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

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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
Replies (31-40):
by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM

 Hi Debbie!  This book would have been sooooo great when I was a new mom.

What is your favorite pick-me-up-and-get-me-through-the-next-few-hours snack?


by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 12:04 PM

What should they be able to fix or get themselves at each stage? My kids are 19 mo, 4 yrs (5 in Apr) and 8.5 yrs old. I don't let them get their own stuff, but I've realized lately that the oldest CAN make his own sandwiches. I guess I just don't know how much food preparation is appropriate for them, especially at his age. I mean I know the youngest can only bring me snacks to give her if I've put them low enough, but what about what a 5 yr old should be able to get and especially the one turning 9 this year. Should he be allowed to prepare microwavable things (while I'm in the home of course!)? Can a scrawny kid his age pour out of a gallon of milk (i always found it heavy at that age)?

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM

We are debating adding a second kid to the mix soon.  Our current kid is 2.5, which would make him 3.5 if we decide to try in the next few months.  Cooking healthy meals was difficult enough with one, so I'm stressed about the idea of another.  Do you have some ideas of how to keep a 3-4 y/o toddler occupied while you cook?

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 12:34 PM

What is the best meals to eat gain weight BACK?  I have lost 14 LBS under my prepregnancy weight.  Putting me around 100 LBS.  I am Breastfeeding and it's hard to eat enough for baby and me.

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 1:25 PM

dragonfly750, if I knew a guaranteed answer to that I'd be a billionaire! But really, the best advice I've heard (or can give) is to not sweat it. Continue to offer new vegetables regularly--don't assume that because she's tried something once--or refused to try it at all, like my son does--she'll never eat it. Act blase about it, since for many kids (my son included) it's a power issue--saying no makes him feel like he's in control, so he says no all.the.time. If she likes fruit, offer some at every meal, too. That's what I do with Harry, so I'm sure he's getting the vitamins, etc, he needs. And if you can, get yourself a copy of Child of Mine: Feeding with Love & Good Sense by Ellyn Satter, RD. It's all about how it's the parent's job to prepare and offer a variety of healthy foods, and it's the kid's job to decide what and how much to eat. Takes a LOT of stress of our parental shoulders to look at it that way! 

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 1:31 PM

SweetLuci, IMO one of the beauties of boneless, skinless chicken is how, um, bland it is. You can do *anything* with it! Cut into strips, coat with breadcrumbs & grated parm, and bake. Saute in a little butter & oil, then add onions & sliced mushrooms to the pan with a splash of broth or wine for a quick sauce. Chop into pieces and use in a stir-fry. Poach in a pan of salted water, then shred with forks & toss with bbq sauce for quick sandwiches. Cut into strips and marinate briefly in lemon juice & olive oil, then skewer with some vegs and grill or broil. Toss with The Simplest Herb Marinade Ever, let them sit for 20 minutes, then grill or broil.

Is that enough to get you started? Hope so!

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 1:32 PM

VintageWife, yes, time to let go ;). With supervision, and 8yo can definitely handle stirring a pot! Give him some safety pointers the first few times, and he should be fine.

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM
I have a disabled eight year old a picky six year old and an eleven month old that refuses to sleep. Meals have to be made so I can purée for my oldest and that's hard. Do u have any tips for meals that are quick and easily puréed for my oldest daughter. We get awfully tired of pasta pasta pasta.
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by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 1:37 PM

KamsOne, I'm big on nuts--I pre-measure into one-ounce servings, and they're good to go. Almonds, especially, are great--they've got a lot of fiber, which combined with the healthy fat will keep you feeling full longer. I found a brand at Target, Emerald I think it is, that makes almonds tossed with cocoa and just a teeny bit of sugar. They sell them in single-serve packs, or in larger containers. Perfect for when I want something sweet!

I also REALLY like popcorn--either air-popped in the microwave (I use a special popper, but if you don't have one a paper bag works well, as long as you keep an eye on it).

by on Feb. 20, 2012 at 1:43 PM

VintageWife, I don't know if there are any set guidelines for cooking with kids--I think it's about what you feel comfortable doing. I bought Harry a set of kid-specific knives when he was about 3. The blades aren't sharp, really, so he won't get hurt, but they're good enough to cut through soft foods like mushrooms and zucchini. He's even hacked away at carrots! 

As far as what kids can prepare themselves at what age, again, that's about comfort. Harry started "making" cream cheese sandwiches when he was maybe 4 1/2--at first it was terrible, lots of torn bread & tears, but with practice he got better. Even now they're not the prettiest things you've ever seen, but he sure is pleased with himself when he makes one.

The milk-pouring thing, unfortunately, is going to require accepting a certain amount of mess. Start with water! Harry's learning how to pour from the pitcher now, and yeah, he spills a lot. But without the practice, he's never going to learn. At least with water he can't really hurt anything...

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