It's been almost a year since my last post, and in the last year I discovered how much parenthood changes life... Even before the kiddo arrives! I had a very easy pregnancy, but even so, I had nowhere near enough energy to spend a great deal of time on my feet in the kitchen. All of this was good preparation for when the little one arrived as I have found that spending time in the kitchen is quite the luxury now that we have a baby in the house.
I have always prided myself on cooking many things from scratch, not because I'm trying to win some foodie gold star, but because it's my therapy, my creative outlet. There are few things more satisfying to me than turning a basket of individual (real food) ingredients into a delicious creation! However, I have had to be far more creative with food as of late, and have found myself taking shortcuts that I haven't taken since college. Powdered onion and garlic? It doesn't involve washing and chopping, so, yes, please! I console myself by using shortcut seasonings from our favorite local spice shop, allspice. Our tiniest homesteader is too little to have any real schedule, so afternoon nap time could come at 1:30 or at 4pm. Or not at all. I have taken to prepping dinner ingredients at any hour of the day so that dinner can be thrown together easily. I've made a lot of soups recently that just involve tossing the pre-chopped veggies into the pot at the appointed hour.
Fortunately, I also prepared a bunch of crockpot freezer meals just in the nick of time. My mom and I spent the entire day working on them, and I went into labor later that evening. Phew! Who would have thought that I'd give birth on my actual due date?? And what does his punctuality have to say about our little guy's personality?!
These freezer meals have been a lifesaver for days when I can't do much more than dump a bag of frozen food into the slow cooker. Here are a few links to recipes that I (loosely) followed for our freezer stash:
Most of these recipes say to cook on low for four hours, which, in my experience is not enough. I'd say 6-8 hours on low if they are mostly frozen when they go into the slow-cooker. Otherwise, the recipes worked pretty well.
The fruits of our labor (no, not that labor! *that* labor comes later that night!) - ten crockpot meals ready for the freezer:
Have you had to adjust your cooking after the arrival of a little one? Have any suggestions for getting non-boring, real food on the table of first-time parents?