Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frugal Baby Food

Babies are wonderful! As I sat here this morning missing my new grand baby, I decided to do the next best thing - write about babies!

When my children were small, we pastored a small town church which couldn't pay my husband a large salary so it became an adventure in creativity to find ways to make ends meet. Around that time, I bought a cook book called "Feed Me, I'm Yours," by Vicki Lansky (first published in 1975, newly revised in 2004 so it's still available) with all sorts of healthy recipes and helpful hints on feeding my babies. That book became my child care"Bible" and by the time I passed it on to my daughter to use with her 5 little ones, the cover had fallen off and pages were oil stained.

One of Vicky's suggestions was to cook the family's vegetables without salt so they could be pureed for baby at the table using a baby food grinder. The baby food grinder I used (back in the good old days LOL!)was available in the baby section at the larger department stores for about $5. It was plastic tube with a hand cranked grinder mechanism on the top. Food was inserted into the tube and forced through the grinder. It was completely washable and easy to use.

Now the same manual food grinder costs $14.99 online. There are also electric baby food grinders available at $29.99, though you could probably purchase a small electric food processor or smaller containers for your regular electric blender for less that would do the same thing rather than buying a "baby" food grinder.

So EASY! My babies ate the same veggies and later meats as we did so it saved me the expense of buying jars of baby food.

After the meal, Vicki suggested pureeing leftover veggies and freezing them in a plastic ice cube tray. The tray created perfect baby-sized portions that could be popped out of the tray after freezing, labeled and stored in a freezer bag. When I needed a meal for my babies, I could pop out a variety of "cubes" and heat and serve.

Vicki Lansky also offered ideas for healthy finger foods and even recipes to make baby biscuits for teething. I found this recipe which was adapted from her cookbook at another online baby food site:

Teething Biscuit Recipes - Try These Banana Bread Sticks

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana
1 3/4 cups flour (white, whole wheat, or a combination)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine ingredients and stir only until smooth. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour or until firmly set.Cool, remove from pan, and cut into sticks. Spread sticks out on a cookie sheet and bake at 150 degrees F for 1 hour or longer until the sticks are hard and crunchy. Store in a tightly covered container.

Adapted from Feed Me I'm Yours by Vicki Lansky **Freezes Well**

The folks at Wholesome Baby Foods also suggested making teething biscuits from your favorite healthy breads ( like carrot, pumpkin, zucchini or apple bread) by baking the bread as usual, then slicing, cutting the slices into sticks and returning them to the oven to bake until hard and crunchy. I wish I'd have known that trick when my children were small!

Even after my children grew up, I loved making the recipes in Vicki's book - especially the craft recipes for play dough, finger paint and other crafty recipes which I adapted for my children's ministry.

So what resources have you used to live "green" or frugally as you raise Baby? I'd love to hear from you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too, loved "Feed me I'm yours". Can you really buy an updated version? I really loved the how to bake a cake at the end ^_^ grandma "ama"