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About Itsy Bitsy Foodies

 

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve food, family and friends.  Our family gatherings always seemed to center around the kitchen.  So it is not surprising that ever since I can remember, I have had a love for food, cooking and baking.  Fortunately, my husband and I share the same passion; we have spent countless hours together in the kitchen, experimenting with different ingredients and cuisines.

With the arrival of our son we talked many times about wanting to pass along to him our love for food and our desire to get him involved in the kitchen as early as possible.  We agreed that we want to introduce him to a variety of ingredients and cuisines and give him the opportunity to develop his own palate.  We want to cultivate the foodie in him at a young age.  We feel strongly that this will not only open his eyes to new people, places and customs through food but it will help him make healthier eating and lifestyle decisions.  We want him to play an active role in the preparation of our meals so that he will appreciate food and the time spent preparing it.

To this end, we started a fun and interactive around the world approach to preparing our meals. A world map with flags in the countries where we have traveled with our taste buds is our literal visual aid. With every meal we place a flag in the country of origin of the respective food. So a flag goes in Mexico for the fish tacos we had the other night, and one in Spain for the gazpacho we made this summer. You get the idea. The intent is that this will inspire Cooper to take culinary adventures around the world and the entire family will get to come along. Now he can become involved in our meal choices, requesting to cook something from a specific location and then doing the research to find a recipe or type of cuisine with which to experiment. And we’ll all hone our geography skills to boot! The point is not to make something once and then check the country off our list but to visit the country again and again, learning more each trip about the culture and the cuisine. Every recipe may not be 100% authentic but it is about starting the learning adventure, experimenting with ingredients and techniques.

Our discussions led to the birth of Itsy Bitsy Foodies, an online resource for families looking for ways to spend more time together enjoying food and exploring the world beyond the children’s menu.  We offer tips to help kids become more adventurous eaters, getting them involved in the kitchen and introducing them to new and exciting ingredients.  We feel strongly that getting kids involved in meal choices and cooking at an early age will help them make smarter eating and lifestyle choices and ideally help to reverse the fast food trend.  But it’s never too late — our philosophy and our recipes are appropriate for food lovers of all ages.  {And I also love to bake and throw parties.  You’ll find lots of sweet inspiration here because I believe that specials –as my son calls them– are all part of the balance!}

With that, my family welcomes you into our kitchen and invites you to take your taste buds on a journey around the world.

A little more about me…

I’ve always been interested in cooking, baking, traveling, exploring new places, learning languages and learning about other cultures.  I graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Romance Literatures and Languages (French and Spanish).  During college, I studied in France and Spain where I had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and taste regional cuisines.

After moving to Medford, Oregon with my then soon-to-be husband and working in direct marketing for a few years, I decided to go back to school.  I received my M.B.A. from Southern Oregon University with the hope of starting a business that combines my passions for cooking & baking, traveling and languages.  I started working on Itsy Bitsy Foodies in 2009 and it has been such a fulfilling experience.  I have met so many people, I continue to broaden my food horizons and overall it has been such a satisfying creative outlet for me.

I currently live in Portland with my husband, our two sons and our redbone hound.  Portland is a perfect fit for our active lifestyle and interest in food.  Outside of the kitchen, one of our favorite things to do with our boys here in the Portland area is visit the local farms.  There are countless farms and markets that offer u-pick, festivals and more… something for each season.

So much has changed in the last few years and with two highly energetic littles it’s hard to always find the time to keep up with everything.  But even if you don’t hear from me for a while you can know that we’re still in the kitchen {I may just not have a free moment to write about it}.

And last but not least, the most rewarding part of this whole thing has been hearing from all of my readers –so thanks for stopping by and for all of your support and encouragement!

~ Kelsey Hilts

PS — Here is a more recent picture, taken earlier this year.  As you can see, my older son loves to take the lead in the kitchen!!

Baking Together

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