BREATHE + GLOW

make mindfulness your default mode

breastfeeding

Galacta-gold! Beans, Greens and Grains Bowl

motherhood, recipesLindsyComment

 

Are you seeking the perfect, easy lunch? Something warm and comforting, but healthy too? Maybe even something that helps you make more milk for that baby of yours? I've got a meal for you.

 

Somewhere in my return to work from my first maternity leave, I created this dish. I don’t remember how it came to be - just that I concocted it out a strong desire to MAKE MORE MILK.

Barley, beans, dark leafies, and sesame seeds (via tahini) are all galactagogues, aka milk makers. This is super easy and feels oh-so-nourishing to eat, so it’s no wonder that it increases your milk production. Ideally, I cook up a batch on Sunday afternoons and portion it out for my upcoming week’s lunches, but this doesn’t always happen. There have been many mornings when I cooked this while eating breakfast and getting ready for work. It’s a snap.

To make it even more of breeze, use these quick-cooking bags of barley and farro. You can get them at Trader Joe’s, and recently I have seen a nearly identical version at TJ’s sister store, ALDI. They cost the same (at least in my area). It will shave about twenty minutes off of your cook time, and it’s already measured for you.

 

Disclaimer: I’m an ad lib cook. I write recipes the old-fashioned way, in a somewhat vague manner that assumes the reader has some knowledge of cookery and is not afraid to improvise. Cooking times and measurements may vary. Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts and tweak something if its not working for you. This is how I make this recipe. It does not have to be the way you make it.

 

 

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  1. First, grains. Make life easy-peasy and use the quick-cook bags from Trader Joe’s or ALDI. I alternate between barley and farro. Alternatively, you can use 1 cup of pearled barley. Make sure to rinse it first.

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2. In a 3-5 quart pot, combine grains with 3 cups of water. Let come to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes

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3. Toss in enough torn kale to fill up the pot. (I’m using a 3 quart saucepan here. You could definitely go bigger and probably should, as I usually end up adding more kale later on.) Cover the pot and let kale steam until wilted, about 10-15 minutes. Add a little more water if needed.

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4. Add 2-3 cups of beans. Again, you can hit the easy button and use rinsed canned beans. If you have the planning skills to use dried beans, I applaud you.

5. After this, I portion out the in gredients into glass containers for my work lunches. I drizzle about 1 tablespoon of tahini on top of each serving.

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So what do you think? Any additions, subtractions, or other tweaks? It has been a lifesaver for me, so let me know how it works for you!

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Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowl

recipesLindsyComment

So in my daily visits to the NICU, the nurses would often shoo me out the door to take a break and refresh. On one particularly dreary March day, I ventured out to Panera Bread and discovered their new menu addition. Broth Bowls. Oh. Yum.

I ordered a Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowl and boy, did it hit the spot. Warm, filling, and just the right amount. I felt healed and energized afterward. Best of all, it seemed easy to recreate at home.


This is a versatile dish; I have enjoyed this bowl for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus, it’s a good meal for a breastfeeding mother, as it includes whole grains, legumes, and dark leafy greens.

Disclaimer: I’m an ad lib cook. I write recipes the old-fashioned way, in a somewhat vague manner that assumes the reader has some knowledge of cookery and is not afraid to improvise. Cooking times and measurements may vary. Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts and tweak something if its not working for you. This is how I make this recipe. It does not have to be the way you make it.

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  1. Measure 1 cup of quinoa and 1 cup of lentils. Rinse thoroughly. Toast in 1 T of oil for a couple of minutes.

  2. Add 2 cups of water, let come to a boil, and cover, simmering for 30 minutes.

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  1. Toss in enough torn kale to fill up the pot. (I’m using a 3 quart saucepan here. You could definitely go bigger and probably should, as I usually end up adding more kale later on.) Cover the pot and let kale steam until wilted, about 10-15 minutes.

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  1. Boil some water. When boiling has ceased, mix about ½ cup of the water with 2 tablespoons of miso. Mash miso with a spoon and combine with water. Add ¼ cup of soy sauce or similar (tamari, shoyu, or liquid aminos).

