Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog


Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

A Hurried, Sneaky Chef Mom’s Dream

First, I want to make a quick apology that I haven’t been posting much lately. Recently I lost my job (thank you economy!) and am working on some freelance projects to bring in a little income. My goal is to continue posting for chefs of both toddlers and babies. That said, onward!

While perusing Walmart a few weeks ago (yes I peruse Walmart occasionally since I don’t typically YoBaby Meals, Apple and Sweet Potatoshop there), I saw they are carrying the new Stonyfield Farm’s YoBaby 3-in-1 Meals. Yes, sneaky chef has arrived to the dairy case. The packaging boasts, “yogurt + fruit + veggies” and is certified organic. It comes in a 6 ounce container, which is the perfect size for my 2 year old. Basically the meals are plain yogurt with the fruit and veggie puree at the bottom. Stir it up and you’ve got a fruity and creamy delicious yogurt meal. As I’ve mentioned before, she has turned into an incredibly picky eater, and refuses to eat anything green, let alone green AND leafy.

Currently, the YoBaby Meals are available in Apple and Sweet Potato, Pear and Green Beans, and Peach and Squash. (Any of these combos sound familiar, baby food makers?) Little K likes any of them, but loves the Apple and Sweet Potato.

Not to be fooled by clever marketing, one question remains, how much fruit and vegetable puree is actually in this little cup of wonder? I emailed Stonyfield Farms and got a friendly and very timely response:

Thanks for reaching out to us regarding YoBaby Meals! Great to hear that your family is a fan of our latest baby yogurt 🙂

In regards to your question, our current 6oz cup contains 2 tablespoons of fruits & vegetables, which is considered to be one serving for children 0-5 years old. (combined, not each).

Considering Little K will eat the entire cup with no hesitation or fight, I’ll take 2 tablespoons for fruits and veggies ANY DAY. Plus it’s pretty nice that YoBaby Meals cost about $1.

Let me just throw this out there: Dear Meijer, I usually shop at your stores but you’re not currently carrying YoBaby Meals. I’d love it if you did so I didn’t have to go to Walmart for a single item on my list. If you could fix that, it would be great, thanks! Love ya!

In all seriousness, do you shop at Meijer? Tell them you’d like to see YoBaby in their stores by sending them a message.

Disclosure: I have not been compensated, received payment, or accepted any product or service for this review. Please see this blog’s disclosure policy in full here.

Filed under: Apples, Around the Play Yard, baby, Best Of, Butternut Squash, Dairy, Fruit, Green Beans, No-Cook, Peaches, Pear, Reviews, Sweet Potato, Vegetables, Yogurt, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sili-Love for Silikids

Like most moms (and dads), I’m trying to navigated the confusion surrounding the safety of baby and kid products. I had the chance to check out some new products from mom-driven California start-up company, Silikids recently. They’ve taken silicone – commonly used in medical and cooking applications – and used it to produce baby bibs (Silibibs), Silicone sleeves (Siliskins) for bottles and cups, and my favorite, Silipads.

fullsilipadred1Silipads are perfectly sized little protective kneepads for crawlers and walkers alike. Made of cotton with a silicone pad, the Silipads protect little knees from scrapes and redness that are all too familiar. I was afraid that the Silipads wouldn’t stay up around my little-bitty’s skinny knees, but that wasn’t the case, they’ve grown right along with her!

fullsilibibtiffanyblue1Silibibs are such a welcome change to the daily grind of stain-fighting. Since silicone is such a high-performance material, the Silibibs are dishwasher safe. Additionally, silicone is non-porous, so the Silibib won’t harbor germs or bacteria.

fullbottlelargepinkWe all know how slippery bottles can be, let alone in the clumsy hands of a baby or toddler. Enter Siliskins. These silicone skins cover bottles and cups so that baby has a better grip. Like the Silibibs, the Siliskins are dishwasher and microwave safe, hypoallergenic, and won’t harbor nasty germs and bacteria. Plus the Siliskin acts as a barrier to hot glass bottles, keeping baby’s hands from getting too hot.

