MOM MEALS & SELF CARE


STAYING HEALTHY


Self care is so important and something I try and fit in especially as a new mom, but it seemed to never happen during those first six months postpartum. It’s also something that is extremely hard to make time for. As moms I’m sure many of you can relate to taking care of everyone else but yourself.

I’ve been having trouble shedding my baby weight from being pregnant with Ford (now 11 months) . That mixed with exhaustion leading to unhealthy eating choices left me low on energy and feeling pretty bummed out. By the time I feed the kids and get them to bed the last thing I want to think about is cooking for both myself and Ray. I decided to take a month and try out different food delivery services in the area. I wanted the plans I chose to be centered around using fresh and healthy/anti-inflammatory ingredients, being easy to follow, breastfeeding friendly, and delicious. I chose three local brands and one national brand.

If you are local take advantage of these great options. So many moms reached out to me expressing how lucky I was that I had such great services at my finger tips. For moms that are not local, Sakara Life is a wonderful nationwide delivery food service option.

MAIKANA FOOD

Maikana foods is my go-to for everyday clean eating done right.

MANTRA: “Today's world is filled with diets and fads and an insane amount of information of what and how you should eat. Maikana believes in a simpler world. We use whole real foods. We use fresh ingredients. We believe in all things in moderation (except love and laughter). We believe eating a wholesome meal should not be a stressful ordeal. We want to make the healthy world one that is easy and convenient to navigate. We want to make eating healthy as straightforward & convenient as possible. Simply satisfying, healthy and delicious meals- made with love- and delivered right to your door. It can't get easier than that.” -Maikana

Things I loved:

SCHEDULE: The meals are made and delivered on the same day.

MENU: The menu changes every week so you won’t get tired of the same choices & everything is as fresh as you can get as it’s prepared and delivered on the same day. You can also order one-off meals, you don’t have to do an entire program to still benefit from eating healthy.

DELIVERY: Convenient delivery to your home or work every day.

SUPPORT: During the New Year Reset that I was a part of I had access to a nutrition and health expert, Katie Diehl and I was also part of a facebook support group for the week. This was so helpful, especially when going from unhealthy eating to trying to make good choices. I also loved how Maikana Food incorporated other great brands in their delivery, including Nit Noi. I loved the Nit Noi Provisions bone broth. I also really enjoyed using the adaptogenic powder they included in the reset. I highly recommend jumping on the next reset to kick off changes in your eating.

EASY TO FOLLOW: Everything was so clearly outlined and incredibly well organized. My first shipment arrived with a packet that went over every aspect of the program and answered every single question I had. It was extremely informative and really set me up for success.

MINI MAIKANA: It’s not always easy eating clean but having the option to order nourishing foods for you kids as well really helps set you up for success.

You can find Maikana Foods website, HERE.




KINNEY LANE

Kinney Lane is my go-to for meals the entire family can enjoy while you still feel like you are making great healthy choices.

MANTRA: “Our food philosophy is pretty simple. We think healthy food should taste good and be easily attainable. We know that the food that is best for us isn’t usually fast or easy and we don’t always have the time to prepare the nutritious meals we need to fuel our busy lives.

 At Kinney Lane, we realize there is a need for readily available and prepared wholesome foods. When life gets busy, making healthy choices isn’t always easy. Kinney Lane’s goal is to help busy families and professionals eat well by providing them with healthy choices that are already prepared - giving you more time for work and family.” -Kinney Lane

Things I loved:

SCHEDULE: The meals are delivered twice a week.

MENU: I love that there is a super simple ordering system online but I also love that they can pick for you. I really didn’t have the time to go back and forth around what I was going to order so I simply told them I wanted it to be whole 30 compliant and I was delivered such a delicious weeks worth of food that was also family friendly! I told them I was breastfeeding and they included a special overnight oat container just incase my supply dipped from the whole30 meals. I loved that! Their menu also changes every week which is nice.

DELIVERY: Convenient delivery or pick up.

FAMILY MEALS: It’s really hard to stay healthy when I’m responsible for feeding my family as well! Having meals, especially dinners that were big enough for the whole family was a game changer.

EASY TO FOLLOW: Very simple and easy to follow!

Owner,Rachael, shares some thoughts:

“All meals are ready to heat and eat. We serve our entrees in oven-friendly containers equipped with heating instructions. This allows for easy heating and clean-up. 

We believe in using organic, simple and natural ingredients: no refined sugar, gluten, or artificial ingredients. Many of our options are also dairy-free. Meals are designed to taste good but also fuel our clients busy lives with nutrient dense meal options. 

As a local mom (I live in OG) I felt there was a need for a healthy, prepared foods service that could help busy moms and professionals get meals on the table and feel good about the food their families were eating. I am a classically trained chef, who has a passion for health and wellness. Being a mom I understand the flexibility that moms need which is why I provide several sizing options for different family sizes.” -Rachael


You can find Kinney Lane’s Foods website, HERE.

GREEN & TONIC

Green & Tonic is my go-to for the most cleanse like plan

MANTRA: At Green & Tonic, we want to help you make informed choices that positively affect your health, everyday.

G&T is delicious. We believe that healthy food should be fresh, vibrant, and full of interesting flavor and textures. “Good enough for health food…” said no one ever at G&T.

G&T is easy. On the run or taking it slow, we offer easy solutions for a healthy fuel-up on the go or an afternoon catch-up session with a friend. We feed your healthy lifestyle.

G&T is good for you. We put plants at the center of your plate and serve non-GMO, locally and sustainably-grown ingredients. We count quality, not calories. We embrace healthy fats, sweeten mindfully, and celebrate food in its least-processed form.

G&T is the real deal. We pride ourselves on being authentic, honest and transparent—with our employees, our customers, and everyone with whom we get to do business.

G&T makes sense. We feed your healthy appetite for information, inspiration and motivation so you can make better-for-you choices

Things I loved:

SCHEDULE: Depending on what food delivery service you choose you will be picking up your meal one or two times during the week.

MENU: The three food cleanses that are offered are the 1 day reset, the 3 or 5 day seasonal cleanse, or the G&T til’ dinner (You go off the cleanse at night to eat with your family). You can choose a cleanse that is juice based or choose one that incorporates clean eating.

PICK UP: No delivery offered but G&T has locations all over CT.

CLEANSE: What makes this different than the other services is this is much more cleanse focused in my opinion. You are incorporating multiple juices per day on top of the clean meals. Sometimes I feel like my body just needs a break and that’s where this cleanse comes in.

EASY TO FOLLOW: Very easy! There was a print out that went over each day and what I should be eating.

You can find Green and Tonic’s website, HERE.

SAKARA

Sakara is my go-to for out of towners

MANTRA: “THE SAKARA SECRET. Our philosophy is a combination of cutting-edge nutrition science and ancient healing wisdom. We source the highest-quality organic ingredients and powerful superfoods from trusted farmers and suppliers. Our meal delivery program brings everything to your door, fresh and completely ready to enjoy.”

Things I loved:

SCHEDULE: This was delivered to our front door two times during the week at 5 a.m.

