Monday, March 24, 2014

Baby Food in a Flash - Crockpot Version

Baby food making - something I never thought I would find myself doing.  I had it in my mind that it would be difficult and time consuming.  As a FT working mom, my time at home is precious so I didn't want to take up any of that valuable time making something that I could conveniently purchase at the store. 

But, a few friends I work with have babies about the same age as Madeline and convinced me that it was actually quite simple and really didn't take up much time at all.  So I decided to give it a whirl, and little did I know that I would soon be making up my own recipes and methods to make my own baby food.  The craziest part is that I am truly enjoying it and it actually does save money. 

So here is a quick guide to "Baby Food Making for Moms Always on the Go!"

 Today's specialty:  Carrots.

Here is a list of everything you'll need (prepare yourself, its lengthy, lol):
Sauce-sized crockpot
About 1 cup water
Bag of baby peeled carrots
pinch of salt
Immersion blender
Storage container.

To begin, I have my crockpot and 1 16 oz bag of organic baby carrots that I got for only $1.59.  
 
 Put your carrots in your crockpot with about 1 cup of water.  The water is simply to make your puree smooth and creamy.  If you prefer, you can exclude the water (or some of it) and add breast milk (if you're nursing)  in to end to make it smooth & thin.  I added a pinch of salt to mine, just to season and add some flavor.

Turn your crockpot on low for 5-6 hours, or you can cook on high for about 4 hours.

 Once the carrots are done (sliced of smushed easily with a fork), take your immersion blender (a hand-held mixer works just as good) and begin to puree until smooth and creamy.

Here we are - smooth & creamy.  
If you feel your puree is too thick, add more water or breast milk.  Also consider the age of your child. Madeline just started eating solids, so I want mine more thin so her little tummy can digest it easily.

 Just to give you a better idea of how much one bag of carrots can make, I poured my puree into this measuring cup.  It's a little over 2 cups, which I will make into 6 generous servings of food. 

STORAGE OPTIONS:

There are several different storage options.  You can use  the small glad containers, ziplock bags, breastmilk bags, or any other seal-able container you have.  I have given Madeline several serving of store-bought food, so I saved the containers and they are perfect for storage and freezing.

 Here's my new stash!  6 containers of freshly carrot puree, ready for the freezer or refrigerator.  I'll feed one serving to Madeline tonight, and save the rest of later.  I'll just put these in the freezer for now.  To thaw,  you can set them refrigerate, or sit the container in warm water for 5-10 minutes.  Very simple.

I was a complete skeptic on the whole "making your own baby food saves money" but I did the math and its actually true.  These Gerber foods are purchased at my local Kroger for $0.99.  Each item has 2 servings.  So $1 for 2 servings, roughly.  I just made 6 servings of carrots for $1.59!  That's roughly half the cost I would have spent buying 6 servings of Gerber foods.  
My serving sizes are the same as Gerber's because I am using the Gerber containers for storage.
That's it!  So simple and easy.  Total time actually "making" this was less than 10 minutes.  Since the cooking takes place in the crockpot, you can walk away and just let it be.  You can cook them while you're running errands, or at work, or playing with your kids.  It's a great time saver, but still allows me to savor the special time I have at home. 

Do you make your own baby food?  I'm intrigued to see who makes their own and what are some of your favorite recipes?  Do you get "creative" when your little ones are a bit older and exploring new foods? 

1 comment:

Natasha Hornsby said...

Yaya! I am so happy you decided to do this. Nice blog too. I'll have to read more. I steam my veggies, which also doesn't take long. Since I am just starting off I haven't added spices or experimented. I plan on doing combinations and adding flavor.

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