Monday, November 1, 2010

Cooking for your Toddler

I've pretty much mastered making baby food ( thanks to Christen Babb, founder of NurtureBaby), which I found to be fun, cheap, and interesting.

  • Fun: Because I LOVE to cook, and experiment in the kitchen.
  • Cheap: Because I would sprend approximately $11 on fruits and veggies, and prepare more than 70 servings.
  • Interesting: Because you realize how easy it is to do, and if you're a mom with a bit of time left in a day, it can be done !
Olivia pretty much turned her head to the pureed goodies at about 8 months and wanted to eat foods with more flavors & textures, and we've been experimenting since then. I must admit that she doesn't eat much, therefore I still give her formula for the nutrients and vitamins that her growing body needs.

I hardly EVER buy food from the baby food aisle in the supermarket, I don't buy her toddler snacks or cookies, or puffs.  I don't buy jar foods, I don't buy baby juice (well sometimes) , or baby water. The only reason why I go down that aisle is to pick up a few bottles of Similac, and to get ideas on meals to create at home.
Last week I purchased a 2 pack of Beech-Nut Chicken & Cheesy Potatoes (because it was on sale) and I really I like the ingredients (protein, dairy & starch) and I wanted to taste it to make my own rendition. Here is the Ingredient List: 
water, carrots, cooked diced chicken, binders added (chicken, nonfat dry milk, wheat flour, salt), dehydrated potatoes, romano cheese (made from part skimmed pasteurized cow’s milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), rice flour, cornstarch, unsalted butter, onion flakes. contains: wheat, milk
I have a problem with the items listed in red, Why the binders, what are these enzymes, and why rice flour  & wheat? Can I go to the grocery store and buy a box of chicken binders  and enzymes ?

I dont mean to sound like I am bashing beech-nut at all or the parents who use them. I know that there are plenty of us who are extremely busy and don't have the time and therefore  find a piece of mind in managing their meals with store bought baby foods, and there is nothing wrong that. But I personally enjoy dissecting these ingredients and then I ponder, if my husband and i are enjoying freshly baked chicken with steamed veggies on the side, why should my daughter eat preserved chicken with binders and enzymes ?

In an upcoming blog post, I will create my own version of Chicken & Cheesy Potatoes using fresh chicken breast, diced potatoes, diced carrots, shredded romano cheese, slow cooked in a homemade salt-free chicken broth, butter, and  diced onion for flavor. Lets call it Olivia's Chicken and Cheesy Potato Stew.

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