It has been seven weeks and one day since my baby boy was born. Seven weeks of me feeling like I actually had this mother thing down and everyone who told me it was hard just didn’t get it like I did. Well today I got knocked off my pedestal.
I have expectations of what a mother does and does not do. She does stay home and finish the laundry. She doesn’t go skateboarding at 10:30pm on a Thursday. She does make sure all the toys are put away. She doesn’t engage in an activity that could potentially injure her, limiting her capacity to care for her 9-month-old.
Questions and information in hand, I found myself sitting naked in a paper gown in the office of a female care provider. I expected my questions to be met with a feministic cheer... maybe even a pat on the back! You can imagine my surprise when, instead of support, I received an eye roll and a trip to "blood work" without any explanation. No conversation, no questions, no referrals, nothing.
...At the end of the day we long to believe that "no one is alone."
Does the unnoticed, messy, relentless, thankless, work matter? In a world full of big and grand, I have been dwelling on this recently. We applaud high attendance at events, we worship those with millions of Instagram followers, we praise leaders who bring help to thousands, and we yearn after bigger houses, bigger cars and bigger paychecks.
But what about the small? What about the mother with several children at home who bathes, feeds, and dresses the same little bodies every day? Does her work matter? What about the mother who balances daycare, employment, and bedtime routines? Or the mother who just gained custody of the older children? Does her work matter?
I would argue that, YES, her work matters immensely. For her investment is not in something that quickly depreciates or that will fade away with time. Her investment is generational. Her investment is in something greater than herself. Her investment leaves a legacy. Her investment, though quiet, teaches the most beautiful of all lessons. Her investment teaches how to love.
So keep up the good work today, my friends. I see you. THEY see you. You are changing lives in the most beautiful way.
Ever wonder who’s behind The Motherhood Collective? Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to our dedicated team of volunteers. These women are all mothers – once, twice or many times over. While they come from different backgrounds and have various approaches to pregnancy, birth and parenting, each one is dedicated to creating a place where ALL mothers can find education and support. Meet Kayla Becker! Kayla has worn many hats in her years with The Motherhood Collective©, but currently she serves as the other Managing Director, Workshop Coordinator, Info Booth Administrator and Bump Club Director. (sheesh... )
Kayla was originally brought on as our Treasurer due to her fantastic skills with numbers, but has transitioned into the many roles above as her dreams for our organization have grown.
The mother of two, Kayla visited our Café after the difficult birth of her first son and found much more than she expected. She likes to tell of the healing she found and the relationships she developed with mothers of the Collective© - both of which helped transform her second pregnancy and birth.
Passionate about our mission and focused on serving women through education and support, Kayla works daily to sharpen our focus, develop new programs and increase awareness in the community as a Managing Director.
Kayla has two exciting projects debuting in the New Year; the Info Booth and Bump Clubs. The Info Booth will serve to further connect women attending our outreach programs to the greater efforts of The Motherhood Collective©. The Bump Clubs (official name TBA) are still in development, but are the solution to the pleas we have heard from you, our mamas, to deepen relationships with mothers walking through the same milestones of motherhood.
We are so excited for our upcoming 2014 Workshops and Kayla is, yet again, the force behind these wonderful evening events!
Come January, on Café mornings you will find Kayla behind the Info Booth in the first hour, then actively participating in the Pregnancy Small Group during the second hour. She looks forward to connecting you to this collective group of mothers!
Thank you, Kayla, for serving the women and families of The Motherhood Collective©.
PS – Interested in helping serve as a volunteer on one of Kayla’s projects? Fill out a volunteer form here and tell us so!
Our family has been on a grain free journey and sadly the ONE thing I had not been able to create without good-ole-fashioned FLOUR was a solid chocolate chip cookie. Until now. These cookies from Amee's Savory Dish were incredibly simple to throw together (even toddler helper friendly). And the taste is incredible. Incredible. They are not chalky, since there is no flour substitute at all, just the nut butter and shredded coconut working magic.
Make them. You will thank me. Well, maybe not after you have eaten all two dozen...
- 1 cup almond butter (love Barney Butter smooth!)
