Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Cooking With Morning Sickness

A year ago, one of my favoritest-of-favoritest blogs, Like Mother Like Daughter, published a post on cooking while mama has morning sickness:

Plain Cooking: Surviving Morning Sickness and More

At the time, while I wanted to write my own post on the subject. But I couldn't, because... I was suffering from morning sickness.

Oh, the irony.

(By the way, when you're reading the above post, make sure you spend the time to go through the comment section. So much good information there.)

Back to what I was saying:

Now that said pregnancy is over, and baby is four months old, I wanted to come back and write that intended post.

And while I love-beyond-love the blog above linked, the information in that post doesn't work for me during pregnancy.

Cook sweet potatoes while pregnant?

You must be joking.

I can barely handle food or open the refrigerator, let alone do something crazy like cook sweet potatoes.

If I'm ever blessed with easy pregnancy in which I am able to continue cooking throughout the duration, I will rejoice with great rejoicing.

Until then, I am here to provide the big reality check. And while I don't know that this post will be too-too-too useful, as in, of any actual use to a real human being, hopefully it should alleviate some of the guilt occasioned by mamas who suffer from severe morning sickness.

What I've learned about cooking during morning sickness is this:

I don't.

And that's really the main point. I don't, because I can't. 

I've tried to push through. I've tried to tough it out. It doesn't work, and it's actually worse when I try to be brave. Oodles of food gets wasted, recipes and smells are branded indelibly in my forever-mind as "do not touch or try these ever again, because they're now associated with nausea." I get frustrated and teary, and nothing improves.

Instead, when my nausea starts (which is early - current record at 2w6d),

(1) I stop buying vegetables.

Because if I don't, several months later I'll be pulling a slimy mass of goo out of our vegetable drawer and throwing it out (while throwing up some more).

Soon after that...

(2) I stop cooking.

As I mentioned before, when I try to cook while super-nauseated,

     (a) I end up with horrible long-term food aversions to whatever I try to cook. I even end up with horrible aversions to whatever I'm thinking about cooking. (Just ask. I can categorically list all of my trying-to-cook aversions, by pregnancy.) Additionally...

     (b) It's a futile fight that I end up losing. Wasted time, wasted food, wasted effort.

At that point...

(3) I go into survival mode.

This means 100% cold foods for the children (cheese, crackers, fruit, milk, cereal, etc.), and for dinner, my husband is - unfortunately - on his own.

And that's where we have, in the past, run into serious problems.

My husband is a wonderful man. But he's not a cook. I can't even get the words, "Honey, I don't have anything planned for dinn-" out of my mouth before he's out the door and on the way to getting fast food.

This creates two problems:

(1) The more children we have, the more expensive this is.

(2) Fast food is rotten for your health. Seriously rotten. (Remind me not to tell you that story some time.)

Long story short, we decided that we needed a plan - and I've been working on that plan ever since. We used part of this plan for the rest of our last pregnancy, and I am developing it further to prepare for our anticipated next pregnancy.

Here is THE PLAN:

(1) We developed a list of meals that my husband and children can prepare by themselves, with relatively little work.

We're talking seriously simple, folks. As in, "open can of beans and add chopped hot dogs" kind of simple.

Not super-healthy. But it keeps them away from Taco Bell.

(See my list of super-simple meals (and a shopping list template) at the end of this post.)

(2) I am working currently on developing a list of freezer Crock-pot dump recipes. 

Crock-pot freezer dump recipes are recipes in which you put all of the ingredients into a freezer bag, freeze, and then later thaw and place directly into the crock-pot. Cook, and serve.

Of course, having a crock-pot in the house while I'm nauseated is an absolute NO-GO. (Oh, the smells.) But that's why God gave us back porches and garages, folks. I plan to make use of mine.

(The further from the house, the better. Too bad they don't make houses with electrical outlets two blocks away from the actual house. Gee, that would be convenient for morning sickness. While you're at it, move the coffee pot, microwave, and toaster oven - if you have one - out to the garage too.)

I am planning to prepare several weeks of these when our current baby is 18 months old. That should fit our time frame fairly well, so that they'll be available when I need them.

