Q & A with Michele Olivier + Little Foodie Giveaway
I am super excited to introduce you toLittle Foodie, a cookbook for your babies and toddlers by my friend Michele Olivier. I met Michele while working at Nordstrom and back then we were both trying to climb our way up the corporate ladder. Just two overly ambitious woman trying to make something of our lives not knowing what really was in store for our futures.
Now 10+ years later we still remain friends but we have long tossed that previous goal and took on brand new journeys. What changed you asked? Kids! We now share two things in common. We are both control freaks and big time foodies. I’ll admit before having kids, I ate like crap but after having kids, you really start to think about food in a different way. When I had Taye I tried my hand at making fresh foods but never really quite succeeded. Julia Child and Michele would have been ashamed of me. I made mediocre purees that were thankfully edible. This time around with Odin (my second), I’m so glad I have her book to guide me through creating fresh foods full of flavor! God gave me a second chance at being a supermom. Ha.
Michele is now a mother of two and the founder/author of the baby food blog Baby Foode. Her recipes have been featured on PopSugar, Red Tricycle and Daily Parent. I swear not just because she is my friend but I really do love all the recipes her book has to offer. They are simple and unique with clever combinations of ingredients that I would have never thought to try. So delicious that you would probably make extra for yourself. (totally guilty) What started as an experiment turned into a mild obsession, then into a blog and now a book. I’m so incredibly proud and inspired by her new venture. This just proves that even moms can have a dream and with extra work and perseverance it will come true.
I feel honored that she has allowed me to share her story and for letting me host a giveaway on my blog andInstagram for you to win a signed copy of Michele’s new book, a best seller on Amazon! Hope you enjoy our interview and at the end you will find the details of the giveaway.
What sparked your interest in making baby food? After tasting several store bought brands of baby food, which were bland and lifeless, I realized that this world has so much more to offer my baby for her first bite of food. So my mom and I got together and made over 800 ounces of purees in one day – apple + cinnamon puree, carrot + nutmeg puree, sweet potato + curry puree!! It was insane how fun and easy it was to make suchdelicious food for my little girl. After taste testing it all, we fed it to Ellie and she just opened her little mouth and took bite after bite of the food. I was hooked!
Why a website then book? I started the blog because so many other moms were asking for my recipes and I wanted a place to have them allwritten down. I also have a background in photography, so it all just kinda fell into place. I had been working on the blog for a little over a year, when Calliso Media reached out to me and asked me to write a book for them. As exciting as it was, it was the worst timing and I almost turned them down! Thank goodness they talked me into it. It was probably the hardest and most stressful thing I have ever done (40,000 words is a huge goal to reach) but when I got the finished book in the mail and I was so proud of all my hard work! Of course, I busted out some wine to celebrate – at 3 in the afternoon!!!
Why do you think it is so important to make your own food?There are so many reasons to make your own baby food – quality product, knowledge of what ingredients are in the food, personally rewarding, less expensive, can make which ever fun and tasty combos you want, but for me, it has been and always will be a way to set a healthy foundation and relationship between my kids and what they eat – healthy food just tastes better! This relationship is going to last them a lifetime. I am not only giving them exposure to how amazing food can taste, but also giving them the tools to develop healthy eating habits (this does include junk food and desserts on occasion) and to be able to learn to help pick out and help make their own food.
How do you come up with the recipes?It really depends – for purees, I usually get inspired with what produce is in season and what I usually eat it in – salads, soups, sandwiches combinations. I then simplify it down to just a few ingredients so baby can enjoy the taste combination without beingoverwhelmed. With the toddler food, it’s about creating fun recipes that are full (but not hiding) of fruits and vegetables and that I know my entire family will eat. I am firm that when baby graduates from purees or finger foods that they should be able to eat any adult meal and not ‘kid’ food. We don’t eat crazy fancy gourmet meals, we eat simple and easy meals that are healthy and full of whole foods.
Where do you get all your ingredients? I usually shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joes depending on what I need. I love the farmer markets in my neighborhood but you can only get good produce for about a month or two a year, they do however have good coffee and pastries so I can easily be talked into going there to do some shopping. During this time of year, I love going to go to the local farms and orchids and pick our own fruit. We have apples, peaches and berry farms close to us and we like to make it family weekend adventure, with homemade pie afterwards of course!
What is your favorite recipe or recipes in the book? What is Ellie’s? My favorites are the Pink Applesauce (pg 92), the Roasted Maple-Spiced Almond Butter (pg 108) and Grammy’s Green Tomatillo + Chicken Enchiladas (pg 194). Ellie definitely gave her thumbs up on all the dishes but I would have to say her favorites are the Ellie’s Favorite Granola (pg 118) Chicken + Udon Noodles in Garlic Pepper Sauce (pg 182 + Taye’s favorite too) and the Red Bell Pepper + Feta Frittata with Spinach (pg 209).
What are the must haves tools for making the food? I really recommend having a good blender on hand. Not only is this key to getting creamy and smooth purees, but a good blender will also make an amazing smoothie, almond butter, muffin batter and salad dressing. I use my blender at least once a day, if not more. It’s a big investment, but totally worth it. Other then that, you will need a steamer, a baking sheet, freezer trays or jars and a full glass of wine :)
How do you keep a balance in life with kids, your website and book? I really have to work on the whole balance thing! It doesn’t come easy to me to just sit back and relax and I find that I always have a million projects going on – both personally and with the blog. After I wrote the first book, I was completely drained and had sabotaged my own health (baby Parker was just 3 months when I started writing the book) by working and putting so much stress on myself. I learned the hard way that you have to create the time each week for your own personal time in order to maintain your own health. Since then, I have started working less, working out more and taking a night off each week to just be by myself – this could be hanging with friends, seeing a movie, shopping, working out or really anything I WANT to do not HAVE to do. Plus it gives my husband a chance to hang and bond with the girls by himself! We have also hired a nanny one day a week to watch Parker and Ellie is in preschool this fall so my schedule and days are more open and I have a little more time to focus on the blog and my book.
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? Oh man, this is a tough one. I really have no idea! In the last 4 years I have moved across the country, quit my job, had a baby, started a company, had another baby and then wrote 2 books!! It has been a whirlwind. I would like to continue on my current path of helping families feed their kids healthy food, but to what capacity that is, I have no idea. I guess my current work and life philiosy is that if I show up each day, work hard and with complete love and passion, good things will present them self to me.
A thousand thanks to Michele for the interview! Here is how to enter to WIN A SIGNED COPY OF LITTLE FOODIE: