Food for a New Mom (When it's ridiculously hot outside)
My friend just had a baby, and while I'd love to bring over some meals for her, coming over with something like a lasagna seems ridiculous in this heat. Same goes for soup, and there go my ideas! Can you folks suggest some dishes I could bring, that can be saved or frozen, which are appropriate for the weather?
Nice full-fat bran muffins. Fibre good for new Moms.
There's a yummy Sour Cream Bran Muffin recipe on epicurious.
a nice vegetable pasta salad- so many varieties. Can't really be frozen, but great to grab out of the fridge at any time of day & last a few days. Also, chicken, ham, or turkey salad. Since schedules are so off, it's nice to be able to just grab something that requires no heating/defrosting. (I'm a pregnant mom)
I've been making lots of grain salads this summer. They're perfect for hot weather, healthy and you can dress them up or keep it simple depending on your friend's tastes.
The easiest is bulgur salad. Bulgur is partially cooked before being dried so reconstituting it is very simple. Just pour water or stock over, let sit, then squeeze excess liquid out. Add some olive oil, then season as you like. Now you can add herbs - mint goes very well with all the grain salads I've tried. Also consider cheese (feta is my favorite), olives, roast chicken, cooked seafood, smoked meats or fish, fresh veggies.
You can also use couscous, farro or wheat berries. It keeps for a few days in the fridge.
Other possibilities are pasta sauces which they can add to pasta when they're in the mood - fresh pesto or fresh tomato would be good right now.
I agree, salads would be good, especially the kind that keep well. I second the idea of grain salads. Depending on how adventurous her tastes are, you could consider quinoa or black rice too. Dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, cherries, cut up apricots) go really well in grain salads.
How about straight vegetable salads? Shredded carrot salad, cuke salad, even cole slaw or potato salad?
One thought -- I know some new mothers try to avoid strong tasting foods that would affect their milk, like onions and garlic. (While others figure the baby better get used to it from the start.) Might be worth checking on.
I was once told that babies *like* the taste of garlic in breast milk. There is some concern these days about nursing moms eating peanuts; it could result in a peanut allergy, but I don't know if that is still the current thinking. Some people, also, believe that milk products and vegetables in the cole family (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage) can worsen colic and gassiness in a nursing babe.
Salads are brilliant, but anything a nursing mom can hold in one hand and nibble on is also helpful. Lasagna tends to slide around a lot and requires two hands.
Think tea sandwiches. Seriously. Whole-grain bread, slathered with not-too-garlicky or -oniony spread, plus cucumbers; sandwiches with grilled turkey or chicken with something to hold it to the bread (mmm, melted cheese). Even a glorified tuna-salad sandwich would be good.
Or a veg and cheese plate. Think finger foods or appetizerish things.
I agree with above suggestions, as mother of 4 I craved salad and veggies but was too exhausted to chop and prepare. I recently made a friend who just had her fourth a dinner of marinated london broils (in ziploc bag which could be frozen if needed), garden salad, fruit salad and an orzo with everything salad (from Epicurious and it is FABULOUS)along with chocolate chip cookies for her kids...my thought was she could help herself as she wanted to whatever and it would keep plus, she could use the grilled meat in the salad if there were leftovers etc. I can vouch that a prepared dinner of any sort is a welcome present!!!!
Thank you for recommending this recipe (orzo with everything) -- I am not a new mom nor do I have kids, but happened to be reading this thread and liked the idea of a cold pasta salad. I tried this recipe on Sunday and it is GREAT. A new addition to my repitoire -- thank you 4chowpups.
Going with the idea of something you can nibble in your hand... how about mini calzones, samosas, pasties or the like.
Of course you have to bake them and that's hot, but she could eat straight from the fridge or heat in a microwave or toaster oven.
If she has a microwave, you can freeze smaller portions in plastic disposible containers for her to heat as needed. I do this with soups and cooked lasagna all the time.
A big stack of waffles that she can pop in the toaster in the morning. For me-when I was a new mom-the mornings were the time I was the most exhausted (up a million times in the night and all) and wanted something to eat fast.
You're a great friend to remember the new Mom AND consider the season! I love the idea of pre-chopped salad ingredients, finger sandwiches, and any kind of one dish salad. We've been eating a lot of cool soups this summer. For us they're convenient to bring to the pool club because in a thermos and to just grab from the friger for a snack. A simple gazpacho or cucumber soup are both classics. But you can also try a fresh pea soup with mint or a cool carrot and summer squash soup. When things get particularlly hectic, Mom can just pour them into a mug and sip them while she tends to baby.
You're the best kind of friend! Muffins, danishes, pita and hummus or baba ganouj, fruit or chopped up vegetables would be good, or an assortment of cheese and buns or bagels. What I appreciated most was food I didn't have to prepare/heat/chop but could just stick in my mouth because I was too bleary to deal with much else. I live in a Greek area and we got a lot of spanokopita which was very yummy if you can find some to take-away.
One of the best baby gifts I received was when my brother and his wife brought dinner to our place, and then completely cleaned up (washed dishes, loaded dishwasher etc) afterwards. It's a small thing but even clearing a table can seem overwhelming on little or no sleep.
I was a first time Mum last summer during the heatwave in the northeast so I can attest to the don't want anything hot to deal with sentiment.
While breastfeeding I was psycho crazed for sweet things and not having much time for food, I baked a ton of muffins and pulled them out whenever I needed a quick fix -- banana/oatmeal, mixed berries/wheatgerm, cranberry etc...also, baked squares kept for a while and I froze them as well.
The cold soups suggested above are a great idea. You could also buy some ribs, chicken breasts, etc. and bag them up in some marinade for her to either freeze or keep a day or two and perhaps her husband or partner can do some barbecuing? Then they'd have leftovers the next day.
I also made a lot of sandwiches so even dropping of a grocery bag of fixings for some great sandwiches would be a great help.
Best of luck to your friend.