Jordana has this stuffed dog called My Pal Violet that I can program to say her name, favorite animal, and color (it's some Leap Frog toy, advertised to be really educational, and while it is cute, I think these "educational" toys are total commercialized B.S. Honestly, Violet can say her ABC's and 123's but guess who else can say those? Mommy. And I do it for free. Before you call me a hypocrite, let me clarify that Violet was a gift. Oh and Jojo happens to love her. So I let her play. Ok shut up. Leap Frog wins.)
Anyway, Violet can also be programmed to say Jojo's favorite food. She used to say "bananas" but yesterday I reprogrammed her to say meatballs. Jojo loves them. I can always count on her to eat all her lunch when meatballs are on the menu. It's pretty cute and makes Alex very proud--he's raising a true Italian.
We make our own baby food so Jojo only eats home made meatballs that Alex cooks. He makes a big batch every month or so and we freeze them in gallon bags. I make the rest of her food--the stuff that requires a working knowledge of how to boil water. Sweet potatoes, pears, apples, peas, zucchini, carrots... turns out you can make every food that Gerber sells and not only is it cheaper, it's much tastier than the jarred variety. I get icked out by the jarred baby food. I don't trust chicken that doesn't need to be refrigerated. I feel like poultry should come frozen. Same with fish. I don't understand how baby food companies can mash up turkey and stick it on a shelf with an expiration date two years into the future. I certainly wouldn't eat it, so I figure I shouldn't serve it to my kid. (Please don't get me wrong, I really don't mean to sound all judge-y. Jarred baby food isn't bad for babies. It comes in tons of varieties and it's really convenient. They even make it organic now. And I'm certainly not a better mom. I'm just the type of person who gets skeeved out by everything. I throw out my milk before it expires, just in case. It's silly, I know. And I guess you could argue I'm raising my daughter to be the same way. I'll take my chances though, trust me, I have far worse faults that she could inherit.) At least by making Jojo's food, I know exactly what goes in it and I don't have to worry that she's eating whatever preservatives are added to jarred food. Plus, I'm hoping she won't be a picky eater because I'm introducing her to "real" food now. Just last week she ate shepherd's pie. And yesterday she ate tortellini for lunch. She's international.
Oh and I don't spend hours slaving over a hot stove. Please. I hate to cook. But baby food is so easy. I buy my fruits and veggies in bulk, and then peel, cut, steam and puree everything. I make big batches at a time so that I only need to cook every six weeks or so. I usually reserve one night after Jojo goes to bed and I make everything all at once. It takes about ten minutes to steam most vegetables and about five to seven minutes for fruits. I actually find it relaxing. The hiss of the boiling water, the whir of the Magic Bullet. I kid, I kid. But it is nice feeling that I'm doing something good for baby. The key is to freeze everything. I use ice cube trays which make one ounce portions. Once the cubes are frozen, I put them in ziploc bags. So my freezer is loaded with bags, all neatly lined up, filled with cubes of peas, carrots, pears, mashed potatoes and all kinds of goodies.
As for the shepherd's pie I mentioned, whenever I make something for dinner that I think Jojo would like I save a little on the side, mash it up and freeze it in cubes. This is how we discovered she likes meatballs. I also get my ideas from these books: Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel and Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes. These are chock full of nutritional information and creative recipes and tips.
Oh, hey, lunch time. Today we're having cheddar mashed potatoes. Yum!