Nourishing food for new Mums

Nourishing food for new Mums

New mums are faced with a deluge of conflicting information about what they should and shouldn’t do about almost everything when it comes to parenting!

The dilemma of modern day parenting is nicely summed up by a recent post doing the rounds on Facebook. It goes something like this:

How to be a parent in 2017: Make sure your children’s academic, emotional, psychological, mental, spiritual, physical, nutritional, and social needs are met while being careful not to over-stimulate, under-stimulate, improperly medicate, helicopter, or neglect them in a screen-free, processed foods-free, GMO-free, negative energy-free, plastic-free, body-positive, socially conscious, egalitarian but also authoritative, nurturing but fostering of independence, gentle but not overly permissive, pesticide-free two-storey, multilingual home, preferably in a cul-de-sac with a backyard and 1.5 siblings spaced at least two years apart for proper development; also, don’t forget the coconut oil.

How to be a parent in almost every generation before ours: Feed them sometimes.

While obviously mostly a leg-pull, there’s a certain element of truth in there. Given love, a caring home and good food, opportunity to laugh and explore, a little bit of structure and guidance, and a chance to be a part of the community, most people do OK.

So providing good food is actually a major part of being a parent!

Fortunately, it isn’t really all that hard, especially if you have the chance to get together with friends and neighbours and share produce, and maybe share the cooking tasks as well sometimes.

There are possibilities with food co-ops as well, especially if a group of people join up together to take advantage of bigger supplies, which are often cheaper, but can be a bit of a challenge for one family to deal with.

Getting together with other like-minded people, with children of a similar age, provides not only moral support but the opportunity to pick each other’s brains for good, tasty, easy-to-make recipes that might keep almost everyone in the household happy.

If you have a young baby just starting on solids, it can be a lot cheaper to make your own baby food and freeze it as ice cubes, than to buy the prepared stuff in tins or jars.

You can also incorporate what you know your child likes, and is therefore most likely to actually eat. Common first foods include things like pumpkin, kumara, stewed apples or pears, and these can be prepared really cheaply if you have a vege garden and some fruit trees, or have friends and family who have surplus produce.

For older children, and the adults in the household, keep it as simple as possible.

If you can incorporate plenty of fresh (and even better, organically grown) stuff out of the garden, so much the better. With a small baby in the house (and very tired parents!), no-one wants to be messing about with haute cuisine.

Use what you have, and find recipes that older children and partners can cook! To get you going, here are some very basic ideas for things that might make life easier at the end of a long, tiring day.

Sang Cho Bau (Oriental Mince)

This is quick and tasty and can be easily made by older children and/or partners. Very handy for a quick meal when time and inspiration has run out!

 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice, cooked as you see fit
 1 Tbsp cooking oil
 a few drops of sesame oil
 1 tsp grated fresh root ginger
 1 garlic clove, crushed
 1 onion, chopped
 500g lean minced beef
 2 Tbsp sherry
 2 Tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
 Ground black pepper
 1 Tbsp cornflour in 1/2 to 3/4 cup water

Heat oil and sesame oil in a frying pan, then add ginger, garlic and onion and mince. Fry on high heat until well cooked, stirring continuously.

Remove from heat and add sherry, soy sauce, pepper and cornflour mix.

Return to heat until sauce thickens.

Serve with rice and a fresh green salad.

Creamed Rice Brulee

This is delicious comfort food – rice pudding without the skin and with crunchy sugar instead. Bliss…
 1.25 litres milk (5 cups)
 2/3 cup arborio rice
 Either a cinnamon quill, or a pinch of ground nutmeg, cardamom or other spice of your choice
 Up to ¼ cup caster sugar (you’ll probably need significantly less!), plus ¼ cup extra for topping
 1 tsp vanilla essence

Put the milk, rice and spice in a medium-sized heavy based pan and heat over moderately high heat until simmering, stirring throughout.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 30-45 minutes or until the rice is tender and the mix is thick.

Remove the cinnamon quill if used.

Stir in the first ¼ cup of sugar (or less, if you prefer – check the sweetness as you go) and add the vanilla.

Mix well and spoon into heatproof small dishes. This will serve 5-6 as it is very rich. If proceeding to grill the tops, allow the mix to cool completely. (You can also serve as is, without the brulee topping, if you wish.)

Sprinkle the dishes with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar.

Preheat the grill to high, and place the dishes under it for a minute or two until the sugar caramelises. (Or if you have a blowtorch of the kitchen variety, go for it!)

Allow the dishes to stand for a minute or two, to avoid burning the eaters’ mouths.

Vegetables and Pasta in Spiced Tomato Sauce

This is quick, easy and tastes really good. Any mix of veges you enjoy is fine – play around with the mix until you find what your family likes best!

 2 cups pasta – fusilli are a particularly good shape. Use gluten-free pasta if anyone in the family is sensitive to gluten or is coeliac
 About 6 cups boiling salted water
 2Tbsp butter
 2 courgettes, matchstick sliced
 1 carrot, peeled and matchstick sliced
 1 red capsicum, seeded and thinly sliced
 1 onion, thinly sliced
 1 clove garlic, crushed
 1 cup sweet corn kernels
 1 x 400g tin Italian-style tomatoes
 4 Tbsp homemade tomato sauce or low-salt commercial tomato sauce
 1 cup grated tasty cheese

Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the manufacturers’ instructions, until just tender. Drain, rinse with cold waterto stop the cooking process, and leave aside while you prepare the vegetable mix.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and sauté the courgettes, onion, garlic, carrot and capsicum until just tender.

Add the sweetcorn, mix well and heat through.

Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato sauce and heat for a few minutes until bubbling.

Add the cooked pasta and mix well.

Place in individual serving bowls and serve with a bowl of grated cheese so people can add this to suit their own tastes.

Speedy Lentil Curry

This tastes so much more interesting than it sounds! It’s also cheap, nutritious, and easy to make. It goes particularly well with a fresh green salad.
 2 Tbsp olive oil
 1 small onion, diced
 2 cloves garlic, crushed
 1 tsp mild curry powder of your choice
 1 tsp turmeric
 1 tsp ground coriander
 300g pumpkin, skinned and cut into 3cm chunks
 4-6 small potatoes and/or kumara, cut into 2-3cm chunks
 1 cup red lentils, cooked in boiling salted water until tender, then drained
 1x400g can Italian-style tomatoes
 ½ – 1 cup homemade tomato sauce or low-salt commercial tomato sauce
 ½ – 1 cup water, as needed.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions and garlic, lower the heat and simmer until the onion is translucent. Add the spices, stir for a few moments, then add the pumpkin, potato and/or kumara and mix well. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and enough water to just cover the vegetables. Cover and simmer 15-25 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender (check them regularly after the first few minutes). Add the drained lentils and simmer for another few minutes until the veges are cooked through. Check the seasoning and add salt if needed. Serve with steamed beans, or other greens of your choice, or a salad…

Cabbage, apple and onion

This sounds weird but tastes really good. The amounts given here produce 4 large servings.
 1 medium onion, sliced in half and then into half rings.
 1-2 sweet dessert apples, peeled, quartered, cored and finely sliced (Lemonade apples are particularly nice for this)
 ½ a small cabbage, finely sliced (1/4 of a large one will be ample)
 Salt and pepper to taste
 ½ tsp sugar
 Butter or oil for frying

In a heavy-based frying pan, heat enough oil or butter to cover the bottom of the pan to 1-2mm.

Add the onion and apple and fry gently until the onion and apple are well softened.

Add the sliced cabbage, salt, pepper and ½ tsp sugar, and stir fry the mix over high heat for a minute or two until the cabbage is just tender but still bright green and with a bit of crunch.

Serve with risotto, casseroles, or almost any savoury dish you like!

