Homemade Baby Food: Feed Our Babies Locally&Seasonally

Posted by Courtney on June 11th, 2013

Homemade organic baby food has gotten easier with the increase in new baby food making appliances and the availability of organic produce. I encourage you mamas out there to give it at try.

Here are a few options on blending up your baby’s buffet:

-Beaba Baby Cook Baby Food Maker- it steams, blends, warms, defrosts

-Baby Bullet- purees, blends, mills grains

-the Vitamix or other high-power blender

-a standard blender or food processor may possibly do the trick

{Tips: read reviews, ask other baby food making mamas, try what you have before purchasing, look for something that makes smooth food}

Now, you have a baby food making device- what are you going to make?

Well, it depends on your babies age and hopefully what is in season or the organic produce available to you. I encourage you to buy organic fruits&veggies foremost, but I also encourage you to try your best to east locally and therefore seasonally. Also, when peas or green beans or butternut squash are in season buy a bunch, process, and can or freeze for future use. Make the most of the produce available with each season, and you will find better deals, better taste, and better nutrients.

Here are some ideas for the seasons (many thanks to my baby food making sister-in-law for recipes&tips who is currently in the midst of baby food mashing and baby food mashed everywhere):

Summer

Beets with Quinoa: Roast red or golden beets(washed&topped) tossed in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt&pepper at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Let cool&slip skins off. Cut into bite size chunks. Mix with cooked quinoa and shredded spinach. Toss with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and raisins (if appropriate). Puree or mash with a fork for littler ones. Great ALL family meal.

Fall 

Green Bean, Potato&Spinach Puree: 1/4lb green beans steamed, 1 cooked potato, 4 steamed spinach leaves, 1 cup homemade chicken broth, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Blend all. Serve. Variations: sub peas or asparagus or broccoli for green beans. Sub kale or swiss chard for spinach.

Winter 

Chicken&Kale: Cook 6 chicken thighs drizzled with coconut oil&sprinkled with salt&pepper on a baking sheet for 15min@350. Add a few large kale leaves& a finely chopped onion and cook for another 10-15 min (check chicken, don’t burn anything). Chop&toss or pulse in food processor or puree depending on child&stage. Variations: sub spinach or swiss chard. Add crushed garlic at the end. Add bacon. Add parmesan. Add fresh herbs (sage, basil…)

Spring

Banana, Blueberry&Avocado “Pudding”: Puree 1/2 avocado, 1 banana, 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries. Serve. Variations: sub other berries or fruit for the blueberries, add 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt and/or cereal grains.

Other tips of the trade:

-Stick with plain- steam and puree or chop any seasonal veggies. Feel free to add fresh herbs, crushed garlic, butter, coconut oil, or extra virgin olive oil as your baby turns toddler.

-Make oatmeal and add: chopped or cooked seasonal fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, banana, pumpkin, butternut squash, apples…), cinnamon, butter or coconut oil… Blend it smooth if need be.

-”Teething Pops”: freeze leftover smoothie, baby food mixture, fresh veggie/fruit juice in a popsicle mold. A fun combo my nephew loves these hot days is: pineapple, banana, spinach, and unfiltered apple juice

-On-the-go: Blend up or shake up a few different types of fruit&veg in a straw cup. Baby food smoothie on-the-go. My second and third children lived off these things. I usually got them to drink out of a straw by 9 months.

-Start small if this scares you: mash up a banana. Keep it simple. Then, you can move to more complicated recipes and such.

-As your baby gets older and can handle more food&flavors, just blend up or mash up the dinner you are having. Pretty simple.

-Picky eaters: keep trying and reintroducing fruits&veggies that appear to not be as well-liked. Start this young and stick with it. My picky eater of 9 YEARS has recently become a good eater that eats and tries everything without hassle. Stick with it, it pays off!!

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And We… Picked the Bounty of Summer

Posted by Courtney on June 10th, 2013

photo-1Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, pluots, cherries. It was a busy weekend! Kids, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma- we made it a family event. Then, we spent the evening washing, packing, and pitting cherries around a table. We all went home with bags of AMAZING blueberries frozen for summer, frozen cherries and peaches ready for smoothies, ice cream, pies, Winter. And past the bags of amazing fruit we get to enjoy all year, my children got to work together, be with family, and get a little closer to where their food comes from- great lessons. I highly encourage you to expose your own children to harvesting their own food… lifetime memories&lessons to be learned.

A wonderful weekend. Amazing crops. Awesome family.

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Pick {Buy} at the Peak

Posted by Courtney on June 8th, 2013

It is summer (well almost). School is out; gardens are growing; the sun is shining (unless you live here)… and peach trees, cherry trees, blueberry bushes, strawberry patches… are beginning to overflow in a summer bounty. This is a great time to visit U-pick farms and pick fruit at the peak of their season. Or it is a great time to buy a lot of amazing summer fruit from Farmer’s Markets, CSAs, friends…

What do you do with this fruit?

Can, pickle, ferment, freeze, dry, eat…

Enjoy!!!

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Upcoming Summer Cooking Classes

Posted by Courtney on June 6th, 2013

Upcoming SUMMER Cooking Classes:

What: Cooking classes taught by Courtney Graham to help you and yours love and appreciate food&cooking in a new way that is healthy&practical in a busy home.

Where: At my home
Contact: Via email or blog {www.wholedligence.com}
Class Descriptions&Costs:
(you are sent home with recipes, resources, and taste tests with each class}
Coffee&Cooking: $10 {1 hour class for moms, some food/cooking demo, lots of topic specific ideas shared, Q&A. Kids are welcome to watch a movie with my kids during the class}
Cocktails&Cooking: $15 {2 hour class for moms, NO kids, a lengthier class with more demo & ideas than Coffee&Cooking}
Summer KidsKamp: $15 for first child, $10 for subsequent {2 hour class for kids ages 5-12; Art, Science, Math, Health & Literature are incorporated into these classes as kids discover how to cook, explore healthy eating, and discover new flavors. For the summer- Your 5th class is FREE plus prize}
Mommy&Me: $10 {1 hour class, ages 1 1/2-6, moms&toddlers get to cook together, explore together, and moms leave with lots of ideas&cooking tips.}
Other: You can put a class together for a group of 5 or more and choose a topic of interest and a date/time.
Note: Classes are subject to cancellation depending on number signed up.
SUMMER CLASSES:
June 10- Coffee&Cooking 10-11am: Stone Fruit
June 17- Mommy&Me 9-10am: “Peaches, Plums, &Apricots Oh My”
June 17- KidsKamp 1:30-3:30: “Peaches, Plums, &Apricots Oh My”
July 8- Coffee&Cooking 10-11am: Zucchini&Summer Squash
July 9- Mommy&Me 9-10am: “Z is for Zucchini”
July 9- KidsKamp 1:30-3:30 “Z is for Zucchini”
July 9- Cocktails&Cooking 7:30-9:30: “Fermentation”
July 17- Mommy&Me 9-10am: “Sweet Summer Berries”
July 17- KidsKamp 1:30-3:30: “Sweet Summer Berries”
July 18- Cocktails&Cooking 7:30-9:30: “Cooking for Food Allergies” {will touch on almond flour, coconut flour, GAPS diet, gluten free, dairy free, grain free}
July 22- Coffee&Cooking 9-10am: “Tomato-mania”
July 22- KidsKamp 1:30-3:30: “Tomato-mania”
July 22 Cocktails&Cooking 7:30-9:30: “Canning&Preservation”
July 29- Mommy&Me- 9-10am: “Eat Your Green”
July 29- KidsKamp 1:30-3:30: “Eat Your Green”
July 29- Cocktails&Cooking 7:30-9:30: Cooking from Your CSA Box {Veggies, Vegetarian}
August 12- Mommy&Me 9-10am: “Melon for Me”
August 12- KidsKamp 1:30-3:30: “Melon for Me”
August 12- Cocktails&Cooking 7:30-9:30: “Lettuce Dress It” {salads and more}
Please feel free to PASS ON TO FRIENDS & please RSVP for classes.
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Gone Bananas

Posted by Courtney on April 28th, 2013

I just taught a great cooking class “Gone Bananas” x2. We drew a banana, learned about the healthy attributes of a banana, and cooked with bananas as our only sweetener. It was a fun class!! Here is one of my families current favorite recipes that use banana:

Gone Bananas

Banana Spice Cakies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup smashed banana (use ripe ones)
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 ¼ cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ¼ cup raisins

Instructions

  1. MIX it all up.
  2. Scoop into balls- I like to use an ice cream scoop- onto a cookie tray. Smash down a bit with a damp hand.
  3. Bake 11-14 minutes at 350

 