MENU: Sakara offers a signature program (what I did), a deep cleanse, and a program specifically designed for brides.

THOUGHTS: Honestly I was impressed with this service. I didn’t think I would like it because it was not local and I was worried about freshness and taste etc. Everything was delicious and tasted fresh. I would highly recommend as a wonderful option if you don’t live in Connecticut and you can not take advantage of the local services. You can use my code for a discount, REF_NIPPLE15

EASY TO FOLLOW: Everything came in a box and was very easy to follow.

You can find Sakara’s Food website, HERE.










GHOST PIZZA


SPOOKY PIZZZA


This was very fun to make and I actually can’t believe the finished product looks like it was semi supposed to look! I like to keep things simple when it comes to cooking but if you would like the make it from scratch recipe you can find @lastingredient instructions below.

I called a local pizza shop and ordered dough that had already risen. I picked up the dough and purchased the sauce, pesto and a ball of mozzarella cheese at Whole Foods. I cooked the pizza dough with the sauce and pesto already on top and then put the slices of cheese I cut from the ball of mozzarella on the pizza and watched it closely. I wanted it to start melting but still wanted the cheese to semi hold its shape. The mozzarella was kind of watery so i dabbed some of the extra liquid with a paper towel. There are two things you can do to try and prevent this from happening (see below) . I then cut some pitted black olives to create eyes and a mouth!

1) Lengthen Sitting Time  

Instead of placing the mozzarella onto the pizza right after it is cut, slice the fresh mozzarella ahead of time and set the slices on a towel to absorb excess moisture for at least 15 minutes. You can also dab the top of the slices to soak up extra moisture. Once the mozzarella slices seem dry, you must add to the pizza and bake.

2) Shorten Cooking Time 

After you have put the sauce and any other toppings on the pizza, place in the oven without the cheese; do not put the fresh mozzarella on the pizza until the last few minutes of cooking time. Fresh mozzarella only takes a few minutes to melt, and if it melts and then continues to sit on the pizza as it bakes, the cheese will start releasing moisture.

The pizza was delicious, very festive and most importantly a ton of fun! To see @lastingredient’s recipe keep reading.

“There are a few foods I love so much that I could eat them every single day, and pizza makes the cut. I adore chewy, perfectly browned crust simply with tomato sauce and mozzarella. Toppings make an occasional appearance, but I am more than content with a classic margarita pizza void of gimmicky additions. Any style pizza will do as long as it is not deep dish—apologies to Chicago! I feel fortunate to call this phenomenal city home, but I have never been a fan of its signature pie. With all the Neapolitan pizza spots that have opened here in the last few years, I know I am in the good company of other Chicagoans.

My pizza consumption is not limited to dining out or delivery. I rely on my well-worn pizza stone during cold weather months, and when the temperature warms up, I head straight outside to the grill because restaurant-quality crust is a sure thing with grilled pizza. The dough is placed right on the grates and grilled on both sides before it is taken off, so the toppings can be quickly slathered on the crust. The pizza returns to the heat to allow the cheese to melt. The grill-marked pie is enough to make me reconsider how I make pizza year round, but for now I will bask in the sunshine-filled months ahead.

Grilled Pizza

Makes two 12-inch pizzas

For dough

1-1/4 cups warm water

1 packet dry active yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for oiling bowl

3 cups bread flour plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon kosher salt

For tomato sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1-28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pinch red pepper flakes

For pizza

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, roughly torn into pieces

1 handful baby arugula

1 tablespoon crumbled Parmesan

For the dough, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil and let stand for 5 minutes until foamy. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until it forms a shaggy dough.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, the dough can be mixed in the bowl of a stand mixer using a dough hook.)

Gather the dough into a ball, transfer to an oiled bowl and cover. Place the bowl in a warm spot to allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, about 1-1/2 – 2 hours.

For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large skillet until it is shimmering. Sauté the garlic cloves for a few minutes, so they become fragrant. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened.  As the sauce is cooking, break up the tomatoes using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher. If you prefer a smoother consistency, when the sauce has finished cooking, transfer it to a blender and puree.

Once the dough has risen, give it a quick knead and divide it into 2 equal portions. On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough into two 12” diameter circles. They do not need to be perfectly round.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat. Place the rolled dough directly on the grates and grill for 3-4 minutes with the lid closed until the crusts have grill marks and have puffed up. Turn over the crusts and grill for an additional 2 minutes.

Remove the crusts from the grill and flip them over so the first side that was grilled is facing down. Brush the tops of the crusts with olive oil. Spread the sauce leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edge and scatter the cheese on top.

Return the pizzas to the grill and cook until the cheese has melted, about 3 minutes. You may need to lower the heat a bit to make sure the crusts do not burn.

Top with arugula and crumbled Parmesan before serving.

Note: If you have extra tomato sauce, store it in the refrigerator up to 5 days or keep it in the freezer up to a month. The tomato sauce also works well on pasta.” - www.lastingredient.com


WHEN YOUR BABY HAS A DAIRY ALLERGY AND YOU LOVE CHEESE!


TIPS FOR CUTTING OUR DAIRY AND WHAT TO EAT INSTEAD, MRS. NIPPLE X MAMA SERIES


Welcome to the mama series! Today Mrs. Nipple is featuring Jenny, just a mom that loves cheese :)

JENNY WILL TAKE IT FROM HERE:
I remember exactly when I discovered that my daughter, Maple, had a dairy allergy. She was five weeks old and we were at the zoo alleviating some of the guilt that I had been feeling over taking my son’s only child status away. While changing her in the less than clean bathroom, I saw a small amount of blood in her diaper. From my weekly trips to our hospital’s New Moms group, I knew that it meant, dairy intolerance. That being said I wasn’t surprised when the nurse from our pediatrician’s office told me to cut out dairy and monitor her diapers.

The thought of cutting out all dairy from my diet was daunting. Never being much of a meat eater, I have always relied on dairy for a large part of my protein intake. And I also loved cheese. Like really really loved cheese. All kinds of cheese. Warm brie with toasty bread. Sharp cheddar on a crispy cracker. A salty tortilla chip dripping with queso. Fondue. Nachos. The perfect grilled cheese sandwich….and pizza. Ohhh pizza. I wondered how I going to give up so many of my favorite foods but I was determined. Nursing my first baby had been such a rewarding and wonderful experience. Cheese could wait because nursing this baby wouldn’t.

I never saw blood in Maple’s diaper again, and a rash that she had had for weeks disappeared within days of me cutting out dairy from my diet. Seeing these positive changes made me realize it was time to buckle down for the long haul of dairy free living. I joined a helpful Facebook group and reached out to my vegan friends for recommendations on substitutions.

I quickly learned that sometimes in life, there are no substitutions. So I’m here to share some of my tricks for navigating dairy free products and avoiding getting dairy-ed while you’re out.

As far as the grocery store, I’ve found that cheese cannot be replaced, unless you really do your homework and know which brands are best. TIP: Someone told me that you should wait a little while to even try “fake” cheese so that you’ve forgotten how good the real thing is but you can find some great alternatives below.

