Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog

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Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

Link: Big List of Toddler Art Gift Ideas

I’m busting it trying to find low cost, personal gifts this year for my family and close friends. I came across this list at The Crafty Crow, and thought it was worth sharing.

Since my shelves and refrigerator are filling up with tiny masterpieces, what better way to cut some clutter and gift them? Homemade gifts are so much more personalized that store bought in my opinion. I’ve already matted and framed some of her art, but many of these ideas are new to me.

I’ve also purchased a few canvasses from Hobby Lobby during a 50% off sale and let her paint them. I could go on for days about how much she loved painting these. I picked out colors that matched her room and let her paint, using one color at a time. We let each color dry for about a day so the colors didn’t get all muddled. After she was finished I sprayed it with a matte acrylic spray and we hung it in her room. She is super proud! I’ve had several family members ask for her to paint a canvas for them in the colors of certain rooms in their homes. More Christmas gifts done!

I love the idea of making a portfolio book, maybe in a few years when she’s amassed a variety of projects, and she can see her progress. Read the full list here from The Crafty Crow.

Photo credit to Lodewijk van den Broek

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Filed under: Around the Play Yard, Best Of, Homemade Crafts, links, , , , , , , , , ,

Haunted Gingerbread House

Baby K and I decided to take on a project this week for Halloween, building aHaloween Gingerbread House gingerbread haunted house. I wasn’t sure Baby K would be able to enjoy this very much, at 18 months, but we gave it a shot anyway. We’re using a guide from Allrecipes and just finished today. Follow the link above for the template and recipes for the gingerbread and royal icing. Be sure if you plan to eat your haunted house, that you use meringue powder instead of egg whites for the royal icing. Meringue powder is found with the cake and baking supplies at the store. In addition to the tools and supplies listed on the guide, plan on needing extra TIME. As in time for cleaning. And patience. You might as well forget the picture perfect gingerbread house in your

Marshmallow Baby Ghost

Marshmallow Baby Ghost

head, too, unless it is a picture of a gooey, handprinted, smeared up mess. That said, we sure had a lot of fun – an this was a good teaching opportunity for counting, colors, and shapes.

Changes we made: I used a round pizza stone instead of a cookie sheet. Also, I next time I will cut out the shapes AFTER I bake the gingerbread, instead of before as instructed. Cutting them before meant when they baked, the edges changed shapes slightly. Extras we used: oreo cookies, candy corn, Brach’s pumpkins, oats, mini white chocolate morsels, marshmallows, and black licorice.

Baby K loved putting all of the pumpkins in the pumpkin patch, but she also tried toBoo pull off the door, the roof, made the marshmallow ghosts fly, and she even gave the entire house a hug, repeatedly!

We also bought a little battery powered flickering light for carved pumpkins and placed it inside. When it’s on, it makes the house look spooky.

(Yeah, I know the piping is bad. Is there a “piping pen” product?)

Happy Halloween!

 

Filed under: Family, Halloween, Homemade Crafts, , , , , , , ,

Homemade, DIY Vegetable Stock

So many dishes benefit from good, quality vegetable stock and how gratifying would it be to be able to use your own homemade stock? By saving and freezing unused veggie scraps, peelings, leaves and stalks, you can quickly accumulate enough to make your own stock.  This post by The Kitchn has some useful suggestions and tips for this project including vegetables to use and what not to use:

Vegetables to use: Onions, carrots, and celery are the key ingredients in vegetable stock, but many other vegetables can add depth and flavor. Wash and save roots, stalks, leaves, ends, and peelings from vegetables such as…

Additionally, The Kitchn has a great post detailing the recipe for using your new stockpile.

After using The Kitchn’s recipe and trying out a few others, I’ve found that one of the most important things to remember is to make sure you don’t overcook your stock or the flavors will turn bitter. I’d also suggest adding a bay leaf and a few peppercorns to the simmer for a more complex taste. Feel free to experiment as depending on your vegetable mixture, you’ll get a different flavor. Good luck!

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, Bay, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Family, Freezer Friendly, Herbs and Spices, Medley, Recipes, Tomato, Vegetables, , , , , ,

Sweet Potato Minestrone

Filled with healthy antioxidants, this recipe makes enough minestrone to freeze for baby, or share with the entire family!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced thin
  • 6 ounces green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. 
  2. Saute onion, celery, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until tender, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Stir in tomatoes, with the juice, broth, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans and garlic. 
  4. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Filed under: Carrots, Celery, Family, Freezer Friendly, garlic, Green Beans, Recipes, Sweet Potato, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Finger Food Ideas

Many older babies enjoy self feeding and as a bonus, self-feeding helps develop their pincer grasp and refines a baby’s manual dexterity. Here are some fun finger food ideas, but as always, be sure to check with your pediatrician before introducing new foods. Vegetables (steam, bake and cut into bite sized pieces)

  • peas
  • cherry tomatoes
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • baby carrots
  • cut green beans (large seeds removed)
  • sweet potato bites
  • boiled potatoes
  • garden burgers
  • beets
  • zuchinni
  • squash
  • Veggie Nuggets

Fruits (bake or steam most and but into bite sized pieces)

  • baked apples
  • melon (no need for cooking)
  • quartered strawberries (12+ months)
  • quartered kiwi
  • bananas
  • avacado
  • halved blueberries
  • halved rasperries (12+months)
  • ripe peaches (no need for cooking)
  • pears (no need for cooking)
  • ripe plums (no need for cooking)
  • apricots
  • pineapple bites (12+ months)
  • orange bites (12+months)
  • ripe mangos
  • nectarines
  • grapes (skinned and quartered)

