Homemade Pesto in Babyfood

pesto in baby food pesto with babyWould you like your little one to be a future gourmand?   Why not whip up some homemade pesto to stir into her sweet peas?  Don’t worry about it being overly spicy, nutty or cheesy.  You can limit or omit ingredients and still create a delicious green paste to mix into your baby’s food and your pasta.

Here’s a simple recipe from The Joy of Cooking.  We’ve tried it and found it to be quite delicious.

Load the following into a food processor or blender:

  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (skip for babies less than one year old if worried about allergies)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled or 1 Tbsp. minced jarred garlic
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (skip if your baby is younger than eight months old)

Slowly add

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (add more if sauce seems too thick)
  • If you’d like, season with salt and black pepper.

You can store this sauce for up to a week in the fridge.  If you’re loaded with basil but don’t know what to do with it all, you can make this recipe to your taste and freeze it in ice cube trays.  Then dump it in zip lock bags and mix in the other ingredients when you’re ready to eat pesto all winter long!  Enjoy!

Infused Water Makes a Beautiful, Cheap Summer Beverage

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or just trying to survive the summer (just one month left!), then you know the importance of staying hydrated. With this in mind, we recently divulged our recipes for homemade iced tea and lemonade, asking our readers how they quenched their thirst.

glass of water infused with watermelon

Emily had this to say:

I’ve been nursing for 2 months and am thirsty all the time! I get tired of plain water, and even iced tea. My new favorite beverage is infused water. I just fill a pitcher with water, toss in some combination of sliced lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries, cucumbers, or sprigs of mint (mixing and matching flavors adds variety), and stash it in the fridge.

Brilliant! I don’t mind drinking plain old water, but I know there are people who don’t have clean-tasting tap water, don’t like tea, and don’t want to spend money on other beverages. In addition to the ingredients Emily listed above, I’ve tried watermelon, basil, and lemon balm. Any other ideas for infusing water?

This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by We are THAT Family.

Easy Garage Sale Shopping With Baby

Some people claim that garage sale shopping is just too labor intensive, especially with a tot in tow, but it can be easy if you do most of your work before you leave the house.  Check last week’s post for all the reasons that hitting yard sales is best for your pocketbook and the planet.

garage sale for kidsThink Big. Since shopping with a little one is tough, focus on large events such as multi-family, church, or charity garage sales. They’ll save you driving time and help you see a larger selection all at once.  If you can’t find a big sale, try to find several small sales in one area, looking specifically for those that feature children’s clothing. We often opt for areas of town that are known to be wealthy since those sales usually have good quality merchandise and the owners are willing to part with it for less. Print out Mapquest directions ahead of time instead of trying to follow random cardboard signs and make sure you have small bills and change as you head out the door.

Plan ahead. Although you may have the perfect set of sales and all your directions in hand, if your baby isn’t happy the experience will be somewhere between bad and horrid.  Make sure to get out the door early in the morning before naptime with plenty of snacks on hand.  Also, since garage sales often feature incredibly cheap toys, you can give your older child a dollar or two and let him or her manage their money and find the best bargain.  It’s a great incentive for a toddler to keep it together while you breeze through a handful of sales.

Have you hit any incredible sales this summer?  Do you have any epic scores to share with us?  Do tell!

The Saturday Question: How Did You Survive the Fourth Trimester?

Maybe I should have asked this question before Joy gave birth to her second child in June. Those sleepless nights, the ceaseless crying, the endless nursing: How on earth did you survive it? What were your tricks to survival in those first few months with a new baby? Help our sleep-deprived readers out!

new father sleeping with newborn baby

Dangle Your Baby Outside a Window for All-Natural Air Conditioning!

My cousin recently sent me an interesting image, saying it made her think of the Green Baby Guide:

baby in a window crib or cage

 Now, we’ve run several posts on keeping baby cool (here’s  one on how fans save you money and another one on using passive cooling to avoid air conditioning), but this is cutting-edge technology! Have you ever suspended your baby out the window in a barred cage? No? Okay, now go read our other tips on keeping baby cool—and away from open windows.

Garage Sale Shopping for Baby Clothes

Your family and friends may find it tacky to search tag sale tables for tiny outfits, but I personally think it’s budget-friendly, earth-friendly and a bit adventurous.   Plus it gives you the chance to meet people in your community and pick up a thrifty toy or two.

garage sale shopping for babyAt a recent garage sale, we scored four high quality shirts for my son all for fifty cents apiece—plus a Ralph Lauren down winter jacket for a few bucks. Since he’s nearly three, my son will most likely be able to wear those clothes all winter long, but my baby stays in her clothes for a matter of weeks.  Spending fifteen to twenty dollars on just one piece of infant clothing means that some parents pay five dollars or more per use.  Imagine how the expense (or the savings) adds up over the course of your child’s first few years!