I’ve seen such an increase in dairy free products over the two years that it does make dairy free living much easier. I was never a milk drinker and have used Almond Milk for years. I use it in my coffee and oatmeal, and did you know it’s even froth-able? I have played around with different milks and discovered that coconut milk is great for baking and using to make pasta sauces.

If you’re having a sweet tooth, there are so many choices. Enjoy Life chocolate chips are great for baking and their cookies aren’t bad either. Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups are my go to treat. I have a recipe on my website for lactation boosting, energy balls that are sweet, healthy and will increase your milk supply, too! You can find the lactation boosting energy balls, HERE.


The biggest tip I have is to read all labels. Many products that you wouldn’t think have dairy in them do. It can differ from brand to brand. Our local grocery store’s brand of English muffins are dairy free, but most other brands have dairy. you should check every time. Sometimes brands change their recipes, so something that was once safe, may not be the next time. While companies are required to list allergens, you still have to read the ingredients. Sometimes the allergens will just be in bold in the main list of ingredients rather than highlighted underneath the ingredients. Thankfully, most of the time the latter is the case.  

A great place for recipes, both dessert and main dishes is the Minimalist Baker. You can find her website, HERE. Her recipes are easy, have minimal ingredients and are always yummy. Her recipes are also gluten free!

When you’re eating out, you really can’t be clear enough. Sometimes people don’t think of butter as dairy. Or if you ask for no cheese on something, it could still arrive with sour cream on it. A friend of mine got baked fish and didn’t think of the butter that was hiding in there. You have to be vigilant. It’s hard to be that person at a restaurant but it’s for your baby, so that should help. Servers handle these requests interestingly. I had one ask me if it was an allergy or a preference, with a lot of emphasis on preference. I made sure to tell him exactly why it was not a preference, thank you very much. He also got a little lesson in breastfeeding.

Giving up dairy feels very overwhelming at first but you’ll start to get the hang of it and you’ll notice that your baby’s symptoms start to dissipate. You will feel like the rockstar mom that you are: feeding your baby through a little bit of adversity. So maybe you’ll be dreaming of being reunited with a margherita pizza with the perfect amount fresh mozzarella. But just think of how amazing that first bite will be. You got this.  

Jenny’s Bio: Jenny formerly used her quick wit to charm people at parties but now she mainly uses it to trick her children into eating vegetables. She can be found pondering mamahood on her blog, HERE and on instagram as JennyRadish. 


A big thank you to jenny for sharing!!

One of my friends, Stephanie Trotta, who also happens to be a blogger lives a dairy and gluten freeish lifestyle. She is the force behind, The Girl Guide. You can read her post about being dairy free, HERE. Many of her go to recipes are found on GOOP. She uses some really good dairy free alternatives which include,

Califia Farms Almond Milk

Follow Your Heart Parmesan style shredded cheese alternative

Kite Hill Ravioli made with almond milk ricotta

Kite Hill Chive cream cheese

LAVA original whole food plant based yogurt

Follow Your Heart soy-free Vegenaise Better Than Mayo

Thanks for sharing your go-to DF products Stephanie xx








Your baby is ready to eat!!


Your baby is ready to eat! Now what?


DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES TO YOUR BABIES DIET OR LIFESTYLE

FEEDING BABIES SOLIDS

We wait until around six months to introduce solids but most doctors say you can start anywhere from 4-6 months. It depends on neck strength to hold up the head, loss of the tongue thrust reflex that results in baby pushing out food, if your baby seems hungry even after breastmilk/formula, being able to sit up, and if your baby seems interested when you eat. Even when Charlie was doing many of these things I still waited until he was around six months.

Always remember that in the beginning, feeding your baby is all for fun and it should be just that! You won’t decrease breastmilk or formula at first because you are feeding your baby small amounts just to get used to eating and to the many different tastes and textures.

Make sure not to overfeed your baby in the beginning. Start out with two meals per day, feeding your baby 2-4 tablespoons. (4-6 months old). At 7-12 months, feed him/her three meals, each the size of a baby’s fist.

What should babies eat?

You can pretty much start with anything, either fruits, veggies, or meat. As long as it’s pureed it doesn’t really matter what you choose. Baby led weaning is another option that I do not have experience with when it comes to first foods. Just a reminder that honey and corn syrup should not be introduced until after age 1.

One thing I feel passionately about it giving your baby the highest quality of foods you can afford. Even if you don’t eat organic produce, grass-fed beef or free range eggs I personally feel the splurge is worth it for your baby.

I skip right over rice cereal. There are so many reasons why but the main and most important one is that rice cereal contains arsenic. Yup, arsenic.

I personally chose meat over rice cereal and grains which have the same level of fortification of iron and zinc as fortified cereals. To make up for that iron needed for breastfed babies only (there is usually enough iron in formula) I incorporate grass fed lamb and grass fed beef.

Breastfed babies iron levels drop at around 6 months so they do need iron packed foods because their iron stores are depleted, your 6- to 12-month old baby needs to be consuming about 11 mg of iron per day.

“Although babies do not need grains, they do need to eat complex carbohydrates, Peternell said, adding that butternut squash, zucchini and sweet potatoes are all excellent choices. If you choose to feed your baby grains, choose a variety such as oats, multigrain cereal, barley, quinoa and millet. In fact, breastfed infants who were fed pureed meat had higher levels of iron and zinc than those who were fed an iron-fortified infant cereal, according to a study in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

If you’re raising your baby as a vegetarian, egg yolks are also a good option. Although legumes are iron-rich, they’re not a complete protein unless they’re combined with grains and they should be offered occasionally and when your baby is older, Peternell said.

If you decide to offer grains and you find it makes your baby constipated, foods such as prunes, plums, pears, peaches and apricots can help combat it.

Also, keep in mind that no matter what types of foods you introduce, you should start to offer a new first food every three to five days.

The most important thing is you want to give your baby a wide variety of solids,” Ansel said." Source: FOX

FIRST FOODS

I like introducing foods that are nutrient dense. These include: blended red meat, egg yolk, liver, avocado, banana, squash, meat stock or bone broth.

“1. BLENDED RED MEAT

2016 study found that babies who eat along the lines of baby-led weaning are more likely to be deficient in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, which are super critical nutrients for your growing baby.

Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal foods, and the best sources of iron and zinc are found in red meat like grass-fed lamb or beef.

Keep in mind that breastmilk is low in iron (whereas formula is iron-fortified), so we must get it through diet. Plant sources of iron are poorly absorbed—especially for an immature digestive system that has a harder time converting plant-based iron to the kind we can use—so heme (red meat) iron is best.

To prepare: Once you cook the meat, be it ground meat, or a lamb chop or tender roast, put it into a blender with some filtered water or broth and blend it into a creamy puree to spoon feed to baby.

2. Egg yolk

Loaded with healthy fat, choline (great for baby’s brain and eyes!), and necessary cholesterol—it’s the building block for ALL of our hormones—pastured egg yolks are an easy first food for your baby. Sensing how nutrient-dense egg yolks are, babies often gobble them right up (once they get used to the texture and taste, that is!).

Egg yolks also contain important minerals that baby needs right now like calcium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus as well as vitamin E and vitamin B6.

