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pregnancy

Food & Recipes

Freezer Meals for New Moms :: Meatballs

February 13, 2017

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I feel like I have a dozen friends or family members due with babies in the next six months. I’m not even joking when I say a dozen – it’s babies and more babies. I suppose it’s probably just the phase of life we are in right now, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about freezer meals both for my own postpartum phase as well as meals to bring to friends who are anticipating a new little one.

My genuine hope is to do a very robust freezer meal series on this page in the coming weeks and months. Fingers crossed that I stick with the plan and get all the freezer meals made that I hope I can get done. First up: Meatballs!

Although I’m a vegetarian, I really love the process of making meatballs. And while I don’t have an old family-favorite recipe from an Italian grandmother to pass along to you today, this recipe for meatballs is straightforward, super easy to make in bulk and delivers delicious results from the freezer.

Ideas for using the meatballs include:
-Served on a toasted hoagie bun with marinara and shredded cheese
-Served over whole wheat pasta with marinara
-Served with marinara over spaghetti squash for a lower-carb choice
-Served plain with a side of steamer veggies (because let’s be honest, that’s what my husband would do!)

I decided to make things easier by cooking the meatballs, freezing them flat on a sheet pan and then transferring the frozen meatballs to a freezer bag for storage. Then, since they are already cooked, all you need to do is pop them in the oven until they are hot or thaw them and then add to a skilled fillet with marinara and cook on the stovetop until heated through. Super simple!

Freezer Meatballs
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 64 meatballs
 
Ingredients
  • 4 lbs. lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 slices white sandwich bread
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line four baking sheets with aluminum foil for easy clean up and set aside. For even easier baking, use disposable aluminum baking pans.
  2. Place the ground beef in a very large mixing bowl. In a second smaller bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Stir together (best to just mix really well with your hands) until bread is completely broken up and a soft, liquid-y mixture forms. Add the mixture to the ground beef and work together with your hands until very evenly combined.
  3. Shape beef mixture into 2-inch sized meatballs (mixture should make about 64 meatballs) and place on baking sheets, about 16 meatballs per baking sheet.
  4. Bake 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and no pink remains. Remove from oven and cool meatballs on baking sheets until they are room temperature.
  5. Place cooled meatballs on baking sheets in the freezer and freeze for 4 hours or until frozen solid. Place frozen meatballs in a plastic zip-top freezer bag and store up to six months.
  6. To reheat, place meatballs on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350°F or until heated through. Or, thaw in the refrigerator and place in hot marinara on the stovetop; cook until heated through.

 

Family, Pregnancy

On Trusting My Body

February 1, 2017

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{Hatch Collection Bateau Top} // {GAP Demi Pannel Maternity Skinny Jeans}

Today I went to my doctor’s appointment. I’m 25 weeks pregnant, meaning I’ve got about 15 more weeks to go, and every time I have to step on the scale I cringe just a little bit. I would be lying if I said, given some of my past issues with body image, that it’s easy for me to see my body growing and changing rapidly. Actually, this time around might be playing more games with my mind than Ainsley’s pregnancy.

It’s a luxury, isn’t it? To be able to worry about things like gaining weight. During Ainsley’s pregnancy it was a luxury that I didn’t really afford myself because I was focused on other things, like whether or not my baby was healthy and growing appropriately. Like I said, a luxury to even think or worry about these things but something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as we go further and further into this pregnancy.

While I was fretting about my pregnancy weight gain after my appointment today, something registered in my mind.

Trust your body. 

Anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss or infertility can attest to the fact that trusting your body doesn’t come easily. In the midst of my losses I didn’t feel I could trust my body at all. It had failed me in doing the thing I wanted so badly for it to do. But throughout Ainsley’s pregnancy, and baby girl #2’s pregnancy, I’ve felt a renewed sense of trust in what my body can do.

I’ve seen my body expand and grow, gaining 35 pounds, enduring 16 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing to give us our beautiful Ainsley. That same body lost those 35 pounds and then some. It’s pushed a stroller for miles and bounced a fussy newborn for hours in the middle of the night. It’s run races and endured countless workouts. When I’ve called on my body to be there for me it has been there and then some.

So today when I was tempted to worry about what my body was doing and how much weight I’ve gained, I made the decision to trust my body and believe it will do what’s needed to grow and carry this baby. And then when that baby is here, it will feed, cuddle, and nurture that baby, too.

