Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to make your own baby food

When my husband and I decided we were ready for a third baby, I remember thinking "This will be perfect. Nathan will be 4 by the time the baby is born. He will be so grown up and independent, it will be easy having 3 kids."

Double trouble - and always in motion!

Ha! I'm not sure what I was thinking, but having three kids ages 4 and under is anything but easy! Babies are a lot of work and baby Ray is no exception. Our Hannah-girl has a mischievous streak and must be watched like a hawk or else! And as sweet and helpful as Nathan is, he is still just a typical 4 year old - a young child who needs lots of guidance and attention.

Most days I end up feeling like one of the kids is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to my attention. On the days I feel good about how much time I have given each of them, I look around and realize my house is in shambles for lack of attention to the housework!

Ray adores his big brother

On days like that I remember that these are the days when I will make memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I try to keep in mind this poem I read once:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow
For babies grow up we learn to our sorrow
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep 

 Even though it takes a little extra time, I have been very excited to make my own baby food this time around. We have a great food processor this time which makes it super easy, although I suppose I could have mashed it by hand in the past. I was just always a little intimidated to make my own baby food. How silly because it is so easy!

In case any of you out there wants to try making your own baby food but is not sure how, here is a little tutorial I put together:

Homemade Baby Food

ingredient ideas:
peaches, pears, apples, peas, green beans, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes are all good starter foods
be sure to buy use fresh or frozen foods, not canned because canned foods have a lot of extra sodium

To cook peaches, carrots, green beans, or peas, I cover them with water in a pot and boil until they are soft. You don't want them totally nasty and overcooked, but you will want to cook them a little softer than you would normally eat them yourself.

You can boil sweet potatoes, pears, and apples, or you can bake them. I usually bake sweet potatoes for 1 -1 1/2 hours at 400F, depending on the size of the potato. Apples and squash need to be cut in half, cored or seeded, and placed in a baking pan filled with 1 inch of water. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes (apples) or 40 minutes (squash).

Let the cooked food cool then place it in the food processor. If it was boiled to cook it, drain it but reserve the cooking water just in case you need to add a little liquid to get it to the right consistency for baby. Puree until smooth, adding water if needed.

Yum - peas!
Place in containers and refrigerate for up to a few days or freeze for up to a few months.

These containers look small but each contain at least twice what the baby food containers in the store cost, made for less than half the price!
Do you make your own baby food or any other baby products at home? Is it worth the cost savings, or would you rather have the convenience of the store-bought option? I find I am enjoying the satisfaction of knowing exactly what I am putting into my baby's mouth.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday Dinner Pork Tenderloin

I have made this pork recipe several times in the past year. Each time it has turned out perfectly moist and tender with a lovely spicy-sweet flavor. The original recipe was titled Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Brown Sugar Garlic Glaze from food.com. Try it for your next Sunday dinner!

Be sure to keep checking in this week as I share some exciting changes for the blog and of course updated kid pictures!

Sunday Dinner Pork Tenderloin

serves 6-8

1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 pork tenderloins
2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco. Set aside. In another bowl stir together the salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon. This is going to be your rub. Use your fingers to rub this mixture all over the tenderloins. 

Heat a large heavy oven-proof skillet with oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add in tenderloins (we cut each in half to fit our skillet) and brown them on all sides. 

Leaving pork in skillet, pat the brown sugar mixture onto the top of the pork. Place in the middle of the oven and roast for about 20-22 minutes, until a thermometer registers 140 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit in skillet for 10 minutes (the temperature of the pork will rise to about 155 degrees while sitting in the hot skillet).

Remove from skillet, slice and serve!