I've been wanting to write this post for a while, but I didn't quite feel like I was out of survival mode yet! I *think* I'm starting to get my head a teeny bit above water (granted we haven't hit the dreaded 4 month sleep regression yet) and feel like I have enough clarity to share a few things that have been super helpful during the past 3+ months.
1.) ASK for help and/or make a list of things you need ahead of time and when someone asks what they can bring, tell them! My strong point is definitely not vocalizing my needs, but in this season of what felt like complete drowning at times, I found myself more willing to ask for help. The problem was I didn't always know what I needed or frankly have the mental energy to think about it. Looking back, I should have made a list of things I wanted/needed. Examples include making a list of favorite snacks, drinks, restaurants (even specific menu items at a restaurant) and household chores. It may sound ridiculous but if there's specific instructions for something in your house (i.e. washer/dryer), type them out and tape them up. There are usually a lot of people willing and wanting to help when a new baby comes home, but they can only help as much as you allow. Set everyone up for success by thinking about your needs ahead of time!
2.) A good probiotic. Seriously. 70% of your immunity is in your gut and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out it's easier to get sick when you're literally running on no sleep. I also had to receive antibiotics prior to delivery so all the more reason I loaded up on probiotics. My best friend even made me homemade bone broth when she was here helping for the week after we brought Joy home!
3.) Create a snack/hydration basket to always have nearby where you feed your baby. This is something EVERY mom needs- doesn't matter if you're breastfeeding, pumping or bottle-feeding, we all have a usual place we feed the baby and there should be some nutritious snacks and drinks there! I'm surprised I didn't figure this one out sooner, but I feel like every time I sat down to feed the baby, I somehow failed to have something to drink or eat. At first I just started stashing dark chocolate in a little bin (seriously), but then nuts, granola bars, and dried fruits and veggies joined the dark chocolate. It may sound a bit extreme, but we have a mini-fridge (that we already had- didn't purchase it specifically for this) next to where I pump/feed Joy. It's stocked with waters, La Croix and electrolyte drinks. I have zero excuse for not staying hydrated.
4.) Keep easy/healthy ready-to-eat items on standby, consider grocery delivery or even a mealkit delivery service and plan ahead!! The old motto of you either fail to plan or plan to fail is even more true when you're trying to keep a household going after bringing a new baby home. I was so fortunate to have my best friend stay with us the first week after Joy was born and she cooked up a storm! She left us with a freezer stocked full of frozen meals, but I learned the hard way that I still had to plan ahead to thaw them [duh]. That sounds so silly, but I would stumble into the kitchen at 5pm and think "We can eat the chicken and rice casserole for dinner...", but then realize it actually needs to thaw. Plan ahead- write a tentative meal plan out for the week. Even if that includes take out, at least you know ahead of time and that also helps you identify the best time for someone to bring a meal over when they ask what you need! And I can't stress enough how grocery delivery and curbside have saved my butt. We wouldn't have any fresh groceries if it wasn't for those options and I even wrote a post comparing Shipt, H-E-B curbside and Prime Pantry!
5.) Rely on sheet pan meals and freezer meals. Here are a few of my favorite KISS in the Kitchen sheet pan meals and also a round-up of 25 meals that are freezer-friendly!
Hope you found these tips helpful! Mamas, you are doing a great job and your little ones are so blessed to have you! <3 Shannon
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This post is in partnership with California Giant Berry Farms. As always, all opinions are my own, but it's a true joy to partner with a family owned farm that never sprays their naturally large and non-GMO strawberries with pesticides!
Back to school season always reminds me of the holidays a little bit. There's so much to get done, so many items to buy and things like eating healthy often get put on the back burner. Relying on make ahead meals is often the only way I can make a hot meal happen during these extra busy seasons. And let's face it- a hot breakfast somehow just feels a little more nourishing!
Oatmeal is one of those stick to your ribs kind of breakfasts and this oatmeal bake is guaranteed to make both kiddos and parents happy. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to prepare and has nourishing ingredients like rolled oats, ground flax seed and lots of strawberries! Many of you know from previous blog posts and social posts how much I love California Giant Berry Farms! They are a family farm that never sprays their non-GMO berries with pesticides and their strawberries are naturally large! You can probably tell from the photo those are some nice sized slices on top of the oatmeal and that's due to California Giant Berry Farm's perfect combination of an ideal location, soil, and climate!
And because California Giant Berry Farms is a family farm, they value what it takes for the family to get back in the swing of classes, carpooling and after school activities! They want to make the transition as easy possible so they've created resources to help busy parents with easy and good-for-you lunchbox inspiration!
I've worked with countless parents who struggle to get their kids to eat breakfast. Many have shared with me their child is more willing to eat a hot breakfast, but that usually takes more time to prepare. This oatmeal bake solves that problem in a flash!
