parenting · postpartum

Make the most of your Postpartum Time : Week 2

This post may contain affiliate links or ads, for more information please refer to my Privacy Policy.

Time already feels like it is moving by too fast! This week I was able to get back to some of those ‘To-Do’s’ I had put off and add a few more things into my routine.

  1. Thank you notes
  2. Birth Announcements!
    • This is a fun one. The hospital where I delivered has an in-house photographer, so we were able to have the pictures taken within the first couple days of our daughter’s life. I had packed a special outfit, and they came out great!
    • I ordered the actual announcements from Minted Birth Announcements at Minted– they make it so easy to create a cute layout, and to have all the envelopes pre-printed with addresses for delivery, saving me precious time!B
  3. Walking
    • After a New England winter, any sign of Spring is so welcome and enjoyable. We had a couple of warm days this week and I took advantage by getting out for walks with the stroller. Baby was pretty bundled up and shielded from the sun, but the fresh air does us all good! My son has also been loving playing outside after being cooped up all winter, so walking (or even bringing the strider bike and helmet along) is an easy activity we can all do together.
  4. Pumping
    • After spending the first week focused on ensuring my baby was getting enough milk and gaining weight, this week I started pumping.
    • I pump for two reasons – (1) I will be going back to work (sooner than I would like) and need to get started storing some milk away. (2) Pumping can help to increase or keep up supply.
    • Pumping while breastfeeding full-time is a lot of work. This milk is “extra” – over and beyond what baby needs, so there won’t be much milk per pumping session, which can be discouraging but is totally normal.
    • Pumping in addition to breastfeeding can help increase supply as it fully drains the milk from your breasts and signals to your body to make more.
    • There are a few things I try to do to be sure I’m getting the most out of my pumping – after baby feeds I pump. I get very little milk, (~0.5oz total) but its more about completely emptying my breasts.
    • Sometimes I will pump and nurse simultaneously so both breasts are engaged at the same time, then I still have the baby switch over to that side after the pumping is done. This results in a little bit more milk to store, but I have to admit I don’t love doing this. It just kind of ruins the nice, calm nursing session for my babe, but is sometimes necessary.
    • One thing about the pump itself, having the correct size shields can make a difference. If you’re going to put in all this work pumping, you want to yield the best result possible, right? So its worth checking that your shield is pulling in the right amount of your nipple and aureola to maximize effectiveness. I actually use two different sizes, as one of my nipples is slightly smaller than the other!
Medela Guide to Breast Shield Sizing

I can’t really talk about pumping or milk supply and not mention drinking water! This is a big focus for me every day because I know how important it is. The issue is not that your supply will be affected (you will continue to produce milk until you are significantly dehydrated), the issue is that you will suffer. Your body will take care of the baby first, making sure the baby and breast milk is taken care of, but you may be left dehydrated and symptoms include tiredness, lack of energy, moodiness, headaches, etc – not what we need with a newborn!

I consistently see the recommendation of about 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce of water per pound of your weight. So if you weigh 140 lbs, this would be 70-105 oz of water per day. Of course we do get water from other sources (coffee, tea, juice, vegetables we eat, etc) so you could figure at least 10% of your targeted consumption will come from what you are eating.

Keep in mind that water intake varies per individual and your needs may be more or less than the recommendation given. Best advice is drink to thirst and check your urine color to determine the right amount for you.

I like to make a pitcher of infused water every few days to supplement my plain old filtered water. This just helps to keep it interesting and tasty. This week I was doing lemon and strawberry.

Meal Prep · parenting · postpartum · Recipes

With Love from my Kitchen – healthy Postpartum Meal Plan

In my last blog post on the first week post-partum, I introduced a meal plan (shown below). This isn’t necessarily low-calorie (depending on your calorie needs and your serving sizes) since I am exclusively breast-feeding and need to keep calories up to ensure supply, but it is a healthy, balanced meal plan. Based on Myfitness pal logging (love that app) I was consuming between 1400-1700 calories each day. A given as part of the meal plan is water. Hydration is SO important for breast-feeding mamas, and as part of a healthy lifestyle in general. I was getting in around 80oz a day.

After I laid out my plan and completed my shopping, we received a wonderful surprise, my mother delivered a huge pot of Beef Bourguignon, complete with mashed potatoes and buttery carrots! This is one of my mother’s specialties (a Julia Child recipe I will supply below) and one of our absolute favorites, so my meal-plan had to modify a little to accommodate, which I was happy to do! I dropped the freezer meal, that’s easy to save for next week.

My new meal plan became:

Meatless Monday

Low-Carb Waffles

Completed as part of freezer meal prep or as detailed below. Adapted from All the Nourishing Things.

  1. Cover 3/4 cup raw cashews in water and soak overnight (or 8 hrs)
  2. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews, then add them to a high-powered blender
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, in the order listed, to the blender:
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 3 eggs
    • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
    • 3 tablespoons Sugar (or leave out for savory waffles)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or leave out for savory waffles)
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • pinch salt
  4. Start by blending on low speed, then increase the speed to medium-high, then back down to low.
  5. Blend until completely smooth.
  6. Pour into your waffle maker, and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (Everyone told me I’d never use my waffle maker when I registered for it before getting married, but I use it all the time – waffle junkie!)
  7. Add cooled waffles to freezer bag – to reheat, just pop in toaster oven (or actual oven) until warm and crispy!

A simple garden salad and whole wheat english muffin grilled cheese for lunch, with a side of red grapes.

Mushroom and Artichoke Fettuccine

Made the Mushroom & Artichoke Fettuccine from DamnDelicious for dinner. This was easy, hearty and well, damn delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 ounces fettuccine
  • 1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, combine fettuccine, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, onion, garlic, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes and 4 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced, about 12-15 minutes.
  3. Stir in spinach, Parmesan and butter until the spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.

Tuesday

Lactation Smoothie

Completed as part of Freezer Meal Prep (be sure to thaw in the fridge overnight to be able to blend in the AM) or as detailed below.

  1. Add 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup old fashioned oats, 1 tbsp peanut butter, and 1 cup almond milk to blender.
  2. Sprinkle in flax seeds.

