Friday, August 20, 2010

feed the baby

For me it was a no brainer when Pop was ready for solids I made her food. I mean duh! Plus I tasted the jarred baby food and gagged. Why would you feed that to anyone. No wonder kids don't like veggies. So I jumped in with both feet. I didn't have to buy anything really because as many of my friends know I have every kitchen gadget known to man. The one thing I did buy was a cheap food mill. You do not need this but it does help create some different textures in the food. What you do need is a food processor (not a blender) some ice cube trays, lots of ziplock bags and a total lack of fear.
I feel like I got lucky because she was a good eater. She ate whatever I gave her. This kid would eat babaganoush! But that is not where we started.  We did as the experts advise and start off with rice cereal ... no go! She flat out hated it! So next roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, spinach, pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower then bananas, apples, pears, peaches etc. Now I know there are rules but I am terrible at following rules so I did put salt and pepper and butter. Yep butter. Why? Because it tastes good! I was not afraid to season the food. When I made carrots I put in ginger and a little agave nectar. Peas had s&p and butter and sometimes mint(yum!), sweet potato had cumin. It was yummy. So why do baby food manufacturers make the food so gross? When we started meat it was a little trickier because meat has such weird texture if it is all ground up in the food processor. I quickly discovered it will make your baby gag and choke. My solution was ground beef, chicken, lamb etc. Much better. One particular chicken dish has become a family favorite. I make it all the time. The best part about this dish is you can use it in a 1000 different ways. So make this...

1 lb of ground chicken (organic)
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium yellow onion
1 can water chestnuts
2 tbl fish sauce
1 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl raw sugar
juice of 1 lime
oil for frying

Peel the ginger and add it with the garlic and the onion to the food processor and chop finely. If you don't have a food processor then just chop as finely as possible or use a grater. Chop the water chestnuts finely.
Coat a wok or pan with oil. On medium heat add the onion mix. Cook for a few mins until soft. Add the chicken and brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
This recipe can be doubled.
I freeze this in a large ziplock bag. I flatten the whole thing out and then you can break pieces of it off for the baby.

We use this in the following ways.

Lettuce cups serve with rice
In soft tortillas with sauteed veggies(my hubby calls these chinesey tacos) and hoisin sauce
As a soup add chicken broth and greens(bok choy) or thicken the broth and serve over rice
Wrapped into summer rolls with veggies and peanuts and noodles
For the baby mix with any veggie puree and rice

This dish is now in the family menu everyone loves it. I hope some of you out there will think about making your own baby food because it just isn't as difficult as you think. And the best part is you can start your baby off with a much more broad palate.

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