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    Chiropractor Mama Dr. Dolly and professional photographer Elisa B. share about adventures in intentional and natural parenting while living in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.
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Food Groups

Sometimes children can be picky eaters.

It’s just a theory, but I think children tend to favor foods once they’ve had the opportunity to get exposed to them.  It might take two, five, or ten times until they like something new.  They’re not that different from adults who need to cultivate a palate for fine things like wine, cheese, and dark chocolate.

Aside from developing a child’s palate by repetitive re-introduction of new foods, I also think they have a heightened sense of what they’re bodies need (as well as keener sense of smell and taste buds).

More than at any point in his life, I think my son is acutely aware of what his body wants and when he wants it.

  • When he’s hungry…he’s hungry NOW!
  • When he needs to go to the potty, it needs to happen within 30 seconds, or else there will be a mess to clean up.
  • When he wants to sleep, the need is immediate.

The same principle of keen awareness of needs and wants applies to types of food.  I’ve read a couple of blood type diets and found some areas of great interest while I think there’s definitely some areas that aren’t backed up by research nor are they backed by long cultural histories of human diet and health.  However, there is something to be said for a blood type that craves a certain type of food.

To explore this further, I asked my son a few questions:

Me: Calvin, what’s your favorite thing to eat?  What’s your favorite food?

Calvin: Meat.  Meat and cheese.

Me: What’s your favorite fruit?

Calvin: Beef.  Beef and raisins.

Me: Ah. Interesting.  I didn’t know beef was a fruit.  Raisins, though…I’d agree that’s a pretty popular one with you.

Me: What’s your favorite thing to drink?  Milk? Juice? Water?

Calvin: (with a HUGE smile on his face) Mah. Milk. (His word for breastmilk).

There you have it. A two-year-old prefers the most perfect food on earth, breastmilk.  He loves meat (even if he doesn’t finish it from his plate at every meal).  And, he really prefers (asks for them several times a day) raisins.

Notice he didn’t say “cookies”, “macaroni”, or “soda”.  Of course, I don’t really consider those things to be in the same category as “food.”

YOUR TURN:

What are your childrens’ favorite foods?  What were your favorites when you were a child?  Do you still prefer those same foods now?

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Buckwheat and Acorn Squash Pancakes Recipe

For Calvin’s special day, I made a slight variation of my standard pancake recipe.  In fact I love this recipe because I can make all sorts of pancakes: banana pancakes, pumpkin pancakes, berry pancakes, oh the list goes on…A Bear for Breakfast

I tweaked the basic banana pancake recipe by substituting buckwheat flour for the spelt/brown rice flour.  Instead of milk, I used plain whole milk yogurt.  Instead of a banana, I used half of a baked acorn squash.

The great thing about these pancakes is that they’re gluten-free–perfect for anyone with grain allergies, crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or diabetes.  For more information on how gluten (found in many grains) is linked to inflammation and many health disorders, check out the Succulent Sanctuary and Deflame.com’s free pdf download of Deflaming Guidelines.

BUCKWHEAT ACORN SQUASH (or PUMPKIN)  PANCAKES

(Note: Makes about 6 servings of  6 inch-diameter pancakes.  I usually double the recipe and store the extra pancakes to reheat the next day.)

  • 1 c. buckwheat flour
  • 1 T. sucanat (you can substitute with turbinado sugar, molassas, or honey)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder (I use aluminum-free)
  • 1 egg (from a free-range chicken)
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. whole milk yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1 T olive oil or coconut oil (it tastes BEST with coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cooked acorn squash or 1/4 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. butter

Mix dry ingredients.  Create a divot/hole in the dry ingredients and pour in milk, yogurt, squash/pumpkin and liquefied coconut oil (must be above 76 degrees F).  Separately, beat egg, then pour in.  Mix ingredients until well blended (2-3 minutes on medium speed).

