Stove or Microwave?

Most all fruit and veggie purees can be made either on the stove using a steamer basket in a saucepan, or in the microwave in a covered glass bowl. Some veggies like sweet potatoes, butternut squash or other winter squash can also be roasted in the oven. Just decide what's easier for you.

For the microwave you will want to add a less water because fruits and veggies steam using their own moisture. You will also want to figure out how quickly your microwave cooks. As a general rule, veggies and fruits steam in the microwave using about 2/3 of the time as on the stove. You can use pastic wrap to cover foods, however do not let the plastic touch the food because it will leach harmful chemicals into the food.

For the stove you will want to make sure you use a steamer basket set above water in a saucepan. The water level should come just below the steamer, but not above the bottom of the steamer. Steaming cooks foods above water using the steam from the boiling water. Steaming is better than boiling because a lot of nutrients are lost when a food is submerged and boiled in water.

Sweet Potatoes and Winter Squashes can be peeled, cubed and steamed using the above methods. Or, you can wash the veggie, pierce several times with a fork, and roast in the oven utnil soft. Some resources I consulted believe that roasting veggies in the oven makes for a sweeter end product. That would be the only reason I would cook in the oven, because it takes a lot more time to roast than steam.

Peas, please!

I just made a batch of peas for my little one and I wanted to share how easy they are to make! Here's what I did:

I buy frozen organic petite peas because they are pre-shelled and it's difficult to find fresh peas. I actually don't think I have ever eaten fresh peas!

I steamed them in a about 1/4 cup water in the microwave in a covered dish. It took about 10 minutes for one bag of peas. You will want to make sure they are really soft, because that makes a smoother puree.

After the peas were finished steaming, I drained out the cooking water and reserved it for the puree. You will want to submerge the peas in ice water until cool. This step not only cools the peas down so they can be pureed, but it also helps them retain their vibrant green color.

Once cooled, I pureed the peas thinning them out with the reserved cooking water until smooth. Then, I filled an ice cube tray with the peas, covered with foil and popped them into the freezer. After they freeze I will pop them out and store in the freezer, thawing them as I need them.

So easy! And, once you see how bright green the color of these cooked peas is, compared to the darker color of the jarred peas, you will be a fan.

~Age - An excellent first food, 5 + months

~Yield - 1 bag will yield about 10 servings (1 serving = 2 tablespoons or 1 frozen food cube)

~Nutritionally Speaking - Peas are high in protein, vitamins A & C, and iron
Note: Peas can also be steamed in a steamer basket in a saucepan on the stove. Frozen peas can be refrozen if they have been cooked.


Should I buy Organic?

I have this dilemma everytime I go to the grocery store to buy food for my family. I can't believe how expensive organic food is! I read an article that helped me understand the cost issue a little better. The article explained that it is more expensive to farm organically and that the crop yields are smaller raising the end price. While I understand this, I get so angry when I stand in the produce section of Whole Foods trying to justify paying $2.99 a pound for apples or pears.

There are pros and cons on each side of the organic food argument. The most compelling argument for me is the pesticide issue. I understand that farmers use pesticides on produce to control insects, mold and disease, but I have also read that the level of pesticide absorption is 4 times higher with babies than with the average adult. I have also read that nitrates found in conventional soil is dangerous for babies because it can cause an unusual form of anemia because they can't excrete the nitrates as effeciently as adults. On the other side, some argue that research has shown that organic produce isn't any safer than conventional. I'm not sure what "safer" means, but I would rather air on the side of safety. I want my child to have the healthiest start possible. I don't like the idea of unknown and unnecessary substances floating around in his young little body.

SO, I have set myself out to find the cheapest way to provide the healthiest food for my child. Here's what I do...when I am ready to introduce a new food I explore the different options (jarred, buying fresh or frozen) and I make the decision from there. Some fruits and veggies are readily available at reasonable prices to buy fresh (carrots & apples) Some foods have a very low rating for pesticides and are not reasonably priced for organic varieties, so I buy conventionally (banana, avocados, sweet potatoes, butternut squash). Others are either not widely available or are too expensive and I buy frozen (peas and peas). And, still others are just not available fresh all year long or are too expensive to justify buying fresh and I make a choice to buy organic jarred (apricots, plums, prunes, pears).

But, my advice is to not drive yourself crazy about this. Make the best choices you can for the food you are introducing. Please learn a lesson from me about this. I have stood in the middle of the grocery store several times wandering from the frozen food section to the produce section to the baby food aisle breaking out into a sweet and anxiously deliberating what decision to make. Do what feels right for you and trust your instincts.

To help you decide where you are on the organic debate, check out these websites:




And, I am interested to hear if you have found other sources that are helpful.

Why Make Homemade Baby Food?


Pears are an excellent first fruit. They are mild, not too sweet and super yummy! When I made Pearsauce for the first time I wanted to not only lick the spoon, but the blender as well. Here's what I do:

Start with 4 pears. After washing peel, core and slice pears. Place them in one layer in a saucepan with a steamer basket. Fill with enough water so that water is below steamer basket and not touching food. Steam on high with lid on saucepan for about 8-10 minutes. Test pears to see if they are done by piercing with a fork. They are done when very soft and easily pierced.

Let pears cool in pan with lid off until easy to handle. Puree in blender or food processor until smooth. Pears have a high water content and do not need any additional liquid.

Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze to make food cubes.
~Age - An excellent first food, 5 + months

~Yield - 6-8 servings (serving = 2 tablespoons or 1 frozen food cube)
~What to look for - Bartlett, Anjou and Bosc pears are all good varieties to choose from. Pears tend to ripen from the inside out, so a pear is ready when it is firm to the touch, but not too hard.

~Nutritionally Speaking - Pears provide both Vitamin C and Potassium.


I made the yummiest fresh applesauce the other day. It was so easy and it tasted so much better than anything you can buy! Here's what to do:

Start with 4-8 apples. After washing core and slice the apples into quarters. Leaving the skin on during cooking gives the cooking water more nutrients. Place them in one layer in a saucepan with a steamer basket. Fill with enough water so that water is below steamer basket and not touching food. Steam on high with lid on saucepan for about 10-12 minutes. Test apples to see if they are done by piercing with a fork. Apples are done when very soft and easily pierced.

Let apples cool in pan with lid off until easy to handle. Scrape flesh out of skin and puree in blender or food processor until smooth. Add some of cooking water to thin out to consistency desired.
Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze to make food cubes.
Age - An excellent first food, 5 months and on
What to look for - Use milder apples with no dents or bruises like Golden Delicious or Rome (Green apples are too acidic for new eaters)
Yield - 8 apples will make 10 servings (serving = 2 tablespoons or 1 frozen food cube)
Nutritionally Speaking - Apples provide Vitamin C, Potassium and Pectin (good for soothing an upset tummy or diarrhea).


Information on this blog is not meant to be taken as medical advice and should not replace the advice given by your doctor or pediatrician.


Sometimes feeding our sweet, lovable babies can turn into a wrestling match trying to keep food from flying all over the kitchen, getting on your clothes and into your baby's hair. I can't get over how quickly my laid back, anything goes child can turn into such a protester when he gets into the high chair. He won't swallow his food and it dribbles down his chin, he frantically waves his arms around trying to knock the spoon (full of food) out of my hands, or he'll cry protesting peas one day and sweet potatoes another. Maybe I was too quick to declare how un-fussy of an eater he was when we started solids. He would approach anything I fed him with an open mouth. He still eats pretty much anything I feed him, but when we have an episode it is a battle of the wills between us.
"Mealtime should be fun," I keep telling myself.

I am learning (slowly) to take meals less seriously. The goal is to nourish my child and help him become an independent eater. If I can involve him in mealtime, then he will have a positive attitude toward food. What I am learning is that this is one of the only places in his life where he can assert his independence. He can choose what he likes to eat and if he wants to eat it. He wants to feed himself with the spoon and gets mad when I won't let him. I wish he could understand the reasons I list for him as to why I need to hold the spoon instead of letting him, though!

Here are a few tricks I have learned to make mealtime with my 8-month old a little easier:

- I give him a toy or clean spoon to hold. It distracts him and gives him somewhere else to focus all that frenetic energy.

- I take little breaks in between bites to let him have a rest, play for a moment, swallow his food completely, and take it all in.

- At the end of a meal I give him the spoon with a little food on it to let him practice feeding himself.

- I place a little soft piece of mashed banana or other food on the tray of the high chair and let hom play with it. He will squish it with his hands and I know that one of these days soon he will put it in his mouth reinforcing his independence. This is something you can do once they start picking things up with their fingers. If your baby doesn't have teeth yet, be very careful and make sure the food it tiny and very soft so that it is not a choking hazard.

Are there ways you are involving your babies in mealtime and overcoming the challenges of an independent eater?

Good luck! We're in it together.


Thawing Frozen Baby Purees

Using a microwave-proof container, thaw frozen puree cubes in microwave on low to medium heat setting. Check every 20 seconds or so to make sure food is thawing and not cooking. BE SURE TO STIR PUREE THOROUGHLY. Microwaves heat unevenly and it is important that puree is stirred to distribute heat evenly. You are simply thawing puree, not cooking it. Baby's cannot tolerate hot food in their sensitive mouths, puree does not need to be any warmer than room temperature. The best way to test food is to put a small amount to your tongue or on the inside of your upper lip to test the temperature.

Storing Fresh Baby Purees

You can store fresh baby purees in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Storing individual portions in small containers will make mealtimes easier, eliminating extra steps when your baby is anxiously awaiting their lunch.

You will want to freeze any puree you won't use within 4 days. Do this by spooning puree into ice trays. Each section filled to the top will be approximately 2 tablespoons, making measuring portions easy. Cover the ice tray with aluminum foil to eliminate freezer burn before placing in freezer. After food has frozen solid (usually overnight), pop cubes out and store in a zip-lock bag labeled with the food and date frozen. If it's hard to pop out puree cubes, run the bottom of the ice tray under a little warm water and they will pop right out.


Butternut Squash

Winter squash, such as the butternut, make a creamy, beautiful orange puree and are a perfect first vegetable for new eaters. While they are in season during fall and winter months, they can be prepared and frozen to be enjoyed by your baby all year long.

Wash outside of squash with soap and water. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and strings. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easier cleanup). Place squash skin side down on sheet. Bake at 375 for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Squash will be done when can be pierced easily with a fork.

Let squash cool so it will be easy to handle. Scoop flesh out of skin and puree in either a blender, food processor or mixer with whip attachment. Add water a couple of tablespoons at a time to reach desired consistency.

~Age - An excellent first food, 5 + months

~ Yield - 1 butternut squash will yield approximately 10 servings (1 serving = 2 tablespoons or 1 frozen food cube)

~ Nutritionally Speaking - Vitamins A, C and B complex; calcium, and potassium

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