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.
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.
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!