Monday, October 10, 2011

Baby Food, Ninja’s, & BBQ Sauce

Dad’s turn to post…

The first lesson my son has taught me, is that as a parent, you need to make the most of any downtime you get.  It doesn’t come often, and it doesn’t last long.  So in the spirit of making the most out of this blog post, I’m going to drop as much useful and time saving information as I can surrounding our attempts at making all of Felix’s baby food.  I’m also going to toss in my secret homemade BBQ recipe just to add a nugget of masculinity back into my life (and possibly father’s who read this).  Oh, and yes, there is a Ninja in this story.

ITEM 1: Why are you making baby food?
That’s simple.  My wife want’s to do it.  I think I would be OK purchasing organic baby food, but Danielle has made it her mission to make sure that she has a hand in everything Felix ingests for the first year of his life.  Happy wife = happy life.

ITEM 2: When do you do it?
I find Sunday’s are awesome for making baby food.  Steaming the food takes a bit, so I have plenty of time to watch football between pureeing the food.  By watching football, I mean that I have strategically placed my son between the television screen and myself so that while I make sure he isn’t doing anything to kill himself (I find watching a baby is very similar to watching a dear friend on suicide watch), I can catch a few plays and highlights.

ITEM 3: How much do you make?
The last time we made baby food, it measured out at about 100 ounces in a day, which works out to be about a month of food at this point in his life (6-7 months).   I’m sure that it will not last nearly as long as he continues to grow.

ITEM 4: What kind of equipment do you need?
We did not go out and buy one of those baby food maker kits.  It seemed… unnecessary.  There are all sorts of these odd looking kits and appliances with various baby themed names that steam and blend food in custom containers all as a one stop shop, ranging between $100-$300+.   But, what do you do with it once the baby is eating food off your plate?  As far as I can tell by observing my nephew and my friends children, kids aren’t on baby food all that long.  There is enough outgrown and unused baby shit going into closets already, I don’t need more.

Red KitchenAid Blender
We instead decided to invest in appliances and cooking tools that we can use way beyond Felix’s baby food days.  The first and foremost, you need a good blender/food processor.  We received a KitchenAid Blender for Danielle’s wedding shower. It is the worst blender ever manufactured by man.  It’s our own fault; we put it on the registry.  We had a Red KitchenAid theme going for our appliances.  Who knew that everything made by KitchenAid, other than their Stand Mixer, is useless?

NINJA Kitchen System
However, a few weeks ago, while shopping for baby crap at KOHL’s, I came across a blender called NINJA.  It immediately caught my eye.  In-fact, the only thing better than a blender named NINJA would be some other kitchen appliance named after a pirate.  Danielle instantly rolled her eyes at my enthusiasm concerning the covert mercenary appliance of feudal Japan.  Although, a middle aged woman also saw my eagerness, and spoke up.  She told us how she has one at home, and that it is the most amazing blender she has ever owned.  Her husband is a chef and actually uses it in his kitchen as well.  Needless to say, even though it is a little pricey, we ended up buying it. Although, we did end up leaving and going to Bed, Bath & Beyond to drop a 20% coupon on it.

After making gallons of pureed baby food with this thing, I concur, it is the most amazing blender/food processor I have ever owned.  I highly endorse it.  A good blender saves a lot of time and headache when making baby food.

Other than that, the rest is basic.  You need a large pot with a lid, which you should own by now.  You also need a steamer basket, which ranges in price from like $5-$20.  We found one at Stop & Shop for $10 while we were picking up food.  You also need about 10 ice cube trays or more if you are going to make baby food in bulk like we did.  I found that they cost about $0.75 a tray, but can probably be found cheaper.   Also, make sure you have saran wrap handy.

ITEM 5: How do you do it?
Recipes are below, but the basics are here:  Take your food, and steam it.  Once mushy, put it in the blender.  We add breast milk to soften it up and make the consistency smoother for the baby.  If you don’t have breast milk, substitute in the water you used to steam the food.  Pour the mush into ice cube trays, cover with saran wrap, and let freeze over night.  Pop the cubes out into freezer bags, date, label, and put back into the freezer.

Each cube is about 1 ounce of food.  Our son eats about 3 ounces at a sitting right now.  When it is time to feed your baby, take the desired amount of cubes, defrost them, mix them up, and shove them down their gullet.  We try to make ours about room temperature.

We decided to introduce Felix to foods starting him on greens first (avocado, green beans, peas), then moving through yellows (carrots, squash, sweet potato), and we will finish with fruits (bananas, peaches, apples, pears).  We heard mention that if you start them on fruits; it’s hard to get them to eat veggies later, because they want the sweetness of the fruits.   Also, by having the food in 1-ounce cubes, we can mix and match and make a little meal for him.

As an additional guideline from our doctor, when introducing new foods, only introduce 1 new food every 4 days.  This way you can monitor food allergies effectively if they crop up.

