Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good idea- bad idea? You tell me!

So, I have been trying to come up with ideas on how to reach out to people and get them involved in making healthier food choices for their little ones, and that's how I came up with the idea for this blog.

The other day we were in the car chatting and it hit me, why don't I open up a baby food store in Skagit Valley that focuses on using fresh, seasonal and local fare?? There are SO many awesome farms in the valley and surrounding areas that grow some amazing things, it would be a shame yo not take advantage of that!
 This shop would of course, be affordable, convenient, healthful,  and most of all, as close to natural and organic as possible.  Options would range from first food purees to chunky type toddler foods and even baby cereals to teether biscuits, cookies and healthy snacks. I may even have the option of choosing mail-order foods delivered to your doorstep. 

This is where I need your help! Whether you know me or not, would shop there or not, have 5 kids or no kids, think this is a great or terrible idea - doesn't matter, I just want your thoughts and opinions! Family and friends are crucial to starting a small business, so if everyone I know thinks it's a not-so-awesome idea, then I will just keep on keeping on with my blogging instead.  So please, comment below, it is MUCH appreciated.

Oliver samples my homemade banana teether cookies...


Happy Eating!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Roasted Peach Puree and Blackberry Swirl - Recipe

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind to say the least, which is why I haven't posted. I PROMISE to post at least twice this week to make it up to all 4 of my lovely readers :)

I've been trying to come up with some creative recipes done simple, so here it is.

Roasted Peach Puree with Blackberry Swirl

Good for babies - Who have mastered basic purees
Difficulty level - Easy
Time - 45 minutes-ish
Servings - Varies, depending on how much fruit you use

What you'll need:
6 Peaches
Blackberries- Purchased mine from 
the Farmers Market. Thank you Hayton Farms!

Start off by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter a baking dish.

Halve the peaches and discard the pits, leave the skin on. Place peaches, cut side up, in your buttered baking dish.

 Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes. juices will start bubbling, creating yummy, sweet, peachy-ness!

* * *

While the peaches are roasting rinse blackberries and place in a stockpot.

Cook over low heat. The blackberries will take a while to burst, so I like to use my handy potato masher to mash the berries while they cook because sometimes I am not patient enough to wait, this just speeds up the cooking process. .
Once berries are hot, mashed and have a slight bubble, remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Place berries in food processor and blend the heck out of them.

Working in small batches work puree through a sieve to remove the seeds.

Just seeds and a little bit of fleshy pulp should be left in the sieve.

Place blackberry sauce aside.

* * *

Once the peaches are done roasting, let them sit for a bit to cool off. Once they're cool enough for you to handle, remove skins and place in your food processor. 

Pulse to desired consistency. Chunky for advanced babies, smooth for beginner babies (Oliver is somewhere in the middle of the 2).

Here is where you have options. You can either serve peaches on their own or with the blackberries swirled in. You really don't need a lot of the blackberry sauce to get the full effect. 

I like to freeze the blackberry sauce in SMALL ice cube trays. The reason I do that is because, like I said before, you don't need to add much of it to your main fruits. 

My last trick for this post- spoon some of the blackberry sauce and/or peaches over some Greek yogurt or vanilla frozen yogurt for a fresh and healthy treat!

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Puree - Recipe

Hello recipe #1!

I've come up with a no-brainer, user-friendly,  apple cinnnamon puree recipe today. I chose to start off with this one because apples are a great starter food for baby. They're tasty, but not too harsh for baby's sensitive palate.

Readers: here's the nitty gritty about health benefits of apples for baby. Scroll down if you're just here for the recipe, but I'm here to tell you this is some interesting stuff!
Pregnant mamas take note, eating 4ish apples per week can reduce the risk of your baby developing childhood asthma. Apples contain phytochemicals (plant substances) I know, hard to believe, right?? Anyway, these phytochemicalas are linked to improved lung health. Besides improved lung health, apples can reduce the risk of certain cancers,  so that saying about an apple a day... yeah, I'd start following that advice!

Apple Cinnamon Puree

Good for babies - 6 months and up
Difficullty level - Easy
Time - 30 minutes-ish
Servings - 9, 2ounces each

What you'll need:
4 Golden Delicious or Red Delicious apples, quartered and cored JUST before cooking
1/4 teaspoon of good Cinnamon *optional*

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in your stockpot. Place quartered apples, skin still on, in steamer basket and set in stockpot. Cover and let steam about 10 minutes. Pierce with a knife, if tender, they are done. Make sure not to steam too long or they will become water logged, similar to potatoes. DO NOT DISCARD COOKING LIQUID!

Let apples cool in the fridge while you set up your processor. 
Remove skins and discard, and place apple flesh in processor.

Puree apples until smooth adding cinnamon now if desired, SLOWLY add some reserved cooking liquid to desired consistency. Adding it too quickly will result in random apple chunks which are not good for beginner eaters.

The puree is now ready for storage. Remember the Beaba container I was telling you about? Well now is the time to put it to use. Store your airtight container full of  puree in the freezer for up to 3 months (note: over time,  slight discoloration is normal, no need to worry!) You can even label it with some masking tape and a Sharpie with the food item and date you made it to ensure good handling. My Culinary instructors would be so proud...

So there it is, apple cinnamon puree... I may or may not have made a snack out of my photo model below, it's THAT good!

Happy Eating!

PS~ I would LOVE to get some feedback if you have made this/are going to make this recipe. Let me know how easy it was, if the instructions made sense and if your little one liked it!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Getting started: The goods!

So, there isn't much special equipment you need to make your own baby food. Some of the basic kitchen tools you'll need are: a knife, a stock pot, food processor/ food mill or blender, steamer basket, and a few individual portion storage containers.


This Beaba storage container is what we have and I love it. It's silicone, so once you have frozen your food, you can just pop out individual portions a few hours before you need it to defrost in the fridge. If you don't want to spend the money on a fancy storage container you can hit up the dollar store and buy a few ice cube trays. When I am making multiple batches at a time that's what I use. They work just as well. Once your puree is frozen, pop them out and store your purees in Ziplock freezer bags. Easy as that!

Follow us along for a DIY baby food journey!

As a baker and wedding cake decorator and my husband being a chef, we put a lot of thought into what goes into our now 7 month old's mouth.  I am here to demonstrate how simple it is to make fresh baby food from start to finish, using Oliver as my model. Everything from recipes and ingredients, to food storage will be highlighted, along with food cost (thank you culinary school!) and  nutritional benefits, WITH photos of course!

If your baby has a similar reaction to Oliver's after eating jarred green beans, this blog may be for you!

Giving your baby prepared baby food is convenient, fairly inexpensive, and just plain EASY. There are so many brands, varieties and options available in plenty of stores now-a-days. Organic, non-organic, meat and meat-free, mixed fruits, mixed veg, fruits with granola, veg with brown rice blended in, even spoonable baby "smoothies,"
I don't know about you, but I couldn't imagine living off of canned mixed veg, blended prunes, canned green beans or pureed meats with gravy (?!?). You and your baby may find these things appealing, but I do not, and that is exactly why I decided to start this blog, for all the grossed out babies out there along with their moms and dads who want to give them something better so slurp on.

After trying some of my recipes, THIS should be your baby's reaction after mealtime!

Stay tuned for more updates. I can't wait to teach everyone a little something along the way!