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Warnge Juice, Please

Two weeks ago, my son was saying “warnge” juice.  Now, he articulates “orange” juice perfectly.  I did a double take when he asked for it yesterday.

Not only has my almost two-and-a-half-year-old improved his pronunciation of several words, but he’s developed a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.  I kid you not.

For example, tonight’s conversation…

“Calvin, how old are you?”

With a wide grin, “Two!”

“How old is Mommy?”

“Old!”

“What?  Where did you learn that?”

Belly laughs precede “Old! old!”

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Okay, back to orange juice…

That’s the only juice we buy.  We don’t like juices that add extra sugar (definitely not something the body needs).  But, I like something other than water to add to smoothies (something I make almost daily for our family).

So…orange juice it is.

Here’s my latest favorite smoothie recipe:

Stress Relief Supreme Smoothie – rich in antioxidants and full of mouth-bursting flavor

Combine ingredients and purée in a high speed blender until smooth. Serve and enjoy your antioxidant refreshment!

Check out Tropicana’s Juicy Rewards where you can gain points from purchasing orange juice, grapefruit juice, and others to use toward fun family events, discounts on purchases, or you can donate your points to work with Cool Earth to save the rain forests.

I just used 9 points to get a 30% off coupon toward a purchase at Coleman’s for a sleeping bag for Calvin for our upcoming spring camping adventures.  Then, I donated 3 more points toward the Rain Forest.

YOUR TURN: How will you use your Tropicana Juicy Rewards points?

Note: I wrote this review while participating in the Tropicana Juicy Insiders Ambassador program by Mom Central on behalf of Tropicana. I received 12 free Juicy Rewards points and a $50 Visa gift card to use in redemption of the points and to facilitate my review.  Read my full disclosure policy.

For Her & Him: Cooking Up Love (part II)

Welcome to the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide on Traveling with Baby.  Even though Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, I still have a few great ideas and giveaways for the whole family that I want to share with you.  You’ll even have the opportunity to win some of the products featured on the Gift Guide–isn’t that lovely?  For every giveaway featured prior to February 13th, all drawings will still take place on February 14th.  However, all giveaways featured February 13th or later will have draw dates on February 28th.

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I am SO excited to share with you some of my most favorite items for Valentine’s Day that focus on the heart of the home, the kitchen.  With, loving hands, I prepare delicious and hearty meals for those whom I cherish.

My new go-to place for ideas for kitchen adventures is Kitchen Kapers–a family-friendly kitchenware store that’s been inspiring a little homemade fun in kitchens since 1975.  With 14 locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, Kitchen Kapers specializes in quality kitchenware at affordable prices.

Kitchen Kapers has so many great options for Valentine’s Day. 

Are you and your spouse coffee drinkers or tea lovers?  Kitchen Kapers’  his and her asian mug set ($19.99) is a fun way to enjoy your weekend tea time for two (or it’s a great gift for a couple celebrating an anniversary in a keepsake box).  By the way, today is Chinese New Year!

Want something more daring and romantic?  Think of plump and ripe strawberries dipped in fondue chocolate in this electric fondue set from Cuisinart available at Kitchen Kapers for $59.99–50% less than listed retail price!

This cœur a la crème “cream of the heart” mold is perfect for making your own sweetened cream cheese covered in wild strawberries. Yum!  And, a 4-inch ceramic mold retails for a mere $4.99–hosting tea parties with cheese and crackers will never be the same again.

Besides carrying great kitchenware online, Kitchen Kapers flagship store and culinary academy, located in Moorestown, New Jersey, is where foodies can find an extensive range of cooking classes from knife skills to learning the art of French cooking or creating beautiful cakes.  Foodies can develop an international cooking skill set from Sicilian, Tuscan, Cuban, or Sexy Szechuan in the couples cooking classes–that’s the kind of date night I would LOVE.

