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Mothering and Grandmothering: A New Baby, a New Year, and New Recipes…

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

Sarah and Jeff welcomed the arrival of baby Willa! She made her entrance in late January and has kept everybody hopping since. Some Grandma bragging: She is a cutie, no doubt about it. I am so thrilled for them, and for all of us. There is nothing like holding a new grandbaby…

I went to Austin for a week to do a little diaper duty, and lots of cooking. That week I made four soups, including Turkish Red Lentil Soup from our blog, two batches of Sesame Tahini Cookies, and Sarah’s GF Banana Bread (an early Tried and True post). Soup is so good in cold weather, like the icy freeze Austin experienced while I was there. But we were warm and cozy inside.

Right after my first child was born, I found a recipe for a savory oatmeal made with leeks, milk and butter that was just divine. Willa’s arrival reminded me how good that tasted after giving birth, and so we’ve recreated it here for any of you new moms. Oats are a great food for nursing mothers, purported to help increase your milk supply. They are delicious for anyone – including dads and grandparents. I used goat’s milk, but it could also be made with regular milk, or plain, unsweetened oat, almond, or soymilk if you prefer non-dairy. The sauteed leeks are naturally sweet, and they taste wonderful with the oats. Great with a poached or over-easy egg on top. Leftovers can be reheated along with roasted vegetables for dinner, like a side of rice. We call it Creamy Oatmeal with Leeks, and the recipe follows.

Meanwhile, back in Santa Barbara, I’m revising the Follow Your Heart Vegetarian Soup Cookbook. Originally published in 1983 when I worked at Follow Your Heart’s restaurant in Los Angeles, it needs a little updating because some of the seasoning products we used then are no longer available. I’m happy to say that I’m still in love with these soup recipes. Making and eating them again is like visiting with old friends, and they stand up to the test of time. As the recipes are retested and completed, we’ll post a few of them here this spring and summer. I’ll be adding a few new recipes to the book for vegetarian soups and vegan broths. This week I’ve been testing Cream of Carrot Soup as well as Creamy Zucchini Soup and Dear Aunt Lilly’s Lima Bean Soup. Creamy soups that called for dairy products now also offer vegan options.

I’m working on developing some flavorful vegetable broths to include in the revised book, and in the process, I’ve been testing recipes others have created. One of my favorites is a Healing Broth published by Anthony Williams. So flavorful and very easy to make. Click on the link if you want to try making it.

Finally, a recently published book called The First Forty Days, by Heng Ou, Amely Greeven and Marisa Belger, shares a philosophy, based on Chinese medicine, on how to care for a new mother for the first forty days after giving birth. The book offers some recipes, and we made their Chicken with Red Dates and Ginger Soup. The red dates are also known as jujubes, a dried fruit that can be purchased at Asian markets, online, or even at our Santa Barbara farmer’s market. This is a traditional recipe made especially for new mothers: strengthening as well as sweet and delicious.

Even if you haven’t just given birth, this soup will make you strong! It’s also quite simple to prepare. We discovered that we enjoyed the dried red dates on their own, as a snack.

Creamy Oatmeal with Leeks

4 servings

2 Tbs. ghee or butter, or plant-based butter

2 medium leeks, cleaned and trimmed, both white and green parts, thinly sliced

1 c. rolled oats

1 ¼ c. water

1 c. milk, goat’s milk or plain, unsweetened plant-based milk of your choice

Salt to taste

Melt butter in a deep sauté pan over low heat. Add leeks, and cook, stirring often, until leeks are tender, but not browned. Turn off heat.

Meanwhile, toast oats in a dry heavy skillet over low heat, stirring often, until they are faintly golden and give off a lightly roasted smell.

Add oats, milk, and water to leeks in pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, and continue cooking, covered, just until oats are tender, 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally, adding a splash more water or milk if mixture becomes too thick. Add salt to taste. Serve, with a small pat of butter, and perhaps a poached or over-easy egg on top.

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