5 MINUTES with blogger Vanessa Rehm

Exercise , Health , Motherhood

Vanessa Rehm’s awesome blog is one of our go-to destinations for family-friendly recipes as well as life advice and laughs! We were thrilled to chat to this fabulous mum-of-three about food, pregnancy and parenting.

What are your favourite freezer-friendly recipes for busy or expecting parents?

Funny you should ask, I have a sister in law due any day and my younger sister due in a month both with their first babies and I was just thinking last night about getting in the kitchen to make some food for their freezers. I remember how amazing it was to have these stockpiled in my own freezer when each of my babies arrived. My go-to meals for new arrivals and busy parents are:

Chicken, Mushroom & Spinach Lasagne

Mama’s Meatloaf

Chicken, Lentil & Chickpea Enchiladas

I put together this blog post when after having my third child. Having done this crazy amount of prep was so helpful when he arrived. http://vanessarehm.com/2014/05/frozen-meals-for-a-new-arrival/

You’ve been busy with kids/errands/chores all day but you’ve got friends coming over for dinner. You have an hour to pop to the supermarket and throw something on. What do you cook?

If it was Summer I would make a variation of this Thai Beef Salad or my favourite Soba Noodle Salad or in winter when you crave something a little heartier, I would make Teriyaki Salmon – quick, easy and absolutely delicious.

Pregnant women often find it hard to buy on-the-go lunches that are deemed ‘safe’ to eat. What are some easy and nutritious lunch recipes that expecting mums can make & bring to work?

Working and being pregnant is especially difficult when it comes to lunch. There are so many things you just can’t eat and not a lot of options you can enjoy when watching out for too-long-left out sushi rice, cold meats, bagged salad ingredients that could contain listeria and so the list goes on. I love meals that are filling with the benefit of fibre and flavour. Adding chickpeas and lentils to anything help to flesh it out means you avoid the empty carbs of bread options like sandwiches and wraps. I love Yotam Ottolenghi for his take on vegetarian meals that are completely satisfying. This is my favourite. I make a double batch and keep it in the fridge. Reheat and you’re good to go.

Speaking of expecting mums, when you’ve got a baby on the way, it’s hard to know what you will and won’t need. What are your baby essentials?  

My baby essentials were (in no particular order) – Tui Bee Balm for baby massage and nappy balm, PureLan for nipple care, Woollen breast pads (3 pair). Mine lasted through three children and still going strong so buy good quality, an ear thermometer – an investment but lasts forever and gives complete peace of mind, and finally a good quality baby sleeping bag. Other than that – sleep, supportive partner or family, some good quality lavender oil, lots of water to drink and almonds to snack on to boost milk production and a freezer stocked with nutritious food.

We also think it’s essential that new mums get a few pamper treats for themselves. What are the best (non-baby) presents to gift new parents?

A massage voucher for an hour of relaxation, a beautiful candle for relaxation and some nice bath treats like oils and fresh flowers to make your home feel fresh and lovely.  

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about parenting and who gave it to you?

I don’t remember who told me this, but it’s been the one thing that has stuck and carried me through my parenting journey. Everything is a phase. The difficult periods, the sleeplessness, the teething, the tantrums. Just as the wonderful moments are also a phase – the first giggles, the cute new words, the sleeping through the night, eating all the vegetables. Don’t stress the hard parts and cherish the best bits because all of them are fleeting.

With Christmas around the corner, do you have any homemade gift ideas that you can get the kids involved with?

Every year in the lead up to Christmas we have a few traditions. We like to bake Christmas cookies and decorate them together and we love to make Christmas Bark and Christmas Rocky Road for gifting to friends, neighbours and family. My kids love to be in the kitchen and these recipes are easy enough to include them with the mixing and the tossing in of different ingredients. Package them up with cellophane, ribbon and handstamp or write the gift tags.