To bring you the best variety of tips and savings ideas, the Inexpensively network connects with bloggers from around the country. Joining us this week is Kristen from Goodie Goodie Gumdrops sharing her review of the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker.
Kristen is a 26-year old stay-at-home mommy to a temperamental yet lovable 1-year old boy and wife to a hardworking, entrepreneur hubby. She’s been blogging since 2006, chronicling her struggle with infertility, loss and beyond – although she recently began her own review/giveaway blog to share her love of research and great finds with others. She lives by the motto, “it’s not so much about counting the days but making the days count.”
I should begin by saying that I am not much of a cook. The kitchen and I are more like frenemies. I only cook out of necessity so I don’t starve. But when I gave birth to my son, Nate, I just knew I wanted to breastfeed and when the time came, I knew I wanted to try my hand at making baby food. Maybe it was my newfound motherly instinct but I had to know what exactly was going in my boy’s tummy. If I couldn’t pronounce it or identify it, it wasn’t going on a spoon – or anywhere near him for that matter. So, as his 6-month birthday approached and I began researching homemade purees, I stumbled upon the Beaba Babycook at Williams Sonoma.
I was immediately intrigued. A steamer, blender and defroster all in one little machine? How convenient – especially for the lazy “chef” like me! Not to mention all parts that come into contact with food are BPA-free [polypropylene (PP) or polysufone (PSU)] and dishwasher safe. Who wouldn’t want to give this device a try? With a $150 price tag, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be worth it. But I thought about the amount I would spend on jarred food ($10/week minimally – more for organic baby food brands) and figured it would pay for itself in just a few months. So, I begged my husband to buy it for me as a Christmas gift. And like a good hubby, he did as he was asked 🙂 I couldn’t wait to test it out and get the real scoop.
The first thing I noticed was the design. Very European – simple yet stylish. The neutral green color is something that can fit in with just about any kitchen décor. Unlike my dull blender, I was not ashamed to have the Babycook on display on my countertop. But did it perform as good as it looked?
The Babycook surpassed my expectations. It was so incredibly easy to use, even for a novice like myself. The instructions were straightforward and easy to follow. Add the recommended amount of water to the reservoir (there’s a handy guide to help you determine which level to use), add diced food to the basket and place inside the blending bowl, attach the lid and turn the knob to the “steam” position. Voila! In 5-15 minutes, you’ll have fresh, healthy steamed fruit or veggies for your little one to enjoy. The machine was super quiet in action, so I could make batches of purees at night without disturbing my sleeping baby. It even has an automatic shut-off feature so you don’t have wait beside the machine, staring at the clock. You can *gasp* relax or multitask while the Babycook does all the work for you.
Once steamed, you just remove the fruit or veggies, place them into the blending bowl (with or without water or juice to thin), cover and turn the knob to the “puree” position. You control how thin or how thick you want it to be with the length of the pulse. Done! It’s easy as pie. Probably even easier than pie! Use the enclosed spatula to scoop out and feed immediately or into a refrigerator/freezer-safe container for later use. I personally use 2 oz. Baby Cubes, as they are BPA-free and have individual lids for easy thaw and transport, but a plain old ice cube tray would work just as well. Cleanup is a breeze – just rinse and throw in the top rack of the dishwasher. The blade is removable so you can also handwash if you prefer.
The Babycook comes with a small recipe booklet to get you started. However, I would recommend that you purchase a separate baby cookbook or use online resources such as www.wholesomebabyfood.com to supplement this and add a variety of baby food recipes to your arsenal.
The only disadvantage I can think of with the Babycook is that the cooking basket is not very large. I can max it out with 2 medium-sized diced pears. But it’s so easy and fun to use that I don’t mind cooking more often! Also, a bigger appliance would be bulky and awkward. The small size allows for more counterspace, which is in-demand in most kitchens I’ve seen. Also, I found the lid to be a bit tricky to work at first. You have to align it just so in order for it to click into place. But after a little practice, it’s now like second nature.
I’ve used my Babycook to make simple dishes like Vanilla Pear, smoothies like Blueberry Banana Yogurt and complex dinners like Chicken with Apple and Sweet Potato. Each time, my purees have come out exactly like I desired. They smell and taste delicious and my son gladly gobbles them up. Mission accomplished.
Bottom-line: Do you need the Beaba Babycook to make homemade baby food? No. You can get by using a steamer and a blender as mamas have done for years. But the Babycook certainly makes it fun and ultra-convenient. That, my friends, is priceless.
There are numerous products and tools designed to help you live your life. Some will work, while others won’t. Each Tuesday, we’ll share something we’ve tried so you won’t have to spend money until you know it’s worth it! Our selections usually include items that will also help your family save money while others will save time or just make your inexpensive life easier to manage.