Asian Style Chicken Salad

I can’t really explain why this is call ‘Asian-style’ as there aren’t too many ingredients that I would normally associate with an asian dish. However it is really tasty and a perfect lunch. The chicken and dressing should be prepped ahead and then its a quick and easy assembly each time you’re ready to eat it. This dressing recipe makes a large batch, so you can expect to have some leftover.

INGREDIENTS

  1. 2 heads iceberg lettuce (or mix in some darker greens for added nutrition, but the iceberg has a nice crunch)
  2. 4 chicken breasts – par boil slowly
  3. 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  4. 1-3/4 cups slivered almonds
  5. 3 scallions – finely chopped
  6. Chow mein noodles

Dressing

  1. 12 tsp red wine vinegar
  2. 1-1/2 cup salad oil
  3. 3/4 tsp pepper
  4. 3 tsp salt
  5. 6 tsp sugar

Dressing should be refrigerated overnight before serving.

Beef Bourguignon

When I got married, my mother had assembled some of her best recipes, some of my childhood favorites, and some Holiday recipes into a book – I use it often, and Beef Bourguignon is included there – of course! Given that I am breastfeeding, and you might be too, the first thing you might notice is that there’s a fair amount of booze in this recipe! Yes there is, but it cooks for a long enough time that all the alcohol burns off, so it is nursing friendly. I wouldn’t neccessarily recommend making this yourself if you have a newborn though, it may be a little too involved. File it away for later or see if you can get someone to make it for you, hehe! All the other recipes I have been choosing are super quick and simple, because I don’t want to take on too much – the babe is the main priority…

Wednesday

Spinach and Cheese Omelette

  1. Mix together 1 cup of chopped spinach, 1/4cup shredded cheddar cheese, and two eggs in a same bowl, season with salt and pepper. (This is 1 serving)
  2. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot, spray with EVOO and pour in egg mixture.
  3. Gently tilt pan and push cooked portions from the edges until the full omelette is cooked. Serve immediately.

Lemon Garlic Salmon

This time I cooked in a foil packet on my inside grill, but you can bake the salmon as well and it will be delicious.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound wild salmon fillet
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • 1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence, dill, or Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large lemon sliced into rounds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high
  2. Place the salmon on one large sheet of foil
  3. Mix the lemon zest with oil in a small bowl
  4. Drizzle fish with oil mixture and coat the flesh of the salmon in oil. Sprinkle with seasoning of choice and sea salt.
  5. Place lemon slices on top of the salmon fillet and wrap in foil to create a foil packet.
  6. Place foil packet on the grill and cover the grill. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through (or reaches desired done-ness). Cook times will vary depending on the thickness of the salmon.

Thursday

No new recipes for today!

Friday

I took the pack of chicken and separated into 2 large breasts to use for Caprese chicken, along with some chicken strips to use for the garden salad. I just simply bake the chicken strips with olive oil, Italian seasoning, and a little salt and pepper for about 20 minutes.

Caprese Chicken and Spaghetti Squash

From Confessions of a Fit Foodie recipe (with small modifications)

INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings)

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. shredded basil
  • 2/3 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 spaghetti squash

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut Spaghetti Squash in half length-wise. Spray insides with EVOO and sprinkle with salt/pepper
  3. Bake squash cut side down on a cookie sheet (covered with aluminum foil) for about 20 minutes or until outside shell is soft.
  4. While squash is baking, heat a large skillet with olive oil and season chicken with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook chicken over medium heat until golden and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  6. Lower heat to medium low and add the two teaspoons of olive oil to the pan. Add onion and stir for a few minutes or until they begin soften.
  7. Add garlic and stir for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  8. Add tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and let simmer until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  9. Stir in a tablespoon of basil. Return chicken to skillet and nestle in tomatoes. Top evenly with mozzarella and cover with lid to melt cheese.
  10. Remove spaghetti squash from oven and use a fork to scrap out ‘spaghetti’ into bowl.
  11. Spoon tomatoes, chicken and sauce over spaghetti squash and garnish with remaining basil.

Delicious and Healthy!

Saturday & Sunday

Instant Pot Beanless Beef Chili

This meal is great because it is so quick and easy – from start to finish 30 mins. I didn’t end up adding the bell pepper to mine as I was short on time, and reduced some of the quantities (beef, tomatoes w/chilies) as I was only cooking for 2 adults, but otherwise I followed this recipe from Confessions of a Fit Foodie as written. I will definitely make this one again – really good. If you are breastfeeding, you may also want to reduce the heat level do be sure it will agree with the baby 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots,peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cups of zucchini, cut into half moons
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato puree or tomato sauce
  • 2 small cans of tomatoes with green chilies

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Set your Instant Pot to Saute and brown beef until beef is thoroughly cooked, adding garlic for the last minute. Drain excess fat, set aside.
  2. Add oil, onions, celery, carrots, peppers, and seasonings to the Pot and saute until onions are translucent. Add zucchini, cooked beef, tomatoes, and sauce to the pot and stir.
  3. Cover IP and be sure valve is set to sealing. Set to manual and cook for 20 minutes. After cook time, switch to venting for quick release.

Next Week’s Meal Plan

Here’s my plan for next week! Planning to be healthy and keeping it simple!

parenting · postpartum

Make the most of your Postpartum Time : Week 1

The first week after the baby is born is all about recovery and settling in. Whether this is your first baby or you’ve been down this road before – this is a special, hectic, messy time!

Today (or tonight, really) my newborn will be turning 1 week-old, so here’s how my first week went.

After the night of my delivery, I spent two additional nights in the hospital. As much as I wanted to get back to my own home, own shower, and own food, I know how valuable this time is – round the clock professional care for myself and my baby? Yes, please! My priority was for my husband and I to get some sleep while we had all this extra help, so we let the baby go to the nursery in between feedings each night. This also works out well for the hospital staff as they have numerous checks and vaccinations to complete, etc – that they would schedule during the same time.

Another important goal during the hospital stay is to help your body heal – I knew that once I got home I would be moving around so much more (chasing after a 2 year-old as well) that my bleeding and pain/discomfort would increase – and it did. So during the time at the hospital its was important to rest, get into a care routine where the peri-bottle and ice packs became my best friends, and stock up on disposable undies to use later!

