Birth Story: Annabelle

A Birth Story-

(birth photography by Meaghan: meaghanphoto.com)

It was a few days leading up to my due date. I was overdue with Alexander, by 6 days, so I was assuming I would be overdue with this baby. 

Friday morning (January 29th), I decided to accept reality, that I would be pregnant another week, maybe more. I took Alexander to the Mall of Georgia to walk around a while. (I was noticeably more irritable, though I didn’t realize it until later.) Tired and achy, we headed home. For some reason, I also decided to take a nap with Alexander, which I never do anymore! I shared a snap on Snapchat that said, “Maybe his last nap as an only child!”

Around 5:00pm I started feeling a little crampy, and I noticed the Braxton Hicks contractions were happening more than usual. By 5:30pm, they were painful, and I realized they weren’t disappearing if I walked around or changed positions. I knew that was one sign of true labor versus false labor, but I wasn’t about to get my hopes up. 

It was 6:15pm. I started timing contractions, just to see if they were consistent and how far apart they were. Cameron came home at 6:45pm, and I told him I thought things might be happening. At that point, the contractions were 7-8 minutes apart and lasting 60-90 seconds. Cameron had brought home some dinner; I forced myself to eat a few bites. At that point, I was pretty confident I was in true labor. I called my midwifery, and I texted my doula, photographer, babysitter, and mother.

The contractions were getting stronger, so I took a shower to see if they would subside. They didn’t! The contractions were now about 3 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds.

Contraction Timer

Around 9:00pm the babysitter (our friend Carrie) came over, so Cameron and I told Alexander goodnight and started toward the hospital. Along the way, I had several contractions. Car contractions were tough! I knew they’d be harder than at-home contractions, but I made it through them. We got to the hospital around 10:00pm. I should have pre-registered (oops), so we had to do some paperwork right away.

Now…. the exciting part. It was 10:30pm when I finally got into a triage room; they checked my blood pressure and all that. I had to lie on the table while they did everything, and the contractions had gotten closer together (every 2 minutes). In the middle of one contraction, while the midwife was about to check my dilation, my water broke! That was intense. And the midwife told me I was 4 centimeters dilated. She requested that I walk for an hour before getting settled into the labor and delivery room.

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We walked for a little while, but honestly, the contractions were getting to be really tough for me to handle. Every 90 seconds or so, I grabbed onto one of the handrails in the hallway and breathed/moaned through it. I decided a shower might do me some good. (With Alexander, I really enjoyed standing in a hot shower while the water beat down on my lower back.)

I did that for quite a while, and at about 11:30, I told the doula and nurse that I wanted the bath filled with water. (I was told it would take about 20 minutes for the tub to fill.) Around midnight, the contractions were so intense that I vomited. I remembered that happening last time, near the end. While physically upsetting, I knew that it was also an encouragement.

Only two positions were manageable for me. One was leaning over the bed and swaying my hips back and forth. The other was standing next to the bed and just embracing the pain. This time around, I didn’t like anyone touching me through most of the contractions, so I just stood and breathed through them mostly on my own. 

It was about 12:30am (Saturday now, January 30th), and I felt the urge to push while I was standing there. I told my doula, and she quickly told the nurse that I should probably be checked for dilation. Of course, my fear was that I would push the baby out while standing there, and he/she would fall to the floor!

The midwife came in and had me get onto the table to check my progress. She let me know I was “one good breath away from being fully dilated.” Woohoo! She also told me to go ahead and push whenever I felt the need. Cameron and the doula stood on my left side while the midwife stood on my right side. (The bathtub was only filled to 6 inches, so I wasn’t able to get into it! So much for a water birth!)

4

Each push was intense and burned, just as I remembered. When I started feeling the baby’s head coming forward, I tensed up and got very emotional. I only wanted someone to reach in there and pull it out for me. I didn’t want to keep going anymore. It hurt too bad. After I pushed as much as I thought I could, the midwife would say, “Give me just a little more.” So I would push just a little more.

