I became interested in the book, Sage Spoonfuls – Simple Recipes, Healthy Meals, Happy Babies when I saw the author, Liza Huber, and her mother Susan Lucci (All My Children’s Erica Kane) on a morning talk show. Liza was promoting her book, and she spoke about how important she thought it was to make your own homemade baby food.
I am not sure why I gravitated to her and this subject matter, seeing that I do not have any any children, nor will I in the future, but I am passionate about healthy food, and I agree that good nutrition has to start as early as possible, especially when we are seeing soaring rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in young children. Maybe the subject struck me because my niece recently had a little baby girl, and I am hopeful that maybe she could be raised with wholesome healthy homemade food.
So, long story short, I was fortunate to receive a review copy of Liza’s book, and I’m so glad I did!
Now, again, I can’t speak from personal experience, but Liza states that for only 1 hour every two weeks, you can have a freezer full of homemade healthy baby food!
She created Sage Spoonfuls as a complete homemade baby-food system, of which the book is part of. The “system” includes storage jars, blenders, freezer packs, coolers, totes, etc. and the book does promote her products, but her ideas are 100% doable without any additional purchases, unless of course you want to. Well, I should clarify that you will need to buy some sort of small storage containers or baggies if you want to freeze your baby food, which is the whole point of the book, but most of the other necessary tools are items you probably already have in your kitchen: veggie peeler, strainer, cutting board, knife, spoon, cooking pot with steamer/lid, skillet/fry pan, baking sheet, immersion blender or food processor, fork, glass bowl, spatula, & sauce pan.
So let’s start with what I liked about the physical aspects of the book. It’s spiral bound, so it lies flat on your counter; that’s so helpful when you’re trying to read while cooking. The pages are thick & glossy, which I assume could resist staining (again, so helpful in the kitchen!) There’s bold bright colors on every page, with easy to read fonts and graphics. Lot of big detailed photographs throughout.
There is a lot of information to read and if you are new mom, it might be a good idea to read it once then go back and read it at least one more time to really understand the process. I dog-eared many pages and highlighted text that I thought was important!
So, there are 5 chapters in the book: Food for Thought; the Essentials; Let’s Get Started; a Homemade Lifestyle; and Recipes. Each chapter is loaded with tips, hints and details that will give you all the information you need to feed your baby homemade food. There is a 2 page “index” at the back of the book, and it’s easy to find each vegetable or fruit, along with the general subjects she mentions in the book, like Foods to Avoid, Reheating, Infant CPR.
Liza covers every aspect of how to prepare homemade food for your baby, including nutritional facts (vitamins, minerals, fats, etc) and allergies. I love that she encourages adding herbs and spices to your baby’s food. Again, I might be totally experienced in this area, but I always thought baby food should be bland. Not so! In fact, she states that the more flavors your baby is exposed to, the more “adventurous” an eater he will be, and the less “picky” he will be later in life.
Sage Spoonfuls really is a A-Z book on EVERYTHING you need to know. What is the best way to reheat the baby food? How to quickly defrost the food from freezer? What do you look for when shopping for produce or meat? What to expect when going on an overnight trip to a location with a fridge? Liza covers that, along with other scenarios like day trips, and overnights without a fridge.
My favorite chapter is Recipes – it covers each stage in a baby’s life, starting with 4-6 months, then 7-9 months, and 10-12 months. I suppose you could say that these are technically not really “recipes”, but a directory of ingredients appropriate for that specific age group.
There is also a section on Family Favorites, simple recipes that the entire family, including adults, babies, toddlers, and older children, will enjoy.
The first three age-centered recipe sections each start with a FAQ, which answers just about every question you could have concerning feeding your baby at that particular age. Liza encourages you to keep trying if at first your baby doesn’t respond. She makes every “problem” sound completely normal and that you are not alone; there are other moms that went through the same, and it’s okay!
Each single ingredient is highlighted on two pages. The first page includes helpful tips for cooking/preparing along with nutritional data plus the appropriate age at which you should start feeding the particular ingredient. She also lists if the ingredient is suitable for freezer and/or fridge and how to store “on the go”.
The ingredient’s 2nd page focuses on yummy food combinations, again, appropriate for that particular age group. This is my absolute favorite aspect of the book. I don’t know why, but these food combinations just thrilled me. I just love the knowledge that banana can be easily combined with apples or pears & parsnips – I mean, what commercial baby food manufacturer offers a jar combining potato, pea and pear? I guess that’s what makes homemade food so exciting. The endless possibility of yummy tasty combinations!
Another favorite part of the Sage Spoonfuls book was the realization that you can indeed make homemade baby cereal! Okay, it could be my lack of child rearing experience, but I think it’s so cool that you can easily make your own rice, oatmeal, barley and millet baby cereal and it will be tons better than anything you buy at the store!
My complaints about the book? I wish she shared more about the why’s of some of her tips. For example, why you need to peel vegetables and fruit? Is it because it is more difficult to puree or could it cause choking? And why she didn’t mention using a microwave to warm the food? I’m assuming her belief is that perhaps a microwave kills nutrients, but I would have loved to have read her official opinions on both.
I’m sure most of the book content can be found in various books or other “mommy” web sites, but it’s really handy to have ONE book that explains all aspects of preparing homemade baby food!
I recommend Sage Spoonfuls – Simple Recipes, Healthy Meals, Happy Babies to new moms, or moms without a lot of cooking or nutritional knowledge. I’d even recommend this for grandmas that want to give their grandbabies healthy homemade food when they visit.
This is the way I wish all children could be raised, eating wholesome homemade food! We could eliminate so many chronic illnesses and especially childhood obesity problems! If only parents would take the extra time to cook for their families! It is probably the best gift they could give!
(Disclaimer: Even though I received a free copy of this book, my opinions are truthful, and I tried my best to give an fair evaluation.)