…and unseasoned ground turkey cooked in a frying pan and then pureed into a funky gray paste really does suck that much.
When the recipe book said the consistency would be “paste-like” I should have known. But all the baby food I have made so far has been so tasty I usually end up scraping out the last bits of it from his bowl with my finger when he’s done eating. So how bad could it be?
I bought a pound of ground turkey. Look at it, all packaged up and innocent looking, ready to be cooked:
So I tossed it in the frying pan with 1/2 cup of water as directed by the cookbook and sauteed the crap out of it until it was completely cooked.
I then tossed it in the food processor and whirled it until it was, well, paste-like. I found I had to add a little water to think it enough to puree properly. It ended up being this gray, gritty goo. Here it is, frozen into cubes with last night’s dinner removed from the center:
It really tasted like crap. Seriously. Super bland meat; unsalted, no crispy browned bits, no fat to add flavor. Just bland bland meat. But I guess I consider something bland as crap. And it didn’t necessarily taste BAD, there was just very little GOOD. So I decided to feed it to Simon anyways. So I mixed it 1:1 with pear puree and fed it to him using the usual method starting with rice and slowly blending in the rest. He liked it decently well, so I will keep serving it to him just to teach his guts to digest meat. But I think I’ll try roasting his next meat to give a little more depth of flavor.
On another note, I just figured I would give y’all a little overview of how all of this comes together on a daily basis. So here are a few photos of some of Simon’s recent meals:
Prunes and pears with plain Greek yogurt.
Rice cereal and turkey/pear puree.
Blueberries and barley cereal
Pea/mint/pear puree and barley cereal
Thanks and gig’em!
Last week we finalized our move to San Antonio, which means we are putting our house on the market next week. Consequently I have been ruthlessly and obsessively decluttering and cleaning our house from top to bottom in preparation to show. It’s amazing how I can overlook so many little things that need to be done until I realize that, oh my god, people are going to be walking around the house critiquing everything! So the shower has been re-caulked, the kitchen cabinets have been washed and oiled, Simon’s closet has been cleared out so that you can actually WALK into the walk-in closet (fancy that), and numerous other small details have been taken care of. Not to mention all the general cleaning that has to be done when you have a house with three people, two cats and a Golden Retriever. Thank goodness I had lots of Simon food already made and frozen! Score one for buying, cooking, and freezing in bulk.
My initial obsessive outburst of cleaning, etc, has faded and I have found that my frozen food supply is dwindling down to those last few cubes of each food (with the exception of butternut squash because apparently two large butternut squash make more baby food than you will ever need). So this week I have been whipping up more baby food in between household tasks and trips to Home Depot, Target and IKEA. Honestly though, none of the food items is worth an entire blog post. Most of the recipes were just about as mind numbingly easy as Paula Deen’s English Buttered Peas recipe or Rachel Ray’s Pineapple Wedges, except unlike these to exceptionally worthless chefs, I won’t call this a “recipe”, I’ll just tell you briefly how I did it and leave it at that.
Raw food is the easiest:
Peel banana, mash in bowl with fork until creamy. Feed to baby.
Cut avocado in half. Remove pit. Mash avocado and feed to baby. You don’t even need a bowl!
But cooking food is easy too:
Put bag of frozen peas in microwave. Nuke for 6 minutes. Puree in food processor.
Peel carrots. Cut up carrots. Steam carrots for 5 minutes in steaming basket. Puree in food processor.
We also had some repeats of previous recipes:
I stewed more prunes.
I also made dried apricots by the exact same method I used on the prunes.
His favorite thing is pears, so I steamed another big bag of pears.
I also made applesauce exactly the same way I made the pear puree.
You get my point.
Although I must add, I did get a little fancy and add a big bunch of mint from my garden into the peas. I also didn’t cook the carrots til mushy, just until I could pierce them with a knife. That way they wouldn’t puree into a paste. They held some texture for him to experiment with. Asparagus was also a nice addition to his vegetable repertoire , but “wash, cut, steam and puree” asparagus doesn’t make for an exciting blog. I mixed it 1:1 with pears and he gobbled it right up!
Next up is something REALLY EXCITING!
I bought a pound of ground turkey! We’re introducing MEAT! Because his poop just isn’t gross enough already….
So stay tuned!
No, I have suddenly become a Justin Bieber fan overnight, although I will admit that I have had “Baby baby baby oooooooohhh like baby baby baby…” stuck in my head for the last 5 hours after I watched a video of a friends blog where her son says “baby” a few times in a row and JUST LIKE THAT I am crooning Bieber all day long. DAMMIT…(oooooooh like baby….).
but MOVING ON people, that’s irrelevant
Anybody who knows me will be familiar with the fact that I’m pretty opinionated. OK, so using the adjective “pretty” might be the UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE F***ING YEAR. But whatever, you get the point. If the last six months of motherhood have taught me anything it’s that my opinions and views don’t really matter quite so much anymore. Seriously, I have done things these last 6 months that I swore I would never do. And they just come naturally to me as a busy mom, and it’s only afterwards that I look back and realize that OH MY GOD I actually wore my Crocs out and about IN PUBLIC all day long. Something I swore I would never do.
But on a more serious note, I used to have all of these opinions and theories about parenting that were quickly either proven wrong or just plain forgotten after Simon was born.
I have left the house with Simon in nothing but his diaper and a t-shirt that rides up and shows his belly. How much more white trash can I get? I used to scowl at those trashy people who did that.
I used to think co-sleeping was weird. Then he slept next to me for the first three months of his life because that’s the only thing that worked.
I have had a glass of wine at 9:30am. I used to think that made me an alcoholic. But in those first few months sometimes the morning felt like I had already been up all day.