Silicone is widely known for it’s safety, hygenic, and sustainable properties. Silicone is a viable alternative to plastics, and Silikids has really taken this to the next level, beyond the typical uses of silicone in baby bottle nippes, pacifiers, teethers and spoons. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that silicone is environmentally friendly, as no harmful by-prodcts are produced during its manufacturing or disposal. The use of silicone also promotes reuse and recylcing, which as we all know, is essential to sustainability. Please visit Silikids for more information.

Disclosure: I did receive a product to try, but I believe in transparent and honesty in blogging. Receipt of this product did not influence my review. You can read my disclosure policy in full here.

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, Family, Gear, Reviews

Baby Gear Giveaway and Prose: WooBee Bib

Let me paint a picture of dinner time with my almost 11 month old:

Twas the time before dinner, when all through the house,

There was a creature stirring, a little bigger than a mouse

The pureed food cubes were stored in Ziplocks with care

Pumpkin, bananas, carrots and pear

As Baby K chose lasagna, my heart skipped a beat

Visions of tomato sauce, covering her clothes, face and feet

As dinner was heating we prepped the scene

We needed a bib that would keep Baby K clean

Not this one or that one, everyone would agree

The only bib for the job is the posh Woobee

Beautiful and stylish, plush in a ranch print

For bib after bib I’d no longer sprint

When up from the high chair there rose such a clatter

I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter

Baby K’s newest trick is to spit out her food

Soy milk and lasagna, quite a colorful brew

Armed only with faith and laundry soap

A clean Woobee bib was really my hope

Away Cheerios, lasagna, sweet potato bites and soy milk

Out came the Woobee just as clean as new and softer than silk

Amazing! I cried, happy to see, this snap-closure bib

One of the coolest things since the convertible crib!

I know Christmas has passed, but we could all use a little Christmas spirit every now and then right? Seriously, these bibs are the best. They’re made locally in Seattle by Rain or Shine Kids and feature the WooBee plush fabric that’s both beautiful, soft and water resistant. Rain or Shine Kids also makes WooBee blankets, perfect for outdoors, and WooBee burp cloths in the same fantastic fabric.

Wanna WooBee bib of your own? Check out and comment below about your favorite feature of the WooBee bibs. Rain or Shine Kids has a fantastic sale going on right now until January 31st. Great time to try any of their products out, or stock up for baby shower gifts.

Comments must be entered by January 31st at 5 pm, EST.

When entering our giveaway, please leave a valid email address or make sure your email is available where you can be contacted in the event that you win. Winner must respond within 5 days of email. I can not be held responsible if you do not provide the correct e-mail address or if the e-mail was delivered to your spam folder. US residents only, please.

(Not sure what’s going on with my photo of Baby K in her WooBee bib, she really doesn’t glow, I promise!)

Vanilla Pumpkin is participating in Bloggy Giveaways blog carnival, please visit Bloggy Giveaways for more giveaways.

This contest is now closed! The winner, chosen by, is MRSMOMMYY:

seriously the machine wash had me hooked

Thank you all for entering!

Dear friends, I try hard to exceed your expectations with my posts. If you enjoyed this one, please share it via Delicious, Technorati, StumbleUpon, Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

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Disclosure: I did receive a bib to try, but I believe in transparent and honesty in blogging. Receipt of this product did not influence my review. You can read my disclosure policy in full here.

Filed under: baby, Best Of, Family, Gear, Giveaways, Reading, Reviews, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Worst 3 Organic Jarred Baby Foods

Together, with the discriminating palate of my 9 month old, Baby K, we put over 25 mass produced, organic, jarred baby foods to the test. All of these were available at our local Target or Meijer, range from stage 1 to stage 3 foods, and include fruits, vegetables, grain blends, meats and dinners.

In case you missed it, I posted our Top 3 Organic Jarred Baby Foods a few months ago.

Earth’s Best Summer Vegetable Dinner

02392350044I have to admit that I had much higher expectations of Earth’s Best Summer Vegetable Dinner from Earth’s Best 2nd Dinners product line. With an all-star ingredient line-up of zucchini, corn, garbanzo beans, green beans and carrots, I expected a flavorful burst of summer’s best harvest, and instead settled with the bland, tasteless version of “too many good flavors blended into oblivion”.

