Anna Maria Locke

recipe

Healthy freezer meals to prep before baby!

2019Anna Locke
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I’m currently 3 days from my due date, bouncing on my bouncy ball in the “nurffice” (nursery/office), feeling pretty uncomfortable, trying to remain present and calm and go about life as if everything is COMPLETELY NORMAL but gosh it’s hard not to obsess about every little twinge in my uterus.

The cliche “nesting instinct” that supposedly hits women at the end of their pregnancies is so real. All last week I had this desperate need to deep clean the apartment and stock up on food, Ben keeps joking that we’re preparing for nuclear winter but honestly that’s how I feel! As if we don’t live in the age of Amazon Prime and aren’t surrounded by an incredible village of friends and family who will take care of us...the fact that my shower gel bottle is half empty is legit stressing me out and I needed to purge the house of every last speck of dust. Like, NEEEEEEEEDED!!!

Ben has been a great sport about it all and has fulfilled all my deep cleaning whims. I love him!

My mom came to visit a couple weeks ago and deep cleaned the freezer and grossness behind the fridge which was the best pregnancy gift ever.

And this weekend I re-filled the squeaky clean beautiful freezer with several crockpot dump meals and batches of baked goods! This sight literally gives me a hit of oxytocin warm fuzzies, can you hear the angels singing?

Baby Locke, we are ready for you!

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I’ve read that warming, nutrient rich meals are best for postpartum recovery. Even though it’s August I figure we’ll be keeping the air conditioning cranked, and I know I’ll be drinking alot of smoothies too because they’re easy and I’ve been craving them, so all the meals I prepped are frozen crockpot dump bags. The crockpot also makes life easy and doesn’t heat up the kitchen!

If there’s meat involved, it will take a little bit of forethought to partially thaw in advance (for food safety it’s discouraged to slow cook frozen meat) but I didn’t feel up to actually cooking food to freeze. I’ll leave that to our friends and family!

I found my biggest inspiration from this blog post from Eat, Live Run, and this post from Pinch of Yum. Ben’s manager also shared this epic assembly line style crockpot meal prep spreadsheet.

Here are the crockpot “freeze and dump” meals I ended up making! I used a sharpie to write any cooking or serving instructions so anyone else in the house can make the food for me:


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At ALDI we grabbed a couple boxes of bone broth to add to the crockpot recipes before cooking because it has more protein and nutrients than water or regular broth. We also stocked up on dry goods like pasta, brown rice, and some crusty bread to keep in the freezer to serve alongside the meals. I figure we can use Instacart or have my mom or a friend make a quick run to the store to pick up any fresh foods we need.

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The baked goods I made:

  • Lactation cookies 

  • Zucchini oatmeal muffins (increased oat/flour ratio to 1 c oats and 1 c whole wheat pastry flour)

  • Corn muffins (haven’t made these yet but we have all the ingredients and they look easy so I”m going to print the recipe and have it on hand for whoever is available to whip some up to go with the chili and soups)

  • Bran muffins:

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The bran muffin recipe is from my mother in law Pat and it’s one of my family faves. It’s the best because you make a giant batch of batter that keeps in the fridge for several days, so you can either scoop some out and bake a few muffins on demand, or else bake them all and pop them in the freezer. I decreased the sugar to ½ cup because the cereal has sugar as well, and they end up very sweet. Next time I might even omit added sugar altogether. I’d rather bake less sugar into my muffins and add honey if needed. They also have TONS of fiber, which I imagine I’ll appreciate ;)

Pat also made us an enormous batch of tortellini soup and is planning some breakfast burritos, so we have those on deck as well!

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And in the meantime as we wait for my uterus to call time and eject bebe, I whipped up a batch of these raw brownie energy bites because I’m trying to eat as many dates as possible to soften my cervix.

WE WILL NOT STARVE!

Hope this is helpful if you’re prepping for a new baby or want to help out a preggo friend!

xo Anna

Homemade Nutty Crunch Granola

2017Anna Locke

Hello friends, and happy September!

Oh my gosh this has been a whirlwind summer. I’m currently sitting on the deck listening to the mariachi radio coming from the apartment building across the alley (seriously), soaking in the last bit of humid summer-y weather here in Chicago where it lasts. I’m more than ready for some fresh crisp fall air but NEVER ready for winter here...so trying to stay present and enjoy the moment!

It’s been a while since I blogged regularly, and I miss it so much. I’m not sure why I haven’t been writing, other than the usual perfectionitis and being distracted with everything happening in life and biz lately. You know, excuses ;)

I owe you a big juicy life update letter and will send it soon I promise! If we aren’t already virtual penpals you can subscribe to my semi-regular newsletter here.

