Nap Time is for Cooking and Baking

Growing up other women would always ask my mom how she got everything done.  Her house was always "guest ready" and she could whip up a meal out of thin air.  I remember thinking she was some special superwoman.  Turns out, she was just organized (kind of a super power really).  Now my girlfriends often ask me the same thing.  And my sister's girlfriends ask her the same thing.  I guess it's just in the genes.  On the topic of finding time to cook and bake, here is my tip -- it's amazing what you can get done during one nap time (or lunch break or during the evening news). 

While this comes from my perspective as a working-from-home mom, I think the general rules can apply to anyone. After all, before I spent my days at home I spent my days in an office.  Just replace "nap time" with another time you have available once each week.

During one of my daughter's naps earlier in the week or over the weekend, I sit down with cookbooks and articles from magazines I've saved and create a list of things I want to make over the next week.  Then during one of her happy awake times, we run errands to get all the groceries.  One another day, I devote one nap time to being in my kitchen.  During this time I can make food for my daughter, prep dinners for the next couple nights, or bake up some snacks.  It's amazing what you can get done during one nap!

What I made during today's afternoon nap:
Parmesan Pasta with Chicken and Rosemary -- we'll eat this over the weekend for lunch.
Oatmeal-Blackberry Bars -- for a fruity snack both my daughter and husband will love.  Not to mention any friends that may pop by. (recipe below)
Carrot Snack Sticks - a great way to sneak a vegetable into my 11mth old's diet

I prepped dinner (Steak w/ Pistachio Pesto and Roasted Potatoes) and wrote this blog post.  It was a busy nap time for me, but I enjoyed trying new recipes and now I have food ready for snacks and meals.  

Disclaimer:  This doesn't work all the time.  I have many nights where at 5pm I'm texting my husband to pick up dinner or throwing a pizza in the oven.  But if I stick to my "two naps a week for baking and cooking schedule" me, and my family, are happy eaters.

Gotta run -- my daughter's waking up and now it's snack time.  I hope she likes the carrot snack sticks.


Oatmeal - Blackberry Bars
  • 10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup blackberry jam (or your berry of choosing)
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Prep an 8-inch square baking pan.  In a food processor (your mini cook works great) pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together.  Add the butter and pulse until the dough is formed.   Transfer to a bowl and knead in the oats with your hands.

Set aside 1/2 cup of the dough.   Press the remaining dough into the pan.  Spread the jam evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edges.  Place the berries on top of the jam.  Then sprinkle the remaining dough on top of the berries.  

Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are golden.  Let cool completely before slicing.