DIY frozen smoothie packs

frozen smoothie packs - pre  made

Let me share with you my secret weapon to avoiding the hassle of making healthy snacks!

Nesting isn’t a myth.  The Baby is coming in the next few days and the fridge is full. It doesn’t mean I’ll want to cook though… Since I want to breastfeed and loose the baby weight quickly, it’s still very important to pay attention to eating well. Nutrients in food support the body’s growth, repair, and wellness. Investing in clean simple ingredients and getting organic foods is a great way to start healing and nourishing my postpartum body.

Clean healthy foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals naturally!

Clean healthy foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals naturally!

In our home we make a lot of smoothies. They are a great way to incorporate fruits and veggies into our family’s diet any time of day. They are delicious, and very quick and easy to make. We always try to find clean healthy foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals naturally. Having a few super foods on hand such as chia seeds, flax seeds and kale, give us the convenience of quickly adding some extra nutrition to our daily diet.

I know that for the next few weeks (years!?) after the birth I’ll be exhausted, too tired resist sugary, fattening snacks, and too lazy to cook healthy meals. That’s why I’m trying to make my life as easy and healthy as possible with some pre-made frozen smoothie packs!

pre-made frozen smoothie packs

pre-made frozen smoothie packs

Instructions:

Simply use ZipLock bags and pre-make your smoothies according to your taste. I usually use 3 types of fruits – ½ cup each and 1 handful of baby kale. Place the individual ZipLock bags in the freezer. Whenever you need, you’ll just have to pour a bag in your blender, and mix with a cup of liquid (coconut water, almond milk, water…). DONE!

I love adding some flax seeds or chia seed to my smoothies. Depending on my mood, I can add a few nuts, dry fruit and granola to make a smoothie bowl.

Here are the recipes I used this time:

smoothie recipe - frozen packs - healthy snacks

Not only are green smoothies super healthy, but they are also tasty! You can experiment with flavors, add super-foods and control the amount of sugar or protein. Sometimes I even put a bit of broccoli! And if you don’t like the green color, just use more berries. You’ll get the benefits of the kale without seeing it.

You can find more healthy tips and recipes here

What about you? What are you DIY kitchen secret weapons?

Drink a rainbow everyday

Drink a rainbow everyday

Homemade Sourdough bread

A Kitchen Blog ~ Boule baked in a Japanese donabe 

A Kitchen Blog ~ Boule baked in a Japanese donabe 

Enjoying my maternity leave in the kitchen!! As a French woman abroad, I missed bread! I missed it so much that I’ve learned to make the best bread ever! It’s not easy and it takes patience and dedication. I think I enjoy the process as much as the taste! Luckily, because the process lasts about 36 hours and the tasting barely reaches 15 minutes according to who eats it with me… “Wait, did you say 36 hours!?” Yes… It’ a whole process. So Let’s be honest, this post is not for busy and slightly (or very!) overwhelmed Moms, it’s only for bread maniacs who have some time to consecrate to make magic happen in the kitchen! And for those, don’t worry, there is a LOT of resting time.

A Kitchen Blog ~ bread dough 

A Kitchen Blog ~ bread dough 

A Kitchen Blog ~ bread dough

A Kitchen Blog ~ bread dough

Here’s the recipe I use. (If you are too busy to experiment in the kitchen, keep the recipe, once retired and duty-free you may want to try it…). I slightly adapted it from a recipe that had been taught to me by Yuko, amazing and talented pastry and bakery maker, owner of the beautiful and delicious Blog A Kitchen Blog (Thanks so much for your help, Yuko!) 

A Kitchen Blog ~ Bon appétit!

A Kitchen Blog ~ Bon appétit!

Ingredients: 

 

Final starter: Scroll down at the bottom of the page to learn how to make your own Mother starter.

12g Mother starter (recipe at the bottom of the page)

60g Bread flour

35g Water

 

290g All-purpose flour

200g Water

7g Salt + 3g Water

 

Directions:

  

1.    In a bowl, mix 290g all-purpose floor and 200g water, cover it with plastic and let it rest for 6 to 12 hours in the fridge (this step is named Autolyse).