I felt the head, finally. I could feel it almost out. But I was out of energy, out of breath. Then I pictured the baby, I told myself I was about to find out if I had a little boy or little girl. I was almost done. I was going to meet my baby. The midwife gave me that command again, so I pushed and screamed and shouted until I felt the baby come. 

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Relief! Instant relief. We pulled the baby up, and someone said, “It’s a girl!” It may have been me. It was all a bit fuzzy. Immediately they unwrapped the cord (it was around her neck twice and twisted around her body) and cleaned out her mouth. They wiped her down with a towel very quickly then placed her directly on my chest.

It was just before 1:00am.

Within a few minutes, she did a breast crawl and started to breastfeed. I learned I had no bruising or tearing (woohoo!) so I wouldn’t need stitches. After the cord stopped pulsing, Cameron cut it, and some time later, I delivered the placenta. For two hours, our little girl laid on my chest. The nurse weighed her at that point (about 7.5 pounds), and we all just relaxed while they prepared a private room for us (recovery room?).

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Compared to Alexander’s birth, this was so much faster! I couldn’t believe it! We were really fortunate.

And now, it’s been a few days, and we’ve got a precious baby girl and a sweet boy at home. We are settling in, slowly but surely. It’s going to take a while for me to adjust to having two children! I think that once Alexander connects with her, things will be smoother. For now, we are just enjoying both of them and enjoying our time as a family of four.

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Gluten and Dairy-Free Recipes

gluten and dairy free recipes

Today’s guest post is from Liza, on Instagram at cookingforgrey.

She’s sharing 6 of her favorite Gluten and Dairy-Free Recipes. Enjoy!


GLUTEN- and DAIRY-FREE TOP SIX

Hello, Lovelies!

This is Liza from Instagram foodie and baby-led weaning blog @cookingforgrey guest-blogging for Bethany while she takes some time off enjoying her growing family. In this post, I will share six of my favorite gluten- and dairy-free recipes from breakfasts to lunch to snack. You can find many more ideas on my IG feed.

Grey is 22 months and we used baby-led weaning approach from the very start at 6.5 months. We have had great success with that, Grey started self-feeding immediately, although we of course still helped him along them way, he accepts most foods and it’s easy to have a family meal or go out with him. I put together details of our take on baby-led weaning into a short guide, if anyone is interested please email me at cookingforgrey@gmail.com and I will send it to you!

Nobody in our family has dairy or gluten allergies and we are essentially omnivores, although we do try to get a bulk of our calories from veggies, fruit, legumes, nuts and healthy grains such as oats, quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice etc. So even though we occasionally enjoy a sheep’s milk yogurt (see why it is so much better for your littles than cow in this Wikipedia article) and locally made bread with few readable ingredients, we love to explore other nutritious alternatives to both dairy and gluten. I selected a few of our staples to share with you below:

1. Zucchini Toad-in-the-Hole’s

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes

These household favorites are filled with a veggie egg mixture and the little holes make a great snack! Plus at our house anything bite-size goes! This recipe is a great way to use up some leftover cooked veggies. In this instance, we had asparagus, tomatoes and potatoes, but it could be anything!

METHOD

(makes enough for one toddler meal so scale up according to the number of eaters)

Preheat oven (a small toaster oven works great) to 375F. Whip one egg. Mix in chopped cooked veggies (carrots, mushrooms, spinach, etc) and chopped fresh herbs (parsley or dill or any other or skip) Season with salt and pepper.

Slice one small zucchini 1/4 inch thick. Use a small cookie cutter, a veggie cutter (plenty of options on Amazon) or an apple corer to cut out holes in the middle of zucchini slices. Cook both zucchini slices and holes in a very small amount of oil in a hot pan until lightly browned on both sides. Fill the holes in slices with egg mixture and bake until the egg mixture is puffed up and browned about 10 min. Serve zucchini holes while the breakfast is being cooked!

