Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"We're Barley and Barley...Whooooo"

For a while now I have been feeding my little one the boxed cereal from the store since I bought it before I got into making my own food. It seems fruitless to give him 'un-processed' veggies when the cereal he eats just as often and in the same quantity has all the extras. There is something to be said for convenience but what with warming up frozen milk and all, it may take just as much time.
A note about this author: I have read numerous articles and talked to lots of people. If I am able I will nurse my baby and only give him breast milk until he is one year old. The benefits for my baby far out-weigh any and all inconvenieces or discomforts to myself. I don't expect anyone else to feel the same, but for me, that is what my little one gets every time.
Onward... I set about making baby cereal this evening. I always get excited about a project when I should be sinking into bed. Anyone else do this?! So. 10 o'clock rolls around and I pull out my food processor and hand grinder and set about making cereal.
Here's what I learned:
Oatmeal: easy peesy in the processor. Dump a bunch in, turn it on, forget about it and a minute or so later you have oat flour perfect for baby cereal.
Pearled Barley: ACK! Set it in the food processor (can't live without mine!) and minutes and minutes later it had been chipped down slightly but not much to speak of. Barley does WAY better in the hand grinder (however it takes quite a bit longer that way and is hard work, but imagine my sexy arms after all that grinding!) and after 1/2 an hour about I had two sandwich bags full of barley flour.
Short Grain Brown Rice: In the food processor it will break down but very slowly. It does much better than the barley but after a number of minutes and the grains being only halfway broken down I had compassion on my neighbors and set it in the much quieter hand grinder. 20-ish minutes later I had brown rice cereal.

So. If you want te 'recipe' I got it off a web-site and seeing as I only ground my grains tonight I will have to wait until I;ve actually cooked some to let you know if the recipes should be altered. The basic recipe is as follows:
1/4 cup ground barley, short-grain brown rice, or oats
1 C. water
(The website did suggest using 2 cups water to make a really liquid cereal)
Bring to boil (whisk constantly for smoothness) and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add breast milk or formula (this adds taste and nutrients). Serve to your little one!
You could mix in ashed fruits and seasonings.
I read on babycenter.com today that some people are changing their minds about not letting babies have seasonings (i.e. herbs and other things. Probably best to avoid salt and sugar with your little ones) and that it will help your baby adjust to how you cook. They brought up points (I didn't see a source so it could be all conjecture) about how the U.S. is one of the few countries to give babies bland food and that countries who frequently consume spicy foods give it to their babies and they are just fine. After reading this I thought I'd try putting a dash of cinnamon in the baby cereal with dinner. It was nervously received but after a time I think it was well-liked.
If you try this make sure to post a comment about how it worked for you. I will post more info once I have actually cooked some of my hard labor.
P.S. A MIGHTY thanks to my amazing hubby who worked harder than I did to grind the grains and who sat with me every step of the way!!! What a sport.

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