Browsed by
Category: Feeding Family

The Meal Plan Mind Map: Cut Down on Waste

The Meal Plan Mind Map: Cut Down on Waste

meal plan mind map

Spurred on by Suchitra of ‘MomLife‘ and her quest to break the seal on planning weekly meals, I have been brainstorming ways of shortening my shopping list. I’m a big fan of the list in all it’s forms but writing the list usually consists of:

  • What do I fancy for dinner?
  • What do I want for lunch tomorrow?
  • Total mind block about tomorrow’s dinner… Lets have a browse on Pinterest for a recipe…

The trouble with this method is you will end up with a very long list. This means:

  • It gets expensive… really expensive;
  • You will spend far too long in the shop going back and forth, trying to find all the silly ingredients you’ve added to your list from Pinterest;
  • You are guaranteed to miss something, even though you wrote a list;
  • A lot of food will be wasted – Money down the drain, guilt over starving people and global warming.

So… is there a better way? I think so.

Mind Map Before List

Do write a list, I’m not suggesting otherwise, but it’s very difficult to write a good one straight off the top of your head. When you go through teacher training (as I did a few years ago), you are told all about different types of learners and how they best absorb information and skills.

different-learning-types
Edited from fundersandfounders.com

Like 65% of the population, I am a visual learner, and therefore a list is not very useful for my brain if I am hoping to purge and make my shopping for the week more efficient. I need something that is going to help me think things through that visually works like my brain does… well maybe a little more organized than my actual brain.

How to Build a Meal Planner Mind Map

  • Start with that something you fancy for dinner. It’s not going to leave your head, you want it. So have it and put it on the list Mind Map by putting the dish name in the centre bubble and each ingredient branched out from it. Tonight, I really fancy Spaghetti Bolognese. I haven’t had it in a while and it’s totally going to hit the spot. meal-planner-mind-map
    The trouble with Bolognese is that is has quite a few ingredients, so my list is already half way down my scrap of paper and I’ve only done one dinner. What we need to do use some of these ingredients in other dishes…
  • Carrots, celery and onion pop out at me… that’s the basis for a stock or soup. I love carrot and coriander soup, easy to make and perfect for lunch. Add it to the mind map and link to the repeated ingredients.
  • You can’t have carrot and coriander soup without a sprinkle of fresh cilantro (that’s coriander leaves if you’re British). But fresh herbs can be expensive and I don’t want the rest of it to go to waste so what can I use it for? Immediately I think of tacos… slow cooked pork, lime pickled onions and plenty of fresh cilantro. Yum, put in on the mind map…
    meal-planner-mind-map
  • This process continues, using ingredients already on the mind map to spark ideas for other meals. Veg Chilli was an easy choice and then I spotted the bell peppers and parmesan. ‘I  bet there’s a good recipe for those two’ I thought… Now I can Pinterest search or Google these ingredients and find something new. I always like one new recipe a week.
  • The mushrooms and parsley sounded like a yummy omelette, and I can also make a frittata with any leftovers that are hanging around the fridge.
  • Although the chicken recipe is a pasta dish, I’m feeling quite carbed up already so opt for some green veg that can double up for our Sunday roast (meat dependent on what looks good while shopping).
    meal-planner-mind-map

So there you have it… I’m pretty much done for the week.

 

I may have only mapped five meals, but I purposely plan meals that can be made to allow for leftovers. This cuts back on the cooking, reduces waste and obviously cost. I’ve planned my meal week from Wednesday, because I want fresh meat for Sunday and it’s unlikely to last for six days. The recipes are linked – I particularly recommend the Marcella Hazan Bolognese… make it immediately.

Wednesday

Lunch: Mushroom Parsley Omelette
Dinner: Chicken Cacciatore with Green Beans

Thursday

Lunch: Chicken Cacciatore with Pasta
Dinner: Pork Tacos

Friday

Lunch: Pork Tacos
Dinner: Veg Chilli with Rice

Saturday

Lunch: *Eat Out* (whenever I plan for Saturday it doesn’t get eaten!)
Dinner: Veg Chilli Nachos

Sunday

Lunch: Carrot and Coriander Soup
Dinner: Roast meat (to be determined) with potatoes, garlic, carrots and green beans.

Monday

Lunch: Roast leftovers frittata
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese

Tuesday:

Lunch: Carrot and Coriander Soup
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese

The Cost

Before I give you the total I need to be fair and explain a few things:

  • All meat, milk, eggs and most vegetables I buy organic. Not everything, but nearly everything is organic on my list. Therefore if you shop budget produce it will be cheaper.
  • I haven’t included spices for the recipes I use because we have a big stash already at the house.
  • I haven’t included breakfast in my mind map. Therefore I added  berries, bananas, apples, cereal, yogurt and bread to the list.
  • I haven’t included my daughter’s lunch box. She sometimes eats in-house food at school and sometimes not… it’s complicated so I’ve excluded it for now. I am aware that lunchboxes can get expensive so it’s on my radar for improving my planning.
  • I have skipped a meal on Saturday because we are never in and end up eating out.

So… how much did my weekly shop cost? Food for a week, for a family of five (all be it three of them are littles) came to $168, a great budget for us because we are big food spenders. Last week we spent $244 on groceries but because we weren’t organised we ended up eating $73 of fast food and takeout on top of our usual Saturday lunch out. That’s a whopping $317. If we can stick to the meal plan we will save $149 on last week’s spend… amazing!

The only trouble is, I’ve just realised I’ve got to wait until Monday for my Bolognese… ugh.


This post is linked up here:

Two Tiny Hands
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
Diary of an imperfect mum
Hot Pink Wellingtons
Baby Finger Food: Trump Pork and Apple Burgers

Baby Finger Food: Trump Pork and Apple Burgers

I woke up this morning and Donald Trump is President… Didn’t see that one coming. I thought about writing what I think about this turn of events, but instead I’m going to sum up how I’m feeling with this gif:

drinking-gif

So… turn up the music, pour yourself a cocktail and get on with life. Once you’ve sobered up, you may need to feed yourself and your children, so to help you out I am continuing with my Baby Finger Food series, enjoy:

At some point I will have to face teaching my boys to use a spoon, but if they’re anything like my daughter they will be determined to pick up whatever I serve them for some time. So for now I’m keeping things tidy and continue to come up with recipes they will enjoy that introduce new flavours, just like these juicy pork and apple burgers.

pork and apple burgers

Although the twins are getting the hang of chewing (they have eight teeth now!), many meats are still hard work. Minced meat is not only easy to chew but is easy to mix in with other ingredients to make a  moist patty. And my new herb to tickle their taste buds is tarragon… one of my personal favourites.

Pork & Apple Burgers with Tarragon
Yields 16
Juicy finger food for Baby, or garnish in a bun for the rest of the family, delicious!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb minced pork
  2. 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  3. 1 sweet apple, grated
  4. ½ onion, grated
  5. 1 egg, beaten
  6. ½ tsp dried tarragon
  7. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with your hands.
  3. Shape the mix into patties and place on a lined baking tray.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, turning at half time.
TwinPickle http://twinpickle.com/
And what did the boys think?

twins-highchairs-food

twins-eating-food

If you like the look of the burgers you may like to try one of my other recipes from the Baby Finger Food Series:

Spicy Vegetable Croquettes
Baked Baby Falafel
Minty Pea Risotto Cakes

 


This post is linked up here:

Tammymum
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
Mummy in a Tutu
Baby Finger Food: Minty Pea Risotto Cakes

Baby Finger Food: Minty Pea Risotto Cakes

A message for risotto lovers everywhere… do not throw away your leftovers! This recipe may seem labour intensive, because it takes you from the beginning, but you can make risotto cakes out of any variety of risotto. I would highly recommend having yourself a lovely minty pea risotto dinner and using what’s left to make some cakes the following day. Perfect appetizers, snacks or baby finger food.

risotto-cake

My boys have been eating a lot of spices recently so I thought it was time to introduce them to a new herb flavour… mint. And peas are my official favourite vegetable, so I need the twins on board from an early age, or we’re going to have a lot of grumpy faces later on.

Minty Pea Risotto Cakes
Yields 18
Use this recipe to make risotto, risotto cakes or both... delicious!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
For the risotto
  1. 4 tbs olive oil
  2. 1 onion
  3. 4 cloves of garlic
  4. 1 cup Arborio rice
  5. 2 cups warm chicken (or veg) stock
  6. 1 1/2 cups warm water
  7. 1 cup frozen baby peas
  8. 6 mint leaves
  9. 2 tbs grated parmesan
For the cakes
  1. 1tbs olive oil
  2. 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
To make the risotto
  1. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat 4 tbs of olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Sauté the onion over medium heat for 4 minutes until they soften. Add the garlic and cook for another 4 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and sauté for 2 minutes. Add a little stock and stir until absorbed, continuing to add stock and then water, stirring until the rice is al dente, around 20 minutes.
  4. Add the peas and chopped mint, and cook for 2 minutes or until peas are tender. Stir in the grated parmesan.
To make the cakes (with chilled risotto)
  1. Toast the breadcrumbs in olive oil to brown.
  2. Roll balls of risotto in your hand and flatten to make patties.
  3. Lightly coat in breadcrumbs - the risotto should be sticky enough to not require an additional egg layer.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
TwinPickle http://twinpickle.com/
Lucky for me, things on the pea front are looking good, and the boys weren’t phased by the new minty flavour either…

risotto-babies-happy

 
 

This post is linked up here:

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
Mummy in a Tutu
Juggling Food
Night of the Living Pumpkin Gingerbread

Night of the Living Pumpkin Gingerbread

pumpkin-gingerbreadI have a confession to make… I’m a bit of a zombie fanatic. You may remember last month  I posted on the zombie apocalypse, and with Halloween only a week away it’s the perfect excuse to get my zombie juices flowing again. My six-year old daughter was totally on board; she’s been pestering me to make gingerbread men for ages and was a little too excited about decorating with plenty of blood and goo – should I be concerned?

Zombie Pumpkin Gingerbread Men
Yields 24
A traditional gingerbread recipe with a hint of pumpkin and some zombie attitude for the holiday.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  2. 1 cup dark brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup molasses
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  6. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  11. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  12. frosting to decorate
  13. pre-made eye balls (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and brown sugar in an electric mixer. When light and fluffy, add the molasses, a beaten egg and the pumpkin puree.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices, then gradually beat into creamed mixture.
  3. Divide the dough and make two or three balls (this just speeds up the chilling process), then wrap in plastic and refrigerate to firm up, about 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with a floured gingerbread man cookie cutter. If decapitating or removing a zombie limb, do this before cooking.
  5. Place 1-2 in. apart on a lined baking sheet and bake until edges are firm or just starting to brown, 8-10 minutes.
  6. Cool those zombies and frost as desired. We bought ready made eyeballs because my frosting skills have room for improvement, nice and easy for the kiddos too.
Notes
  1. You can buy pumpkin puree canned - we found ours in the baking isle around all the pumpkin pie stuff. Otherwise, make your own by cutting a pumpkin in half, scooping out seeds and placing face down in an inch of water. Bake at 350ºF for 60-90mins (depending on size of pumpkin). When soft, scoop out the flesh and blend.
TwinPickle http://twinpickle.com/
The results aren’t going to win any beauty contests but they are delicious and we had so much fun making them. Here are some of my favourites:

zombie-bread-men

 

This post is linked up here:

Mummy in a Tutu
The Pramshed
Juggling Food
Diary of An Imperfect Mum
Baby Finger Food: Baked Baby Falafel

Baby Finger Food: Baked Baby Falafel

Following on from ‘Spiced Vegetable Croquettes’, I continue my quest to come up with healthy, adventurous foods my boys can feed themselves. They are 11 months old now and really aren’t interested in being fed by Mom, yet I’m trying to continue all the goodness they used to get from their homemade purees. Beans are the perfect source of protein, especially because as a household we are trying to cut down on meat consumption. I am also keen on introducing them to herbs and spices, and what better to do it than this Middle-Eastern classic – Falafel.

falafel

I may be upsetting many an Israeli falafel lover here with my recipe because traditionally they should be made with dried chickpeas. They should also be fried in oil to give that crispy on the inside, fluffy in the middle texture. I apologize in advance because I’ve gone rogue… You can’t necessarily find dried chickpeas in your local grocery store, and they also have to be soaked overnight before you can use them. So if you’re prepared and organized, go with dried, but if you have three children and a time management problem, buy canned.

