Miss A Columnist

Melissa Wenzel is a freelance writer and public relations consultant. After graduating from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunications at Arizona State University, Melissa went to work for a boutique public relations/public affairs agency where she cut her teeth in the business by working on some of the state’s most polarizing elections and controversial public figures. Two years later, in need of a little soul cleansing, Melissa took a job with the American Red Cross where she worked media and crisis communications in the wake of local and national disasters, including Hurricane Katrina.
After her twins, Jonathan and James were born in 2007, Melissa returned to work part-time before starting her own consulting and freelance writing business in 2009.

When she and her husband are not chasing, or being chased by their four year old boys, Melissa can be found elbow-deep in cake batter or pouring over a new book. She’s currently trying to muster the courage to learn to scuba dive. Read Melissa’s musings on life with her light saber wielding twins at Musings of a Twin Mama. To learn more about her work, visit www.melissawenzel.com. If you have something for moms, children or families that you would like covered on Miss A, please email Melissa at melissa@melissawenzel.com.

How To Make Homemade Baby Food

Recently, I attended a baby shower for a friend of mine. The shower was lovely and the mama-to-be was glowing. She received a mountain of gifts for her little bambino- everything from sleepers to strollers. One item, in particular, tugged at my curiosity – the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker. We gushed over its sleek design and fancy gadgetry, “preparing fresh, healthy meals from start to finish.” With an appliance like this, who wouldn’t want to make their own baby food? There are many merits to homemade baby food. It’s healthy, being preservative free and as organic as you’d like it to be. It’s also economical. Making big batches of food and freezing it famously costs less than the pre-packaged stuff you find at the grocery store.  While I ended up feeding my twins plenty of store-bought baby food, I found that I really enjoyed making their baby food myself. I especially liked experimenting with mixtures and concoctions not commonly found in the store-bought kind (think blueberries, pumpkin and avocados).

Photo Credit: www.buzzle.com

Whether you have the Beaba Babycook or not, making homemade baby food is easy, healthy and affordable (and you don’t need any fancy gadgets to do it).

Equipment

Finding the right equipment to mash or puree the food is really a matter of preference. I used a steamer and blender whereas several of my friends preferred their food mill or food processor. What you choose is up to you. The key is making the food easy for tiny gums and teeth to chew and swallow.

Options:

  • Food mill – A hand-turned food mill comes with different blades to create different consistencies.
  • Blender – You can use a regular old kitchen blender, which can puree and blend the food or use a hand blender which you submerge into your food concoction.
  • Baby food maker – There are several products on the market in his department  such as the Baby Bullet, Baby Brezza  and of course, the aforementioned Beaba Babycook, an all-in-one device that steam cooks and then purees the food for you.
  • Storage – After making the food, it’s a snap to store prepared baby food in ice cube trays or in empty, clean baby food jars.

Food Purchase and Prep

Fruits and Veggies

When making baby food, it’s best to chose fresh produce and prepare it within a day or two.

After thoroughly washing the produce, cook the vegetables and fruits that need to be softened before pureeing. This can be done by baking them in the oven or steaming it on the stove or in a steamer.

If the food seems a little dry, try adding a little breast milk or formula to the mixture to thin it out.

Puree, mash and serve!

Meat

Ever tried the meat combos in store-bought baby food? It can be a little off-putting, especially for new meat eaters. Preparing your own meat and poultry can be done as easily as produce.

Start by removing the skin and any fat before cooking. Cook/bake in the oven and then puree the cooked meat in a blender or grind it up with the food mill. Be prepared for it to come out a little dry. Adding a little liquid like breast milk, formula or filtered water should help.

Resources

Internet

The Internet offers a plethora of ideas, resources and recipes for homemade baby food. One of my favorites is Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food. Here, you’ll find recipes for every stage with a listing of the vitamins contained in each one.

Books

Search “homemade baby food” on Amazon, and you’ll end up with a seemingly countless listing of book choices. Personally, I liked Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron because she included so many tips and recipes that that went beyond the basic pureeing and mashing (fruit leathers, cereals and even play dough)!

In the spirit of homemaker ingenuity and babies’ tummies everywhere, here are a few recipes I used with my babies that served me well. And I’ll bet you’ve got the necessary equipment already at your fingertips.

Below are a couple easy recipes to try on your own:

Garden Veggie Medley Recipe:

Ingredients

Choose seasonal vegetables or a variety of your choice to make a yummy, healthy baby food! I like frozen peas, fresh or frozen green beans and carrots.

Directions

  1. Chop green beans and carrots and combine with peas.
  2. Add veggies to a pot and place on the stove.
  3. Add enough water to cover the vegetables and heat until cooked.
  4. Drain.
  5. Puree the cooked veggies in a blender or food mill until you reach a desired consistency.

WholesomeBabyFood.com’s Apple, Pumpkin & Oatmeal Baby Food Recipe: (no equipment needed!)

Ingredients

½ cup applesauce

½ cup pumpkin puree

1 ½ cup (cooked) oatmeal

Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or ginger

Directions

Mix spices, applesauce, pumpkin puree and oatmeal together. Stir thoroughly or blend as needed.

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