Monday, December 12, 2011
I started reading The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley, this afternoon, after struggling with our bedtime/naptime routine ... it is curious and interesting ... reading about sleep patterns biological rhythms of sleep/wake cycles and such ... about half way through the first 50 pages I began to think critically of the next 20 days for my little baby ... they'll include so many wild experiences ... 6 month shots, first foods, two 10-hour car trips, meeting countless NEW people and becoming reacquainted with friends and family he last saw in October and November ... we might have to "struggle through" the rest of December before establishing Thomas' biological sleep rhythms ... and make our sleep-routine-adjustment a new years resolution! ;-)
Among all of those "wild experiences," Ryan and I are excited to begin introducing new foods to our little T..! Lingering in my upstairs linen closet is a fabulous gift I received from a good teacher friend of mine including a JCPenny Cooks blender (think magic bullet!) and the Cooking Light First Foods Cookbook!! I've been insanely curious about using both items since I received them over six months ago, so it was a relief to finally pull them out and start reading about introducing first foods to baby! Thomas and I picked out a great butternut squash to experiment with at the market on Saturday, so we dug into the process of making baby food.
I reviewed the cookbook, that is excellent, by the way. It introduces you to the hows and whys of making your own baby food, the ins and outs of organics, and TONS Of recipes organized into age groups (4-8 months, 8-12, etc. I think all the way up to 3 years?). Amazon really says it best in the summary:
"Chapters follow the natural development of baby - from weaning to exploring new textures, to trying new foods and creating healthy food habits."
As tempting as it was to begin to puree every fruit and vegetable in the house ... I decided to stick with my butternut squash, and thankfully, it was on the page "first foods," so I could do so with out feeling like it'd take up space in my freezer for the next month or more! I baked up my squash and began to clean my blender parts. Feeling adventurous, I glanced at the "first foods" list and considered what else I had in my house that was on "The List" ... bananas (eew overripe) ... and frozen peas! Yes! ... I set up a makeshift steamer and steamed my peas while my squash finished baking. I don't have a legitimate steamer basket, so I used my fine mesh strainer over a pot of boiling water. It worked very well!
Once the peas were done, I set about pureeing them in the blender. The recipe said I could add a few tablespoons (one at a time) of the steaming liquid (more rich with vitamins than plain water from the tap) to thin it out and make it easier to blend the peas ... so I added about 3 T. After dumping the bright green, sweet smelling muck into a bowl, I realized they needed some straining ... so, as described in my cook book, I used a spatula to press them through my mesh strainer into a bowl ... PERFECT ..! Any remaining husks and skins remained on the strainer, and smooth green baby food fell through to my bowl! Just as Mom described - glad I called her so she could help me work through how to remove the "ruffage" as she put it =) She told me about a food mill she and dad used at the table after a meal to turn left over foods into baby food for Margaret and me. It feels good to be carrying on a bit of my infant-hood and parents' parenting to my daily practices with T!
I repeated this process for the butternut squash ... the squash recipe recommended only adding 1T of water to the squash to thin ... which made it a very, very thick paste. I'm sure I will be adding breast milk to it to thin it out come eating time. You can see in the photo that it was a bit of a mess getting it into the ice cube tray compared to the peas, that I could easily spoon into each section. Once they are frozen I'll crack them into freezer bags and we can take them out one at a time, as needed, like Mom would do for Marge and me when we were babes! I had some leftover peas in the bowl ... so we gave T a little taste ... he was super smiley, and wiggly ... go figures he's stone-facing us in this shot, but man alive his eyes are SUPER blue! hahah - they go well with the green glob on his lips ... Ryan reminded me, "Aren't you going to model how to eat 'em for him to see??" Now I know ... ;-)
All in all it was a great experience! I have three pears on the table that are about the perfect ripeness ... and I am eager to make some more of those "first foods" .. what were they? butternut squash, peas, bananas, avocado ...