Homemade Baby Food

Baby food.  I always used to say, “I’m never going to make my own baby food.  Who has time for that?  I’ll just pay extra for the pre-made stuff from the store!”

People say, “Never say ‘Never.'”

People are right.  Because guess what?  I’m making my own baby food.  Not only am I making my own baby food, but I am enjoying making my own baby food.  Weird, huh?

I found this thing called the Infantino Squeeze Station – it’s pretty awesome.

First, I make my baby food puree.  The bonus to making my own purees is that I get to decide what goes in it.  For example, instead of just feeding Thomas peas, I mixed zucchini, peas & mint with a little Pink Himalayan Salt.  That way his food isn’t so bland and hopefully someday he’ll grow up to like veggies more than his momma does 😉

Then, once the puree is ready to go I pour the puree into the squeeze machine and squeeze it into pouches.  I’m not going to feed Thomas purees until he’s 6 months, so I’m freezing the foods that I make.  Most of them can be frozen for 3 months.

I’m having so much fun finding different recipes for baby food and I feel incredibly accomplished after I make it!  I love knowing exactly what is going into Thomas’ food and I also love that I can add different spices and herbs to give it a little better taste for his enjoyment.

These are the recipes that I’ve tried so far:

I’m sure there will be more to come.  Check out the squeeze station if you’re into making your own baby food.  It’s pretty awesome!

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Beef & Broccoli

I have no shame when I say this:  I gained 50 lbs. when I was pregnant.  5-0.  To be totally honest, I didn’t look at the scale during my pregnancy…ever.  Not at any of my doctor appointments, not at home…never.  I didn’t really want to know.  So I didn’t know…until my last doctor appointment.  I figured I’d only gained like 35 or something…the “normal” weight gain.  But I gained more than the “normal” and my son only weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz. when he was born, so you can do the math on how much weight was left on my body afterward!  Anyway, I wanted to get back to my pre-baby weight.  Heck, I don’t just want to get back to my pre-baby weight, I want to be stronger and fitter than my pre-baby weight.

So I think it’s safe to say that I am currently on a fit kick.  I’m working out daily – sometimes by myself and sometimes with Phil.  I love working out with Phil.  I’m not very good at pushing myself when I’m alone, so on days when my workouts are hard, I like to have him workout with me.  Plus, it’s good spouse bonding 😉  And I’m also eating healthy.  Healthy mostly means that I’m trying not to drink so many carbs (I love soda & Starbucks) and I’m trying to snack on fruits and veggies more (I hate veggies!).

I’ve found that it’s tough to eat healthy meals sometimes because there’s really a lot of prep work that can go into eating healthy AND I have a hard time finding healthy dinners that don’t have super weird ingredients!  So I’m going to be sharing recipes when I find them because I love it when people post awesome recipes that they’ve found!

I made Beef & Broccoli the other night and it’s a great recipe because a) FEED ME BEEF…duh. and b) I made it in the Crockpot.  I love, love, LOVE using my Crockpot.  On busy days, all I have to do is toss the ingredients in and when dinner time rolls around, I have this amazing dish and my house smells so good.

Here’s the recipe:

Crockpot Beef & Broccoli

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs. thinly sliced steak (I used Sirloin Steak – but any cut is fine)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups white or brown rice

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put steak in bottom of Crockpot.  Mix broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic & sesame oil in a bowl.  Pour over beef.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  2. 30 minutes prior to serving, add broccoli to crockpot.  Stir together and cook 30 minutes in crockpot.
  3. In the meantime, cook the rice according to the rice directions.
  4. Serve beef & broccoli over the rice.  Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite healthy beef recipes?  I’d love to hear them!

 

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“MILKaholic” Baby Shower

My aunt threw her daughter-in-law an absolutely adorable baby shower the other day!  The theme was “Milkaholic” inspired by a baby shower as seen on this blog post from Hostess With The Mostess.  There was a whole lot of the color blue & cow print at this shower, which was perfect for these dairy farm families & their baby boy on the way. 

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Each table had their own tin bucket filled with water bottles, milk & chocolate milk from a local dairy farm, Top O’ The Morn Farms (SO good…if you’re in the Central Valley you definitely need try this milk!).  Dessert was the most adorable cupcakes from The Frosted Muffin – you must also try these if you’re in the Visalia area.  I had them make cupcakes to announce our pregnancy to Phil’s family.  They do such a great job!

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How CUTE are these cupcakes?!

I was in charge of games & I copied a couple of games that we played at my baby shower.  Pinterest of course was responsible for the creative genius behind them! 

Game #1 – It was more an activity.  You purchase diapers for guests to write funny or encouraging notes on for the bleary-eyed parents during late night diaper changes.  I SO appreciated getting to read these notes when I changed Thomas’ diapers at night and throughout the day because let’s face it…you do a lot of diaper changing during those first couple of months! 

IMG_2620(2)Game #2 – Measure The Belly Game.  I’m sure that there is a better name for it, but that’s what I’m calling it!  Each guest gets a piece of pre-cut yarn and guesses the circumference of the mom-to-be’s belly.  You cut the string to be the size that you believe will best fit around her belly.  You can do this game two ways.  First, you can have each guest take turns wrapping the string around the mom-to-be’s belly or Second, you can measure the mom-to-be’s belly and cut the string to match her belly size.  Then you have guests compare their string to the mom-to-be’s string.  The second option is a bit less invasive if the mom-to-be prefers not to be touched too much! 😉

photo(14)Game #3 – It was a fun quiz about the mom-to-be such as her weight when she was born, whether or not she was a colicky or happy baby, etc.

Overall, it was a very fun shower and the theme was perfect for this mom-to-be.  Congratulations Jason & Michele!  We can’t wait to meet your sweet boy!

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From Heels To Boots….To Babies

Well, just one baby to be exact.  One absolutely adorable, squishy, smiley baby who happens to keep me from getting a full uninterrupted eight three hours of sleep in a row at night.  It’s been 1 year since I last posted on this blog and let’s just say that a lot has happened in that year.  Namely:  Phil & I found out we were expecting and now we have a handsome, active 5 month old son named Thomas! 

It’s been so much fun, but it’s also been a lot of work.  Which is the only explanation I have for why I have been completely MIA in the Social Media world.  A lot of work with a baby + a little sleep = A lot of creative mind block & little time to sit down to try to figure out what to write!  But as Tommy P gets older, he’s able to be a little bit more independent which will hopefully allow me some time on here.

Before a baby I would write about things pertaining to agriculture, cooking and fashion and I will continue to write about those things, but I will be adding a lot of posts about babies and motherhood because my life is now centered around being a mom to my sweet baby!  It only seems fitting that I would write about them, as well. 

And that’s it…that’s my intro back into the blogging world after being absent for a year.  Stay tuned for more blog posts 😉

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Thomas Philip – Tommy P – T Pain – Turkey Tom – these are just a few of his nicknames so far.

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Our family hanging out at the calf ranch where we live, work & play.

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T & I enjoying a boat ride on the lake this summer. He loves the water!

 

There’s Cattle In My Yard

Not everyone has the privileged opportunity to look out the windows of the front of his/her house everyday only to see cattle peacefully grazing on the front lawn.  I never had it either, until just last week.

I grew up in the city, but I always dreamed of living in the country.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of a lot of city things, but the thought of getting to live in such openness, surrounded by farm land, crops and animals always sounded awesome. 

A month and a half ago, Phil and I moved out to the ranch and let’s just say that I love it.  Minus the bugs, of course.  The new fun news is that we added a few steers to our front yard.  There are literally, cattle grazing in my front yard.  It’s pretty cool and I am thankful for the blessed life I live.

