Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Babyfood for Dinner

Don't laugh, I'm serious.
I'm on the WIC program, and every month they give me vouchers for food, including baby food. A LOT of baby food. My kiddo will eat a little, but nowhere near the 45 jars per month that are on the vouchers! So initially I simply didn't get all the food on the vouchers...then I started thinking about it.
Baby food is the same foods we eat, just mashed up. Sometimes we mash up our food...why not use baby food in some of our foods and save myself a step? Baby food is expensive, and I wouldn't go buy it just to use it this way, but where it's being offered to me (and we're unemployed and I hate to turn down free food!), I decided I'd rather find a good way to use it. So here is a list of ways I 'snuck' baby food into our diet this last month.
  • Banana bread! 1 4oz container of baby food bananas = 1 banana, and it's already mashed!
  • Smoothies. Mashed banana, mashed peaches...if you get the plastic containers you can just stick it in the freezer all day and then dump it in the blender with a little milk and sugar and voila, smoothie! (If you have other frozen fruit/berries, then unfrozen fruit, especially banana, can add some great smooth texture.) FYI, I think pears give an odd texture to smoothies, and applesauce is ok but not great.
  • Eggs in recipes (like muffins or pancakes or cookies) can be replaced with 1/4 c (2oz) of applesauce or mashed banana. Applesauce doesn't taste like much, but banana is pretty sweet, so I only use it in the sweeter things. (Make sure that the recipe has other leavening, such as baking powder or baking soda--sometimes eggs fill that roll. If there is not other leavening, then be sure to add about 1/2 tsp baking soda per egg you replaced.)
  • Anything chocolate will hide the stronger flavor of prunes--so chocolate muffins, chocolate cookies, even brownies--add 4-5oz of pureed prunes. Yay for fiber!
  • Applesauce is applesauce is applesauce. I just got a bunch of plain applesauces and stuck them in the fridge, and my older kids eat them as single-serving packages of applesauce. That was easy! (The cherry applesauce and blueberry applesauce work too of course.)
  • Gravy--I usually make gravy from the drippings when I cook meat, however sometimes I make it just from homemade broth which I've frozen. The problem with using just broth is that the gravy come out a bit thin and runny...so I had the idea of adding a jar of the babyfood meat. Pureed meat has a very weird texture, and the baby doesn't like it plain...but mixed into the gravy it worked ok. I will say that it was not a great gravy--that weird texture came through a little--but over mashed potatoes it worked ok, and I felt good about having a little extra protein in the meal. ☺
  • Veggie muffins are one of my favorite things. I put in 1 cup (7-8oz) of pureed carrots, squash, mixed vegetables, etc into a gingerbread muffin recipe, and they are nummy! (see link for recipe)

(this post has been shared on Works For Me Wednesdays, follow the link to see more ideas, or to share what has worked for you!)

10 comments:

Mallory said...

What great ideas to use what you have!

Amarisa said...

I do this too! Another one we do is if we're having something with meat, like meatloaf, hamburgers, meatballs, I will add several jars of carrots and other veggies.

Carolyn said...

I do more of a baby led weaning approach to solids, and I'm also on WIC. Because of your post, I decided to get all the babyfood and put it to use in other ways! I actually got the meats too- they make a good bullion substitute (tried it out last night!). I get 64 jars of fruits/veggies and 31 jars of meats per month! It is really too much for one baby.

Mommy Bee said...

I do a baby-led eating/baby-led weaning approach too. Bear didn't want solids until he was nearly a year old, so baby food was never an issue with him. Eagle though, eats like crazy and insisted on solids much earlier--before he really had teeth. Even still, he only has three teeth, so pureed foods are very helpful because there is only so much regular food that I can give him since he is still pretty young/toothless.

WIC here gives me 48 jars of fruits/veggies (or 36 jars + 6lbs of bananas, which is the route I always go) plus 8 jars of meat. I agree, it's far more than one baby should need, especially considering that he still breastfeeds multiple times a day!!!

I would love to know how you use the meats as a bullion substitute--do you just dump them in in place of a bullion cube, or do you add anything else with them?

Carolyn said...

I'm learning as I go with the meats. I'll try it out again soon to get more of a feel for it. I added a jar to something I was making and I added the regular bullion as well, and it tasted chickeny-er than usual, I'm going to try it again soon and see how it turns out. Considering I get 31 jars of meats per month, I'd like to figure something out! I know I could just not get the meat, but I'd rather figure out how to use it first.

Kate said...

Growing up my siblings and I each had a favorite baby food that we would occasionally eat on its own (when there was baby food in the house from the current youngest sibling.) My favorite was plums and my next younger brother's was bananas.

Great idea about using extra in recipes. I'll have to remember that one once little bit gets old enough to eat it.

Dill Family said...

Baby food meats are soooooo grosss! I couldn't stomach feeding them to baby, so I just quit getting them. I have 2 months of jars in my pantry and no clue what to do with them.

Sanity said...

Also, those little plastic containers are perfect for re-using to hold just about everything. When the munchkin was wee, it was what I put her leftovers in, and after she started eating our portions, I use them to keep snap pieces sorted, but those containers are perfect for lots of things...

beanjeepin said...

I have 11 month old twins, so have gotten 64 jars of food (fruits/veg, we refuse the cereal and meat) PER baby (yes, 128 jars a MONTH) for the last 5 months. I struggle to use it all since we do baby led weaning, but my big boys will eat it straight out of the jars. I also make popsicles with it, bake, flavor homemade yogurt with it and make smoothies. It's crazy how much there still is left to get through though. We don't get prunes or double flavors though, that's not allowed. Those would be easier to use.

The Prudent Homemaker said...

Good for you!

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