For the younger set, Kitchen Kapers has classes for children (ages 5-12) and teens (ages 12-18).  I love that they have a class just for young boys to create fun and boy-inspired foods in Emma’s Boy Brigade.  Some of the other classes are aptly titled, “How to Cook Better than Your Parents.”  When my son is older, we may need to visit Morristown to acquire a family culinary adventure.

For Valentine’s Day, it is this passion-red porcelain enamel on cast-iron Le Creuset heart-shaped casserole dish that makes me smile every time I walk into our tiny kitchen.  This sweet little dish looks like it’s reaching out to give a hug with the little red handles on the sides.

See?

The tight-fitting lid seals in the flavors and creates a blanket of heat for gently cooking food.  The enameled surface allows for even heating, longer heat retention, and it doesn’t react to acidic foods.

I can make perfect sticky rice every single time.  Stir-fry bell peppers?  Simple.  Deep frying chicken thighs for chicken cacciatore?  Easy to do, easy to clean.  I essentially created every part of a chicken cacciatore all in this one little 2 quart casserole (just for the cooking experience), and then I served the rice along side the chicken cacciatore for dinner.

Tonight, I used the “heart pot”, as my son so tenderly refers to it, to prepare a berry crisp with hints of cinnamon and cocoa.  The heart-shaped casserole dish from Le Creuset retails for $200, but it’s $50 less on the Kitchen Kapers site.  My little family can celebrate Valentine’s Day every day with this passion-red beauty.

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Gluten-Free Berry Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 1 10 oz. bag of frozen organic strawberries
  • 1 10 oz. bag of frozen organic blueberries
  • 2 T of cocoa powder
  • 1 T of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of buckwheat flour
  • 1/3 cup of sukenot or turbinado sugar or honey or brown sugar
  • 2 T sukenot or turbinado sugar or honey or brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • 1 can of organic coconut milk (optional)

Directions:

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Next, grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish or use an ungreased porcelain enamel cast iron oven–the Le Creuset 2 qt heart casserole dish is perfect.

Pour thawed and drained blueberries and strawberries into baking dish, and mix the 2 T of sukenot into the berries.  Then, dust with cocoa powder.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the buckwheat or other gluten-free flour with the 1/3 c. honey/sukenot/brown sugar/turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Add butter and cut with a knife or pastry cutter until crumbly.

Then, Layer the flour-cinnamon-sugar mixture over berries in dish.  Note that buckwheat flour is already earthy brown, even more so when mixed with cinnamon and brownish sukenot.

Bake about 30-35 minutes uncovered and try to distract yourself with something else like eating dinner.

Remove it from the oven and the cinnamon-cocoa-berry smell will bring anyone within wafting-distance standing within two paces of you…or closer.

See how the finished crisp is only a slight shade darker than before it went into the oven?  I love the bubbly berries peeking through the crisp!

This dessert should be served warm. It can be drizzled with coconut milk and a little more honey, or topped with ice cream, whipped cream. It makes 6-8 servings.

Gooey berry goodness.

Note: if you haven’t worked with coconut milk before, here’s a little tutorial.

First, never. ever. NEVER. buy the lite coconut milk.  It’s a waste of money and nutritional value.  All the good stuff is in the rich and fat of the milk (medium-chain mono-unsaturated fats…good for you!).

Second, open the can and use a spatula to pour the coconut water and the milk into a mixing bowl.

It’ll be a chunky and congealed mess. So, take your trusty whisk and beat away until the chunky congealed goop becomes a smooth white liquid.

There, now you can use it!  Take a spoon and drizzle it over your gluten-free berry cobbler.

Store the remaining coconut milk in a sealed glass container.  It will last in the refrigerator up to 7 days.

I love to use it in smoothies, soups, and sauces.  In fact, for Valentine’s Day, I’m using coconut milk to make thai chicken and peanut sauce from the New Intercourses cookbook.

For more “Cooking up love” ideas, read part I of this post series.

*I received samples from Le Creuset  and Kitchen Kapers for the purpose of this review.  Read my full disclosure policy.
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Best of 2009

Here’s my post and product review faves from 2009.  Enjoy the re-cap!