BLW NOTES: appropriate from 6 months+ barring any egg allergy. Skip added salt under 12 months.

2. Sweet potato waffles (or pancakes or muffins – one batter)

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes

We are obsessed with waffles at my house. Why? They are easy, you can bake virtually anything into a waffle and no exact measurements are required. You don’t have to babysit a waffle: pour, close, walk away until you hear the beep. Finally, who doesn’t love waffles and you can make those very healthy. This particular recipe is our favorite, sweet potatoes bring it to the next level of sweet and creamy deliciousness. One of my followers shared that she used this same batter to make both pancakes and muffins and it worked! How versatile is that?!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup mashed sweet potatoes or yams
(see note* below)

1/3 cup corn flour or very fine cornmeal

1/3 cup oat flour (or ground rolled oats)

3/4 cup of nut milk

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla powder

pinch sea salt

2 eggs whipped (or 2 flax eggs – see note** below)

3 medjool dates blended with a little hot water or 1 TBSP maple syrup or sweetener of choice

1 TBSP melted coconut oil

Mix everything in one bowl. Bake on 5 setting. Makes 4 waffles. To make mini waffle bites, drop batter with a teaspoon into the corners and middle of the wafflemaker.

*Bake a sweet potato by cutting in half lengthwise, setting on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper in 375 oven for 20 min or until a knife goes through like butter. No oil required.

**To make 1 flax egg, mix 1 TBSP ground flax seed with 3 TBSP of water well. Let sit until it turns glutinous.

BLW NOTES: OK from 6 months plus barring any egg allergies. My own tip: do not sweeten for under 12 months so that your baby gets a chance to develop a state for things that are not sweet. Skip added salt under 12 months.

3. Cauliflower rice with flaked salmon and vegetables

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes

This dish is so simple but incredibly delish. It’s also free of grains, gluten, dairy and is paleo and can be made Whole30 compliant if you use snap peas instead.


INGREDIENTS

0.5-0.75lb skin on center cut piece of organic or wild salmon

1 head of cauliflower, cleaned and separated in large fairly evenly-sized florets

2 cups of cleaned green beans, ends cut off, cut in 2-3 pieces

1 cup freezer green peas

Salt and pepper

Good finishing oil (we love Roasted Walnut by La Tourangelle)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 400F. Salt and pepper salmon. Sear flesh part in a hot pan till browned. Finish in the oven for 12 min.

Let rest under a piece of foil. Meanwhile, clean cauliflower and pulse it in the food processor until small particles form that resemble rice (it will take just mere few pulses to do that). Salt, pepper, sauté in a medium-hot oiled pan until soft and browned.

Steam green beans and peas. Once ready, dowse with very cold water or throw in an ice bath to preserve the brilliant green color.

Flake salmon. Gently mix everything in a bowl. Finish with good oil.

BLW NOTES: It’s totally fine to start fish 6 months+ barring any family history of allergies. Grey tried it around 7 months and loves it. Skip added salt under 12 months.

4. Butternut Squash “Mac’n Cheese”

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes

You can adjust the amounts based on the size of your family and your butternut squash.

PROPORTIONS:

For every:

1 cup of butternut squash purée

You will need:

1 cup homemade easy cashew milk (see below)

1/2 tsp turmeric powder (optional, no flavor, nice color and great immune boost)

1 tsp onion+garlic sauté (see below)

Salt and pepper to taste

OPTIONAL:

1/3 cup steamed peas

Pinch fresh sliced sage

Pinch smoked sweet paprika for garnish

.

METHOD:

Soak 1 cup raw cashews for 4 hours or best overnight. Drain. Add 4 cups of fresh water and a pinch of sea salt. Blend in a high-power blender. That’s it. No straining required. This may be more than you will need but seriously you will always find use for it. Otherwise scale the recipe.

Roast butternut at 375F for 45 min or until soft. Cool enough to handle but don’t let to cool completely – warm is easier to purée.

Sauté 1 finely diced small onion in a bit of oil until translucent, add 2 minced garlic cloves and stir fry for 1 min. Set aside. Note: you only add 1 tsp of this mixture per cup of butternut squash. See proportions above.

Add all the ingredients (except peas, smoked paprika and sage) to the blender and purée until smooth.

Toss with gluten-free pasta (we like True Roots brand of quinoa+amaranth+brown rice+corn), garnish with peas, sage and sprinkle with smoked paprika of using.

BLW NOTES: It’s a great weaning dish and it’s ok to start it at 6 months, however watch for nut allergies;  hemp, coconut or rice milk could be a suitable alternative. Skip added salt under 12 months.

5. Chicken veggie wild rice meatballs over roasted spaghetti squash

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes

Once you stop using beef and breadcrumbs and start using chicken and healthy grains to build your meatballs, they will soar to the next level of flavor, I promise. They also become a perfect way to use leftover grains and whatever veggies you have on hand and you pack in so much healthy extras! This recipe makes about 40 2-inch meatballs (2 standard baking sheets) so I always freeze one (uncooked) to pop in the oven for a quick weeknight dinner.

2 lb chicken thighs, organic, cut in a few pieces (to be uniform for the kitchen processor)

1 diced onion

3 minced garlic cloves

1 large zucchini

2 large peeled carrots

8 oz mushrooms

1 cup packed spinach sliced thinly

1 cup of cooked wild/brown rice mix (or quinoa)

A few healthy pinches of salt

A few rounds of freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons packed fresh thyme leaves

Splash tomato sauce (or 1 TBSP tomato paste) (optional)

1 egg, whipped (optional)

METHOD:

MEATBALLS:

Preheat the oven to 400F. Sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic, sauté for 1 min. Scrape into a large bowl. Fit your kitchen processor with a grater attachment and grate zucchini, carrots, mushrooms. Sauté in a pan until fragrant and just starting to color. Scrape into the bowl. Process chicken in the kitchen processor until ground but not a mush. Scrape into the bowl. Add rice, whipped egg (making sure it doesn’t touch anything hot or it will scramble) if using, herbs, spices, splash of tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Shape into meatballs onto a tray lined with foil  (preferably outfitted with a grate) and roast for 20 min at 400F.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Set on lightly wetted parchment paper on a baking tray flesh side down. No oil required! Bake for 40min. It could take less or more, depending on the size of your squash. You will know it’s ready when you see the skin starts getting browned. Cool enough to handle and scoop out spaghetti-like strands into a bowl. Dress with a bit of good EVOO and salt.

BLW NOTES: Both spaghetti squash and these meatballs are perfect first baby-led weaning foods. Easy to grab with little paws and soft enough if no teeth! You may want to be a bit careful if topping with tomato sauce, it can be a little irritating to some babies in the beginning. Grey could not eat it until around 8-9 months. Skip added salt under 12 months.

6. Almond, date, banana, coconut “Milk and cookies”

Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes

Milkshake”:

4 medjool dates, pitted

1 very ripe banana (more dark spots on the skin = sweeter and better nutritional value)

2 cups coconut milk

½ cup natural almond butter (1 ingredient=almonds)

Blend in a high power blender. Add more coconut milk for thinner consistency.

Cookies:

These are so easy, under 20 min total time, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, sugar-free (added sugar free to be exact, sweetness comes from bananas). They can be eaten for breakfast and are known as breakfast cookies at my house.

INGREDIENTS:

2 bananas

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup almond butter (use natural, fresh ground. For #nutfree use sunflower seed butter)

1/2 cup coconut flakes or desiccated coconut (former will give more structure, latter is best for younger children with few or no teeth)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 TBSP coconut butter

Flax seeds for sprinkling

METHOD:

Preheat oven (preferably convection) to 375 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Take all the ingredients except for flax seeds, throw in a bowl and mash and mix together until just combined and fairly uniform with whatever you like to mash with. I used a wavy potato masher. Dollop the batter on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with flax seeds. Bake until the edges are brown about 15 minutes. Cool slightly before devouring. Makes about a dozen.

BLW NOTES. Quite a bit of nuts here, including nut butter. I would wait until about 9 months+ to give if no allergies but do at your own discretion.

________________________

I hope you try these easy recipes and enjoy them as much as we do!

Much love,

Liza and Grey

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My Favorite Recipes for BLW

guest post favorite blw recipes

Today’s guest post is from Kate Donovan! 


I’m a pediatric dentist so I can’t help but want to start with a little something about caring for little ones’ mouths. BLW is right up my alley from an oral development standpoint, considering the benefits of self-cleansing foods vs sweetened packs of mush, and developing an adult swallow earlier on. Baby teeth help with chewing, speaking, facial growth, and holding space for the permanent teeth, not to mention those sweet baby smiles! Wiping down the gums with a warm moist washcloth before the teeth come in, and then using a soft bristled toothbrush once they’ve erupted, can help keep those pearly whites nice, clean and healthy. I get asked about teething on a daily basis and usually recommend cold/frozen fruit such as long banana slices, watermelon cubes, blueberries, and pineapple (use caution with pineapple as it is acidic and is slightly more common for allergies than bananas). All of these can do wonders for a grumpy baby by relieving sensitivity of the teeth breaking through. 

We also really recommend that families find a dental home around their child’s first birthday. It is helpful to get comfortable with the office and the team from an early age, receive comprehensive and preventative care, and benefit from anticipatory guidance for all the stages of growth! The first visits usually consist of a short (but efficient) exam followed by patient-specific education for hygiene, tips for home care, guidance about what to do in the event of a trauma (they call them toddlers for a reason!) and information on what to expect over the next year or so.
 
Now, without further ado, here are some of my favorite recipes, ones we enjoy in our regular meal rotation!

YEAST BREAD

guest post favorite blw recipes
This is the most amazing bread; I cannot say enough good things about this bread. More importantly, Alexandra cannot say enough good things about this bread and since it’s her mom’s recipe you can take her word for it. Seriously, read her blog. It is easy to make and fills the house with such a sweet intoxicating smell.  This was the first thing I baked from scratch when my husband went back to work right after Ransome was born, and for just a moment it made me feel like “I’ve got this!” (My temporary moment of triumph likely ended and when Ransome spit up on me… so….yeah, you win some and you lose some.) This bread is just as wonderful warm out of the oven as it is on day three — if it lasts that long. The outside is crusty enough for chubby baby hands to hold and the inside is soft, palatable and delicious. Perfect for kiddos and adults alike.
guest post favorite blw recipes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (do not use bleached all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
  • Room temperature butter, about 2 tablespoons 

Find the directions and full instructions on her blog

BEGINNERS.  6months+. The only potential allergens are butter (dairy) and flour (gluten). The amount of sugar and salt is so small and dispersed over two loaves of bread that I feel comfortable using these ingredients in the recipe.  For beginners, I would cut the bread into long strips or start with the end of the loaf, which is what Ransome is eating in the picture.

(BLWIDEAS note: If you’d like, you can almost always substitute sugar in a recipe — even one like this — with mashed banana or unsweetened applesauce. Sometimes it means adding a touch more flour, to counter the stickiness. Use your own discretion!)


BLACK BEAN QUESADILLAS

guest post favorite blw recipes

This is a perfect quick weeknight meal.

We make these quesadillas with rinsed black beans smashed roughly with a potato masher and sprinkled with a little cumin or paprika. You can also add in some sweet potatoes or spinach for color and flavor! We throw everything in a tortilla and grill them on the stove top with just a little feta, cheddar or goat cheese mixed in. Most commonly we use feta, which is a little on the salty side but totally worth skimping on salt for the rest of the day. We serve each with plain full fat greek yogurt “sour cream” and sliced avocado. 

BEGINNERS: 6months+. Considerations include a potential allergen in the cheese (dairy) and the salt content in the feta (which could easily be left out). We sometimes serve this in its deconstructed state – rolled up nickel-sized balls of the leftover black beans/cumin mixture and chunks of avocado, sprinkled with feta; Ransome has a blast picking those up with his newfound pincer grasp.


MEATBALLS (AND BAKED SPAGHETTI)

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Ingredients

  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs (can use homemade from the above mentioned bread, or store bought is fine!)
  • ¼ cup quick cook oatmeal
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp onion; grated or chopped very fine
  • 1/8 cup parsley; chopped
  • 1-3 garlic cloves; chopped
  • 1 large egg; beaten
  • 1 lb ground meat (we’ve mostly used venison recently, but beef, pork or a mixture all work great)

Directions

  1. Mix the breadcrumbs, oats and milk together and let soak for a minute or two. 
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir just to combine (try not to over mix).
  3. Roll into quarter sized balls to cook. If we are eating the meatballs right away, I usually brown them in a pan and then simmer in sauce to cook through. You could also bake them on a lightly greased sheet pan at 400F for 20-25 minutes.

Feel free to play with the seasonings; a tsp or two of Italian blend would be a delicious addition. Most recently we used fresh venison and really like the flavor of the meat to stand out, so I left out any blend seasoning and just stuck with the fresh parsley and garlic.

guest post favorite blw recipesguest post favorite blw recipes

BEGINNERS: 6months+. To serve: Rotini noodles are easier for little ones to handle thanks to their corkscrew shape, but feel free to embrace the mess (and get some good pictures that you’ll eventually show at their wedding) with good old-fashioned baked spaghetti! Allergens are possible with the cheese (dairy) and egg. If you skip the cheese I would just add a little more breadcrumbs or oatmeal as a binder.

BAKED SPAGHETTI

Try this casserole! It tastes like a mix between spaghetti and lasagna thanks to the dollops of fresh ricotta on top, and the best part is that it bakes up golden brown and bubbly. The recipe below isn’t necessarily a recipe because I rarely cook this dish the same way twice, but it should be a helpful starting place.

Cook 1 pound of spaghetti very al dente (5-6 minutes in boiling water). While it is cooking, beat one egg and some milk together in a large bowl with some salt and pepper. Add the drained spaghetti to the egg/milk mixture slowly to avoid curdling the egg, and then layer in a baking dish with marinara sauce, meatballs, and shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese. In a separate bowl, mix together ¾ cup of ricotta cheese, 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic, and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese. Drop this mixture in spoonfuls on top, and bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes or until hot throughout.


APPLE PEAR CORNBREAD MUFFINS

guest post favorite blw recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 apple, cored and diced
  • 1 pear, cored and diced
  • 1 cup of flour/cornmeal mix*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup applesauce

*We use ¾ cup cornmeal and ¼ cup flour since we like ours earthy and more like cornbread; but a half and half mixture would lead to more “muffin” like muffins!

Directions

  1. Cook the diced apple and pear over medium heat with a little coconut oil or butter until tender, set aside.  While you don’t want to overdo it, it’s OK not to skimp on the butter here, since there is no other butter in the recipe. 
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork. 
  3. Add the milk, beaten egg, and applesauce, and then stir to combine.
  4. Then add in ½- ¾ cup of the diced apple/pear mix into the batter.
  5. Bake in a muffin tin or in a cornbread pan at 350F for 20 minutes. The fruit will sink to the bottom of the muffins, so make sure to only use ½ cup of batter or muffin liners in the cupcake tin – this will make clean up much easier.   We love the fruit on the bottom of the muffins so we usually use the liners and add more fruit! Any leftover fruit can be mixed into oatmeal, (Google slow cooked oats or refrigerator oats for a great morning idea!), topped on pancakes, or eaten with a spoon standing in your kitchen while the muffins bake, whatever you see fit!

BEGINNERS: 6months+ This is a great recipe for adults and kids alike; easy to hold and full of soft fruit. Allergens include milk (dairy) and egg.


BAKED LENTIL SOUP

guest post favorite blw recipes

Ingredients

  • I bag of lentils
  • 2qts of broth (chicken, beef, homemade, store bought, whatever- wont-make-you-go-insane-to-acquire)
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 carrots chopped.

Directions

  1. Throw it all in the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the garlic and the onion (or leave if you’d like- we do!)

guest post favorite blw recipes

This recipe pulls double duty in our household as we make it specifically with the leftovers in mind. We eat it as a soup, either straight out of the pot or half pureed with a stick blender, adding a little Greek yogurt. Sometimes we also stir in a little miso paste to add depth and flavor (though I wouldn’t add miso for the baby’s supper) and a couple handfuls of spinach to wilt. The lentils can also be drained from the broth and mixed with quinoa or rice as a flavorful side to roast chicken. Another favorite is to add the lentils to some diced potatoes and use as a base for our favorite chicken masala dish. I’m always careful about using bold spices in Ransome’s food at his age, but chicken masala and butter chicken are some of his favorites!

Ransome enjoys his with a cornbread muffin and some whole fat Greek yogurt while Trey and I add a little avocado and smoked sea salt (since we left out salt of the original recipe) and ladled over rice which had been cooked on the stove and then laid flat and baked for 5-10 minutes with big pats of butter in the oven. Try this wonderful recipe for “Charleston Ice Cream”

This is a pretty messy recipe, but a great one to try with loaded spoons since it’s thick enough to stick to the spoon.  If we’re eating together before bath-time then we’ll place the lentils right on Ransome’s tray and let him go to town with his hands!

 

 

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Vegan Scrambled “Eggs”

This is a guest post from Carole Gonzalez!

vegan scrambled eggs

Here’s a quick recipe for you guys! It’s vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free.

SCRAMBLED “EGGS”
6 months and up

Ingredients

  • 100 grams (about 1/2 cup) white natural tofu, crumbled with a fork
  • coconut oil, for frying
  • pinch of turmeric
  • small amount of milk (almond, cashew, soy) or water
  • chives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • optional: salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat some coconut oil in a frying pan.
  2. Fry the tofu with some turmeric for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the milk, chives, and almond butter. Fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Optional for the adults: add some salt and pepper, to taste.

NOTE: For a typical “egg” flavor, you can add some kala namak (or Himalayan black salt).

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Snack Ideas for the Nursing Mom

Snack Ideas for the Nursing Mom

One vivid memory I have from the first week at home with Alexander is nearly fainting. We all woke up, and as soon as I took a few steps, my head started spinning. I immediately felt nauseous and that I would pass out, so I sat on the bed and started crying. I had a follow-up appointment that morning anyway, so I asked my doctor what was up. After checking out some of my vitals, she told me it was most likely because I was nursing without drinking enough water or snacking enough.

When I got home, I made a plan for myself. I looked online for ideas for nursing snacks. I learned several things. Healthy fats are important for the breastmilk. Slow-burning carbs are good for energy that will last a little while. Quick-burning carbs are good for a burst of energy. Protein keeps you full longer.

Basically, I shouldn’t just snack on potato chips, cookies, and grapes all day. I needed some variety. 

All those things are well and good, but this time, I’ve also got a toddler to consider. I got a lot of feedback from followers, from blogs I follow, and from groups I’ve joined on Facebook. Plenty of moms have been through this before, so I drew from all those stories, tips, and experiences to come up with a plan that (I think) will work for us!

Having a plan is key. Always. Without a plan, you’re not necessarily going to fail, but you’re not giving yourself the best chance of success. Even if the plan seems to fall completely apart, it’s likely that you’re better off than you would have been without a plan at all! It’s also important that you don’t beat yourself up: just go with the flow once the plan is set up. 

