In an effort to be thrifty and know exactly what my son is eating - I have been "making" the majority of his baby food. It has been a very rewarding and simple process so far. While I've gotten plenty of input as to "what food when" I have primarily been referencing the following chart from www.askdrsears.com.
So far - everything has been very simple. Bananas and avocados are simply fork smashed and fed. (Although the chewy tot does NOT like bananas.) At right he is enjoying some avocado!
Ripe pears and peaches spend some time in the food chopper.
Carrots, squash and chicken are cooked and then prepped in the food grinder. I received this as a gift - and while it does get used, I wonder if something like a "magic bullet" would get used more and be more effective replacing the chopper, grinder and the food processor that gets used for large batches.
Another favorite has been unsweetened applesauce, which needs no extra preparation.
When looking at how to prepare the food, the website www.wholesomebabyfood.com has been an invaluable resource for cooking techniques as well as simple recipes when you are ready to combine foods. Last week when I was referencing cooking a squash, I found a recipe and ended up making a batch of rice with apple and butternut squash.
While I have dabbled some in making our own cereals - I have found purchasing the cereal to be our best bet. I can get organic cereals for a reasonable price that don't need to be cooked before serving - so we'll go with it.
When making the larger items (squash, sweet potato, chicken, etc.) after preparing the food, I have been using my small spring handle scoop (like a cookie scoop) to dish out approximately 1/8 cup "mounds" to be frozen on a plate or sheet, and stored in a freezer container. I can then pull out the number of scoops I need to thaw and we are good to go. I know most sites/books recommend using an ice cube try - which is also great - but I didn't have one - so I've gone with a tool I already owned rather than purchasing another one.
Has the chewy tot ever had store bought baby food in the little containers. Yes, we were given some as gifts, and some people have had it at their homes for us when we visit. It is great for travel, and I keep a couple of the small plastic containers in the diaper bag for when we are out longer than expected, or in case he gets really hungry and goes through what homemade food we bring. We have also started doing some yogurt, which I am not making at this point either.
Overall, creating the babies food has been very easy and does not take as much time as I had originally anticipated - not at all. I really do appreciate knowing exactly what he is eating and where it comes from. We are also saving money and not using all those little containers. And, before I know it - all this mashing and smashing will be history and he'll be chomping on carrot sticks and sandwiches!