Lastly – I took advantage of the lactation specialist during my stay. I had nursed my son for 9 months, and my goal is to do at least the same for my daughter. Even though I had nursed for such a long time (and it wasn’t that long ago) I still found it extremely helpful to hear from the specialist. Reminders on how to latch, different position options, how to tell if she’s feeding correctly, etc. All extremely helpful. Since most babies lose weight in their first couple days of birth (especially exclusively breastfed babies) if you are breastfeeding you are going to want to feel confident that your baby is getting enough to eat. Proper form also reduces pain and complications for the mother and helps keep your supply up. The baby is the best pump for you and if she feeds correctly your supply will be plentiful! So my main job after returning home was to establish a good feeding “routine” (essentially feeding on demand at this point, sometimes she would be hungry after 30mins, sometimes 3hrs) and to make sure she was gaining back the weight she lost. We have a small baby scale we purchased for my son (you can see it was from Babies R’Us, still so upset they are gone because it was so convenient to be able to run out and get whatever little thing we needed right away) and this is great to eliminate any question on if she’s gaining weight or not.

Fortunately, we’ve had a productive week and she is well over her original birth weight. The general guidance is that most babies should regain any lost weight by days 10-14 of life, and most babies lose 5-10% of their birth weight in the first 5 days or so of life (breastfed babies will typically at the higher end of this range).

What worked for me is to offer the breast anytime she woke or was fussy. If she didn’t take it – then I would look for another source for her crying or discomfort, but 90% of the time, she’s hungry! This is really a learning from my experience with my first-born. With him I tended to think ‘he just finished eating 30mins ago, he couldn’t possibly be hungry’ – well I was wrong, the poor kid was probably hungry all the time! Especially early on – they do a lot of cluster feeding, and also nurse to soothe themselves, so expect to spend a lot of time nursing!

This week your baby will also have their first Well-Baby visit – the first of many visits in the first year of baby’s life. There are numerous things to check and discuss at this visit:

  • Measure baby’s weight, length and head circumference – here’s a good reference on newborn averages
  • Check how baby’s umbilical cord and circumcision (as applicable) are healing
  • Check baby’s heartbeat and breathing
  • Check baby’s reflexes
  • Check baby’s skin color looking for signs of jaundice
  • Check baby’s genitals
  • Check baby’s Fontanels (soft spots) and the shape of her head

You’ll also discuss the how the baby is feeding and sleeping, and this is the best time and place to ask any and all questions you may have (there’s no such thing as a stupid question when you have a newborn).

Just completed my first check-up!

Given how much went on this week (its amazing how quickly your life can change!) there are also a couple things I didn’t worry about this week

  • My weight or getting my body back – this week, I didn’t worry about my diet, other than wanting to make sure I was eating enough to help establish my milk supply. I didn’t even think about exercise, as I wanted my body to heal. There is time for this in the weeks to come, but was not my priority this week.
  • Thank you notes and other ‘To-do’s’. With various baby gifts arriving the thank-you notes are on my list but will have to wait. Returning phone calls and emails or messages will also have to wait. This is a special time for our little family of four and its ok to be a little selfish.

One important reminder though – get that baby added to your insurance. This is one ‘To-do’ I checked off before leaving the hospital.

So, what did I feed my family this week? The first night we got home we dug into one of our Freezer Meals that I had prepared before baby arrived – what a lifesaver! We went for the turkey lasagna rolls, and this was dinner for mom, dad, and brother for our first two nights back – it was delicious, even though it looks a little messy. Timing worked out that we were actually all able to sit down and eat together too which my toddler loved, “we’re all together” he said happily.

Otherwise I ate fruit, cereal, or Lactation Cookies (also from my Freezer Meals prep) for breakfasts, sandwiches for lunch (tuna sandwich with a small cappuccino shown below), and we even did a ‘breakfast for dinner’ night with a spinach omelette – quick to make and good to eat!

Looking forward to my Post-partum (PP) week 2 however, I do want to start getting back into my normal groove of planning a weekly menu of healthy nutritious meals for the family. Here’s the plan:

I like to do Meatless Monday – but if you are following no meat on Friday’s for Lent you could easily switch the days around to accommodate. I did not do a big prep session for this week, thats a little too ambitious for me for week 2. I plan to prep as I go during the week and fit it in between feedings, snuggling with the baby, etc. We’ll see how that works out!

Since today is Monday, I’ve already started following this plan, the Low Carb Waffles (also from Freezer Meals prep) were delicious – like crave-worthy delicious.

Here’s the recipe I’ll be using for the Mushroom & Artichoke Fettuccine from DamnDelicious – it looks yummy and hearty which is perfect for a vegetarian meal!

I can’t wait to try it!

parenting · pregnancy · Sibling

Preparing your Toddler for the End of the World (or for the birth of their sibling)

This post may contain affiliate links or ads, for more information please refer to my Privacy Policy.

In some ways, the birth of a sibling is the end of the world for your toddler, especially as they know it. Your first-born will now have to compete for your attention, will see you caring for another child, singing and reading to someone else, etc; and that is hard. We’ve all heard stories of kids asking to ‘return’ the baby to the hospital after a few days. One friend told me the story of her 3 year-old daughter packing a suitcase for the new baby and leaving it at the door. She was ready to take action! It’s impossible to predict how your child will react, but there are some things you can do to help prepare your little one and hopefully avoid the apocalypse – this is a happy occasion after all!

1. Start Early

As soon as we knew we were expecting, we starting talking to our son about his new sibling, then sister once we knew it was a girl. This gave him a nice long runway to get used to the idea. As my tummy grew, he would help me feel for movement and we started practicing how to be ‘gentle to sister’ right away.

We also got a book called I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole that went into rotation of our nightly story time. There were times he would reject it, “I don’t want brother”, and I would just put it down and move on, but overall it started to familiarize him with some key concepts.

2. Include him or her in Preparations

When it came time to start pulling the nursery together, I once again enlisted my toddler’s help. At baby stores I would ask his opinion – “which pillow would sister like?” We also picked some of his toys and books that he had outgrown to give to his sister. Even though a few of the things he had picked he eventually decided to take back “this not sisters, this Sean’s”, I think it still helped to understand that he’ll need to share with her. He loved going into sisters room often and making sure everything was in order.