(Waiting till we conceive is not an option, as I'm usually too nauseated to cook within a very short time of conception - sometimes even before I can get a positive test, like this last time.)

(3) Additionally, I am working to make our children food-independent.

Teaching littles to pour their own water. Teaching the bigger children to prepare simple foods so that they can get their own breakfasts and lunches.

I once had a friend who expected that her serious health problems would take her life at any time. Consequently, she taught her daughter very early in life to be extremely independent in all areas of life - brushing her hair, cooking, doing her homework, etc.

My friend didn't end up dying - she's still with us! - but her work had the pleasant side effect of teaching her daughter excellent life skills at an early age.

That's my goal too.

On the whole, I would say that I tend to be deficient in the area of teaching life skills. My tendency is toward laziness - the "it's just so much easier to do it myself" mode. (Bad. Bad. Bad.)

So while a friend of mine had a ten-year-old out there winning chili cook-offs, my own ten-year-old was more along the lines of, "Mom, can you make me a piece of toast? I don't know how to do it."

(Bad. Bad. Bad.)

But pregnancy has really helped me to loosen up and to allow my children to be more independent. This has been really good for both them and me. Over the past year, our now-11-year-old has developed into an excellent beginning cook. I wish to foster this independence and the development of invaluable life skills as much as I can. Looking forward to the needs of future pregnancies gives me the motivation to do this.

And there you have it. If you can cook while pregnant, great. If you can't, do your best but don't guilt yourself to death over it. (I'm still working on that.) In all cases, simplify, simplify, simplify.

And while you're at it, hire some housecleaning help. I did this - twice - during our last pregnancy, and it was an enormous blessing. Totally worth it.

Continue to fight the good fight, dear mamas!


Easy No-Recipe Dinners

(1) Baked beans with hot dogs

Ingredients: baked beans, hot dogs
Directions: cut up hot dogs, optional sauté them, add baked beans, heat
Serve with: fruit or baby carrots

(2) Rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, frozen vegetables

Ingredients: rotisserie chickens, boxed macaroni and cheese, milk, butter, package of frozen mixed vegetables
Directions: cook boxed mac and cheese, microwave hot dogs
Serve with:

(3) Burritos

Ingredients: GF tortillas, refried beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa
Directions: heat refried beans
Serve with: fruit

(4) Chili

Ingredients: canned chili, chips, shredded cheese, sour cream
Directions: heat chili
Serve with: fruit

(5) Peanut butter and jelly roll-ups

Ingredients: GF tortillas, peanut butter, jelly
Directions: spread tortillas with peanut butter and jam, roll
Serve with: fruit and/or baby carrots

(6) Easy mixed beans and rice

Ingredients: rice, 2 cans chili beans, 1 can black beans, cilantro, spices, sour cream, salsa
Directions: follow recipes
Serve with: frozen green peas

(7) Macaroni and cheese.  hot dogs

Ingredients: boxed macaroni and cheese, milk, butter, hot dogs
Directions: cook boxed mac and cheese, microwave hot dogs
Serve with: frozen green peas

(8) Soup with cheese and crackers

Ingredients: canned soup, GF crackers, cheese, optional ham/tomato/pickles
Directions: heat soup, slice cheese
Serve with: fruit

(9) Spaghetti

Ingredients: spaghetti noodles, jarred spaghetti sauce, optional 1 lb. hamburger, parmesan cheese (green can kind)
Directions: optional saute hamburger, drain, add sauce and heat, cook noodles
Serve with: salad and dressing

(10) Cheese and crackers

Ingredients: GF crackers, cheese, ham, tomatoes, pickle
Directions: slice cheese, ham, tomatoes, pickle
Serve with: fruit

(11) Sandwiches (lunchmeat/cheese or PBJ)

Ingredients: GF bread, peanut butter and jelly OR mayo/lunchmeat/cheese
Directions: assemble sandwiches
Serve with: baby carrots or fruit

(12) Nachos with beans

Ingredients: chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, refried beans
Directions: assemble nachos, heat refried beans and add
Serve with: fruit

