A Review: Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker

As you know, I am a Mom Ambassador Blogger for Moms Meet. And I happen to love to cook, especially for my kids. So I jumped at the chance to try out and review the Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker. I have used another baby food making appliance (different brand) and was anxious to see how this model compared. Let me tell you, I LOVE it!

freshfoodsbabyfoodmaker

The Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker was super simple to set up and use right out of the box. I did a little unpacking and it came fully set up which made me happy. It came with very detailed step-by-step instructions and pictures. Who doesn’t love that? They even included recipes from world-famous child nutrition expert Annabel Karmel to get you started.

The Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker steams and blends food for quick, nutritious meals in two easy steps. There are also two texture options – smooth or chunky – so you can continue to make age appropriate purees as your child grows. You can even use it to make smoothies for the whole family. It’s dishwasher safe but I found it just as easy to clean with warm soapy water myself. It literally took 2 seconds and it was clean.

My kids were sick with a stomach bug the week I had set aside to make up a few recipes. I thought I’d have to wait and then I remembered BRAT diet includes apples and bananas! I made this apple banana puree and neither was willing to eat it (or anything else for that matter) but I certainly thought it was delicious.

Apple Banana Puree
(makes 2 servings)

1 large apple, peeled and cut into chunks
1 banana, peeled and cut into chunks

Place all fruit in the steamer basket and fill the water reservoir to level 3. Turn on steam function.  When fruit is finished steaming, remove steamer basket and set aside. Pour remaining water into a heat safe bowl or glass (I used a glass measuring cup) and set aside. Pour steamed fruit into blender basket. Blend and add water until you reach desired consistency.

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I was really impressed with the consistency of the puree, it was exactly like that of a store bought jar. For those of you who have made baby food before, you know that’s a hard thing to achieve. The other model I’ve used in the past was not nearly as smooth. I also really like that it beeps as soon as it’s done steaming. This is a nice feature for a scatterbrained Mom like me. I can totally see myself turning it on to steam and walking away to do something else, forgetting about it and leaving it all day long. I appreciate a beep!

I also pureed a lasagna casserole that we had eaten for dinner earlier in the week. This is something that I did with both of my girls when they were in the baby food stage and plan to do with our (very soon to be!) next one. Even with the best effort we never are able to eat all of our leftovers and this was a great way to introduce our girls as babies to what we were eating as a family. I believe it is a big part of why they are so willing to eat such diverse foods today. The Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker stood up to the challenge and produced yet another super smooth puree from my casserole. I added milk to it but you could also add breast milk or water. I would do the same with spaghetti or any other casserole. I was really impressed and can’t wait to make purees for our next addition when she is ready!

I’m excited about the optional accessories as well. The freezer containers that I used with my girls are very well used and need to be replaced. I love the options available from Freshfoods! My favorites are the Freezer Tray, Stackable Cubes and the Fill & Freeze Pops. I know my girls would love the pops so that will be my first purchase. They’re a great size and they have a drip catching design which speaks to the clean freak in me.

You can get more information about The Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker by visiting www.Nukfreshfoods.com or Facebook.com/nukUSA. And even more exciting, you can get a $20 coupon for The Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker or a $1 coupon for any Freshfoods accessory here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinions on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Kashi Chocolate Soft-Baked Squares Giveaway!

***THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED***

As a Mom Ambassador for Moms Meet I had the opportunity to sample new Kashi Chocolate Soft-Baked Squares. I was a little skeptical about eating a chocolate bar loaded with black beans and sweet potatoes myself but I was super excited to feed them to my kids.

I thought they were tasty. Maddie was not interested either time I tried to give them to her but Ellorie thought they were the best dessert she had ever had. I told them both that they were “brownies” and gave them to them as a treat. Ellorie has eaten pretty much the majority of them that were sent to us. She loves them! My brother-in-law thought they were good but a little dry. His younger kids were happy to eat them as dessert one night while we were at the beach, along with Ellorie of course, since she can’t get enough “brownies.”

All in all we thought they were pretty good. I am more than happy to feed my kids a dessert loaded with veggies 🙂

***GIVEAWAY***

I get to give away a Kashi lunch tote, plus two vouchers for free Kashi products to one lucky reader! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and runs through Saturday October 13 at midnight. Here are four ways to enter this awesome giveaway:

1. Post a comment below giving me your top tips for making a creative lunch.
2. “Like” Kashi on Facebook and then come back here and leave me an additional comment telling me so.
3. “Like” Made In Earlysville on Facebook and then come back here and leave me an additional comment telling me so.
4. “Follow” Made In Earlysville on Twitter and then come back here and leave me an additional comment telling me so.

The winners will be contacted via email so please make sure you enter yours. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Applegate Organic & Natural Meats Giveaway!

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED***

Have you tried Applegate Organic & Natural Meats? I’ve been eyeing them in our grocers deli for a while now. What I didn’t know is that they also offer Bacon, Sausage, Hot Dogs and Burgers, Breaded Chicken, Dry Cured Meats, Cheese, and Grilled Chicken Strips.

As a Mom Ambassador for Moms Meet I was given the opportunity to sample three different products. I chose turkey, ham and (of course!) bacon. Our family LOVES bacon. I mean really, who doesn’t??

Instead of just eating the lunch meat rolled up along with some cheese like we normally do, I figured I’d get all fancy and make up some recipes to share.

Turkey, Apple and Brie 
Applegate Naturals Organic Roasted Turkey Breast
Sliced Brie
Sliced Granny Smith Apples
French Bread sliced in half
Mustard & Mayo

Pile everything onto your bread and toast open-faced until it’s all melty and warm. Not too long though, since the brie tends to run like crazy once it’s warm. Yum!

Ham & Cheese Panini
Applegate Naturals Organic Black Forest Ham
Chipotle Gouda Cheese (found this at Harris Teeter)
Mustard & Mayo
Butter
Whole wheat bread (or anything you like)

Pile everything onto your bread and add a little butter to the outside of your bread. Cook in your panini press (or on the stove in a pan like a grilled cheese) until warm and cheese is melted. You could even add some Applegate Organic Bacon, yum!

My family loved both sandwich recipes (especially Mom & Dad) but the bacon was the clear favorite. With my kids bacon is always the favorite, ha! I loved that the meats were all natural and organic so I felt good about feeding them to my kids. We also eat non-organic meats as well in this house but I was very pleased with this idea.

***GIVEAWAY***

Even more fun, I get to give Applegate products away to two lucky readers! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and runs through Friday October 12 at midnight. Here are four ways to enter this awesome giveaway:

1. Post a comment below giving me your top tips for making a creative lunch.
2. “Like” Applegate on Facebook and then come back here and leave me an additional comment telling me so.
3. “Like” Made In Earlysville on Facebook and then come back here and leave me an additional comment telling me so.
4. “Follow” Made In Earlysville on Twitter and then come back here and leave me an additional comment telling me so.

The winners will be contacted via email so please make sure you enter yours. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk Giveaway Winners!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway for Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk!

And the winners are….

Congrats! I will email you at the address you submitted with your comment to get your mailing address to send you your coupon. Remember, these coupons are only valid in the US!

Happy Friday!

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk Giveaway!

As a Mom Ambassador for Moms Meet I get to sample all sorts of new things, super fun right? Even more fun, I get to tell you what I think about them AND I get to give them away! Awesome, right? I think so!

This month they sent me Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk. Almond Breeze is a shelf stable nondairy milk alternative that is calcium-enriched and free of dairy, lactose, gluten, and soy. I got to sample the Vanilla and the new Coconut Blend. I had never had almond milk before so I was excited to try it. We really liked the vanilla in our cereal and it was also good in my coffee as well. I made my protein smoothie with both the coconut and the vanilla and it was delicious each way!