Gerber’s Organic Pasta Primavera

3rd_organic_pasta_primaveraFrom Gerber’s Organic 3rd Foods Dinner line, Pasta Primavera is a great idea, not so great execution. Tasteless.


Gerber’s Organic Herbed Chicken with Pasta

3rd_organic_herbed_chicken_with_pastaAgain from Gerber’s 3rd Foods Dinner line, Herbed Chicken with Pasta leaves a lot to be desired. If you’re gonna include “herbed” in the name, probably should include enough parsley and thyme to add a little to the taste.

Filed under: baby, Reviews, Worst Of

Kitchen Gear: Beaba Babycook

Calling all gadget lovers, time savers, multi-taskers, and lovers of the all-in-one. Let me introduce you to my newest love, the Beaba Babycook.

babycookThe BPA-free Babycook is made to gently steam baby’s meals in 15 minutes or less, and then blend them into perfect purees, all in the same little appliance. And when I say little, the Babycook is so compact that it fit perfectly into a smaller wall cabinet. No sacrifice of counter space or rearranging existing cabinet contents to accommodate the Babycook. Already have have some of baby’s food frozen? Babycook also defrosts and warms precooked foods in the same unit.

For those of you that have read my posts, I’m sure you’ve noticed my preference to steaming most of baby’s foods. The gentle steam helps preserve the nutrients in food because, unlike boiling, the nutrients aren’t removed in the cooking water.

The Babycook was originally a French phenom, but is now making big splashes in the US. Babycook even won the 2008 JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association) Innovation Award.

The Babycook even came with a little cookbook of starter recipes to try out. Baby K loved the Whiting, Rice and Spinach recipe, and I loved how simple and fast it was. Baby K is a little young for a few of the recipes, which are all conveniently categorized by age, but I can’t wait to try the Tomato coulis recipe in the 12-36 months age range.

The first night we had the Babycook, I planned to have salmon, asparagus and potatoes for my husband and I, so I thought I’d put the Babycook to the test right off the bat and make Baby K an adapted version of our family’s meal.

  • small salmon fillet, about 1 oz.
  • 1 small yellow potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 asparagus spears
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of dried parsley

After steaming on the highest water level for about 15 minutes, the salmon, potato and asparagus spears were all perfectly cooked. I used the Babycook spatula to lift the steaming basket out of the unit, and placed the cooked food, olive oil and parsley into the blending container, which contained the cooking liquid. I then switched on the processor and a few seconds later, Baby K was eating her  little dinner.

Other Vanilla Pumpkin recipes well-suited to the Babycook:beaba-babycook

I will say though, that the Babycook isn’t really designed to prepare bulk batches of purees. It’s small steaming basket at 2 1/2 cups is perfect for preparing a few meals.

Beaba Babycook is available at

Disclosure: I did receive a Babycook to try, but I believe in transparent and honesty in blogging. Receipt of this product did not influence my review. You can read my disclosure policy in full here.

Filed under: baby, Gear, Reviews, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Baby Dipper Bowl Giveaway

This week I had the chance to check out the Baby Dipper Bowl. This bowl and spoon set is genius – it has a no slip base, which allows you to feed your baby with one hand

Baby Dipper

Baby Dipper

without the bowl sliding all over the table or highchair tray. The triangular shaped Baby Dipper Bowl has a gently contoured interior, which helps guide the spoon to the food and allows the spoon to rest in the lower corner when not in use. The spoon is cleverly designed as well to rest perfectly in the lower corner of the bowl.

Baby K, at 10 months old, is increasingly more interested in trying to use a spoon herself, and the Baby Dipper Bowl definitely gives her (and me) an advantage.

The Baby Dipper Bowl has a cool story as well. After her first set of twins started eating purees and solid foods – she now has 2 sets of twins – stay-at-home mom Barbara Schantz needed the most efficient way to feed her babies, using only one hand. Barbara put her ideas to work and designed the Baby Dipper Bowl.

