No chicken fingers here: Restaurant launches gourmet tasting menu for children


The favorite dish among diners on the children’s tasting menu is the make-your-own sundae plate. (Courtesy Dusty Lockhart)

In the six years since it opened, Trummer’s on Main has earned a reputation among D.C. diners for its locally sourced ingredients, carefully prepared seafood and innovative tasting menus. But these days, the dining establishment is catering to a new clientele with its tasting menu designed exclusively for children.

And it’s nothing like your typical children’s menu.

“So many times you have chicken tenders, you have cheeseburgers and maybe a bowl of pasta. We wanted to take that further and offer more to our guests and to our families … to try to offer healthy alternatives for the kids,” says Fausett, who designed the menu.

“The idea is to introduce [kids] into some new ingredients, while still finding textures and flavors that work well for their palate, and exposing them to this type of dining and just the natural progression where our meals go from lighter fare to heavier.”

The concept for the five-course Petit Gourmand  project stemmed from the personal experiences of owners Victoria and Stefan Trummer. With two kids under 5, the Trummers say dining out can be a challenge for the food-focused family. For starters, not all restaurants accommodate kids, and many that do don’t offer healthy or compelling options.

“It’s a way for both parents to be able to enjoy a tasting menu with their kid, but also for kids to be able to get involved in that and eat real food,” Victoria Trummer says. “There are no chicken fingers or French fries or mac and cheese. And I think all kids eat those things at some point in their life, but that shouldn’t be all that they eat when they go out.”

Read the full article here.

Best gifts for sending overseas


If you’re reading this then no doubt you have friends or family living overseas. No doubt you want to send them a Christmas gift once in a while. No doubt you have tried to negotiate the massive hurdles that come with posting these jolly things! (Heh heh, see what I did there…)

Some things to keep in mind when shipping a gift overseas:

  • Check what can/can not be imported into the destination county. This information can generally be found on the destination country’s embassy or customs webpage. USPS seems to have a pretty comprehensive list available at this link.
  • When filling out the customs forms, make sure you indicate it is a gift and be as generically specific about the contents as you can. You don’t need to do into absolute detail, but simply writing “gift” as the contents may raise some flags by customs. Whereas, “books, toys, candy” will generally not cause problems.
  • The customs form will require you to write the monetary value of the contents, the higher the amount, the more likely your giftee is to be charged import fees.
  •  The customs form may require a phone number for the recipient, if that is the case, please message your giftee to get the information.
  • If possible, avoid using a courier service. (e.g. UPS, Fedex, and DHL) Many of them will charge your giftee a customs handling fee as well as any customs or import fees in order for them to receive their gift. Sometimes when using a courier service, they will also ask for passport information which may not be available. This varies from country to country. If you must use a courier service, you can consider sending your giftee money to cover the cost, or, at the very least give them a heads up.
Read full article at

My absolute must do tip is WRAP YOUR PARCEL APPROPRIATELY. It has to survive many days and night by air or sea, and you want it to arrive in the best shape possible.

At Little Bellies, we’re packing veterans! No amount of bubble wrap is spared to ensure your gift arrives in great condition.

Here’s a great idea for overseas kiddies – a placemat and crayons set featuring Australian flora and fauna. Wipes clean after each use so it can be coloured again and again. Click on the image to see more designs.


Even future Kings need Little Bellies Dinnerware



Prince William and Princess (she’ll always be ‘Kate’ to me) Catherine were photographed having a picnic during a family outing earlier this year.

They brought Royal Cuties Prince George and Princess Charlotte along for the fun, too.

An onlooker stated, “The children were playing about and running around while they sat there eating cake off paper plates. William was eating cake off a paper plate just like anyone else.”

Paper plates, Wills? Really?

I think he should try a Little Bellies super-durable-dare-you-to-try-and-break-it Superstar melamine plate instead. Much more stylish than a paper plate! And seriously, just chuck it in the picnic basket and throw it in the dishwasher when you get home.


Here’s one for the lovely Princess, too…


You can grab them here on special right now for only $14.99 with free delivery within Australia.

Continue reading

Thermos personalised water bottles


Well, it sure has been a while since I’ve had something worthwhile to tell you here!

I’ve been working on these beauties for a long time now. My family have used Thermos insulated water bottles for many years. (We still have the same ones we bought seven years ago, I must add! Total value for money.) I love how I can leave mine in my car on a hot day and still come back to a cold drink. My boys like their water cold, and even after a whole school day during summer, any water left in their water bottles is still colder than regular tap water.

So, being such a fan of these water bottles, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to bring them to Little Bellies. Because just reselling water bottles is a bit boring, yes? So I’ve been practising cutting vinyl (vinyl all the things!) and now I can offer the water bottles personalised with your choice of name, font and colour. So each one is a little bit different, like our kids. 🙂

The water bottles are available just on their own too, if that’s all you need.

You can read the specs of each one here: or drop me a comment below with any questions.

Karen x

Feral kids close café playroom

John and Claudette Osterberg at their café, Black Mocha, in Turramurra.

John and Claudette Osterberg at their café, Black Mocha, in Turramurra.

I came across this article a week or so ago, and I wanted to chat about it with you.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Dirty nappies left on tables, children washing their hands in other patrons’ water glasses, and parents using cushions as plates are only a handful of the reasons a Sydney cafe has closed its children’s playroom, the owners say.

