It's only the first week of September but already the weather seems to have decided it's fall. It was only 55 degrees today so time to break out the sweat shirts, jackets and tennis shoes.
For lunch I made my comforting lentil soup which is filling, nutritious and so easy to make in the crock pot or instapot. I made mine in my instapot which saves time and fewer pots to clean. If you have time, let it simmer on the stove top and fill your house with a wonderful aroma.
Simply serve with a side of buttered bread and you have a perfect fall lunch.
Comforting Lentil Soup Recipe:
1 lb pork sausage
1 head of garlic, diced
1 onion, diced
1 bag of lentils
2 cans chicken broth
4 cups water
2 carrots, diced
1 bunch of kale, cleaned and shredded
1 can of diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
To use in the crockpot: Start by browning the sausage in a saute pan on the stove top. When the sausage is browned add the garlic and onions and give it a stir. Allow the garlic and onion to soften, about 5 minutes. Move sausage mixture to the crock pot and add in the lentils, chicken broth, water and carrots. Let simmer for 4 hours in the crockpot on the medium setting. About 30 minutes prior to serving add in the kale, diced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a slice of buttered bread. Enjoy!
1 I've been there - four times to be exact - trying to figure out what to have on hand to eat after a new baby comes into our family. Once they arrive life is pretty much turned upside down for a few months and there isn't as much time or energy to prepare meals or snacks. I have found planning ahead helps me to eat well and nourish myself during the newborn stage.
Here are my 5 go to's for helping increase energy, stamina, balance mood and help keep you from reaching for processed convenience foods when life is stressful.
Fresh fruits. Have plenty of fresh fruit on hand - in the fridge, freezer and on your kitchen counter - apples, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, kiwis, oranges, grapefruit, berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, mangos, pineapple, and grapes all make a quick refreshing snack that needs no special preparation and offers plenty of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. (And don't forget fiber...because I know how those first bowel movements after a new baby go!)
Raw veggies. Like baby carrots, radishes, celery, zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and more. Cut them up into bite sized chunks and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator and grab a handful when you are hungry. Enjoy them with your favorite dip or try my yogurt dip below.
Nutritious spreads. Hummus, peanut butter and nut butters, like almond or cashew butters, or mashed avocado make an easy and nutritional snack when spread on whole grain crackers, bread, or pita slices.
Fish. Research also shows that nursing mothers who do not consume enough omega-3 fatty acids are more likely to experience postpartum depression. Try canned fish like salmon or tuna over whole grain crackers or a bed of lettuce leaves. Sprinkle lemon juice and some salt and pepper to taste over top for a light and fresh snack. Make it meal with some fresh fruit and veggies on the side.
Smoothies. Whip up a quick fruit smoothie with plain yogurt, fresh fruit (like strawberries and banana), ice, spinach and flax seed oil. You can make several servings all at once and keep them on hand in the fridge for something quick to sip on throughout the day.
Mama Simply Yogurt Veggie Dip:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon each finely diced;
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
Mix together and chill before serving
Morning time is just not my best time. I usually take several hours to wake up and feel like I can start getting around to doing things like laundry, picking up, errands, etc. I usually schedule appointments and errands for after 10 am because anything before that it just not going to be pretty. Knowing this about myself, I usually plan a few super simple and easy crockpot meals planned that I can just throw together in the morning without a lot of fuss or effort.
Here is my super simple pork roast recipe:
One pork roast
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 onion, sliced
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of water
In a crockpot add in the whole pork roast and throw in the garlic and onion. Top pork roast with salt and pepper and parsley. Pour the water in the bottom of the crock pot. Set crock pot on low for 8 hours or on high for approximately 4-6 hours. Enjoy with a side of green beans, some garlic smashed potatoes and sliced watermelon.
*If you would like, add in some carrots and potatoes to the crock pot with the pork roast to make dinner (and clean up!) even simpler.