Saturday, 7 August 2010

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Why am I still making baby food cubes?


I started making my own baby food and freezing them in ice-cube tray, when I introduced J on solid food when he was 5.5 months old. J is soon turning 1.5 year old. Just as I think I have out-grown making those baby food cubes, I have found so many useful uses for them, that I find myself still making them regularly. The only difference then and now is that I no longer add the optional baby milk powder. Thus, it is even simpler to make baby food cubes than before.

Now that I am a working mom, I find myself concentrating on the 4 basic baby food cubes:

1. Puree broccoli (a super green vegetable)

2. Puree carrot (a super orange vegetable good for its vitamin A)

3. Red bean (known for its iron)

4. Quinoa (for its complex carbohydrates and complete chain of protein)

So why am I still making baby food cubes?

Here are 10 reasons why baby food cubes are so useful:

1. It acts as my emergency vegetables supply

As a working mom, I don’t get to go to the supermarket every day. Sometimes when I go grocery shopping, I may forget to buy some items such as the vital vegetables. Also, very often, the vegetables I buy get rotten, before they get used up. When I run out of vegetable supply at home, I will turn to my baby food cubes.

2. It is a great convenience and time saver

When I am running late after work or simply too lazy and tired to make dinner, these baby food cubes are a great life saver. I will simply throw in a few of the broccoli cubes into whatever dish I make, and viola, the dish is complete with a vegetable :-)

3. It is a very healthy spread on bread for toddlers

I use the puree broccoli cubes, carrot cubes, bean cubes, quinoa cubes like “jam” spread on J’s daily rye bread slices for lunch. It is very healthy compared to other bread spread.

4. It serves very well the role as a nutritional ingredient to many food

For example, when making my own noodles, I can make spinach noodles, carrot noodles or broccoli noodles simply by adding these baby cubes into my dough.

For example, when making bread, if I don’t have the time to grate carrots to make carrot bread, I will just throw in a few cubes of carrots into my dough, and that increases the nutritional value of the bread already.

5. It is nature’s most natural flavour enhancer

Many soup recipes I find on the internet call for chicken stock or vegetable stock. Such chicken stock or vegetable stock is not natural. The baby cubes serve as natural vegetable stock. For example, when making Chinese soup, I can also add in a few of the vegetable cubes. It acts like vegetable stock, so I don’t need to use store-bought vegetable stock. I don’t mind my soup murky, in fact, I like it that way rather than totally clear soup.

6. It is an easy way to sneak in vegetables and beans into the family diet

My Significant Other sometimes does not eat up his vegetables… he is too lazy to chew his broccoli. Adding a few cubes of the baby food is a quick and easy way to sneak vegetables and beans into the family diet.

7. It is great for soup, especially western soup

Most western soups are actually baby food in disguise (ok, yes, the Europeans refuse to admit it, but that is the fact). Think of all the common western soups – carrot soup, tomato soup, cream of mushroom and broccoli soup, etc. – they are all made with puree ingredients!

Thus, for example, when I make carrot soup, and I run out of carrots or do not have the time to prepare the carrots, I will just open my freezer for my stock of baby food carrot cubes.

When I make tomato soup, I will also add in a few cubes of my baby food carrot cubes and bean cubes to increase the tomato soup’s nutritional value. Moreover, the regular tomato soup does call for carrot as an ingredient.

When I make cream of mushroom soup, I will also add in some baby cubes of broccoli to increase the nutritional value.

8. It is a power-breakfast for toddler

As a working mom, I don’t have the time to prepare a varied breakfast for J. Thus, I will prepare his super porridge or super yogurt by adding broccoli cube, carrot cube and red bean cube - cube - all these cubes into his oatmeal or yogurt. Once he has eaten his breakfast, I get the great satisfaction that his nutritional need is covered for the day, even if he doesn’t eat much for lunch or dinner.

And red bean cubes are very versatile for a savoury dish or a sweet dish. I sometimes feed J red bean cubes or mung bean cubes with mashed banana.

9. It enables me to reach my goal

I am very determined that when I return back to the workforce, my family nutrition and family life would not suffer. It gives me great personal satisfaction and fulfillment when I achieve my goal. Having these food cubes readily available enables me to achieve my goal 100% of the time – unless my baby cubes run out of course!

10. It is so versatile

It is great as an ingredient for baking bread, for making noodles, for making soup, great on its own, great for spreading on bread… ok, I have mentioned all these in the above. I am just summarizing it here to show the versatility and make it a complete 10th reason :-)

How to make baby food cubes for the toddler and family?

Don’t be afraid to make your own baby food cubes. Here are three very easy and simple steps:

1. Cook or steam the vegetables (for steaming, broccoli takes 6 minutes, carrots takes 10 minutes)

2. Puree it in a blender

3. Transfer it into the ice-cube tray and freeze

Tip: If you buy organic carrots, you don’t even need to peel the skin. If you buy frozen vegetables, these are all washed and cut for you.

Total time to make a batch: 20 minutes

Storage:

Can last at least 8 weeks in the freezer

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