To prepare: Be sure to soft cook the yolks as not to damage the nutritional profile. Either soft boil the egg and take out the undercooked yolk, lightly poach the egg or cook it over easy. It’s best to serve egg yolks with a bit of fat for optimal absorption of the nutrients, as well as for better digestion (and taste!). Coconut oil may be easiest if it’s in liquid form. You can then sprinkle some shredded liver into it for an extra boost of nutrition.

3. Liver

Offal, or organ meats, are not really part of our culture anymore—but they should be! Organ meats are still an amazing food choice due to their high concentration of nutrients. Liver is also high in true vitamin A, which is extremely important to baby’s development. (Yes, carrots and other orange foods contain beta-carotene, but it doesn’t easily convert to true vitamin A, which is why many babies turn slightly orange when they eat beta-carotene rich foods!) The best source of true vitamin A is animal products, particularly liver.

Liver also contains vitamin D, all B vitamins, folate, zinc, and CoQ10. If you choose chicken liver, you get a good amount of iron as well, which is vital.

To prepare: Purchase high-quality, grass-fed beef, bison or lamb liver. Cook over medium heat in a frying pan in a little ghee or coconut oil. Once one side is brown (not browned or burnt), flip liver and brown the other side. (It cooks fast so keep your eye on it!) You can then add to blender with a little water or broth and serve as a puree. Or, you can let the liver cool and then grate over baby’s egg yolk or banana mash. Do not over feed your baby liver, small amounts are the perfect size.

4. Avocado

Avocado is a great first food. It contains lots of healthy fats, as well as the almighty mineral magnesium, which is so crucial to our health yet is harder and harder to get enough of through our food these days.

Avocado also contains B vitamins including niacin, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and fiber.

To prepare: Cut a whole avocado in half lengthwise, and twist to open. Run a butter knife from top to bottom to make slices, and scoop out with a spoon. Likewise, you can mash or puree the avocado and spoon-feed it to your infant. It’s delicious mashed with ripe banana for a 1:1 ratio.

5. Banana

Some people believe that baby’s first foods shouldn’t include any fruit because baby will get a preference for the sweetness. Truth is, baby already has a preference for sweetness thanks to breastmilk! So don’t worry about baby becoming a sugar bug because of fruit. Bananas are a great first carbohydrate source for babies because they contain amylase, an enzyme necessary for the digestion of carbohydrates (like, bananas!).

Bananas are also a great source of important nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.

To prepare: Be sure to select bananas that are very ripe with brown spots as this is a sign that some of the banana’s starch has been converted to a simple sugar, making it easier for baby to digest. It will also be softer and easier to mash. Use a fork and mash by itself or with a little avocado, liver or egg yolk.

6. Butternut/acorn squash with butter

Another easy to digest carbohydrate source is well cooked winter squash. It’s not as starchy as yams and isn’t high in nitrates (more on that below).

Squash is also high in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and manganese.

To prepare: Cut open your acorn or butternut squash and remove seeds with a spoon. Put on a roasting pan with a little water and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until the squash is soft and the skin easily separates from the fleshy part of vegetable. Alternatively, you can put in your Instant Pot with 1 cup of broth or water and cook for 7 minutes. Let cool and scoop out flesh. Add in some butter or ghee, which will help convert the beta-carotene into usable vitamin A. Mash well with fork or immersion blender. Serve room temperature.

7. Meat stock or bone broth

Homemade broth or stock contains gelatin, an easy to digest protein, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sulphur.Broth or stock is particularly excellent at coating and soothing the digestive tract too, which can help strengthen it in preparation for eating harder-to-digest foods (like the difficult-to-digest proteins gluten and casein) later in life.

To prepare: you can find a recipe (with a “how to” video) for chicken stock here.

8. Fermented foods like traditional sauerkraut and whole yogurt

Once baby is a little older, you can add in some sour tasting foods like traditional sauerkraut. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K, but in its raw or cooked state, it’s hard to digest. Fermented cabbage, i.e., sauerkraut, on the other hand, is amazing for digestion. The sour taste stimulates our digestive organs such as the gallbladder and liver. It’s naturally rich in health-promoting probiotics to help colonize baby’s gut with beneficial bacteria—crowding out the bad, and building up the good.

Organic whole yogurt is another excellent food rich in easy to digest protein and fat and rich in calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus. It’s best to wait till 12 months before introducing dairy products (with the exception of eggs, butter or ghee). You can find great grass-fed yogurts at Whole Foods or prepare yourself at home.

To prepare: Make your own sauerkraut, follow this recipe. If DIY isn’t your thing, you can also buy traditionally fermented sauerkraut in health food stores like Whole Foods. Make sure you find it in the refrigerated section and that there is no vinegar on the ingredient list. Vinegar is often added to mimic the taste of natural fermentation—even if the product is not actually fermented (thus not containing any beneficial bacteria). Offer baby a small amount of the sauerkraut juice to get him used to the sour taste. Soon, he’ll love it! “ Source: Mama natural.



food allergies

New research shows introducing common allergy causing foods by 12 months of age and as early as 4-6 months can be a good thing. Eggs, peanuts, and fish are some of these foods. Exposure may reduce the the chance of developing an allergy. You should give these foods regularly (2X per week to maintain tolerance. Start by rubbing a small amount on your babies inner lip and if tolerated after a few hours you can slowly introduce as part of their diet. ALWAYS have Benadryl on hand.





What baby feeding products we love at the Nipple Household

Baby products we love that have to do with feeding!

BabyBrezza Glass One Step Baby Food Maker

As you knowI’m a huge fan of the BabyBrezza products, so their food maker comes highly recommended.  We introduced solids at 6 months and I used the BabyBrezza from day one.  It is so incredibly easy. You simply put the raw food in the glass bowl, steam, and blend. Whether it’s vegetables, fruit or meat, the BabyBrezza steams and blends the food in one application. The BabyBrezza also comes with recipes organized by age, so you know what foods are age appropriate for your little one. Clean up is also very simple just throw almost every piece in the dishwasher and that’s it! This is one of those products I still use every single day. Now that my son is one, I do not need to blend the foods, but I still use the steamer. 

Fresh Squeezed Squeeze Station

This product is a perfect pair with the Baby Brezza.  Making all your own baby food has many benefits, but you need a way for your baby to enjoy it on the go, right?! This unit presses your homemade baby food into individual pouches for convenient storage and feeding. Just pour in the puree, press down to fill, squeeze and enjoy. I used this primarily for preparing food when we were traveling or on the go! You can also freeze the packets for your little one to enjoy at a later date. 

High Chair:  I recommend the 4 moms highchair. The tray is magnetic for easy on and off one handed use. There is also a tray liner you can throw right in the dishwasher or clean in the sink without having to clean the entire tray. The high chair also has bowls that are magnetic that stay secured right on the high chair tray preventing you baby throwing the bowl over the edge.  Because the tray liner is so easy to clean, our son’s food goes right on the tray liner. The foam seat is removable and very easy to wash. Overall, I love this highchair for both functionality and its contemporary look. 

Inglesina Fast Table Highchair:  This is such a great chair to have for both on the go and at home use. We use it at home when we want to have our baby pulled right up to the table. It’s been such a great product for on the go use. Whether it’s a long weekend at my parent’s home or a nice lunch out, this highchair makes eating on the go easier.

Boon Pulp: This is a really fun way for your baby to explore foods and it’s also great for teething! These durable silicone feeders make it easy for your little one to test out fruits and vegetables with its ingenious design and baby-friendly handle, while the easy-clean, dishwasher-safe design makes it parent-friendly, too.

Comotomo Baby Bottles:  These bottles have worked really great for us. I love how soft and squishy they are. The bottle features a silicone nipple that mimics feeding at the breast and eases breast-to-bottle transitioning. The wide-neck design makes for easy dishwasher cleaning, while strategic, leak-free vents are designed to help prevent colic.  They’ve been dishwasher cleaned too many times to count and they still look brand new.

Recipes

Babybrezza has some great recipes, you can find them HERE. Scroll to the bottom of the link to find them.

You can find a steam guide for steaming foods, HERE.

You can find an ingredient guide, HERE.






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Mommy Knows Best Lactation Cookies & Mrs. Nipple


Low Milk Supply & Lactation Cookies 


Having a low milk supply can be both stressful and frustrating. When I was pregnant with Charlie,  my supply dropped significantly in the first month. I think it was due to the fact that Charlie did not have a good latch as well as during those first few weeks, I was going too long between night feedings. No matter what I tried, Charlie was impossible to wake up for his night feedings. Some nights I was up for an entire hour just trying to get him to feed. Wet wash cloths, undressing him, changing his diaper...nothing seemed to work.  Waiting these long stretches without feeding effected my milk supply. I finally learned about lactation products. I started eating prepackaged lactation bars. However, they were not practical because of how expensive they were and their short shelf life.

This time around I wanted to be prepared. Before Ford was even born, I discovered Mommy Knows Best Lactation Cookies.

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MOMMY KNOWS BEST LACTATION COOKIES

  • They are SO DELICIOUS
  • You buy the mix and can make them at home (so easy) 
  • An entire bag of mix is only $20.00 which is significantly less than other lactation products 
  • The ingredients include many herbal galactagogues (a substance that increases milk supply)
  • They are #mrsnippleapproved 

THE GOOD STUFF, GALACTAGOGUES

Mommy Knows Best Lactation Cookie Mix contains a powerful blend of ingredients designed to optimize breast milk production. The combination of Oats, Flax Seed, Brewer's Yeast, and Blessed Thistle Herb, packs a powerful punch when it comes to increasing milk supply. Additionally this cookie mix is a great source of Calcium, and Folic Acid, along with vitamins B6, C, D & A.

OATS are a nutritional powerhouse, providing whole grains, fiber, iron, and an abundance of healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

BLESSED THISTLE is a powerful galactagogue, well known as a common ingredient responsible for milk production.

FLAX SEED provides an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids necessary for baby’s brain development.

BREWERS YEAST is a traditional remedy, rich in B-vitamins and amino acids essential for nursing moms.

  •  MADE WITH BLESSED THISTLE HERB: The only lactation boosting cookie available with blessed thistle herb baked into each cookie to help boost breast milk quickly.
  •  PERFECT COMBINATION OF BREWER'S YEAST, FLAXSEED & OATS: Already measured and mixed for you, these ingredients have been used for generations to aid with breastmilk production and replenish key nutrients mothers need.
  •  EXCELLENT SOURCE OF KEY VITAMINS & MINERALS: Each cookie is jam-packed with healthy amounts of calcium, folic acid, iron, plus vitamins B6, B12, C, D, & A. Enjoy a lactation supplement that you can eat.
  •  TASTY & EFFECTIVE SOLUTION FOR LACTATION SUPPORT: These delicious and convenient lactation cookies are a healthy alternative to lactation tea & bars that can help provide the extra nourishment lactating moms need.
  •  SAFE, CONVENIENT – WON’T UPSET BABY’S SENSITIVE TUMMY: While many lactation tea, lactation bars and breast feeding pill alternatives contain fillers that upset little tummies, this TASTY & EFFECTIVE SOLUTION FOR LACTATION SUPPORT provide all the nourishment, without the common allergens found in many breast milk pill supplement products.

 

MY PLAN

In addition to eating the cookies, here are a few other tips to increase that priceless milk supply for your baby:

  • Never hesitate to contact a certified Lactation Consultant for advice from a professional. 
  • Increase frequency of breastfeeding and/or pumping sessions. 
  • Try pumping for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, for a total of 60 minutes. This can be done a few times a day and will help stimulate milk production. 

You can find the Mommy Knows Best Lactation cookie mix, HERE. 

 

 

Fighting Allergies


Spring & Allergies 


This week has been miserable for me. I'm fighting a terrible reaction to all of the pollen in the air. I've recently been tracking the conditions and have been trying to stay in during "high" pollen days. I use this tracker HERE.  I spent most of my day on the couch with cold compresses on my eyes. I reached out for advice around fighting allergies through instagram stories and received such great feedback around successful solutions others have actually tried. After doing some of my own research it seems the instagram universe is in tune with what works! I wanted to share, please find the results below. 

Natural remedies 

Essential oils: You can use peppermint oil if you are not nursing but if you are nursing it will affect your milk supply.

A blend of lemon, lavender, and peppermint or cedar wood oil (if you are breastfeeding) is supposed to work wonders! You can apply the oil right onto your pressure points as needed. You can use everyday as a prevention method. 

OR

A blend of lemon, lavender, & peppermint mixed with a carrier oil (grapeseed, avocado, olive oil) To apply just swipe it across your sinuses and down your nose. 

Sabadil: A homeopathic medicine that temporarily relieves one or more of the symptoms of hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies: itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy throat and nose. You can find it, HERE. 

Neti Pot: Neti pots are a great, natural way to relieve nasal congestion and allergies, as long as you use sterile water and don’t use it too frequently. They have been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years.  

Local honey: Ingest 1 tsp of LOCAL honey in the AM and PM. When a person eats local honey, they are thought to be ingesting local pollen. Over time, a person may become less sensitive to this pollen. As a result, they may experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms.

MEDICATIONS 

If you are breastfeeding like I am you can also use Claritin which falls under category L1. There are 4 Lactation Risk Categories L1-L4, L1 being the safest. 

Claritin and Breastfeeding

Claritin – L1: Claritin is considered safe for breastfeeding. Only 0.3-1.2% of the medication will be transferred through the breast milk to the baby. It is important to note that this is for plain Claritin only. Claritin D is not recommended for breastfeeding because of the decongestant that has been added to the allergy medication. If buying the generic brand, look for the active ingredient Loratidine.

Other Allergy Medications and Breastfeeding

Zyrtec – L2: This has a higher risk level than Claritin because there hasn’t been enough research. However, studies done on dogs suggest that 3% is transferred through breast milk. If buying the generic brand, look for the active ingredient Cetirizine.