As of right now I’m merely acquaintances with the steers, but I’m hoping to get to know them better and move on to the friend stage with them soon.  I’ll keep you posted on how that goes, but for now, enjoy the pictures that I’ve capture of them so far!

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Fruit & Peanut Butter English Muffin

I love breakfast.  I especially love bagels.  Big bagels.  With cream cheese.  Lots of cream cheese.

While I have no intention of completely cutting big bagels with lots of cream cheese from my diet, I figured it was time that I started adding slightly healthier mixes into my breakfast diet.  I realize that drinking a smoothie or eating a piece of fruit would be a healthy option for breakfast, but I need something with more sustenance.  So, I came up with fruit on a whole wheat English Muffin with a bit of peanut butter.  (And a glass of milk…duh.)  And I liked it.

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And I wasn’t hungry.  I’ll be doing this again.  Try it!  I even tossed a couple of blueberries on top, which was good, too.  What fruit toppings will you be trying?

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Interruptions

I’ve lived on the ranch for about a month and a half now.  The flying cockroaches have seemed to disappear thanks to the hot weather’s arrival.  I am getting settled into the house and I enjoy going on evening bike rides with Phil and our dog, Cooper.  And one of my favorite parts about ranch life is that the sunsets always seem to be ridiculously, mind-blowingly beautiful.

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A lesson that I’ve been learning on the ranch is that there will be interruptions – whether they are interruptions to my sleep or my favorite TV show, there will be interruptions.

A couple of weeks ago, Phil & I got home from a date night and did a quick drive around the ranch to make sure that all looked good with the calves before we went home to bed.  Toward the end of our drive I noticed a group of about 7 calves just standing around outside of their corral.  (That is not normal, in case you are wondering.)  We drove a little bit further and noticed a LOT of calves roaming around the ranch.  Not good.

While you might be thinking that it sounds good for calves to be able to roam around, it is.  However, it is good for them to roam around within the boundaries (corrals) that they are given.  The corrals keep them safe from harm’s way.  It’s like letting a baby crawl everywhere without watching them.  It’s ok for a baby to crawl everywhere – if it is in an area that is “child-proof.” Non child-proof areas require that the child is attended to when crawling about.  Same concept for calves – the corrals are “calf-proof.”  The rest of the ranch is not necessarily calf-proof, especially when there is no one to watch them.

So, calves roaming.  It turned out one of the corrals had been left open.  Phil & I were out until midnight rounding up the calves and putting them back in their play pen (corral.)

My second interruption happened a few nights ago as I was enjoying a lazy evening to myself.  I was in my neon pink yoga pants, doing Pinterest crafts while catching up on this season of The Bachelorette.  (Did that sentence just sound super girly or what?!)  The smell of fresh-baked banana bread wafted through the house and I was pretty pumped to eat some once my episode was over.  Then, as Des was on her last date for the episode, I heard Phil call my name.

Calves were out again.  Phil did give me an option of helping him, but if I didn’t help him, what kind of “Heels To BOOTS” person would I be?  A terrible one.  So, I threw on my boots (with my neon pink yoga pants), jumped in my car, drove to the shop building, and hopped on a mule to help in the search for loose calves.  It took about an hour, but by the end of it, the calves were all safely in their place again.

Interruptions.  Some people tell me this is good preparation for having kids some day and being…interrupted by them.  Others tell me it’s just plain old good character building.  I agree with both, but really to me, it’s just a small glimpse of what other farmers and ranchers around the world deal with.  It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, what show is on, what event is happening, if the animals need to be fed, helped or taken care of, you can bet that a farmer or rancher will drop whatever they are doing to take care of the situation.  And if you don’t believe me, check out my friend Crystal Cattle, who fed cattle with her husband in the middle of a friend’s wedding!

Neon + Boots. I think it's a new trend.

Neon + Boots.
I think it’s a new trend.

Until the next interruption… 😉

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