3. Remind him of his own Journey

We spent a fair amount of time looking at his newborn pictures. I’m not 100% certain that he fully understood that those were pictures of him (he only recently turned two) but he was very interested in the photos. I thought it would be good to remind him how much love and attention he received as a little baby so he wouldn’t feel jealous of his new sister. This is something we’re still doing during this first week of having the baby hone, to make sure he feels special.

4. Make it as Fun as Possible

For us, my son went to stay with my parents for the time I was in labor and recovering at the hospital. He loves Grandma and Grandpa, but had never spent this long away from us, so I wasn’t sure how he would do, but he did great! He had so much fun I was afraid he wouldn’t want to come home! They took him to some fun places, and know how to be perfectly silly with him, but there were also a few things we did that worked out well:

To make sure he wouldn’t miss home:

  • Packed a few of his favorite toys
  • Packed some his favorite foods
  • Packed his blanket and pillow
  • Recreated the bedtime routine including his 30mins of Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse (this is the only tv he watches in a day)

To make sure he knew we were thinking of him:

  • Bought a couple new toys from Mommy and Daddy for him to open when he arrived at Grandma and Grandpa’s house
    • A ‘big boy’ puzzle fit for a big brother
    • New coloring book
    • New stickers
    • Customized Book – Sean the Great he loved this – I found it on the Hallmark website and you can customize with your child’s name and likeness, there are a few options to choose from. Since he has been home I’ve probably read the book to him a dozen times already.
  • I also bought him a gift ‘from sister’ that I wrapped and packed in my hospital bag – we gave it to him when he came to visit us. This was a huge hit and I highly recommend it. Not only do these little things help him associate his sister’s birth as a positive experience, it also just makes him feel included. The report from my folks was that he kept repeating that the toy was ‘from sister’ and loved playing with it!

5. Don’t let his whole World Change

To the extent possible, keep things unchanged. If you had special activities, games or jokes, try to keep doing them. In my case, we made sure his bedtime routine was unaffected. After dinner he has a bath, pajamas, then comes downstairs for an episode of Mickey’s Clubhouse and his milk. I bring him up and read him a couple books, then switch with Daddy who gets in him his crib and spends a few minutes with him. This way, our son still gets his special time with each of us at the end of the day.

Now, I foresee that when I return to work this may change, and certainly in time we’ll need to establish a bedtime routine for our daughter as well – but for now at least it seems we’ve been able to avoid the end of the world.

Holidays · Recipes

St. Patrick’s Day!

This post may contain affiliate links or ads, for more information please refer to my Privacy Policy.

I have to admit, I was secretly hoping to be in labor or in the hospital by St. Patty’s Day – I also thought it would be cute if baby girl happened to have a St. Patrick’s Day birthday, I am half Irish after all :). However the baby has her own plans and I am still waiting for her arrival…..patiently?

Either way – I did have my corned beef and cabbage ingredients ready just in case, and of course, we ended up with a great Irish-American dinner at home instead.

Since my son, Sean, is only 2 – he doesn’t quite understand holidays or what they mean, but he can tell when we have a ‘special’ meal or event, and I think it adds just a little magic to life, so I like to celebrate all holidays and occasions!

For March 17th – I picked a Skinnytaste Corned Beef and Cabbage instant pot recipe this year: https://www.skinnytaste.com/instant-pot-corned-beef-and-cabbage/ but did make a couple modifications. I also made an Irish Soda bread and mashed potatoes, that I’ll talk about below.

First, 2lbs doesn’t turn out to be very much meat, even for a family of three – and I definitely wanted to have leftovers for a few sandwiches the next day. So I went with a 3.5lb piece of corned beef.

Then, instead of cooking in water, I used beef broth. If I weren’t pregnant I would probably go with half beef broth and half Guinness for extra St. Patty’s flavor!

The last modification (and most important) is that the carrots and onions do not need to cook the whole 1.5hrs – they would definitely turn to mush! so – here are my modified instructions below. (The veggies turned out perfect, my meat slightly overcooked, so in the instructions below I cut the cooking time for the meat down slightly to adjust).

Skinny Corned Beef and Cabbage

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3.5 pounds trimmed, lean corned beef brisket
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 medium head cabbage, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 box beef broth

DIRECTIONS:

  • Place the corned beef brisket, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns in the Instant pot and add 3 cups of broth.
  • Cover and cook on high pressure 1 hr 15mins. Natural release then open.
  • Add the carrots and onions, cover and cook on high pressure 7 minutes, quick release.
  • Add the cabbage to the top, cover and cook on high pressure 3 minutes, quick release.
  • Remove meat and slice into 6 pieces.

For the Irish Soda bread, I picked an Ina Garten recipes, but made some modifications of course! When it comes to Irish bread, there are two different types – those made with buttermilk and those without. They lead to two very different consistencies. I would say if you’re looking for the more traditional texture, a little dry and crumbly, this is probably not the recipe you want – this one is a little bit heavier and smoother. Both delicious, just a matter of taste and expectation. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/irish-soda-bread-recipe-1949134

The modification I made is that we don’t have raisins or currants in the house, they can be deadly for dogs, and our son will feed the dog anything, so its just too risky for us. So I went a very untraditional route and used dried cherries in our bread – that turned out to be a delicious move, so I’ll probably keep doing that in the future!

I also sprinkled the top with some sugar before baking to give the crust a little sweetness. Otherwise I stuck to the recipe, as follows:

Irish Soda Bread

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup dried currants (or in my case, dried cherries!)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (or use a handy cooking mat like I prefer!)
  • Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
  • With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the dried fruit with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.
  • Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
  • Cool on a baking rack.
Before
After!

Then, you can’t celebrate St. Patty’s Day without potatoes, but the traditional would be boiled potatoes, usually cooked in the delicious meat juices. Since the potatoes aren’t included in the instant pot recipe, I decided to switch it up and just make mashed. I knew it would be a bigger hit with my husband this way too!

Ready to Eat!
Meal Prep · pregnancy · Recipes

Postpartum Freezer Meals

This post may contain affiliate links or ads, for more information please refer to my Privacy Policy.

