Thursday, June 12, 2014

[Little Foodie] Reinventing the Mold

If you read back through my 'little foodie' posts from Ashlynn's baby days, you'll find that through trial and error I found a method that worked for me for making and serving her baby food purees.  I would steam and puree our organic fruit or veggies of choice in our Beaba Babycook, freeze them in these individual once ounce cubes, and take a few out of the freezer in advance let them thaw in the fridge or defrost on demand in the microwave.  

I received the coordinating Beaba Babycook 2 ounce silicone mold at my baby shower, but ultimately preferred using the one ounce varieties because I liked mixing and matching what Ashlynn was having (peas with pears, carrots with squash, sweet potato with apples) and in the beginning she wasn't eating two ounces at a time so there would be wasted leftovers.  It also took longer to make a freezer stash since there were only seven in the mold, so batches were smaller and freeze time delayed stocking up quickly.  

The one ounce molds were great, but even if I defrosted them in advance in the fridge or on the counter, they still would need a quick pop in the microwave to be nice and warm for serving.  Not a necessity, but you prefer your dinner warm, right?  I hated that even with the effort of organic produce and BPA free storage, I was still using a microwave.  With the Beaba mold I could pop out the portion and defrost in the Babycook, but it was time consuming (approximately 15 minutes).  With the Juvenile Cubes, it was impossible to release the frozen puree from the mold to be heated elsewhere. 


A few months ago I was contacted by Mumi & Bubi, a Kiwi company, to see if I would be interested in trying their freezer storage trays.  Their products are well known in New Zealand and they are looking to break into the U.S. market.  


With their starter kit, you receive two trays with 21 one ounce cubes each for $25.99.   Like other brands, they are BPA Free, PVC Free, and dishwasher safe (top rack).  However, the value knocks my previous brand out of the park - which I thought was a deal compared to the Beaba mold.  I have two sets of 10 one ounce trays that I purchased for approximately $20.


When I make Kenley's baby food, I like to try dedicate a morning or afternoon to doing so.  The prep - rinsing, peeling, & chopping - I can usually do while Ashlynn eats breakfast or a snack and then it's just a matter of tossing the veggie or fruit into the steamer basket and turning the knob on the Babycook and I'm off to play, shower, or even eat my own meal.  Fifteen minutes later I drain the liquid and puree the steamed food, rinse repeat.  No slaving over a steamer on the stove or watching the oven for over roasting.  The Babycook turns itself off and if I'm playing dress up or changing diapers, no worries about food over cooking, it'll be ready for me.  I'll fill as many cubes as I can get and move on to the next option.  It's obviously a bit of a luxury item, the Babycook, but it works great and makes making homemade baby food easy for me!


I still follow the three day rule when introducing new foods, but I don't serve that food exclusively (except when starting for the first time).  I'll mix and match breakfast and dinner with other options to keep it exciting and her palette always experiencing different flavors.  For this round I made pears, carrots, and yellow squash.  


I froze them for about 24 hours and then took them from the freezer.  This was the part that I loved the most about the molds.  There is no twisting like a cheap ice cube tray, you simply just press down on the corner of the mold and it'll slide right out!  The instructions did state that some veggies maybe be tougher to pop out, and to just run some warm water over the back of the mold.  I was able to get the pears and yellow squash out easily and then just had to run some water over the carrots, about 10 seconds, and they all slide out easy peasy. 


I keep them stored in a large glass pyrex container, since going through all that effort to be green and then sticking them in a ziploc seems a bit ass backwards, but whatever is easiest.  It's easy to just reach in the freezer and grab whatever cubes I'm looking for and store the rest for later or add more as I make it.  A bag would likely get buried at the bottom of our freezer, which always has a tough time staying organized.




Now, to make this already long post longer (hang with me), the second piece of baby food prep - defrosting it!


This was that part previously I couldn't figure out.  I already mentioned that when I was making food for Ashlynn I felt like I made all the right choices to be green and keep the nutrients in her food and then I'd go and use the microwave to defrost or warm the purees.  

Enter Lillypots.

I was contacted by creator and owner, Tam, on instagram a few weeks ago letting me know he recently created a new product for baby food.  I hopped over to his profile and thought, that is EXACTLY what I need!  It was one of those, "how has no one thought of this before" moments.  He kindly offered to send one to test out as I just reentered this whole back to baby food phase. 


The Lillypot is a lightweight stainless steal pan that fits over most small sauce pans.  Place your small frozen cubes in the little pods and they'll steam over boiling water to your desired temp.  It especially works out great when I'm boiling water for Ashlynn's pasta or mac and cheese. 


From frozen to thawed and warm, it took about 8 minutes. Clearly, not as quick as a microwave, but not quite as long as using the Babycook steamer and less clean up too. 


My routine is clearly baby approved too, which really is all that matters!