- 1/3 cup honey (can sub real maple syrup)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 Tbsp. almond extract (or can use all vanilla extract) - (Lauren note: I would use all vanilla next time)
- 1/2 tsp. salt (*only add the salt if you are using unsalted almond butter)
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life brand)
Kale with Garlicky-Lime Tahini Dressing Serves 1 (main course) Serves 2 (side dish)
Prep. time – 15 minutes
1/2 head of kale ¼ c. tahini ¼ c. EVOO Juice from 1 lime 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced/pressed ¼ t. coarse ground black pepper ½ t. anchovy paste
This recipe is to taste. Add more tahini, add less garlic, etc. to make it your own.
Rip kale leaves from stem, rinse and tear into bite size pieces. Place in serving bowl.
Place remaining ingredients in small mixing bowl and whisk for approximately one minute or until well blended and thick. Pour over kale.
Massage dressing WELL into kale with hands. Paying attention to the color and texture of the leaves. They should be bright green and soft.
Serve immediately as a side, or as a main with your choice of protein.
Refrigerate for up to a week.
I’m pretty set on owning chickens one day for this reason: there are only 3 of us now, but we all love eggs, and we tear through a carton like nobody’s business. This quiche is one of our favorite things to eat. It’s super filling and makes a great dinner entree! The whole wheat crust is also easy and tasty, and you mix it right in the pan. You can take the time to sauté the veggies to give them beautiful color and flavor, or you can just add them raw. Both will be successful!
Easy Whole Wheat Crust (taken from “100 Days of Real Food;” see link at end of post)
1.5 cups whole-wheat flour (I like to use whole white wheat)
1/2 cup oil (canola, olive, melted butter; I use olive)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk, preferably whole (I use coconut or almond milk)
In a 9-inch pie pan, combine all ingredients and mix with a fork. After mixing well, use your hand to form a ball in the pan and then press into pan. Bring it up on the sides and pinch the top (with your finger or a fork). Then mix and pour quiche filling right into the raw crust. No more dreaded pie crusts!
Carmelized Onion Quiche (inspired by “The Urban Poser;” See link at end of post)
1/2 cup coconut milk (or other milk of your choice, dairy or non-dairy)
2-3 Tbls chopped basil (or 1-2 tsp. dried)
1 medium sized onion
1 bell pepper
1/2 Tbls coconut oil or olive oil
1 medium sized tomato
6 green onions
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 tsp coarse ground black peppercorns
1/2 tsp coarse ground sea salt
Optional cheese, meats, olives, etc.
For the quiche:
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large bowl beat together the eggs, milk, black pepper, chopped basil and salt and set aside. Letting the egg mixture get to room temperature is preferable.
Thinly slice the onions and caramelize them in a pan with the oil.
While the onions are cooking cut the tomato in half. Slice one half and set aside to place on top of the quiche after it’s assembled. Chop the other half and set aside to add to the egg mixture.
Next, slice the green onions into narrow strips and dice the garlic. When the onions are done, fry the garlic in the leftover oil until crispy, then fry the green onion.
Add your half a tomato, half the onions, garlic, and half the green onions to the egg mixture. You can also add any other veggies, meats, and cheeses that sound delectable! Pour into the pie crust.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. You may want to place the pie pan on a baking sheet if it is really full.
After 15 minutes, remove from the oven sprinkle the leftover tomato, onion, green onion. Return to the oven and bake until just firm, another 15-25 minutes. Make sure the center is done by jiggling the pan a little.
Let the quiche cool for a few minutes to finish setting.
Looking back to my engagement, I think the recipe exchange was my favorite part of bridal showers. I loved getting to see what each friend brought as a tried-and-true family recipe that should be shared with a new couple starting off. Of course, some were okay, some were just weird, and some became instant favorites. This baked oatmeal quickly filled the latter. Amazing. We will eat it any time of day, and you just might see it on the dessert menu as well. Ingredients: 3 cups oatmeal 2/3-1 cup sucanat (or other sweetener) 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. salt 1 cup milk (I use almond or coconut) ½ cup melted butter (or other oil) 2 eggs, beaten Fruit, optional—I LOVE adding mashed bananas. Peaches also taste heavenly!
