Meals to Take to Families With New Babies

You know why I love taking meals to families who have new babies?  Is it because I’m so servant hearted, loving, kind, and eager to bless these tired families?  Oh please.  It’s all about me.  Really.  You should know this truth.  Blah, blah, blah – here’s your food, hope you like it, I made it just for you, now where is your darling newborn?

Of course, I am totally kidding.  (Oh she is so not kidding, said Matt.)  But I really do love helping families with newborns in their time of need.  (What-ev-er, said my four boys in unison.)

Yeah.  I love babies.  My babies are of the much taller, lankier, and less snuggly variety now.  I love them dearly - even more than when they were newborns.  Who knew that was possible?  It just is.  But given the opportunity to cuddle a newborn, and you know, give the tired mama’s arms a break (that’s me being graciously servant-hearted again, what-ev-er) – I take it.  Sweet, sweet babies.  I love them.

Taking a meal to a family with a newborn means that there are blessings all around!  Tired parents don’t have to cook, older siblings get some special attention, and I’m sorry, did I not already make my point clear?  I get to hold a newborn baby.  Blessing upon blessing.

Meals to Take to Famililes With New Babies

photo credit

No doubt many of the foods listed in this post are great to take to others for reasons other than a new baby in the house (surgery, loss of loved one, illness, loss of job, or any other trying or exhausting situation).  By all means, please use this list to take meals to anyone who might benefit.  However, this post offers suggestions specific for the family who has a new addition.

Some items to keep in mind when you take a meal to a family with a new baby:

  • Stay away from hot peppers.  Mom might be avoiding spicy food if she is nursing.
  • Check to be sure you are accommodating any allergies or dislikes the family may have.
  • Ask what time they prefer you deliver the meal.
  • If there are young children in the home, be sure to take foods that are easy to eat and typically enjoyed by kids.  We’re trying to make Mom’s job easier, not harder.
  • Give lots of attention to the baby’s older siblings when you deliver the food.
  • Consider taking a little treat just for the “big brother(s)” and/or ”big sister(s).”  This could be something like 100% juice boxes, mini muffins, or even something non-edible like a new coloring book with crayons or a matchbox car.
  • Fresh fruit is always so refreshing after just having a baby.  Ask what kind of fruit sounds good to Mom and pick some up to take along.
  • If you are able, it might be fun to take a little something extra for a quick and easy breakfast for the family to enjoy the next day.  See list below for ideas.
  • If possible, take your food in dishes the family won’t have to wash and return to you.

Now onto the list of food ideas so you can hand them something wonderful when you say, “Blah, blah, blah – here’s your food, hope you like it, I made it just for you, now where is your darling newborn?”

Those are just the main dish ideas.  Be sure to take plenty of fruit and veggie side dishes too!  (You know I had to say that.)

What about breakfast?

Breakfast items like Easy Breakfast Casserole can be a fun change of pace for dinner.  If you have extra time and resources, you can bless the family by taking along some Dark Chocolate Almond Granola or Giant Breakfast Cookies - something easy for them to eat in the morning after a sleepless night.  Muffins and other breads are always fun to receive.

What are your favorite foods to take to families with new babies?

Tell Your Friends, and Your Friend’s Friends, and Your Friend’s Friend’s Friends. And So On.

I have something to tell you.

Then you tell your friends, then they’ll tell their friends, and after that they will tell their friends and before you know it, we’ll have one big long run-on sentence plus a whole lot of people who know about the upcoming Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle.

You probably remember seeing this fantastic package in the past if you’ve been around here for very long.  But I promise – you haven’t seen anything like this one.  It’s new, it’s amazing, it’s so very useful to all of us who love learning about healthy living.  I know because I’ve peeked.  I am one of the authors who is blessed to include one of my eCourses in this bundle, so I got to peek already at everything included in this year’s Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle - the eBooks, the eCourses, the information, the encouragement, the really awesome free bonuses.

The reallllllllly low price for all of it.

I’ve seen it.  I need it.  I love it.  You’ll want it.  You need it.  You’ll love it.

