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Ask the Expert: Finding Time to Cook When You Have a New Baby, Plus a Cookbook Giveaway!

Posted by on Feb. 16, 2012 at 4:49 PM
  • 217 Replies

New moms and dads pay a lot of attention to how much and how often their baby is eating. But when you're sleep deprived and juggling the needs of a newborn, making time to plan and cook your own meals (or even grab a snack!) can feel like an impossible task.

Food blogger, cookbook author and mom Debbie Koenig knows all too well what it's like to be a frazzled, hungry new parent. When her son was born, Debbie realized she needed to come up with new strategies and recipes to make it easy to prepare healthy meals for herself and her husband - and eventually for their baby, as he started to eat solid foods. Her ideas were so great, she turned them into a cookbook: Parents Need to Eat, Too.

Do you want to learn how to prep dinner during baby's naptime? How to stock your pantry so you'll always be able to make a fast, delicious and healthy meal? Would you like to know her recipe for the best-ever chocolate chip cookies? (A must for every new mom, in my opinion!)

Debbie will be here all next week to answer your questions about cooking when you have a baby in your arm and hardly any time to spare. But you can start asking questions today!

PLUS every mom who asks a question will be entered to win one of three copies of Parents Need to Eat, Too!

Thank you for joining us, Debbie! 

The Official Rules
To enter the this contest, reply to this post. Click on the 'reply to post' button at the top (or bottom) of that post. When the text box opens, add your reply. Once you've added your reply, click on the "Add Reply' button.

  • Posts must be made between Thursday, February16 at 4pm EST and Friday, February 24 at 11:59 pm EST.  
  • This contest will end on Friday, February 24 at 11:59 pm EST. 
  • Three winners will be selected randomly.
  • The winners will be posted on this thread and will be notified via CafeMom PM.
  • Multiple replies are allowed and will increase your chances of winning.
  • Prizes are only available to members who live in the US or Canada (excluding Quebec).
  • Three winners will receive a copy of the cookbook Parents Need to Eat, Too
by on Feb. 16, 2012 at 4:49 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Feb. 17, 2012 at 9:35 AM
2 moms liked this

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for inviting me to CafeMom--I love this site! 

So, what's happening in your kitchen right now? I'm heading out to Trader Joe's soon--that place is a godsend to busy parents...

by Luci on Feb. 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

 What are some ideas for quick meals when you're exhausted?

by Luci on Feb. 17, 2012 at 10:01 AM

I find the crockpot a big help.  Do you have any crockpot recipes?

by on Feb. 17, 2012 at 10:46 AM
1 mom liked this

Oh SweetLuci, when am I *not* exhausted ;)

Here's what I do when I can't even think straight:

  1. Put a big pot of salted water on to heat, covered to make it boil faster. That's always my first step! Sometimes I don't wind up using it, but most of the time I do--and it's so helpful to have the water near-boiling by the time I'm ready to cook.
  2. Examine cabinets. Hopefully they're well-stocked. Pull out pasta, hopefully whole grain. 
  3. From here, you've got several options: Is there a jar of tapenade lurking in the pantry? Grab it, and toss with the cooked pasta along with a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of the pasta cooking water, and some toasted nuts--pine nuts are especially nice here. No tapenade, but breadcrumbs? Heat up a tablespoon or two of olive oil & add about 1/4 cup of crumbs. Cook until they're toasty, then add grated parmesan. If you want to get "fancy," make Garlic and Lemon Parmesan Breadcrumbs. Toss pasta with butter or olive oil and a splash of cooking water, then top with crumbs.

Other ideas: Baked Stuffed Potatoes. Hail Mary Pasta. Honey-Soy Roasted Salmon. Whaddya Got Fried Rice.

I'm going to try really hard not to just keep saying, "In my cookbook..." buuuut...

In my cookbook, I've got a chapter devoted to Quick Suppers (all ready in 30 minutes or less) and another called Un-Recipes, which are so simple even someone who's never cooked before can make them.

There's also a chapter called Mom's New Best Friend, which is all about the slow cooker. You'll also find a bunch of recipes here. Meanwhile, though, some quickies:

Brisket + bbq sauce + apple juice = shockingly good bbq brisket

Dried black beans + sofrito or salsa + cumin + chopped vegs = super-easy frijoles negros

Hope that helps! Feel free to ask for more info.

by on Feb. 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I would love to be entered into this contest!

by on Feb. 17, 2012 at 4:54 PM
Whats your favorite way to sneak veggies into your children's meals without them knowing?
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Feb. 17, 2012 at 8:38 PM

My girls love pizza (of course!).  I want to make it homemade, crust, sauce, all of it.  Do you have a great pizza recipe I can try on them?

by on Feb. 17, 2012 at 9:21 PM
1 mom liked this

Hi Kayla! Honestly, I'm not a big fan of sneaking vegetables into food--it's important to me that Harry (my son) knows what he's eating so he can learn to enjoy it. Of course, this means that most days he doesn't eat any vegetables at all. BUT--and this is a big but--he looooves fruit. Fruit offers the same nutritional benefits as vegetables, so I don't sweat it from that standpoint. I just keep serving vegetables at every meal, and letting him decide when/if/how much to eat. (I'm trying to follow the advice in Child of Mine, a really, really smart book about feeding children by a dietitian named Ellyn Satter.) That said, Harry loves the color green, so he'll down a green smoothie without flinching: yogurt, bananas, mango, frozen kale or spinach, and milk if it needs thinning.

Maries_Mom, pizza is BIG around here! If I'm pressed for time I'll use store-bought dough (Trader Joe's whole wheat is popular here) or even stop at the pizzeria and buy a ball of theirs. But when I can plan ahead, I'll usually make this whole wheat no-knead pizza dough. As far as toppings go, the beauty of pizza is that everyone can make their own. Harry loves to stretch his own little ball of dough into an oiled cake pan, and then we spread a (truly tiny) bit of sauce on top. He piles mozz and sliced black olives on it, and he's good to go. For me & my husband, I'll usually do something heavy on the vegs--roasted vegetables (include cherry tomatoes & you don't need sauce!) with a bit of cheese, loads of mushrooms with some grated Parm, shredded zucchini topped with cheesy breadcrumbs...

by Luci on Feb. 18, 2012 at 11:03 AM
1 mom liked this

 Thanks for all the great ideas Debbie. I injured my back and was incapicated for awhile, and my dear husband, who had never cooked anything before, had to take over. I love your ideas, and I think your book would be a great help for someone just learning to cook, as well as harried new parents.

by on Feb. 18, 2012 at 3:04 PM
I wish I had your book! I have a 5 year old daughter and a 7 week old son. I m having such a hard time meal planning while caring for my newborn baby. HELP! Lol
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