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.
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?