Of course, some families do choose to spend more on green goods for baby. While buying eco-friendly clothing certainly helps you support businesses you can believe in, many people in this economy can’t afford to shell out a bit more money for bamboo cloth or organic cotton.  The good news is that  buying secondhand is a great environmental decision that will actually save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Why choose garage sales over thrift shops or consignment stores that also offer secondhand goods? Rummage sales are more work, but clothes are vastly cheaper when you buy directly from the previous owner.  Also, if you find the right sale you can purchase gear, clothes, toys and lots more all in one spot.  Then, you can often resell the goods for almost the same price at your own tag sale when you’re done using them.

Are you still a bit hesitant to head off into the garage sale sunset with your little one?  Fear not!  Our next post is dedicated to providing you with tips to make it easier.

The Best BPA-free, Phthalate-free Baby Dishes Around

Here’s a quick tip: Don’t waste your time reading the labels on plastic baby dishes trying to figure out if they’re made out of “good” plastic or “bad” plastic. Just use ordinary glass custard cups for your baby dishes. They’re nonporous and don’t leach chemicals into food. They can also go into the refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and oven.

When my daughter was a baby, we fed her from these tempered glass bowls with a spoon. We found a set that came with lids and sent her homemade baby food to daycare in them. Now we all use them for snacks or as prep bowls while cooking. I also use them to make custard every once in a while. In all my years as a custard cup enthusiast, I have never broken one.

glass custard cups for baby food bowls

I favor baby gear with a long lifespan. I’ve had a set of custard cups since before my baby was born, and we’ll be able to hand them down to our grandchildren. Now that’s an inheritance to look forward to!

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to We are THAT Family.

Were You Frugal Before the Recession?

The hand-me-downs, the homemade bread, the generic groceries—living a low-cost life is less than glamorous.  I used to complain about my ultra-cheap childhood, but in these rough financial times, I appreciate my lifelong education as a skinflint.  As more Americans struggle with unemployment and lower wages, it seems that all of us are moving away from consumerism and towards frugal adventurism.

saving money during a recessionHere at Greenbabyguide.com, we celebrate our nation’s new fascination with penny pinching, but we’ve been enjoying life on the cheap for decades.  Far before this recession or the arrival of our babies, we were living with less, buying used, and relishing the challenge of stretching a dollar as far as it could possibly go.

Although my husband and I got a kick out of garage sale shopping and socking away savings, when he lost his job in the spring, we realized that our frugal lifestyle gave us the freedom to stay home together for the summer and enjoy our second baby’s first few months.  What a treat!

Have you made the move to thrifty living since the recession or are you a lifelong tightwad? Has the economic climate helped you find even more avenues for saving money?  Fill us in on your budget adventures!

The Saturday Question: What Pregnancy Gear Is Necessary—and What’s Not?

We’ve talked a lot about baby gear—what to get, what not to get, what to get used, what to get organic. But what about all the stuff you need before the baby is even born? Even the most frugal pregnant woman is sure to pick up a few new items to accommodate the expanding waistline. Is there anything else that makes pregnancy easier? Or any pieces of “maternity gear” that are just a waste of money and resources? Let us know!


Biokleen Laundry Detergent Update

Breaking news: one year and three months after writing this cost-comparison of eco-friendly laundry detergents, I’m still using my Biokleen laundry detergent. I think I got my money’s worth out of that old ten-pound box. In that post, I discovered that Biokleen was actually cheaper than even conventional cheap detergent, especially with a high-efficiency machine.


 My child’s diaper days are now behind me, but I used the Biokleen powder on both pocket diapers and prefold diapers and never had a problem with residues or detergent build-up. (Read Joy’s post about diaper-friendly detergents here.) I also like the detergent for all of our other clothes. My only complaint is that the powder didn’t dissolve completely if I put it in the detergent compartment of my front-loading machine. I took care of that problem by putting the powder straight in the machine over my laundry.

I just noticed that the Biokleen is on sale for just $11.00 (that’s less than $.07 a load!) at Fred Meyer’s right now, so I may just have to pick up two more boxes, which will last me more than two-and-a-half years. At that point I will have to report back with yet another exciting “laundry update.” Stay tuned!