Homemade Baby Food Pouches

Hello, reader! It’s Tera again. This week, I thought I would share with you my experience with dabbling into the world of homemade baby food (in squeeze pouch form). The idea for this post was sparked by my sister in law, and fellow baby mama of a tot, as we visited about how we want to learn some good ways to incorporate healthy foods into our children’s diets, without having to pay Gerber (and other brands) the big bucks. Initially, $1.72 doesn’t sound too bad, but when I total up the cost of weekly pouches devoured, it nears the $30 mark…that’s a week’s worth! If I totaled that number for a whole month, it puts a dent into the grocery bill. But of course, toddlers tend to be a bit finicky, and this is no exception at our household. So getting them to try carrots, broccoli, spinach etcetera, is not an easy task. Having these pouches is so convenient for this very reason, and for many of you moms out there, it’s justifiable to spend the money to get your tots to eat veggies and love them (without them even realizing it)!

For me and anyone else out there who is on a budget, or who likes to find easy ways to save back some money each month, recreating these pouches at home was worth the try. I’ll admit, it was a bit intimidating and seemed like it would take forever and be more difficult than what it’s worth. And honestly, it was a bit of trial and error with a few of them. But, I am here to tell you what I did right (and wrong), and to tell you that it is actually quite easy!

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So first in my process, I needed pouches to store the food in. I went with this brand from WalMart:

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For the general process of filling and storing the food, this system works just fine, and for this starter kit, it was only $10. However, these pouches are not reusable, and a pack of 50 pouches is $15. Depending on how many pouches you go through a month, it may or may not be monetarily beneficial for you. They do make reusable pouches like these that I would probably choose to use for my future endeavors, just to be the most efficient.

For this post today, I’ll share with you four recipes that I tried and liked. The really nice thing about doing these at home, is you can be as creative as you want to with mixing different veggies and fruits. Most of the combos I did were some that I have bought before and knew Norah would like. But there are really endless possibilities of different combos!

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal

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For this breakfast recipe, there are a few simple steps before pureeing. Here are the ingredients I used (roughly measured out for you):

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

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You’ll want to cook your oatmeal first so that it is tender. I also steamed the blueberries for about 1 minute in the microwave to make them extra soft. Once these steps are done, add ingredients to a food processor or blender. If you steam blueberries, add some of the liquid steamed from them. Otherwise, you may need to add some water until you get your desired texture. When all the ingredients are blended and smooth, store fresh in these pouches, or freeze and use throughout the week/month! That’s the best part about making these yourself. I found it easiest to store in an ice cube tray, for what it’s worth, but find what works best for you! This recipe makes a yummy breakfast for your tots! Super easy, and toddler approved. You could also sneak some spinach in this recipe to add some healthy greens. Just make sure to steam the spinach beforehand!

Broccoli, Peas and Pear

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This next recipe is also fairly easy. My tip for this (and any recipes with leafy greens, or harder veggies), would be that if you find you can’t get a smooth pureed texture from a food processor, to stick with a blender. Sometimes the blades blend this stuff up better. I have also heard that the Ninja, Nutribullet, and Baby Bullet work wonders for this kind of stuff…next investment?

Ingredients for this:

  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 3/4 cup broccoli (or spinach)
  • 1 whole pear

The most time consuming part about this process is steaming the fruits and veggies. Though it only takes a matter of minutes, the more ripe you can get your produce, the faster. Make sure you steam all of these ingredients to make them soft. If you’re making a few different recipes like I did, steaming a lot of your ingredients together saves time and saves you a step for each one.

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After you steam the pears, broccoli and peas, and they are tender and soft, they are ready to be blended. If you have a food processor with a grater, it might be helpful to grate them before pureeing them, but it’s not necessary. This combo needed some added water to make it thinner. If you have water from steaming, try adding some of it! The steaming process brings a lot of vitamins and nutrients into the water, and adding that to your recipe gives your baby the most nutrients possible! When you have a smooth puree, store fresh in the pouches or freeze and save for later! Getting the system down? For this recipe you could also try spinach instead of broccoli, apple in place of a pear, or try adding a big spoonful of plain greek yogurt for added protein!

Avocado Banana

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This one is by far the easiest. There is no steaming involved, and takes no time to blend up!

You’ll just need:

  • 2 avocadoes
  • 2 bananas

Slice both and add the “meat” to your blender. You may need to add a little bit of water to thin it out. Once it’s done, store fresh or freeze for later. Since avocadoes brown quickly once they’ve been sliced, make sure you freeze if your little hasn’t eaten within 24 hours. Also try adding a pear or some greek yogurt for added protein and flavor!

Pumpkin Apple

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This recipe is also very easy. I didn’t have a sweet potato for this combo, so I used some canned pumpkin!

You just need:

  • 1 can of pumpkin ( or a steamed sweet potato)
  • 2 apples
  • (optional) 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

Steam your apples beforehand until they are tender. And if you use sweet potato, it will need to be peeled and steamed too. Once this is done, add all of it to a food processor or blender and mix up! Also add some of the steam water until you get desired texture. Make sure it is well blended. Store fresh in pouches or freeze! This combo is great because you could easily mix it up. Use sweet potato or carrots (steam first) instead of pumpkin, or add some cooked oatmeal and cinnamon to make a healthy breakfast pouch! Just make sure if you use tougher veggies, that you blend them until smooth and a soft puree.

The process of making baby food seems much more intimidating than it really is! It was fun taste testing and mixing different combos. If you can dedicate 1-1.5 hours a week making and storing, your tot will have tons of fresh, healthy snacks that won’t break the bank! Try choosing a few ingredients to mix and match each week, and switch up ingredients the next. If you freeze and store, you’ll have all varieties to choose from. It also gives you a chance to ad-match and get weekly deals on different produce items so you can be cost efficient!

Here are a few more combos I’ll be trying next:

  • raspberry, banana, brown rice (greek yogurt)
  • blueberry, sweet potato, oats
  • avocado, fig, mango
  • green bean, pears, greek yogurt

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What are some of your combos and tips from your experience?! Keep up with Oak and Earth through my instagram handle @terapianalto for weekly updates and posts, and hashtag your Oak and Earth experiences #OakandEarthBlog !

xo-

Tera

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

As Father’s Day 2015 draws nigh, I’ve got some great gift ideas for all of you savvy shoppers out there!

The Winston Set by Harry’s is a great option for dad’s. “The Winston handle is constructed of high-grade aluminum. Its ergonomic design fits comfortably in your hand and enables controlled performance.” Additionally, if you want to make your gift more personal, engravings are available!

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Izola is a great company with lots of great options for Father’s Day, like these water bottles (available in 10 oz. and 25 oz.). In fact, if you enter the discount code, “FATHERSDAY15” before midnight on June 21st, you can get 25% off your purchase!

This Langly bag is perfect for guys who are really into hiking… especially if they like to hike with a camera! Durable, waterproof, and roomy, it will hold a camera and four lenses, a laptop, and at least a days worth of clothing. While not the cheapest item on our list, it is a good investment for all the adventure loving fathers out there!

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We know all of the apocalypse-ready dads will appreciate this awesome survival knife from Opinel. There are also great options for dads more into the more traditional look (personalization available, and free shipping on orders over $39 on Father’s Day!).

All Fathers (especially ones new to the game) need a pick me up from time to time. Whether your  Dad drinks coffee or tea, he’ll be doing it in style with this trendy mug!

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I’m obsessed with this food flask by Gentlemen’s Hardware! Also available are a matching flask, water bottle, and travel mug! When adventure is calling, well designed gear is a must, and Gentlemen’s Hardware has stepped up to the challenge.

What Father’s Day gift guide is complete without some tie options? For the hip dads out there, opt for the more trendy bow tie, like this one from The Tie Bar in light blue.

And finally, for all of you with bookish dads out there… this one is for you! This 50th Anniversary edition of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is absolutely gorgeous. Growing up, The Hobbit and LOTR were the first books my dad ever read to me and those are memories I cherish! I love this beautiful edition and think your dad will too!

I hope this Father’s Day is a great one for you and your loved ones, and that this gift guide helps you find something special for the special men in your life!

As always, live healthy and love hard!

– Shelby

A Pig Out Session You Won't Regret: Your New Morning Ritual.

GETTING DOWN AND REAL WITH JESUS AND FEELING FULL IN THE PROCESS?

ALL BEFORE YOUR MORNING COFFEE, UMM, WHAT? 

Me in my comfy bed,curled up with a book. (I

Me in my comfy bed, curled up with a book. (I”m NOT a morning person by the way.)

If you’re like me, mornings can be rough. Especially when you wake up with the burning eyelids of not enough zzz’s and a full day ahead of you that can feel discouragingly monotonous to the day before (and the one before that.)

You have to think about if your work shirt is clean or if you just left in a crumpled pile on the floor.

Yep. It was the second option.

(Of course.)

BUT ALAS:

THERE IS HOPE!

Sometimes, we just need to set ourselves up a little pig out session with the Man Upstairs for an all day pick-me up that will get you going better than espresso.

