Mommy Brain

finn tummy

I can’t believe it has been 5 months since I last posted anything here. Finn is a strong, chatty, toothy, giggly little man now. He’s starting to eat solids. He’s rolling over and over. He’s proving to us that he’s going to be one talkative little kid. And he leaves his mama very little time to do anything besides play with him, feed him, and then watch him napping on the monitor (mostly because he’s a tummy sleeper these days and he sticks his butt in the air, which is just too damn cute not to stare at).

So my apologies for the lack of posts since last summer. Things certainly have changed since my last update.

And they will continue to change. Not just for Finn, but for me too. I’ve got some exciting new ventures coming soon that I’ll be working on in between changing diapers and getting smeared with avocado.

In the meantime, stare at that face with me and try to get ANYTHING done!

I’ll be back soon – promise ;)

 


Milking It

Well, it finally happened! Say hello to Finnegan Charles:

finnegan charles

He was born on July 11th (I can’t believe he’s 6 weeks old already…) at 1:15AM, wide-eyed and interested in what this big world has to offer him. Apart from the lack of sleep, we are in love with our little man and so glad he’s here.

I’d rather not share my birth story here. Maybe that will change in the future, but for now I’d like to keep it off the internet.

One thing about bringing Finn into this world that I will share, however, is the fact that I struggled hard with breastfeeding during the first week. My milk didn’t come in as quickly as the baby would have liked, so we were forced to supplement with donor breast milk (bless those women who donated!) through a tube and syringe. I was also pumping like a mad-woman, making sure our little one got what he needed.

Everything is going much more smoothly now, and he’s gaining weight and feeding like a champ, but those first days with him were a real challenge.

And then I learned about the Nursing Mama’s Breakfast!

baked oatmeal for nursing mamas

We met with the most wonderful lactation consultant, Jessica, who visited us at home twice to make sure Finn was progressing and feeding properly. But my favorite thing she passed along to me was a list of recipes with ingredients thought to promote lactation. I can eat my way to better breastfeeding? Awesome!

The three magic ingredients are:

  1. Oats – Full of fiber, protein, and iron! Not to mention the calories they provide – crucial for allowing your body to do its (very hard and tiring) work!
  2. Flax – The omega-3 content is what counts here. It passes through the breastmilk to your baby, nourishing their growing brains and bodies, as well as supporting yours.
  3. Brewer’s Yeast (aka nutritional yeast) – this is NOT the same thing as the yeast you use for baking. Instead, brewer’s yeast is rich in B vitamins and a whole host of essential minerals, especially iron. All things a new mama needs for energy and lactation support. Or you could just drink a beer – no don’t.

Of course, you could very easily enjoy this breakfast whether you’re a nursing mama or not! It’s healthy and a wonderful on-the-go breakfast or snack – making all of our lives a little easier :)

 

Baked Oatmeal for Nursing Mamas

by The Particular Kitchen

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Keywords: bake breakfast snack gluten-free nut-free soy-free vegetarian wheat free

 

Ingredients (16 servings)

  • 6 cups rolled oats (can be gluten-free if required)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 Tbs flax meal
  • 2 Tbs Brewers yeast

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 9×13 pan with coconut oil.

Mix all ingredients together and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Keeps well for a week in an airtight container. A perfect quick breakfast or snack to munch on while you’re taking care of your little one!

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Baking for Two

Yep, I’m still pregnant. I really really hope I don’t have to say this for too much longer! For now, though, the little one is staying put. We were sort of hoping Phil could celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday as a new dad, but junior has other plans.

strawberry rhubarb crumble

 

So, to distract ourselves from the waiting and watching and wondering, we baked a delicious dessert using beautiful fruit from the weekend farmer’s market.

I’ve used strawberry and rhubarb before to make a truly delicious raw dessert. This, however, is something different, but with very similar flavors. It’s best enjoyed with a dollop of something creamy. Yogurt? Ice cream? (Speaking of ice cream, I cannot wait to try this vegan ice cream place in Boston! A pregnant friend of mine has been raving about it!)

Anyway, here’s a tasty crumble to tide you over, whether like me you’re waiting for an imminent arrival, or you’re just in the mood for something summery and sweet.

Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

by The Particular Kitchen

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins

Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat free summer

 

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

    For the Filling:

    • 3-4 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into bite-size pieces
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
    • 1/4 cup corn starch or arrowroot starch

    For the Topping:

    • 1 cup ground almonds
    • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

    Instructions

    Preheat the oven to 350F.

    Combine all filling ingredients and spread out in a baking dish.

    Combine all topping ingredients and mix until coated in coconut oil. Sprinkle over the fruit filling in the baking dish.

    Bake for 35-40 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and topping is browned slightly.

