One of the perks of being a stay-at-home mom is the ability to take time to cook. I remember during our first two years of marriage, I got home after 6:00 every night and our menu was pretty limited to a few quick meals or eating out. Now that I stay at home, I'm able to start a meal in the morning if I need to, and work on it off and on throughout the day as time allows, with lots of interruptions from an adorable little man! I love spending time in the kitchen. And, I love cooking for others, too. It's kind of like a labor of love.
This post is dedicated to the art of taking food to new moms. I made a meal tonight for some friends of mine who just had a baby (babies, babies, everywhere!) and it inspired me to create a post with some tips that I've found helpful when it comes to bringing food to new parents. Since I stay at home, I have more time to create and prepare a meal, so I tend to go all out. But, even if you work or are pressed for time, these tips can come in handy. Trust me, I've learned from doing it wrong several times. Now that I've had a baby and have had meals brought to me, I've developed a few guidelines for myself when it comes to bringing meals to others. So! Enjoy!
1) DISPOSABLE BAKEWARE.
Repeat it again: DISPOSABLE BAKEWARE. I don't know how many times (before having Cub) I dragged (drug?) my massive crock-pot to the homes of new parents, proudly handing them my offering of whatever roast or chicken happened to be inside said crock-pot, and then promptly turned heel and left. I suppose it never dawned on me that perhaps new parents don't really want to do dishes? Especially someone else's dishes? A massive heavy dish with baked-on food?? Once I had Cub, I realized how much I appreciated the meals that came in disposable bakeware. If you use a crock-pot to cook your meal, either use a liner or dump the contents of the crock-pot into tinfoil pans. Or bring your crock-pot and dump its contents into a dish that belongs to your friends. Then you take your crock-pot (and the mess) home with you! Your friends will greatly appreciate it!
Be sure you know what kinds of food your friends like or dislike and then prepare your meal accordingly. Also, keep in mind that if the mom is breast feeding, she might not want anything too spicy or anything with onions. And, try to include something homemade. By homemade, I mean that if your meal is frozen lasagna with frozen breadsticks and a bagged salad, try throwing in some homemade cookies. The whole point of bringing meals to friends is so they can have something homemade ... not to eat something they could have easily done themselves! And, if you are pressed for time, utilize the trusty crock-pot!
*Note: I, of course, have also been that lame friend who TOTALLY FORGETS I'm bringing a meal to someone until the day of and I end up calling them from the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A. Nothing says love like some nuggets and sweet tea! But, if you do happen to remember that you are bringing a meal before the day you bring it, try making something homemade. I made fajitas for my friends tonight (mild fajitas) and made homemade guacamole (sans onions) to go along with them! I also divvied up each topping into its own disposable container. The guacamole took all of five minutes to make. Remember that just because something is homemade doesn't mean it has to take forever to prepare!
3) Something SWEET!
Don't forget dessert. If you know for sure that your friends don't like sweets, then skip on over it. But, remember, you are bringing a meal to pamper your friends and to make this special time in their lives even more special. You probably won't see your friends out and about very much in those first few weeks, so this is one way you can spread some love and let them know how much you care about them, even if your meetings will be few and far between for a while. I've found these amazing Ghirardelli Fudge Brownies that come with chocolate sauce and my-oh-my, they are delicious. And they can be easily baked in, you guessed it, disposable bakeware!
So! There you have it! Those are the simple guidelines I try to abide by when I sign up to bring meals to my friends who have babies. If I have time, I try to toss some diapers in my meal sack, too.
How about you? Do you have any tips for bringing meals to new parents? Or have you ever had a scary brought-to-your-home meal experience??