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Pour milk, eggs, and butter in and mix well. Spoon into a greased 9” pan. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.
It’s great warm out of the oven. You can add extra fruit, pour milk over it…yum.
We are big fans of breakfast-for-dinner at our house. Especially when it's cold out! Because of our schedules we don't get to share breakfast together often in the morning. Many times we will whip up a morning favorite on a Saturday night. To me, breakfast isn't breakfast without a bread product. While I love pancakes and waffles, I am either eating cold waffles or standing by the skillet/waffle iron while my family eats. Either way, it's not ideal. My favorite solution to this is either cinnamon rolls or muffins. I thought I would share my favorite muffin recipe with you all. Some people call these doughnut muffins, but growing up we called them cinnamon puffs.(Note: These are NOT healthy, but every once in a while it's ok to splurge!)
Cinnamon Puffs: ½ cup shortening ½ cup sugar 1 egg 1 ½ cup flour 1 ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp nutmeg ½ cup milk
Cream sugar and shortening until smooth. Beat in egg. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with milk. Put in greased muffin pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Topping: 1 ½ cup sugar 1 tsp cinnamon ½ cup melted butter
Mix cinnamon and sugar. Dip muffin in melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.
Every mama needs an a few simple, easy-to-make recipes that require little to no prep and can be made in under 30 minutes. The best thing about this is that as simple as it is, you can adjust to make it more organic and health conscious if desired.
Ingredients: 1 package of good kielbasa sausage 2 cans of kidney beans (light or dark), drained 1 large jar of salsa 1 can of corn, drained cooked Rice
Slice sausage and toss into a hot skillet (or crock pot). Dump salsa, drained beans, and drained corn on top of sausage and heat until it's warm. Serve over your choice of rice. (We like white but it's also really good over brown or long grain.)
We love salads any time of the year, and this recipe is so tasty that we sometimes just make it our dinner entrée for the evening, served alongside a thick slice of French bread.
2 Tbsp. brown sugar (I use sucanat instead; I’m guessing honey or agave would work as well) 2 tsp. soy sauce 1 Tbsp. sesame oil ¼ cup oil (I use olive) 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Combine dressing ingredients ½ hour before serving.
Salad Ingredients: Lettuce (I use green leaf, or mixed greens) 1 package crunchy rice noodles (these act as the “croutons”) 1 can mandarin oranges in juice (I splurge and buy 2 since they’re so good) 2 green onions 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds Chicken breast, cooked and shredded (optional Bell peppers, boiled eggs, garbanzo beans (optional additions)
Directions: Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat. Watch carefully and stir often, as they will go from just right to burnt in a matter of seconds.
Combine lettuce, optional chicken, oranges, onions, and toasted sesame seeds. Let chill for 10 minutes.
Before serving, add the crunchy rice noodles and dressing.
Recipe taken from: http://blogchef.net/?s=mandarin+chicken+salad
My 13 month old daughter has become a bit of a picky eater and has been going through spurts of not wanting to feed herself. What a little weirdo, right? Anyway. She's really active and a little skinny in my opinion (the pediatrician says she's just fine, thankfully) so I've been searching for some new toddler-friendly recipes to use to ensure she's getting enough in that skinny belly. Breakfast is generally the meal she's a pro at, so I decided to find a fun breakfast-esque snack that she could enjoy with just about any meal. I looked on a few 'baby food' websites and blogs and finally, because we all know it's like an online Bible for moms, found a great recipe on PINTEREST! With a name like "mini banana pancake muffins" you really can't go wrong, right?
So, I gave them a shot and my daughter went nuts for them. In fact, she totally poo poo'd her scrambled eggs (a normal favorite) and hopped on the pancake muffin train! She loves these little guys, and so do I! They are super easy to make, super easy to tweak (use your kid's favorite fruit), and super easy to store in large batches.
Here's the recipe from Once A Month Mom.
- 1 cup complete pancake mix (the “just add water” kind)
- 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup syrup
- 1 whole banana, sliced and quartered
Now, when I first saw the ingredients and quantities, I was a little shocked that there was so much syrup so I did a little tweaking of my own to start in an attempt to make them less sugary. I basically halved the amount of syrup and added more water.