From using essential oils, to making awesome real food recipes, to practical fitness routines that work for YOU, to all the other stuff I can’t tell you about because I’m sworn to secrecy for just a little bit longer….you are really going to love this.

So since I’m your friend, I’m telling you about it so that you can type your email in this little form right here.  That’s my refer-a-friend link.  I’m referring you, friend.  Consider yourself referred.

Once you type in your email, you’ll be the first to know once the bundle is live.  You’ll also receive your own refer-a-friend link.  You’ll want to grab that.  Why?  Allow me to take you on a little refer-a-friend tour…

If just one of your friends signs up to learn about the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle from your referral link, you’ll get an automatic $5 off the bundle.  Sweet!

bundle refer a friend 1

If 5 of your referred friends signs up to learn about the bundle, you’ll get a 12-Week Audio course for free.  See how this just keeps getting even better?

bundle refer a friend 2

If 10 of the friends you referred signs up to learn about the bundle, you’ll get the entire Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle for abosolutely free.  Free.  FREEEEE.

bundle refer a friend 3

So, how many friends do you have?  More than 10 I bet.  :)  Sign up, grab your refer-a-friend code, then share it all over Facebook, Twitter, and Email.  You’ll be well on your way to huge savings on this already very low priced bundle of awesomeness.

Oh how I wish I could already tell you what this bundle includes, how little it will cost, when the sale will begin, and all the other details that are making me giddy.  But I can’t.  Just know that when you see it, you are going to gasp loudly, jump up, and perhaps bonk your knee on the table.

I’ll stop talking now.  You go sign up.  :)

Gratituesday: Swimming Season is Over – How I’m Coping

gratituesday[2]

We have friends who have a beautiful swimming pool in their back yard.  For three years now, they have been so sweet to let our family come enjoy the pool.  Here’s a picture from three summers ago.  The boys were so timid in the water then…

Now?  They are all over the pool – diving, having contests, and playing swimming games.  It’s awesome to watch.  We’ve been away from home most of this summer, so we haven’t had as much pool time as we would have liked.  Now that we’re home and settled into some sort of routine, we’ve gone swimming every chance we could grab.  It’s been great motivation to get our schoolwork done each day.  Ahhh, a fantastic, refreshing reward for hard work - and P.E. at it’s finest.  :)

I love sunshine, heat, Vitamin D, and pool exercise.  But alas, all good things must come to an end, at least for a time.  Tis the time of year for our friends to shut their pool down for the season.  This week we’re experiencing cooler weather – and by cooler, I mean that temps are what most people consider perfect.  Mid to upper 70′s.  Who doesn’t love that?  (me, maybe?)  I do - really I do.  This weather is gorgeous.  I just like 90° best - because I do.  ;)

Recognizing that swimming just wasn’t going to happen today, or tomorrow, or again probably until next summer – and because our house was actually a bit chilly (who knew?) I coped the only way I knew how.  I baked. 

I love everything about summer (like, I crazy love it) – but I do miss baking.  So yay for chillier weather (she said with a half-smile and a shrug).  Today I got to bake!

Malachi and I had fun making Chocolate Graham Crackers.  I’ve been pretty intentional the past few weeks about teaching him cooking skills.  He did most of the mixing and measuring himself, then decided that shaping crackers with cookie cutters would be way more fun than simply cutting them into squares.  But of course.

chocolate bunny graham crackers

Eek, a few got overdone.  My apologies to the blackened bunnies.  We will eat you anyway.

Justus and I made a double batch of Dark Chocolate Almond Granola.  This is so great to have on hand for quick breakfasts and snacks.  The house smelled so good while this was baking!

Dark Chocolate Almond Granola - A Great Make-Ahead Meal

Summer’s not over yet and you can bet I’ll be soaking up as much sunshine as I can during the next few weeks before…oh, I can’t even say it.  La, la, la, I am in denial in my happy, warm place - and that is where I shall stay for now.  But yay for all the blessings (like baking!) that come with the change of seasons.  I love how God shows us His goodness through everything.

And now I want to hear from YOU.  Tell me how you are, how God is working in your life, and what you are thankful for.  Go!