Allegra – L2: It is believed that 0.5-0.7% is transferred through breast milk. If buying the generic brand, look for the active ingredient Fexofenadine.

Benadryl, Aller Clore, & Dimatapp – These allergy medications are not recommended for breastfeeding mothers. They can make you sleepy, which means they are sedating. That sedation can be passed on to the infant and may cause breathing problems.


 

 

Anti-inflammatory eating plan


Anti-inflammatory Eating 


I tried these recipes for the first time over ten years ago. The great thing about this anti-inflammatory diet is that you never feel like you are on a diet. The meals are so delicious, even when I don't stick to this plan I will still cook recipes from this book because they are that good. You will see significant results after 14 days but you will start feeling the mental and physical effects after just three days. Give this eating plan three days and you won't be able to stop! Charlie also loves all of the food so there's no need to make separate dinners for your kids.  I'll add each day onto this post after I complete the day for a total of 7 days. I also will add a line item on the end of each day that goes over what else I ate because I'm breastfeeding and need the extra calories. As always DRINK TONS OF WATER. If you would like to purchase the book you can find it, HERE. 

Slim chai tea:

You are  supposed to drink a slim chai tea upon waking and after lunch every day.

  • 2 green tea bags
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnmaon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom 

Bring three cups of water to boil. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and cloves, and let steep for 3 minutes. Remove the tea bags and cloves. Add the cinnamon & cardamom and mix well. (serves 3) 

 

EXAMPLE PLAN

Day 1:

Breakfast: Smoked salmon frittata over greens with an orange

Lunch: Cottage cheese bowl with apple, walnuts, cinnamon & lemon

Dinner: Pomegranate chicken over greens with asparagus with red bell peppers & garlic. Dressing for the salad: Extra virgin olive oil & lemon juice

Snacks: Small case of blackberries, grapefruit  & 12 raw almonds

Breastfeeding calories: smoothie & I doubled the breakfast and dinner servings. Serving of dark chocolate after dinner. 

Day 2:

Breakfast: Fresh herb frittata & grapefruit

Lunch: Turkey thai lettuce wraps

Dinner: Ginger infused salmon with garden salad

Snacks: Small case of blueberries, 8 walnuts, orange, & carrot and celery sticks with 1 tablespoon of almond butter

Breastfeeding calories: Smoothie & doubled breakfast. Frozen mango and dark chocolate for dessert. 

Day 3:

Breakfast: Fresh herb frittata: See recipe above

Lunch: Thai Turkey Wraps: See recipe above

Dinner: Grilled sirloin with garlic & herbs and string beans

Snacks: grapefruit, blueberry yogurt cup (1/2 cup blueberries & 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt), 12 almonds

Breastfeeding calories: Protein smoothie & doubled breakfast. 

RECIPES 

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FOOD Photos 

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InstaNT pot & The Great Debate


The Instant Pot & The Great Debate 


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YOU CAN BUY THE INSTANT POT, HERE

I posted a survey on instagram last week around getting an Instant Pot. I had many people contact me to share the results. You can find all of the comments I received below. 

81 % GO FOR IT 

- "Best kitchen gadget ever!"

-"Yess"

-"Yes!! It's amazing, awesome for quick dinners and people (like me 😂) who forget to meal prep or take things out of the freezer to defrost. Makes your meals taste like they've been cooking slow and low all day, you can even do a whole roast in this bad boy! Even homemade yogurt, like, what?! But wait, there's more! Broths, soups, curries, shredded chicken for tacos enchiladas BBQ sandwiches...okay I'm done now...go buy one! I have a crockpot and never use it"

- "Have one and it’s pretty awesome but, the novelty wore off and now it’s just in the pantry 😆"

-"Yesssss it’s my absolute fave kitchen appliance"

-"It’s amazing!"

- "Ohh my god. I can't even with this thing. It changes lives."

- "I can't say enough good things!!!!!!"

-"Yes they’re amazinggggggg"

-"very easy to use and very easy clean up" 

-"I like that on my crazy days it's a bucket of my life I don't have to think about. Just pop the stuff in and let it go" 

 

19 % WASTE OF MONEY

-"I have one and seem to be he only one that is "meh". Full disclosure I need to research more but right now it's almost like a glorified slow cooker. Meaning, it's the same recipes as I would in a slow cooker because you need liquid .. but just a little less time. But you still need to cook things for an hour sometimes so I don't really think it has changed my routine that much? Don't know if that makes sense"

- "Have one and it’s pretty awesome but, the novelty wore off and now it’s just in the pantry 😆"

 

 

What Charlie Eats (15 months)


Baby & Nutrition


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Charlie's Diet Rundown at 15 Months

His diet hasn't really changed much since he has been 12 months old, so this could work for many ages. I'll give you a few different examples of what he eats at each meal. I always have his water out next to him during each meal. 

BREAKFAST 

  • 2-3 scrambled eggs with a half or whole avocado 
  • 1 serving of oatmeal with a whole banana 

LUNCH

  • Strips of free range chicken dipped in egg and coated with Watusee Chickpea Crumbs.
  • Grilled Cheese on Vermont Bread Company soft Whole Wheat bread- no high-fructose corn syrup - no artificial preservatives with white american cheese. 
  • Left overs from the night before
  • Whole wheat pasta with pasta sauce 
  • grass fed meat balls
  • Sides: Steamed or cooked broccoli, zucchini, Carrots. 
  • Peanut butter & jelly 

DINNER

  • Charlie will eat whatever we are eating if dinner is ready when he is still awake
  • Chicken 
  • Salmon
  • Flank steak
  • cooked zucchini
  • Steamed brocoli 
  • Steamed carrots 
  • Sweet potato 

SNACKS

  • Apple spears with peanut butter
  • Toast with peanut butter
  • dried mago (messy)
  • pear
  • banana 
  • fiber crackers
  • pomegranates
  • green smoothie 

MILK

Charlie drinks a 5 oz. bottle of grass-fed milk when he wakes up, in the afternoon and before bedtime. 




Staying healthy while pregnant

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I've been on both sides of the spectrum when it comes to healthy eating, pregnant or not. I can't stress enough how much easier your pregnancy will be with a nutrition packed healthy lifestyle. I was so motivated during my first pregnancy and had none of those normal pesky side effects of carrying a baby. Yes, I'm sure genes play a role but I give most of the credit to frequent movement and nutrition. The second time around has been harder due to obvious reasons....a little person with an attitude that stands about 2 feet tall. This is about your unborn baby and about taking care of yourself. An added bonus to all of this is labor and delivery will be easier and it should take less time to bounce back. 

 first trimester disclaimer:

If you are suffering from nausea and can't even think about eating leafy greens and protein just know, it's very normal. The meal options below will be great for the 2nd and 3rd trimester, when you are feeling like yourself again. During the first trimester I would pack in my leafy greens and protein on days I was feeling up for it and stick to foods that would help keep nausea at bay during the others. To help with pregnancy induced nausea I would pack 5-10 small bags of snacks and eat them continuously throughout the day. The bags would include salty crackers, fiber crackers, grapes, apples, string cheese, nuts, pretzels. If you're feeling like you can stomach larger portions you might want to consider, whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana, whole wheat toast with scrambled egg, oatmeal or chicken noodle soup.  

 

 Healthy eating:

First off, you are not eating for two...I know it was all a lie, I was pretty disappointed when I found this out. You are actually only eating for 1.2 which only means an extra 300 calories in the 2nd and 3rd trimester and 450 calories after delivery, if you are exclusively breastfeeding. Just remember these foods should be filled with nutritional value. 

 

Start off the day with a good amount of protein and good fat to keep you feeling full longer. I would recommend eating your largest meal in the morning. Making good choices for your first meal is so important for setting you up for a successful day.

FIRST H20 

This is one of the most important things when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. It's what you drink. I can't stress the importance of hydration in general, but especially when you are pregnant. Overall you will feel better and you will have less swelling. Hydration is so important it's part of my TOP 5 PREGNANCY TIPS blog post. My BKR water bottle holds 4 cups of water and I fill it up at least 3 times per day. Having it by my side has helped set good habits when it comes to drinking water.  

BLD, MY GO-TOS

BREAKFAST 

3-4 scrambled eggs and half an avocado with steamed spinach. If there is left over meat from the night before I will throw that into the scrambled eggs. 

OR

A bowl of oatmeal with a touch of honey with banana or berries 

LUNCH

ON-THE-GO: This is a tough one because I'm always on the go. I end up buying a lentil avocado salad most days which comes with 2 pieces of whole wheat bread. I really trust the quality and preparation of the food at this restaurant. When pregnant, I try and be a little more careful where I eat. If you end up eating salads while you are on the go, just try to stay away from salad bars where the food might not be kept at the right temperature. 

In an office or at home: This gives you much more flexibility with meal planning. I always try to get my greens in for lunch so would naturally just recommend making your own salad. The great thing about eating lunch in an office is you can bring a protein from home and heat it up in the office microwave. Another option would be fiber crisps topped with grilled chicken to help battle any pregnancy constipation.

SNACKS: NUTS, STRING CHESSE, FRUIT, FIBER CRISPS, GREEK YOGURT 

DINNER

I'm usually exhausted by the end of the day so we keep dinner pretty simple. I like to pair a lean protein with a vegetable or I'll cook something from my rolodex of anti-inflammatory recipes...more on that later.  

 Proteins:

-Grass fed flank or skirt steak, salt and peper

-Free range whole chicken, you can ask the butcher to spatchcock it for faster cooking time. I throw a rub on it and put it in the oven. 

-Wild salmon 1-2X per week topped with fresh ginger and low sodium soy sauce

Veggies: 

I try and stick to local vegetables and whatever is in season. This is harder in the winter months but great for fall, summer, and spring. 

I'll make this very easy for you, click HERE to see what is in season in your region. Click on your region & the season and the site will give you a list of veggies from which to choose. 

I try and just stick to cooking what I love so I'll eat more of it. 

-squash

-mushrooms

-sweet potatoes

-spinach with garlic

I prepare all vegetables by roasting or steaming with just a little olive oil, nothing fancy.

  LEFTOVERS REHEATED ARE ALWAYS YOUR FRIEND. 

 

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Pregnancy & A healthy Lifestyle 


 JUICING & SMOOTHIES DURING PREGNANCY


PREGNANCY , JUICING AND SMOOTHIES


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purify 

my favorite at home juice 

With so much less time to focus on baby #2 , juicing is a wonderful way to get your greens in quickly. I always recommend trying to stick to organic or local fruits and vegetables, especially when making juices and smoothies. 

WHAT IS JUICING

Juicing removes the pulp and insoluble fiber from the fruits and veggies. It's not a meal replacement like a smoothie is, but more of a supplement. To get the most benefit from your juice consume either first thing in the morning or 2-3 hours after a meal. You can eat as soon as 20 min after drinking the juice.

SUGAR CRASH

 Try and stick to "green drinks" to prevent a sugar crash. The ratio of vegetables to fruit is key. I always try to pick green drinks packed with leafy greens.

JUICING WHILE PREGNANT

It gets a little bit confusing and is also a little controversial because juices are not pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process that kills harmful bacteria by heating it to a certain temperature for a specific amount of time,which then kills harmful organisms responsible for listeriosis. If the juices were pasteurized, they would lose most of their nutritional value.

 I'll try and keep it simple

If juicing at home (best option):

-Make sure to always clean your fruits and vegtables

-Clean the juicing equipment after each use 

If buying juices, there are two options:

 Pressed juices and freshly made juices: Pressed juices are pre-made and can be found in the refrigerator section of many juice bars. Since these juices are unpasteurized, they have a short shelf life. While pregnant, it's best to stick to the freshly juiced options because they will not sit unpasteurized. As long as you trust that the store cleans their machinery well and washes their fruit, then freshly made juices are a great option.

SOME GO TO JUICE COMBINATIONS:

Purify: 1/2 cup kale, 1/2 cup spinach, 1/2 a cucumber, 1/2 of one piece of celery, 1 whole apple, 1/6 of a whole lemon, size of two quarters of ginger- break right off the root (MY FAVORITE) Put the kale & spinach in first then ginger & lemon together celery cucumeber and apple in last 

Refresh: 1/2 cup spinach, 1/2 cup kale,1 pear, then juice 2 oranges with a citrus juicer and add into juice 

Renew: 2 small beets or 1 medium size beet cut in quarters (wash well), 1 large carrot, 1 whole apple, 2 quarter sizes of ginger. Put in the beet first, then the carrot, ginger and apple. WARNING beets are very messy!!!

 

WHAT ARE SMOOTHIES 

Smoothies use the whole fruit and vegetable, pretty much everything but the pit. A NutriBullet is a great way to make smoothies at home. Throw in fruits and veggies and chug away! This is very quick and easy, especially if you have trouble eating your greens. This is such a great option for any pregnant mama and can be consumed as a snack. Again, just try and find the right balance between the greens and fruit ratio. I usually try to keep it around a 50/50 ration for taste, but the more greens the better. 

Some smoothies that are made at your local juice bar are very high in calories. These should be consumed as meal replacements, since these smoothies can have over 500 calories and many are packed with protein. For example, a Pumpkin Flax Smoothie may have: almond milk, bananas, apples, flax seed oil, almond butter, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice. These types of smoothies are fine once in a while, but I would stick to green smoothies for more frequent consumption. 

 

Tip for the perfect smoothie:

  1. You can use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes to get a chilled smoothie
  2. Blend the liquid and leafy greens first before adding the rest of the ingredients. This will help get a smoother texture. 
  3. Stick to a ratio your taste buds are comfortable with. You might want to start out with the 50% greens/50% fruit ratio. 
  4. If your smoothie is too THIN add some frozen fruit or ice and if it's too THICK add some liquid. 

 

SMOOTHIES:

THE STARTER PACK

2 cups spinach

2 cups water

1/2 cup mango

1/2 cup pineapple

1 frozen banana

IMPORTANT: blend water and spinach until leafy pieces are gone and then add the rest of the ingredients. 

