How Pregnant Foodies Can Still Have Fun at Restaurants

My blogging took the back burner during my pregnancy and first 6 months of motherhood, so I will be playing a lot of catch up in the next few posts…

I never wanted my pregnancy to prevent us from enjoying one of our favorite activities: going out for dinner. But I quickly learned that most menus don’t cater to pregnant women (especially farm-to-fork). 

Here are some tips and tricks for ordering at restaurants while preggo:

  • Ask for a mocktail, even if it’s not on the menu; most bartenders will happily create something special, and seasonally inspired, for you

  
 

  • If they carry soft cheeses, ask if they’re pasteurized because in many cases they are (Humboldt Fog is one of my favorites for this reason!)

 

  • If you see a dish that’s normally served raw or rare, ask if they can cook it thoroughly or leave it out (like scrambled eggs instead of runny) 

 

  • At the deli, ask if they can heat up the sandwich (this was one of my biggest cravings, along with fruit) 

  • At the end of a meal when everyone else is a couple of wine glasses deep, treat yourself to dessert 😉 


Soon enough you will toggle between barely having time to get a full meal in and ordering takeout after baby’s bedtime, so enjoy the extra leisurely meals and pampering. Bon appetit!

It Takes a Village to Make Dinner

I finally caved. For some silly reason, I’ve been resisting food delivery services like Blue Apron or Sun Basket. But taking care of a baby and working full time makes trying to get healthy dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes really taxing on my already tapped out brain. 

Hearing friends who had tried it and loved it convinced me to give it a try. Once I surrendered, I finally realized that someone else’s recipe with the ingredients ready to go was not something to be ashamed of. (I think maybe I thought it was like cheating or not being original enough to come up with my own recipe. But the reality was, I was already using Pinterest for recipe ideas.)

As I prepared my first Blue Apron recipe, I quickly learned that the meditative experience of cutting and mixing ingredients is still very much intact. I felt relaxed knowing that the recipe was full proof — I used to love experimenting, but ain’t no one got time for that during the week. 

 

Sun Basket offers a Paleo option and our first delivery arrived with Niman Ranch steaks and seasonal organic produce. Convenient, yet farm fresh.

The bottom line is that we should seek out help wherever we can. Friends, family, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram… Whatever it takes to get something easy and healthy on the table.

Leftover Taco Meat Scramble

To mix up the monotony of scrambled eggs (over-easy, oh how I miss thee), we seasoned the pan by first adding leftover seasoned ground turkey from Thursday night’s taco salad.

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Scramble eggs as usual, and top with your choice of taco-friendly ingredients. In my case, that was avocado, tomatoes and goat milk yogurt.

Thyme-Saving Turkey Meatballs

With a limited window of time to make dinner and workout, I whipped together this super quick meal: oven-roasted squash and zucchini paired with homemade turkey meatballs.

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Preheat oven to about 400 degrees and then prep the veggies:

Toss two sliced summer squash and two zucchini with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme in an oven-safe casserole dish.

Next, prep the meatballs:

Mix 1 lb ground turkey with a generous scoop of almond meal, a scoop of unsweetened and shredded coconut, 1 egg, salt, pepper, olive oil and thyme. Scoop 1/4-cup or smaller spoonfuls into a buttered casserole dish.

Bake both dishes for about 30 minutes, or until veggies are tender and meatballs are cooked through.

More thyme for you!

Bacon (& Broccoli) Lovers’ Scramble

David loves bacon, I love broccoli (really I do, it’s a texture thing). Scrambled eggs can get boring after a while, so I decided to kick things up a notch using the best part of bacon: the fat.

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1. Cook bacon (3 slices was enough for the two of us)

2. Remove bacon and use same pan with bacon fat to cook chopped, frozen broccoli

3. Remove broccoli and use same pan to cook eggs

4. When eggs are set, add chopped bacon and broccoli. 

Optional: if you’re feeling extra indulgent, top with shredded cheese 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I’m a sucker for good gnocchi, and wanted to use up the abundance of sweet potatoes and almond flour that have been hanging out in my cupboard for a good three months. The kicker is I don’t do ricotta, so I adapted this recipe to make sweet potato gnocchi with goat cheese and my own (mediocre) kale pesto creation. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and takes no more than an hour from start to finish.