Turramurra’s Black Mocha Cafe announced the closure of its playroom via a Facebook post on Tuesday evening. “Our decision has been based on a number of factors,” it said. “Too many parents not respecting the dining experience of other patrons and the facilities provided for children.”

Posted by Black Mocha Cafe on  Sunday, November 2, 2014

John Osterberg, who opened Black Mocha in 2013 with his wife Claudette, says most children and parents have been well behaved, but “a few bad eggs with a sense of entitlement have decided the cafe is their place to treat as they like”.

I’m conflicted in many ways. As a parent, my first instinct is to be offended by these statements. To assume parents don’t care how their children behave is ridiculous. When my children are in public I admit I’m guilty of just the opposite – I curb any negative behaviour the second it gets underway, much more so than I would at home, just in case anyone nearby thinks I’m ‘a bad parent’.

As a business owner, I understand that he has every right to run his business however he chooses, and if offering a play area for the kids is proving more trouble than it’s worth… I’d get rid of it, too.

You can read the full article here. How do you feel? Are you disappointed to see a (formerly!) family-friendly option disappear, or is it a case of good riddance?

upmarket imageHere’s hoping it’s a gorgeous, sunny day as usual for the June Upmarket! I’ll be there with heaps of your old favourites, and a couple of new things, too!

dog and placemat low res

These are so new, they’re not even on my web site yet! Super hardy placemats for your dog, by popular demand! You choose the colour and I’ll add your dog’s name. You’ll have to see me at Upmarket at UWA, Perth this Sunday from 10am-4pm if you want one now. I’ll put them in the web store soon.

little monsters RGB smallcolourme2A new Little Monsters design for the über-popular Colour Me Happy placemat range. Lots of different placemats available, and they all come with their own packet of washable crayons and a cloth to wipe clean, so the kids can colour over and over again.

kids mat wide low res rgbMy favourite new personalised placemat is available to order at Upmarket or online, too! Heaps of fun because you’re in charge! You choose hair colour and style, eye colour, and add freckles, glasses, dimples or earrings if you need them.

I hope you can see me on Sunday! If not, pop over here for more information:

Karen x

Best Anzac biscuits ever!


It was a quiet weekend at my place. The last weekend of school holidays can become rushed with back-to-school goings on, but apart from scheduling haircuts for the returning kidlets, it was great to lay low.

We took the opportunity to get into the kitchen and bake something frivolous. You know, not for lunchboxes, or to take to a playdate… just for fun. With Anzac Day approaching in less than a week, we’ve been seeing a lot of the Anzac biscuits around the supermarkets. Personally, I like my biscuits on the soft and chewy side, so the supermarket kind, being thin and crunchy, aren’t my thing.

This is my favourite recipe. If you’re wanting to bake a batch in time for Anzac Day, you could do much worse than these. Nice and simple, and apart from adding the boiling water, the kids can help with everything.

And yes, I may in fact be munching a couple while I’m writing this…

Anzac Biscuits

  • 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar, rolled oats and coconut
  • 115g butter
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup or treacle
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water (add a teeny bit more if the mixture is dry)
  • 1 teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda
  1. Grease and line biscuit trays and preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Melt together butter and golden syrup. Combine water and bi-carb soda, add to mixture.
  4. Mix butter and dry ingredients.
  5. Roll into small balls and place on tray, allowing room for spreading. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Allow to cool on tray for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

From an original recipe provided by Mr Bob Lawson, an ANZAC present at the Gallipoli landing. Source: Australian War Memorial

Why I still feed baby food to my seven-year-old


Last night I fed my six- and seven-year-old boys baby food.

No, I’m not sorry. In fact, I’m kinda proud.

You see, my boys are fussy eaters. They both love vegetables. Actually, they both love ‘A’ vegetable. And not the same one. My six-year-old will only eat carrots. Raw ones. My seven-year-old will only eat corn. Cooked ones.

They’re fine with lettuce, as long as it’s on a taco. Nowhere else. And they’re fine with capsicum and zucchini as long as it’s on our homemade pizzas. Nowhere else. And most nights I can’t be bothered with negotiating the minefield that is dinnertime, so I give them what I know they’ll eat. But I also don’t want them missing out on other great vegies.

So sometimes I get a bit sneaky. I pick up one of these from the supermarket (yes, I used to blend my own but that seems to happen more and more infrequently now I’m working part-time)…


This week I’ve mixed some of this baby food into tomato sauce for their hot dogs, tomato paste on the pizza base, and tomato sauce again to dip some crumbed chicken. They have no idea of the extra vegie content of the sauce, and I can relax a little knowing that even though they only take a nibble of the vegies I’ve served with the meal, they’re getting just that little bit more.

Do you have any sneaky food secrets you don’t tell your kids?

Clean your plate! (If you want to…)


There’s a lot of information floating around on the internet these days, much of it has to do with how to raise our kids.

At Little Bellies, we’re all about making dinnertime easier on the parents, AND the kids. So I wanted to share this article I found. I really like this advice. It says:

When it comes to feeding little kids, adults know best. But some nutritionists now argue that children could also benefit from a bit of autonomy at mealtimes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that parents let kids as young as 2 years old serve themselves at home. And in 2011, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advised that child care providers should serve meals “family-style” — present kids with a few different dishes and allow them to take what they want.

Why? Because there’s now research showing that when kids are allowed to serve themselves, they’re less likely to overeat. They also tend to be more open to trying different kinds of foods.

We do this in our house as often as we can.

If I serve a meal up onto individual plates I feel like I’m imposing my own interpretation of how much everyone ