Hey, hey! Welcome back to our series on making real food for Baby. You can catch up on the previous posts in this series here: Bon appétit, bébé! Today I’ll be sharing with you how you can make two weeks of baby food in only two hours. Yep. That’s it. And I don’t mean a “tablespoon-a-day’s worth” like I’ve seen in other meal plans. I mean three hearty, generous meals a day for the next two weeks. Ready?
The Method Behind the Madness
Last week I shared that I went off a chart based on the foods “appropriate” for my babies’ age group. I mainly did this because it helped me to think outside the box and not just serve them the same ol’ same ol’. And then I checked which produce I wanted to purchase organic and which I was ok with purchasing non-organic. (Purchasing organic is often a good choice, considering the number of pesticides on – and in – our produce. However, it is a personal choice.) Then I made a meal plan, then a grocery list. Then I shopped. And prepped. Stashed it and put my feet up. Ok, well not really. There’s never much time for that, is there??
But how ’bout I save you all the time spent figuring out how to do this and then maybe you can put your feet up…or have more time with Baby?
My plan was to have an animal protein, a fruit, and a veggie at each meal. Notice I haven’t listed grains. Yep, I tossed the current “food pyramid” out the window. I knew that grains should not be given to babies prior to one years old (and preferably not till two). Oh, and the food pyramid’s recommendations for no fats or oils? I loaded my kids up with them! …the good fats and oils, that is.
Now, since breastmilk (or formula) was still the main source of nutrients for them this was a loose plan. I didn’t always have an animal protein at every meal – sometimes it was a plant-based protein. And because of my research into dairy, I chose to not give any dairy at all unless it was raw (like milk, cheese, etc.). Plus, they were getting mama’s milk so dairy wasn’t necessary!
The Plan, Stan
So here is what we’ll be making in two hours. Well, really you’ll be making these, but I’d love to come help – I’ll bring the
chocolates ice cream Larabars. =)
First I started on the food that would take the longest to prepare: butternut squash. So, rinse and cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Rinse and dice (or mince, depending on your baby’s level of eating) two apples. Fill the scooped out portion of the squash with the apples, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg…or both! Set both halves in a large glass dish (something like 15×10) and fill with water. Bake at 425 for about an hour. Now move on to…
Fill a large pot with water and get it boiling. Then wash the carrots (approximately 15 of those orange babies). I chose not to peel them. I am lazy. You are welcome to be lazy here, too. =) Cut the green stubby-stem-tops off! Cut them lengthwise and then chop all the way down both halves (again, you can cut the halves in half again if that size is more to your baby’s liking). If you’re cheap, like me, you can plop a large colander in the pot. I don’t have a steamer-thingie. If you do, sweet! Dust it off and use that! Dump the carrots into the colander and cover with a lid. You’ll steam them for about 20 minutes or until a fork easily pierces them. While they’re steaming…
Fill a saucepan with cool water, carefully place the eggs (about a half dozen) in the pan. Make sure they’re covered with about an inch of water. Slowly bring the water to a boil over medium heat. When the water is boiling, cover, remove from the heat and let sit 10-12 minutes (the timer is your best friend today, isn’t it?). Now it’s time to…
Pass the Peas
Pour a bag of peas into a skillet and add some water (or homemade broth or stock!). Keep just under a boil until the peas are tender. Feel free to add any seasonings you want – coconut oil, salt, onions or chives! Get your knife out, now, for the….
(You’ve got three burners and the oven going! Feelin’ like a chef, yet?!)
Cantaloupe (Can’t Elope, though!)
Wash and cut the cantaloupe in half. Scoop seeds out of both halves and cut the rind off all the edges. Cut each half in half and continue to chop to your baby’s liking.
We don’t want anything burning or scalding (ahem, yes, I’ve been there and done that). So. Check the carrots. Check the eggs. Check the peas. And, for the heck of it, check the squash. Carrots, eggs and peas should all be ready! Now, you should be done with the carrots and peas if you feel your baby will be able to handle the size. If not, feel free to smoosh and blend or puree if you’d like. As for the eggs, care-full-y remove the eggs to a bowl and fill with cool water (this will stop the cooking).
Oh, and Mr. Butternut is done when a fork can easily stab the yummy squash!
Now you can prepare some scrambled eggs for your little one to eat over the next few days (you will probably only want to do 2-3 days’ worth). I make scrambled eggs ahead of time. The day-of they get them hot. The following days, leftovers are served cool or room-temperature. I have done this from the beginning, though, and they are not bothered by it in the least. If it bothers you too much, you can toss them back in the pan before serving up each day. It still saves a bit of time in the end!
Prep the eggs however you want – with salt, spices, cheeses and milk! Add spinach or other veggies, chopped finely, and make an omelette! Now, cook those eggs.
Squash Be Done
The squash should be done by now. Let cool a bit, then scoop! Be careful to leave the hard rind behind. It’s easier to separate the warmer it is. You can just mix the squash-y, cinnamon-y, apple-y goodness together with some coconut oil and that’s it!
Now, you’ve got some pots and pans to clean but you’re really done for the next couple of weeks! And in less than two hours! And, if you had purchased pouches instead, you would have spent over $75 on a comparable amount of food!!
I recommend keeping in the refrigerator what you will use over the next four days. Freeze the rest! I chose to freeze in portions that I could pull out. So I’d put four days’ worth into each container (Ziploc bags, muffin trays, mason jars, etc.) and then I could pull out what I needed for the next few days.
In order to make the above meal plan last for two weeks, this is assuming Baby eats about 8 ounces of food per meal. If Baby eats less, this food will last muuuuuch longer. If Baby eats more, then you may want to increase the quantities. These amounts only lasted my trio five days. Oh my soul.
Also, avocados are just not (in my opinion) easier to prep ahead of time. But they’re super easy to slice up right at meal-time. Just leave the seed in the unused portion and store in the fridge! And I found that if I bought a range of ripe to unripe avocados, I could use the ripest ones first and ripen the others as needed – keeping them in the fridge and returning them to the fridge after ripening. To speed up the ripening process you can place the avocado (this works well with bananas, too) in a paper bag or in a drawer in your kitchen. Don’t forget about it, though! =)
For dinner, I just mashed enough avocado with one of the (peeled) hard-boiled egg yolks and added some coconut oil. Super, super nutrient dense, folks!
Finally, you will probably have to make scrambled eggs a couple of times and some hard-boiled eggs once more during the next two weeks. These just don’t freeze well. However, you could certainly switch out the eggs for a meat and re-freeze after it’s cooked!
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2 large organic apples
- 18 pastured eggs
- 11 avocados
- 1 cantaloupe
- 24 oz. bag of frozen peas
- 1 bunch of bananas
- 15 organic carrots
- Coconut oil
Let us know what your little one thought of this meal plan!!