So fellow pregnant mommas, join me in giving your body the grace and appreciation it deserves, even on the hard days. Because the hard days will come. We’re only human, right? But how we choose to respond to those hard days is what really matters.

Madison

Fashion, Pregnancy

Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

January 27, 2017

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During Ainsley’s pregnancy I sincerely wish someone had sat me down and told me this piece of advice: When it comes to shopping for maternity clothes, buy high quality, classic pieces that you love and that make you feel great. Invest in a capsule wardrobe now and you won’t regret it.

You see, I got trapped into the idea that pregnancy is only nine months. Why spend money on clothes you will only wear for a short period of time, right? Wrong. If you hate what you wear during those nine months, if your clothes aren’t cut well and don’t make you feel and look good, it will feel like nine years. Truth.

If you plan to have more than one kiddo, I promise you won’t regret it. I didn’t do this and I sincerely wish I would have. I’m convinced that while some of the items listed below are pretty expensive, I would have actually spent less in the long term by really curating a capsule wardrobe for pregnancy. Since we hope to have one or two more kiddos down the line, I’m thinking of doing this for the remainder of this pregnancy in hopes that I’ll get plenty of use out of my clothes down the road.

When selecting the items listed below I picked quite a few pieces that were designed to be worn during and after pregnancy, hence the large number of Hatch pieces that I’ve suggested. I have a few friends who own clothing from them and they have said that their Hatch items have gotten wear long after baby has arrived, which I love!

I also avoided most tops with any obvious rouching on the sides, as that just screams “maternity!” and you will never wear those items after you have baby, even if you do have a bump after delivery.

Oh, and on the subject of seasonality, I tried to keep that in mind as well. By selecting slightly lighter weight dresses and tops you should be able to get wear out of them in any season. Pair your tops with an open cardigan or utility jacket in the winter and wear them alone in the warmer months. Chances are if you’re pregnant during the winter you will run a little warmer, anyway. The same holds true for dresses! You will, of course, need to invest in some seasonal items – a maternity winter coat, perhaps, or an extra maxi dress or swimsuit, but I tried to just cover the basics here.

TOPS 

1. Classic Striped Top :: Hatch The Bateau Striped Top 
2. Basic White Dress Shirt :: Hatch The Classic White
3. Chambray Shirt or Tunic :: Old Navy Maternity Chambray Pullover 
4. Tunic-Length Top (either sweater weight for winter or lighter weight for summer)
2. Well-Cut Basic Top :: Hatch The Everyday Top

JACKETS & CARDIGANS
1. Basic Layering Cardigan :: Liz Lange Maternity Open Layering Cardigan
2. Military/Cargo Jacket :: Gap Maternity Utility Jacket 

DRESSES
1. Dressy Day-To-Night Style :: Hatch The Tulip Dress 
2. Casual Everyday Style Dress :: Hatch The Shirt Dress or The Afternoon Dress

JEANS 
1. Skinny Jeans You Absolutely Love :: AG Stella Maternity Skinny Jeans

BASICS
1. Basic Layering Tanks in Black, White and Grey :: Liz Lange Maternity Tanks
2. Basic Maternity Leggings in Black and/or Grey :: Gap Maternity Pure Body Low Rise Leggings
3. Basic Layering T’s and Shirts :: Liz Lange Maternity V-Neck Tee or Long Sleeve Shirt

Family, Pregnancy

Baby Hofmeyer #2 is a….

January 9, 2017

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GIRL! We are shocked (both of us thought it was a boy) and really, really excited to welcome another little lady into our growing family. I get all teary eyed thinking about Ainsley having a sister to share so many wonderful memories with in the years to come. Although she doesn’t quite understand yet, I keep assuring her that this is the best news of her little life. She keeps running around the house saying, “Baby Margaret!” (all you Daniel Tiger watching moms will appreciate that…)

Since I’ve gone 22 weeks without much of a real pregnancy update, I thought it was high time I did a little mid-pregnancy update for those of you who are curious. I have looked back at my updates from Ainsley’s pregnancy a handful of times and always like comparing this pregnancy to her pregnancy. I really wish I had done more frequent updates this time around.

HOW FAR ALONG? 22 weeks 1 day

FEELING: Lots of kicks! I started feeling pretty consistent kicks around 20 weeks, with a few occasional kicks around 18 or 19 weeks. I really thought I would feel kicks sooner the second time around, but that wasn’t the case. These days little lady is moving all the time.