This past week, I decided to change my pattern and see if what I chose to see or listen to within the first half hour of waking up affected my mood or perspective of the day.

My first realization was that without even being conscious of what I was doing, I had formed the habit of checking some form of social media within the first 30 seconds of opening my eyes. (WHICH IS KINDA SAD REALLY.)

Also, without realizing it, my senses were being saturated with bright pictures, happy smiles and a brain full of sub-conscious comparisons.

Instead of climbing out of bed feeling refreshed and with a hopeful sense of determination for the day ahead, it has too often become more like rolling out of bed feeling emotionally exhausted before my day has even really begun.

I don’t however, think I’m the only one.

Are we starving ourselves of emotional/spiritual/mental nutrition?

By choosing day after day to make social portals become a daily fix that we consume before breakfast, can it at some point begin to consume us?

I think we all know the answer.

Why not be kind to myself and begin my day fueling up with something more sustaining?

So here is what I have tried and I dare you to try it too:

Don’t be afraid to have a morning pig out sesh with your number one fan and the best dose of daily encouragement.

(Here is the part that may seem like a challenge at first, but is insanely satisfying and WORTH IT.)

Instead of scrolling through your instagram or facebook while still laying in bed:

make a little sacrifice this week and refrain from having any physical food before you take in some spiritual fuel for the morning.

Instead of scrolling through your instagram or facebook while still laying in bed, try this instead:

(It will feel as sustaining as french toast, eggs, and bacon on a Monday morning, PROMISE.)

HOW TO INITIATE YOUR SPIRITUAL BREAKFAST DATE:

Choose one or a couple of verses of scripture to read and mediate on them. Read them once straight through. Then read them again, word by word, reading them as though God is having a conversation directly with YOU through His words. Read the verses one last time, and think about how you can try to make it a point to apply what you have read to your day.

For example, yesterday I read Psalm 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

And it stuck with me.

I meditated upon it. I read it. Re-read it. And read it again.

Instead of mindlessly scrolling through a feed of a girl’s new blonde highlights (while mine are growing out) or another friend’s exotic travels with my bed head and tired eyes, what my eyes and heart took in was that verse.

And that was exactly what I needed that morning.

I needed to remember that despite life’s distractions, frustrations, and tired mornings, I AM “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

And while I strive daily to be kind and loving to others, I sometimes forget to be kind to myself.

Throughout my day, I focused on honoring God’s plan for my life by trying to have a heart of thankfulness and to even give myself a compliment instead of a comparison.

If you want to feel the difference, try it yourself!

Let God be your morning date and dig in to His word.

Don’t worry, overindulgence is encouraged.

And you won’t regret it!

 

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(ONE LAST REQUEST.)

If you try it out this week and find that it made a difference or you have some constructive criticism, I would love to hear about it!

facebook: Christiana Ewart

instagram: christiananoel

But not first thing in the morning, you have a date, remember? 🙂

-Christiana

5 Heatless Spring and Summer Hairstyles

“For me, hair is an accouterment. Hair is jewelry. It’s an accessory.”  –Jill Scott

 

 

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Happy Spring everyone! It’s Bethany here.  I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my crown braid lately, so it inspired me to do a tutorial  blog this week! The tutorial is done by video, but I will also provide pictures of each look and their accompanied name below.

The first day of June was sunny, warm, and filled with ice cream cones and laughter. I have been getting so stoked on summer drawing near. While the excitement builds, so does the volume of my hair! Humidity is no joke. Spring and summer should be care free, and we want to use the least amount of product and heat on our hair that we possibly can. How do we do this without sacrificing style?

I’m providing you with 5 Spring and Summer heatless hairstyles that are both functional and adorable. These styles keep your bangs out of your face, and they can all be worn down or in a ponytail or bun. These looks can be done on short, medium, or long hair. With a recent haircut of 7 inches (holy cow), I was still able to do all of these hair styles. This hair tutorial video provides step by step instructions for each of the five styles. I also provided pictures of each look below the video so that you can see the end product. Go ahead and click play!

1. Faux Fishtail Headband 

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2. Braid Thread Headband

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3. Gatsby Headband Wrap

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4. Twisted Crown

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5. Crown Braid

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I hope you enjoyed learning these summer looks! To keep updated with our weekly posts, you can follow me on Instagram with the handle @Bethno13. You can easily keep up with our posts by checking out the hashtag #OakAndEarthBlog. As always, feel free to leave suggestions for posts you would like to see in the future. Now go swoop up those bangs and enjoy Spring!

Peace, love, and Rocketships.

-Bethany