Whelping French bulldogs isn’t easy even when it is easy.
As a whelper, you need to make sure to take care of yourself because if you’re not at your best then your puppies will suffer the consequences.
This includes getting the right amount of sleep, taking tons of naps in between feedings, making sure you maintain good personal hygiene, and are eating regular meals & staying hydrated.
Table of Contents – Being the best whelper you can be
Sleep – Imperative for a whelper
As humans we need 7-9 hours of sleep every night, women usually need more. I know I could sleep 10 hours if you let me.
Sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression. Sleep deficiency is also linked to a higher chance of injury in adults, teens, and children.
Lack of sleep can affect your memory, cause brain fog, weight gain, skin problems, make you more susceptible to illness and more.
Be sure to nap as much as possible. Don’t be scared to separate mom from the babies so you can get some shut eye.
Proper Nutrition – Easy meals and snacks for whelpers
You definitely want make sure that you’re feeding yourself.
If you don’t feed yourself properly you’re not going to have the energy to do the whelping and you’re going to get sick. Literally sick with a cold, flu, sinus infection, something, and yes it has happened to me many times.
Now when I’m whelping puppies, I do a lot of meal prep, easy stuff stuff you can just throw in the microwave to reheat or quick and easy stovetop reheating.
I do this 1-2 days before due date. A lot of it gets frozen so it doesn’t go bad before I can eat it all.
The thing about freezing food is though you need to pick stuff that will reheat to be just as good or better than when you first cooked it.
Cheeses don’t freeze well, there’s too much moisture in them so when you thaw them out, all the moisture comes out and you get a pool of water. The texture is also significantly altered.
I like to meal prep rather than buying pre packed stuff with artificial flavors and chemicals. (We’ve been watching a lot of food documentaries lately and the information is astounding)
However, Trader Joe’s asparagus risotto in the freezer isle is one of my guilty pleasures.
One of my favorite things to meal prep for breakfast is copy cat McGriddle sandwiches.
I make mini pancakes using a biscuit cutter ring as a mold, bake bacon, and then I also scramble and bake the eggs.
Copy Cat McGriddles
20g Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
Mix dries together
56g Butter, melted and slightly cooled
Whisk in wets with the dries
If you’re making mini pancakes use a muffin cutter. Rub the cutter with oil or butter and place on preheated griddle or pan.
Place a few tablespoon of batter in the center until it reaches the edges, allow to cook for a minute or 2 and remove ring. You may need to twist the ring a little to remove.
When bubbles start forming in the center, flip pancake. Repeat! Wipe ring down when batter starts to build up.
Baked scrambled eggs:
8 eggs, scrambled
oil an 8×8 pan and add eggs. Bake at 325 until eggs are no longer jiggly in the center, check every 10 minutes.
Bacon in the oven:
375 18-25 minutes until desired doneness.
Turn tray half way through (about 8 minutes)
Once the eggs are cool to room temperature, I cut them and then pre-assemble the sandwiches and freeze them. I take two sandwiches out of the freezer at a time and let them thaw.
I quickly reheat them in the microwave for maybe 30 seconds then add the cheese. I know you’re probably wondering about the maple syrup. I just put it in a little dish and use it as a dipper.
Some other favorites are tacos, chili, spaghetti, any kind of pasta with different sauces, pizza, hamburger helper, and Mac and cheese, veggies any way: roasted, streamed, grilled, sautéed/stir fried
I like to do mini tacos like those Jose ole mini tacos that you get at the grocery store in the frozen section, but better because they’re homemade. Mini tacos are awesome because you can make as many as you want. Maybe you only want 3 maybe you want 6. Tiny tacos make a great snack or meal.
Tortillas are really easy to make and they’re packed with flavor. To me corn flour (Maseca harina) has a distinctly floral flavor, which I love.
To make tortillas all you need is Maseca Harina – yellow or white(we use white), warm water, salt, pepper, and oil (olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil).
Corn Tortilla Recipe:
2 cups Maseca harina
2 cups warm water (more or less. Use as needed)
2-3 tbsp oil of choice
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix to ingredients together until dough is smooth and pulls away from the bowl to make a nice ball.