2.    At the same time, make your final starter in a small bowl mix 12g mother starter, 60g bread floor and 35g water, cover with plastic and let it rest for 6 to 12 hours at room temperature to activate the final starter very well.

3.    After 6 – 12 hours, add the active starter into the floor + water mixture. Mix by folding the dough in the bowl.

4.    In a tiny glass, mix the salt and water. Let it dilute and then add it to the dough by slapping the dough on the table and folding it. Repeat for 4 minutes.

5.    Bulk fermentation at room temperature. Stretch the dough and fold it 3 times. Let in rest for 30 minutes. Repeat 3 times. You will see, your dough become stronger and it won’t stretch anymore.

6.    Cover and let it rise until the dough starts showing the yeast activity and becomes about a third in size.

It takes about 4 – 6 hours total (the warmer it is, the faster your yeast will react).

7.    Place in the fridge for 12 – 18 hours.

8.    Pull it out of the fridge and leave it out for 1 hour.

9.    Shape your dough by folding the dough. Give it the shape you want (loaf, ball...) and place it onto a floured kitchen towel

10. Let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour (according to the temperature - the hotter, the faster).

12. Put the pizza stone (or Japanese Donabe) into the oven and preheat to 500˚F

13. Final formation for about 1 hour (according to the air temperature)

14. Score the top of the dough using a lame or a sharp serrated knife.Place the bread on the pizza stone (or in the Donabe : Very very carefully open the lid (it’s HOT!) and put the bread in the preheated Donabe, replace the lid and slip it back into the oven.) 

15.    Add a large oven pan with some water in it and close the oven (best result if you pour some water on brick blocks sitting on the pan) and shut the door immediately. Turn down the oven to 480˚F, bake the bread for 30 minutes.

16. Turn the heat down to 460°F and bake for 10-15 minutes (without the lid if you use the donabe – once again, be carful it’s very HOT).

17. Once the bread is nicely brown, turn the heat off and remove the bread.  

18. Let it cool onto a rack.

Enjoy!

Make your own sourdough starter!

From Yuko - A Kitchen Blog

Credit : A kitchen Blog

Day 1.

In a mason jar, mix 30g Whole Wheat floor and 30g canned pineapple juice (unsweeted / room temperature) until all the floor is hydrated. Mark the level of the starter with a piece of tape or rubber band. Leave it at room temperature for 24 hours. Stir 2 – 3 times a day.

 

Day 2.

You probable won’t notice much change at this point.

Add 30g Bread flour and 30g pineapple juice and mix until al ingredients are evenly distributed. Mark and cover the container just like Day 1. Let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Stir 2 – 3 times a day.

 

Day 3.

You may notice some activity at this point.

The mixture may have risen and there might be bubbles. Regardless of whether you notice any fermentation or not, discard (or give it to a friend to cultivate!) half of the mixture (in this case 60g), and mix 30g of Bread Flour and 30g of Water (filtered / room temperature) until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Mark and cover as before. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

 

Day 4.

The mixture should have at least doubled in size at this point. It seams to be sluggish and hasn’t doubled in size, allow it to sit at room temperature for another 12 to 24 hours.

Otherwise, repeat instructions for day 3.

 

Day 5.

Feed the starter (repeating day 3 instructions: discard or save it for pancakes or pizza dough!) half of the mixture (in this case 60g), and mix 30g Bread flour and 30g Water (filtered / room temperature). Feed it twice a day about 12 hours apart.

 

Day 6.

If your starter has been very active and always doubles in size (or more) between feedings, then your starter is ready to bake with! Congratulations!

You may also choose to refrigerate your starter at this point and slow down the feedings to every 3 days. If your starter still seems a little sluggish, continue with twice a daily feeding as above.

Varicose veins... a “not-so-pretty” side effect of pregnancy!

Hanging out in Santa Barbara in my Four kisses Lily Trotters compression socks

I’m sure you've heard about the radiant, flawless glow that's supposed to come with pregnancy. I kinda felt that way with my 1st one, but this pregnancy is… different.

