“IT’S NOT GOING WELL”, says my tired old self. “Except that it is!” says the hopeful part of me, the one that remains rosy cheeked despite 2 sleepless nights with our little guy’s new cold. So it’s a bit of both, that’s how I’d sum up this move and here’s why: It’s a complicated process. There are 2 countries, 5 people 1 rental house and 1 as-of-yet undiscovered dream house. To say nothing of job(s), preschool programs and your basic social activities. But the good news is this: our boxes have arrived (even better, the case of Italian olive oil we scored from friends in Rome has made it), I’ve started cooking again and at long last, Baby G has the homemade baby food his sisters enjoyed(?) in their day. Starting with a seasonal favorite, roasted sweet potatoes and apples.
It’s the mayhem that makes it hard. Nothing is in place, everything is everywhere. Since this is a temporary setup for us, we’re not even unpacking everything. Dozens of boxes remain packed up tight, holding a library full of books, Christmas decorations and little girl clothes marked “Summer 2T–Do Not Unpack”. So there’s this…
But since we’re now in the US, where honesty if I’d known there were so many conveniences and niceties for people with kids, I might not have ever gone to Italy in the first place (not really because it was amazing), there is this…
Seriously, it’s been such a breeze to drive around in our massive-by-comparison American car (just a Mazda CX-9), pull up to any number of family-focused shops, which are open practically all the time, speak English to a helpful cashier and presto! Choose from any number of products available for just what you need. (Except for this one: the special contraption available at Buy, Buy Baby, a name that makes me cringe every time, to more comfortably carry an infant car seat on the crook of your arm is probably going too far. Consumerism meets desperation. Let’s not take advantage of exhausted new parents, please. Though this is pretty funny.)
Costco is just one of the new haunts that we’ve been zipping up to in the new family rig. I know everybody already knows about Costco, except those of us living under a rock/in another country for our so-far parenting years. And the fact that we now have access to bulk everything is good because we have very little in the way of household items. Electronics, for example, from Italy don’t work in America. Lamps, light bulbs. Toasters, blenders, coffee makers. All missing, all new again. That includes my delightful new food processor. This gleaming 11-cup Cuisinart is the first full size food processor I’ve ever had (before I’d relied on a French baby food making machine to produce the girls’ grub — and totally loved it until the motor finally gave out after baby number 2.)
Now, with my trusty pans and new food processor under one rented roof, the baby food making has begun again. The first recipe has been a hit so far, but then with jolly Baby George, pretty much everything is. Lucky for him and his size 9 months pants (just a bit ahead of his 7 months), there’s more, much more where this came from. Sadly, the same can be said for the boxes. At least for now.
HOMEMADE BABY FOOD: ROASTED SWEET POTATOES & APPLES
I use as many organic ingredients as I can, particularly for babies who eat a disproportionate amount (read: much more!) of fruits and vegetables than adults and at the same time are growing at an incredible pace. Keeping them clear of as many toxins as possible is my aim. So we’ll see.
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 large apple, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- up to 2 cups water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour the sweet potato and apple chunks onto two large cookie sheets (I used half sheet pans) then drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil onto each one. Use your hands to mix until each piece is coated and shiny. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, turning twice along the way. The edges should be browned and the insides tender when done.
Allow to cool (if you like), transfer to a food processor and add 1 cup of water to start. Blend for 1 minute. If it’s not silky and smooth in texture, add more water, 1/4 cup at a time until you reach the consistency you like. If it turns out too watery, don’t worry. You can always add baby cereal to the mixture when you serve it to Baby.