Monday, March 07, 2011

Food Mill

Non-mommy readers: I'm sorry, but this extra long post will probably bore you.

Mothers of more than one son: How do you afford to feed them?!?
My boy eats like it's going out of style. Like there's no tomorrow. Like every meal may be his last. I'm starting to think that he would be content to sit in his high chair all day long as long as I offered him food every ten minutes.
As you can imagine, I've been giving a lot of money to Gerber in order to sustain this growing boy, so I thought I might try something new.
A couple of weeks ago I went out and bought a food mill. I steamed (the heck out of) 6-8 carrots (peels on) and two enormous sweet potatoes (peeled). I then ran them through the food mill and froze them in one ounce portions, which just happen to fit perfectly in ice cube trays. *I am the first mother in the world to think of this.*

Once frozen, I popped them out and put them in two-ounce portions in air-tight containers. They now reside in the freezer. 30 seconds in the microwave and Richard has a meal so filling he can hardly eat an additional jar of fruit (though he TRIES).
I think baby food companies must add quite a bit of water to their food to get a texture that appeals to Baby. Richard was indeed very sad the first time I offered him this new food. I think the issue is texture. I've found that if I add just a little water and a little cereal, it is a lot more palatable to him and he gobbles it up.
The whole project cost me about $3 and two hours (beside the $10 for the food mill). I can't believe I haven't been doing this all along. I ended up with sixteen meals for the Bairn, which alone has been worth the effort. By my calculations, 16 jarred baby food *meals* (at two jars per meal) cost approximately $16, or more, depending on the day. I sincerely wish I had been doing this for the last six months! Now he's almost a year old and about ready to give up baby food! I wanted to post about it so that other mommies don't waste time and money like I did! I will be doing another batch in the next week, and I saw green beans at Aldi last week, so we'll see how that goes. I also have some radishes in the fridge that need to be eaten up. But would that be mean? :) Mixed with cauliflower? Or carrots? I think he'd dig it. I have also used the food mill on things like chicken and wild rice soup. He LOVED it. I still buy jars for going out and green veggies and fruits. At this time of year, green vegetables and most fruits are not cost effective to do myself. And for when we are eating away from home, the convenience of pre-jarred baby food is totally worth it to me.
Have any of my readers done this? I'm open to tips and ideas.


kristi noser said...

I used to make all of Hannah's baby food. She loved the pears the best--who doesn't? Oh, and I was the first mommy to think of this. I am sure of it. Give me that crown.

kathaleend said...

Guess you don't remember with I did this for you.

Radishes? Do they have any nutritional value?

Anonymous said...

Oh no on the radishes... you will be up wit ha colicky kids for days. Best to throw those suckers out.
You and jess should talk. she is just at the beginning of the baby food thing, but so far has made all of reid's. She will be happy to see someone else did the cost analysis and came up with "are you kidding??"

And affording to feed boys? One of my best friends from ND had 4 stappin' young men, football players all, and it was by far cheaper to go to all-you-can-eat buffets than pay for enough burgers and fries to fill 'em up. She was/is a great cook and if at all possible, they all came home for lunch, too, so she fixed three big meals a day, not counting all the baking she did. (she is responsible for the awesome sugar cookie recipe we have, if you are familiar with that.)

Happy motherhood,


Oh yeah. one year, ron and his brother each went through three sizes of jeans in one school year. That was back in the day when you went school shopping just before school started and you didn't get new clothes or shoes until the next year. Ron's mom said they just about bankrupted the families those years with the new jeans/new shoe requirements.

Anonymous said...

I do proof. I don't know what is the matter with me. Please forgive typos and grammatical errors. Have a laugh among yourselves....


Anonymous said...

and blogs are much better than facebook....

Lis said...

yup, you could also do a blender or food processor. I know of a book that I might pick up call Baby Love that talks about making the food as well.

Carla said...

I made a lot of baby food with my mini food processor. First mom to think of it, come to think of it.

Cauliflower tastes just like mashed potatoes!!

Jessie said...

A nice idea to start with Mr. Dexter... he is starting to approach baby food age. Perhaps if I start him on home food right away, he wouldn't even know the texture difference!

erin said...

Jessie! YES! And it's not nearly as time consuming as you would think. :) Let me know how it goes for you!

Melissa said...

I haven't ever frozen baby food but I've definitely used the food mill and made 3-4 days of bowls of pureed fruits or veggies and stored them in the fridge.

When your kids get a little bigger you can take this to a bigger scale. I often take recipes that call for a 9x13 pan (i.e. lasagna) and split it into 2 8x8 pans. I freeze one before cooking it for a later date. An 8x8 pan of something is perfect for a family of 4 with 2 little ones. I will also make big pots of soup and freeze half of it.

Another money saving tip: buy canned pears or peaches and puree them for baby food. And I always used the big jar of regular applesauce for the babies.