This is the love muffin that has been keeping me busy the past few weeks. Quinton arrived in the late evening on December 29th and stole my heart in an instant.
His arrival was highly anticipated by my husband and I (as well as some eagerly awaiting family members); he has been showered with love since the minute he was born. Life with a newborn has definitely been interesting; highly rewarding and challenging at the same time. There is no greater feeling than my son looking up at me with wide eyes and a slight smirk on his face; simply melts my heart. My new home base is sitting in the rocking chair snuggling or nursing him and there is no place I’d rather be. While we have had some struggles with feeding (I cringe at memories of cracked and bleeding nipples) we are heading in the right direction and I cherish our one-on-one time during feedings. Cherish may be a little bit of a stretch at 3 a.m., but you know what I mean. I find my ability to feed him amazing; it brings a whole new meaning to meal preparation for me!
We have had some hilarious moments as parents so far. One particularly funny incident involved a poop explosion that somehow ended up all over my husband, the carpet, and one of our couches. Apparently some parenthood lessons are learned the hard way; we now have a fresh diaper waiting for a quick exchange with the old. Lesson learned! Ha! We have also learned that Q loves the bath tub; I love watching him explore with his bright eyes while we give him a bath.
One of the challenges of bringing a new baby home is finding balance with submerging yourself in newborn care/bonding while still remembering that you need to shower, eat, and participate in the outside world (only a little). We rely on make-ahead and quick meals that have been lifesavers when a feeding lasts 30 minutes longer than expected or our little guy experiences a fussy stretch right around mealtime. Of course there is always the fall back option of take-out, but that quickly loses its appeal. Home cooked meals are comforting in a time of transition and can bring a sense of normal to a schedule that is anything but predictable.
One of my go-to’s is chicken salad; it can be made on the weekend and will keep for several days in the fridge. This has been our lunch, dinner, and the occasional 10 p.m. snack while watching Fixer Upper. I am totally obsessed with that show.
Kale salad is also great to keep on hand; kale is a hearty green and actually gets better as it sits in the dressing for a couple days. Grain salads are similar in that the flavors develop and deepen for a day or two after they are prepared. This week I have a big bowl of farro salad in the fridge for lunches and healthy snacks. Keeping healthy food on hand is a game changer when it comes to keeping yourself fueled and feeling good! I try to remind myself that my primary job is taking care of my baby, but I am still recovering from childbirth and need to take care of myself as well.
Our slow cooker has gotten quite the work out in the past couple weeks. Beef stew is a great new parent meal; throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning and dinner will be hot and waiting for you. Plus, for a couple it makes enough to last a few days in the fridge; who wants to think about dinner every single night when you can have leftovers?! Now is definitely the time to work smarter, not harder. Other slow cooker recommendations would be split pea soup and chili.
Smoothies have been a frequent snack around here too. I tend to crave smoothies more in the winter than in the summer, which seems odd considering the cold weather. Although when you think about it, the fresh produce is not great (and expensive) in the winter months which makes blending frozen fruit into smoothies even more convenient! Some of my favorite combinations are mango banana and blueberry smoothies. I’ve also been on a classic strawberry banana kick lately.
I hope to share a few recipes in the weeks to come, but I am savoring every moment as a new mom. Follow along on Instagram (@freshpickedlove) for pictures of my little guy and maybe the occasional picture of what’s coming out of my kitchen while I’m off on maternity leave.