Protein Smoothie
1.5 cups frozen fruit
1 frozen banana
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1 scoop protein powder
6oz water
6oz almond milk

I made the kids smoothies (minus the protein powder) and they loved it too! Although, they weren’t quite as keen on drinking it in place of their regular milk. I can see the Coconut Blend working well in recipes such as cakes, muffins or others with a coconut flavor.

GIVEAWAY
I get to giveaway a carton of Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk to 3 of my readers! To enter the giveaway you can check out Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and leave a comment below telling me which flavor you are most excited to try.

For additional entries you can:
1. “Like” MadeInEarlysville on Facebook and leave an additional comment telling me so.
2. “Follow” MadeInEarlysville on Twitter and leave an additional comment telling me so.
3. “Like” Blue Diamond Almond Breeze on Facebook and leave an additional comment telling me so.

The giveaway will be open until Thursday August 9 at midnight. I will announce the winner on Friday August 10!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product. 

 

Butterfly Spaghetti

I made this for dinner the other night and the kids loved it so I thought I’d share the recipe. I had originally planned to make regular spaghetti (as requested by Maddie) but had to change the plan once I realized our hamburger didn’t survive the partial thaw and re-freeze brought on by the week without power. The kids were pumped when I presented them with “Butterfly Spaghetti” so all was good at our dinner table.

Butterfly Spaghetti

Mini bowtie (or “butterfly”) pasta, cooked
Zucchini, shredded
Spaghetti sauce (whatever your family likes, we used Prego Veggie Smart)
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Mix all of the ingredients into a microwave safe dish. Microwave until all is warm and cheese is melted. Serve with bread!

It literally took 5 minutes to make this dish since I had all of this leftover in the fridge. If you didn’t already have cooked pasta in the fridge it might take 7 minutes (ooh, I know right?) but then you wouldn’t need to microwave it like I did.  My kids devoured this as quickly as their little hands could shovel! This made me happy, which they immediately noticed and then begged me for dessert.

They freaked out when I gave them vanilla ice cream with pink sprinkles and a few pink m&m’s. (Pardon the blurry iPhone pictures)

Mom has camera out, must provide obligatory “cheese” face while yelling “cheese!”

Two happy girls!

 

Yes, I Fed My Kids Starbucks for Lunch Today

Why this town does not have a drive-thru Starbucks is beyond me. I could have used it on so many occasions over the past few years of bringing up young children. Like when the only place I could get Maddie to nap was in the car and I was totally exhausted from being up at night. Or when both kids are asleep in the car on the way back from Richmond but it hasn’t been quite the two hour nap I was hoping for. Or today, when I felt like crap and really needed something cold and caffeinated for lunch. But no, Charlottesville has to be behind the times on everything. It’s our thing, right?

So I took the kids into Target for a quick trip. They were starving, I was starving, it was lunchtime. They turn into little devils when they’re hungry and I’m just not up for that today. They had already exhausted the resources I brought with me: fruit packs, goldfish, cereal bars (I’m telling you, my kids can put away some food!). So I grabbed some cheese sticks and Starbucks for lunch. Don’t judge, at least I didn’t get them actual coffee! Maddie loves the kids vanilla steamer and Ellorie loves the Horizon Vanilla Milk boxes. Frappucinos were BOGO so I got two for Andy and me. Instant cold on my throat and caffeine to keep me awake. The kids thought they were getting dessert for lunch. We were all happy.

The “cheese” face cracks me up! I remember when Maddie used to do that and we had to stop telling her to say “cheese” for pictures because she just looked ridiculous in all of them.

I love that she’s drinking her milk AND holding her foot at the same time. She’s funny like that. They each have their own little quirks with eating. Maddie still makes that “mmm” sound the entire time she eats (or drinks in this case) something really yummy.

Both kids are down for a nap right now, for the first time in over a week. I don’t know what to do with myself! We have been working on ways to get Maddie to sleep better and our plan this week has been to forgo nap in an effort to have her go to sleep at night on time. On the days she takes a nap, she protests going to sleep until sometimes 9:00 or 10:00 pm. Honestly, I want to be done at 7:00/7:30 so I’m not having that, nor am I having her keep Ellorie up. They both need sleep and we need time alone as parents. On the days she does not take a nap she will fall asleep pretty much right away at 7:00. While that’s really nice for us it’s at a price: she is an absolute monster from 4:30 – 7:00. It’s like she can’t cope with being so tired so she turns on us and starts screaming and crying anywhere and everywhere. It’s not pleasant.

So we’re kind of stuck here unsure of what to do next. The doctor said she feels like Maddie still needs to nap and needs to have some kind of help falling asleep at bedtime. She recommended melatonin, which is produced by your body naturally. I have heard a variety of things from friends about the use of it but I don’t think it has been studied in children (could be wrong). I’m not sure that’s the route I want to take which is why we’ve been trying to give up nap in an effort to have a more consistent bedtime.

Maybe she needs to take a shorter nap? She’s been taking a 2 hour nap from 1:00 – 3:00 for a few years so maybe we can change that to an hour nap or maybe even an hour nap every few days? I don’t necessarily want to put her to bed too much later since I know she needs that night time sleep and I don’t love the idea of two separate bedtimes. Today I’m going to wake her up after an hour and see how that goes. Hopefully she’ll still go to bed by 7:30.

Those of you with kiddos still napping or those who have already been through this, what do/did you do? Do your kids still nap? How did you know they were ready to give up nap completely? What time do you put them to bed? Do they fight going to sleep or just drift off right away? I would love to hear from you what works and what doesn’t.

 

Apparently We Have The Plague?

The most special baby in the world was born (almost) two weeks ago and I am DYING to go see her (and her parents!). But being the ever lucky person that I am, every member of our family (including me) has been sick at some point (if not all points) since that day. We’ve had a diarrhea bug, supposed hand-foot-mouth, Andy has a kidney stone (not really contagious but still!) and now I have strep. I mean really? I’m starting to feel like I’m never going to get to see her!

My poor kids are finally well (for the moment) and now I’m sick so we’re still stuck at home. We had a “picnic” in the living room this morning. The girls had fun and I laid on the couch and felt sorry for myself. They left me alone for all of 20 minutes. Mom’s don’t really get sick days do they? You just suck it up and power through! Or throw a bag of goldfish at them and tell them to leave you alone… (I kid, a little).

I’m OK, it’s not really that bad actually. I must have a milder case because I feel like this was much worse when I was younger. Either that or maybe I’m not as much of a wuss as I used to be? Andy would disagree with that so we’ll go with it being a more mild case of strep? I got z-pack today so hopefully it will kick in quickly and I won’t lose too much more time.

Last night (before I knew I would be feeling like death today) I placed my first order with Relay Foods. During a string of better luck, I received a coupon in the mail for $40 off of my first 3 orders of $80 or more. Folks, that’s 50% off of awesome local and organic foods AND supporting small businesses in our area. How could I pass that up? I scheduled to pick it up today and it was too late to cancel so the kids I trekked over to the Meriweather Lewis Elementary school parking lot this afternoon to pick it up (I made sure to touch nothing and no one and use lots of hand sanitizer, no worries). I had big plans to call a friend who lives right across the street for maybe a mini play date but I have to have the freaking plague so of course that didn’t happen. But I am happy to report that I am beyond happy with my order.

Here is what I got for $80 ($40 after my coupon was applied): 
2 red peppers
White mushrooms
Head of lettuce
Red grapes
3 bananas
3 apples
1 pear
Blueberries
Raspberries
Local spinach
Broccoli ‘n Cheddar Soup and Baked Sweet Potato Sticks from Cara’s Kitchen (can’t wait for the kids to try these!)
Goat Cheese (Whole Foods)
Colby Jack Cheese (The Cheese Shop)
Red Sprinkles (The Cheese Shop) – the ones I needed for my baseball cake pops!
Dutch Process Cocoa Powder (The Cheese Shop)
Nutritional Yeast (The Cheese Shop) – because I’m an idiot and was too excited ordering to notice this was NOT the yeast one would make bread with…
Sliced almonds (The Cheese Shop)
Homestyle white bread
12 snickerdoodle cookies
6 molasses cookies
6 chocolate chip cookies

The Relay Foods guy who met us there was super friendly and helpful. Everything looked great except for a few funky raspberries and blueberries. The molasses cookies never made it home, they were to die for and I will including them on our next order!

