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5 make-ahead meals to prep for baby’s arrival

Stocking your freezer with a few staples can make life much easier (and may we suggest tastier) after baby arrives.

5 make-ahead meals to prep for baby’s arrival

If there’s one thing we know about new motherhood, it’s this: things that used to be a piece of cake can all of a sudden feel like monumental tasks. Stocking your freezer with a few staples can make life much easier (and may we suggest tastier) after baby arrives, so we rounded up some of our favorite foods to fill up your freezer for fast and easy options later. Enjoy, mama! ?


1. Soups: freeze in a tupperware or ziplock freezer bag

Sweet Potato Bacon Chili

by Little Coconutty

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 jalapeños (remove seeds to make less spicy)
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into chunks
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:
First cook bacon and break into pieces, then sauté onions garlic and peppers in bacon grease and add to pot, next brown hamburger seasoned with salt and pepper in the same bacon greased pan ? and add to pot. Add rest of ingredients and cook until sweet potatoes are soft. Freeze and serve later with avocado, green onions and cilantro.

2. Egg Quiche/Frittata: cook in mini muffin tins and freeze in individual portions

Veggie Egg Frittata

by Little Coconutty

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 eggs
  • broccoli, cooked
  • tomatoes
  • onions
  • mini sweet bell peppers
  • bacon or ham

Directions:

Chop all ingredients and add to whisked eggs and salt and pepper. Put into greased @lodgecastiron skillet and bake at 375 degrees Farenheit for 15-25 minutes until done. Refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze for later.

3. Bite-sized snacks: refrigerate or freeze for eating on-the-go

Energy Bites

by Nutrition Simply

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tb honey
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and add water until desired consistency is reached. Roll into 1” balls and refrigerate up to 2 weeks or freeze up to 6 months.

4. Smoothies: freeze blended or place all ingredients in a mason jar

Banana Split Smoothie

by Simple Green Smoothies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 bananas*
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted*
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream (optional)

Directions:

Use at least one frozen fruit to chill down your smoothie bowl. Blend all ingredients until smooth and then freeze or freeze ingredients together and blend later.

5. Breads & Muffins: add veggies and superfoods and freeze for later

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

by Nutrition Simply

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup zucchini, finely grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup greek plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl--almond flour, baking soda, cacao, cinnamon, & salt. 2. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl- zucchini, eggs, yogurt, coconut oil, vanilla, honey & apple cider vinegar. 3. Add chocolate chips if desired. 4. Mix wet & dry ingredients until just combined. 5. Bake in parchment lined loaf pan at 350 degrees Farenheit for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cover photo: Lauren Carnes Photography

Share with Motherly: What are your favorite freezer meals?

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

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