Transitioning to Solids
What's for Dinner?
With all the learning and new discoveries happening in the first year of your child's life (for both you and baby), the best thing you can do is find the greatest time savers, parenting hacks and pro-tips to make things just a little easier on yourself. Mealtimes can be stressful as it is without having to worry about the dietary restrictions of an infant, so finding the best time and sanity savers for feeding baby was high on my priority list.
As someone who generally likes to cook and try new recipes as well as control all of the ingredients that my children are eating, I enjoy making my own baby food. With my first child I learned to steam or roast different ingredients and then pour them all into a small, low powered blender to grind them up into a medium suitable for my toothless infant. This worked for me and I began to enjoy coming up with new combinations and seeing what flavour profiles she took to.
Four years and another child later, I still enjoy cooking but I find that I have become more of a short order cook and less of a gourmet chef. Balancing the dietary preferences of my toddler along with the meals for both my husband and I and now a solid eating baby was becoming overwhelming and resulted in lots of dishes. And then I was introduced to the Beaba Babycook and mealtimes are forever changed.
One machine that both steams and purees food in the same container, this workhorse has been awarded a permanent spot on my countertop. With the ability to steam fruits, vegetables, meat or fish from raw to fully cooked in 15 minutes while locking in the nutrients and vitamins, my mealtimes have added variety but newfound simplicity.
The Babycook model I have is equipped with two large capacity bowls so I am able to cook two completely different meals at one time and then puree them (if I so desire) to the consistency I need. For breakfast I am able to make myself a smoothie on one side while I steam fruits or veggies to mix infant cereal on the other side. I can make plain chicken for my toddler at dinner while I make a three veg puree for my son on the other side. And I am never cleaning more than 4 dishes to prepare it all. After owning this machine for just a few weeks I have already made dozens of different meals- from simple steamed carrot puree to a three food group mashup, and surprisingly all have been a success. I have found myself getting more adventurous in the kitchen again to explore new tastes and combinations. In case you are looking to try something new, here is one of my favourites that I have made to date.
I heard of a famous NYC chef that would whip roasted bananas into his mashed potatoes to create a side dish that people raved about all over the country. I used this as inspiration for this simple recipe.
Roasted Banana and Sweet Potato Mash3 bananas in the peel
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place bananas on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a non stick backing mat. Cook bananas for 20-25 minutes, until skins turn brown and some of the sticky juices begin to leak out. Allow bananas to cool slightly. While bananas are cooking in the oven, place chopped sweet potatoes in the Babycook steamer basket. Fill water reservoir to a level 3, close the lid and press the steam button to begin cooking. After 15 minutes or so, the timer will sound and the potatoes are ready. Use the Babycook spatula to tip the steamer basket over into the remaining cooking liquid and puree the potatoes until they are lump free. Peel the cooked bananas open and dump the mushy insides into the sweet potato puree. Stir with the spatula and then blend until both ingredients are smooth and combined. This makes around 6 servings so pour the remainder in an air tight container and store in the fridge, or use the Beaba Multiportions to freeze the leftovers. Watch as baby delights in this sweet but nutritious treat.
My son loves this combination and I don't mind sneaking in a few bites myself. The best part is that once it is made, I can reheat the leftovers in the Babycook on another night and not worry about dirtying another pot, inconsistent microwave heating or burning it on the stove. The MultiPortions make it easy to heat one serving at a time and it pops out easily from the silicone tray, meaning I don't have to thaw it in advance.
The Babycook has certainly changed the way I make food for my children and has made mealtimes much easier and truthfully, a bit more exciting. Using the cooking guidelines in the included recipe book and instruction manual allows you to create your own combinations and when you are feeling less creative you can find a ton of recipes on the Beaba website and around the internet.
As your child grows, you can continue to use this to prepare different stage foods and I am looking forward to trying those out in the near future. Finding a time saving gadget that is healthy, is not quickly outgrown and is easy to use is an all around win in my books!