Monday, July 19, 2010
Oh My, Goodness!!
As some of you may know, I'm trying to raise Alex with a bit of a "back to basics" approach. While I haven't yet purchased his FuzziBunz (cloth diapers to the uninitiated) due to the financial strains of moving, I'll be doing so within the next month. I can't wait, as they come in very cute colors and will eliminate the 80 pound diaper trash bags I empty every week. They also cut down on diaper rash, and you have to be suspicious of anything that can take that much fluid and turn it into a flexible gel-solid the way disposables do. I know it'll be a lot of laundry, but I do at least one load a day between Alex clothes and the fact that my husband wears at least two sets of clothes a day (chef stuff then regular stuff.)
I've already started the other old school part of his rearing though: home made baby food. I was going to wait a little while longer to start feeding him beyond the bottle. The books indicate six months or so before you start solids, but the Dr. Sears baby book (thanks for the intro, Erica!!) says to look for signs. Well Alex was all but flashing neons at me. First was the fascination with Dennis and I eating. At first I thought he just liked watching food disappear, but then I noticed that he was chewing along with us. Then he started sticking everything in his mouth and biting down on it, which lead us to notice not two, not four, but eight (count 'em, eight!) teeth coming in. I had already done my research on making my own baby food. I originally thought I would get one of the all-in-one Beaba machines that steams and purees the foods in one container. I changed my mind when I noticed a lot of the Amazon reviews sited problems with mold growth. Not to mention it was $150 and really only good for baby food. So instead I bought a $25 Black and Decker steamer that can steam not only the foods for Alex, but is big enough for potatoes or corn on the cob. Then I purchased a Kidco puree-er. Sure, I could have bought a food processor, but I wanted something really simple and the the Kidco came with 2 lidded freezer trays with 7 portion spots per. Last but not least Amazon suggested I add a book called "100 Baby Purees", so I bit. Good call, it's awesome! So there sat all the equipment on my kitchen counter and a baby that was doing everything but yelling "I'll take mine medium-rare with a baked potato, salad with italian and the carmelized brussels sprouts." Time to give it a shot. First food was going to be carrots. This was a decision based not in tons of research, but in the fact that I had some baby carrots in my fridge. I popped them in the ole' steamer for 15 minutes and went about my business. When the timer dinged, I pulled off the lid (more carefully than I did today, steam burns suck!) and voila! soft carrots. Next step, into the mini processor. The recipes in the book say to either use unsweetened fruit juice, baby's usual milk (formula or breast) or water. I'm not keen on adding sweetness to his first foods and the mommy milk comes dear, so water it was. I used the water from under the just-steamed veggies to keep as many vitamins in the food as I could, and blended away. Out came a nice smooth texture... so far so good. Here's the part that anyone who has known me for more than five minutes has realized must come. For some reason... be it sleep deprivation, cockiness that everything has been so easy thus far, or just plain Amy-ness, getting the puree INTO the freezer tray was a debacle. This should have been a very simple process of spooning carrot puree into the ice-cube tray type storage. First I forgot to remove the blade from the processor, so the spoon caught it and it plopped back down. This was the first shower of orange goo I subjected myself to. Then, for some reason, just the simple process of spooning the food into the sections ended in carrots on my elbows, on the underside of cabinets and smushed on the coffee maker. Eeeeeeyeah. Only me.
A little later (due to the massive clean-up effort) it was time to see if all my hard work and culinary brilliance paid off. I plopped Alex into his highchair, spooned up a little still warm carroty goodness and hoped for the best. I clicked the tray on for the first time, put the container far enough away from his little fingers and spooned up a teeeeeeeny tiny little bit. I was expecting him to push the food back out of his mouth. I expected a bit of fussing or head turning. I was NOT expecting a baby that opened his mouth up wide, swallowing every little bit. I certainly never guessed that if I didn't feed him fast enough and with enough on the spoon, that he would bang his little fist on the tray. That's right. In an empirical gesture of such sureness, he balled up his fist and wacked the tray. This was not a random flailing. He did it every single time I paused to stir or re-portion what was on the spoon. Hy-sterical! On the first go round he ate half the portion, which is equivalent to 1/4 a jar of baby food. Ever since, he's been eating an entire portion, twice a day. This is in addition to his regular bottles! This kid was made for eating. On top of which, he's enjoyed everything I've made him so far: the aforementioned carrots, butternut squash, even broccoli! Admittedly, I have to hold my nose in order to make it, but the kid thinks it's great. It might be that I sing "choppin' brocc-o-l'eye" during the entire feeding, but I'm hoping it's because he actually likes the stuff.
The best part of all this is, of course, all the goodness he's getting from fresh fruits and veggies. I buy organic whenever I can, but Whole Foods is no where to be found. I have to admit there is an awesome second reason. Just like the cloth diapers which will pay for themselves within three months, making Alex's food appeals to my inner cheap-skate. Here's the math. I purchased broccoli that made 7 portions, a sweet potato that yielded an additional 7 portions, and a butternut squash that yielded 14 portions on my last grocery trip. It cost me $3.02. Keep in mind that each portion is only one half a normal retail baby food size. So 28 portions is 14 baby food containers. 14 containers of organic baby food would cost me about $20. Can anyone say cha-ching??!! By the end of the month, the steamer and processor will have paid for themselves. AND there are no preservatives, no recalls, no line inspectors named Helga who forgot to wash her hands after devouring left over Taco Bell on her break. Nothin' but goodness...