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Salad ~ Make-Ahead Lunch Box

The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

Rarely is my family of men pleased to see a lovely bowl of salad as the main dish at lunchtime.  You can almost see the “am I gonna get full?!” look of panic in their eyes.  After all, typically a tossed salad lunch just doesn’t stick with a person very long into the afternoon.  But if there’s bacon in it?  And boiled eggs?  And avocado?  And cheese?  Well, now we’re on to something.

My family devoured this last week when I made it – even the boys who don’t typically love eating avocados.  With all the other flavors mixed in, this salad with all its goodness works for even my pickiest eaters.  Along with the salad, I served fresh pineapple, fresh cantaloupe, and a new recipe I was experimenting with: Coconut Fudge Bars.  (That recipe will be shared soon.)  We were all very full after our meal – and stayed full until after we got back from swimming that evening at 5:15.  At that point we were all ready to eat our own beach towels – but that’s typical no matter what we’ve eaten for lunch.

This recipe is hardly a recipe.  Simply throw together whatever amounts of each ingredient you feel is best for each family member.  We all ate great big bowls full, because that’s what we do around here.  Need to this be Gluten Free?  Check – it’s gf without having to try.  Need it to be Dairy Free?  Leave out the cheese.  You might have been able to figure that one out by yourself.  ;)

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Salad

Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Salad

Bacon, cut into bites, cooked, and drained
Boiled eggs
Avocado, cut into bites (as well as you can cut an avocado into bites)
Cheddar or Colby jack cheese, cut into small chunks
Mixed greens, lettuce, and spinach of choice
Tomatoes, chopped
Salad dressing of choice

Toss ingredients together and have a feast.

To prepare for the lunch box:

Prepare all ingredients in advance, from cooking the bacon to boiling the eggs to chunking the cheese.  Toss the fixin’s into a jar or bowl with a lid before heading out for the day.  Put the dressing into a separate container to add just before eating.

These ingredients, prepared in advance, will last a week or two in the fridge for quick salad prep.  If you chop your avocado ahead of time, simply place the avocado pit into the container to help maintain the nice green color.

Side dish ideas:

You really have to try this salad.  Really – even people who don’t normally love salad should love this one.  It has bacon in it, for crying out loud.  It’s happiness in a bowl.

Hey, have any of you tried the “Salad in a Jar” idea?  I am excited to try that sometime, both because it’s a great packaging idea…and of course, because it involves a jar.  It’s happiness in a jar.  With bacon (for crying out loud).

Find more Make-Ahead Lunch Box recipes and be sure to follow along in this series for more fun ideas!

Menu Plan for the Week ~ With Honey Dew Melon Right Out of the Garden

Our garden is doing great, kicking out loads of fresh produce for us despite the spring hail storm we thought wiped it all out.  We are enjoying okra, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, spaghetti squash, and the latest:  honey dew melon.  We’ve never planted these melons before.  We will be planting them again.  They are soooo yummy right out of the garden!

Beware, the picture below looks a little bit like St. Patrick’s Day just made a surprise late summer appearance.

honeydew

If you look real closely, you’ll even see a green twist-tie hanging out on the table. 
That’s how good I am at this blogging photography thing.

Here’s our menu for the week:

Sunday, August 24
Chocolate whipped cream on strawberries, chocolate chocolate chip muffins
Tuna salad on lettuce and tomatoes, pickles, olives, honey dew melon
Youth group family picnic – taking watermelon, carrot sticks, cucumbers, and tomatoes

Monday, August 25
Cheesy scrambled eggs, strawberry-peach smoothies
Taco corn fritters, fried okra, watermelon, sweet peppers
Tuna casserole, peas, cantaloupe

Tuesday, August 26
Coconut flour muffins, honey dew melon
Spanish rice, raspberry lemon cream cups, tossed salad
Teriyaki chicken and veggies with broccoli, carrots, and zucchini

Wednesday, August 27
Cranberry white chocolate chip breakfast cookies, pears
Sloppy cornbread muffins, carrots and cucumbers with ranch, seven minute strawberry ice cream
Pizza boats, tossed salad, fruit salad

Thursday, August 28
Fried eggs, cinnamon apple toast
Pasta salad bar with lots of veggie options, watermelon
Italian roast wraps with lettuce and tomatoes, green beans

Friday, August 29
Whole wheat waffles, blueberries
Chicken burritos, carrots and cucumbers, black olives, cherries
Cheesy salsa enchiladas, tossed salad, cantaloupe

Saturday, August 30
Cereal
Leftovers
Chicken salad, pita bread, tomatoes, grapes

Who found the green twist-tie?? (I know you looked for it.)