With my ninth month of pregnancy now in full swing, its time for Postpartum Freezer meal prep! I love meal prep in general, I do at least some every Sunday for the week ahead, and try to do a big batch freezer prep every few months, but postpartum prep is special.

First, it’s a great learning from my first pregnancy – the freezer meals I had prepared were a blessing and I wished I had prepped more! So this time around I had lofty ambitions – 13 different items. It took me basically all day, and also required my hubby keeping our toddler occupied all day – which is no easy feat. (In the end I only accomplished 12 of the meals, but more about that later!)

Second, this time around I’m loading the menu with lactation-nurturing foods – all things that are equally delicious for the rest of the family too, but I know the secret that they contain special milk-boosting ingredients. This wasn’t something I thought about that the first time around, but then started making lots of breastfeeding friendly recipes after the fact.

Below you’ll find my menu, ingredient list, and step-by-step instructions to efficiently prep 13 recipes in about 5-hours. Each full recipe is listed out separately as well later in the post.

First – Pick your recipes

Here are the 13 recipes I chose, and a little background on why.

  • Low-Carb Waffles
  • Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake
  • Instant Pot Chicken Tikka
  • Pot-Roast
  • Fennel Chicken with Orange
  • Lemon Garlic Drumsticks (x2)
  • Cheesy Taco Bake
  • Turkey Lasagna Roll-ups
  • Lactation Smoothie Packs
  • Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
  • Beef & Broccoli
  • The Best Ever Lactation Cookies
  • Mac&Cheese

Low-Carb Waffles

I found this recipe here: https://allthenourishingthings.com/grain-free-low-carb-belgian-waffles/ and made only one minor change. She includes a DIY Sugar Alternative Blend, which you may love – but I prefer to keep it natural with old fashioned sugar (there isn’t too much called for here so I still find it relatively guilt-free as far as Belgian waffles go).

I love to include breakfast in meal prep, it is the most important meal of the day, after all! For postpartum especially though – you’ll be running on very little sleep, so anything that helps get your morning off to a great start and helps you recharge will be incredibly important.

What I like about these waffles in particular is that they are low-carb (and grain-free). While we shouldn’t restrict carbs or go on an all-out low-carb diet postpartum, especially if you’re breastfeeding, I do like the idea of slowly starting to ease back into mindful eating. I personally was craving toast and juice during this entire pregnancy so I do want to reign it in (at least a little) once baby arrives.

I am a sweet waffle person, but Lindsey includes some great options for converting these into savory waffles as well on her site – worth checking out.

I only prepped a single batch, which is 5 waffles, but this is a very quick and easy recipe so you may consider doubling it if desired.

Apple-Cinnamon Oat Bake

Here’s one for the nursing mamas. Oats are one of the top foods recommended to increase breast milk supply. I should say, there’s very little scientific evidence supporting any food in connection with increasing supply – but there’s also very limited research in this area (experiments on newborns aren’t very popular 😉 From my own personal experience, I did see a benefit, so I plan to include oats in my postpartum diet this time around too.

This recipe I found at https://traditionalcookingschool.com/food-preparation/recipes/apple-cinnamon-baked-oatmeal-soaked/ and did make a couple adjustments. First for the pre-soak, I used just 1/3cup of apple cider vinegar. A 1/2 cup just seemed like too much acid, and I didn’t get into whey or sourdough-starter to keep things simple. I also used natural sugar again, and opted out of the raisins and coconut flakes, but you could easily include them if so inclined.

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka

Not much background on this one – this is just a tasty, healthy dish and one both my husband and I can enjoy! This recipe also comes from All the Nourishing Things blog, https://allthenourishingthings.com/instant-pot-chicken-tikka-masala-paleo-whole30-thm-s/ and my only tweak was to cut the cumin in half (hubby hates cumin).

Pot Roast

Protein and Iron are essential for breastfeeding, and for keeping your energy up in a marathon, which is what the postpartum period really is! I also wanted to include at least one item in my prep that I could break out when extended family is around. Easter will fall only a few weeks after I deliver, so I have this one in mind for an Easter dinner depending on how things go. Pot Roast is such a satisfying meal, has a great dose of iron and veggies as well, I’m looking forward to this one! Recipe is from: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2017/05/classic-slow-cooker-pot-roast/

Fennel Chicken w/Orange

Fennel is another lactation boosting ingredient, long considered a galactogogue. I also picked this recipe because its nice to have variety in our chicken dishes, rather than the same old combinations we’ve had a hundred times. Recipe from: http://empoweredsustenance.com/slow-cooker-fennel-chicken-with-orange/ I choose to use chicken breast, but skinless, boneless thighs are also an option.

Lemon Garlic Drumsticks (x2)

Lemon, Garlic and EVOO is one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations for a chicken marinade. So simple yet so refreshing, delicious and healthy! This one I made as an x2 (double batch) but only froze one. I thought that after an entire day of meal-prepping I should at least have something to feed my family at the end, and this was it. It was delicious, by the way 🙂 Recipe from: https://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2009/05/delicious-and-simple-lemon-garlic-drumsticks.html

Cheesy Taco Bake

This recipe (and the next four) all come from the same place – Diary of a Fit Mommy Blog https://diaryofafitmommy.com/15-freezer-meals-before-your-baby-arrives/ This is one of my favorite blogs, Sia is inspiring and her blog has tons of helpful content – so definitely check it out. This post I linked to is also for Postpartum freezer meals, so you may find it particularly interesting. I wanted some differences in the meals I prepped, which is why I went my own direction, but she does have some good options, like the Cheesy Taco Bake. This is another recipe I chose just because it is a crowd pleaser, and I know my family will enjoy it. My son is starting to be a bit more adventurous with what he will eat, so I’m hopeful the taco bake will entice him as well.

