Hey Guys! Here’s Part Two of my dear friend Nicole Tubiola’s Guest Blog. We met during our WILDFIRE days, and she came to my rescue to help me transition Odette into the solid food phase. Nicole runs a company called Simple that prepares baby meals for busy mamas in their homes and leaves these meals in their freezers. She created this amazing video with instructions below on how to cook and prepare these important meals!
Without further ado, here is our first guest blog by Nicole Tubiola. Also, be sure to follow her on Instagram for daily tips and tricks!
The First Month of Baby Food by Nicole Tubiola
As every parent knows, having a baby will give you the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The amount of love you feel astounds you and self-doubt seems to follow your every move. Whether it’s your first or 10th, each child brings a new experience and new emotions. I thought Genʼs blog on introducing Odette to solids perfectly illustrated the emotions behind all the “firsts” you have with your kiddos.
Since 2009, I have owned a baby food company… I have literally cooked for hundreds of babies. Which gives me an insider’s view about the practical side of introducing solids. Needless to say, I have learned many tips and tricks over the years! However, the number one worry my parents have is that their baby will turn out to be a picky eater. Believe it or not, I have boiled it down to three things I think every parent should do to make sure their child doesn’t turn into one: Tasty food, routine and rules for the new teacher (that’s you!).
#1 Tasty Food. Look, I don’t have anything against the pouches of food you buy in the supermarket, they will get your baby fed – which is the point! I will say, that they don’t taste very good… and many times they don’t even taste like the food you are trying to introduce! Plus, they tend to add fruit to sweeten them up so that the babies will more readily accept the new tastes. It’s no shock that the homemade baby food girl thinks the first key is that the food is homemade. It just tastes better. That said, parents are already short on time. Maybe a nap or a shower sounds a little better than steaming some sweet potato, amiright?! Many DIY parents like to make small batches of food everyday, and I think that’s great! But for me, I like to spend a little more time once a month so that I don’t have to think about it for another 28 days. That’s where this recipe and video come in! It shows you how to make everything on the 1st Month Schedule I gave to Genevieve in just a couple hours. In the end you’ll have 6+ trays of baby food and the most satisfied feeling you can imagine when you look in the freezer.
#2 Routine. Hello, 1st month schedule! I have spent years talking to parents. They would come to me while I was in their kitchen with questions: How much do I feed the baby? When do I feed the baby? How much milk should I give the baby? I set about answering those questions for them by talking to pediatricians so that I could create a schedule for my families. I wanted to take as much worry out of the process for them as I possibly could. If this schedule is not for you, don’t worry about it, it won’t be for everyone. But do take the time to come up with a routine for you and your bubba. It makes it a whole lot easier in the long run!
#3 Rules. Iʼm sure youʼve heard the saying “Under one is just for fun” and while that is true, I think it is more accurate to say “Under one is for LEARNING fun”. You are now your childʼs eating teacher and so structure around your lessons is important! Believe me, it is much easier to teach your child these lessons before they can say “NO!”… and that time frame is a pretty small window! In general, babies donʼt like anything new. This is where you come in… I give my parents 10 Simple Rules for introducing food. The rules are basic reminders to keep trying rejected foods, practice what you preach, etc. They provide a good blueprint of the things that you can control in this experience to make the journey fun!
Nothing gives me more joy then when a parent comes to me years later and says how good of an eater their now toddler or adolescent still is. I attribute the success rate of my babies being good eaters to yes, tasty food – but more so to the moms and dads who really took on the role of teacher with a gusto!
I’d love to hear what tips and tricks work best for you!
THE 1ST MONTH RECIPE
Ingredients: 1.5 lbs of each: butternut squash, sweet potato, carrot, green bean, pear, apple Have on hand: iron-fortified oatmeal cereal, multi-grain cereal, avocado, whole milk plain yogurt Time: takes 2.5 hours active time and 3 hours inactive
Makes: at least 6 ice cube trays
*Keep in mind that cooking times can vary based on the size/ripeness of your veggies/fruits.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees & get about 4 inches of water boiling in a large steamer pot
- Wash/scrub all your fruits and veggies
- With a good knife, Cut the ends off of your butternut squash, stand it up and cut it in half. Take the seeds out and throw away. Put the butternut squash flesh side down in a casserole dish and add about an inch of water. Cover.