In regard to cooking, I tried frying them but because they are smaller than traditional falafel they soaked up a lot of oil and were too greasy. I tasted both the fried and the oven baked and I genuinely favor the baked, hence that’s what I’m posting below. I’m happier offering baked goods over fried to the babies anyway (sorry Israel).

Baked Baby Falafel
Yields 30
A Middle-Eastern classic made a little easier and healthier for moms and babies alike.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 (15oz) cans of chickpeas
  2. 1/2 an onion
  3. 6 cloves of garlic
  4. 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  5. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  6. 1 tsp ground coriander
  7. 1 tsp ground cumin
  8. 4 tbs flour
  9. 1 tsp baking powder
  10. 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
  11. 1 tbs olive oil (optional)
  12. Plain Greek yogurt & cucumber to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Finely chop the onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro.
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place into a food processor with the chopped veg, flour, baking powder, herbs and spices. Add a little salt if you wish.
  3. Pulse the ingredients in the food processor. You're aiming to break the chickpeas up, without turning them into a paste.
  4. Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls of around 1-1.5 inches in diameter.
  5. To give just a little crisp to the outside and stop them drying out, roll the falafel in a tbs of olive oil on a plate. Alternatively you could lightly spray with oil or just leave them bare - they will still be delicious!
  6. Place the falafel onto a lined tray and bake for 40mins, turning at half time.
  7. Serve on top of Greek yogurt with a side of cucumber.
Notes
  1. Instead of plain yogurt and sliced cucumber, you could go all out and make Tzatziki, yum. What can I say... I'm a busy woman and it just didn't happen this time! Enjoy snacking on your baby's food 😉
TwinPickle http://twinpickle.com/

Of course what matters most of all is the twin tasting panel… they went down a treat!
twins-eating

 


This post is linked up here: 

Juggling Food
Mummy in a Tutu
Baby Finger Food: Spiced Vegetable Croquettes

Baby Finger Food: Spiced Vegetable Croquettes

My babies are growing up fast and prefer getting their hands messy than their puree these days. It’s time for new homemade delights on the menu… I wanted to make something that’s easy to pick up but still packed with the goodness they’ve been getting from their favorite veg purees. I wanted to offer them something more exciting than a plate of boiled vegetables, and keep introducing them to interesting flavors through spices. So I came up these Indian inspired spiced vegetable croquettes. Totally delish for adults too, although if I was making just for grown ups I’d add a bit of salt in the mix… but for now babies, we’ll keep your lunch salt free.

croquette-stack

Spiced Vegetable Croquettes
Yields 20
Healthy finger food for baby and grown-ups alike, packed with vegetables with an Indian inspired spiced flavor.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 large potatoes
  2. ¼ cup milk (ish)
  3. 3 tbs butter
  4. 1-2 cloves garlic
  5. 2 carrots
  6. ½ a shallot
  7. 3 mushrooms
  8. 3-5 broccoli florets
  9. ½ tsp tumeric
  10. ¼ tsp corriander
  11. ¼ tsp cumin
  12. 2 tbs olive oil (optional for the golden crispy look)
  13. 1-2 eggs (I just about made do with one large)
  14. 1¼ cups panko bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop the potatoes into large pieces and boil for around 15mins until soft enough to mash. Mash the potatoes together with a little milk and butter (1tbs).
  2. Finely chop all the vegetables. You may want to grate harder veg such as the carrot or broccoli stalks if you want the croquettes to be super mushy. My boys are ready for a little texture so I chopped to no bigger than a pea. Saute the chopped veg in the remaining butter (2tbs) for 5-8mins until it softens.
  3. Mash the veg in with the potato and add the spices.
  4. Once cool enough to handle, take heaped tbs sized balls and roll into cylinders the size of a fat thumb. You should be able to make around 20 croquettes that size but you can make them any size or shape you like. I found rinsing my hands every 4-5 croquettes made the sticky mix easier to handle.
  5. Put the croquettes in the freezer for 20mins to firm up a little and make the breading process easier.
  6. Toast the panko breadcrumbs in a pan with a little olive oil. This step is optional but does give the breadcrumbs that lovely golden color. Otherwise, you can fry the croquettes instead of oven baking, or use whole wheat panko which are darker in color. Baby will also unlikely care if you bake the white breadcrumbs just as they are, it's only us adults that expect breadcrumbs to be golden!
  7. Remove your 'fat thumbs' from the freezer, dip in a egg and roll in the breadcrumbs to complete each croquette.
  8. Bake for 20mins on a tray lined with parchment paper, turning at half time.
  9. Wait for them to cool before serving to those hungry babies! I fed them cold to my boys straight from the fridge the following day and froze the rest for another time.
TwinPickle http://twinpickle.com/
And it’s only right to show you what the boys thought of them… Spiced Vegetable Croquettes for the win!