(Note: This batter is pretty thick with buckwheat–depending on your altitude and humidity.  You can thin it down with more milk, or from the start, you can use half buckwheat and half brown rice flour for thinner and lighter pancakes).

In a cast iron skillet (or griddle iron), turn to medium-low heat.  Add butter and coat pan surface.  Once warm, pour in pancake batter until the cake is 6″ diameter.  Once it bubbles and sets on top, and edges are a golden brown, flip and cook other side for only 1/4 of the time compared to the other side.

I love to serve these with butter.  If you want a little extra sweet, heat up a small bowl of pure maple syrup and add a dash of cinnamon.  You will never eat plain maple syrup again, for the rest of your life because this is so incredible!  Serve maple syrup over chopped pecans for some extra crunch and sweet, nutty flavor.

Serve and devour, immediately.  Bon appétit!

Note: for fun pancake shapes, I recommend using a plastic squeeze bottle.  I used something like this…

ketchupThe squeeze bottle gives you control over batter flow and amount, but you’ll want to make certain the tip is wide enough for thick batter.

To  make the fun bear face in the top photo, I squeezed out a large pancakes, and smaller ones that were closer to 3 inch diameter.  I also made a small one for the bear’s nose.

The squeeze bottle is great for making letters, numbers, or more creative shapes, with the aid of a cookie cutter.

So, be creative and enjoy.

Don’t be surprised if you get a reaction like this:

Breakfast5

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Happy Green Baby

Hey Moms!

If you’re in the central Virginia area this coming weekend, stop by for a  one-hour class on simple ways to go green–an intro to cloth diapering and preparing homemade organic baby food from scratch–at Charlottesville’s Downtown ACAC (111 Monticello Ave.) on Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 at 11:45AM. This event is free and open to the public as part of ACAC’s pre-natal and post-natal seminars.

Happy Green Baby classes focus on surrounding a baby with a safe and and healthy environment, void of synthetic chemicals and harmful toxins.  This class will teach parents simple ways to go green, through an introduction to cloth diapering and creating homemade organic baby food, as well as a brief overview on wisely choosing items that come in contact with a baby’s mouth and precious skin, such as non-toxic bottles, baby skincare and baby sun care.

The workshop will be led by me…besides editing Traveling with Baby, I’m also a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Charlottesville.

I’m excited to offer Happy Green Baby to parents.  There’s enough learning curves involved with a new baby; I want to help parents feel confident and simplify the learning curve involved with raising a healthy, happy, and green baby.

For more information on Happy Green Baby, please call the office at (434) 566-0126 or visit www.scoliosisdoc.com.

I hope to see you there!

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Real food on a budget

j0438442We’re re-examining what we spend on our grocery budget to find ways to continue to prepare healthy and delicious food while reducing the amount we spend each month.  Let’s face it, eating REAL food (not processed, preservative and additive-laden food STUFF) is not cheap.  If you’re a farmer or have gobs of land for a huge garden, then perhaps it’s not as expensive as the typical city dweller who relies upon the local grocer for food.

So, I’m on a mission to do a couple things around our home to make eating REAL food affordable.  First, I want us to reduce the amount we spend each month on groceries.  I’ve discovered two areas where we can be kinder to our wallet in this regard:

1. Menu plan around grocery circular sales, and plan around your work week. I work 3 days a week, and 2 of those days are consecutive.  If I menu plan to have a dinner options that will make things simpler on the days that I work, we’ll get fed at a decent time.  I also plan around camping trips and vacations so that we’ll have something I pre-made stored in the freezer that’s easy to warm-up when we return.

I used to shop based on whatever I wanted to make.  That was insanely expensive.  Now, I grocery shop based on what I already have and menu plan around those ingredients.  I also check the grocery circulars and sales weekly or at least once a month and stock up on items that are reduced.

  • Do this one thing, and your grocery expenses will be reduced 25 – 50%.

