Monday, April 2, 2012

So far behind...

I am so far behind.  On everything.  Last week my computer crashed. Lovely.  I took it in to get fixed, and thankfully nothing major was wrong.  Only $25 to fix.  Gotta love it!  If it's going to break, at least it was cheap to fix!

On The Stove:  I took these pics forever ago and have been meaning to post.  For all you mommas out there:  It is SO easy to make your own baby food!  When Baby Girl starting to eat "real" food, I had some organic baby food that a friend had given me. Some wasn't so bad.  Others, well, gross doesn't even come close.  I couldn't imagine eating that myself, so why in the world would I feed it to my child?????  Then I realized I could MAKE her food for super-cheap and it's WAY better for her! Baby Girl is 10 months now, so she's eating quite a lot - more than 1 jar per meal.  And 1 jar is about $.80 - $1.00 at the Wal-Mart here.  So we're talking about $1.50 per meal just for her!  That racks up over a month - especially when you're on a tight budget.  So when I was going through the frozen food section, I looked at the frozen veggies.  $.98/lb for frozen peas.  No preservatives, nothing added. Just peas.  Frozen.  Hmmmm.  I grabbed 4 bags (4 lbs total of $3.84 - no tax).  I cooked the peas, pureed, and poured into ice cube trays.  I ended up with 62.5 cubes out of those 4 bags.  For Baby Girl, that is a total of 12.5 servings (if your child is smaller, this will be more servings).  That equals $.307 per serving!  NOT bad!!!!  Gerber peas, for a 2 pack is $1.00. 
Tori would eat both packs in 1 sitting.  So $.30 versus $1 per serving....60% savings.  Just for a few minutes of work.  And no preservatives or other yucky stuff.  For those of you considering it - give it a try!

Here's how I do it:

1.  I bought 4 packs of frozen Great Value Sweet Peas.  There's no difference between the name brands and the store brands that I could see - except price.

2.  Prepare according to package directions. My directions said to add to boiling water - but I had defrosted these peas (I meant to cook them earlier), so I just added them to water and then brought it to a boil. Whatever works.  (You may prefer to steam your veggies - if so, skip the next step).

3. Here's where it gets a little tricky.  When you strain your veggies - reserve some of the water they were cooked in - that water has nutriets that leached out of the veggies.  You'll add this water back in when you puree.
4.  Add your peas (or other veggies) to your blender or food processor.  I have a Baby Bullet that my MIL gave me for a shower gift.  Don't waste your money...
5. Puree.  Add more water to make the mixture more runny for younger babies.  Baby Girl is eating pretty thick puree at this point.
6.  Then pour into ice cube trays. There's no need for the "fancy" baby food containers.  Ice cube trays work great and are cheap-o. Plus, you can use them after the baby is eating adult food. 

7. No pic for this - freeze until the cubes are solid - this will probably take longer than regular ice. I usually leave mine in for a couple of days.  Then I crack the trays into a large gallon ziploc bag and put in the freezer.  You can then take out however many cubes your bambino eats, microwave, and feed.  Super-easy and super-cheap - not to mention SO much healthier!

Another note - I have found that meat puree is just gross.  No matter how you prepare it.  So I grilled some chicken breast and put it in the food processor.  It chops the meat up very fine and I mix it in with the peas.  Full meal.  Also super-cheap.  $6.25 for about 5 lbs of breasts - I believe it was 7 breasts.  No seasoning, straight on the grill.  It makes a LOT of chopped chicken.  I spread this thin on a cookie sheet and freeze.  After freezing it made 2 quart bags FULL of chopped chicken. Then dole out whatever I need for each meal.  On the plus side, if you need to make some last-minute chicken salad - steal it from the baby food stash!

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