Favorite Posts:

  1. Going Back to Work After Staying Home with Baby
  2. Date Night Re-Cap
  3. Caring for Cloth Diapers
  4. Camping
  5. Country Capers
  6. Children in Church
  7. Real Food on a Budget
  8. Getting Back in Shape
  9. Make Your Own Baby Leggings for Less than $2

Favorite Product Reviews for Women:

  1. Best Practical Accessory – Gardening Gloves by Ethel
  2. Best Hair, Skin Care & Body Care – Bubble & Bee Organic
  3. Best Mineral Make-Up – Alima Pure
  4. Best Jeans – Stella by Chip & Pepper
  5. Best Meals – Dream Dinners
  6. Best Footwear – Tony Lama Stars Boots
  7. Best Sunglasses – Native Eyewear
  8. Best Trail Running Shoes – Mountain Masochist GTX by Montrail
  9. Best Apparel – Lacie Tunic Top (for her) and Axiom Jeans (for him) by prAna
  10. Best Tech Gadget – PC Back-Up System Replica by Seagate

Favorite Product Reviews for Children:

  1. Best Toddler Sandals – Newport H2 by Keen
  2. Best Snack – Brothers All Natural Fruit Crisps
  3. Best Children’s Travel Bag – Kushies My Bag
  4. Best Summer Apparel – UV Skinz
  5. Best Sneakers for Toddlers – Flex by Pediped
  6. Best Hydration System – Stainless Insulated Water Bottle by Camelbak
  7. Best Toddler Play Apparel – Jasper Hearts Wren
  8. Best Travel Toy – Zoobie Pets
  9. Best Safety Item – Safety 1st / Air Protect infant to toddler convertible car seat
  10. Best Sentimental Gift – Little Baker Suitcase by Child to Cherish

Favorite Tuesday Travels:

  1. Visiting the Local Fire Station
  2. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
  3. Painless Travel Tips
  4. Visiting the Local Airport
  5. 5 Tips for Road Trip Solace with Toddlers

Favorite Health Happy Round-Ups:

  1. Natural Defense Against Allergies
  2. Vaccine Awareness
  3. Safe Fun in the Sun
  4. Prevent Picky Eating
  5. 7 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep for Children
  6. Skin Care for Moms and Babies
  7. Breastfeeding Benefits
  8. Extended Breastfeeding

Favorite Recipes:

  1. Healthy Yogurt Fruit Dip
  2. Raw Food Dessert
  3. Banana Pancakes, and Ratatouille Recipes
  4. Chicky Chicky Hummus
  5. Buckwheat and Acorn Squash Pancakes
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Sweet Picks: Nature’s Peak {Giveaway} + Recipe

I love trying new healthy and delicious recipes for my family.  One of my favorite things to change up are fruit smoothies…I can’t imagine a better way to help my son get through the irritations of teething!

Recently, we were able to try Nature’s Peak premium frozen fruit.  I was sent a 16 oz. resealable bag of  Paradise Fruit Medley (kiwi, mangos, peaches, pineapple, and cantaloupe) and a bag of  sunburst mango.

When we came home from our holiday travels, our fridge was practically bare.  My travel-weary and hungry boy kept asking for something to eat.  He went to a cupboard to pull out his smoothie cup, and asked for a smoothie.  How could I refuse?

We had cleaned out almost everything perishable before we went out of town.  However, I did have some orange juice, some plain yogurt that we’d brought with us, and creamy coconut milk.  I added those ingredients plus some Nature’s Peak sunburst mango to whip up a crowd-pleasing smoothie.

While it was blending, my son danced around the kitchen and squealed “SMOOTHIE!” with glee.  As soon as I poured it into his cup (oh, and he didn’t think I was doing that quite fast enough) he slurped it down with a straw in less than a minute.  Incredible.

I love Nature’s Peak frozen fruit because they are particular with the quality of selection, and they don’t add any sugar.  Huge props for those features!

