My sister Julie spent the first part of her life as a career woman ushering women through childbirth, as a doula. She has been by my side for all three of my births, easing my mind through the fears and shock of transition and pushing, anchoring my spirit to the earth with her intense, blue-eyed gaze. Her hands are unbelievable small and strong, and have brought comfort to me and so many others with their firm massages and gentle touches. Julie is not a woman to trifle with, and she somehow manages to banish the primal terror that often accompanies birth.
In addition to comforting my body and soul during labour and birth, Julie has offered her post-partum care time and time again. As I have navigated my way through the not-always-simple transition into motherhood, she has been patient and wise, offering breastfeeding support, emotional support, foot rubs, and a gentle ear when I wanted to cry with exhaustion.
She has also offered nourishment.
One of her famous recipes to aid with constipation before and after birth is her "Stick-O-Dynamite" Muffins.
If you or someone you know is preparing for birth, please consider making a batch to give! The recipe makes plenty of muffins, more than enough to freeze! For me, making these muffins has become a pre-birth ritual. I individually wrap them, so that each night, I can set one beside my bed for a snack during the 2 a.m. nurse. With a slice of cheese and a glass of water, I feel nourished and can settle in for more sleep.
I made four dozen yesterday, and somehow a bit more peace trickles into my mind as I strike that off my "to-do" list.
Here's the recipe:
Doula Julie's Stick O' Dynamite Muffins
4 cups spelt or whole wheat flour
1 cup All Bran cereal
1 cup oat bran
1/2 cup psyllium husk
1/2 Red River (or twelve grain) cereal
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Combine dry ingredients in a LARGE bowl (I use a big soup pot...this recipe makes LOTS!)
In a medium bowl, combine:
4 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup oil
grated rind of 2 oranges or lemons, or one of each
3 cups grated vegetables (beets, carrots, zucchini, butternut squash)
1 cup dried fruit (cherries, prunes, figs, dates, cranberries, apricots, raisins)
1/2 cup applesauce
Mix wet ingredients into dry, and mix just enough to combine.
Spoon into prepared muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees F until toothpick comes out clean, approximately 20-25 minutes for regular sized muffins.
Yield: ~4 dozen muffins
This recipe can easily be halved if 4 dozen seems like too many! They freeze well, too.