This salad is the bridge between two seasons: we are a few weeks away from pea shoot-topped salads and rhubarb cocktails, and kale is still de rigeur in my kitchen. I haven’t completely tired of roasted root vegetables yet, believe it or not: the crisped edge of an olive oil-drizzled Brussels sprout still holds its appeal.
The past two weeks have been filled with space.
Space between sets of waves, to feel the froth of micro-bubbled salt water churning up my goose-bumped legs.
To sleep well past sunrise, the machinations of an energetic toddler lulled back into slumber in my arms. Space to stretch beyond the boundaries of schedules and to-do lists.
If you haven’t managed to yet, head on over to The Creative Mama and read the first in a series of posts called Food Photography 101 that I am contributing to. Lesson 1: Lighting. I’m not really sure how qualified I am to be writing about this stuff, but I’m really qualified at winging it! The talented Alison Bickel will also be contributing to the series. If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, I highly recommend that you do – her photos are beautiful, and so natural looking. Go check her out: you’ll know what I mean.
In other news, I am taking a vacation. It’s been nearly a year and a half since I’ve gone more than a few days without posting on this site, and it’s time to recharge my energy and inspiration. In Mexico. For two weeks.
(and in the meantime, I want to know what you want to see here!! Fuel my creativity with your ideas! Comment below with your thoughts on recipes and features you’d love to see me tackle and tell stories about)
In my work as a doula, I have the absolutely exquisite pleasure of being reminded of the power of women and mothers every. single. day. I witness and hold space for the bravery it takes to step into birthing a baby – despite the fear of pain or intervention – and watch, and rock, and massage, and talk softly through the enormous, soul-reverberating power that a woman’s body is capable of during childbirth.
The process that a woman goes through to prepare herself for her birth is often as monumental as the birth itself. It’s more than just outfitting the nursery and pre-washing all the tiny clothes: it’s about digging deep into fears, desires, history and hopes, and exploring what it will mean to birth and mother a little human.
It is in this process, and in the preparation for motherhood itself – the ultra marathon that happens after the event of birth is over – where I see so many women falter.
I hear, so often, of women struggling - struggling – in those early weeks postpartum. Somewhere along the line, we have failed to prepare women for what the Chinese recognize as the confinement period. In Chinese culture, women remain in bed for 40 days after their babies are born. They are brought nourishing food and encouraged to simply rest and nurse their babies. In our culture, we set up playdates when our babies are a week old; we are encouraged to go out for a date night or a pedicure – to get away from the baby; we count the number of days after birth before we can get to the gym again.
I’m all for looking after oneself as a mother, but I find so often that in fact the things we see as being “good for us” after birth are actually not. How many times, in my lactation educator practice, do I see women who say they don’t have enough milk, only to find out that they’re keeping themselves so busy that they don’t nurse their babies enough to maintain their supply.
What we have lost, in our society, is the tribe of women that encircles a new mother, sitting with her through a seemingly endless bout of growth-spurt nursing, bringing her hot tea and reminding her that it’s normal. We no longer rally around the new mama, bringing food to her in bed and making sure the house is tidy and the laundry done before we leave. Having a new baby at home is probably one of the biggest transitions a woman will ever experience: it is beautiful and joyful in equal parts impossibly hard, and a woman needs her people around her to support her and bear witness to her process in motherhood just as in birth.
When I was contacted by Now For Mothers to sample their new product, Now For Mothers Healing Mix, I was elated to learn of a company that feels the same way I do about nourishing and nurturing mommas as they navigate the early days of their transition to parenthood.
Aaaand, as those of you who read this blog regularly know, I have a two-year-old nursling who still wakes three to four times a night, so, let’s face it, I was totally into trying this product for selfish reasons as well!
The Healing Mix is purported to help improve a momma’s energy levels and prevent “crashes,” boost milk supply, balance hormones, and even enhance immunity. Seeing as I received my package during a week when I was solo parenting my toddler and fighting off a cold, I was a prime candidate for testing the efficacy of this product.
I just need to stop here and say, this stuff is a-mazing. I can’t wait until it’s out in stores (Spring 2014!) because I want to have a bag of it in my pantry at all times. Admittedly, at first, I was a little skeptical. The only other ingestible that I can think of that reports that many incredible benefits is breastmilk! What I loved right off the bat was that I could read all of the ingredients on the package: flax, oats, almonds, pistachios, honey, butter, walnuts, brown sugar, pine nuts, cinnamon, and melon seeds. All organic. And though this sounds like a recipe for cookies, Now For Mothers uses a special cooking technique that enhances the benefits of the ingredients.
I started by sprinkling a scoop of the yummy stuff (which has a somewhat sweet, toasty and earthy taste) into and on top of my overnight oats.
Satiation factor: proven. My daily oat-and-tea breakfast usually lasts me until about 10:30 or 11. With the addition of the Healing Mix, I was good to go till lunch.
Seeing as they recommend that you eat 2-3 scoops of the mix per day, I decided to toss some into and on top of my post-work smoothie, which needed to get me through daycare pick-up, grocery shopping, dinner prep, and the inevitable two hundred trips back and forth between the table and the kitchen to get water, milk, a different spoon, peanut butter, yogurt and anything else that facilitates dinnertime with a toddler.
The fact that actually ingesting any of my own dinner during this shenanigans is often an afterthought was a moot point with my extra-hearty smoothie to keep me going till
wine time bed time.
As a final test of the Healing Mix, I decided to craft some granola-type bars, using it in place of some of the usual oats. Inspired by the presence of pistachios in the Mix, I decided upon dark chocolate pistachio as a flavour combo.
Healthy enough to be excusable as a grab-and-go breakfast but indulgent enough to go with my evening glass of
wine warm milk, these bars were a huge success. They are carefully hidden under a dish towel in the pantry so that I don’t have to share with my tiny little darling. That’s how tasty.
This post was generously sponsored by Now for Mothers Food Corp., but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit http://www.nowformothers.com/.Recipe Card
- 1 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup Now For Mothers Healing Mix
- 1 cup instant oats
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8X8 baking dish with parchment paper.
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Press into the baking dish.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until slightly browned at the edges.
- Cool, slice, and enjoy!