THIS TASTES THAN THE JARRED FOOD. Again, poor C-Man.
Other good things to have on hand: the bags of organic baby carrots (prepped already and easy to steam), the frozen mangoes from Trader Joe's (not organic, but oh well), other bags of organic veggies from Trader Joe's in the refrigerated section.
4. Get this book: Super Baby Food. It has a strange format, but the content is very inspiring. The author's toddler son eats a daily meal of whole grains, beans, brewer's yeast, kale (or some other "super" veggie) and avocado. Impressive.
Also, this book . It's not so much of a health food book, but more one of fun and pretty recipes using mostly healthy ingredients. Love the photos.
Things I want Baby J to try very soon: yogurt, cheese, tahini, cottage cheese and beans. In other words, protein time. Plus I'm going to start doing mean things like add brewer's yeast and powdered kelp to her food. Why not? She's eaten everything else she's tried.
Now, here's a request of you: does anyone have a recipe for homemade teething biscuits that don't have sugar? I'm not impressed with Earth's Best -- they crumble right away.