How I will cook after giving birth hadn’t crossed my mind. I am more overwhelmed with other concerns. Of course, first and foremost, I want the baby to be healthy.
But I also tend to focus on how the pregnancy is affecting me. Much more than I would like to admit. The actual birth part is scariest of all. I’ve never been a patient at a hospital, so I have no idea what to expect. But I do know that a lot of pain – and possibly epidurals, forceps, and other scary medical interventions – are part of the process.
So right now, I am focused on surviving the labor with the help of as few drugs and equipment and as little yelling at my loved ones as possible.
But, as author Debbie Koenig points out in her new cookbook Parents Need to Eat Too, if new parents don’t plan ahead, they may be looking at months of hastily eating spaghetti and tomato sauce or Clif bars with a baby in their arms. For those who find happiness in food, this is a joyless fate indeed.
That’s why, when I heard that Koenig is sponsoring a blog tour for her book, I immediately signed up.
The premise behind Parents Need to Eat Too, due out on February 21st, is that new parents can make quick, healthy, satisfying meals. We just need a well-stocked pantry, the appropriate kitchen equipment, and little patches of time for cooking and prepping. (This applies to time-strapped food lovers too. Molly Wizenberg, one of my favorite food writers, wrote a testimonial saying that the recipes are also perfect for anyone who wants to get the most out of the little time he or she has in the kitchen.)
I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have a baby yet, so how do I know if these recipes can be made under the time constraints of a newborn?
I don’t, of course. But here’s what I like about the book. First, I was surprised and excited to learn that nearly every recipe for an adult meal in this book can also be turned into baby food.
Really. When I say nearly every meal, I mean it. From protein-heavy comfort dinners like mini meatloaves with mashed potatoes and carrots to spicy vegetarian dishes like aloo dal gobi made with potatoes, split peas, and cauliflower, these dishes can be pureed or cut into small chunks for infants who are eating solid foods.
I can also tell you that the three dishes I prepared – a main meal, a snack, and a dessert – were incredibly, effortlessly easy. They required few equipment – and thus, less dishes! – and they came together with around half an hour of active time. I can easily see throwing them together while the baby is napping or at the end of a long work day when you just want to eat fast.
Although the main meals sound delicious, I thought it was appropriate to start with a dessert that Koenig said she craved while she was pregnant: chocolate Amazon cake.
Chocolate Amazon Cake
This intense chocolate cake is vegan, contains only five tablespoons of vegetable oil, and requires a mere two mixing bowls, a spoon, and a cake pan to make. With an ingredient list made up of staples like flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, vanilla, salt, and vinegar, there’s a good chance you can throw this cake together without a trip to the grocery store.
To keep the cake relatively healthy, I ate my slices with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. For a more decadent treat, I would slather it with a rich, dark chocolate ganache icing.
Now the part you’ve been waiting for: the giveaway!
The recipe for chocolate Amazon cake is available in Debbie’s book and you could win a copy. Simply leave a comment below. You can write about anything – your experience of cooking after you had a baby, your favorite time-strapped meal, your thoughts on chocolate cake. Whatever moves you.
The giveaway ends next Tuesday, February 21st, at 4:00 p.m. EST, when I’ll pick a random winner.
Between now and then, check back on Friday and Tuesday for more dishes from Parents Need to Eat Too. Thanks so much for playing!
As part of the Parents Need to Eat Too blog tour, I was given a preview copy of the book. However, I was not required to post a positive review or make particular recipes. I could write about anything I wanted, and I have done so. You can purchase the book here. Those who order before February 21st receive a free digital starter kit, which includes additional recipes, a food-focused timeline for the third trimester, and more.