Mothers & Menus is a New York City meal delivery service designed for families living through those first few crazy weeks with a new baby. Its founder, Karen Gurwitz, was frustrated after the birth of her first child: she wanted to lose her pregnancy weight, but since she was breastfeeding she worried about cutting out too many calories. Wouldn't it be great, she thought, if someone else would figure out what she should eat and deliver it to her every morning? Such a service didn't exist, so she invented it and committed to using whole and organic foods as much as possible.
Mothers & Menus sounds wonderful and flexible. But if it doesn't fit into your budget (it certainly doesn't jibe with mine) and you like making your own food (as I do), you might want to take a look instead at Gurwitz's cookbook, The Well-Rounded Pregnancy Cookbook.
This is the one pregnancy book I have acquired that is all about food. After looking at some others and realizing that I was unlikely to absorb hundreds of pages of dense information and unrealistic recommendations, I decided that this book was right for me—in under fifty pages it provides essential facts and sensible advice about what expectant mothers should eat, and then it moves on to simple, appealing recipes that aim to satisfy cravings and nutritional demands at the same time. Each recipe includes three variations: one for women suffering from nausea, one for ravenous women, and one that has been lightened for women who need to control their weight. This makes the book especially useful for people who think they don't know how to cook, since suggested variations help beginners see how easy it is to improvise.
Although I wouldn't serve any of the dishes I've cooked from this book to company, they're better than fine for Wednesday night dinner. Eating stir-fried vegetables with coconut curry sauce with a smoothie for dessert makes me feel better about the nights I eat beef stew, mashed potatoes, and butterscotch pots de crème. This is a great resource for pregnant women who want diet information that is friendly, not alarming, and for any cook who could use some inspiration for nutrition-packed meals and snacks.
The Well-Rounded Pregnancy Cookbook recommends this very berry smoothie for breakfast, but I've been making it around 9 p.m. to get in some extra calcium and stave off dessert cravings. It's yummy enough to make me forget about cookies and ice cream...most of the time. Perhaps you're thinking, who needs a recipe for a smoothie? I do!
- For the stir-fried vegetables with coconut curry sauce   1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
- 2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon sweet or hot curry paste
- 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions, white and green parts
- 2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 4 ounces soba noodles
- For the very berry smoothie   1 cup mixed fresh or frozen berries
- 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder (I skip this)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon flax seed oil (I skip this, too)
- A generous drizzle of honey (this is my addition)
- 1 banana (also my addition)
To make the stir-fried vegetables with coconut curry sauce: Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the green beans, broccoli, carrot, and stock, cover the pan, and cook until the beans and broccoli have turned bright green, 1-2 minutes.
Meantime, cook the soba noodles according to package instructions.
Stir the curry paste into the coconut milk. Turn the heat under the skillet to high and add the curry mixture to the vegetables. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 3 or 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the scallions.
Sprinkle with chopped nuts and cilantro leaves before serving over cooked soba noodles.
To make the Very Berry Smoothie: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until creamy.