I was putting together a little package for a friend and thought I would post it for those of you that might be looking for ideas for new moms or friends that need cheering up.
I have a good friend that just had surgery and I wanted to drop some things off to her.
What I really wanted was to basically send my friend a big hug in a bag so to me very comforting foods include fresh baked bread, something hot- like soup, and of course what could be better then fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.
My friend just had surgery and has had a painful recovery period so I figured she probably doesn’t have a huge appetite. I decided to skip any heavy casseroles and such but I still wanted something that she can pop in the microwave that would be filling.
- I cheated and bought Chicken Noodle soup from the store. I wasn’t sure if she has had a lot of people bringing her meals so the nice thing about store bought is that it will keep in the fridge for a long time.
- I also grabbed a fresh baguette to go with the soup. The smell of fresh bread is pretty much my happy place. I sliced it up and popped it in a Ziploc so she doesn’t have to worry about it getting stale.
- Next I wanted something easy for snacks or breakfast so I popped in some fresh fruit and homemade banana bread. She has small children so I knew the banana bread would be a hit- my girls will eat an entire loaf in one sitting if I let them.
- Last I did two tubs of cookies. This was just one batch and I took 1/3 of the batch and baked the cookies fresh. The rest of the batch I rolled into small balls and did a flash freeze. I popped those into a Tupperware with the baking instructions taped to the inside of the container. The frozen cookie dough is great for people that might have a lot of visitors stopping by- like a new mom. They can pop some cookies into the oven and have them for guests plus the house will smell amazing in 5 minutes. Win-win!
So that was it. This particular friend had to kick a fiendish Diet Coke addiction before her surgery so I included a sparkling juice. This is a great option for those that don’t do caffeine. Another idea would be nice coffee for a new Mom, gourmet hot chocolate, tea (I love Good Earth tea), or homemade lemonade in the summer. (Here is a recipe for Peach Lemonade or a recipe for Starbucks Passion Fruit Iced Tea here.)
I wanted to include one nice little thing for her- since my friend is laying around recovering, I rolled some magazines I thought she’d like and tied with ribbon. Some other ideas would be flowers, a rich lotion and fluffy socks or a nice candle. A new Mom might appreciate a bundle of thank you notes and a fun pen.
If you are delivering something to a new mom, you might consider a little gift for her and a little something for the baby.
If the Mom has other children, I also like to include a little something for them so they don’t feel forgotten about. A coloring book and new Crayons, a small toy, bubbles, Hot Wheels, books, a movie… I try to think of things that might occupy a child for a few minutes so Mom can shower or do what she needs to do.
Most people will bring a casserole or chili or soups- things that will freeze and reheat easily. I don’t like to take heavier dishes unless it is the middle of winter.
Here are a few other ideas:
- A bagged salad with a roasted chicken dish and fresh bread or fingerling potatoes sliced with olive oil and herbs (ready to roast in the oven)
- Ground beef or shredded chicken, shredded cheese, tortilla strips, bagged lettuce, salsa and guacamole for a Taco Salad
- Fresh pizza dough balls, marinara sauce/white sauce or pesto, shredded cheese and whatever other toppings you think they might like. (This is so easy to put together and can be a fun idea for parents that have small children underfoot).
- Short on time or not much of a cook? How about a rotisserie chicken, a great deli salad and a wonderful baked something from the deli. You certainly don’t have to cook or bake-really it is the thought that counts.
- Most people focus on bringing dinner. New parents also need to worry about everything else in between and remember the schedule is often a bit of a mess those first few weeks after a new baby comes home. You might also consider putting a care package of breakfast items (after all who wants to fuss around the kitchen when you have been up all night with a baby)- a delicious gourmet jam, fresh fruit, muffins, scones or french bread would be fantastic. There is a fast and easy fruit dip recipe here that will give Mom tons of protein. You might even boil some eggs and include those for a savory option or this mushroom frittata is delicious!
- You could do a bag of delicious snacks with fresh veggies all washed and put in containers with hummus or salad dressing. Sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, a great crusty bread, olives etc… would be delicious. That is a great option for someone that isn’t eating as much or might want a healthier meal.
You might check with the person and see if they have any dietary restrictions or in my case I just checked my friend’s pinterest boards to see the kind of foods she had been pinning.
Above you can see another basket I put together recently. Yummy scones from Whole Foods, great coffee, juice, milk, fruit salad, muesli and a fruit salad. I also tucked a little Starbucks gift card into the basket and some little toys for the bathtub.
And as for presentation, I much prefer to give disposable containers so the person needn’t return any dishes (or wash any dishes for that matter).
You can pick these up for super cheap at the Dollar Store or my set of 3 large containers was $2.49 at Target. Mason jars are also a cute and inexpensive way to present treats or condiments- like fresh salsa to go with tortilla chips. I used a mason jar for berries.
You might even make a batch of fresh cookies and just include a little note with a gift certificate for the local take out or delivery place.
Last but not least, here is one more meal gift that I delivered to a neighbor that is going through Cancer treatments. The wife has found that her husband has totally lost his appetite, nothing seems to taste good to him and she really struggles with finding anything at all to make. I know she is a big fan of margaritas so I decided to make a Taco Box and drop that off along with a margarita mix I had been telling her about. Obviously this is not something for the man going through Chemotherapy but an illness takes a big toll on the caretakers too so this was a little something for her.
I made fresh salsa (so easy and so delicious- see recipe here) just popped into a mason jar and then stopped off at Whole Foods for tortillas, cheese, guacamole (I would have made this but I didn’t know how quickly they would eat it), chopped lettuce and tomatoes and sour cream. I included a Mason jar with fresh Gerber daisies and just used a little tin that was $.69 at Party City to pack it all up. Oh and I cooked both ground beef and chicken and popped that into Ziploc bags.
I don’t know anyone that can turn down tacos so hopefully this will appeal to him. This is a pretty safe bet for a meal and when the neighbor stopped by to thank me she mentioned she had several people over that afternoon and she just served margaritas and chips and salsa and didn’t have to worry about getting something together for visitors. (Double win).
And if you want to print that cute little tag that I used below- it is a free printable sheet here.