(13) Hummus and vegetable tray, cheese

Ingredients: vegetable tray, hummus, cheese
Directions: slice cheese, serve
Serve with:

(14) Ground beef and macaroni and cheese

Ingredients: boxed macaroni and cheese, 1 lb. ground beef
Directions: cook boxed mac and cheese, saute ground beef, drain, add to macaroni and cheese
Serve with: frozen green peas

(15) Hot dogs with “buns”

Ingredients: hot dogs, GF bread, condiments
Directions: microwave hot dogs, assemble
Serve with: fruit

(16) Hamburger patties, mashed potatoes, peas

Ingredients: frozen hamburger patties, boxed potatoes, milk, butter, peas
Directions: cook hamburger patties, make mashed potatoes, cook peas
Serve with:

(17) Black bean soup

Ingredients: canned black beans, chicken bouillon/broth, salsa
Directions: follow recipe
Serve with: chips and sour cream

(18) Breakfast dinner: Choose fried or scrambled eggs, optional spam, cereal/oatmeal/toast

Ingredients: eggs, optional spam, cereal/oatmeal/bread
Directions: cook whatever your choices are!
Serve with:

(19) Tuna and crackers

Ingredients: tuna, mayonnaise, pickles, cheese
Directions: make tuna, serve with crackers, slice cheese to go with it
Serve with: fruit

(20) Baked potatoes

Ingredients: potatoes, butter, sour cream, cheese, optional hamburger
Directions: scrub and poke potatoes, bake or microwave, optional cook hamburger
Serve with:


Sample Shopping List

Dairy Meat
_____ Milk _____ Lunchmeat
_____ Cream _____ Hot dogs
_____ Sour cream _____ Hamburger
_____ Kefir
_____ Cheese
_____ Shredded cheese

_____ Cheerios
_____ Pickles
_____ Canned pineapple
_____ Canned green beans
_____ Tuna
_____ SPAM
_____ Mayo/Ketchup/Mustard
_____ Salad dressing
_____ Raisins
_____ Prunes
_____ Crackers
_____ Bread
_____ Tortillas
_____ Paper plates
_____ Paper bowls
_____ Salsa

Produce Frozen
_____ Apples _____ Frozen peas
_____ Bananas _____ Frozen corn
_____ Grapes _____ Frozen berries
_____ Baby carrots
_____ Tomatoes
_____ Bagged salad
_____ Vegetable tray
_____ Hummus


  1. I have never been as ill as you get with each pregnancy. May I say in all honesty how much I admire your faith and willingness to sacrifice your own comfort for the purpose of bringing the Lord's children to the earth. Your children are blessed with a truly lovely mother.

    1. Thank you, Anne! Your sweet comments always make my day. I don't feel particularly brave, I'm afraid - but I would LOVE to know sometime that this blog encouraged mamas to be open to children despite difficult pregnancies. That would be awesome!! By the way, I thought of you recently when I picked up a copy of "A Girl of the Limberlost" at a used curriculum sale!! :)

  2. It's fun to read this as I'm going through morning sickness. I've done some of the things you mention this time around: kids do the cooking, nobody cooks and we eat cold foods. I've also accepted that a freezer meal from the store works for dinner, so I picked up a lasagna, a fiesta bake, and a pan of enchiladas. I have frozen meatballs - today they are in the crock pot for dinner, just add pasta.
    I've been gathering freezer meal ideas from Pinterest for both the oven and the crock pot and hope to get some made up this weekend or next. I'll have hubby or the kids handle the meat part, I can cut the veggies without gagging. Or I will get frozen/canned veggies and just have kids measure things out. Ahem. Keeping it simple for sure. And taking advantage of any time I feel semi-decent by cooking or prepping something.

    1. Tristan, hi!! I thought of you as I finished this post, and was hoping that your morning sickness was OVER!! I'm so sorry to hear that you're still in the thick of things - hoping to hear soon that you are feeling much better!!

