How are you over there in your kitchen? Following some somewhat unexpected news, I am busy in mine. For the past few weeks, I’ve had a gut feeling that bebe Adler would be joining us early. Turns out I was having a little early onset mother’s intuition! Bebe and I are both completely fine, but I’ve had a spot of high blood pressure, so my OB team is recommending an induction at around thirty seven weeks. If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of pregnancy timing (I wasn’t until nine months ago!), this means our little bundle of joy will most likely be here in about three weeks (if not sooner). We’d originally planned for six! Ah!
And all of this after I so confidently took to the internet to talk about all the things I wanted to get done in the time before bebe’s originally estimated due date. Icarus! Needless to say, Quentin and I are now scrambling to accomplish as much as we can in the now-abridged time leading up to bebe’s arrival. We spent the weekend assembling nursery furniture, washing itty bitty clothing, and doing our best to squeeze in quality time while it’s still *just the two of us.* I also did a good amount of cooking, but more on that in a moment.
I have a feeling bebe’s earlier-than-anticipated arrival and my completely dashed (and admittedly extremely unhinged) Postpartum Prep Plan is an amazing preview of parenting itself. I can plan all I want, but human beings—especially little ones—are unpredictable. So while I’m a bit nervous about this news, I’m doing my best to relax into the chaos and am feeling very excited we’ll get to meet our sweetie a little sooner than expected.
One of the things I had planned that’s getting moved up on the calendar quite a bit has to do with you, dear reader. I was hoping for a few more weeks of writing to ya before going out on mat leave, but it looks like this newsletter will take a pause a bit earlier than expected. The Fresh Letter will go on hiatus after this week with a tentative return scheduled for early 2024. I’ll miss you!
Paid subscribers, you will receive one more menu from me this Friday and you will not be charged for your subscription during my mat leave.
Now, onto the kitchen stuff! Let’s talk about the foodie work I’m doing to prep for bebe.
I’m taking a three-pronged approach. First, I have a bit of a freezer stash built up and will add to it as I can over the next couple weeks. I am also planning on reaching for some prepared foods. And of course, we’ll do some takeout.
Before we dive in, let’s talk a bit about what shaped my postpartum meal prep plan. In crafting It, I leaned on the wonderful book, The First Forty Days. It puts a heavy emphasis on rest and recovery for the birthing person and the author, Heng Ou, has strong familial ties to Traditional Chinese Medicine. The book’s ethos and recipes are reflective of both these things—many soups, porridges, broths, smoothies, and stews that are restorative and easy on digestion. I really connected with most of what Ou had to say and recommend the book highly to any family who’s expecting a little one soon (Quentin read it too!).
Okay, let’s get into the nitty gritty of my plan:
In the freezer:
Porridges- I made two. First, a really simple congee (3/4 cup sushi rice, 3 quarts water, simmered slowly for 3ish hours). I’ll eat it stirred into bone broth for lunches and topped with silan syrup and berries for breakfast. I also made a simple oatmeal with oats, cinnamon, ginger, and water.
Bone broth- I’m making a chicken-based one. To boost the nutrients, I like to add chicken feet to mine, which I source from my local butcher. I’m loosely following the recipe found in The First Forty Days.
Smoothie bags- I made these for personal cheffing clients back in the day: toss all the ingredients (except the milk) for a single serving of a smoothie in a small ziplock. Jot the amount of milk that needs to go into the blender in sharpie on the outside of the bag. Mornings are a lot easier this way because the contents of the bag just get tossed into your blender with the specified amount of milk! I made a stash of PB&J smoothie bags with berries, banana, oats, flax, and peanut butter.
Lactation cookies- I will make these if I have time! I got the recipe from a former personal cheffing client and have made them for a few pregnant folks since. They have many ingredients anecdotally associated with increased milk production: oats, flax, bananas, and brewers yeast. TBD on if I can squeeze this task into the next couple weeks but I’m hoping to!
Banza frozen pizza- quick, easy, and nutrient dense thanks to the chickpea crust.
Trader Joe’s frozen rice- I wrote an entire ode to it.
Miso soup packets- my sister turned me on to these a couple years ago. We both love them as a hangover cure. They’re that restorative! Recovering from giving birth is similar to recovering from a fun night out…right?
Fruit-based granola bars- again, I really love the Trader Joe’s option, but I’ll also stock Lara Bars for variety.
When I tire of my broth-based diet, we’ll be turning to takeout! In our household, I usually handle the ordering in, so to make it easy on Quentin, I made him a little cheat sheet with links and typical orders. Here’s a peek:
And that covers it! I’m doing my best to keep in mind that this meal prep plan is just that: a plan. And if I’ve learned anything over the past few days, it’s that all good plans have a lot of flexibility built into them. So we’ll have our freezer stash, but in my fast-approaching fourth trimester, I’m hoping to listen really closely to my cravings and honor them as much as possible.
Okay, I cannot believe it I’m saying this, but I’m wishing you a very well-fed week…and rest of your 2023…ahead! Feel free to keep in touch, though my responses will be delayed. Shoot me an email, leave a comment, or drop me a DM over on Instagram .
Want more? I’m so flattered! You can also follow me on Instagram or TikTok, or check out my tips-laden e-book collection. The newest addition, Meal Prep Made Simple, is available to order now!
This post includes affiliate links. Your shopping experience will not be affected, but Erica might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links. Thanks for supporting Erica's work!
Erica, I love that you emphasize the importance of flexibility when cooking after childbirth. I wish you wellness and good luck.❤️❤️❤️
Congrats!! About subscriptions, I paid for a yearly subscription that was supposed to renew in August. So will I get refunded for June and July?