Final Day: Get 1-2-3 Menu Planning eBook FREE With Oh, For Real Purchase

Don’t forget!  If you purchase our Oh, For Real printed cookbook, you’ll also receive our new 1-2-3 Menu Planning eBook for FREE!

Buy this….

ForRealBookCover6

Get this free

123 Meal Planning Cover sm

Just want 1-2-3 Meal Planning?  Grab it for just $5.

1-2-3 Menu Planning
$5.00
Add to Cart

Saturday, August 23 is the final day for this freebie offer – so act now!  Let these helpful resources make your real food cooking life easier!!!!!  Get all the details of this offer here.

Oh, For Real: Real Food, Real Family, Real Easy with 1-2-3 Menu Planning free bonus
$25.95
Add to Cart

Cost for a book shipped to Canada is $34.05. If you are from Canada or another country outside the U.S., please email me before purchasing. Thanks!

Free Shipping at Tropical Traditions (Plus a great price on flavorless, odorless coconut oil!)

It’s been a few weeks, so I was hoping this would be a free shipping weekend at Tropical Traditions.  Sure enough!  Get your order shipped free through Monday, August 25!

Even better?  You can get a 32 ounce jar of their Pure Coconut Oil for just $14.99.  This coconut oil is just what many of you have been asking about.  It is high quality coconut oil with many health benefits – without any coconut flavor or scent.

pure coconut oil

I trust all products that come from Tropical Traditions.  Even though this isn’t the finest variety of coconut oil they offer, you can be assured it is very good!  I love this price and I love that shipping is free right now.  Take advantage!

How do I use this type of coconut oil?  Well, it can be used in any recipe that calls for vegetable oil.  Simply melt it down and stir it into your recipe.  I especially like this type of oil for frying foods.  I don’t want my fried foods (like chicken nuggets or French fries) to taste like coconut.  Flavorless coconut oil like this is completely healthy in fried foods (YAY!) – and does not change the flavor of the food.

Are you new to Tropical Traditions?  You’ll be excited to know when you shop through the referral links in this post, they will automatically include a FREE Virgin Coconut Oil Book.

tropical traditions coconut oil book

Use the code 14822 for free shipping to apply.

This post contains affiliate links.

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cups ~ Perfect For Your Make-Ahead Lunch Box

The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

Allow me to introduce you to my new love, the Raspberry Lemon Cream Cup ~ Five simple ingredients, easy to make, and perfect to make ahead of time to pull out for your lunch box or table.  Add this one to our High Five Recipes collection.  Put this on your list of side dishes to go with lunch.  Hope and pray it stays in the fridge long enough to actually serve for lunch.

Yeah, I’m just saying that it may not last that long.  My first batch disappeared about 10 minutes after I made it.  Time to triple the recipe, maybe Laura?  Yes, I think so.

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cups

1 cup raspberries
20 drops stevia or 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

In a bowl, smash raspberries with a fork.  Stir in sweetener of choice, lemon juice, and sour cream.  Set aside.  In another bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Fold raspberry mixture into the whipped cream.  Pour into individual serving containers and chill for at least 2 hours.  (Or for 10 minutes if you are my family and can’t wait 2 incredibly long hours.)  This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

I love this side dish idea for make-ahead lunches!  If you pack lunches for work or school, this can easily be prepared in bulk and packaged for a filling treat to go with the main dish.  Pucker up – this recipe is a tart one.  That’s what makes it so good.  :)

Raspberry Lemon Cream Cups

You know what else is good?  Subbing a different variety of fruit for the raspberries.  Since we liked the Raspberry Lemon Cream Cups so much (and ate them so quickly), the following day I blended up nectarines to stir into this treat.  I can’t decide which one I like more.