As for me, I’m feeling pretty good! I’ve been generally sicker this pregnancy than with Ainsley and I’m convinced I’m never really going to feel truly “great” this time around. While I can’t say I’m consistently nauseous these days, it still hits me from time to time and I still have a hard time finding foods that really sound good to eat.

Thanks to consistent workouts, I’m feeling more in shape this time around and more like myself than I think I did with Ainsley, but the pesky groin pain I experienced with my last pregnancy is beginning to bother me again. Regular trips to the chiropractor and lots of stretching will hopefully get me through the rest of this pregnancy relatively comfortably.

WEIGHT GAIN: I gained 10 pounds during the first trimester alone, but the weight gain really slowed down after that. As of 21 weeks, I was up 15 pounds.

CRAVING: Nothing, really! Food generally doesn’t sound good or bad to me right now, and my appetite has slowed down significantly from the first trimester. I still really love orange juice, specifically mixed with sparkling water, apple cider vinegar and stevia. I really can’t stand sugar this time around, and every time I eat something sugary it makes me feel ill, so I’ve been steering clear as much as possible.

DOING: Work on the nursery! Well, just starting to plan for the nursery, really, but the room is cleared out and we have moved Ainsley’s dresser into the baby’s room since Ainsley doesn’t need it anymore. We’ve ordered a crib and have a rug and that’s about it so far.

We’re also renovating the basement and moving my office in to the basement since this baby is taking over my former office, so I’ll have a new dedicated space to work downstairs, which I’m super excited about!

Madison

Family, Pregnancy

Stay Healthy, Mama

July 13, 2015

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and healthy mama® , but, as always, all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #gethealthymama

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Having experienced a couple miscarriages before getting pregnant with Ainsley, I was more than a little paranoid about what I put in my body. I was constantly worried about doing something that would compromise the health of my baby and desperate for a little peace of mind when I wanted relief from morning sickness or a headache or some other pregnancy-related aliment.

I’m a researcher by nature so I did a lot of scouring on the internet for healthy, safe ways to navigate the less-than-glamorous sides of being pregnant. My doctor was a good resource, as well as a few reputable baby- and pregnancy-related websites and books, but most of the products I found still came with a disclaimer for pregnant or nursing women.

Toward the end of my pregnancy I discovered that Target has a section devoted to pre- and postnatal care filled with healthy mama® products that are safe for nursing moms and moms-to-be. I wish I would have found the section sooner rather than at the end of my pregnancy!

During pregnancy and the postpartum period, my two greatest complaints were nausea (specifically the first trimester but also a bit toward the end of pregnancy) and headaches. I’ve always had headaches, but the postpartum headaches I experienced? They were horrible! I found a few little changes during the course of my pregnancy and after Ainsley arrived really helped…

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Headaches

*I found that making sure I was getting plenty of iron in my diet was key! Since meat and veggies didn’t sound all that great to me during the first trimester, I was seriously lacking in iron. And some of the research I did also said that you start to experience the unpleasant effects of low iron around 18/19 weeks, which was exactly when I started getting really bad headaches!
*Hydration was also key to keeping the headaches (especially during the postpartum period) at bay. I kept a giant water bottle with me at all times and couldn’t get enough ice water with extra ice!
*When water and vitamins weren’t cutting it, I found that the cure-all was usually a cup of coffee (coffee in moderation is totally safe!) and a little bit of acetominophin, like that found in the healthy mama® Shake that Ache! pain reliever, was enough to keep the headaches at bay most of the time.

Nausea

*I only experienced a mild case of nausea starting around 12 weeks and lasting until around week 19, but it was enough to keep me snacking on carbs 90% of the time. My go-to remedies were salty kettle-style potato chips, lemonade and sparkling water.
*A lot of research talks about the benefits of consuming B vitamins to calm the nausea. I’m guessing that’s why healthy mama® included B vitamins and electrolytes in their Boost it Up! Protein Energy Drink. Although I wasn’t experiencing nausea when I tried this drink, I loved it anyway! And it’s a great caffeine-free energy alternative that’s safe for pregnant and nursing moms.

I am so bummed that I didn’t discover these products sooner. But I have a feeling that if we’re blessed to have another kiddo down the road, I’ll be using that section at Target as my go-to resource while pregnant and nursing.

Madison