Foodie Friday: Pay it forward

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Categories Feeding, Foodie Fridays, Mommy Issues

When I was pregnant, people used to ask us all the time what they could do to help when the babies came. I had no idea! They’d ask us again in the first few weeks of the babies’ lives….and by then, in my sleep-deprived state, I at least knew one answer….food! Bring food! Lots of it, yummy food, easy to prepare food, hopefully semi-healthy food….I really don’t care, as long as I can eat it. 

The best help we got those first few weeks, besides my mom, who moved in for two weeks—LOVE moms—, was friends and family bringing by dinners for us. Fruit salad from my mother-in-law, pesto and pasta from Seth’s aunt, meatloaf from my sister-in-law, mac and cheese and a salad from a friend. One friend who doesn’t cook much just brought by pizza, making sure there was enough for plenty of leftovers. The best meals were meals that lasted for several days. One friend, whom I had just recently met, brought over barbequed chicken, green beans and a tomato salad. It was very tasty…and there were at least two more meals in there. Real meals, that felt like you were eating home-cooked, reasonablly healthy food were fantastic. (The local take-out places started to really like us in those days). Abigail and Danny---They don't look like much work at all here!

Now that we have (somewhat) recovered from being new parents of multiples (do you ever fully recover, really?), we try to pay it forward. When friends have a new baby or two, we show up with a meal or two with plenty of food for leftovers. We aim for weeks 4-12 somewhere, when much of the family help has disappeared, but the babies are awake more and needier and moms and dads more tired. Adrenaline gets you through those first few weeks, but I remember week 6 or 7, realizing we’d been doing this for weeks and weeks (and by this I mean no sleep) and there was no end in site. Boy, was I tired.

Our favorite go-to meal to take to new parents is pesto & chicken tortellini. (See recipe below). Another favorite is meatloaf and mashed sweet potatoes, which is good for those with any dairy or nut issues. In the summer, we like to add a big fruit salad. And any new mom, especially those who are breastfeeding, need a nice dessert, so we usually include a pan of brownies (Giadelli’s double chocolate brownies are really the only ones to bother buying) or a pan of rice krispie treats. We see it as paying it forward—-sharing the good karma from all those meals we ate and appreciated so much. If you’re pregnant with multiples (or just one), start prepping friends and family for this food delivery now. If you’ve “survived”, like us, think about paying it forward to another new family or signing up to deliver meals to new moms in your MOT club.

And now for pesto chicken tortellini. Not a fancy recipe but very flexible. Add as much cheese or as little as you want or leave out the chicken for those non-meat eaters.

Pesto chicken tortellini

Chicken breasts, grilled or cooked in the oven, then chopped into small pieces

Block of mozz cheese, chopped into small pieces

Frozen tortellini (I recommend the BJ’s bag—it’ll feed a family of 10!)

Pesto (homemade and frozen in the summer or from the store)

Cook tortellini. Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish. Sprinkled a bit of grated mozz on top. Bake until cheese is melted.

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6 thoughts on “Foodie Friday: Pay it forward”

  1. That sounds delicious! I’m going to have to try it myself! I just put together a lasagna for my neighbor last Friday after she had her 2nd baby(at home with a mid wife). She LOVED it…and it was a nice reason for me to take a sneek peak of our newest little neighbor! I’ve also made a mexican lasagna for another neighbor(for her family while her little boy was in the NICU for a month and she had 3 other children to feed while still going back and forth to the hospital) which was delicious and VERY easy to put together. I’m with you on the pay it forward! One of my best friends from college/sorrority sister insisted on bringing over a lasagna for us…Oh MY..that was the BEST MEAL i have EVER had in my life. We have never been so greatful since the babies were soo young and we really needed a few meals to cook and then freeze extras! We ate that lasgana for 3 or 4 days straight(we have one of those cool sealer things that seals bags air tight and they are well worth the money). Since then i have actually learned a LOT about crock pot cooking and with 3 kidos running around our crock pot is well used.

    Have a great Friday!

  2. I agree that eating a decent meal is one of the many things that when we have twins as newborns we find that we have taken for granted in the past. I will never forget when one of my friends from work brought us something to eat… it was simple, but probably the best tasting meal EVER! Who knows when we had last eaten. Great idea and reminder to “pay it forward”!

  3. Amen, sista! My local moms’ club (one open to all moms, not just MOTs) has a “sunshine meal” program. If you have a new baby or are sick other moms sign up to deliver meals for a two week period.
    When I had the boys, we had only been living here for two months and I didn’t know too many people. It was soooo wonderful to know that some mom I didn’t even know would be bringing a hot & tasty meal that night. I swear the thought of not having to worry about dinner is what got me through some of those early days!
    So now whenever a mom needs a meal I’m one of the first ones to volunteer. Besides, this way I always get a sneak peek at the new baby when he or she is tiny!

  4. As the beneficiary of a tray of said recipe from said blogger, YUM! I think my kids were 4 weeks old when you brought it over, and it was so great. Tasty, “real” food. And nice to be able to just grab a bowlful and stick it in the microwave whenever we managed to get a free moment.

    And much better than attempting anything frozen (aside from maybe a lasagna). Freezing food effectively is actually much harder than most people realize, and so you end up with things that don’t defrost well and get freezer burn. And take up a lot of space in the freezer that could be used for ice cream instead. 😉

  5. That is such good advice! Our friends always organize a “meals on wheels” program when someone has a baby (or two), and we loved it. We did not have to coordinate who was coming by when, we just got a schedule and people showed up with food.

    the other thing I found helpful (and started doing too) was when people would call and say “we’re going to the grocery store, what do you need?” Because we’d feel bad if someone said, “can I do anything?” ASKING them to go to the store, but if they actually told us they were going anyway, it didn’t feel as though we were putting them out. Our lists were usually something like, diapers, yogurt smoothies, chocolate.

  6. Nice idea! It is something that I never thought of before I had twins. But after going through those first few weeks – and being the recipient of some nice, home-cooked meals – I try to make a point to do it for other twin mommies! And I agree with Eva about the grocery store thing. That was always nice when people asked if they could get me something from the store. There was always one or two items we needed; it wasn’t worth motivating out of the house just for them but it was sure appreciated when someone brought them for us.

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