Cover with damp paper towel as you work so it doesn’t dry out, add more water as needed if it does get a little too dry.
If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use to plate or something else flat to press them out. Just put a little ball of dough in your hand kind of semi-flatten it, put it between two pieces of parchment paper sprayed with oil and flatten it with a plate. Remove one piece of parchment paper and put the tortilla in a hot pan or on griddle with the dough side directly on the heat, gently peel off the other piece of parchment, cook it on both sides for a minute or two and you’re done. The paper should come off pretty easy as the heat releases it from the Dough.
I use a tortilla press. I also have a cookie scoop that I used to portion out all the tortillas so they’re exactly the same size. We use a small electric griddle that I throw all the tortillas on once they’re pressed. Then I cook 1lb of ground beef for taco meat(you can use any meat you like), shred 1-2 pounds of cheese (for everyday use) and cut up some lettuce. Use whatever toppings you want. Avocados are my favorite along with red onion and curtido.
I even freeze the tortillas and the taco meat if I make enough.
Lasagna and Spaghetti are more easy options. They’re easy microwave leftover meals that often times taste better the next day.
So is chili.
You don’t have to spend hours making your own sauce either. Find a nice organic sauce with limited ingredients and add your own herbs (dry or fresh) and seasonings to liven it up.
We grow our own herbs.
We like the Wegmans brand tomato basil sauce.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
The great thing about tomato sauce is its’ versatility.
We like to use it on veggies like broccoli or zucchini/squash.
We also make our own pizza – dough included.
I make and bake about 10 pizza crusts at a time, personal size, put them in reusable gallon bags and freeze them. We pull them out to thaw, put on our toppings and bake at 375 for 10 minutes.
I like a classic margarita, 4 cheese with garlic oil, or if I’m feeling extra fancy I really love a balsamic blue cheese and pear with arugula.
Any kind of pasta with any kind of sauce works as well. Just cook 1 box of pasta to al dente, drizzle with oil, and you have meals for days. Store it plain and make something different everyday.
Use those veggies you pre cooked!
I’ve been making my own pesto sauce, which is just basil, olive oil, a little bit of garlic, some Parmesan cheese and roasted pinenuts.
It’s super easy to make you can put it in the ice cube trays and freeze. I pop them out and put them in a container.
2 cups (8oz) Basil
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese or Grana Padano
1/8 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
1 clove garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Extra evoo to top if keeping in the fridge
In a food processor, pulse pine nuts and garlic with enough oil to make it smooth
Add cheese, basil, and oil, blend until smooth.
Freeze or store in a container. If storing in a container top your pest with olive oil to prevent it from oxidizing.
The other day for a quick meal I had some precooked spaghetti, grabbed two ice cubes of pesto, threw it all in a pan, with a little bit of half and half, salt and pepper, let it all melt and combine.
It was the best creamy pesto pasta I’ve ever had in my life.
The pasta soaked up some of the moisture yet maintained that nice creamy consistency and didn’t get greasy. It was so so good, so full flavor, and the basil was nice and spicy. The color was absolutely beautiful, vibrant and green.
A little bit of roasted chicken would have been an amazing addition.
That took less than 10 minutes and kept me full until the next meal.
Roasted chicken is another great thing you can cook ahead of time. You can cut it up, leave it whole, or shred it. Add it to anything! Sandwiches, salads, soups, whatever!
Another thing that I love and my fiancé can’t have anymore because he’s gluten-free, is the Peruvian chicken dish: Aji de Gallina or pepper of the hen, with rice.
The chicken is simmered in water, then removed and shredded.
The water is added to some bread to make a thick bread sauce along with evaporated milk, yellow pepper paste, sautéed red onion & garlic, turmeric, a little bit of cayenne pepper and chicken bullion. once your sauce is finished mix it with shredded chicken and that’s it. It’s so easy and delicious.
I like to use hamburger buns they’re not too sweet they’re not too sour. They have the perfect texture and you won’t get a grainy sauce from the burger buns.
Aji De Gallina and Huancaina Recipe:
When freezing and reheating, be cautious when thawing.
