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  • Review: Kidco Electric Food Mill

    I’ve been making all of Tyler’s baby food and picked up some new equipment for it, including the Kidco Electric Food Mill. It’s really a mini-food processor, but I like it better than my mini KitchenAid chopper because it does a much better job of turning the food into a smooth puree. (But it doesn’t work as well as a good blender.) I also like that unlike my mini-chopper, the Kidco electric food mill doesn’t have a tube with a hole in the middle. Instead, there is just a small stem for the blade to rest on. This set up makes it easier to get the food out. However, tiny bits do get under the plastic that the stem sits in and I didn’t realize at first that the stem was removable.

    The Kidco electric food mill is extremely easy to clean – I just rinse it out and throw all of the parts in the dishwasher. It’s also extremely easy to use, though a little different than a regular food processor. With this device, you put the blade in, then the food, and cover. Then you put the motor on top and hold it down to turn it on.

    As with all food processors, food goes flying onto the sides of the bowl. If you use the optional blending attachment, less food ends up on the sides, but you’ll still need to scrape the sides down and whiz the contents again to get a uniform consistency. I use the small scraper that came with my mini-chopper or my small OXO spatula.

    If you have a baby who tends to be gassy, I would recommend using this device with caution because processing foods until they’re completely smooth tends to incorporate a fair amount of air, especially in fluffier foods like bananas. I’ve tried getting the air bubbles out by stirring vigorously with a spoon but it doesn’t really work.

    The two cup bowl is a nice size for smaller amounts of food, and this is the first appliance I reach for unless I’m making a large batch to freeze. I especially like this electric mill for food that doesn’t freeze well, like pureed bananas and avocado. I’m sure this device will be extremely handy when Tyler starts eating meat and I want to puree a portion of our dinner for him to eat.

    Bottom line: This is an extremely convenient product for making small amounts of baby food. However, it’s definitely not a necessity if you already have a food processor, blender, or food mill.

    Buy it from Amazon (affiliate link) for $24.99 or Kidsurplus (not an affiliate) for $19.19. (Note: I got mine from Kidsurplus with no problem.)

    Sneaky Vegetables

    I’ve posted before about slipping veggies into your child’s mouth without him knowing, and the June issue of Parents had similar ideas:

    • Combine a 21-oz. box of brownie mix with 3 large eggs, 1 cup of sweet potato puree and 3/4 vegetable oil, and bake according to package directions.
    • Added 1 cup of shredded zucchini for each pound of ground meat when making burgers.
    • Add 1 cup of cauliflower florets when boiling potatoes and prepare your mashed potatoes as usual. You could also substitute my Cauliflower Smush for mashed potatoes.
    • Add 1 cup of pumpkin puree for each cup of marinara sauce before serving the sauce over pasta or using in lasagna.
    • Add frozen peas and carrots to cream soups.
    • Combine a 6.5 oz. package of cornbread mix, 1 large egg, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and a 6 oz. jar of butternut squash baby food, and bake according to package directions.

    You can also sneak veggies into smoothies (carrots and spinach work well), mix carrot juice into orange juice, or make a Chocolate & Zucchini cake.

    Gerber Organic Cereals Recalled

    Gerber is recalling all packages of its Organic Rice and Organic Oatmeal cereals because there are clumps that may not dissolve and therefore pose a choking hazard. Gerber’s press release is here (pdf). I couldn’t find anything about it on the FDA website.

    Via The Consumerist.

    Update 7/17/07: FDA notice.

    Does Your Baby Need Water?

    This is actually a question I’d never asked myself until it was asked in the most recent newsletter. They quoted Dr. Sears, the author of many popular baby books, who says that breastfed babies don’t need extra water but formula-fed babies might (read his complete answer here). A certified lactation consultant gives a similar answer here. And Dr. Jay Gordon (he’s often quoted in parenting magazines) agrees – he makes the point that with breastfed babies, it’s the mother who needs extra fluids so that she can make enough milk.

    Personally, I can’t recall giving Alex water until I wanted him to learn to use a sippy cup – probably around nine months or so. I think the most telling thing is that their pediatrician has never brought it up, which must mean he doesn’t think Tyler needs extra water. However, Tyler finds Alex’s sippy cups so fascinating that I admit I’ve begun giving him a tiny amount of water in valve-less cups just so he can have his own. I’m pretty sure he gets absolutely no water but it’s a fun activity that keeps him occupied and in one place for at least a few minutes.

    Just in case, here are the symptoms of water intoxication in babies and children, and here are the symptoms of dehydration.

    Homemade Baby Food Techniques

    As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m making all of son’s baby food. So I thought I’d share some of my basic techniques.

    • The easiest way to make your own baby food is to take a perfectly ripe fruit (like a peach, pear or banana) and puree it in a food processor or blender.
    • There are several ways of cooking foods for baby. I bake sweet potatoes in the (toaster) oven, stew apples in the slow cooker, and boil peas and corn. Once they’re super soft, I run them through my food mill, which removes any skins and seeds, and turns the food into mush. This product is perfect for babies who can handle some texture.
    • For greater smoothness, you can process the “mush” in a food processor, adding some cooking liquid or breastmilk if necessary to achieve the desired texture (just remember not to microwave any foods containing breastmilk, since it will destroy the beneficial components of the milk).
    • For the smoothest puree, process the “mush” in a powerful blender.
    • Freeze baby food in ice cube trays or small plastic freezer-safe containers. Don’t forget to label with the date and contents.
    • If you use ice cube trays, once the food is hard, pop the cubes out into a zip top bag, label, put into another zip top bag, and store. Then wash the trays and use them again for another batch. Using this method, you can quickly build up a varied selection of baby food in your freezer.