Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Baby Food Makin'

I have made a lot of my kids' baby food.
This is not to say I haven't bought a lot of it too.
I am not against store-bought baby food.
I don't think it is harmful or anything like that.
Obviously, when you make things at home you know every ingredient and can make it exactly how you want it.
But . . . the main reason I make baby food is cost.
You just get a lot more for your buck.
I want to make it clear that I am not judging anyone who buys the cute jars with the pretty mixed fruits.
Cause I do it too.
Glad we got that out of the way . . .
Now, some people may not want to make their baby food because they think it is too hard or complicated.
This is definitely not the case, so I am here to give a little tutorial of sorts on how I make my baby food.
I won't lie and say it is quick or not time-consuming, but now that I have three kids to load up and put in the car . . . so is grocery shopping.
I am nothing if not always looking for an easy way out, so here is the easiest way to make a ton of baby food and build a stash that will last quite a while.
First - buy the fruits or veggies you want to feed your baby.
I recommend buying at a farmer's market because it can be cheaper and fresher than what you can get at a chain grocery store.
And I didn't buy organic.
Sue me.
Lexi hasn't started eating yet, so this is my first batch.
I went with sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
Both are really good choices for first foods and cheap to buy.
The squash cost me about 2 bucks and the 7 sweet potatoes were about the same.
I just washed and poked the potatoes, and then wrapped them in foil before putting them in the oven.
For the squash . . . Just cut it in half length wise and place it face down in about an inch of water.
Cook both for 45 minutes to an hour in a 400 degree oven.
 They come out looking like this.
This is obviously over-done, but the dark brown is just on the skin.
The "meat" of the squash is fine.
It is almost impossible to screw this up.
Believe me.

The potatoes should be soft to the touch.
These were pretty small sweet potatoes, so they only took 45 minutes.
The larger ones would take a good hour to get soft enough.
And you want them super soft for blending purposes.
Once the food is cooked you can break out the tools.
Now . . . hear this . . . you do not need special tools to cook baby food, but in my humble, three children later, opinion these two things are really nice to have.
The magic bullet is basically a small blender, but it is super powerful and perfect for small amounts.
The ice trays are made of a silicone material, so the food comes out really easily.
You can get them on amazon.
I scooped all the "meat" out and into a bowl.
Then I threw that meat into the magic bullet.
I added some water to the mix.
I usually use the water the veggies were cooked in to get as many nutrients out of it as I can.
I also put quite a bit of water in the first batches I make, so the food will be easy to eat.
As the babies get older I will make it thicker and more "chunky" to help them transition into table food.
Once it is blended the way I like it I just dump it into the trays.
After I fill all the holes I just smooth it out with a spoon and make sure all the little crevices are filled.
Then I put the trays in the freezer for about a couple hours.
That one squash made 28 one ounce squares for my baby girl.
That is basically 28 meals for her because one of these is enough to fill her tummy when she first starts eating.
Once they are frozen I just transfer the blocks to a feezer-safe ziploc and warm one when I need it.
I will repeat the same process for the sweet potatoes.
The whole process for this amount of food takes about 3-4 hours (with cooking and freezing time included).
I could have made more, but I thought this was a good start.
I think I am going to make applesauce in the crockpot next. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Last weekend we took a trip to visit some very good friends of ours who live in Jupiter.
The city, not the planet . . . as George would say.
I couldn't help but be amazed at God's grace as we spent time with them.
We met this family when George was in his 2 year old preschool class in Clearwater.
George and their son, Colton, are the same age and were in the same class.
We went to a bounce house school event and Colton was wearing a FSU shirt.
Of course, I had to start a convo with this family that was obviously intelligent enough to know to dress their child in gear from the best college ever.
We hit it off that night and began building what I hope will be a life-long friendship.
God's hand has been on this relationship right from the beginning.
Mandy (the mommy) told me later that both her and her husband had just had some serious prayer-time about finding some good Christian friends before they came to that bounce house that night.
We invited them to our church at that function, and they were there basically every Sunday after.
We bought a house in the neighborhood they lived in later that school year, and we could basically walk to hang out with them whenever we wanted.
We hung out a. lot. that summer and into the next year.
Then we got the sad news that they were moving to Arkansas.
I was really sad to be losing such good friends, but we hoped to stay in touch and make it up to see them at some point.
Honestly, I didn't know how close we could stay with busy lives and so many miles between us.
18 months later Mandy called me to say they were moving back to Florida but to the city of Jupiter.
At the same time Tim was finalizing plans to work in Fort Myers.
We now only live about 2.5 hours away.
They have an almost 2 year old named Liam (Ethan affectionately calls him "my friend, Leo").
He and Ethan are becoming fast friends just like George and Colton.
We haven't seem them for a while, but when we were together this weekend it felt just like the good old days of hanging out in our neighborhood.
I am so thankful God brought them into our lives.
He has the best plans for our lives, and I feel so blessed to call this family our friends.
We love you, Munyans!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Birthday Again

Last weekend we went to Clearwater to celebrate round 2 of my birthday.
Another fun time was had.
My favorite restaurant is Maggiano's, so we went there for family style on Saturday night.
There is the crew chowing down.

I think the pictures speak for themselves.
We ate to our heart's content and had a blast.
On Sunday it was warm enough to hit the pool.
Lexi's first time in the pool.
She loves baths, so I knew she'd love this too.

While the air was decently warm, the pool was pretty chilly.
Ethan's face is expressing that chill.

Bathing beauties.

Nicole came too.
Another fun celebration with my side.
Many thanks to my parents for making it so special.
Love to you!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Birthday Girl

My birthday was on Sunday . . . the 3rd.
I turned the ripe old age of 31.
I didn't think it would be too exciting (especially after last year), but it turned out to be wonderful in its own right.
My BFF Nicole came to visit for the weekend, and we headed straight to Bagel, Bagel for old times sake.
Ethan got a little cream cheese on his face.

And Lexi-girl really enjoyed all the attention from Nicole.
After lunch Tim let me have four glorious hours to go shopping with her alone.
That right there is like a million bucks for me.
Peace and quiet.  And no diaper bag.  Be still my heart.
Tim and the kids met us after shopping at Johnny Rockets for dinner.

It was a fun place for the kids, and we didn't have to keep telling them to be quiet with the loud oldies music.
Win, win.
When we got back to the apartment that night we indulged in the cookie cake Nicole brought me.
I adore cookie cake.
It is borderline obsessive.
At least I can admit it.

On Sunday (my actual birth-day) we went to church and then met Tim's parents in Naples for lunch.
We ate at a fun family-style Italian place called "Buca Di Beppo."

The baked ziti was killer (in a good way).
Models . . . they get it from their mother.

My lovely in-laws. 
It was so fun to get to spend my birthday with them.
Thanks, Mima and Pipa.

And to keep it real . . . The family picture set-up.
This weekend I get to go home for round two with my parents.
Family style Italian is on the menu again.
My favorite.
I'm so blessed!!!