Ah, the first three months (three years?) with twins…..You’ve spent hours a day feeding the babies solids, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, offering snacks. Then, they finally go to bed and you look at each other and realize that the fridge holds two onions, a carton of half and half and three week old Chinese take-out. Yeah, we have this issue many nights. So, how do you ever find time in your day to have food to eat yourselves (and no, having Domino’s on speed dial isn’t what I had in mind, athough I’m not going to judge you on that).
Have friends bring food
In the first three to four months, have your friends bring food over. And more food. And food you can freeze. This is key. You must eat, and there is so little time. Easy to eat things are good—the best food gift we got was a huge fruit salad. Yummy. Didn’t have to be heated. Healthy. And easy. Fantastic! We also got vats of mac ‘n cheese, lasagna, chili, stew, pasta with pesto, all sorts of yummy stuff.
The slow cooker
So, once your babies have hit the four month mark (a magical age for twins!), you eventually have to learn to fend for yourselves. Sadly, the take-out menus will only get you so far. (And certainly not get those final 20 pounds of baby weight off of you). Thus, the slow cooker. Fantastic! There are tons of cookbooks for the slow cooker out there. We have the Cooking Light cookbook and It’s Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker. There are websites galore. You can put the food in in the morning, while babies are calm and happy and have your house smell yummy all afternoon, as babies get closer to the witching hours and begin to fall apart. There are websites with tons of slow cooker ideas. Check out www.cookinglight.com if you are working on loosing the last 1o lbs of babyweight. Or, just google “slow cooker”. (I have to say, I was shocked by how many recipes required a cream of something soup. Who knew?)
Premade dinner places
So, I made fun of these kinds of places before I had kids. These places are popping up everywhere, under brand names like Let’s Dish, Dinner Concepts, or Dream Dinners. You sign up for an evening and then go and put together the six, eight or twelve meals. The meals are frozen, in easy to store containers (usually plastic ziplock bags) for future empty fridge nights. These meals have gotten us through many a tough night. We are making Carribean Chicken tonight. Yum. Last week it was burritos in the slow cooker.
So, we have a whole bedtime routine. My husband bathes baby #1 (whichever is louder), I breastfeed baby #1 upstairs while he bathes baby #2, then I take baby #2 upstairs to feed. That feeding time is often dinner prep time. So, you ask, what can you make in 15 minutes? Scrambled eggs. Bertolli pasta in a bag (not proud of it, but we do eat it a lot. So fast!). Pancakes (yep, there’s a breakfast theme here). Leftovers (meatloaf/chili/stew/enchiladas/pasta–all heat up so well). Quesadillas. Salad with chicken.
Cooking ahead on the weekends
The other option we’ve found helpful is to cook ahead on weekends. This is made easier by the fact that my husband gets bored just playing with babies (perhaps he needs a blog of his own?). Anyway, he loves to cook and on a happy baby morning, can actually finish a project. Homemade pesto is fantastic for the summer, and really juices up pasta all winter. Enchiladas (see previously posted leftovers). Chili. Pasta. We’ve become THOSE people—make twice as much and freeze half for later. Seriously, the bag of tortellini we went through the other day was frightening. Imagine how much tortellini is in a $7.99 bag at B.J.’s. Mixed with homemade pesto (see above), chunks of mozz cheese and marinated chicken, it makes a great dish to both eat immediately or freeze for another night.
All that said, I was still at the point last night where I looked in the fridge, got scared by all the empty shelves (and no, I CAN’T make a dinner out of three bottles of salad dressing, catsup & two eggs) and called out local sandwich shop for a salad with grilled chicken and feta. Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.