Turkey Lasagna Roll-ups

Who doesn’t love lasagna? I substituted ground turkey for ground beef to lighten it up, but otherwise this is easy to make, easy to reheat, and easy to enjoy! https://diaryofafitmommy.com/15-freezer-meals-before-your-baby-arrives/

Lactation Smoothie Packs

This one checks all the boxes for this freezer meal session – boosts milk supply? Check. Makes your busy life easier? Check. Gets you back on the healthy wagon post pregnancy? Check! I made them exactly as written. https://diaryofafitmommy.com/15-freezer-meals-before-your-baby-arrives/

Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

Teriyaki Chicken is another one of my favorite classic chicken dishes. This is also a great one to include for Meal Prep because the prep itself is relatively simple with few steps! https://diaryofafitmommy.com/15-freezer-meals-before-your-baby-arrives/

Beef & Broccoli

Again including a lot of high-iron protein in our diets is great for breastfeeding, and this is a delicious way to do it! I went for fresh broccoli, and I love that this dish incorporates something green, which we don’t see too much of on this this list. I use low-sodium Tamari instead of the traditional soy sauce – you won’t miss the sodium in this dish, and Tamari has no wheat ingredient whereas traditional soy sauce is closer to 40% wheat. Recipe from https://diaryofafitmommy.com/15-freezer-meals-before-your-baby-arrives/

The Best Ever Lactation Cookies

I must have made these cookies about 10 times while I was nursing my son. While these won’t help much in the weight loss department, they do contain lots of milk-boosting ingredients (oats, brewers yeast, coconut oil, and flax) and they are delicious. My husband was gobbling them up too last time around. I’ll start with one batch to freeze, but I fully expect I’ll be making this regularly again. Recipe from: https://www.howsweeteats.com/2015/02/lactation-cookies/

Mac and Cheese

Last but certainly not least! I didn’t get to making this dish during my meal prep day, but did make it the day after. Instead of freezing it we decided to eat it throughout the week and it was delicious! We are kind of Mac and Cheese snobs, if such a thing exists, so I while I basically followed Rachel Ray’s recipe I got a little fancy with the cheeses, reducing the sharp cheddar to 2 cups and added 1 cup gruyere and 1 cup fontina. If you’re looking to keep it simple and cut cost, you could stick with the cheddar and it will still be delicious. https://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipe/14747_Freezer_To_Oven_Mac_n_Cheese

Next: Check your equipment

There is actually a fair amount of kitchen equipment needed to make all the recipes as they are designed. To follow the full menu you’ll need:

  • Blender
  • Waffle Iron
  • Instant Pot
  • Slow Cooker
  • Immersion Blender

Next: Make your Ingredient List -> Shopping List

Here is the full list of ingredients required. You’ll then want to cross-check with your pantry/fridge so you don’t overbuy, and you’ll end up with your shopping list.

Dairy:

  • 14 eggs
  • 1/2cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 packs of salted butter
  • 1 pack unsalted butter
  • 1 carton whole milk
  • 1 carton reduced fat milk
  • 1 carton almond milk
  • 15oz ricotta
  • 2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 plain yogurt (I like Siggis brand or Fage)
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup fontina cheese

Meat:

  • 4lbs skinless chicken breast
  • 8oz ground turkey
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2lb flank steak
  • 20oz ground beef
  • 12 chicken drumsticks (if you are also doing x2, otherwise just 6)
  • 1 chuck roast (3-4lbs)

Fruit and Veggies:

  • 1 apple
  • 3 yellow onion
  • 3 garlic (20 cloves)
  • ginger
  • 2.5lbs carrots
  • 1.5lbs potatoes
  • 1cup diced mushrooms
  • 2 bunches bananas
  • 2 packs frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups broccoli (or frozen)
  • 1 orange
  • 1 jalepeno
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 green pepper
  • pack of blueberries
  • 1 lime

Pantry Items:

  • Cashews (3/4 cup)
  • Coconut Flour
  • Coconut Oil
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • 2 containers rolled oats
  • 1 container quick cook oats
  • olive oil
  • 1lb pasta – cavatappi
  • Brewers Yeast (I bought mine on Amazon)
  • Baking Soda
  • Dark chocolate Chips
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Brown Sugar
  • Slivered Almonds
  • Brown Rice
  • 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 24oz pasta sauce
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 24oz can crushed tomato
  • 1/2 cup bone broth
  • 2 boxes beef stock
  • powdered beef bouillon
  • almond butter
  • 1 jar peanut butter
  • Reduced Sodium Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • Sesame Oil
  • Constarch
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • dried thyme
  • herbes de provance
  • onion powder
  • ground celery seed
  • cumin

Freezer Meal Supplies:

  • Plastic Freezer Bags – Gallon size
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic Wrap
  • 4 aluminum 9×13 pans with lids
  • Sharpie

Next: Clean

I recommend cleaning out your freezer and your fridge, to make room for all the great food you’ll be buying, cooking and storing.

Its also great to start the actual prep day with a clean kitchen and empty dishwasher 🙂

Next: Go Shopping

I personally find grocery shopping to be very fun, however that may just be me. This shopping trip may be overwhelming due to the expense, but just remember that the time and money spent now will be saved later, when your time will be even more valuable. There are two steps that need to be done the night before prep so if you are shopping the day ahead of prep (which I did) you’ll want to get this Night Before Prep done, likely right after you put all your delicious groceries away.

Next: Night Before Prep

There are two quick steps to complete for the Apple-Cinnamon Oat Bake and Low-Carb Waffles the night before prep.

Oat-Bake Prep : Combine 6 cups old fashioned rolled oats, 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar, 8 cups water, and 1 cup walnuts in a big bowl. Cover and let soak overnight.

Waffle Prep: Cover 3/4 cup raw cashews in water and soak overnight (or 8 hrs)

Then get some sleep mama

Good Morning!

Well I assume you’re starting prep day bright and early – get some coffee! (maybe decaffeinated) and here we go!

First I made the waffles and the Apple Oat Bake, its great to get a couple dishes crossed off the list right off the bat.

For the waffles:

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews, then add them to a high-powered blender
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, in the order listed, to the blender:
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 3 eggs
    • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
    • 3 tablespoons Sugar (or leave out for savory waffles)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or leave out for savory waffles)
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • pinch salt
  3. Start by blending on low speed, then increase the speed to medium-high, then back down to low.
  4. Blend until completely smooth.
  5. Pour into your waffle maker, and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (Everyone told me I’d never use my waffle maker when I registered for it before getting married, but I use it all the time – waffle junkie!)
  6. Add cooled waffles to freezer bag – to reheat, just pop in toaster oven (or actual oven) until warm and crispy!

For the Apple-Cinnamon Oat Bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drain oats through a fine sieve. Rinse and allow to drain again.
  3. Dice one apple
  4. In a big mixing bowl, whisk together butter, milk, eggs, sweetener, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Add oats and mix well. Add the apples (you can also add raisins and coconut now if desired, I omitted.) Mix in gently.
  5. Transfer to a greased 9” x 13” baking dish (or two 8” square cake pans). Smooth the top.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Add bars to freezer bag!

Next: Chop and Cook!

I like to get all the vegetables chopped and ready so that when I actually do the cooking (or assembling) its easy and everything is ready to go. So put some good music on and get going…

Delicious healthy result 🙂
  • Cut all carrots into 1″ sticks – separate into 2.5 piles
  • Core, halve and thinly slice fennel
  • Dice mushrooms
  • Chop 2 onions, keep separated
  • Halve & thinly slice 3rd onion (I love when the onion is done – I always cry!)
  • Chop green pepper and jalepeno
  • Mince 20 medium garlic cloves (no need to keep separated, each clove is ~1 tsp)
  • Peel ginger and cut 5 slices, take a 2″ piece and dice (keep separate from slices)
  • If using fresh broccoli for the Beef and Broccoli dish (as I did) cut into florets and wash
  • Slice oranges into 1/4″ thick rounds

I held off on the potatoes, because I didn’t want them to get browned, and we’re not quite ready for them yet. First we move on to some cooking!

  • Cook 1 cup brown rice (I used wild rice, 1 cup uncooked)
  • Make the dry onion Soup mix, measure out the 4 Tbsp needed for the Pot Roast and store the rest
  • Make the homemade cream of mushroom soup
  • Peel at least 1½ lbs potatoes and cut into about 1″ thick rounds, I used more – ~3lbs of potatoes
  • Next I chose to blanch the potatoes, which should help them hold up in the freezer. Essentially simmer them in water for 5 minutes, drain and set them aside so they can cool completely – the outside edges should be cooked, but the centers should still be hard
  • Now my least favorite step – trim all the boneless chicken breast. This is optional, but I always trim my chicken to remove any big chunks of fat, hard tendons, etc – separate into 2 piles
  • Cube one of the chicken piles (~2lbs) keep the other as full breasts
  • Then wash your hands!

At this point, you’re all prepped and can move on to….

Next: Make the meals!

I started with the Lemon Garlic Drumsticks.

  • Write cooking instructions on the bags – Thaw overnight, cook at 375 degrees in casserole dish for about 45 to 55 minutes.
  • Rinse and dry 12 drumsticks (for a double batch) and separate 6 and 6 into 2 bags
  • Put the following in each bag: 3 tsp garlic, 2 tsp dry mustard, 1 tsp sea salt, zest on 1 lemon, juice of 1/2 lemon, 3 Tbl olive oil, lots of ground pepper
  • Seal and shake the bags to mix

Cross it off the list!

Next I made Slow-Cooker Pot Roast (assuming your potatoes are cooled).

  • The Pot Roast can be stored in an aluminum baking dish or a 2-gallon freezer bag, it will be too big for a 1 gallon bag (especially if you went for 3lbs of potatoes as I did). Write cooking instructions on bag or lid of freezer dish – Thaw overnight, add to slow cooker and cover, cook on low for at least 8 hours, preferably 10.
  • Layer the ingredients as follows: Homemade dry onion soup mix and Homemade cream of mushroom soup at the bottom, half the potatoes and carrots (1 pile of carrots for this recipe), next place the chuck roast on top of the vegetables, place the remaining vegetables on top and around the chuck roast.

Third I made the Fennel Chicken w/Orange.

  • Write cooking instructions on the bag – Thaw overnight, cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and carrots are very tender. Discard the orange slices after cooking.
  • Layer everything in this order: 3 Tbl olive oil, 1 tsp herbes de provance, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 3/4 tsp sea salt, 2 tsp garlic, orange slices, 1 pile carrots, chicken breast (not the cubed chicken), 1 Tbl Apple cider vinegar, fennel, 1 sliced onion – done!

Next Cheesy Taco Bake which was hard to resist eating on the spot – ok, ok I did eat a small bowl, we need to have some lunch amidst all this prep!

  • Write cooking instructions on cover of aluminum baking dish – cook while frozen, cover with foil & bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil & bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted & edges are bubbling.
  • Spray dish with EVOO, set aside.
  • Measure out spices – 1-2 tsp fresh lime juice, 2 T Chili Powder, 1 tsp Oregano, ½ tsp Thyme, 2 tsp cumin (I cut cumin in half to 1 tsp), 1/3 cup chopped Cilantro
  • In a 12” skillet, heat EVOO over medium-high heat, add 1 onion, 3 tsp garlic, jalapeno & sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add 20oz ground beef, breaking it up as it browns. Cook for about 5 minutes & add green peppers. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink.
  • Add lime juice and spices. Stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  • Remove from heat – add rice, 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce, & 1/4 cup of cheese to the skillet and stir to mix well. Pour mixture into baking dish. Top with remaining Cheddar
  • Allow to cool, cover, and freeze

Dish #7 – Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

  • Write cooking instructions on the freezer bag – thaw and dump contents in crockpot and cook for 4-6 hours on low.
  • Add ingredients to freezer bag (Make sure to get rid of any extra air in the bag) – 8 chicken thighs, 1 c. teriyaki sauce, 1 c. filtered water, 2/3 c. light brown sugar, 3 tsp garlic, ginger slices

Now take a moment and be glad that you are more than halfway done!

Next I made the Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala. This is one is actually a little high maintenance but I expect it will be worth it. You need to get your IP out to do some cooking.

