the pantry

The Pantry: Postpartum Pasta Salad

I really love cooking for postpartum clients - generally I make light and meals. This way I’m not spending the entire postpartum visit in the kitchen and can still help with breastfeeding, newborn care, and anything else the new parents need. Postpartum nutrition is incredibly important, especially for the first several months. Your body goes through a huge transition after giving birth and nourishing it with healthy, nutritious, and soul-filling foods goes a long way in supporting your postpartum recovery.

Talk to your postpartum doula about your nutritional needs, any allergies/sensitivities and cravings. Ask for her favorite crockpot recipes or snack ideas, I guarantee she’ll have tons to share!

Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite postpartum meals: Postpartum Pasta Salad.

The Pantry: Butternut Squash Dip

One of Chelsea and my favorite places to have work meetings (occasionally over cocktails) is Cafe Gratitude in Newport Beach. Their food is fresh and healthy and beyond delicious and they have some of the most refreshing libations out there. 

I remember the first time I went to Cafe Gratitude. We were meeting Midwife, Allison Molinski, for happy hour and winding down after a long day. I looked over the menu and while there were so many enticing choices, one stood out amongst the rest... the butternut squash dip. 

This is the stuff that dreams are made of. Rosemary infused butternut squash whipped into a frenzy and served on top fresh baguette slices. Oh my gosh you guys, it's almost orgasmic

the pantry - zucchini Bread

This week’s Pantry recipe comes from one our postpartum clients. I supported Bree and her family while she was recovering from surgery. One day I showed up for my shift to see some bread defrosting on the counter. I had the chance to try it later in the day and it was delicious enough for me to ask for the recipe.

The thing I love about things like Zucchini Bread or Banana Bread is it’s ability to freeze and defrost well. I prefer to make several batches and enjoy one fresh while freezing others for future use. And defrosting is a breeze, just place it in the fridge or on the kitchen counter for a few hours and voila.

Another bonus is that picky kids who may resist eating their fruits and vegetables often don’t second guess what’s inside. Your little one enjoys a healthy snack without a battle and you enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your child is getting at least some of the nutrients needed for optimal health and growth.

The recipe Bree shared comes from Two Peas & Their Pod but Bree’s version included ½-1c. of rolled oats (she is breastfeeding and wanted to benefits of the extra iron) and chocolate chunks (specifically soy-free and dairy-free by Enjoy Life). Chocolate is always a good idea in my world, even if it’s what Bree called “fake chocolate”! This recipe is great because you can play with it a bit to find the right flavors for you. Someone else recommended trying dried cranberries instead of chocolate… that may have to be next on my list!

If you plan on freezing, Two Peas & Their Pod recommends letting the bread cool before wrapping in plastic wrap then adding it to a freezer bag. You can also use aluminum foil as the second layer if you want to cut back on the plastic. Most veggie or fruit breads are best used within a month of freezing, so help your “mom-brain” out by writing the date somewhere on the wrapping. Defrost completely before slicing.

Bree and I enjoyed her  Zucchini Banana Bread warmed up (only 15-20 seconds in the microwave) with a little dab of butter on top. You can also try it with some jam, ricotta cheese or simply on it’s own! Pair it with your morning eggs or a bowl of yogurt & fruit for an extra nutritional punch. Really, there are so many options with a treat like this. Experimenting is all part of the fun.

As with all of the recipes we share, we’d love to hear what you think! Did you experiment a little? Did your kids devour it all before you could even take a bite? Do you have your own recipe or blog you’d like feature here?? Let us know!

The Pantry: Fall Flavors & Comfort Food

As the nights get cooler, I’m finding myself craving more comfort food and longing for the delicious aroma of Autumn foods permeating my home. With juggling full-time Birth & Postpartum work, Administrative Director duties, and having a personal life, I’m struggling with making the time to cook healthy, hearty meals. This is when my crockpot is crucial

I utilize crockpots a lot in my work as a Postpartum Doula. It’s an easy way to make large meals while still giving my clients the hands-on assistance they need. Just throw everything in and 4-6 hours later you have a delicious and nutritious meal! You’d be surprised at just how many things you can cook in a crockpot!

One of my favorite Fall crockpot meals is Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup. It’s inexpensive, freezes well, and is packed full of nutrients, not to mention it’s naturally gluten free and can be easily made with vegan ingredients.

crockpotbutternutsquashsoup.jpg

My favorite recipe comes from Adventures in Wunderland mainly because in addition to being delicious, it’s also simple. There are a lot of good butternut squash soup recipes out there, but most of them require a ton of peeling, chopping, baking and the like before actually making the soup itself. Spending that amount of time on meal prep is not entirely realistic for new parents or busy professionals. If you have the time to prep it from scratch, I say go for it, but for those looking for an easier way to go about this meal, turn to your local Trader Joe’s or Sprouts. They typically have pre-peeled and pre-cut veggies to make your life easier!

The recipe is listed in the link above, however, I typically tweak it just a bit for my tastes. I add a ¼ of a teaspoon each of ground nutmeg, ground ginger and curry powder for extra flavor. I also use an immersion blender instead of a regular blender.

Once prepared, I like to top it with a dollop of greek yogurt or pair it with a slice of sourdough bread topped with goat cheese. A simple side-salad works too!

We hope you enjoy this delicious recipe and that the Fall flavors and warmth help inspire you to experience the fullness of this beautiful season.

We’d love to hear about your favorite recipes you rely on when you’re busy or wanting to avoid spending hours in the kitchen! Email us at admin@ocdoulacollective.com to have your recipe or meal prep tips featured on our blog!

(photo courtesy of Adventures in Wunderland blog)