Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog

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Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

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

Lasagna: Italian Dinner for the Whole Family

As Baby K gets older and is able to eat more complex meals, I find it easier at times to prepare parts of our family meals for her. Lasagna is a family favorite at my house, and I’ve adapted my tried and true recipe to suit her needs as well. As a bonus, both the family portion and baby’s portion are freezer friendly!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 jar of organic, basic tomato sauce
  • 12 oz shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1 12 oz container of cottage cheese
  • 1 package whole wheat oven ready lasagna
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat tiny pasta for baby (I used acini di pepe)
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1/4 finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 tbs dried parsley
  • 2 whole bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Brown ground beef (or turkey) in pan, drain excess fat if any and return to pan.
  2. Add chopped onions and continue to cook on low for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently
  3. As onions start to turn translucent, add chopped mushrooms, garlic and tomato, continue cooking for about 5 minutes
  4. Stir in tomato sauce and bay leaves, bring to a boil
  5. Remove mixture from heat
  6. Remove bay leaves

Baby’s Dinner

  1. Cook baby’s pasta, drain, rinse and set aside
  2. Remove about a cup of the beef and sauce mixture and place into a mixing bowl
  3. Add 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, mix well
  4. Blend this mixture into a puree
  5. Combine with baby’s pasta
  6. Add 1/2 tbs of dried parsley if desired
  7. Serve, or pour into ice cube trays, cover, freeze overnight and store

Family’s Dinner

  1. In an ungreased 9×13 pan or 2 9×9 pans, spread a layer of about 1/3 beef and sauce mixture on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add a layer of lasagna noodles
  3. Add a layer of 1/3 of the cottage cheese
  4. Add a layer of 1/3 of the shredded cheese
  5. Sprinkle with parsley if desired
  6. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees

Filed under: Bay, Beef, Chicken, Family, food, Freezer Friendly, garlic, Herbs and Spices, Parsley, Pasta, Proteins, Turkey, Uncategorized, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , ,

One food I’ll never leave the store without…

Bananas.

Mashed, frozen, sliced, diced to bites, in a medley – you get the point.

Banana MashBanana by Zyada (Flickr)

  1. Mash with the back side of a fork
  2. If needed, combine with juice, water or baby’s milk

Combo Ideas

  • Apple puree
  • Blueberry puree
  • Oatmeal cereal
  • Sweet potato
  • Apricot puree
  • Mango puree
  • Strawberry puree
  • yogurt

Flavor Ideas

  • Ginger
  • Lemon zest

Sliced Bananas (Freezer Friendly)

  1. Peel jacket from banana and slice
  2. Freeze slices for quick snack or to mash for a meal

Banana Bites

  1. Peel jacket from banana and slice
  2. Dice banana slices into quarters
  3. Sprinkle with Cheerio dust or toast dust to make it easier for baby to pick up (optional)

You can also freeze a banana whole in its peel. The peel will turn brown but the fruit will not. Do you have a favorite banana recipe or tip? Let me know!

Filed under: Banana, Best Of, Finger Food, food, Freezer Friendly, Fruit, Ginger, Oatmeal, Sweet Potato, 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, , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , ,

Chicken, Brown Rice and Peas Medley

This recipe is for older babies learning to eat chunkier food and meats, using the familiarity of peas and brown rice. You can even substitute any of the ingredients, see below for details.

Peas by Gaeten Lee (Flickr)

Peas by Gaeten Lee (Flickr)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup shelled peas (or frozen, salt free peas if fresh aren’t available)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 clove chopped garlic (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Steam or boil chicken until tender
  2. Finely chop chicken
  3. Steam peas on LOW for about 20 minutes, or until tender, reserve excess water
  4. Combine cooked brown rice and peas in blender or food mill
  5. Blend until desired consistency is reached, may need to add milk, formula or excess water to thin
  6. Combine rice and peas mixture, chopped chicken, optional garlic and mix well
  7. Serve or pour into ice cube trays to freeze

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s so versatile, you can substitute any of the ingredients with a similar one, for a completely different taste.

Chicken: Turkey

Peas: Broccoli, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Leafy Greens, Cauliflower

Brown Rice: Quinoa, Oatmeal, Barley, Whole Wheat Pasta

Filed under: baby, Brown Rice, Carrots, Chicken, food, Freezer Friendly, garlic, Grains, Medley, nutrition, Pasta, Proteins, Quinoa, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Turkey, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apple Mango Medley

This is a freezer friendly recipe with apples and mangoes. Ripe mangoes usually don’t require steaming or baking since they are naturally soft.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized apples (red delicious, Macintosh or another sweet variety)
  • 1/2 cup chopped ripe mango
  • 2-3 tablespoons of apple juice or water

Instructions

  1. Wash, peel and core slice apples
  2. Steam apples on low for about 20 minutes, or until soft
  3. Combine steamed apples with chopped ripe mango and water or apple juice
  4. Blend until desired consistency is reached
  5. Serve or pour into ice cube containers, cover and freeze overnight

Enjoy!

Filed under: Apples, baby, food, Freezer Friendly, Fruit, Mangoes, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Lentil and Veggie Medley

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dry lentils
  • 1/2 pound vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans
  • 1 small onion

    Lentils

    Lentils

  • 3-4 cups of water

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil, and simmer lentils for about 1 1/2 or 2 hours
  2. Drain lentils and let cool
  3. Finely chop onion and saute wite a tiny bit of olive oil
  4. Steam choice of vegetables or vegetable medley until very soft
  5. Combine lentils, vegetables and onion in blender, food mill or processor
  6. Blend until desired consistency is reached, you may need to add more water
  7. Pour into ice cube trays, cover and freeze (makes about 4 ice cube trays)

With this recipe, there are so many options, just use the ratio of 1 cup of lentils to 1 cup of vegetables. You can combine lentils with a medley of vegetables, lentils and carrots, lentils and broccoli, the possibilities are endless.

Filed under: baby, Carrots, food, Freezer Friendly, Legumes, Lentils, Medley, nutrition, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Avocado Mash

Avocados are considered superfoods, and one of the most easily digestible protein and healthy, unsaturated fats. They provide the perfect ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates, all in one fruit. Unsaturated fats are helpful to baby’s developing brain and central nervous system. Additionally, avocado requires no cooking, and boasts the simplest prep process of all of the baby foods I’ve tried, except bananas of course.

Ingredients

Avocado halves

Avocado halves

  • One ripe avocado
  • Lemon juice (if you plan to store in freezer)

Instructions

  1. Using your hand, roll avocado around on prep surface to aid in peeling
  2. Slice in half
  3. If you’re going to use only half, leave the pit in the half you are storing and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  4. To remove pit, stick a knife in the pit, twist a little, and pull out pit
  5. Remove flesh from avocado skin using a fork
  6. Mash avocado flesh and serve

Avocados are best frozen in slices, dipped in a little lemon juice to prevent them from browning.

Avocado Combinations

Ripe avocados

Ripe avocados

  • Mashed banana
  • Pureed pear
  • Pureed apple
  • Yogurt (if baby is eating dairy)
  • Crushed whole grain crackers and basil (for older babies accepting of more inconsistent textures)

Filed under: Apples, Avocado, baby, Banana, Basil, food, Freezer Friendly, Fruit, nutrition, Pear, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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