    Serve warm with a dollop of yogurt or ice cream. Or leave to cool and keep in the fridge for a cool sweet treat!

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    Freeze Now, Feast Later

    As my baby’s due date approaches, I’ve become inundated with advice for the days and weeks immediately following the birth. One I come across time and time again is to make and freeze some meals for Phil and I to enjoy while we’re adjusting to life with a newborn. I’ve never been one to do this normally (cook meals ahead of time and store them in the freezer) except for vegetable stock (which definitely isn’t a meal) but I think it will come in really handy for us.

    I looked up a few freezer-friendly dinner recipes and tweaked them a little. And today was my cooking day since the rain is relentless and certainly doesn’t make it feel much like Memorial Day weekend!

    The first recipe actually makes a double batch (I decided to freeze both, but you could always cook these before dinner – serve one that night and freeze one for later). Here’s my Garden Baked Penne:

    Garden Baked Penne

    Garden Baked Penne

    by The Particular Kitchen

    Prep Time: 35 mins

    Cook Time: up to 2 hours

    Keywords: bake simmer saute entree gluten-free wheat free vegetarian soy-free Italian

     

    Ingredients (serves 8)

    • 1 pound brown rice penne
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
    • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
    • 2 small zucchini, grated
    • 1 cup goat or buffalo Mozzarella, broken into small chunks
    • ground black pepper to taste

    Instructions

    This recipe makes 2 separate batches. If you’re serving one for dinner tonight, preheat the oven to 375F. If not, start at the next step.

    Line a baking or casserole dish with foil with excess folded over the sides.

    Cook the pasta according to package instructions, draining 1-2 minutes before completely cooked.

    Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the onion and red pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes, then add the garlic, herbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Then pour in the crushed tomatoes and water, along with a teaspoon of sea salt. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.

    Add the sauce to the cooked pasta, along with the spinach, pecorino, zucchini, and a pinch more black pepper. Stir to combine.

    Divide between the two dishes and top with the mozzarella.

    IF COOKING NOW: bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is lightly golden.

    IF FREEZING NOW: leave to cool completely, then cover with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. (Once the dish is frozen after 24 hours, you can remove the foil wrapped meal from the baking dish to be used in the meantime. Place the foil wrapped meal back in the freezer by itself). To cook, transfer the covered meal back into the original pan you used and place directly in a 375F oven for 90 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes until golden.

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    I also made Gluten-Free Salmon Cakes (adapted from a recipe in the April/May issue of Kiwi Magazine) and Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas (adapted from the April/May issue of Clean Eating).

    That’s plenty of food for us as we get into the rhythm of parenthood!

     


    Early Summer Treat

    There’s a lot going on around here. My baby is due in just over a month and we just bought a house, moving in next week! Hence, a lack of recipes, let alone blog posts.

    But every so often, when time allows, I get a strong urge to bake. It’s therapeutic in the same way someone might enjoy painting or singing as a way to de-stress. The simple act of combining ingredients to create something delicious that can be enjoyed for a few days afterward (depending on your level of self-control!) always seems to take the tension away, at least for a little while.

    Chewy Chick-PB Cookies

    This recipe came from one I found on Pinterest, from a blog called Ambitious Kitchen. They were originally designed to be blondies (i.e. brownies without the chocolate) but I couldn’t find the right baking pan the first time I made them, so they became cookies instead.

    The brilliance of these cookies/blondies/whatever you want to call them are in the ingredients. No flour is used. No sugar. No eggs or dairy. You rely on your food processor to do most of the work for you and combine a few items you most likely already have in your pantry or fridge.

    With a base of chickpeas and peanut butter, these cookies stay pretty chewy and gooey in the middle. Almost like cookie dough. Pretty decadent.

    They’re the perfect comfort food for an early summer filled with excitement and anticipation!!

    I’ll be back as regularly as I can – in the meantime, take good care and have a look through my recipes page if you need some inspiration!

     

     

    Chewy Chick-PB Cookies

    by The Particular Kitchen

    Prep Time: 10 mins

    Cook Time: 25 mins

    Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat free cookie

     

    Ingredients (6 large cookies or 9 squares)

    • coconut oil, for greasing the pan
    • 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (a little oil separation is good)
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

    Instructions

    Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease either an 8×8 baking dish or a 6-cup muffin pan with coconut oil.

    Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy. Add in some melted coconut oil if the mixture is too dry.

    Fold in the chocolate chips.

    If using a square baking dish, pour the mixture straight in and spread around to evenly distribute.

    If using a muffin pan, scoop out the mixture with an ice cream scoop to distribute among the 6 cups.

    Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

    Carefully cut the cakey batter into 9 squares in the baking dish (or simply remove from the muffin pan) and leave to cool for 15 minutes before enjoying!

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