Momme Meals’ turkey chili gets a healthful boost from roasted red beets. One pound of it costs $8.
When Kristen Bocanegra’s friend gave birth in January 2010, she realized the new mom needed some babying, too. “I felt like I really wanted to do something for her, to try to help her out,” Bocanegra says.
She stuffed her pal’s freezer with foods full of calcium, iron and protein — crucial nutrients for a sleep-deprived, nursing mom. Every time she brought over her creations, including lasagna and white-bean soup, her friend seemed hungry for more. So Bocanegra conceived the idea of making a business out of preparing healthy, freezable treats for pregnant women and new mothers. After a year of tweaking recipes and consulting with a registered dietician, the Alexandria resident started Momme Meals in May.
Bocanegra makes her organic muffins ($6 for six), soups ($6 for 16 ounces) and entrées ($7 to $8) herself. “The premise of the product — and it’s not something that I’m willing to move on — is that I have no additives, no preservatives, and almost everything that I make comes directly from Mother Nature,” says Bocanegra, who prides herself on creative cooking. “You take something that you love and you break it down 50 different ways from Sunday and then you build it back up and start putting in things that you know are going to be nutritional.” One favorite substitution: organic olive oil instead of butter.
The most popular items on her menu are the green goddess soup (a blend of potatoes, onions, celery and spinach topped with aged Parmesan cheese), ruby red chili (that gets its color from roasted beets) and chocolate zucchini cardamom muffins (vegetarian treats made with white whole-wheat flour).
Momme Meals are available at the Del Ray Farmers’ Market (Sat., 8 a.m.-noon; corner of East Oxford and Mount Vernon Avenues in Alexandria, Va.). Bocanegra will start offering delivery to D.C., Arlington and Alexandria this week. It’s the least she can do for a mom who’s just done some delivering of her own.