Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Baby Food: Millet Cereal

   It is no secret that I love to cook. So making Xavier's baby food was not a surprise to anyone. At least while he is so little. I realize that as a parent you cannot control everything that your child eats, but it is always good to get them off to a healthy start and to try to give them a good variety of healthy foods. If you would like to embark on this journey of baby food making with me you can find all the baby food recipe posts by their label. They will always be marked "Baby Food:" then the title of the food so they are easily searchable on my blog. Also, the chosen book I have bought for my main source of baby food recipes is Easy Gourmet Baby Food 150 Recipes for Homemade Goodness by Chef Jordan Wagman and Jill Hillhouse, BPHE, RNCP.  It is very reasonable priced, has great recipes as well as nutrition information for each recipe and it even has an added part that is "Not Just For Babies" and it gives you ideas for adults that let you eat the same thing with your baby. I do have other recipes from other books and such but I will start with this book for now.
    There are many reasons to make your own baby food; cost, freshness, knowing what is actually in your baby's food. When you use fresh food to make your own baby food you are giving your baby four times the amount of vitamins then the store bought kind. Simply because it does not have to be preserved. Most of the time it does not take that long to make baby food. You really only need a food processor/blender. I will admit for the grain cereals if you want to grind your own flour like I did I recommend a clean coffee grinder as some of the grains are very tiny and do not grind well in a food processor or blender.
    When making a cereal you can buy the grain whole and grind the flour yourself or just buy the flour. However, it's helpful to know that when grinding your own flour only grind enough for a couple of days and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator otherwise the nutrients are not as fresh if you grind it and store it for a long period of time. You can store the grain in an airtight container in the refrigerator as well. I grind the flour for a week's worth and then store it in the fridge.
   "Millet is a wonderful grain for your baby. It is gluten-free, easily digestible and one of the least allergenic grains. It has a nice mild flavor and a protein content that is similar to wheat and rice, so it will satisfy a hungry baby's appetite." - Wagman and Hillhouse
   You can buy millet as a bulk grain in most health food stores or specialty grocery stores. I was lucky to be able to get it at Whole Foods. Here is the recipes for making the flour and cereal for your baby and your family.

Millet Flour
 Recipe courtesy of the book Easy Gourmet Baby Food by Wagman and Hillhouse
- In a saucepan over low heat, toast millet until aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and set aside until completely cooled. Transfer to a blender/coffee grinder (or an immersion blender with a small cup attachment), in batches if necessary, and pulse until desired texture is achieved, about 3 minutes. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Simple Millet Ceral
Recipe courtesy of the book Easy Gourmet Baby Food by Wagman and Hillhouse
Makes enough for 4 people plus baby

- 3 cups water
- 3/4 cup millet flour

- In a saucepan, bring water to a boil over medium heat. Whisk millet flour into water and continue to cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool until warm to the touch. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Not Just For Babies:
- The entire family can enjoy this cereal as a morning porridge. Just add 2 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tbsp of brown sugar to every 1 cup of Simple Millet Cereal.

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