So how in the f does this apply to your food blog, you ask? Well, I guess it’s that I should never say things like;
I’ll never take Simon to McDonalds.
I’ll always serve him healthy food.
And I guess I shouldn’t make any assumptions about how all this food stuff is going to turn out. Simon is a person; an individual with his own opinions just as strong as his mothers’ (God help me). He really could end up being the pickiest eater I know – a straight Kraft Mac n Cheese eater for a year. I just don’t know. But I’ll document our food journey here on my blog for all the world to see, for better or for worse.
Up until now the grains that Simon has eaten, rice and oatmeal, have been finely ground versions of the cooked grain mixed with water. Originally I followed the directions in the “Cooking for Baby” book; take whole rice and grind it and then cook it in water. Freeze in ice cube trays. We tried this for a few weeks, but honestly, it just got messy. It had a funny, inconsistent texture and was weird and slimy when defrosted. It was such a pain in the ass that I switched to the store bought brand; it just made life easier.
What? I never claimed I was going to go 100% homemade! Don’t judge me!!!
The problem has now arisen that very few grains are available in “baby” versions, so I’m having to now improvise. The grains I want to try next are barley, quinoa, and amaranth, as recommended by my cookbook. I bought this pearled barley in the bulk goods isle of the grocery store:
After some thought, I decided NOT to follow the directions in the cookbook. It wants me to grind the barley into a powder and then cook it in boiling water. Instead, I cooked the barley whole, 1 cup barley to 3 cups water, simmer for 45 minutes. When it was finished, I lay it out to dry and cool and dry on a baking sheet and then froze it into cubes.
To introduce it to Simon, I added one cube of barley to two cubes of sweet potato and ground it all together in my Magic Bullet with a bit of water. By using this approach I can control the texture of his food. So for now I ground it to have just itty bitty solid bits of barley in the puree. My willing taste tester was available to give me her opinion, but I made her wait for cleanup.
The bits were just enough for him to feel an actual solid in his mouth but without the risk of choking. I’ll slowly increase the size of the bits as he learns over time to handle them until eventually he can eat the grains whole. He made some great faces while trying it out. I could tell he was feeling out the new texture, experimenting with the feel of it in his mouth.
On a side note, Simon developed a rash the morning after I introduced the barley, so I’m going to discontinue it until the rash goes away. I don’t know if they’re related, it might be something else entirely, but if I try the barley again after the rash clears up and then the rash returns I will know it’s an allergy.
When I think prunes, I think Granny. She always used to keep them around, along with prune juice, and when I was a child she would talk to me in a little too much detail about WHY she needed to eat them regularly (hee hee…regular). I miss her dearly and think about her all the time. And it’s not the big events in my life she was part of that I remember the most, it’s all the little things, like prunes, and her tendency to talk about her GI tract, that made her the amazing/crazy/remarkable woman that she was. So this prune boil is dedicated to you Granny, in all seriousness. I know you’re watching me with pride as I cook for your great grandson.
As an adult, I actually like prunes. In moderation. Like, three or four a week, max. They are deliciously sweet and incredibly good for you. Full of potassium and fiber and antioxidants. “Cooking for Baby” thinks so too, as it’s one of the fruits to introduce after 6 months.
Speaking of “Cooking for Baby”, we have now successfully eaten all of the recommended 4-6 months foods with the exception of barley and millet. Millet, because it’s not at my local grocery store and I haven’t made it to Whole Foods in a while, and barley because I just haven’t gotten around to cooking it yet. That’s what I’ll write about next, introducing new grains. Simon has now eaten: rice, oatmeal, zucchini, butternut squash, sweet potato, peas, avocado, pear, apple, banana and carrots. Whether or not he wants to eat these on any given night is a crapshoot, but he’s not allergic and has enthusiastically eaten significant quantities of each in the past. Now that he is turning 6 months (OH MY GOD WHERE DID THE TIME GO?!?) I am moving into the next chapter, 7-9 months.
I was pleasantly surprised to find these preservative free prunes in the regular grocery store. I think they’re new.
I first put the prunes in a pot and put enough water in the pot to cover them. I brought them to a boil, lowered the heat, and let them simmer for about 5 minutes until I could just slide a fork into the prunes.
I then took them off the heat and let them cool for about twenty minutes. At this point they look like a bunch of brown turds in brown water. See:
I’m right, right? Yum….
So I took the prunes out with a slotted spoon and dropped them in the blender and gave it a whirl. I needed to add a bit of the cooking liquid to loosen up the puree. I ended up with this:
…an ugly, spotted, purplish-brown puree that I poured into an ice cube tray. What you cant get from the photos though is that my whole kitchen was filled with this warm, sweet, delicious aroma, kind of like molasses, that I stood around inhaling in deep breaths as it boiled. And despite the fact that it resembled…well…YOU know…it was actually DELICIOUS! OK, so I taste everything before I feed it to Simon (duh), and when I dipped my finger in this doubtful looking puree and hesitantly put it in my mouth I was astonished by the mild, sweet flavor. I mean, REALLY good! Note: if you really dislike prunes, it still tasted like prunes. But if you’re open to something new and have never tried prunes, I’d give it a shot. I also think the puree I kept defrosted in the refrigerator to feed to him that night tasted even better once it was cold.
As far as introducing them to Simon goes, I’m taking it slowly to avoid the, ahem, negative effects of prunes. He had about a teaspoon mixed into his butternut squash/oatmeal combo last night, and everything was fine today, so we’ll try a bit more tonight.
I also froze the leftover boiling liquid into cubes. This can be mixed into his juice, etc, whenever he starts drinking it at a later date. It also tastes a HELL of a lot better than the prune juice you buy at the store (YUCK!). I like prunes, but prune bottled prune juice….uugggh. So waste not, want not, we have 4 prune juice cubes in the freezer now!