Moms of finicky eaters unite! Zilla wants mango ice cream and “birthday cake” every night of the week…and from what I hear this is a rite of passage for two year olds. Today’s featured Designing Mom is Nicole Cibellis from “A family that Eats Together” whose blog contains great ways to drum up a week of recipes. And her latest venture as a busy, creative mom? A new kid’s clothing line called,”Little Froglet“…
How did you start your blog “A family that Eats Together?”
A Family That Eats Together.com was created out of my desperate need to find recipes that my son would eat. In late 2010, my son was 2-1/2 years old and a very finicky eater. I went on line to find recipes for him that I would also want to eat but couldn’t find ones that would work for us. I found recipes for kids but they were not what I wanted him to eat. Enticing him to eat seasonal, organic and flavorful foods was my goal. I also didn’t want to make him a different meal than what my husband and I were eating. When I couldn’t find what I was looking for, my friends suggested that I come up with recipes myself and that is when A Family That Eats Together.com took on a life of it’s own. I have always been a passionate foodie and love to cook. My friends always wanted to know what I was cooking but now that I was working on kid friendly recipes they were dually interested. A Family That Eats Together.com is great for the family but also for anyone who loves good food because my recipes are focused on being something adults also would like to eat. My recipes are primarily 30-minute meals. I do also focus on slow food for the weekend cook and come up with creative ways to prepare leftovers.
I challenge myself to make the week’s recipes a collection of flavors from around the world. I am also focused on how to use up leftovers from prior meals such as leftover chicken so that food isn’t wasted. I truly believe that weekly meal planners are the key to saving money at the grocery store. If you have a plan prior to going, you are less likely to buy food that will not get used and that will save you money in the end. It is also a bonus to come home in the evening with a plan for dinner instead of worrying if you have the ingredients to make what you want for eat.
Tell us how you cook the same meal for children and adults.
My recipes are usually adjusted at some point in the cooking process or plating process to become kid friendly. For example, I have a great Vietnamese recipe for Shaking Beef. By removing some the of the beef prior to adding the more exotic ingredients, the beef is perfectly sweet for the children while the adults get to eat the meal as it was intended with all its spices. Children really love this dish! I believe that children will eat all kinds of foods if they are consistently introduced to them. I do tailor my recipes to limit the heat of spice given to children. I design the recipes so that the heat can be adjusted for the adults and kids. This is done easily during the cooking process. It is rare my meals will be plain. I don’t like to eat plain food so I do expect my son to eat flavorful foods. Again, encouraging children to eat new foods can be a process but consistency is the key.
Please tell us about your new kid’s clothing line.
Little Froglet was born before A Family that Eats Together. In 2009, after being laid off right after returning from maternity leave, the economy was a mess and I didn’t know what the job market was going to provide for me. I was at the park with some friends and their kids on a cold day and our children didn’t want to wear gloves or hats. It was at that time that the Ultimate Year ‘Round Hoodie and Little Froglet was born. I have worked at many specialty retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 12 years specializing in buying, sourcing and product development. With my passion for kids clothing and my knowledge of retail, I felt it was time to go out on my own and start my own company.
What are some of your favorite designs from Little Froglet?
Our Ultimate Year ‘Round Hoodie will keep your child warm on cool summer nights, and still warm them up on cold winter days with our extra thick cotton fleece and extra high collar. We have made a “Scuba hood” which won’t fall off no matter how hard little ones play. The thumbholes on the sleeves are hidden and designed to not get in the way of serious play. They can be worn like a regular cuff or worn around the thumb to keep little hands warm–maintaining dexterity during play. We picked bright colors like our Ocean Blue and Raspberry Pink so that you can easily find your Little Froglet in a crowd. Our hoodie has also been known to stimulate imaginary play. Put the hood and cuffs on, and suddenly your little one can be a superhero!