I feel like I finally found the products that work perfectly for my routine and am so glad I get a second chance to use them.  The baby food phase is fleeting, but having the right tools can definitely make it a bit more seamless if preparing your own food is something you are interested in doing.



How do you/did you prepare food for your little one?  Just buy a jar and grab a spoon? Skipped the purees and did the BLW thing?  Or go the way of making it yourself?   I did a combination of all three with Ashlynn and probably will again with Kenley - so no "my (stated) way is the right way" here! 


*****

Disclaimer:  Mumi & Bubi and Lillypots were kind enough to provide one starter kit and baby weaning pan for our review,.  All other products mentioned were purchased independently and their brands are unaware of this review.  As always, all opinions expressed are honest and solely my own!   

Interested in learning more?

28 comments:

  1. ok. NO WAY. bookmarking these products for numero dos. especially that defrosting tray!!

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  2. LOVE this post. I can't wait to start making baby food - a few more months :) I'm adding the steamer, molds & pots to my "to buy" list.

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  3. I'm definitely going to look into that BabyCook for baby #2! We made our own baby food for a bit, but it got pretty time consuming so we resorted to the jars.

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  4. Hi Erinn just wanted to say thanks again for including lillypots in your blog we really like mumi and bub and are thrilled to be paired with them , tam

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  5. I saw the Lillypots post on Instagram yesterday and was immediately intrigued. What a great idea for heating up food without using the gross microwave! You now also have me convinced I need to put the babycook steamer on my registry!

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  6. I find making baby food therapeutic (permitting nobody is crying at my ankles) but even with an amazing baby food book, I constantly feel like I get in a rut with creativity. Did you puree meats for Ashlynn? We don't eat much meat in our house beside chicken and the thought of pureed meat kind of grosses me out. I struggle between making something or getting something organic in a jar (which equally grosses me out lol). But I'm becoming desperate to get some more protein in Audriana before bed since she is still up to eat about every 3-4 hours at almost 8 months!

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  7. You will love it!!! If you have any questions on lillypots we are here to help you :)

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  8. Hi alyssa , I know exactly your frustration with having a family that's mostly meat free but still wanting to get that protein into their tummies before bed . The most surprising dish I came up with for this problem was lentils , it ended up being our daughters favourite thing and she gobbled them down like no ones business ;) . I'm happy to share my recipe with you if you want ? Just let me know ? It's a combination of lentils , oven roasted peppers ( capsicum ) and tomatoes. Tam

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  9. lillypots! what a great idea! i need that for our next go around

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  10. Yes, I would love that! Thank you!

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  11. Ok no worries I will put it down tomorrow , as it's about midnight here ��������:)

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  12. I love our babycook, but I know a lot of people who totally make do with a regular ol blender or food processor. Some complain the babycook doesn't make big enough batches, but for me it's just the right amount. I like having enough stored that I don't have to make food fresh each night, but also not a months worth of peas, I like that we can change it up.

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  13. Thank you, Tam!! It's a total match made in heaven here, I wasn't overly displeased with my previous method, but these two products made everything I disliked better. Thank you so much for letting us test the product!

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  14. Seriously! I told Tam that he should go on Shark Tank! (or the UK version)

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  15. We don't eat a lot of meat and I never really gave it to Ashlynn (I'm also skeeved by the meat puree thing). Like Tam with his lentils, beans are definitely big in this house, hummus has always been a fav. I think I introduced eggs around 9-10months?? And I plain on introducing yogurt earlier to K since she doesn't show signs of dairy intolerance like Ashlynn did.

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  16. I did a lot of homemade in the beginning with Ashlynn 6-8m, but then we moved in with my ILs and it wasn't really that easy to stockpile it. So I did a combination of jars and using the steam to make some BLW style foods (steamed zucchini sticks) Once we moved into our house around 9-10m I was doing a combination a jar a day mixed with soft veggies, pancakes, eggs, etc. So the true only puree stage didn't really even last all that long.

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  17. That's great! I know a lot of people hate making babyfood, but I think it's kind of fun :)

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  18. Thanks for the ideas I will definitely be trying lentils!

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  19. The baby would never allow it !!!! She likes to keep her daddy under the thumb where she can best control him ;)

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  20. That was loud !

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  21. I'm just about to post that lentil recipe , here is a nice message we got from a mum the other day ;)

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  22. Jai Dhillon @ KiddyReviewsJune 13, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    This is a fab review! I've just done a video review for the Avent Steamer Blender here http://kiddyreviews.com/feeding/avent-steamer-and-blender-review/ so it's interesting to read your thoughts on a similar product in the marketplace.

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  23. Sorry mis hit there , would love to hear more about your reviews can you email me at tam@lillpots.co.uk

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  24. Oh yeah apologies for the scribbled recipe , my typist is on strike ;)

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  25. What awesome products!! I made a majority of Ellie's foods except for the fruit. I purchased that jarred. I hated heating up in the microwave so I will e getting lillypots for our next one!!

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