One of my new favourite, go-to recipes. I’ve adapted it from a great Ayurvedic cookbook my husband gave me as a birthday present. This hits the sweet tooth spot! It’s also handy because you can make it the night before, and it’s perfect if you have to rush out the door in the morning or if you need something right away – but it doesn’t compromise on taste. I’ve included a couple different variations at the bottom: you can replace the fruit, nuts, and spices with almost anything that suits you.
- 1/3 C oats
- 3 figs, quartered
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp walnuts, finely chopped (I run a bunch through a blender to keep on hand)
- 2/3 C vanilla almond milk
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
Place all ingredients in an 8 oz canning jar. Cover tightly with its lid and give it a shake before putting in the fridge overnight. Serve at room temperature.
Replace figs with a handful of frozen or fresh blueberries.
Replace figs with 4 dried apricots, quartered, and replace cardamom with cinnamon.
Full disclosure: I don’t make these! I am not much of a baker, I’m more of a cooker, and these might be a bit too fiddly for my baking skills. However, I wanted to share, as my toddler LOVES them…and who doesn’t love cinnamon-sugar crescent rolls?! I love them, too. Everybody does.
Dissolve 1 tsp white sugar in ¼ C warm water. Add 1 Tbsp yeast (or 1 package of yeast in an envelope). Let rise for 10 minutes in cup covered with a tea towel.
- 3 C flour
- 3 Tbsp white sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 C butter
Mix together and then add to the above:
- ½ C milk
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- yeast mixture
Knead until soft. Place in covered bowl in fridge overnight.
Next day, divide dough into 8 parts or balls of dough to roll out. Roll out as though rolling pie crush, but roll over top of 1 C white sugar and 2 Tbsp cinnamon instead of flour.
Cut down into 8 wedges. Roll up starting at wide end and shape into crescents.
Cook for 15 minutes at 300° F. Makes about six dozen!!
Do not leave on cookie sheet for very long, as the sugar sticks. You may need to wash and dry your cookie sheets in between.
The possibility of postpartum depression lingered in the back of Krystal Selinger’s mind during her pregnancy with her son, but she says her doctors were more concerned than she was.
“I wasn’t worried about it as much…because my pregnancy was amazing for me. I felt good and happy. But my doctors knew my past and told me I should be prepared for PPD and to ask for help immediately if I felt overwhelmed or depressed.”
Krystal was diagnosed with depression when she was 17 years old and bipolar when she was 26.
“At that point, I finally went on meds to help, not only my depression, but my manic episodes as well.
“Bipolar takes over your whole life. It’s not something you get a break from. You swing from highs to lows, and you are constantly keeping track of your moods to find warning signs for if you are on a high or a low,” she explains. Once you determine if you’re on a high or a low, you have to change your behaviour or way of thinking, she adds.
When Krystal is on a high, she takes on too many tasks that she can’t possibly finish.
“I have to recognize I’m on a high so I don’t agree to too many projects or recognize when I’m low so I don’t end up spending my days on the couch doing nothing. It’s a delicate balance that is always being adjusted.”
Krystal says having bipolar and being constantly aware of her emotions helped her deal with PPD.
“Of course, there were hard days, days I wanted to give up, but I was constantly aware of my emotions and could do things to help the depression once it crept up. And asking for help was one of those things.”
Krystal was not afraid to ask for help from her husband, her own mother, and her in-laws.
“I think I may have suffered from PPD, but I feel I handled it well because I recognized the warning signs of my own depression and because I asked for what I needed,” she says. “I asked for time to take a bath, go out with friends, go to the gym or even just watch some TV without holding my little man for a while. I realized that asking for time away from my son wasn’t me being a bad mom, it was me doing what I needed to do to be a good mom.”
And that is the advice she would give new moms: make sure you take care of yourself and recognize it is a strength, not a weakness, to ask for help.
“Be honest with yourself about what you are feeling and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. So many people, especially those who have never had depression or any other mental problem, feel like they need to hide the fact that they are depressed. They see it as a weakness, and it’s hard to admit that you are weak. Especially when you’re a new mom. But so many people go through what you are going through and it’s not something to be ashamed of. To be a good mom, you need to take care of yourself as much as you take care of your child.”
For Krystal, part of taking care of herself is helping others. A year ago, she started her business, The Errand Lady, where she literally runs people’s errands, such as buying their groceries, picking up prescriptions or dry cleaning – almost any errand you can think of. The job is a natural fit for her.
“I have spent my entire life volunteering my time at senior citizen homes, schools, after school programs and just simply helping those around me. I love to help, but I always find it hard to find the time. This way, I can make helping my job,” she explains. “I never feel like I’m ‘working’ when I’m running errands or helping people plan parties or organizing someone’s kitchen. I really pride myself on my customers feeling like they weren’t just paying for a service, but walking away feeling special and that their needs were listened to and taken care of in a caring way.”