There are 12 varieties of frozen fruit and fruit blends available.  I think I’d like to try the Berry Quartet with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries for a berry cobbler, or spooned over my buckwheat pancakes.

Nature’s Peak premium frozen fruit retails from $3 to $6, depending on the variety (and of course, some grocery stores vary in price).

Here’s a recipe that I hope to try this week–it was slightly modified from the recommended recipe on the bag of Sunburst Mango–my version doesn’t use added jam.

Mango Black Bean Salsa Recipe

(Dr. Dolly’s variation)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen organic sweet corn, cooked according to package instructions, drained and cooled
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups Nature’s Peak Sunburst Mangoes, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2-3 T fresh squeezed lime juice (juice from 1 lime)
  • 1/4 cup Agave nectar
  • 1-2 serrano peppers, seeded, chopped, to taste
  • dash of sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Serve with fresh tortilla chips or as an accompaniment to grilled fish or poultry.

Yield:  6 cups

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Available in your grocer’s freezer (select locations only).  For a complete listing of locations, please visit DeBroff’s DeBriefs.

Visit Nature’s Peak for more yummy recipes.

YOUR TURN:

What’s your favorite smoothie or dish that uses tasty premium fruit?

WIN IT!

Two (2) winners will receive a coupon for 1 FREE package of Nature’s Peak frozen fruit.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post prior to January 15th at 11:59 p.m.  Please follow the contest rules and avoid any generalized comments, or you will be disqualified.

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: Blog about this giveaway, then leave a comment with a link to your post.

FOR A THIRD ENTRY: Tweet (include @drdolly) about this giveaway, then leave a second comment telling me that you tweeted with a link to your tweet.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Nature’s Peak and received a sample to facilitate my candid review as well as two coupons to giveaway. In addition, Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.
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*UPDATE Congratulations to the winners: Nicole D. and Carol.

Health Happy Round-Up: Banana Bread Recipe

A few weeks ago, Elisa B. invited Calvin and I over to hang out with the puppies.  Just before we arrived, she baked homemade banana bread since she had an overstock of bananas.  What a treat for our noses and bellies.  There’s hardly any sugar and extra oily gunk.  It’s sensational, and I highly urge you to try it!

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 large bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions

  1. Lightly grease 2 loaf pans.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Add applesauce, eggs, nuts, and mashed banana. Beat until blended.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Elisa B.

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Health Happy Round-Up: Turkey Leftover Recipe Ideas

The Thanksgiving day feast is done.  Sure, you could re-heat plates with leftovers, but eventually, you’re gonna get tired of roasted turkey.  Here’s a few of my favorite options for leftovers:

1. Create a turkey casserole.  Use rice, potatoes, mushrooms, turkey, a little turkey broth, and cheese.  If you’re a follow-the-recipe person and “winging it” in the kitchen (no pun intended) isn’t your thing.  Then check out, the Nourishing Gourmet for some fantastically nutritious and economic recipes!

2. Create turkey tacos.  Dice 2 cups of turkey meat into small 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch cubes.  Heat up a cast iron pan to medium-high heat with 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and lightly brown 2 cloves of crushed garlic.  Then, fry up the turkey cubes in the garlic and coconut oil until crispy.  While cooking, season turkey meat with smoked paprika, cumin, sea salt, and a dash of red or green chile powder.  Serve the turkey meat along with small bowls of toppings and sides such as roasted tomatillo sauce, fresh salsa, cilantro, diced onions, grated monterrey jack cheese or queso, sour cream or whole-milk plain yogurt, steamed white corn tortillas, and shredded lettuce.

3. I think I’m going to make turkey enchiladas based on this chicken enchiladas recipe from All Recipes.

4. I always prefer to use a roasted chicken or turkey carcass to make homemade broth.  In fact, you use my chicken broth recipe–easily adaptable to turkey broth.  I’ll use the broth to make my favorite vegetable soup, Golden Winter Soup.

YOUR TURN: What is your favorite thing to do with leftovers from Thanksgiving?

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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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