WARNING:  If you put something green in your baby, they make bright green deposits in their Pampers.  If you put something orange in your baby, they make bright orange deposits in their Pampers. It doesn’t sound earth shattering here, but to a new parent, the first time you see it, it is in fact quite shocking… almost photo worthy, but definitely worth calling your spouse over to share in your amazement.

ITEM 6: Baby Food Recipes

Butternut squash
1 large butternut squash
De-seed, skin, cube
Steam 35-45 minutes
Puree with approximately 6 ounces of breast milk
Makes about 28 ounces (2 ice cube trays)
Total time = 1.5 hours


1 pound large organic carrots
Shave, cap, slice
Steam 1 hour
Puree with approximately 6 ounces of breast milk
Makes about 20 ounces (about 1.5 ice cube trays)
Total time = 1.5 hours

Sweet Potato

 3 large sweet potatoes
wash, dry, Wrap in foil
Bake at 400 for 75 minutes
Puree with approximately 7 ounces of breast milk
Makes about 26 ounces (about 2 ice cube trays)
Total time = 1 hour 45 minutes

Green Beans

2x12 oz of frozen green beans
Steam for 35-45 minutes
Puree with approximately 15 ounces of breast milk
Makes about 31 ounces (just over 2 ice cube trays).
Total time = 1 hour

2 pound package of frozen peas
Steam for 25 minutes
Puree with approximately 9 ounces of breast milk
Makes about 28 ounces (2 ice cube trays)
Total time = 1 hour

ITEM 7: Bouchard Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce Recipe
Having a baby definitely knocks a man down on the masculinity scale by a few pegs.  You can’t help it.  Between the stupid noises and voices you now make, and the cuddling, the infinite baby activities, constantly smelling like baby powder and diaper cream… you loose track of yourself and the things you used to do that made you feel like a man.  I find the grill is a good place to get some of that feeling back.  Mommy and Daddy need to eat, why not do it outside with some serious cuts of meat, over red-hot coals, with a brew in your hand?

I’ve spent some time researching, testing, and perfecting what I consider the ultimate homemade BBQ sauce.  It makes a mean piece of grilled chicken.  The sauce has an initial spicy kick, but finishes smooth, sweet, and smoky.  Feel free to modify:

1.5 C ketchup
0.5 C bottled French salad dressing
1.5 C Frank’s hot sauce
0.5 C Maker’s Mark Bourbon
0.25 C lemon juice
0.25 C Worcestershire
1 tbsp liq. smoke
1 tbsp garlic pdr
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp chili pdr
1 tbsp onion pdr
1.5 C cider vinegar
0.5 C Espresso blend coffee
0.25 C prepared yellow mustard
0.25 C Molasses
1 tbsp Cajun spice
2 tbsp paprika
4 crushed dry chipotle chili's
3 lg cloves garlic – minced

Combine in a heavy bottomed stock pot except for the bourbon.  Reduce on low for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.  At the 1-hour mark, add in the bourbon.  Use as you would any sauce.

Go Bengals! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011


We had a visit from our friend, Ryan, today and I've never heard Felix laugh so much!!

Swim Lessons

A few weeks ago, we started Felix in his first round of swim lessons.  It's mostly to get him used to the water and moving his arms/legs in the water.  The first class was taught by this drill sergeant of a woman!  In fact, she was so harsh with people, half the class didn't come back the following week.  But we were SO happy to find out the next week that she was just a stand-in and that the actual teacher was very kid-friendly. 

Scott and I have been switching off week by week so Felix gets used to being with both of us in the water.  He did great the first couple of classes and then a few weeks ago he had a meltdown 5 minutes into the class and we wound up having to take him out of the pool.  It was the funniest thing...if Scott lifted him out of the water, he stopped screaming, but the second he put him back in the water, he started screaming again. 

Luckily, we made it through the next class without having to leave.  But we did discover that he HATES "jumping" off the wall.  It's the second part of every class where all the parents seat the babies on the side of the pool and simulate them jumping in the pool, while holding them.  Well...the second his little butt hits the side of the pool, he starts crying.  So, we've taken to doing another pool activity while the other kids are doing that one...just so we don't wind up having to leave early again!

Since the weather is getting colder, we have been going back and forth about getting a full membership for the YMCA so we can continue to swim with Felix during the winter months...we'll have to see how the next few weeks goes!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

6 months

So I know this post is WAY late considering Felix will be 7 months in less then two weeks now!  But I blame him...seriously.  Felix has begun consistently waking up at least once, usually twice before going down for the night.  Which is fine, except that it means I don't get finished putting him to bed until anywhere between 9-11pm every night (hence, why I've been drafting this post for 3 days now).  Which also means, I barely get anything done at night anymore. 