  2. Pour soy/miso mixture into the saucepan. Add another 4-6 cups of water and continue to simmer for ten or so minutes to let flavors combine.

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Top with a halved hard-boiled egg and a slice of lemon. (Totally forgot the lemon when I shot this, but add it. It adds another element.)

Enjoy!

The Zen of Breastfeeding

motherhoodLindsyComment

Ah, breastfeeding. Such an intense and controversial topic. Let’s just start by saying that I breastfeed; it is my choice and I feel that everyone should make the choice that is right for them. Alternate circumstances may have taken me down a different path, but this is how my story goes.

 

Breastfeeding has not always been easy for me. In the beginning I found it to be exhausting, worrisome, and far too demanding. I may not have felt this way (or felt it so strongly) if things had taken a different course. Babies are unpredictable, though, and mine came an entire month early. This meant that in addition to giving birth earlier than I expected, I also had to contend with things like pumping at home for a few days and visiting my son in the Special Care Nursery when I could. We tried breastfeeding at those times, but let’s just say it was a learning process. He didn’t have a strong “suck” and he also fell asleep...like, a lot. So there I was, massaging milk out for him and trying to wake him up every couple of minutes.

It was hard going for the first few months at least. Besides the crazy amount of energy breastfeeding takes, the hunger I felt was out of control. It was worse than when I'd been pregnant, and I was too tired and busy to feed myself properly. Hunter continued to need the assistance I described above until he was almost four months old. Once I got the hang of it, though, it was easier to feed myself (like grabbing some hummus and pita before sitting down for one of our forty - yes, forty - minute bf sessions). I also started to download  books to my iPhone and read. When it was time to turn a page, I just had to swipe my thumb. That came in really handy at night when I needed to stay awake (or thought I did).

Then my baby got older - and more distracted. Watching television or reading while I held him was not working out, and he constantly looked around our living room to see what was going on. I had long loathed the act of going into his room to breastfeed. Having to go back there and sit in the glider, quietly breastfeeding, felt like being exiled. That was what I did when we had company, and it always felt so dull to me. After a while though, it seemed like the best choice. I was no longer interested in trying to keep Hunter focused on the main event.

Soon, though, those moments in the glider became somewhat magical. It helped that Hunter was much quicker now and that he didn't need my help. I was free to hook on the Brest Friend and let him be, while I leaned back and enjoyed the solitude. It took me awhile to realize what I was doing during these quiet times, but I realized I was restoring my mind, sorting out thoughts, daydreaming, praying. The truth of this hit me one day while perusing a copy of Parents magazine. There was an article about working meditation into your parenting life, and one of the moments to take advantage of was while feeding your baby.  The section states:

"Consider your rocking chair or glider to be your meditation cushion, where you focus exclusively on your baby and your breath. 'Instead of thinking about all that you should or could be doing at that moment, allow yourself to rest and be soothed by the rocking and quiet time with your baby:'"

Now that I'm more mindful of that time, I've been careful to keep to-do lists and other "working" thoughts out during that time.

Hunter is seventeen months old now, and he still seeks out that time together. At times it can seem inconvenient, but mostly I want it too. I wouldn’t say that I’m meditating, and I’ve never really tried to at that time. I do, however, relax my body, close my eyes, and enjoy the freedom from busyness. I am doing what I need to do, and there is nothing else that I need to do at that moment. It’s especially wonderful at the end of the work day, when we’ve just gotten home. My natural instinct would be to jump right in to chores and other “always-there” tasks, but this forces me to take a break and spend time with my darling dear son. Of course, I also like it when he starts playing games with me and launches into a giggle fit. So worth it - for me.

If someone had told me a year ago that breastfeeding would become one of the most peaceful and pleasant moments of my day, I would've given them the side eye. But now it's true. It’s just one of the many, many aspects of parenthood that has surprised me.

Has anything about parenthood turned around for you?