Smoked Fish Kedgeree

This recipe has been modified from several others to make it as easy and tasty as possible. Be aware that basmati rice varies, like any other natural product, and some types may yield quite dry rice grains, while others may produce a slightly stickier outcome. Both are delicious and equally edible and it will just be a matter of experimentation to find which brand of basmati produces the texture you like best. Vegetarians please note: this tastes almost equally wonderful without the smoked fish – just omit it!
 50g butter
 1 onion, finely chopped
 3 cardamom pods
 ½ tsp ground turmeric
 1 cinnamon quill
 ½ tsp ground fenugreek (you can grind your own in a coffee grinder)
 2 fresh bay leaves
 300g basmati rice
 700ml chicken-flavoured stock (I use Massel gluten free “chicken” which is actually completely vegetarian)
 200-300g fresh smoked fish (our farmers’ market does smoked gem, which is delicious)
 6 eggs, hardboiled, peeled and chopped
 3 Tbsp chopped parsley

 Juice of 1 lemon

Cook the smoked fish by covering it with water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, then cool the fish, remove the skin and bones and flake it finely. Set aside while you prepare everything else. If you’re doing the vegetarian option, ignore this bit and carry on with the rest of the recipe!

In a large, deep-sided frying pan, melt the butter and cook the onion until soft.

Add the spices and bay leaves and cook for about a minute, stirring.

Add the rice and stir until evenly coated with butter and spices

Add the stock and bring to the boil.

Cover the pan and simmer for about 12 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.

Remove the bay leaves, cinnamon quill and cardamom pods.

Gently stir in the fish and eggs, along with the parsley and lemon juice.

Adjust seasonings by adding salt and pepper to your taste.

Eat what you can and store the rest in a covered container in the fridge. It reheats well in the microwave but do be careful – the eggs and fish can be explosive if you overdo the heating! To avoid messy microwave clean-ups, heat in a covered bowl and only for a minute at a time, stirring and checking the temperature as you go.

Singapore Fried Noodles

This is a great quick dinner. It can be made with or without meat, and is an ideal extendable dish in the event of surprise dinner guests! Again, it’s very easy to do and older children can help with the cooking.
 250-300g rice vermicelli noodles – you can cut these into about 10cm lengths with kitchen scissors if you find the full length difficult to eat!
 3 – 4 tbsp mild flavoured cooking oil (light olive oil is good)
 3 eggs
 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
 2 medium courgettes, trimmed and julienned
 1-2 celery sticks, washed and cut into thin matchstick lengths
 4 – 5 spring onions, trimmed and sliced into short lengths
 300-400g leftover shredded roast pork, cooked chicken, cooked mince, or any other cooked meat you enjoy. This is optional – the dish is equally nice made just with eggs and vegetables
 2 tsp curry powder
 2-4 Tbsp light soy sauce
 1 Tbsp sesame oil
 salt to taste

Soak the noodles in boiling water in a large bowl for 20 minutes, turning with a fork to loosen the threads from time to time.

Drain the noodles and rinse in cold water to stop them from sticking together.

Lightly whisk the eggs to blend, and make a thin omelette in a non-stick pan, using a little oil.

When done, remove, roll up and cut into thin strips. Set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a wok and add carrot and spring onion. Cook until still crisp but tenderised.

Add meat and stir-fry briefly.

Sprinkle in curry powder and fry briefly to develop the flavour.

Add egg ribbons and noodles, turning to blend thoroughly and heat the noodles through.

Add soy sauce and salt to taste and mix well. Serve at once

Robert Glensor

Robert Glensor is the founder of the Paraoa Bakehouse- the home of Purebread organic breads and Gluten Free Goodies. With a love of good bread and a passion for all things organic and sustainable, Robert writes about all manner of issues to do with living green.

Join 28,387 families and growing

As we build a strong community of like minds:

  • Get the best tips from the best experts
  • Recipes, parties, crafts and activities
  • Special offers, competitions and more...

Sit back and relax and let us deliver to your inbox.

Categorised: Uncategorized

You might also be interested in:

Single parenting overview

Whether you are a single parent by choice, or circumstances have chosen for you, there is no denying that parenting alone…

The importance of wearing the (under)pants.

Four years ago, I discovered a pile of unopened utility bills on my husband’s desk. They were buried under a…

Auckland- places to eat

When it comes to eating out, Auckland has everything imaginable. From cheap and cheerful right through to fine cuisine, you’re…

Holly Walker on sustainable parenting

As a Former Green MP I spend a lot of time thinking about sustainability. My job involved advocating for a…

Welcome to Kiwi Families

We bring 28,387 families together to learn from each other.

Join a community raising great kids: