June 17, 2012

Fresh strawberry jam

The berry season in the Pacific Northwest has officially started. So I took full advantage and made some strawberry jam. We picked up a flat of berries from the local farmer's market today. The guy running the booth said they were just picked this morning, so they went from field to jar with in 12 hours! I just used the recipe from the box of pectin so this is just more of an announcement that we love strawberries
and are celebrating the only way we know how
... by eating them!

June 05, 2012

Baby eating!!!

No, I am not a baby eater. My baby is now a mush eater. I have been trying to make as much food for my 10 month old son as possible. For any of you who think it is too hard and you have no time, let me tell you, it is not! I was very intimidated when I first started making my son pureed foods. But looking back there was no reason to be. It is very easy and this way I know exactly what he is eating. One thing I have noticed comparing the food I have been making and when you buy pre-made is that the colors are much more vibrant and the texture is not as soupy. Here are a few basic tips and recipes I have thrown together.

1)     Steam your vegetables, don't cook them - If the fruit and veggies cook for too long these start loosing some of the nutrients. Steaming just till they are tender is perfect, not too little not too long in the heat.

2)     You do not need anything fancy - Use what you got! If you have a blender, great! If you have a food processor, great! If you have a food mill, great! If you have a hand masher, it make take longer but still does the trick! You do not need something special for making baby food, use what you already have.

3)     Get creative - I have tried many combinations of food for my son, some better then others. I figure if it is so bad that  he won't eat it, then the dog gets a treat.

4)     Balance combinations - As with any meal you would make, balance is important. Too much of one type of food can lead to problems like constipation, boringness and turning your baby colors. (True story, too many carrots can make your baby orange)

5)     Pick organic and local - If possible try to make sure as much of your fruit and veggies are organic. It is one thing for you to choose to eat something that is not organic but if all your baby is eating is produce you don't want them to eat pesticides or any other chemical that is unnecessary. And getting local produce not only is good for your local community but it also insures freshness because you are getting what is in season for your area and can help build a healthy immune system based on the area you live.

OK now you have an idea of what to do here are some combinations that were popular in my house.

Blue Berry / Sweet Potato/ Broccoli
Steam your vegetables. I do not have a steamer, I just put about 1/2" of water in a deep pot with a lid then turn on high. Peel the sweet potato then cut in cubes. These should go in first because they take longer to soften then the broccoli. The blueberries do not need to be steamed but you can if you would like to.

Put all fruit/veggies in food processor or whatever you have. Blend until all large chunks are gone and all that is left is the pureed food. Similar to what you see below. The trick is, if it is too thick it will not come off a spoon if turned upside down. You can always make it thinner by adding some water. I like to use the left over water I steamed the vegetables in since there is some nutrients from the produce in it.

I usually do a batch at a time and then fill seal able containers for the food. I freeze half of it for later use and the rest just gets stored in the refrigerator for when needed.

I used about 2 C of broccoli, 1 large sweet potato and 1C of blueberries.

Yield is about 42oz

The picture to the left is another batch of food, This time I used 2 C zucchini, 1 mango and 1 large sweet potato.

Use the same process of steaming vegetables then pureeing until smooth.

You can leave the skin on the zucchini just made sure to wash well first.

I hope you give these combinations a try!

Please keep in mind these combination are for babies around nine months and older. You always want to start with individual fruit or vegetable purees before trying combinations so if there are any allergic reactions you know what caused it.


June 01, 2012

Coupon ninja

I love couponing. I am by no means a diva of the free but, I do love a good deal. I have been trying to embrace using coupons and taking advantage of sales the last few years. I don't like to pay full price for anything, I am not cheap I just don't want to be had. I should think that no one does. I had always heard that people use so many coupons they could get stuff free. I have not seen it first hand but love to watch people do it on TV. I feel to be professional at it you need to know how to work the system. And have lots of time.

One of my goals for 2012 is to learn as much as possible to be able to save as much money as possible. God gave me skills in organization and patience so why not use them in a way that can benefit my family. I am going to work on understanding how to get a good deal by trial and error and other's examples.

This first theory I am going to research is: Necessity items are more expense at the beginning of the month when food stamps / EBT benefits kick in for the month.

The second theory I am going research is: It is better to stock up on items even if you will not likely use them just to get "the deal".

The third theory I am going to research is: You can get money back from the stores if your total goes to a negative balance.

*** Check out part two the return of the ninja ***