My prediction? The Baby Dipper is going to be a hot baby shower item in 2009. It’s available for purchase at Baby Dipper. Barbara is kind enough to offer a giveaway of a Baby Dipper Bowl and Spoon set to one lucky reader.

Here’s how to enter:

1. Check out BabyDipper and tell me about your favorite feature in the comments below.

2. Fan Vanilla Pumpkin on Facebook.

3. Blog about this post and include a link back to Vanilla Pumpkin and Baby Dipper.

4. Tweet about the Baby Dipper giveaway to your friends.

5. Fave Vanilla Pumpkin on Technorati.

6. Stumble this post.

7. Subscribe to Vanilla Pumpkin’s RSS feed.

To be eligible, you must comment below with each entry method. Therefore, EACH COMMENT COUNTS AS AN ENTRY. When entering our giveaway, please leave a valid email address or make sure your email is available where you can be contacted in the event that you win. Winner must respond within 5 days of email. I can not be held responsible if you do not provide the correct e-mail address or if the e-mail was delivered to your spam folder. US residents only, please.

Comments must be submitted by Friday January 23 at 5 pm EST. Winner will be chosen randomly by

So the question remains – best use of my newly free extra hand? Sippy cup catcher or wash cloth holder?

This post is now closed to new entries.

And the winner chosen by is….Barbara! Congrats!

My favorite feature would have to be the contour of the spoon and the way it stays in the bowl when resting. My daughter is pregnant and i am sure she would love it.

Disclosure: I did receive a Baby Dipper to try, but I believe in transparent and honesty in blogging. Receipt of this product did not influence my review. You can read my disclosure policy in full here.

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, Family, Gear, Giveaways, Reviews, , , , , ,

Around the play yard – Week of Jan 4

CrazyLittleFingers Rewards Your Toddler’s Curiosity, from LifeHacker

CrazyLittleFingers is a keyboard locking application. Unlike some of the previous keyboard lockers we’ve covered, CrazyLittleFingers corresponds the keystroke to a picture and sound related to the key. Press L and you see a picture of a lion. Press R and you see a movie of a rooster…continue

Baby Smash! Kid-Proofs Your Computer, from lifehacker

Windows only: Programmer and dad Scott Hanselman wanted an easy way to let his toddler play on his computer without deleting files or quitting programs, so he put together baby-proofing software, Baby Smash!. Start up Baby Smash! and let the little one go to town on your keyboard…continue

Three Mommy Bloggers Give Back, from Bloggers Give Back

My BFF Heather sent me links to three mommy bloggers (sorry to whomever is offended by that label) who shared stories about paying it forward…continue

31 Daily Goals or one Honking Resolution, from

Asha from asked this seemingly innocuous question via twitter (she’s @parenthacks if you want to follow her) yesterday: What if, instead of unrealistic resolutions, for Jan 09, we set 31 daily goals, 4 weekly goals, and 1 monthly goal?continue

Haley’s Homemade Play Kitchen, from ohdeedoh

You just have to see how adorable this play kitchen is…continue

Wanna help share good parenting reads? Follow me on Twitter @vanillapumpkin.

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, Family, Reading, Reviews, Uncategorized

Love Ice Cream?

strawberry_sorbetWho doesn’t? But with a dizzying array of choices – low fat, lower fat, less sugar – I honestly sometimes just skip it altogether.

To help out those indecisive yet health conscious types, Baskin Robbins is stepping up to the plate. They’re kicking off 2009 with the introduction of BRight Choices treats.better-for-you light ice cream options including fat free, dairy free, no sugar added and light ice cream offerings. BRight Choices flavors have all the great taste and quality customers expect from Baskin-Robbins but with less guilt. It’s a great option for moms looking for a healthier option while out with their kids.

To celebrate the launch of BRight Choices, Baskin-Robbins is celebrating the bright choices customers make each day with BRight Choices Day on Jan. 15, 2009. On BRight Choices Day, participating Baskin-Robbins shops nationwide will offer a free BRight Choices scoop to any customer with proof of a gym membership. BRight Choices flavors are indicated by a pink star decal.