- Put your sweet potatoes on a foil covered cookie sheet (no clean-up that way!). Put the butternut squash & the sweet potatoes in the oven. Cook until they are for fork tender. About an hour depending on the size.
- Place the green beans in a steamer basket. Steam for about 15 minutes. (I use frozen green beans because they are already cleaned and have the string taken out. Itʼs hard to make a puree without, what I call, green bean fuzz using raw, big beans)
- Cut the ends off of a ripe pears, then stand them up and cut them in half. Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out the seeds. Cut out the stem string & any remaining calyx (bottom stem thing). Wedge the pear. Set aside. (IF your fruit is very ripe you actually do not need to steam it. I do to make sure that if any germs are hanging out they will die. If you want to save extra time, you can puree it now and put the puree in an ice cube tray, then the freezer)
- Your green beans should be finished. Green beans should be v ery tender in order to get a smooth puree. To keep the green beans green – get a bowl half filled with ice & water to shock the green beans. Pour the green beans into the bowl. Drain excess water from the beans and put them in your blender. (If you donʼt mind beans turning brown you don’t have to shock them – it doesnʼt make any difference to the taste). * if the beans are still not tender start on your apples #12
- Wash the steamer basket and put the pears in it. Steam for 5-10 minutes depending on ripeness.
- Puree the green beans to your desired consistency. You should not need to add water. But if you are finding that you can’t get a smooth puree, add a tablespoon of water at a time. Because the green beans are cold from being shocked you can immediately pipe the puree into an ice cube tray and freeze.
- Wash the blender
- Once pears are tender, take them out and put them in the blender. Let them sit in there while you…
- Cut ends off of apples, then peel. Wedge the apples. Put the apples into a clean steamer basket and place over the boiling water for about 10 minutes until they are fork tender.
- Check to see if your butternut squash & sweet potato are fork tender. If they are, take it them out of the oven and cool.
- Pears are very watery so drain any excess water out of the blender. Pulse the pears to your desired consistency. Transfer the puree to a bowl & let it cool for 5 minutes before finishing cooling in the freezer
- Wash the blender. Check to see if apples are fork tender. If they are, put them in the blender and let them sit and wash the steamer basket, if not…
- Start the carrots! Cut off the ends of the carrots & peel. Then chop into 1/2 inch slices. Steam the carrots for 15-20 minutes. *make sure you still have enough water in the steamer pot – if it looks low add additional water.
- Drain any excess water from the apples in the blender and then blend them to your desired consistency. Transfer to a bowl and let cool on the counter for a couple minutes. Make sure the pears are in the freezer.
- Wash the blender.
- With gloves on (gloves are not necessary but make it easier), scoop out the cooked flesh of the butternut squash and put it in the blender. Make sure not to include any of the skin in your puree. Blend to your desired consistency. (Additional water is not usually necessary… but if you feel like your puree is too thick you can add a tablespoon at a time to get the puree you want.) Transfer to a bowl and set aside for a few minutes. Make sure the apple puree is put in the freezer to finish cooling.
- Wash the blender
- Check the carrots. If they are fork tender transfer them to the blender and puree to your desired consistency. You will probably need to add water as this puree can be quite thick. Add 1-2 tablespoons at a time to reach the consistency you are looking for. Transfer to a bowl and let cool on the counter for a few minutes. Transfer the butternut squash to the freezer.
- Wash the blender
- With gloves on, peel the skin from the sweet potato and place the flesh in the blender. Puree to your desired consistency. You will probably need to add water as this puree can be quite thick. Add 1-2 tablespoons at a time to reach the consistency you are looking for. Transfer to a bowl and let cool on the counter for a few minutes. * If the carrots were not ready at step 21, then do step 21 now.
- Wash the blender & pot. Make sure all of your purees are in the freezer cooling.
- Fill the rest of your ice cube trays with the purees. For easy filling use disposable pastry bags or a ziplock with the end snipped off. Cut less of a corner than you think as some of the purees can be very thin. Pipe each into their trays starting with the coldest.
26. Let all the ice cube trays freeze for 2-3 hours. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to labeled ziplock bags. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months!
*PUREES WILL BE VERY HOT. BE CAREFUL WHILE BLENDING