Moms work hard all year 'round, but it's usually only the second Sunday of May when thank yous come her way in the form of brunches, flowers, silly cocktails and, if daddy is smart, a piece of primo bling. All that's fine, but remember to give a second gift that will keep giving all year long: A book to make meal-making a bit easier. Here are some new titles to help get food on the table for the whole family and bring a grateful smile to any mom's face.
“Feed Yourself, Feed Your Family: Good Nutrition and Healthy Cooking for New Moms and Growing Families”
By La Leche League International (Ballantine; $20)
A practical, informative and useful guide for women who are pregnant, nursing or weaning and trying to adjust to the new circumstances of their life from the Schaumburg, Ill.-based organization committed to helping women worldwide with breast-feeding. The easy-to-follow nutritional advice makes this book, as the jacket says, a “blueprint for a lifetime of healthy meals.” More than 75 recipes are included.
“The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food Into Family Life”
By Kelsey Banfield (Running Press, $23)
Naptime for baby is often naptime for exhausted parents as well. They may want to reconsider how that time is spent with this smart book. Every one of Banfield's recipes comes with a “Naptime stopwatch” telling you how much time you need to prepare the dish and cook it while your child is sleeping. Founder and editor of The Naptime Chef (thenaptimechef.com), this mom from Fairfield, Conn., proves that you don't have to give up great home cooking after the baby arrives, just shift strategies to keep the flavor but be more efficient.
“The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket”
by Katie Workman (Workman, $16.95)
Moms worry about feeding their families. Workman's answer: 100 recipes “that address a dilemma, a predicament, a head-scratcher that we moms face day in and day out.” Editor in chief of Cookstr.com, a recipe website, this New York City resident poses a head-scratcher in every chapter, like “I need something new for my ‘white food only' kid” or “You signed me up to bake what?” Her solutions come with do-ahead notes, cooking tips and suggested tweaks.
“Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents”
by Debbie Koenig (William Morrow, $16.99)
More than 150 recipes, all easily converted into baby food, are offered up for “frazzle, sleep-deprived” parents looking for easy, nutritious and delicious foods to feed their families. Koenig is a food writer and blogger (debbiekoenig.com) based in Brooklyn, N.Y., who discovered it took several months to regain her “kitchen legs” after her son's birth. She shared what she learned in classes and now this book. New parents tested all the recipes; Koenig includes their comments and tips.