Endless days and hours of preparation. The culmination of all the baby steps that led up to this moment. The exhilaration of reaching the highest summit!!
No, my baby food cook book isn’t done…my garden is planted.
I love gardening almost as much as I love cooking so when the two marry as veggie and herb seeds are sown to birth greens and produce for us to eat?!?
Well let’s just say I get a HUGE kick out of that!
Here comes the baby spinach…
Even when this type of spinach is full grown it’s still called a baby.
Just like some adults.
When we plant our edible garden, we really take some time to think about what veggies and herbs we eat on a regular basis so we can consume as much of what we plant as possible.
I remember the first year I wanted to plant everything even if I wasn’t that keen on eating some of the choices.
3 little pumpkin seeds turned into gargantuan vines that twisted and turned around all the other greens stifling them like an uninvited guest.
Although I loved the look of the pumpkin vines, I realized I would need to have acres of land to put them in so as to not cramp their style.
Live and learn.
The Basil is coming of age well now that she is free from the choking grip of the pumpkin creeper of years past…
If you’re making your own homemade baby food, think of things you can plant that can be used for baby food purees.
Imagine the $ you can save by making your own baby food, and then couple that with growing the ingredients at home?
Crazy savings and crazy inspiration to see those babies grow for baby!
Carrots, spinach, tomatoes, parsnip, potatoes and turnip are all great choices, and a strawberry patch will allow for weeks of strawberry puree to add to baby cereal or mashed fresh banana for babies over 8 months.
If you have older kids, gardening is a fun thing to do to get them and you outdoors.
You can teach them how food grows and explain that with a little culinary help, it can transform into wonderful things like spaghetti sauce and strawberry ice cream…that one may inspire them.
Here’s a fun little video I came across on Design Mom’s website.
They have a video series called “Olive Us” and this one was particularly cute for this time of year.
Olive Us – Episode 1 – Gardening
Now let’s use some of those home grown ingredients to make a wonderful little meal for baby.
We’ll feature some baby spinach in this one.
Spinach is jam packed with nutrients like Folic acid, Vitamins A, C and B6 and iron and calcium, to name a few.
It makes a great addition to baby’s menu.
And we’ll throw in some tomatoes and basil since they’ll be growing in abundance, along with a carrot or two and some onion.
Cheesy Tomato & Basil Rice with Spinach
Age – 8 months +
- 2 plum tomatoes
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 2 Basil Leaves chopped
- 1 cup of Baby Spinach loosely packed
- ¼ cup of cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup of milk
- 1 large carrot
- ¾ cup of rice
- Peel, seed and chop tomatoes using the boiling water method. See instructions from an earlier post “Bye, Bye Spontaneity”.
- Clean and dice basil making sure to remove stems.
- Clean spinach well and remove stems.
- Peel and chop carrots and onion.
- Cook rice in rice cooker or however you would typically make your rice. I add double the amount of water to rice and let it cook for approx. 20 minutes. So you can use ¾ cups of rice and 1 ½ cups of water.
- Meanwhile add carrots to a steamer set over boiling water, cover and steam for 20 minutes or until tender.
- While carrots are cooking, melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and add onion. Sauté until soft, approx. 5 minutes then add tomatoes. Stir frequently for approx. 2 minutes until tomatoes start to soften.
- Add basil and spinach to tomatoes and onion and continue to cook until spinach is wilted, approx. 4 minutes.
- Add cheese and milk to tomatoes and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Transfer tomato and cheese mixture to a food processor, blender or bowl to use hand held blender to puree, and add cooked carrots. Puree to a smooth consistency.
- Add tomato sauce to cooked rice and stir together well. You can add some of the cooking water used to cook the carrots a tbsp. at a time if you want a thinner consistency.
- Let cool for a few minutes then transfer to freezing trays to store in the freezer and use within 3 months, or to a food storage container in the fridge to use within 48 hours.
Makes – Approx. 12 servings (1 serving = 2 tbsps.)
Now go get the kids, put baby in a shady spot and get out in the garden and cultivate some family fun!!!