Despite being active, eating healthy, and managing a reasonable weight gain … suddenly I started to develop awful blue and purple bulges on my calves. Varicose veins turned out to be inescapable and I now need to deal with them everyday. I used to hide them as much as I could and bought the 1st pair of grandma compression socks I found! That certainly didn’t make me feel much better…

Emotional well-being and mental outlook play an important role in pregnancy. I felt like my body was letting me down and it was difficult looking at myself in the mirror. I’m sure hormone swings don’t help, but to me it wasn’t just a pair of socks. I can deal with this big belly, but my legs made me feel dissatisfied with my body and appearance, this truly affected my self-esteem and happiness in general.

Varicose veins are an embarrassing beauty problem that can affect self-estime... Fun compression socks are my answer!

Varicose veins are an embarrassing beauty problem that can affect self-estime... Fun compression socks are my answer!

Pregnancy is the perfect recipe for varicose veins by the 3rd trimester (read more bellow the article)! I wanted a solution without feeling like an old maid. Luckily I found Lily Trotters socks. I now wear them everyday without being embarrassed. It’s funny how cute and fun socks can change the way I see my legs. They’re not only cute and hide my veins, but they also improve my blood circulation considerably. They added some color and fun to my workout outfit and quickly became a “must-have” accessory. I think the only times I’m without them are when I swim, sleep of take my shower! Compression socks have somehow worked their way into fashion!

Wearing my Lily Trotters socks all day long!

Wearing my Lily Trotters socks all day long!

Here are a few tips to reduce your risk of developing varicose veins, or to soothe symptoms of existing varicose veins during pregnancy:

  • Wear fun Lily Trotters compression socks

Healthy and cute way to promote blood circulation by improving venous blood return back to the heart!

  • Stay active

Regular physical activity (example: walking, swimming, low-intensity body weight exercises…) promotes good circulation throughout the body and overall health during the pregnancy.  Moving legs are healthier legs!

  • Put your feet up

Avoid standing and sitting for prolonged periods, especially sitting with crossed legs. Also, try to elevate your feet above the heart a few times a day to allow gravity to naturally circulate any pooled blood in your legs back towards your heart.

  • Sleep on your left side or leg slightly elevated

Since the growing uterus is causing increased pressure in the large inferior vena cava vein on the right side of the body, try to sleep on your left side to relieve added pressure. You can also, lie comfortably with your legs slightly elevated.

  • Cold water

Avoid extended exposure to heat from hot baths, hot tubs, or sauna. The excessive heat will cause your veins to dilate more. I try to end my showers with a jet of cold water on my legs. It feels great!

  • Gain healthy weight

Now that I'm pregnant, I get to "eat for two," right? No… You need only about 300 more calories per day! Any extra weight increases gravity’s pressure on your leg veins.

The good news is that in most cases, if we didn't have them before we got pregnant, our varicose veins will shrink or disappear within a few months after we give birth. I know, nine months can sometimes feel like an eternity, but we need time to create life and when we get to meet that sweet little part of us, varicose veins won’t seam that important!

pregnancy varicose veins compression socks

We are not alone!

According to a Swiss Medical Weekly, between 50 and 55% of American women experience varicose veins during pregnancy. 30% of women pregnant for the first time, and 55% of women who have had two or more full term pregnancies develop varicose veins.

But why are varicose veins so common during pregnancy?

Here’s an easy explanation:

  1. First, the blood volume increases 50% by the 30th week. So if the average blood volume is around 5 liters (1.3 gallons) of blood, that means by the 30th week of pregnancy we have about 7.5 liters (2 gallons) of blood in our blood stream. This extra volume of blood is essential to support two growing bodies, but it does put extra pressure on our blood vessels!
  2. Second, the veins in our legs have to work against gravity to push all that extra blood back up to our heart.
  3. Plus, the growing uterus puts pressure on the pelvic blood vessels. (Should I mention that the large, swollen blood vessels can also show up almost anywhere in the lower half of your body – even your rectum or vulva)
  4. And finally, the extra progesterone we produce causes vessels to relax!