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For starters, peel and chop a 2 lb bag of baby sweet potatoes or 2+ large sweet potatoes. Boil for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once the sweet potatoes are tender, drain the water and add 1 cup of goat cheese to the pot. Mash with a potato masher, and then add 2 1/2 cups almond meal/flour and combine into a dough-like texture. Roll into bite-size scoops and place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet; bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Note: depending on the sauce you choose, you may want to opt for boiling the gnocchi. That’s what I’m going to try next time for that pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Optional: I made a kale pesto with sauteed kale, olive oil, parmesan cheese and almond milk. This particular combo needs a little more work before it’s ready for the spotlight. Feel free to share your favorite kale pesto recipe in the comments!

Enchilada Chili

Tortillas got you down? No matter the reason, here’s a way to enjoy the flavors of enchiladas without them.

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I used my favorite Sunday night enchilada recipe with a couple of guest stars to add texture in this layered version. 

 To make the enchilada sauce, combine the following ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes:

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 regular can tomato sauce
  • 1 can of tomato soup (V8 works too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp each of salt, sugar (palm sugar works well) and chili powder
  • Optional: 1/2 cup onions

Meanwhile, prepare the meat filling by browning it and then stirring in the ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey

Ground Turkey Shepherds Pie in the Crock Pot

Ever since I made my first corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot 10+ years ago, I’ve been hooked on slow cooked St. Patty’s fare.

With limited staples on hand, I decided to try my hand at this Shepherds pie recipe using ground turkey, baby Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots and broccoli. It turned out well! Luck of the Irish perhaps?

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First, prepare mashed potatoes using your preferred technique and scoop into a bowl so you can use the same pot for the meat to cut back on dishes. 

Brown ground turkey and 2 cloves of garlic, and then add the following:

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 generous handfuls of sliced baby carrots (or 2 regular chopped carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli (or peas)
  • 1 cup broth (I used chicken)
  • 1/4 cup wine (I used white)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Generous sprinkling dried thyme

Stir and simmer until liquid is almost fully absorbed. Add to a greased crock pot in an even layer and then spread the mashed potatoes over the top. Season with salt and pepper.

After cooking on low for about 3-4 hours, grate cheddar cheese over the top. Slainte!

Almond Flour Waffles

In my quest to eat less processed or refined foods, and more nutrient-rich foods in their original forms (or close to it), I’ve stumbled my way through some baking disasters. Fortunately, this morning I made my first successful batch of almond flour waffles.

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Thanks to The Daily Dietribe for testing out the right ratios of flour to starch – a key make-or-break factor in baking with nut flours and root starches. I found that adding one egg was necessary to keep the waffles from splitting in half when opening the waffle iron.

Almond Flour Waffles (Adapted from The Daily Dietribe)

1 – 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup almond milk

1 egg

Mix dry ingredients separately from wet ingredients. Combine and whisk in egg. Make sure your waffle iron is greased. You may need to play around with settings and open the iron slowly to make sure waffle is thoroughly cooked.

Broth-Braised Crock Pot Pork and Noodles

New year, new kitchen quandaries! Rather than freezing four separate containers of homemade crab stock, I used it to make a healthy Ramen/Pho-like pulled pork and soba noodles dish. We even had leftover pulled pork at the end of it.

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Pulled Pork: place all ingredients in a crock pot on low for 6 hours.

3 cups broth or stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pork tenderloin

Noodles: once pork is ready, cook noodles of choice separately in their own pot using additional broth. Add kale or other greens once noodles are near al dente.

Serve pork on top of noodles and add condiments of choice. David had his with a little Sriracha sauce.

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