      I have learned that two of my other friends are expecting around the same time you are - one with #10 and one with #13. What an awesome winter it is going to be!!!!! :)


      P.S. I totally forgot to mention storebought frozen meals as an option in my post. YES. And they are definitely better than fast food! Our problem with them is that they tend to be super wheat-heavy, which means headaches for my husband and son - so I try to avoid those most of the time. However, they're definitely an option, and I'd still prefer them over fast food!!

      P.P.S. Also, if you're reading this thread, I'd love to know your impressions of how your morning sickness is this time around compared to last time when you were doing the Whole30 during early pregnancy. Worse or better???

  3. I think you should seriously consider investing in an Instant Pot. Dinners can be made safely, quickly, and health-ily in a short amount of time, so you don't have to smell it all afternoon.

    They will most likely be on sale on Amazon Prime Day on July 11.

    And I have a contribution to your recipes.

    BBQ Chicken

    Chicken (boneless breasts are easiest)

    A can of carbonated liquid-soda, seltzer, or even perrier (just nothing diet)

    BBQ Sauce of choice

    Pour the soda over the chicken. Put in the crock pot for 6-8 hours. When done, drain off the liquid, shred, and toss in BBQ sauce. Joe could easily turn it on before he left and it would be done when he got home. The carbonation makes the chicken fall-apart tender. We put it on hamburger buns and use the leftovers in salads and on baked potatoes.

    1. Jen, thanks for your wonderful comment! You are right - I should consider an instant pot. There was a big discussion on these a year or so back in our homeschool group's email list, and people LOVED them. And thank you for the recipe - I have printed it, and am going to make it to take to some friends next week!! :)

    2. You can also do it with pork. I think rootbeer and cherry colas both enhance the flavor but unflavored stuff works well, too.

    3. And the reason I mention boneless being best is because it's so tender when its done, that it will be hard to find the bones

    4. Do you think sparkling water would work for this?? Not quite sure if that would be in the same category! Thanks!!

  4. Oh hello, are you awesome or what!? I'm so going to copy your steps here, you're a genius!

    1. Cathy, you're too kind!! And you, my friend, take the ultimate prize for HG preparation if you're already thinking ahead to your next, LOL - wow!! :)

    2. Of course I am, just like you! Always finding ways to make it better... :) children are always welcome and hence I'm on a mission!! Lol I can't wait to blog about it and email you💜💜💜💜

    3. Yes!! Absolutely! There is ALWAYS room for improvement! I'm waiting for one mama to publish her "how I did it" post that I think you will love, and I can't wait to see yours too!! I'm going to publish my own protocol hopefully within the next two weeks. :) Give that lovely baby of yours a hug from all of us here in the states!!

    4. Yes, I've been working on it today! Not long now :) by the way, this is completely off topic - when I'm reading your blog on mobile version the text and background are so dark it's hard to read your text :( I still do it, too lazy to sit Infront of a proper 'puter lol xx

    5. Hi, Cathy! I asked Joe to pull up my site on his phone, and sure enough, it looks just as bad on his phone. I'm so sorry!! I guess this background and style just come across badly on phones. Hopefully Google/Blogger will remedy that at some point. :)

    6. I think you can adjust the background on your settings. Just choose a lighter colour. I had to do this myself a little while back. Hugs!

    7. Okay, let's try this! Better? :)

    8. Wonderful! Thanks for letting me know! :)

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  6. I think I was 20-something weeks before I could open the fridge without wanting to hurl! I felt SOOOO guilty as the husband found it very stressful to have to think of meals and then cook them, and then attempt to feed me with food that I actually didn't want and would potentially throw up. I still remember the first time I threw up his cooking...... he was so offended ;D So I added guilt to the list of awful things I was already feeling. Not to mention the act of standing up for long enough to cook or prepare food would have knocked me out anyway. Ah pregnancy!

    1. Amy, I am SO sorry I took so long to publish your comment!! My apologies!!! And I add my hearty AMEN to everything you wrote! Oh, pregnancy - gotta love it.

      I will be publishing my NVP-prevention protocol soon, based in large part on yours. THANKS AGAIN for sharing your wonderful plan!!


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