I will definitely be submitting the other two orders allowed by my coupon and I may continue to buy produce this way. I found the quality to be very good (at least with this order) and the prices to be lower than those at the grocery store. Produce is the one thing that I seldom have coupons for and therefore one of the larger parts of my grocery bill so I think this could be a great solution. Of course I’ll still be looking out for those cheap apples with tiny bruises 😉

I would love to know how you save money on produce? Do any of you use Relay Foods? Do any of you belong to local CSAs or other programs? I’d love to hear about it!

Hope you’re feeling better than I am! Wash your hands, there’s nastiness going around!

Have you entered my giveaway to win a KIWI Cookbook: Allergy-Friendly Foods for Families? You have until Friday, do it!

KIWI Cookbook Review & Giveaway!

I love trying new recipes so I was super excited to receive KIWI Magazine’s new cookbook: Allergy-Friendly Foods for Families in the mail! While we don’t have any allergy concerns in our family (yet, crossing my fingers!), food allergies are something we have run into with friends and especially at Maddie’s (nut free) school. I am always looking for new things to send with Maddie for snack that are nut free. Last year we had a dairy allergy in her class and I’m sure this coming year will present something new. This cookbook is a great resource for kid-friendly recipes that work with many food allergies.

Here are a few that I’m looking forward to trying:
Sundaes for Breakfast
Almond Butter-n-Apple ‘Wiches (although I’d probably use PB since we don’t have an allergy)
Cheddar Avocado Quesadilla (for me!)
Sweet Summer Corn Salad (another for me!)
Chicken Pot Pie w/ Sweet Potato Topping
Chocolate Toasties
Sunset Pops
Mixed Berry Fool
The World’s Simplest Soft Serve (Jen and I tried something very similar and it was GREAT!)

There are many more good ones, too many to list here! The book also includes other helpful information such as ways to get your kids involved in cooking a meal, how to pack a greener lunch, and ways to make meals more appealing to kids. I’ll take all of the help I can get in that department!

My only qualm with the book is that many of the ingredients would be something I would need to purchase (in our town) at Whole Foods and it’s a ways away from my house, not to mention expensive. But they are very upfront and shed light on the fact that most times having a food allergy is expensive, unfortunately. They do offer ideas on how to bring down costs depending on your food allergy and even where to shop and specific brands that are good, which is really nice for someone who just learned they (or a family member) has a food allergy or if you find yourself cooking for someone who does.

Overall, I thought it was a great cookbook for families living with food allergies and I know it will be a great resource for new things to send to Maddie’s class for snack.

GIVEAWAY
KIWI Magazine is giving away one copy of Allergy-Friendly Foods for Families to one of my readers! The book even comes with a free 1-year subscription to KIWI Magazine, how fun! All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what your favorite kid-friendly recipe is (doesn’t have to be allergy friendly but that’s a plus). Make sure to include your email address (it won’t be shown) so that I can get in touch with you if you’re the winner!

For additional entries you can:
1. Subscribe to Made In Earlysville by email or RSS (and leave a separate comment telling me so)
2. “Like” Made In Earlysville on Facebook (and leave a separate comment telling me so)
3. “Follow” Made In Earlysville on Twitter (and leave a separate comment telling me so)

The giveaway is open to U.S. Residents until Thursday June 28 at 12:00 midnight. The winner will be determined by Random.org and will be announced here on the blog! So exciting!

If you don’t win the giveaway and still would like a copy of the book you can purchase one on Amazon. And for more information on living with a food allergy you can head on over to www.allergyfriendlycooking.com.

Good luck!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED