Sunday, February 22, 2015

Life (and food) with baby: part I

Greetings from the other side! After a nice long blog break, I'm excited to share some updates and tips on life with baby.

First off, meet Emmett!
 Born December 11th, we've enjoyed the last 2+ months getting to know him and enjoying his sweet hugs, snuggles and general good looks. Each day is different, but for the most part, he's a very good baby, not to mention, a good eater, just like his mom! So far, we've lucked out :)
Life with baby has changed our eating style for sure, but for the most part, we're cooking just as often as before! A few notable changes:

1) The recipes are simpler. These days long ingredient lists or complicated steps just aren't happening. One, because I totally have "mommy brain" and can't be trusted to keep track of where I am in the process, and two, because more and more, Luke is helping with recipe prep and cooking, and I know he appreciates it when I keep things simple so that he can pull it off.
2) Planning in advance is a must. This means more than ever before, I'm chopping ahead of time and even doing some of the cooking in advance as much as possible. It's rare I'm able to make an entire dish from start to finish in one time period due to a needy baby, so having veggies prepped and grouped together with their portion of a recipe, sauces whisked up and meats trimmed and prepped makes me getting dinner on the table at a reasonable time a reality.
3) We repeat meals more often. I don't have as much time to leisurely peruse recipes like I used to, so I have started relying on a few staple recipes or recipe styles. Before, it was rare we ate the same thing twice in our house unless it was REALLY good, mostly because there are SO many recipes I want to try!
4) I take more short cuts. Sometimes it's buying an Indian food simmer sauce so all I have to do is saute meat and veggies, then add in the sauce. Other times I'll snag pre-marinated meat from the butcher. I've started stocking the freezer with some delicious ravioli that I can just add to whatever veggies I find in the crisper that I then do a quick saute with. These little time savers make all the difference, when before I wouldn't have even considered it! 
5) I only grocery shop once a week. I've always been a meal planner, but I had the luxury of working above the store, so needless to say I was popping down every day to snag an ingredient I might have forgotten in my larger shop, or letting myself wait until the day-of to get produce at the perfect level of ripeness. Luckily, there's one just a couple miles from my house, so one-off stops aren't out of the question, but with a baby in the mix, those random stops are few and far between!
Things that haven't changed:

1) Breakfast is still king. Whether it's a weekend morning and the whole family is eating together, or a it's a weekday, it's rare that I have cereal for breakfast. Nursing is hard work, so I'm constantly hungry! Without a substantial breakfast, I'd be eating every hour on the hour (just like Emmett sometimes :) )
2) I still cook dinner almost every night. I still don't love eating the same thing all week long, so even if I do a big soup or crock pot dinner, I'll freeze any excessive leftovers rather than eating it 4x a week.
3) I still LOVE to cook. But it's a different kind of love now. I'm more focused on ensuring we're eating a well balanced diet (not that I ignored this before though!) to make sure I'm a) losing the baby weight and b) getting nutrients that I then pass on to baby Emmett.

In the next post, I'll share some of the foods we've been eating lately!