If you think you are suffering from PPD, please contact the Saskatoon Health Region Postpartum Anxiety and Depression Support Group by phoning 3066557777.
There are a bazillion lasagna recipes on the Internet, but even so, this is my favourite: it’s the version my mom makes. Talk about the ultimate comfort food. You can make substitutions and changes to this recipe to suit your tastebuds. Also, this recipe is great to make ahead and freeze and then pop in the oven on the days you don’t have time or don’t want to make supper from scratch.
Freeze it for later!
- 1 kg ground beef
- 1 can of mushrooms or around 8 fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bag fresh spinach
- 1 box oven-ready lasagna noodles
- 4 green onion bunches, sliced
- 1 jar of pasta sauce of your choice
- Mozza and cheddar cheese, 3 cups each grated
- 1 750 mL container of cottage cheese (I use 1%)
Brown ground beef, onions, and mushrooms.
Add pasta sauce. Rinse jar with small amount of water and add to mixture.
Mix all of cottage cheese and egg in a bowl and stir.
Spray 9”x13” pan (or a roaster works nicely).
Layer meat sauce, noodles, meat sauce, noodles, spinach, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, noodles, mozza cheese.
Cover and cook for 45 minutes at 375° F. Cook an additional 15 minutes if the cheese is not melted.
Serve with garlic bread and caesar salad.
Melanie Flett knows first-hand what it’s like to want to breastfeed a baby, but to not have the support that makes it easier.
“I was surrounded by family who didn’t know much about it,” the 22-year-old mother from Red Earth Cree Nation says as she looks back on her experience nursing her son. “But I was determined to exclusively breastfeed him.”
That’s why Flett is taking training to become a peer support for other nursing moms on Saskatchewan’s First Nations.
“The lack of support I had being a new mom…it was overwhelming. Support is very important. I would love to be there and support other moms.”
Thanks to funding from the First Nations Inuit Health Branch, Flett is participating in one of four peer support trainings offered across the province. Around 50 moms will be taking the training between Prince Albert, Onion Lake, Okanese, and Treaty 6.
Melanie Flett (right) is training to become a peer support for other breastfeeding moms. Jana Stockham, lactation consultant with Cindy & Jana and one of the facilitators of the Prince Albert conference, is one of the facilitators providing the training.
Kelsey Ring is a registered dietician with the Prince Albert Grand Council, and one of the facilitators of the training.
“During university and my first year of work, I realized that I had a passion for infant nutrition and the special bond that breastfeeding creates between mom and babe.”
According to Statistics Canada, 89 per cent of Canadian mothers in 2011-2012 initiated breastfeeding soon after their child’s birth. Six months later – the length of time the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding – 26 per cent were still breastfeeding. The WHO recommends continuing to breastfeed while foods are introduced up to 2 years and beyond. In addition to many health benefits breastfeeding provides mom and her baby, which adapt to a child’s needs as they grow or get sick, it also meets many emotional needs of a child.
Some barriers breastfeeding moms can face include lack of knowledge, social norms (some communities see bottle feeding as the norm), poor family or social support (spousal support is key to breastfeeding success), embarrassment (such as being shamed for nursing in public), or lacking access to support – exactly what this training hopes to combat.
In addition to Ring, the other facilitators are lactation consultants from Saskatoon and Prince Albert, as well as public health nurses, including retired RN Georgina Quinney. She started a very successful breastfeeding peer support program in Shoal Lake and ran it for 15 years. She is the inspiration for expanding training to multiple First Nations, says Ring.
“I facilitated a training session with Georgina about two years ago and saw what a difference it was making in Shoal Lake and surrounding communities,” notes Ring. “When an opportunity for funding came up, we submitted a proposal to host the training (which has never been done on this scale here before).”
The training follows the American WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Breastfeeding Peer Support Training program quite closely – with adaptations for First Nations women living in Saskatchewan.
The goal of the conference is to build confidence and empower First Nations moms to support and promote breastfeeding within their communities.
“All of these moms have the knowledge through their own breastfeeding experiences. We just want them to feel comfortable and confident talking to other moms about it,” explains Ring. “We also realize that the support provided by peers is unique and, in combination with support from their health care providers, plays a key role in breastfeeding success.”
Flett also encourages moms to empower themselves before their baby is born.
“Attend prenatal classes. Read the books or pamphlets about pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding just so you gain some understanding. Because being a new mom can be overwhelming. Reach out for help when needed.”
Note: I originally wrote this article for Eagle Feather News.