Sympathy foods to make and give in summer

Bringing foods to others, be they a new mother or a sick friend, is a topic we’ve talked about extensively in this space. You readers have a heart for giving, that is plain to see, but you like a few new ideas for foods for others beyond lasagna and banana bread.

I’m busy, too, but making a meal or three for a friend is something that can be integrated into daily cooking thanks to batch cooking and menu planning. Coming up with a nourishing meal in summer can be tricky, however, as it’s too hot to roast vegetables or braise meats. So what to do? What meets the criteria of traveling well, re-heating without drying out, and can be frozen if needed?

I came up with a few ideas for you, many of which I executed this week. But first, if you’ve never read my manifesto on the topic, head into the archives and read Cooking for Others: A Guide to Giving Sympathy Meals. If you have time, reading the 100+ comments will warm your heart and remind you that there are still plenty of good people in this world. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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How to freeze a big batch of homemade waffles

Now that the holidays are over, don’t give up entirely on bestowing homemade edible gifts. You never know when the simple gesture might make someone’s day and there is nearly always a need in communities for sympathy meals.

A jar or two of homemade waffle mix is a great gift, complete with instructions for preparation on a tag. Better yet, make a big batch of waffles yourself, freeze them, and deliver them in person.

Today I’m bringing a virtual box of these homemade buttermilk waffles over to Jamie of My Baking Addiction, who is expecting a wee little addition to the family very soon. Post-partum hunger is fierce, and these waffles make the perfect grab and go snack, breakfast, or midnight nibble. I like to have them on hand in the freezer for after school treats and lazy weekend brunches. Or, ahem, Mother’s Day breakfast in bed served up by my children.

Read on for my best tips on batch cooking and freezing waffles (works for pancakes, too) and a round-up of delicious baby shower treats from a stellar group of girls.

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Crunch-crunch: A week of (make ahead) spring salads in jars

Rainy conditions and toe-tingling cool temperatures dissuaded any notions I had of going out this past weekend. Instead I donned Danny’s hoodie for an extra layer of warmth, and flew about the place, tackling my to-do list with vigor, a cup of tea never too far from my reach.

I managed to tuck a delicate chicken and coconut curry with lentils away in the freezer, accompanied by a dozen soft chocolate ginger cookies, and a few other goodies. Danny is plenty proficient in the kitchen, but he’ll have his hands full looking after our three kiddos when I’m away; the least I can do is prep a few meals.

I even assembled a batch of salads in jars, so they are certain to get a serving of vegetables at least once a day.

Layered salad-in-a-jar is another one of my favorite strategies for warm weather batch cooking. The salad dressing can be added right in the jar and when the ingredients are packed correctly everything stays very crisp and fresh.

All you need is a quick shake, a fork and you can crunch away to your hearts’ content.

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Stocking the kitchen for post-delivery days with baby

Now that I’m in the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I’m double-checking to make sure we have everything we need. This is our second baby, so we have a better idea of what to expect for those intense days and weeks after birth.

High on the list of priorities? Making sure there is a well-stocked kitchen to take care of our eating needs.

Whether you’re on your first baby or your fourth, chances are cooking is the last thing you’ll want to do in the days after delivery. Making sure you’re well-nourished, however (especially if you’re breastfeeding), is critical for getting through the tough first weeks.

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How to make your own waffle mix

 easy homemade waffle mix on simplebites.net

Written by Danny.

Last month, during my winter vacation, Aimee and the kids came up with the sweetest idea: Daddy’s Day.  It was a day that I could use on my vacation to sleep in, read a book, get extra backrubs and the kids were careful to be extra polite and obedient – all with no strings attached.  Basically, the best day of the year.

It has become somewhat of a necessity in our house (due to the kids’ joy in doing so) to have breakfast in bed on any special occasion. On Daddy’s Day, I got to have waffles, eggs and bacon while still in my jammies.  I shared a bit with the boys (they didn’t ask, but those eyes just begged!) and then read a book in silence while lazily polishing off my delicious breakfast.

easy homemade waffle mix on simplebites.net

Last weekend, we served up waffles to Aimee. Thankfully, she is really smart and had prepared some of this Ready Waffle Mix for us to use. It’s pretty handy to keep around, so I thought I’d share the recipe for your next ‘Daddy (or Mommy) Day’.
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