You mix all the ingredients together, fill your greased mini muffin pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until they are golden brown. They turned out great with my small change and after letting them cool slightly I was able to pop them in a large tupperware container and freeze them for an easy go-to snack.
They turned out so great (and were such a hit with the little one) that I immediately made another batch using peaches instead of bananas. Still great!
In my third attempt I tried switching things up a little more and I knocked down the syrup even more - about 1/8 cup. I used the same amount of water and pancake mix, but added some sugar free applesauce to make up for the missing sweetness from the syrup. Then I used assorted fruit including strawberries, raspberries, mango, and pineapple. The batter looked great but once I took them out of the oven and let them cool a bit they sank in the middle slightly. I think if I added more pancake mix and left them in the oven for a few extra minutes they would have turned out perfectly.
Do you have any other great breakfast/snack ideas that are easy to make and modify based on your child's taste? Please share in the comments below, or let us know how these turned out when you made them at home!
I am great with opinions and humiliating stories, but I'm horrendous at creatively cooking. If you can add water and pop it in the oven, I'm all for it. If I can take some raw ingredients and put them in a bowl, consider it done. So here are my favorite recipes that are fast, easy, and painless. Breakfast for Dinner - Scramble some eggs, toast some toast, and defrost those frozen sausage patties you bought on sale a few months ago but never knew what to do with.
Pasta Salad - Boil pasta. Add italian dressing. Add other things like pepperoni or mozzarella cheese. - Put in the refrigerator to chill. Or eat immediately. I won't judge.
Taco Night - Get taco shells and ground beef. Cook beef. Chop some lettuce and tomatoes and other toppings. Add hot sauce. - Promise yourself to make it again soon because you don't need utensils to eat it.
Crock Pot Anything - Throw random ingredients into a crock pot for 4-5 hours and pray it fills the house with a delicious smell.
Chicken and Rice - Add chicken to instant rice.
Chicken and Beans - Add chicken to a can of beans that you nuke in the microwave.
Chicken and Rice and Beans - Add more chicken to the leftover rice and beans from your previous chicken meals.
Frozen Pizza - Add extra veggies on top so you feel better about yourself.
Hamburger Helper - Just add meat and water!
Burritos - Take leftover ingredients from the week's meals and roll it into a flour tortilla.
"But what about your favorite baking recipes, Laura?" asked no one ever.
If I just add water, I'll make it. If it comes refrigerated and all I do is put it on a sheet and into the oven, I'll do it. If I can chop up fruit and put it in a big bowl, I'm game. If it involves more than 3 ingredients, I have to be very inspired before I attempt it.
I'm very thankful for my creative husband - he's the real cook in the family! He is innovative and adventurous when it comes to food. I sometimes help him in the kitchen, but I usually keep my distance so I don't muck it up!
In a large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. (I added onion, garlic, a tsp of salt, and pepper.) Boil chicken breasts, covered, for 20-25 min or until juices run clear. Let chicken rest/cool. Strain chicken broth and set aside.
My new absolute favorite “I can’t believe this is healthy” treat to make is Bananas Soft Serve with Agave Chocolate Sauce. Seriously. You will not be disappointed! The best thing about these recipes is they’re very allergen conscious. Bananas Soft Serve: this has the consistency of ice cream which pretty much makes it amazing! I love it by itself and a la mode style.
Directions: Peel and break bananas into thirds. Place in Ziploc bag and freeze. Blend in your food processor for about 5 minutes. It takes a while but after a few minutes they will turn into ooey-gooey consistency.
Agave Chocolate Sauce: tastes amazing and is so healthy! Again, allergen conscious.
Ingredients: 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 2 Tbsp. agave nectar
Mix the two together and pour over Bananas Soft Serve!
Recipes taken from: http://www.choosingraw.com/banana-soft-serve/
What could be better on a cold winter morning than pancakes? Chocolate chip pancakes! I No matter how you like your pancakes this basic recipe will help get your mornings off to a good start! I love it because I can substitute and add whatever I want without changing the texture too much. My husband prefers them plain, I sprinkle some chocolate chips into mine and my toddler is just happy we pretend to let him pour the syrup. Pancakes 1 cup of Milk (I substitute almond and/or coconut milk) 1 Egg (you could use ¼ cup of applesauce) 1 Tbsp. of Oil or Butter (I use coconut oil)
1 cup of Flour (I use whole wheat) 1 Tsp. of Baking Powder ½ Tsp. Baking Soda
Mix all the wet ingredients together and then add the dry ingredients. Fry them up on a buttered pan in whatever size or shape you choose!