I don’t like to microwave this one.
I usually put it in a container with water as a gentle thawing method rather than thawing it in the microwave. When I reheat I definitely use a pan on the stove.
Due to the bread sauce it tends to burn in the microwave.
2 chicken breasts
5oz can evaporated milk
2 tbsp Oil of choice
1/2 red onion minced
2 garlic cloves minced
To Taste: Salt, Pepper, Chicken Bouillon, Turmeric(pinch for color), cayenne pepper
To Taste: Yellow Pepper Paste (4-6 tbsp)
In a stock pot, sear chicken breasts with a tablespoon or 2 of oil.
Make sure the chicken has nice color on both sides. Once seared, cover chicken with water and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer and cook for about 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken from water and set aside to cool. Reserve chicken water.
Shred chicken by hand or in a mixer with a paddle attachment.
Place your bread in a blender and pour in chicken water(you wont need too much, maybe 2 cups), soak and reserve extra chicken water just in case.
When fully soaked, blend until smooth, reserve for later.
In a large pot (the one you cooked your chicken in is fine), over medium heat, sweat garlic and red onion with oil until translucent
Add seasonings, stir, add sauce, evaporated milk, and yellow pepper paste
Add more chicken water and adjust seasonings if needed.
Traditionally served with rice, hard boiled egg, boiled potatoes, Kalamata olives and spinach leaves garnish.
I like to pair it with huancaina sauce and potatoes. Huancaina sauce is a yellow pepper cheese sauce that’s meant to be served at room temp. It’s evaporated milk, queso fresco, or queso Blanco, yellow pepper paste, olive oil, soda crackers, salt, and pepper. so easy to make, so simple, delicious, and filling.
Huancaina Sauce Recipe:
5oz evaporated milk
3oz Queso Fresco/Blanco
4-6 Soda crackers
2 tbsp Yellow pepper paste
To Taste – salt, pepper
1 tbsp oil of choice
Blend until smooth, about 5 minutes
Traditionally served cold over sliced boiled potatoes on a bed of butter lettuce, Kalamata olive garnish and hard boiled egg
Eating leftovers: Do not microwave this sauce as it will burn and become lumpy. Just let it sit at room temp for a bit before eating or put it on top of your hot food for gentle melting.
Home made Hamburger helper and Mac and cheese have been on our list of top 10 meals.
Normal cheese sauces and sauce recipes in general want you to use flour as a binder for what’s called a roux. Roux is just melted butter and flour, cooked over low to medium heat then liquids are added to it to it to create your thickened sauce or gravy.
But what I’ve learned with gluten free cooking is that CORNSTARCH IS BETTER THAN FLOUR. Use it with the same ratio.
The taste is better and the texture is excellent.
When using flour you often get that gritty texture and reheating it is awful. You lose 90% of the sauciness, it breaks and burns.
With cornstarch everything stays smooth, reheating is easy, and it doesn’t “break”.
When a sauce breaks the fat separates from the liquid and you can’t save it which just ruins it for everyone.
Add whatever you want to your hamburger helper or mac and cheese.
Broccoli and bacon are some of my favorite toppers.
Hamburger Helper Recipe:
1lb Ground Beef
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour or cornstarch
1 1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 bouillon cube – beef
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 box Macaroni
Seasonings: 1/4 tsp each: onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, mustard powder, parsley
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
your favorite all purpose seasoning to taste!
Combine – Sauce Mixture : broths, half and half, Worcestershire, and seasonings
Cook your pasta as directed to al dente
Brown the beef, season lightly with salt and pepper, drain grease if needed and set aside
Sauce: In a large skillet or the pot you cooked your pasta in – Melt the butter, add flour/cornstarch, stir to combine and cook for a few minutes until it starts to darken
Reduce heat to medium and add the sauce mixture in small increments, stirring continuously. Stir in bouillon
Bring sauce back to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for 7-10 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add in shredded cheese. Stir until smooth
Add in cooked ground beef, stir to combine
Add in pasta
Sauce may seem a little thin but I promise as it sits it thickens perfectly!