croquettes-twins

 

The Pramshed

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Baby food super-ingredients: 5 ways to jazz up your recipes

Baby food super-ingredients: 5 ways to jazz up your recipes

You have a few homemade baby food recipes you know Baby enjoys, but maybe its time to start tweaking and adding some of these baby super-ingredients:

coconut-baby-food

Coconut Milk
Baby loves sweet potato? Try adding some coconut milk to boost calories while enhancing flavor and nutrition. Coconuts are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals, and the ‘milk’ contained in them is perfect for blending in with babyfood. Coconut milk also contains fatty acids which are easily absorbed by the body and used for energy. It is not only high in the right kind of fats, it also contains electrolytes that are great for digestion and preventing constipation.

turmeric-baby-food

Tumeric
Making some baby lentil curry? Tumeric is said to have all kinds of super powers from helping with Alzeimher’s to supporting treatment of cancer and osteoarthritis. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and its an antioxidant. It’s also good for the liver and digestion… another pooptastic ingredient for baby!

Because of its magic powers turmeric can interfere with some anti-coagulants and anti-inflammatory medications so do check with your pediatrician if your little one has a medical condition.

 

kale-baby-food

Kale
And you thought spinach was a superfood? We all want our little ones to eat their greens, but vegetables like spinach and broccoli are high in naturally occurring nitrates and oxalates and therefore some cautious parenting ‘experts’ recommend waiting a little later to introduce these greens. Broccoli is also guilty of causing gas… we’ve all been there, right? Kale on the other hand is bursting with all those green veg vitamins with only a trace of oxalates and much lower nitrate levels than spinach. It’s also packed with calcium – it really is a baby food super-ingredient!

 

flax-baby-food

Flax seed
Want to jazz up your veg puree? Flax seed is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and iron, needed for healthy bone growth and blood cell production. Grind them up or just sprinkle on top, although soaking them first will make them easier to digest, allowing baby maximum health benefits. To top it off, flax seed is high in dietary fibre, so that tummy’s going to be in great working order.

 

quinoa-baby-food

Quinoa
Looking for a protein boost in your baby food? There’s a reason they call it ‘the mother of all grains’, despite being gluten free. Quinoa is a good source of protein, containing essential amino acids,  great for baby vegetarians or those with kids that just don’t like meat. It not only contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, it’s also an anti-oxidant, particularly useful for babies due to their high metabolism and production of free-radicals. It is a little tricky to digest, and therefore most ‘experts’ advise waiting until 8 months to introduce quinoa into Baby’s diet, but once you do, bowel movements a plenty… yup, its very high in fibre too!

 

Information Sources:
momjuntion.com
draxe.com
homemade-baby-food-recipes.com
wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com
parentinghealthybabies.com

Image Credits:
luvo.tetherinc.netdna-cdn.com
youthfulninja.com
oceanmist.com
eatingwell.com
self.com


This post is linked up here:

Two Tiny Hands
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
Mr and Mrs T Plus Three
Top tips for making baby food at home possible. #keepitsimplestupid

Top tips for making baby food at home possible. #keepitsimplestupid

Babyfood

Let’s be honest, it’s easier to buy baby food than make it, and the temptation of those ready made pouches could turn any mom off cooking. That’s why it needs to be easy, it needs to be delicious enough that baby wants to eat it, and it needs to store easily. Here are some tips for those starting out or battling to keep it up:

Know your limits and pick your battles. If you’re a working mom or have three other kids at home, making everything your baby eats from scratch may be taking on too much (at least to start with). So pick your battles – I make all my boys’ main meals but I don’t make homemade finger food recipes such as yogurt drops, and oatmeal biscuits. The twins are like bottomless pits at the moment and they do snack on branded rice cakes, teething wafers and puffs. Do I wish I made my own delicious snacks… yes. But are they being well fed… yes. Babies eat a lot of food which means a lot of cooking/prepping. If you want to start with just making dinner for them, just do dinner – once you get used to it you might be ready to take on more. Its a bit like the New Year body blitz… don’t try and do it all at once!