This weekend I was inspired to bake, and decided to make granola. Homemade granola used to be a staple in my kitchen back in my grad school days, and it’s so freaking good and easy to throw together. The only trick is to NOT over-bake, and don’t add dried fruit or chocolate chips to the mix before you bake it. Just don’t. 

The fun part is that you can mix in whatever ingredients you have on hand and make your favorite flavor combos using this basic recipe.

This granola is healthy, but it’s not low calorie...and it’s incredibly addicting. So proceed with caution !

Homemade Nutty Crunch Granola

Inspired by Health magazine

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ c old fashioned oats
  • 3 c mixed nuts and seeds (I used sliced almonds, walnuts, pecans, chia seeds, and millet. Coconut would also be delicious. This is perfect if you have a lot of nearly empty bags of random baking nuts in your pantry!)
  • 1 ½ T cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 3 T melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • ½ c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 300*F.

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients.

In a smaller bowl, whisk wet ingredients until combined

Stir wet into dry until the granola is evenly coated with the syrup/oil mixture.

Spread mixture evenly in 2 large baking sheets and bake 30-40 minutes, stirring and rotating pans every 15 minutes.

Take granola out of the oven and let it cool before transferring into large jars or bowls for storage. It will get crispy and toasty as it cools, so don’t worry if it doesn’t seem “done” when you take it out of the oven!

OPTIONAL: once cool, stir in dried fruit or chocolate chips!

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Serve with yogurt, top your smoothie bowl, eat by the handful. I've been loving it on top of a pumpkin spice smoothie bowl, or with frozen cherries and Greek yogurt. NOM!

There are so many flavor combos you could try.

  • Almond and dried cherries
  • Walnuts and banana chips or apple chips (I'd add the fruit chips after baking)
  • Coconut chocolate chip
  • Pumpkin spice (instead of cinnamon) and pumpkin seeds

I can't wait to keep experimenting!

MORE GRANOLA RECIPES

Basic Homemade Granola
Apricot Nutty Crunch Granola
 

xo Anna
 

Epic Baked Oatmeal

August 2016, 2016, Recipe - BreakfastAnna Locke

Oh my goodness, summer is slipping away way too fast! This is Ben’s last week of break before he goes back to school (WHAT!) so we’re trying to cram in the last of our summer bucket list activities, plus watching about 5 hours/day of Olympics, of course. 

Last week we took an incredible trip to Tennessee and North Carolina for my second annual Beachbody Coach Summit in Nashville, and then to visit Ben's mom. We visited Asheville (ADORABLE), hiked the Appalachian Trail, ate tons of delicious food, and had a wonderful trip.

I love traveling but it always throws me out of my routine, so this week has been a little busy getting back to work! I have so many projects and ideas I want to put into place this summer and fall now that I've officially graduated from my life coaching course!

Last Saturday I hosted a brunch and vision board workshop for the Chicago area coaches on my team Inspire Joy, and I made a delicious baked oatmeal casserole to share. It was so good, I decided to make another one to eat this week.

This recipe is PERFECT for those weeks you're super busy and want to have a yummy healthy breakfast all ready to go in the morning. It would be great to pack up and take to work too, with way less mess than cooking traditional oatmeal!

It makes around six servings and stores well in the fridge for a few days. You can either re-heat it in the microwave or eat it cold, it's great both ways. You'll feel like you're eating cake for breakfast!

Epic Baked Oatmeal

Inspired by Cookie and Kate
Serves 6
21 Day Fix containers: 1 yellow, ½ purple per serving

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 c old fashioned oats
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ c milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 T pure maple syrup (optional -- add more or less depending on your sweetness preference!)

Fruit

  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 2 c frozen or fresh berries (I used blueberries and strawberries, no need to defrost)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375* F. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.

Coat a small baking dish with cooking spray. I used a 9-in round Pyrex, you could also use an 8x8 in glass or ceramic dish.

Place a layer of mixed fruit (about half the fruit, or 1.5 cups) in the bottom of the dish. Layer the dry ingredients over the fruit, and pour the wet ingredients on top. Gently press the top of the dry ingredients with the back of a spoon and tilt the dish back and forth to make sure everything is saturated with the egg and milk mixture.

Layer the remaining fruit on top, pop it in the oven, and bake for 45-55 degrees, until the edges look brown and everything is solid!

Serve warm or cool, great with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. This will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days!

You can have fun and mix it up with any fruit that's in season, or add chopped nuts!

Some possible suggestions:

+ Banana Walnut
+ Pear Almond
+ Strawberry Rhubarb (add extra maple syrup for sweetness)

I'm already thinking about a pumpkin spice version this fall ...

Let me know if you try this recipe, I'd love to hear what you think! 

xo Anna