Cheese Sauce Recipe for Mac and Cheese and More!
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or your favorite all purpose seasoning)
2 cups extra sharp shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Melt butter over medium heat, add cornstarch
Toast until slightly colored
Slowly pour in milk while constantly whisking
Add in seasonings
Cook for 2-4 minutes, sauce will thicken
Add in cheese and stir until melted and smooth
Macaroni and cheese:
Mix in with al dente macaroni and serve
Baked Macaroni: sprinkle additional shredded cheese and breadcrumbs mixed with a little melted butter.
Bake at 375 until bubbly!
1 tbsp Yellow Pepper Paste
1 Jalapeno, seeds removed, minced or brunoise add to sauce when adding in milk
This sauce reheats well in the microwave or stovetop! Don’t be scared to try out a variety of cheeses like Parmesan and Oxaca. Oxaca is similar to a mix of mozzarella and jack, with incredible melting abilities and a nice creamy finish. I love mixing Oxaca and Cheddar.
I hear American makes a nice cheese sauce as well, stick with good quality American like Boars Head.
My fiancé really misses McDonald’s french fries. Since going to celiac gluten-free diet we’ve had to cut a lot of the things that he loves out so we fry our own fries. Home fried fries are really awesome when you do it right.
The trick is blanching (pre cooking)
You want the potatoes to be totally cooked before crisping. If you cook them at a high temp and brown them, then they’ll be raw in the center, which is less than desirable. So cook your fries in two stages for the best results.
You can pick whatever oil you want or prefer but make sure research what temperature the oil smokes at so you don’t burn it. you can use different healthy oils and you can use healthy toppings, broccoli, cheese, bacon, any sort of topping you want: yes there are ways to make french fries healthy!
Heat oil to 320, cook for 5-10 minutes depending on thickness, strain and lay on a pan with paper towels. Place in freezer until cold or frozen.
Place any fries in a ziplock you don’t plan on using right away.
Heat oil to 375 and cook until golden, strain, and season!
We love to do baked jalapeño poppers as a quick snack.
Cut the jalapeños in half, scoop out the inside with a normal spoon.
Mix cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese in a ratio that you like. Usually I do one block of cream cheese and a handful of cheddar. Add in some chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, dash of hot sauce and fill your poppers.
Mix some bread crumbs with a bit of melted butter, add seasonings if you want, and press your poppers in the breadcrumbs on the cream cheese side so they have a nice crumb crust.
We like to do panko (we get gluten free brown rice panko) with some taco seasoning.
Bake at 400 until they’re done: anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
Coffee and Hydration
Coffee is my lifesaver. I absolutely love coffee and I drink a lot of it. It’s 100% an addiction, I’m not going to lie.
We have a 12 cup automatic coffee maker with a built in grinder to put your own whole beans in. You can set how many cups you want to grind and brew. From 2-12
It has a Clock on it so you can set the time to auto grind and brew. Or if you have a preferred ground coffee that you get, you can just put it in the basket and set the timer for it to brew for you. You can also pick your brew strength as well.
I got this machine for Christmas for David over 4 years ago and it’s still going strong.
I can’t even remember what life was like before it.
I think I pre-measured and ground my own coffee every day.
To me fresh ground tastes incredibly different and superior. We like the Wegmans organic donut shop beans.
My parents have a keurig and wow, I can 100 % taste a difference and it usually upsets my stomach as well.
I also drink a LOT of flavored sparkling water. The brands I like are Wegman’s, Aha, and Polar.
Staying hydrated keeps your brain sharp and your body functioning.
Water helps you to maintain a normal body temperature, lubricates and cushions joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, and gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. It also helps with nutrient absorption during digestion.
You may be tired but don’t forget to maintain cleanliness for both you and your pups.
Change clothes frequently before or after working with pups and wash hands with hot water and soap before and after working with pups.
Be cautious using hand sanitizer and harsh chemicals. Fumes and residual chemicals can hurt puppies.
Don’t wear shoes where the pups are whelping.
Wipe down your feet and moms feet before entering the whelping box especially you’ve been outside taking a potty break to prevent any exposure of germs and parasites.