Nectarine Cream Cups

1 cup pureed nectarines
20 drops stevia or 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Stir pureed nectarines, sweetener of choice, and sour cream together and set aside.  In another bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Fold nectarine mixture into the whipped cream.  Pour into individual serving containers and chill for at least 2 hours.  This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

nectarine cream cups

These fruit cream cups are healthy, filling, and a perfect side dish to go with other Make-Ahead Lunch Box recipes like Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad or Whole Wheat Pizza Swirls.

What other fruit should we try blending into in these cream cups?

Re-Usable Containers For Your Make-Ahead Lunch Box

Let’s talk about food containers to go along with our Make-Ahead Lunch Box series.

I love all the eco-friendly packaging available now.  Occasionally, we still use a disposable ziplock baggie or two.  But if at all possible, packaging “to-go” foods in containers we can wash and reuse just makes so much more sense – and saves so much money!

You all know I have and love this Pyrex Storage 10-Piece Set.  The lids in this set seal very well.  The variety of sizes offer great options for packing side dishes of cut fruits and veggies, or main dishes like pasta salads and wraps.

pyrex

As I was looking at other great options to share with you, I came across a good price on this 10-Piece Set of Round Glass Storage Bowls.  Oh yeah, I filled them up in my head within about 2 seconds of looking at them.  Fruit salad, potato salad, soup, pasta salad, tossed salad, pasta leftovers…

glass storage

If you’re more into BPA free plastic for packing lunches, I like these Fit & Fresh 1-cup containers at iHerb.  I love that they have a built-in ice pack to keep food cold.  Even better, iHerb will give you a free $10 (with $40 purchase) if you purchase through my referral links.  So click here if you want to get these containers for FREE, along with some other goodies!  (You can also use the code BID487 at check-out to receive $10 off your $40 purchase.  Shipping at iHerb is free with orders over $20.

fit fresh

I really like these Lunchskins re-usable sandwich and snack bags.  BUT, I don’t recommend you pay these Amazon prices.  Surely you can find them cheaper at an actual store?  What has been your experience purchasing these types of bags?  Is there a store you can suggest?  My small town doesn’t offer items like this that I know of.

lunchskins

How about for packing hot food?  I’ve heard from several of you that thermoses just don’t hold enough food.  I found this 16-ounce stainless steel thermos that seems to be a good option.  At least it would hold more than a 10-ounce thermos, right?

thermos

What do you use for packing food to go?

This post contains affiliate links.

Share Your Story: Getting Ahead For a Healthy Breakfast

Welcome to one of our newest features here at Heavenly Homemakers!  I love hearing the stories of how you are using the recipes you find on our site or in our books.  Do you have a story to share?  Take a picture or two, then email me with the details of how you use your favorite Heavenly Homemaker recipe.  :)

Share Your Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Story

Lori sent this in last week – a wonderful inspiration to all of us as we begin busy school years:

With school starting next week, I’ve been spending some time in the kitchen.  I like breakfast to be as quick and simple as possible.  My husband is usually in charge of feeding the kids while I’m getting ready for work.  When I asked my kids (Kaylee-11 and Blake-8) what I should have available for breakfasts when school starts, they both said Breakfast Cookies.  Silly question, I know. These cookies have been a staple at our house since I discovered the recipe a few years ago. Kaylee has actually been asking for them all summer.  She will be thrilled to come home from camp to find the freezer stocked with her beloved cookies.

share your story breakfast

Blake is the happy taste tester! 
Elias, our 12 year old, walked through my office as I was prepping this post.  He was excited to see:
  1. All the food in the picture.  Elias likes looking at food as much as I do.  :)
  2. My cookbook in the picture.  “Hey look, it’s your book!”
  3. Blake’s glasses are almost identical to his.  Love of breakfast cookies and matching glasses?  I think they’d get along just fine.  :)

Can’t wait to hear from more of you.  Share your stories!