Here are a few things about my situation:

  • I’m a stay-at-home mom. 
  • I love to cook. And we eat mostly clean.
  • I have a 2.5 year old boy who will want to eat my snacks too!
  • My husband only works 4 days a week, so the 3 days he’s home will be a little easier.
  • I eat. A lot. At least 3 meals a day, plus 1-2 snacks. That will probably increase when I’m nursing at first.
  • I don’t drink nearly enough water.

I considered all these things when coming up with snack ideas and how to present and prepare them for myself (and for Alexander).

For nursing snacks, here are important things to consider! The snacks should be

  • easy to eat with one hand (or with a utensil).
  • tasty/edible/safe to eat at room temperature or cold.
  • pretty tidy — nothing super sticky or crumbly.
  • easy to prepare ahead of time, if possible.
  • healthy and filling, as much as possible. 

With Alexander, I nursed on cue. I plan to do the same with this baby. That could be every hour some days, and it could be every 4+ hours other days. Since I plan to eat a good breakfast and a decent lunch every day, I won’t always need a snack. (I will, however, need to drink water at the very least, while I’m nursing.)


MY PLAN

I’m using a Planet Box lunchbox. (You can buy one HERE.) It has 5 compartments: 2 large, 2 medium, and 1 very small. Basically, I tried figuring out what might fit into each compartment! And I wanted to include some protein, some carbs, something sweet. I didn’t want all sweet or all savory. 

The Snacks

  • hard-boiled eggs
  • nuts and nut butters
  • quick guacamole (just avocado mashed with lemon and salt)
  • string cheese (or those little mini rounds of cheese)
  • cooked bacon
  • sausage cut in half
  • goldfish
  • cooked meatballs
  • pretzel sticks
  • pita chips with hummus
  • blueberries with pomegranate seeds 
  • apple slices (soaked in lemon juice to maintain color) 
  • banana
  • granola/Lara bars
  • applesauce
  • animal crackers
  • dates
  • mixed berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  • grapes
  • chocolate chips
  • plain yogurt mixed with honey
  • lactation cookies

The Boxes

Here are some of the combinations I came up with, using this box:

empty planetbox

Snack Ideas for the Nursing Mom

Idea #1:

  1. hard boiled egg
  2. grapes (if you’re sharing with your kiddo, be sure these are cut lengthwise)
  3. chocolate chips
  4. mashed avocado with pretzels
  5. apples with almond butter

Snack Ideas for the Nursing Mom

Idea #2:

  1. mixed nuts
  2. graham crackers
  3. goldfish
  4. dates
  5. banana

Snack Ideas for the Nursing Mom

Idea #3:

  1. yogurt mixed with honey
  2. avocado with egg
  3. chocolate chips
  4. berries
  5. Lara bar

(No picture for 4 and 5! I don’t have all the snacks just yet.)

Idea #4:

  1. hummus
  2. mixed berries
  3. chocolate chips
  4. mixed nuts
  5. pita chips

Idea #5:

  1. animal crackers
  2. meatballs
  3. two dates
  4. applesauce
  5. pretzel sticks and peanut butter

The Process

At the beginning of each week, I’ll prepare a few things:

  • boil some eggs
  • cook bacon
  • mash avocado with lemon and salt

Each night, I’ll prepare my Planet Box. Each night, I’ll also prepare Alexander’s snacks. That will be a banana, a homemade pouch of applesauce, a scoop of almond or peanut butter with a handful of crackers or pretzel sticks, and some rinsed blueberries in a small container. Additionally, I’ll make sure I have a bottle of water ready for myself and a glass of water for Alexander.

One More Thing

Actually nursing may be interesting. Alexander will certainly experience a bit of jealousy. I want to have some books near me at all times so that

nursing the baby = snack time = reading time for Alexander

I’ve heard that can work for some toddlers, so that is my current plan.

And as I said already, if nothing goes “right”, that’s okay! We will all survive this short period. It may take a few weeks (or months) to get totally adjusted. But these nursing snack ideas will last me for a long time! And I do hope that you’ll gain a few ideas too, regardless of how long you’ve been nursing.

Nurse on, mamas. And wish me luck. 

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