Be willing to chuck the odd batch. There is nothing worse than slaving over a tasty batch only to find you messed up the recipe or worse – your baby just hates it. Scooping that love-in-a-jar into the trash hurts more than watching Goose die in Top Gun, and its enough to push you over the edge and crack open the Happy Baby Organic – I mean it says its for happy babies so its got to be good. This is what turned me off making my own food for my first born. She grew up on Ella’s Kitchen pouches, but this time round I felt more confident about food and cooking in general so I was ready to give it another go. The rejection is rare and even though it might also feel like a waste of money, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the savings you make overall. Its also worth remembering, your babe may be having an off day so keep the goods in the freezer and try another day – it hurts less throwing it from the freezer a week later too, time is a great healer.

Use recipe websites. There are loads of great cook books too, but here are my favourite sites:

1. babyfoode.com I love this site and as the slogan says, the recipes are a little more adventurous than most. Twin favourite: ‘Quinoa, Apple, Pear with Raison Puree’.

2. wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com This is a huge site that is extremely popular. Great for first foods and understanding different ways to cook basic ingredients.

3. mummycooks.ie I’ve only found this one recently and it looks great! Can’t wait to try: ‘Babies first Salmon Chowder’

4. kidspot.com.au This site has loads of recipes for all ages as well as all sorts of parenting advice. Twin favourite: ‘Easy chicken casserole’.

Don’t reinvent the wheel (unless you want to). My daughter loved Ella’s kitchen, and Happy Baby makes happy babies, right? So read the ingredients and make your own! I quite often go straight to the baby isle when I get to the grocery store and browse the shelves for ideas. I take a photo of the back of the packet with my phone and head back to the veg to buy my ingredients.  Having tried the some ready-made pouches again recently, I guarantee your home-made version will be better and end up including a much higher proportion of the important ingredients… how anyone can manage to make any puree with kale in it which isn’t green is beyond me.

Find an easy way to store and serve. Its one thing finding the time to make baby food but its another making dinner time easy. The ready made food is good to go, no defrosting or scooping into a bowl required, you don’t even need to warm it up because its stored at room temperature. That convenience is difficult to compete with so make your life as simple as possible and find a storage solution that works for you. Here are your options:

  1. The classic storage method is to freeze in a cube tray and transfer to store in a ziplock bag. Great for right at the start when they only eat a 1oz portion (about one cube) but I personally am not a fan. If you’re making multiple batches you can’t find enough flat freezer space and you never have enough trays, leading to freezing in shifts. So if you want to be housebound all day, inspecting small lumps of vege slush-puppy, go for it. Its cheap, it works, and I only need to defrost a mere 12 cubes every time I feed my twins.
  2. Do it yourself pouches. I used these for everything when the boys were eating small portions, but now I just use for fruit puree I add to oatmeal and yogurt. They are light and convenient for taking out, you can squeeze straight onto the spoon and older kids can suck straight from the pouch. However, filling them is a bit of a faff and I suspect cleaning the reusable ones is a bit of a pain (I use disposable… terrible I know but I am all about easy)
  3. Mason jars. When the boys started eating three pouches per meal between them I moved to jars. They come in all sorts of sizes, wash easily and I have the wide neck ones so I can spoon straight out of them. They do take longer to defrost than multiple pouches or cubes which catches me out every now and again, and are heavier to carry around in your bag. However glass is good for those worried about plastic contamination and there’s no land fill issue 🙂
  4. Purpose made baby food containers. For singleton babies these are great for those first smaller portions, come with lids and tend to stack or clip together in some way so you can fit them in the freezer efficiently. For me they were never really big enough for two hungry boys and I think you may have to spend a lot of money on multiple tubs to store big batches.

So good luck, keep with it and feel like a super-mom… #keepitsimplestupid