Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Doctor's Okay Means Avocado Today

Keats is growing up fast and I don't just mean the usual baby speed. Seriously, he's working his way up the milestone chart like he was born to it and we're excitedly trying to keep up. He is sitting, standing, rolling, laughing when we laugh, and getting started on some rudimentary crawling. He "talks" for hours on end, smiles at just about everybody, and recognizes Birch and I as his housemates. Do babies understand the concept of parents? Who knows. I have a whole diatribe about babies and what they know, but I won't burden you all with that. Suffice to say that my Epistemology class in college ruined me forever in that department. It's really difficult not to launch down that road, but I'll stick to my purpose: baby food.

For those in the know, my man is a ridiculously good cook, restaurant good (without the organization and no sous chef). So, great sink piles, counter messes, and hours of preparation and cooking aside, this is a serious heaven-sent miracle of life to have a husband who cooks every single meal every single day, especially now with the little man hangin' 'round. With my food taken care of, I was surprised to find that Birch is completely at a loss when it comes to baby food. He scoffs at my ideas but has decided to let me have full reign over this pureeable step in our baby's life. Note: I do know that "pureeable" isn't a word. Anyone know the correct word that means that? There has to be one out there.

So, before the blender came into play, with the doctor's okay we simply put a plum, a peach, and an avocado up to his mouth which he then sucked on like crazy, lovin' life. This method was perfect for those foods that smash up easily (like between your fingers, for instance). But what about those foods that didn't do that? Spinach, apples, carrots? I went to my usual sources first: Prudent Baby and Smitten Kitchen. And guess what? SK just had a baby and has started a baby food site. How exciting! That spinach and white yam recipe is definitely on my list of things to try.

I bought Tovolo's silicone ice tray set and a Fred & Friends Ice Invaders tray, too. And yes, I found it difficult to stop there. On my wishlist there are trays with dinosaur fossils, shells, stars, Tetris shapes, and the Easter Island statues. I know, pretty freakin' awesome. I'm really looking forward to some carrot-yam Moai.

So, with my ice trays in tow, we tackled applesauce. Birch picked about sixty Gravenstein apples from off my parents' tree then peeled, cored, and chopped them all. Taking about half of the bounty, we boiled the apples down until they were mushy (note: they should have been just tender, but Keats needed a diaper change). Scooping them out with a slotted spoon, I plopped the sweet smelling apples into the blender, adding just 1/6 cup of sugar and pureeing for about two seconds (yes, literally). With the mushy apples this made an incredibly smooth puree. On our second try, we cooked the apples for less time and this made a chunkier sauce that was still easily smooshed in a baby's mouth... and our own. I poured the applesauce into the trays, being sure to fill each cube perfectly by scraping the back of a knife over the top for even coverage. The silicone of the trays makes that really crazy easy, by the way. I covered both trays with plastic wrap and stuck 'em in the freezer.

Later, it was time for Keats to try it out. Feeling somewhat overzealous, I took out two cubes/ounces of sauce and let them defrost for about ten minutes just on the plate (no microwave), helping them along every so often by scraping Keats' spoon against them. Bite by bite, Keats gobbled up his applesauce, making a hilarious face with each bite, no doubt because of the tartness, but asking for more until he got so excited he couldn't swallow anymore. (Not because he was full. He really seemed to forget how to do it, losing all concentration with his excitement.) That's all right, though. I deemed it a huge success and he's had an ounce of applesauce, avocado, or pureed carrots once a day for a few days now. Oh, and I've ordered some books by Annabel Karmel, too, The Healthy Baby Meal Planner and First Meals, which I'm hoping will be as useful as they seem! 

So, there it is.

Oh, and though I'll have to surpress the urge to allow Keats a taste, I'm planning on making these next. Yum!

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