So, here is my first installment in the Baby Making Recipes. I did some research and found out that plant proteins (aka, beans, peas, peanuts, etc.) are high in the kind protein and iron that increases fertility. And no, this is not the same kind of protein that you find in a nice steak or a grilled chicken breast. So, I decided that my first recipe would revolve around one of these fertility-inducing legumes, the cannellini bean. Finding inspiration in my love of Tuscan food (and who loves love more than the Italians??), I decided on a Concepire White Bean Stew. (P.S. Concepire is conceiving in Italian. ;) )
First, chop half of a red onion. Heat 2-3 tbsp of olive oil in a large stockpot. Saute the onions over medium heat for 3-4 min until tender. Add in 3-4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped; 1 medium zucchini, chopped; and half of a red pepper, also chopped. (Hint: I like to chop everything up before I start to heat the oil in the pan- then I can just sit back and add the veggies at my leisure.) Saute the veggie mixture with the onions until tender. Stir often so your veggies do not burn.
Once the veggies are tender, add a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes. I add a couple of tbsp of balsamic vinegar to the tomato mixture here. Season with salt and pepper, and dried Italian herbs (you know, like basil, oregano, etc.). Drain and rinse two 14 oz cans of cannellini beans (also known as white kidney beans). Add to the pot. Pour in one 32 oz carton of chicken broth (vegheads, you can use vegetable broth here!) Stir in 1-2 tbsp of sugar (the sugar cuts through acidity of the tomatoes). While you wait for the stew to come to a good boil, rinse off and start tearing about 4 good-sized kale leaves into slightly larger than bite-sized pieces. Tear the leaves from the stalk- don't use the stalk. Add the kale leaves to the boiling stew and cook until the leaves are tender and limp. Taste your broth again! Does it need anything else? A bit more herbs? A shake more salt?
I served my Tuscan stew with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a crusty Italian bread. My carnivores, please feel free to add some cut-up rotisserie chicken. :)
So, now for the breakdown. Other then the beans, what else makes this a fertility boosting recipe?
The Kale leaves- Dark, leafy greens are high in folate. Folate intake is very important before you are preggers to prevent birth defects. (My preggo moms- folate is important ALL through pregnancy too!)
Tomatoes- The lycopene in tomatoes has been shown in some studies to help reduce the inflammation associated with endometriosis. And endometriosis can lead to problems conceiving or even to infertility. The studies are not extensive, but it definitely can't hurt to eat tomatoes!
Eat up, enjoy and have fun concepire!