  • Write cooking instructions on the freezer bag – thaw overnight and heat in oven to desired temperature
  • Measure out spices – 1 tablespoon butter or ghee, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 Tbl garam masala, 2 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp tumeric, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp chili powder 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • Press the Saute button on your Instant Pot and add the butter/ghee and coconut oil to melt.
  • Add the diced onion and saute 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the spices and stir, cooking about 1 minute, until fragrant. 
  • Then add 7 tsp garlic, ginger, 24 oz can crushed tomatoes, and 1/2 cup bone broth.
  • Place the cubed chicken breast into the Instant Pot, submerging it under the tomato-spice mixture.
  • Lock the lid, make sure the vent is sealed, and press the Manual button. Adjust the time to 10 minutes. When the Instant Pot beeps, release the pressure immediately.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken pieces from the sauce, place into the freezer bag
  • Stir in the almond butter and yogurt.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend the tomato sauce until smooth and thick.
  • Add sauce to the freezer bag and stir – keep bag open and allow dish to fully cool before sealing

Next an easy one, Dish #9 – Beef & Broccoli

  • Write cooking instructions on freezer bag – Thaw and cook on low for 3-4 hours (recommended pairing – 2 cups brown rice not included here)
  • Mix beef and sauce ingredients – 2lb. flank steak, 1 box beef broth, 1/2 c. soy sauce, 1/3 c. light brown sugar, 2 tsp garlic, 1 Tbl sesame oil, 2 Tbl cornstarch
  • If you bought fresh broccoli, place in its own gallon freezer bag – if frozen, put 2 c. into bag with beef and sauce.

Moving right along I chose to tackle the Turkey Lasagna next – I have a feeling this will be one of the first dishes we eat post-baby.

  • First cook 1 package of lasagna noodles.
  • While cooking, write the cooking instructions on the cover of a 9×13″ aluminum baking dish – cook frozen, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
  • Brown 8 oz turkey in a skillet and mix in the 24oz. jar of pasta sauce. Season with salt, pepper, 2 Tbl onion powder, and 2 Tbl garlic powder.
  • In a bowl, combine 2 eggs with 15 oz. container ricotta, 1/2 c. parmsean, and half of mozarella and mix well. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and basil.
    Cook noodles as directed and lay flat out on wax paper sheets. Place 1 tbsp of meat mix on the noodle and spread evenly.
    Place 1 tbsp of the cheese mixture and spread evenly.
    Gently roll up the noodle carefully, top with remaining mozzarella, and freeze

Now for the Lactation goodies – Smoothie Packs and Cookies. I completed these in tandem, while waiting for a batch of cookies to bake I would throw together a smoothie bag or two.

Lactation Cookies

  • First pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Now make the cookie batter!
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 1/2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour, 5 Tbl brewers yeast, 3 Tbl ground flaxseed, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the 12 Tbl organic unsalted butter and 4 Tbl coconut oil on medium speed until creamy. Add in 1 1/2 c. sugar and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Add in 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, beating until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in 2 tsp vanilla extract and beat until combined again.
  • Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined and mixed. Stir in 1 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips with a spatula until they are evenly dispersed.
  • Scoop the dough into rounds and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms are just golden.
  • Let cool completely before storing in a sealed container.
  • For me, this made about 40 cookies 🙂

Smoothie Bags

  • To make each pack place 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup old fashioned oats, 1 tbsp peanut butter, and 1 cup almond milk in a ziplock bag.
  • Sprinkle in flax seeds.

Now, at this point, I decided to call it a day. My 2 year-old was running around wondering why mommy hadn’t played with him all day, I was tired, and truthfully I was satisfied with all the meals I had completed. However, if you are a super trooper and want to finish off the full 13 meals – the last one is Mac & Cheese.

  • The first thing to do is grate all the cheese. For me, that was 2 c. sharp cheddar chesse, 1 c. gruyere and 1 c. fontina
  • Next be sure to write the cooking instructions on the cover of the aluminum foil dish – go straight from the freezer into in a 400F oven. Cook for 1 hour, covered with foil, then take the foil off and bake for another 15-20 minutes to brown the top.
  • Cook 1 lb cavatappi pasta (or other type) until just shy of al dente
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium-size skillet over medium heat and add the 3 Tbl butter.
  • When the butter melts, add the 3 Tbl flour and cook about a minute.
  • Whisk in the 3 c. milk, season with salt and ground black pepper, and bring up to a bubble.
  • Turn the burner off and stir in the cheeses in a figure-eight motion until it’s all melted.
  • When the pasta is done, drain it well and combine with sauce. Pour into baking dish and allow to cool be fore covering/freezing.

That’s it! You’re done and should feel great about setting yourself (and your family) up for some delicious, nutritious meals for after your bundle of joy arrives.

Success! Delicious success!

Now, you likely have some cleaning up to do – but hopefully not too bad. Then, make sure to sit down and relax and feel accomplished! In a normal meal prep, I might celebrate with a glass a wine, but given the whole pregnancy thing in this case, I chose a decaf cappuccino and couple of lactation cookies instead. Ahhhhh…….

Uncategorized

And so it begins…

This post may contain affiliate links or ads, for more information please refer to my Privacy Policy.

Hello! Welcome to my Blog and journey… I currently live in Massachusetts with my husband Nate, French bulldog Hugo, and son Sean. I’m also currently 36 weeks pregnant so you can guess where my head’s at – baby brain!

No matter how busy I am (and as a full-time working mom of a 2yo, I’m busy) I still can’t stop thinking about the baby! This became all-consuming around 8 months pregnant and has only gotten stronger the further along I am. Thoughts of prepping the house, labor, maternity leave, and recovery. (Not to mention the typical mom-worrying that creeps in late at night when I just can’t get comfortable enough to sleep…)

Given that this will be my second time around, I feel like there are less unknowns in general – I know what real labor feels like (a sensation I’ll never forget), I know how to breastfeed and pump and take care of a newborn, but I also believe that each pregnancy and each baby is unique, so I am fully expecting the unexpected! In general though, at this point my thoughts have drifted more to the postpartum stage; and while I find tons of blogs that cover parenting and great resources on pregnancy, there seems to be a fairly limited amount of blogs covering the postpartum period. While officially defined as the first 6 weeks after giving birth, I think of it as the 6 months after giving birth – that’s how long I think it takes to settle in and adjust to all the change (at least!). One reason we see fewer blogs covering this time in a woman’s life’s because she is just too busy, (and in truth has higher priorities!) but it also lasts such a short time that it only makes sense we don’t have the same wealth of information available about it.

Whatever the reason, it feels like the perfect time in my life to start a blog and share my journey. I hope you will find some value in it.

Mumnstuff blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Confirmation Code: GDBSHMCX222054769