TROPICAL GREEN SMOOTHIE
2-3 cups Kale, chopped
1 cup Cilantro (optional)
1 cup Pineapple, diced
1 cup Frozen mango
1/2 cup Fresh mango (optional)
1/2 cucumber, diced or 1/2 cup coconut water (or both…)
juice of one lime
1 tsp Spirulina powder (check with your doctor if pregnant) 

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender, with the heavier, more liquid contents at the bottom. This includes the pineapple, cucumber and mango. Blend until smooth and silky. Add more coconut water, cucumber or pineapple to thin the mixture, if necessary.

GREEN HEAVEN

1 CupSpinach

1 StalkCelery

1 CupCucumber

½ CupPineapple

½  Lime

2 TablespoonsFlax Seeds

3  Ice Cubes 

1 ½ Cups water 

AVOCADO SMOOTHIE

2 Cups Kale

½   Avocado

1   Apple

⅓ Cup Blueberries

1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds

¼ Cup Oats

1 ½ Cups water

 

**SOME GREEN FREE OPTIONS**

THE SMART START

 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon freshly ground flaxseeds

1 tablespoon whey protein concentrate (leave out while pregnant) 

pour 2 tablespoons of water into the blender. Add the yogurt and blueberries. Blend until the blueberries have turned the yogurt a deep rich blue. Add the ground flaxseeds and whey protein. Blend until smooth. 

332 cal - 35 g protein- 45 g carbs -5 g fat

BANANA STRAWBERRY DELIGHT

1 Cup non-fat plain yogurt

1 banana, sliced

1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

1 tablespoon freshly ground flaxseeds

1 tablespoon whey protein concentrate (leave out while pregnant) 

pour 2 tablespoons of water into the blender. Add the yogurt, banana, and strawberries and blend. Put in the ground flaxseeds and whey protein and blend until smooth. 

HOW TO MAKE A SMASH CAKE DIFFICULTY: VERY EASY


SMASH CAKE & BABY 


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Crown linked HERE

First birthday, New Years Eve, gender reveal for baby #2 or just because, there is nothing funnier than a baby eating a smash cake. You really have no clue what you are going to get during the first "smash". Many bakeries overcharge for a simple "smash cake" and some even make you purchase a larger cake to even have the option to order a smash cake on the side. There is no reason to spend any extra money on a smash cake, as you will find below making your own at home is very easy. 

WHAT IS A SMASH CAKE

For those of you that do not know, a smash cake is just a small cake your baby can dig into during a special occasion, usually their first birthday. Just be aware that depending on how aggressive they get you could have a major mess to clean up. I recommend always having your baby do a cake smash in their diaper with news paper underneath the highchair for an easy clean up.

HOW TO MAKE A SMASH CAKE

Luckily making a smash cake is EXTREMELY easy

SUPPLIES

1 box of cake, I used an organic cake mix but I recommend using a classic brand, the good old stuff, like Betty Crocker Super Moist or Pillsberry Moist Supreme. The organic brands I have tried are a little too dense for the smash, try to purchase a moist cake mix. 

1 container of frosting, I also used organic but would again recommend a classic brand like, Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy 

sprinkles (neccesary)

2 ramekins or two small round, glass pyrex bowls around 1 quart each

vegetable oil 

butter or something to grease bowls with

STEPS

  1. Follow the steps listed on the cake mix box to prepare the batter
  2. Pour the batter into (2) buttered ramekins, filling up 3/4 of the way
  3. Bake in oven at the temperature and time listed on cake box
  4. Let cool and then pop cakes out by carefully running a knife around the edges 
  5. Use a knife to cut the tops off of both cakes so they are completely flat
  6. Spread a thing layer of frosting on top of one of your cakes and turn the other cake upside-down and place on top
  7. **GENDER REVEAL ONLY**If you are doing a gender reveal use a generous amount of blue or pink frosting in that middle layer instead of the white frosting. (do not put frosting too close to the edges). Make sure to add white frosting around the area closest to the edges so the color will not show through. 
  8. Once cakes are stacked frost the entire cake and add sprinkles, candles, and anything fun! To make the cake look extra special use a piping bag to frost. 
  9. SMASH

With any left over batter you can make mini cupcakes for all of the other kiddos. This is my favorite cupcake silicone product. It makes ultra thin bitesize cupcakes with the perfect frosting to cake ratio. Kids LOVE these. 

 

 

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS BABS BREAKFAST CASSEROLE


HOLIDAY RECIPE 


THINGS I CAN GET BEHIND:

  1. My mom cut this recipe out of a Chicago newspaper 40 years ago 
  2. It has been a Christmas morning staple in my family ever since
  3. You prepare it the night before (only takes 10 min) and just pop it in the oven in the morning
  4. It is a major crowd pleaser 
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BAB'S BREAKFAST CASSEROLE 

Serves 4 (can double for more people)

Bake in a 9X13 Casserole dish

5 eggs beaten slightly

5 slices or 3/4 loaf of Challah bread cubed

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dry mustard

1 lb browned sausage, ham, or bacon cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups of milk

combine all ingredients in a large bowl and put into baking dish

Refrigerate overnight & bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes 

This recipe is a crowd pleaser. It is a great dish for any holiday morning because it's extremely easy and can be prepared ahead of time.  I added more bread and cheese while cutting back on the breakfast sausage. Another fun thing you can throw in are jalapenos. This is a very casual recipe you can really play around with. 



BONDING OVER APPLES AND PIE


RECIPES, VOL. 1


I'll be the first to admit, I didn't get the kitchen gene. My grandmother was a phenominal cook and baker. My family is originally from Chicago, but I grew up in Connecticut. A few weeks before Christmas we would receive what felt like a dozen huge boxes filled to the top with old school, reused, tins with wax paper hanging off the edges. You knew they were the Minnie (my grandma) Christmas cookie edition. There was nothing mini about the packages, though. The variety of Christmas cookies was endless and it would not be Christmas without them

 My mother also got the gene, but not me. I burn pretty much everything I touch. However, my husband is an incredible cook, giving me even more reason to stay away. Ever since I became pregnant with my second, I've had this urge to start baking. I've found it's not only satisfying, but it's such a nice activity to do with my mom. I'm juggling a full time job, while pregnant with a one year old, as you can imagine that quality time is shrinking. So, no matter your age or level of expertise, grab a family member and bake. There's just something about it that I can't explain, especially over the holidays. I guess it brings me back to childhood watching my grandmother Minnie dominate the kitchen. 

The only thing I was solely in charge of was baking the pie that ended up being a bit burnt.  I guess you can't change those genes after all. 

We used a great food52 recipe you can find HERE. The only change we made was we halved the pastry recipe to make one double pie crust. The filling is for one pie as is. 

HERE is a link to the perfect pie tips! I Wish I read this before I burnt this masterpiece. Hint: Put foil around the edges to prevent burning. To those of you who reached out with that advice, thank you!

Tips for baking with a baby: 

Start baking during your babies nap time to get the measuring out of the way

Have pots, pans and spatulas set up on the floor below where you are baking to help make your little one feel included

If working with dough have some play dough ready to go so they can play along 

Have fun and crank up the holiday music