We Band of Butlers

we few, we happy few

Meals for Ari

If you’re reading this on Facebook, you’ll miss all the links, you should come to my blog. πŸ™‚

Ari has begun three meals a day! She still nurses a lot, but we added the extra solids to help her stay full longer on the doctor’s recommendation (she’s still waking up three or four times a night to eat). Some friends have expressed interest in the fact that I make Ari’s baby food, so I thought I would share a typical day of meals for Ari. πŸ™‚

Making your own baby food is easy, cheap, healthier, and tastes better. It’s actually good!! When I have to eat some of Ari’s food to get her interested in it, I don’t have to pretend to enjoy it. In fact, sometimes I’ll just sit there and eat tiny bites myself, and she’ll reach for the plate, and I’ll say “Oh, no, this is good stuff, Mama’s gonna eat this,” and keep eating it. Then she REALLY wants some. πŸ˜‰ I make all her meals entirely out of organic foods, and it’s cheaper than if I bought the Gerber stuff in the store. She’s also able to chew solids now, from easily mashed up foods like pasta and banana to even crunchier (but still easily dissolved) foods like graham. I haven’t yet attempted to make my own graham crackers, but I bought some organic graham flour at the HEB the other day and plan on trying it out soon! (Our kitchen is busy with banana bread right now.)

“Recipes” are below. That’s in quotes because I really just kind of make it up. And I haven’t included recipes for pureed stuff. You just cook it and put it in a food processor.

A note: Don’t ever add salt to baby food, they can’t handle sodium like we can and it will overwork their kidneys and is dangerous. They can eat salt that naturally occurs in stuff, but don’t use it as a seasoning. Also be careful with nitrate rich foods, such as carrots and spinach, until your baby is 8 months old. Just research it. πŸ™‚

Breakfast:
Frozen waffle (organic Archer Farms homestyle waffles): I leave this frozen, it kind of serves as a teething biscuit (thanks for the tip, Paige!)
Fruity oatmeal

Lunch:
Macaroni and cheese (sometimes with some pureed chicken)
Veggies (if it’s something like peas I might mix it in the mac and cheese, it’s better than it sounds πŸ˜‰

Snack (sometimes):
Cheesy crackers or graham crackers or puff cereal or a teething biscuit

Dinner:
Pureed veggies (peas and carrots and corn or broccoli and carrots etc)
Pureed fruit (applesauce with a dab of cinnamon comes in handy πŸ˜‰
Yogurt
Chicken
Leftovers from lunch (usually some mac and cheese left)
Diluted apple juice

Okay, so now for recipes:

Fruity oatmeal is pretty easy. I buy the organic oat bran from the bulk section of HEB for like $0.77 a pound, so it’s about 5 cents a serving or so. Cook it with apple juice and mashed up banana and it turns into a fantastically healthy and delicious grit type breakfast.

Macaroni and cheese is a lot of fun and one of Ari’s favorites. (You can buy organic flours in the bulk section at the HEB for less than a dollar a pound, or you can mill your own for even cheaper.) What makes this work is the pasta. I found this pasta at the HEB the other day – it’s absolutely perfect. Rice, beet, and spinach based, it’s tiny, swirly, colorful, and perfect for tiny fingers to grab. There’s no wheat to worry allergy conscious mamas and it tastes wonderful. So I cook the pasta (don’t cook it for as long as it says or for as long as you’re used to cooking wheat pasta, it only takes a couple of minutes or it gets soggy…which isn’t bad if your baby isn’t chewing yet, anyway) and meanwhile make the cheese sauce. Put a pan on low to medium low heat and melt some butter into it then add flour (you can substitute a rice flour for entirely wheat free but I’ve never done this so you’ll have to watch it closely). Cook it until it’s a paste then add some milk and keep stirring and cooking until it’s a thinner paste. When you are ready to add the cheese, add it. A mild flavored cheese works best and it needs to be finely shredded. Only cook the cheese long enough to melt it. You might need to add more milk/cheese to get the consistency you want, but the longer you cook the cheese the lest awesome it will taste. πŸ˜‰ Pour the sauce over the pasta, and voila! Instant fave. πŸ˜€

The chicken is just as fun. (To save money and still eat very healthy, you can buy the organic chicken from the HEB when it goes way on sale because it’s going to go bad in 24 hours, so it’s cheaper than normal chicken, then cook it all at once and eat it throughout the week.) You can cook it however you want and then puree it with a bit of water or milk (or juice if you’re bold). The last time, I breaded mine with some flour, milk, egg, and a bit of seasonings (some rosemary and such) then cooked it in a pan with a bit of sunflower oil and pureed it. She loved it! (And so did Justin and I. πŸ˜‰

So there you have it! A day in the life of a mobile, eating Ari! Good enough that you can sneak some off your baby’s plate. πŸ˜‰

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