Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Veggie Tales

It turns out that baby food can get expensive. So I've been thinking that I should make my own. The doctor even mentioned that we could start feeding her table food, you know, take some of the carrots off our plate and give them to her. Or peas. Or green beans. There is one little problem with this. . . .

We never eat carrots. Or peas. Or green beans.


I may have expanded my palette to include some vegetables, but that is too far. That is like the trifecta of terrible veggies.

It makes me gag just thinking about it. Especially the green beans.

But I suppose that doesn't mean I can't steam some veggies for Julia and give them to her, right?


Am I that stubborn that I just can't bring myself to feed my daughter the foods I hate? No. Is their steamed stench that offensive to me that I can't buckle down and do it? No. The trouble lies in the fact that I don't actually know how to steam vegetables. Call the veggie police, I've never steamed a carrot in my life. You see, I have discovered that when it comes to my dislike of vegetables, half the problem (ok, let's be honest, more like 1/3) is how they are prepared. Take for instance broccoli. Steam some broccoli and slap it on my plate as a side dish, and there is absolutely no way I'll eat the stuff. But if you put it with something else, like in a soup, or with a nice creamy sauce stuffed in some chicken, or even in a broccoli slaw, I'll gobble the stuff up and even ask for more. So why on earth would I ever steam the stuff? I wouldn't eat it. And many steamed vegetables do, in fact, stink (peas and green beans being the worst, I can't even have the serving bowl near my plate).

But for Julia? I'd steam.

So now the only problem lies in the fact that most cookbooks don't consider the fact that you might be an idiot when it comes to vegetables, so they don't have a recipe for "steamed carrots." Do you just boil them? Don't they loose nutrients that way? Do you have to get a vegetable steamer? Like this guy?

And as a side note, how do you prepare sweet potatoes? Do you just bake them like baked potatoes and then mash them up? And while I'm confessing, I suppose I should mention that I had never actually made a baked potato until a couple weeks ago, when I looked at Clark and said, "So, um, how do you actually make a baked potato?" But it turns out the cookbook does consider you might be a potato idiot, so we were covered.


Celeste said...

I can in no way claim to be an expert. And more often than not I call my sister just to make sure I'm doing it right. But the instructions that I usually get are:

"cut the veggie to desired size (the larger the size the longer it will take, the smaller the size the faster. - But not by so much that it's ridiculous)

put about an inch of water in the bottom of a sauce pan (that has a lid). place your veggies in and let the water come to a boil.

cover, to hold the heat and turn down so that it doesn't scald the bottom. wait... for a while? (pretty good instructions hu? I just check every 5 min or so. More often if it's something like peas)

They're basically done whenever you say they are. The longer they're in the softer they'll be and the less time the more crisp. for mashing you probably want softer.

OK. I'm going to stop before I embarrass myself and say something completely ridiculous!

Sabrina said...

Shanny, your veggie aversion cracks me up. Looks like Celeste gave you as good of directions as I would have. The one tip I would give you when making your own baby food is to keep the little bit of water that remains from the steaming process because when you go to puree you often need a little extra water and you get to put back in any of the nutrients that seeped out during the steaming.

Suzanne said...

I have never steamed a vegetable either, but my rice cooker came with a steamer basket so I could, in theory, steam vegetables if I wanted to.

I'm not saying you should run out and buy the rice cooker (though I love it, thanks Carrie!) but that's an option, I suppose.

carsonjmd said...

Oh my dear sweet Shannon. How long did we actually live together and I do not remember your aversion to veggies? Just slop on lots of butter and salt and you will be fine!

If you don't want to steam them you could also sautee them in olive oil. That's pretty yummy too!

Cheryl said...

We got a Pampered Chef microwave mini-steamer as a wedding gift. I don't think we used it until we started feeding Z food! We also have a food grinder and a covered ice cube tray if you'd like to borrow either of those. That way it's easy to freeze and store and make it less often!

PS: I'm glad we didn't have anything too weird when you were over for dinner! LOL. (but sorry if we did!)

Alex said...

Homemade baby food is awesome and so cost effective! My parents did it and someday I will (hopefully) do it. Good luck and happy mashing! By the way, I learned that if you put the mashed stuff into an ice-cube tray and freeze it, you can later put them in ziplock baggies and label... then microwave a cube or 2 at each feeding and voila!

As for the sweet potatoe, this is how I personally make them. Stab each sweet potato with a fork all over. Then wrap individually in aluminum foil. Bake at 400 degrees for approx. 1 hour but check for done-ness (is that even a word?) oven times may vary. When they are fully cooked you should be able to pretty much just scoop the flesh out and it will mash up perfectly! Good luck! :)

Steph and Greg said...

Oh you make me laugh! Don't come to our house, we always have steamed veggies. I must say broccoli and cabbage stink the worst, but I still cook them. And even better Greg eats it! The only thing he won't eat is beets and squash, but I eat those too! Anyway...I know just to have salad if I am having a meal with the Blockburger's!

PrincessKatie said...

So a bunch of ladies in my ward make their own baby food and they freeze each portion in an ice cube tray and then you can jsut defrost it as you need it. If you are wanting more information I am sure they'd love to share with you how they did it. Just emaile me .. Good luck!

~*Kim*~ said...

Don't worry Shannon - you are not the only one who has this unnatural aversion to vegetables. Must be a family thing...? As for basic cooking, Judy Simpson gave me this one book about being on your own and clueless before coming to college that just about saved my life. It has answers to all those stupid cooking questions you don't want to ask about because you wonder how in the world you made it in life without knowing X. Sometimes I wish they had more books like that... Although I guess those "____ for Dummies" books are a good start. Anyways ... sorry, *tangent* ... steaming vegetables is pretty easy and in the winter I like to just use the frozen vegetables from the store and follow the directions on the back of the package. Good luck!!! :-D

alisquire said...

I don't know how to steam veggies either, but I have made my own baby food. I've just done it with carrots, and I just boil them (not sure about the lost nutrients), then blend with a little water to desired consistency. Then I freeze in the ice trays (each cube is about 1 oz.). I plan on doing the same with sweet potatoes. Good luck to you!

Amber said...

Hey Shan-

I've started making my own baby food as well, but am in no way an expert. I've done avocados because I've heard how great they are nutrition wise. All you have to do is mash them up. (they brown easy so add a tiny bit of lemon juice for storage) As far as baking a sweet potato, yes it is the same as a regular potato. I had a sweet potato the other night and stuck it in my toaster oven for 45 minutes at 450 degrees F. I didn't give it to Zoe but the next time I will, and I'll just mash it up after baking and add liquid. There is a website that I liked www.wholesomebabyfood.com. Good Luck!

Amber said...

One more thing... I have a veggie steamer from Pampered Chef that I got for my wedding, I love it and it is so easy, you might want to look into that.

Emily said...

There's a cookbook I've checked out from the library by Jessica Seineld (Jerry's wife) called "Deceptively Delicious" that's pretty good. It has a whole section on how to puree veggies and then a bunch of recipes where you add them into regular dishes, hence the name. One of the first non-pureed veggies I gave Blake was avocados and he still LOVES them. I also steam those peeled mini-carrots in a glass bowl w/ a little water in the microwave. And when Julia gets a little bigger I can give you my easy recipe for sweet potato fries, we both love those! Good luck with your adventures in food!

Brandon Danielle and Laneah said...

oh shannon you are so funny. All I have to say is that your kids will be really really happy if they end up having similar aversions and a mom who doesn't make them eat it.