Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Product - Milk Miracles Healthy Lactation Cookies

I have learned to never doubt the power of positive thinking.  Since being laid of from a medical device start-up in January (yes, at 37 weeks pregnant), my 3 1/2 year full-time job, I wondered which direction my career would take in the post-Hannah world.  I was sure of one thing: I would never again compromise myself or my true passions, nutrition and wellness, and I would only take jobs that were in the best interest of my family.  I knew that if I kept a positive attitude and an open mind, something great would happen.

Something great didn't happen.  Many things great happened.  After going to a mommy group at Babymoon Inn, where my doula works, I was asked to join their team.  I now teach nutrition classes and meet privately with expectant and postpartum moms.  I had worked in maternal/child health before and was so excited to be in a positive, family-friendly environment surrounded by health-oriented people.  Oh, and did I mention the best part?  I can bring Hannah with me.  Yup, baby chills in her Ergo (or in the arms of other mommies or staff) while I teach and consult.  

My dream has always been to have a lot of part-time jobs so that I could diversify my skills and enjoy different aspects of the nutrition and health field.  I am lucky to continue to teach regular Karve classes at both the North Scottsdale and Old Town locations.  Additionally, I work for an online start-up called MyDietitian, and I just secured a great online teaching job with a major university (more on that later).  All of this can be done from home, or at least while my hubby is home, so I haven't had to rely on anyone but family for childcare.  "Blessed" doesn't even begin to describe how I feel.

Enter lactation cookies.  I was looking for a recipe to bake healthy lactation-promoting cookies for a friend who was struggling with milk supply.  What is a lactation cookie, you say?  Certain foods may help nursing moms create more breast milk.  These foods, including oats, flaxseed, and nutritional or brewer's yeast, are called "galactogogues."  Lactation cookies are simply cookies that contain these milk-promoting foods.  (In case you're wondering, and I know you are, no - they don't make you lactate if you aren't doing so already.  And they won't make your boobs bigger.  But they do taste good and are healthy for anyone!)

There are many commercially available lactation cookies on the market, but none of them are really "healthy."  They all seem to contain white flour and lots of refined sugar.  I was frustrated and decided on a whim that I would try to make my own healthy recipe.  I spent days baking and tasting various combinations using dates and a dash of stevia for sweetness and a variety of healthy substitutes for white flour, such as sweet potatoes, bananas, and coconut flour.  I spent more money than I care to admit at Whole Foods.

My sous chef:

I couldn't get it quite right, and I was about to give up on my little idea.  On my last try, I decided to add ingredients to one another and judge based on feel and taste of the batter, not worrying too much about what I knew should work.  Fortunately, I wrote down what I did, because they were good!  A few tweaks later and I had a recipe I was actually proud of...and they taste great too.

The best part?  They work.  I would wake up swimming in milk and was able to pump far more than I normally did during my once-daily pumping session.  Since I'm with Hannah all the time, I only pump to keep a freezer stash.  I never had a supply issue, but I had noticeably more milk and cut down on my pumping time dramatically.  

To clarify, if baby is making adequate wet dipes and is growing well, a breastfeeding mom has enough milk.  Sometimes moms need help with supply if they are struggling with latch at the beginning, have to pump at work, or are under a lot of physical or emotional stress.  I never want to imply that all breastfeeding women need these cookies.

I started giving away cookies to friends to see what they thought.  The reactions were even more positive than I expected.  "I didn't think I would like a 'healthy' cookie, but these are addicting," said one friend.  "I have milk for days!" said another.  Yet another pumping mom texted me a few days after getting her batch: "The last 2 days I have had no problem producing enough for her at daycare the next day!  Last week I had to supplement twice and today I even have an extra 3 oz. so far.  The only bad part is I just want to eat cookies all day...."  (I will take this as a good problem!)

Oh, and did I mention that they're actually healthy?  Gluten-free, dairy-free, no added sugars (except for the chocolate chips, of course), no salt, no refined flours.  The ingredient list is simple: dates, oats, virgin coconut oil, almond meal, chocolate chips, eggs, flaxseed meal, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, vanilla, aluminum-free baking powder, and stevia.  Think Lara bar with oats, but better.  Why eat a less than healthy cookie when trying to feed your baby the best?

{Please pardon my amateur - and really quickly done - photography!}

I call them Milk Miracles, as they have been a miracle in many ways for me.  They also remind me of what a miracle my little Hannah is, and how miraculous it is to be able to feed her from my body. 

I'm selling them to Arizona residents only for the time being, since I bake them in my home as allowed under Arizona's Cottage Law.  Eventually I hope to acquire access to a commercial kitchen and sell them across the country.  They are $20 + tax for 14 cookies, which is generally a 2 week supply.  Compare this to Milkin' Cookies ($21.99) or Milk Makers ($30 for 20 cookies), and I think they're a great deal.  Plus, these competitors aren't nearly as healthy as my Milk Miracles.

This is just the beginning of my journey, and I appreciate your support as I build this whole new element of my business.  If you are interested in purchasing cookies and live in Arizona, please email me at or call/text 480-510-9634.


Monday, July 1, 2013

All About Oats Part 3: Oatmeal Baked Chicken

I haven't blogged in a month because I'm working on a new special project in the kitchen.  I promise I will share it with you soon, as I'm really excited about it.  Until then, how about some chicken?

As you know, I have been cooking with oatmeal a lot more lately since oats are considered galactagogues (foods that help with breastmilk supply).  I haven't had any supply issues, but since I'm pumping every day to build up a freezer stash I'm trying to keep my supply really strong.  Plus, oats are a great way to sneak in soluble fiber and B vitamins, and they are a great substitute for breadcrumbs in many recipes.

The recipe below is adapted from Taste of Home but has been tweaked because I'm avoiding cow's milk.  It has a nice, hearty texture and was given the big thumb's up by the Mister.  I also didn't use nearly as much chicken as originally called for and made the recipe with organic chicken thighs.

Oatmeal Baked Chicken

1 cup rolled or quick cooking oats (can opt for gluten-free oats as well)
1 T paprika
1 T garlic powder
1 T chili powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 lb. organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 egg, beaten 
2 T melted pasture butter


Here's my sous chef with ingredients:

Coat a 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray or a bit of melted butter; set aside.  In a shallow bowl or large resealable plastic bag, combine oats, paprika, chili powder, salt if desired, garlic powder, cumin and pepper. 

In a separate bowl, dip chicken in egg, then coat with oat mixture.  I forgot to snap a photo, so here's one of my helper.

When I'm around hot surfaces I put her in her play gym on the floor, away from anything that could fall or splatter.  Safety around kiddos is imperative while cooking.

Place in prepared baking dish. Drizzle with butter.  (I simply cut up little pieces of butter and placed on top.)

Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 35-40 minutes or until juices run clear.  Serves 6.
While baking, prepare your side dishes...or just play with your 2- and 4-legged friends.

Nom nom, no?

Serve with a big green salad and sliced sweet potatoes drizzled with coconut oil and seasoned with cinnamon and sea salt.

She doesn't get to taste it (directly), but she loves to watch as we eat.  Family meals start early around here!

All done!