2. Brown bag your lunch–no exceptions.

OK, a power networking meeting might be an exception.  But seriously, chances of finding a place where you can get a decent lunch for less than $5 or $6 is rare.

In our town, most places lunch runs around $8 at a restaurant.  Add tax and tip and you’re pushing $10.

Run to the local bakery for a sandwich, $4.80 – $7.

However, make your own sandwich, or chicken salad, add in a piece of fruit and a trail mix of almonds and raisins and you’ll spend less than $3 per lunch daily.

Let’s say you make your lunch 5 days a week for 1 month.  Compared to buying your lunch, you’d save anywhere from $40 to $200 depending on your lunch purchasing habits.  I can think of a lot better ways to spend that kind of money than on lunches!

The other fantastico bonus of making your lunch is that you know exactly what’s in it.  Not into gluten or grains, then skip the bread and make a lettuce wrap instead.  Or rather, make a salad, or soup, or chili–whatever your fancy!

3. Grow a garden

You don’t have to have a huge backyard, or any yard at all to grow a few choice things that will save time, money, and taste mmm so good!

It’s easy to use an old plastic 5 gallon bucket, drill a hole into the bottom (or pound a nail or two for drainage holes), and add some gravel/pebbles, and then soil.

Plant a tomato starter plant OR a bell pepper plant OR a few small herb plants like oregano and cilantro.

You can leave your mini garden buckets outside your door in direct sunlight.  In winter months, you can continue to use your herbs by leaving the planter inside.

If you have a yard, go for it.  We planted 4 tomato plants, 2 bell peppers in a 4 foot x 3 foot area.  Can’t wait for those heirloom tomatoes to ripen!  It’s so much less expensive to make my own marinara or cacciatore sauces from my own garden tomatoes.

If you don’t know the first thing about gardening, ask someone who does.  Check out a library book, or surf the web.  Wherever you live, you’ll be able to grow something.

Your own garden could save you a ton in grocery expenses, and the fresh flavors are exceptional.

4. Freeze, can, and preserve the harvest at its peak

When summer squash goes on sale for $1 per pound at the market, I stock up.  I may not cook it all at once, but I at least chop it up and store it in my deep freezer for the months when the lovely squash isn’t in season and definitely doesn’t sell for such a steal of a price.

The same principle applies for tomatoes, apples, berries, and other harvest goodies.

Want to make a fresh apple pie in December, but you don’t want to pay the winter apple prices? Peel. Slice. Store. Freeze. Then, pull them out when you need them.

Save money by having the produce you want when it’s not in season.  Also, you stretch out the fruits of the season for a longer duration.

Try the 4 tips above and you’ll be on your way to incorporating REAL food into a more economic grocery budget. Happy eats!

–By Dr. Dolly
Twitter me: drdolly

Tuesday Travels: Snack Sensation

traveWelcome to Tuesday Travels, a summertime series at Traveling with Baby.  This season, my son and I are excited about sharing some local day trips and field trip ideas for families with little ones.  This weekly series will also feature travel tips for families with kids-in-tow and related product reviews and giveaways.  I enjoy hearing about your traveling adventures, too.  If you have an idea for Tuesday Travels, please e-mail me: drgarnecki[at]gmail[dot]com.

_______________________________________________________________

FC-DISNEY-MICKEY-APPLE-4X6-24PACK_PictureMy son and I just tried the best fruit snack to hit the stands: Fruit Crisps by Brothers All Natural.  Finally, I’ve found a snack that helps appease a growing toddler’s ferocious appetite even through rush hour traffic, road trips, and hiking in the woods.

My toddler and I both love fresh fruit, but unless the apple is completely peeled, cored, and sliced, he ends up throwing apple bits and chunks all over the floor.  That’s not the case with the 100% Fuji Apple fruit crisps which boasts one and one-half apples per bag.

ban_logoThese melt-in-your-mouth fruit crisps aren’t tough as leather like other dried fruit.  Instead, they’re bursting with flavor without added preservatives or ingredients.  Even a baby with a couple of teeth can enjoy them.

I love that they’re not baked, not fried, not dehydrated, and not sweetened dried.  They’re just 100% pure fruit that has been freeze dried without any added sugar or preservatives resulting in a 1-year shelf-life.  These great snacks pack lighter on backpacking trails compared to fresh fruit, and they’re a lot less gooey and sticky on toddler hands when they’re stuck in the car seat for several hours.

If I could create a meaningful award to give to Brothers All Natural for their innovative and nutritious travel-friendly snack, I’d bestow them with the “Dr. Dolly Garnecki Healthy Ingenuity Parenting Award” for this AWESOME creation which yields nothing short of two-thumbs up, 5 stars, and endless happy smiles.FC-VARIETY-24PACK_Picture

The 100% Fuji Apple is definitely a big hit with me and my son: simultaneously crispy and spongy with a ton of sweet apple goodness.  We also love the slightly crunchier texture of the 100% Asian Pear flavor.  However, my favorite flavor is the tart-and-tangy-with-a-hint-of-sweet 100% Strawberry/Banana.  All three flavors were available in the variety pack.

WHERE TO PURCHASE

Fruit Crisps are featured at a variety of retailers from national and regional grocers to theme parks. You can also find them online at Amazon.  A Case of 24 packs retails for $21.99 or $0.92 per bag.  Orders online directly through Brothers All Natural have FREE shipping.

Brother’s current special is buy 3 cases of Strawberry Banana, and get 1 case FREE.  Check their specials page for updates.

*WIN IT*

Brothers is offering one lovely winner a case (24 bags) of their fabulous Fruit Crisps in any flavor of choice (retail value $21.99 per case/$0.92 per bag).  Oh yes,  you can have whatever flavor you want!  The winner will be randomly selected via random.org. You’ll have up to 5 opportunities to win.  How ’bout those odds?

1. Primary entry method (must complete primary entry in order to be eligible for other entry methods), first sign up for Brother’s e-mail newsletter list for rad coupons and specials, then leave a comment on this post telling me you did so including the e-mail address that you used.

EXTRA CREDIT

2. Earn a second entry by blogging about the giveaway and linking to Traveling with Baby using “Brothers Snack Sensation Giveaway” as the title in your blog’s post.  Then, leave a comment here with a link to your post.

3. Earn a third entry by subscribing to Traveling with Baby’s RSS feed.  Leave a comment that you’re subscribed.

4. Earn a fourth entry by following me (drdolly) on Twitter and tweeting this contest with the following “RT @drdolly Win a case of Brothers All Natural Fruit Crisps on Traveling with Baby! http://tinyurl.com/n6d8sx”  Leave a comment with the weblink to your tweet.

5. Earn fifth entry by adding Traveling with Baby’s button to your website/blog.

Leave a valid e-mail address, so I can contact you to claim your prize, or it’ll go to another amazing person.  The contest is open to U.S. shipping addresses only.

This contest runs until 11:59PM (EST) on July 14th, 2009.

One winner will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this post and e-mailed sometime shortly after July 14th. If a winner doesn’t respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.

*UPDATE*

Congratulations to the winner, #17 Courtney!

–By Dr. Dolly
Twitter me: drdolly

Weekend Update

We got a last-minute visit from my mom who traveled down from New York.  Calvin was so excited to have someone play tag and hide-and-go-seek with him…or, at least the toddler version of that game.  We kept him up way past his bedtime on Friday to enjoy the Downtown Mall sights, tastes, and sounds.  We haven’t been there on a Friday night since July of last year when we first moved to Charlottesville.

Calvin dancing to the band at Charlottesville Pavilion and garnering some of his own fans

Calvin dancing to the band at Charlottesville Pavilion and garnering some of his own fans

Calvin started dancing to the live music at the Pavilion, and he was totally in LOVE with the shiny red corvette that was up for a fundraiser auction.

Love of red cars

Love of red cars

We also enjoyed the banner photographs of wild animals stretched between the trees.  Calvin identified all of them by their distinctive animal sounds.

Bears on the Downtown Mall

Bears on the Downtown Mall

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On Saturday, we took my mom to the City Market.  We had to pick up the fresh chevre made from raw goat’s milk (donation only since it legally cannot be sold in Virginia) and a few other items of fresh produce and grass-fed beef.

We also had fun listening to the Casa de Chipmunks band.  Bassist played a tub with a string, and percussion was made from a suitcase.  Their instruments kinda reminded me of the character played by Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins.

Casa de Chipmunks at City Market

Casa de Chipmunks at City Market

My mom had to drive home Saturday afternoon, so we bid her farewell on her very short visit.  However, I think she’ll be back next month.  Calvin will enjoy seeing her again soon.

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After church this morning, we all took naps at different times.  It’s hard to sleep when a toddler is crawling on your belly and saying “Mama” over and over and over again.  But, I did like it when he snuggled for a few seconds every so often before terrorizing his cars.

I whipped up some ground lamb and a yogurt sauce so we could fill our own schwarmas at the park picnic.

hydrophilic boy

hydrophilic boy

Calvin was much too enthralled with the sprinklers to stay and eat.  We should have learned by now that he doesn’t eat well at all when we try to do a picnic.  However we enjoyed the company of our friends, and we had fun watching Calvin splash and get soaked.

sprinklers at belmont park

sprinklers at belmont park

Before she left on Saturday, my mom instructed me on the proper way to cut up a pineapple.  I guess I must have been living under a rock and wasting more than I should on the outer edges.  I also cut up a pineapple on Sunday afternoon…and I used the core (the nutrient-dense and fiber and vitamin-rich center) for smoothies.  Ah, it was a delightful and refreshing treat.

Pineapple Selection and Pineapple

Choose a pineapple that’s yellow to golden brown skin (not green), and with a stalk that’s got green leaves (not brown and wilted leaves).  Pick one that’s got a bigger pinapple body to stalk ratio…less stalk, more meat.  Also, you want want that’s ripe and fragrant with a delicious pineapple smell–that means it’s ready to eat!

I used to cut up a pineapple like this—old school and wasteful.

My mom showed me a better way to cut it up.  After the fact, I found this great picture tutorial on about.com about cutting up a pineapple.

The only thing I do differently is once the pineapple is skinned, I slice the fruit off around the core, so that the core is all one big column in the middle.  I cut up the pineapple flesh in long strips and dice them.

I reserve the core for smoothies….it may be too tough to eat, but in a high-powered blender it makes a rich and fibrous smoothie when coupled with orange juice, coconut milk, a banana, and a few whole strawberries (with the green tops still on!).  Yummalicious!

Fresh pineapples are high in vitamin C, beta-carotenes, Vitamin A, and potassium.  According to Philappine Herbal Medicine, pineapples are good for killing intestinal worms, breaking up blood clots, and help heart health.  Pineapples help the kidneys and work as a great detoxification agent.  Pineapples are also high in bromelain which is a group of enzymes that fight inflammation–these are wonderful for people with muscle aches and pains, rashes, or heartburn.

–By Dr. Dolly

Eggcelent Trick

I did it!

I hardboiled 3 eggs, and I succeeded in de-shelling them without peeling them.  Not only do you save time and mess, but it’s one heck of an entertaining trick that instill belly laughs in a toddler.

I actually held my hand on the other end to catch the flying egg.

While watching me perform this astounding feat, Calvin made strawberry lip-blowing noises, too.

Afterward, he and I enjoyed a snack of hardboiled eggs (with sea salt, pepper, and tarragon).  Yum!

–By Dr. Dolly
Twitter me: drdolly