Filed under: Family, Reviews, Uncategorized, , , ,

Top 3 Organic Jarred Baby Foods

Together, with the discriminating palate of my 9 month old, Baby K, we put over 25 mass produced, organic, jarred baby foods to the test. All of these were available at our local Target or Meijer, range from stage 1 to stage 3 foods, and include fruits, vegetables, grain blends, meats and dinners.

Aside from the few that made the top three, there were several that were tasteless and bland, and then several that were downright cringe-inducing. Watch for my post on the Worst 3 Jarred Baby Foods in the next week or so. Hey, we’re on baby time here. Without further ado, here they are, no in particular order, the top 3 mass produced, widely available organic baby foods.

Earth’s Best Peach Oatmeal Banana Fruit and Whole Grain Combinations

We loved Earth’s Best Peach Oatmeal Banana Fruit and Whole Grain, fromEB Peach, Banana, Oatmeal Earth’s Best “2nd Fruit and Whole Grain Combinations” line. Its home-style fruit and oatmeal blend was a familiar taste, but offered a fruity unique combination of peaches and banana, one that I would not have thought to try (but will soon – I’ll keep you posted!).

Gerber Organic Apple and Strawberry

Gerber OrganicFrom Gerber’s Organic 2nd Foods Fruits line, the Apple and Strawberry recipe is just the right blend of apple and strawberry flavors. Neither flavor dominates the taste, and it doesn’t taste overly sweet, unlike some of the other fruit blends we tried. More on Gerber Organic Apple Strawberry.

Gerber Organic Butternut Squash and Corn

2nd_organic_butternut_squash_and_cornAgain, from Gerber’s Organic 2nd Foods, the Butternut Squash and Corn is such a sweet blend of vegetables. Baby K didn’t like corn alone, but paired with the butternut squash in Gerber’s organic baby food, she couldn’t kick her little feet fast enough. (See, that’s one of her ways of showing approval) More on Gerber Organic Butternut Squash and Corn.

Look for my Top 3 Baby Food knockoff recipes in the next few weeks as well as the three commercially jarred baby foods that we won’t try again. Until then, Merry Christmas!

Does your baby have any favorites? Please comment below!

Filed under: Best Of, food, Reviews, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Eco-Friendly Shoes for First Steps


When Baby K started pulling up and cruising around our furniture last month, my heart skipped a few beats when I realized it was time for her first pair of shoes. A trip to our local children’s shoe store brought back memories of my childhod trips to the Stride Rite store. Brinkman’s in Muncie carefully measured Baby K and brought out a whole variety of first walker shoes. It was no surpise that a pair of Stride Rite’s Early Walkers fit her as if they were customized just for her.

Stride Rite Natural Motion System in Puffling

Stride Rite Natural Motion System in Puffling

Stride Rite’s Natural Motion System early-walker shoes are much more than just adorably chunky. Designed using Stride Rite’s signature Natural Motion System, the flexible soles allow baby to confidently walk following their natural stride path, yet provide the protection that their developing feet need. The soft, leather lining is breathable and the insole offers baby well-cushioned stability. Baby K has both the Kit (brown and pink) and Puffling (sugar pink) styles, and both are equipped with oversized, easy to manage velcro straps that combine sturdiness and baby friendly delicacy. The big opening and handy back tab makes Stride Rite’s Natural Motion System Early Walker shoes quick and easy to put on – but not as easy for little hands to pull off.
Stride Rite is even joining the ranks of big companies using more earth friendly materials. The NMS early walkers have outsoles made of recycled rubber, natural stitching, and use water-based inks for the details and logo. They even come in a cute little recycled box that is now home to an assortment of rattles, blocks, and the occasional Baked Cheesey Cracker.
With Baby K sporting her new Stride Rites, I’m able to watch her toddle around with the same confidence that my mom had when she took me to buy my first pair of Stride Rite shoes over 25 years ago.

Filed under: baby, Reviews, Shoes, , , , , , , , , , , ,


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