Monday, January 9, 2012

Mini Meals

I love to cook.  Correction: I love food, therefore I love to cook.  Making meals together has always been a favorite pastime of Nate and mine.  We have so many memories from NDSU and Georgetown of cooking big meals with our roommates.  Side note: I highly recommend getting a group of people together once a week for "family dinner."  This was a tradition of ours in college and while sometimes studying was put on the back burner, Sunday nights were always about spending some quality time breaking bread with great friends.

When Griffin was approaching the 4 month mark (the milestone to start trying solid foods) I got really excited and started researching how to introduce food to a baby for the first time.  A book I highly recommend is, "The Petit Appetit Cookbook."  It gives great background in making and introducing first foods to a baby.

Griffin hit the ground eating.... any and everything I put in front of him.  He started with oatmeal baby cereal and after mastering the spoon we moved on to yams, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, acorn squash, butternut squash, bananas, avocados, apples, pears and plums (trying a new food about every 2 days to watch for any allergic reactions).  Then we added some greens: peas, beans, broccoli and spinach.  He also eats corn, peaches, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, yellow squash, eggs, tofu, beans, yogurt and a few types of puffs/cereals.

So far, I have made all of his veggies and fruits.  Not that I have a ton of extra free time, but since food is so important to me, I really wanted Griffin to get the best first foods I could offer him, and appreciate good food from an early age.  It gives me some peace of mind to know how the food he eats is prepared, that it is organic and preservative free and that we go through very little waste in the form of food packaging.  Another side note: cooking for Griffin was much easier this fall when produce was still being harvested locally.  If we can get it locally, that's what we prefer, however, December in Minnesota does not yield a variety of organic produce, thankfully between the local grocers we can get a pretty good selection.

I make food for Griffin probably once a week, sometimes in larger or smaller batches.  Typically, I get 4-5 fruits and veggies that I plan on making for him and set up camp in the kitchen during an afternoon nap. 

I get the food all prepped (peeled (if needed), chopped, etc.).
Peas are supposedly most nutritious frozen (very easy...just steam and puree!)

Put the veggies in the steam basket in about an inch of water.  You do not want the water to touch the veggies/fruit.

Put the lid on the pot (you want to keep as many nutrients inside as possible!)
Put the fruit/veggies in the blender....
...or the Cuisinart (or both if you are multi-tasking like me)

Or, if the veggie is in bite-size pieces, leave as is for finger foods (I started this when Griffin was about 7 1/2 months old)
Pour the puree into either tupperware (freezer safe)....
....or, ice cub trays (baby food trays)

Don't forget to label!  I usually just stick a post-it to the outside of the trays/Tupperware.  When I pop the cubes out of the trays and into a zip lock or Tupperware I re-label.  I learned the hard much as you are convinced you'll remember what that orange-ish stuff is, you forget.  So, just label it.

Plop it all in the freezer (leave some in the fridge for the next few days of eating). 
When the supply gets low, just pop a couple fruit and veggie cubes into a Tupperware and put in the fridge.  This makes meal time so much easier...a scoop of this and a scoop of that....fresh food at Griffin's fingertips-literally.

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