Monday, March 21, 2011

Baby Food 180

I spent the morning..........drum roll................making BABY FOOD in my kitchen! I know, I know, I've been a Scoffer of those who slave away pureeing and straining away the day when Gerber's commercial kitchens do it far better, for far cheaper. Or, at least, it used to be cheaper.

When Violet was starting baby food, someone forwarded me an internet coupon that was for $1 off 2 double-packs of Gerber's organic baby food at Target. There was no limit. I used that coupon to buy her entire supply. I think I spent about $30, and Violet feasted on pureed goodness for over 2 months. I even had some left over to give away when Violet had moved on to fist-feeding.

I had read the ingredients labels, and realized there was no real difference between Gerber's foods and what I might prepare in my own kitchen. Gerber's carrots included: water, carrots. What more could you ask for? I wasn't concerned about the nutritional aspect at all. I just didn't want to take the time.

Now, it's 3 years later, and I have no coupon. The price of Everything has gone up, and baby food is WAYYYYY up. It's now $1.29 for a Gerber's double pack. NOT organic! Also, Grace is a much heavier eater than Violet was. For instance, her breakfast this morning consisted of the following:

  1. 1 whole banana
  2. 1 whole buttermilk wheat pancake
  3. 2 scrambled eggs
  4. 2 slices of pear
It would cost me around $60 a month to allow her to eat Gerber's every meal.


This morning, I prepared the following:
  • 3 turnips
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/4 onion
  • 2 T butter
(steamed, then mashed with the butter. No straining, she doesn't need it to be that smooth. *WHEW* at least I don't have to strain it, too!)
Cost: < $.50 This will last her 6 or more meals when paired with a protein and grain.

It was so delicious, I ate some myself! 

Then I did a vegetable turkey broth blend:

  • turkey bouillon
  • 1/2 red pepper 
  • zucchini
  • onion
  • celery
Pureed, then, because it was too runny, slightly thickened with flour. Turned out not so great. The flour made it taste thick, not fresh & sunny like veggies should be. Also, the bouillon, I realized after, was too salty for baby food. Not a good choice. Oh well. Live and learn.)
Cost: $1.25~  It made enough to freeze and use for weeks to come. If I decide to use it....I'm also a little concerned about the wheat flour....

Next, I pureed some leftover brown rice to make a rice cereal, and added some butter.  

NOTE: I read recently that pure butter is an easy way to add "good fats" to baby's diet. You can put it in just about anything...and they love the taste, of course. Raw butter is the best.....but I can't afford that, so I just add a dollop of Kirkland brand. ;)   
Cost: negligible. (I buy rice in bulk from Costco, and it's pennies per pound.)

Then I roasted some sweet potatoes, mashed them with butter, and have about 6-8 meals' worth. 
Cost: $1~ 

Finally, I pureed some leftover chickpea soup. Just a cup, to see how she digests it. I haven't done much with beans with her....they tend to be difficult to digest. But so far, her stomach has taken EVERYTHING....and loved it. :)

So I have a freezer/fridge full of baby food for 2-3 weeks, and spend under $5 on everything. I supplement with eggs and yogurt with her, too, but that's about it!

P.S. This food is becoming more of a necessity because of the breast milk issue. I know that 9 month olds are rarely eating so much solid food. We are still working on getting her to accept formula...having more success with raw cow's milk....but hopeful for mommy's milk in the long run.


Rachel said...

I LOVE making baby food! I made all of Collin's, none of Emma's and only a little of Shepard's. Because of the price, I too am thinking I will be making more this time as well. I don't do anything as fancy as you've done though I keep very simple, just fixing plain carrots, sweet potatoes...
The one thing Collin would eat every morning was an oatmeal mix - ground oatmeal that I then cooked the morning of and added cinnamon and applesauce (usually enough left over for another couple meals)... it was a favorite...

Herb of Grace said...

Aaand, now I feel like a total loser. My kids just always ate whatever we're eating, only mashed with a fork. Except meat. We didn't feed them meat for a long-ish while. James had fork-mashed banana tonight.

Why bother pureeing and straining?

Laurie B. said...

Susi! Good for you.... Hey, a couple of tips if you decide to make more. To thicken food up, for a younger baby, you can use baby oatmeal, or rice cereal if you happen to have it on hand. For an older baby, just keep a box of mashed potato flakes on hand. That way it gets thicker without that flour-y taste :-) (great trick for soups too, for adults! :-)

Also, you should check out Super Baby Food (the book).
Even if Grace is your last baby, SBF has great tips for toddlers and children and good nutritional information!

Rachel said...

Love "Super Baby Food" - GREAT book!! I've used it for all mine!!

Diane said...

I had a baby food grinder when the girls were little (little hand crank thing) and I just ground up everything we had into a puree. I've never used much salt in my cooking, so it probably tasted similar to the store bought stuff. I saved baby food jars and would store the homemade stuff in those jars in the freezer. I also made apple sauce (we had 3 apple trees) and made juice with my juice machine - lots of carrot/apple juice since we grew carrots in our little pea patch. I'm sure that the food was a fraction of the cost of the store bought stuff. :)

Lauren Valentine said...

Good for you Susi!!