Dairy

Legumes

  • garbanzo beans
  • kidney beans
  • black beans

Proteins

  • hard boiled egg yolk
  • scrambled egg yolk
  • ground beef
  • diced chicken
  • diced turkey
  • salmon (flaked)
  • mahi mahi (flaked)
  • diced tofu

Starches

  • bite sized pancakes
  • bite sized waffles
  • whole grain toast bites
  • rice
  • Cheerios
  • torn bagels
  • biscotti
  • broken rice cakes
  • graham crackers
  • any small pasta
  • cous cous
  • broken torilla chips

Watch for posts with meal ideas with the finger-food-loving baby in mind later this week!

Filed under: Apples, Avocado, Baked Bites, Banana, Beef, Blueberry, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cheese, Chicken, Dairy, Finger Food, Fruit, Grains, Green Beans, Legumes, Mangoes, Pasta, Peaches, Pear, Peas, Potato, Proteins, Snack, Teether, Turkey, Vegetables, Yellow Potato, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coconut Baby Oil

I’d never thought about making my own baby oil before, but Vanilla Pumpkin reader Kristina sent in this recipe for her Coconut Baby Oil, and I’m sold! This was so easy, and Kristina says that it even helps clear up her son’s eczema. Thanks for submitting your idea Kristina! If you have a suggestion or recipe, please send to vanillapumpkin@ymail.com.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbs. grated coconut buter
  • 1/2 cup castor oil

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients together in a heat resistant container
  2. Either microwave on low, or submerge container in hot water to melt coconut butter and oils together
  3. Stir well, and allow to cool

Yields 8 ounces.

Filed under: baby, Family, No-Cook, , , , , , ,

DIY Baby Wipes, Week 2: Soft and Lotion-y

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be trying out some of the homemade baby wipe instructions (recipes?) that I find. I’ll post back with my comments, and I encourage you to do the same! Do you know of any tips for making your own baby wipes? Let me know by posting below!

I apologize that I don’t know who to credit for this tutorial, since it was sent to me by one of my co-workers, who used it when her babies were little. Please let me know if you know who I should credit!

Materials

  • Roll of paper towels, my co-worker recommended VIVA
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbs baby lotion
  • 1 tbs baby soap
  • 1 tbs baby oil
  • container

Instructions

  • Cut paper towel roll in half horizontally, using an electric knife, or large kitchen knife
  • Remove the cardboard roll
  • Combine boiling water, baby lotion, baby soap, baby oil (boiling water helps all ingredients bind together)
  • Mix well
  • Place one of the paper towel halves in container
  • Pour solution over paper towels

Filed under: Baby Wipes, DIY, , , , , , , ,

Herbed Chicken with Corn and Rice

This dish can easily be doubled or tripled to feed the rest of your family as well. Just skip chopping the chicken and pureeing. Also try it with turkey for a different flavor. Freezer friendly!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups low sodium organic chicken or vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn
  • 1/3 cup cooked basmati rice (may substitute brown rice)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • sprig of parsley
  • 1/2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs whole wheat, organic flour
  • 2-3 whole peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Combine the chicken breast, broth or water, bay leaves, parsley and peppercorns in a large stock pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly
  3. Remove chicken and chop finely
  4. Strain the remaining water or broth and reserve, be sure to remove bay leaves, peppercorns and parsley sprig
  5. Melt unsalted butter in a pan, add the flour, stir and cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the remaining water or broth, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Add the corn and continue to simmer for another few minutes.
  8. Mix in chopped chicken and rice.
  9. Serve, or cool then puree to reach desired consistency.
  10. If freezing, pour into ice cube trays, cover, and freeze overnight.

Filed under: Basmati Rice, Bay, Brown Rice, Chicken, food, Freezer Friendly, Grains, Herbs and Spices, nutrition, Parsley, Proteins, Turkey, , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Baby Wipes, Week 1: Power Up

Over the next few weeks I’m going to try a few instructions (recipes?) for homemade baby wipes. After I get a chance to try them out, I’ll post back on my favorites. Do you have any favorite methods? Have you tried any of these recipes? Please leave in the comments.

Not sure that the power tools are absolutely necessary, but blogger Bryan Horling details his method here, and makes a good case for the power tools. Bryan, my husband thanks you for turning a domestic task into a manly shop venture. In summary:
Materials

  • Roll of paper towels, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 tbs baby soap
  • 1 tbs baby oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • plastic container

Details at Bryan’s blog.

Filed under: Baby Wipes, DIY, , , , ,

Baked Cheesey Bites

As with many of the foods I make, I love the variety that many of them provide. Try substituting different types of cheeses for the Cheddar, such as Parmesan, or Monterey Jack.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz (1/2 pound) shredded mild Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 tbs softened butter
  • 1 tbs parsley or chives (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl, mix well
  2. Cover dough tightly and refrigerate for one hour
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  4. Roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thickness
  5. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes, or for younger babies, slice through dough with a knife to make bite-sized finger foods (about the size of Cheerios)
  6. Place bites on parchment paper covered baking sheet
  7. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, depending on size of bites. Bites should be golden brown
  8. Allow to cool, and store in an airtight container

Filed under: Baked Bites, Finger Food, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

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