Our schedule usually goes something like this:  I pick Felix up at about 5pm from daycare.  We play a little bit until I start making his dinner at about 6-6:15 pm.  Scott usually gets home just before or just after he finishes eating.  I use the 15-30 minutes while Scott is playing with him to do some dishes, throw in some laundry, etc.  Felix is usually rubbing his eyes and itching to get the bedtime process moving by about 7:15-730 pm, depending on the day (sometimes he's at that point way earlier, sometimes later).  Between bath and/or getting him ready for bed, we usually start the nursing process by about 7:45-8:00 pm and I get out of there anytime between 9:00-11:00 pm (sometimes I can escape for 15 minutes before he gets up again to get some things done).

I'll admit, there are times when I fall asleep in the glider and wind up getting out of there way later then expected.  I'm hoping he grows out of the stage soon.  We've started giving him baby oatmeal at in the morning too, thinking that maybe breastmilk just isn't enough for him anymore and we needed to add a second meal during the day.  We have also considered that I am not producing enough at bedtime to satisfy him, which is why he wakes up a couple more times to eat now.  My supply dwindled a bit when I switched jobs recently, most likely just my body getting used to the new pumping atmosphere/schedule. 

Enough about my night time difficulties...onto why you're really reading this post:

  • As of your 6 month appointment a couple of weeks ago, you weighed 17 lbs 3.5 oz (42.46 %) and was 26.5 in. tall (50.43%).
  • You have been reaching for things, especially me and dad.
  • When you're hungry, you try to pull yourself to my boob (which freaks out your dad).
  • You started rice cereal on August 20, 2011.  You loved it by the end of the meal on day 2 and, since day 3, get super excited every time you see your bowl and spoon.
  • About a month after we started you on rice cereal (just after your 6 month birthday), we started making your baby food.  So far, you have had  avocado, green beans, oatmeal (not made by us) peas, and carrots.  You started carrots tonight and LOVED them (so much, you ate almost 4 oz!).
  • As a result of eating "real" food, your poop has become much more solidified and it STINKS!!  I know anyone who has fed their baby formula is used to the awful smelling poop, but the difference is shocking to us! 
  • On August 28, 2011, you rolled from back to front in your crib.  You did this for several nights in a row and cried until we rolled you back over.  It only lasted a few nights and you haven't done it while sleeping since.
  • On September 6, 2011, you sat up by yourself for a couple of minutes.  Now, you sit all the time and love it.  Just this week, you started dropping yourself to the ground from a sitting position.  Looks like you might try crawling soon!
  • On September 7, 2011, you pooped in the tub for the first time ever.  On the one hand, I'm shocked it hasn't happened before, considering that, until recently, you had a bath every night.  On the other hand...GROSS!!!
  • You sit all the time now.  We can literally sit you down with all your toys and you'll play for over an hour (as long as we sit and play with you every once in awhile).  Don't worry.  We don't ignore you!  But sometimes, it's the only time we can get things done.  Although, there are plenty of times that if I walk 2 feet away from you, you scream your head off.
  • In anticipation of the winter months, we've started bathing you every other day, instead of every day, so you don't dry out.  We also did it so you didn't get used to needing a bath before bedtime.
  • We had our first middle of the night hospital trip with you on September 6, 2011.  You had what we thought was (and probably actually was) a cold, which turned into a nasty cough.  We had you sleeping in your Rock N' Play to keep you elevated.  As we were going to bed, we heard you start coughing, lose your breath and then we heard nothing.  We both jumped out of bed at the same time and went running into your room.  After calling the doctor for the second time that night, we took you to the ER at about 1am.  Luckily, they saw us pretty quickly and we were only there for 2-3 hours.  Unluckily, dad had to hold you in the x-ray contraption while you looked at him screaming the entire time.  The ER doctor, who I was NOT thrilled with, told us you "might" have a slight case of pneumonia.  When I pressed him as to what else it could be, he told us that it could also be nothing.  But any doctor say your baby has pneumonia is like forcing you to put your child on any medication they recommend.  We took you to the pediatrician the next day who told us it was likely just a cold, but to keep you on the meds anyway, just in case.  You healed up pretty quickly, but ran us ragged in the process!
  • We got you a big boy stroller (the City Mini) in anticipation of going to the Big E.  While you still fit in your infant seat and Snap N' Go, you're so curious about everything around you that we wanted to let you start facing forward when we were out places.  
  • You had your first trip to the Big E on September 24, 2011.  As you'll soon learn, we go to the Big E for dad's birthday every year.  You were very well behaved even though it was SUPER hot that day and even did well on the car ride home regardless of the fact that we kept you out past your bedtime. 
  • Your 6 month shots were awful.  It was the first time your dad came to a doctor's appointment and you had to get 4 shots that day, including your first dose of the flu shot.  Your legs hurt so bad from where they gave you the shots that day that I gave you some tylenol after you ate dinner to try and soothe the pain.  Well, you choked on the tylenol and when your dad picked you up to help, you emptied the 3oz worth of avocado that was in your belly all over him, the rug and the couch!  O and you also threw up the one lone cheerio we had given you earlier, which you promptly choked on and swallowed hole (another terrifying moment).  Note to your doctor...cheerios do not dissolve quickly as you advised!