As I was making Henry’s food last time, I thought I would take some photos along the way. When I first started researching homemade blended foods it was other family’s blogs that provided the best source of information – and the photos really helped. So… in the spirit of good karma and passing along the kindness… I thought I would do the same.
To start with, here’s a photo of all the ingredients. In reality, I’m not usually this organized and usually pull things out of the fridge as I go. I tend to make single batches, and often will make Henry’s food as I am making our dinner. Many families prefer making larger batches to store either in the fridge or freezer. While I have made larger batches myself, I find it just as easy to make it daily, and this also allows me to know exactly what he is eating in case he starts getting sick. We’re pretty good at knowing which foods Henry tolerates and digests best, but I’m not 100% confident yet. I will sometimes do 2 batches up… just to give myself a day off :).
In general is takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, assuming that the “based” items are pre-made. These include things like rice, quinoa, chickpeas, boiled eggs, etc. For these items I will generally cook 3-4 days worth and store in ziplock containers in the fridge.
Today’s menu for Henry’s food includes:
- Grains: 1/2 cup quinoa & 1/2 cup wild rice;
- Fruits: 1/2 cup frozen peaches (thawed) & 1 medium tomato;
- Veggies: 1/2 cup raw broccoli, 1/2 cup left over boiled potato & some left over steamed beet greens that needed to be used up;
- 1 cup rice milk;
- 2 ounces left over chicken
- 3 tbls Sunflower oil
- 2 tbls molasses
- 1 coenzyme Q10 tablet
For the grains, I will cook up larger quantities and store them in the fridge or freezer. I tend to do a few days worth at a time, as this can be a time consuming step. It’s not hard… I just need to be organized and remember to do it (which I don’t always!).
For the fruits & veggies, I don’t tend to cook the items, unless they are especially “hard” when raw (like yams or beets). The food gets blended for so long in the Vitamix that they are cooked by the time it’s done anyways. I will roughly chop into chunks, but don’t worry about getting things a certain size… let the blender do the work.
Today I used 2 ounces of chicken, as we have leftovers from a family dinner on the weekend. I purchased a kitchen scale earlier this year for this purpose as I had no idea how much an ounce “weighs”! I bought a nutritional scale that could tell me all sorts of fun (aka useless) facts about the things I am weighing, but don’t use that functionality at all! All I really needed was a simple scale, but I didn’t know it at the time. I no longer do a daily spread sheet for each menu, but even when I did, I used the information from the Nutrient Database (see Helpful Websites on sidebar) not the pre-programmed information from the scale’s database.
Next up comes the rice milk. The Homemade Blended Formula Handbook says to put the liquid in first, but I’ve found that most times this isn’t necessary. If you’re using something very thick that is hard to permeate, like oatmeal, then putting liquid in first is important. But as long as you’re using foods where liquid can seep down to the bottom, then the order the items are placed isn’t that important.
For me, what is more important is putting any hard to blend items in first so they are closer to the blades. I find if I put things like rice in last, then I get pieces floating on the top of the blender and it’s harder to push it down into the blades. Peas are another one… must be close to the blades or the pea skins separate and don’t get blended enough.
The other liquid items are the oil and molasses. Some people have asked if the oil seperates out of the food as it is stored, but I’ve never had a problem with this. When I froze Henry’s food, this happened once, but it was easily whisked back in after reheating.
I do need to ensure the molasses is poured into the centre of the container, not down the side, as it sticks to the container’s sides and is hard to get off while blending.
The final item is one 30 mg Coenzyme Q10 tablet, as recommended by Dr Bratt. This was recommended for improving muscle function and was recommended specifically for Henry based on his low tone (any medication or supplements would need to be specific for your child’s needs).
The tablet dissolves completely and we’ve never had any problem adding it into the food. Some medications cannot be blended into the food, but must be given separately orally or through the g-tube. Henry also gets 1000 IU Vitamin D, and this goes directly into his tube each day. Again, the 1000 IU dose was recommended specifically for Henry by his neurologist, and should not be given to other children unless by medical recommendation.
Once all the items are in the blender, I put on the lid and insert the tapper. It usually takes several minutes to blend the food, depending on what foods I’ve used that day.
For more information about the next steps – measuring, jarring, and storing the food – see Part 2 of the photo journal.