Like I said above, I add dark chocolate chips to mine. I also sometimes add coconut or I mash a banana into the batter. You could add blueberries or nuts, whatever you want. The possibilities are endless.
Not long after our son was born, we discovered he had GERD (severe acid reflux), which was aggravated by a protein intolerance. This has made for some incredibly hard times over the past year, but also a lot of growth. One of the ways we grew, (by force) was in our eating adventures! I breastfed for the first 4 1/2 months, and any proteins I ate that our son couldn't digest made for an unpleasant few days (to put it mildly). This caused us to search out foods that wouldn't bother his digestive system, but also didn't taste like cardboard. This was one of our favorites; even a year later, my meat-loving husband asks for this frequently - it's that good!
Recipe adapted from http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com.
1 bag orecchiette pasta, 16 ounces 3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (or to taste - we usually use a bit more) *start small and add more nutritional yeast as needed 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard 2 tsp garlic powder 1 medium or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled/baked 1 1/4 cups plain non-dairy milk (we have used rice and coconut - both work well!) 1/2 tsp black pepper 3 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste) 1 Tbsp maple or agave syrup 2 Tbsp paprika a few dashes cayenne powder (opt'l-a little goes a long way) 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1. Cook your sweet potato until soft (in microwave or oven).
2. Start a pot of salted water to boil on the stove. Add your pasta when boiling. Cook pasta for about 8-10 minutes, or until tender.
3. In a bowl combine: milk, mustard, spices, nutritional yeast, agave, salt, vinegar and oil. Stir well until all ingredients are blended.
4. Drain pasta and pour into another large bowl; toss with additional nutritional yeast flakes if desired.
5. Remove skin from your sweet potato. Add it to the sauce. You can mash by hand, or if you own a handy-dandy immersion blender, use that to incorporate into the sauce until smooth.
6. Add sauce to the pasta and coat well.
7. Steam peas (or other veggies) and mix in.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste!
This is wonderful re-heated as well, and I promise, you won't even miss the cheese!
It doesn’t matter the time of year. I am ALWAYS ready to eat Ginger Snaps. But I do crave them even more when I’m already drinking pumpkin lattes, in a sweater, while watching the leaves fall. I have an amazing recipe—one we tend to call Ginger Melts at our house, because there’s not much snappy about them…except maybe the speed at which they disappear. Their tragic flaw? Refined flour, refined sugar, and shortening. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not going to sit here and tell you I will never make this recipe again. My husband worked a 14 hour day a few weeks ago. I dug for the shortening, dusted it off, and set to work making the bonafides. After that batch, I wondered about a healthy version—one with nothing refined. My understanding of sugars is growing, so I’ve been trying to mold my kitchen worldview. I loved my original recipe so much that I thought I would set about modifying it before I searched for a new one. I was pleasantly surprised when this batch came out just as soft as the originals, and even more “gingery” from the added molasses! We like this one even better now. And they continue the name of Ginger Melts! I am going to continue experimenting (maybe some pureed prunes or dates for a more natural sugar?). What do you use for sugar? Ginger Melts
2 ½ cups whole wheat or white whole wheat flour 2 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. ginger 1 tsp. all-spice 1 tsp. nutmeg 2 tsp. cinnamon ½ tsp. salt ¾ cup coconut oil 5 Tbl. molasses 4 Tbl. honey 4 Tbl. Agave 1 egg Flax Seed (optional)
Oven Temp: 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Stir into dry ingredients until well mixed. Form into balls (smaller than golf balls, bigger than grapes). If you want, you can roll them in flax seed (this gives it that “grainy”texture like the ginger snaps that are rolled in sugar). Place on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Note: The cookies won’t look/feel done when you take them out, but they are done. Let them sit for a bit to help them solidify.