Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog

Icon

Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

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, , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , ,

Building Cathedrals

I received this email from a co-worker today, and you may have already seen it, but I feel compelled to share, as I really identified with carving tiny birds in beams that most will never see. To me, it’s all the little details that I pour into building my cathedral that make me proud of my role as a mother. Enjoy.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. 

Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously, not. 

No one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. 

I’m invisible. The invisible Mom . Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? 

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’ 

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . 

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. 

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. 

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ 

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . 

I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: 

‘To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’ 

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 

No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. 

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ 

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. 

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte . I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’ 

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. 

It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. 

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. 

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. 

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘you’re gonna love it there.’ 

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. 

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. 

Filed under: 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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Safe Online Social Networking for Kids

According to Pew Internet Life Project, over half (55%) of teens aged 12-17 use online social networking sites. The most notable of these are Myspace and Facebook. While MySpace and Facebook have their place in the online landscape, most would agree that the dangers of children using MySpace and Facebook far outweigh the benefits. As a professional, online social networking is more valuable than any rolodex ever was. Networking online nurtures the professional skills necessary to compete for jobs. Kids need these skills, but you wouldn’t teach appreciation for music via Eminem’s music, right?girl on computer

These numbers speak for themselves.

In the US alone:

  • 1 in 5 kids are sexually solicited online. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
  • Of 600,000 registered sex offenders, 29,000 were found on a single social networking site. (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
  • 1 in 8 youth have communicated online with an adult pretending to be much younger. (Polly Klass Foundation)
  • Almost half of kids age 12-17 report cyber-bullying incidents, and only 10% tell an adult about it. (UCLA Study, CNet News)
  • 16 percent have created private e-mail addresses or social networking profiles to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 63 percent of teens said they know how to hide what they do online from their parents. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 43 percent have closed or minimized the browser at the sound of a parental step. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 11 percent have unlocked/disabled/ parental/filtering controls. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 52 percent of teens have given out personal information online to someone they don’t know offline including personal photos and/or physical descriptions of themselves (24 percent). Double the number of teen girls have shared photos or physical descriptions of themselves online as boys. (34 percent girls vs. 15 percent boys) (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • 20 percent of teens have engaged in cyberbullying behaviors, including posting mean or hurtful information or embarrassing pictures, spreading rumors, publicizing private communications, sending anonymous e-mails or cyberpranking someone. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)

Concerned? Me too.

I’ve had the chance to check out Yoursphere, an online community for kids aged 9 to 18, is designed to provide a supportive, youth-centric online community where healthy peer-to-peer relationships are encouraged and rewarded. The result is an online home where kids can be kids and parents have peace of mind.

dangerYour kids deserve a social networking site where creepers – predators, sex offenders, pornographers, and anyone hiding being a fake profile – are not welcome. Yoursphere.com

So how does Yoursphere work? Parents consent to their kids’ participation in Yoursphere by registering and then undergoing an identity, age-verification, and sex offender status-check through NetIDMe. Yoursphere is the only youth-only social networking site that is certified by Privacy Vaults Online Inc. (PRIVO), part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Safe Harbor Program. Yoursphere is further devoted to protect, assist and provide online safety education to members and their parents/guardians through a dedicated on-staff task force comprised of former state and federal law enforcement officials.

In the case of Yoursphere, safety and peace of mind comes at a modest cost. I think the success of subscription-based Yoursphere will ultimately be dependent on the acceptance of the site among kids. If their friends aren’t participating, neither will they.

Since we know that keeping kids off MySpace and Facebook present a difficult and unique challenge, give Yoursphere a chance, I think you’ll feel comfortable, and your kids will feel at home, too.

Save $5 off of an annual subscription by using promo code YSIN-CONY.


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

Baby’s First Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving from a jar? Not with these easy and nutritious meal plans. Enjoy!

Turkey with Cranberry Sauce

Ingredientscranberry

  • 1 slice of cooked turkey
  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce (recipes)

Instructions

  1. Combine slice of turkey and cranberry sauce
  2. Puree in blender, food mill or food processor
  3. May need to add a little water to reach desired consistency
  4. Warm and serve

Serve with one of the following

Filed under: Avocado, baby, Baked Bites, Carrots, Cinnamon, Finger Food, food, Fruit, Herbs and Spices, Holiday Menu, Medley, nutrition, Parsnips, Pear, Proteins, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Thanksgiving, Turkey, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Age Guidelines?

I’ve received a few emails suggesting that I include age recommendations with the baby food recipes on this site. While I will definitely consider making this designation on the new site (coming soon), I think this is a guideline best left to baby’s doctor. Our pediatrician has a handout at every well baby visit that outlines which types of foods to try now, and which ones to hold off on. If you have any questions, please consider giving your baby’s doctor a call and asking about the current recommendations. Meanwhile, thanks for your emails and comments – keep them coming!

Filed under: baby, food, Guidelines, , , , , ,

Explore

All A-Twitter