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FarmFresh

Posted by Courtney on April 26th, 2013

IMG_4559I am an egg snob. We have had chickens for the past 6 years or so. Yellow yolks, flavor, natural composters of all my table scraps, easy&fun pet for the kids… chickens are great. Having your own chickens  and your own eggs spoils you. The taste is remarkable. We haven’t had chickens since we moved back to California, we have to settle for visiting our old chickens at Grandma&Grandpa’s ranch on occasion (for now). It is so sad- scraps into the trash, $$$ for all the eggs we go through, low quality grocery store eggs mixed in with higher quality Farmer’s Market eggs, and an every once and awhile dozen of high-quality eggs from a ranch that feeds them scraps&green anything. Blue, green, pink, dark brown, white, light brown- backyard chickens&homegrown farm, fresh eggs- flavorful scrambles at a great price point. Get chickens. Buy farm fresh eggs. {I recently tried Shepherd Farms eggs @ Wed Farmer’s Market in Ventura- AWESOME!!}

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Michael Pollan on Colbert Report & Upcoming Cooking Classes

Posted by Courtney on April 24th, 2013

Michael Pollan on The Colbert Report: New Book Cooked

 

Where does your food come from? Who cooks it? How can you cook food? Fermenting? Lots of good stuff!!

Upcoming Cooking Classes that could help you:

$10 each {siblings $5 each, bring a friend FOR THE FIRST TIME FREE!!}

Kids Cooking Class: Bread & Butter
When: Tuesday, May 14th, 3:10-4:10
Where: My house. Please RSVP.
What: kids learn how bread and butter are made AND make them! Drop-off is fine. I live close to Target/Trader Joe’s/mall FYI ;)
 
Adult Cooking Class: Coffee&Cooking w/Courtney- “Snacky Snacks”
When: May 1, 10-11am
Where: My house {348 Sierra Dr, Ventura}
What: I will share a handful of great kid snacks beyond the handful of goldfish.
(Kids welcome to come and watch a movie or play in the backyard with my older kids.)
Adult Cooking Class: Cocktails&Cooking w/Courtney- “Fermentation”
When: May 16, 7:30-8:30pm
Where: My house {348 Sierra Dr, Ventura}
What: I will share the easy and healthy method of fermentation. {Yogurt, Kefir, Creme Fraiche, Cultured Butter, Water Kefir, Kombucha, Pickles, Sauerkraut, Salsa…} LOTS of good stuff.
Please RSVP!!
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My Baby is 5

Posted by Courtney on April 19th, 2013

I don’t know why 5 seems like such a mile-stone… but it seems like everything baby/toddler/little is past. And since she is my last- that ALL is past. I am left with three (amazing) KIDS! Kids to guide and discipline. Kids to feed and clothe. Kids to teach. Kids to grow and let grow up. Three unique persons… becoming more and more their own persons. The Strong. The Independent. The Free-Spirit. My three KIDS.

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Goals&Reading: Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Posted by Courtney on April 19th, 2013

I have made a new resolution to read. I love to read, but ever since I had children nine years ago, reading more than a magazine article or a blog post or does Pinterest count as reading is a thing of the past. Recently, my husband introduced me to the app Lift. There is something to getting to push a round circle and light up the green check mark that motivates me to do a short list of things I have been meaning to incorporate into my life for sometime now. “Reading a book” made it onto that list. And so for some period of most days I have indulged in the reading of an actual book. Some days I actually sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and a book and read. Ah. Other days, I am reading while waiting at piano practice or just before I turn out the light at the end of the night. Nonetheless I am reading {and happily lighting up a green checkmark on a daily basis.

I received Animal, Vegetable, Miracle YEARS ago and have always wanted to read it… but… Finally, I have begun (hoping that I will also finish.) It is a good read. Good author. Enjoyable topic (for me). And inspiring. Oddly, it has made me more and more in awe of God’s creation of plants & food. And more and more thankful for this creation. And more and more repulsed by our food systems in the US. Thought provoking, inspiring, enjoyable.

Here is a quote from my reading today: “Many foods placed on the Ark of Taste have made dramatic recoveries, thanks to the seed savers and epicurean desperadoes who defy the agents of gene control, tasting the forbidden fruits and planting more.”

Read a book. Set a goal. Enjoy a moment. Challenge yourself.

Have a good weekend!

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PPB Post: All About Juicing

Posted by Courtney on April 19th, 2013

Thank you again for featuring Whole Diligence on the Petunia Pickle Bottom blog

Take a look: All About Juicing

 

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