This recipe makes 6 servings (8 servings if you have little eaters), but you can easily double the recipe depending on how large your family is. It reheats wonderfully, but also tastes great cold if that's more your thing. I've always been a fan of the strawberries and cream oatmeal (which doesn't have a lot of nutritional value) and also the classic combination of strawberry and banana. This recipe gives a nod to both and is super kiddo-friendly despite having a nice amount of protein and fiber!
The texture is hearty and you can't beat the sweetness of the California Giant strawberries! It also isn't too shabby served cold and could be the perfect way to switch up an afternoon snack!
For all those preparing sweet little ones for back to school or older kiddos with a little more attitude, you've got a big job! I hope this make ahead breakfast makes your mornings just a little easier and sweeter!
KISS Strawberry Oatmeal Bake
Time: 50 minutes (15 minutes hands on, 35 minutes bake)
2 1/4 cups almond milk (or milk of choice)
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas)
1 Tbsp melted coconut oil or butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 1/2 cups CHOPPED California Giant Berry Farms strawberries plus 1/2 cup SLICED strawberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)*
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish**.
2.) Chop strawberries and reserve 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries for topping (see photo).
3.) In a large bowl, whisk together milk, mashed banana, egg, melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
4.) Mix together the oats, baking powder and salt and add to the liquid mixture. Stir in chopped strawberries until combined.
5.) Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and place remaining strawberry slices on top of oatmeal.
6.) Bake for 35 minutes or until oatmeal is set (insert a toothpick into the middle and it should come out mostly clean).
7.) Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve oatmeal with additional strawberries, yogurt or milk, if desired.
*Reheat by placing a square of oatmeal in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30-45 seconds, depending on your microwave.*
*If adding sliced almonds, remove oatmeal from oven after about 20 minutes, sprinkle almonds on top, and cook the remaining 15 minutes.
** If you don't have a 2 quart dish, you can use a 9 X 13 dish and cook for about 5 minutes less. Oatmeal will be slightly thinner than pictured above. I would not recommend using a 8X8 dish for this because the center won't cook all the way through.
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One of the things I really missed eating in pregnancy was deli meat. Whether it was a turkey sandwich or a charcuterie board with prosciutto and salami, I really missed occasionally eating those foods! Every now and then I'd enjoy them on pizza (since they were heated), but it still wasn't the same since I couldn't sneak a piece of prosciutto straight from the package ;) This is one of my favorite dairy-free and gluten-free pizza recipes that's super quick and delish. I know what you may be thinking... that a dairy-free, gluten-free pizza has got to taste awful. And honestly, many of them do, BUT not this one. And sure, dairy free pizzas may seem a bit strange or pointless, but if you find yourself unable to have dairy and/or gluten, you want to still be able to enjoy things like pizza!
One of the secrets I've discovered about GF/DF pizza, is you gotta have a lot of flavor. This recipe is not only a cinch to throw together, but the combo of savory pepperoni/prosciutto with a smidge of creamy vegan cheese topped with peppery arugula and tangy-sweet balsamic glaze, makes it delicious enough for everyone to enjoy- whether GF/DF is your thang or not.
You can use your favorite GF crust for this pizza. I love Udi's but would love to know what your favorite is!
I've always been a fan of throwing a handful of greens on top of pizza, but this (in my opinion) works best with thin crust pizzas. Deep dish or super rich pizzas don't taste as great with fresh greens on top. There's just something about a thin, flavorful pizza that pairs so nicely with a bunch of fresh arugula or spinach on top!
Prosciutto Arugula Pizza (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
Time: 20 minutes
2 Udis (or your favorite) pizza crust
1/2 cup Daiya (or your favorite) vegan mozzarella cheese
4 slices very thinly slices prosciutto, cut in half (8 long skinny pieces)
20 pepperoni slices
4 cups fresh arugula
2 tbsp sweet balsamic glaze*
1.) Preheat oven to 375° or follow package instructions for cooking temperature.
2.) Place frozen pizza crusts on a pizza stone or baking sheet.
3.) Place vegan cheese directly onto crust, followed by the prosciutto and pepperoni slices. Bake for approximately 10 minutes (if using Udi's crust) or follow time on package instructions if using different crust.
4.) Remove from oven, top with arugula and balsamic drizzle* and enjoy immediately!
*You can make your own balsamic glaze- this is my favorite recipe or grab a bottle from the dressing/sauce aisle at the grocery store!
Welcome to KISS in the Kitchen! I'm Shannon, and my dad always told me "Keep it simple, Shannon". And that's what you'll find here- simple recipes and simple ideas to help you get healthier and happier.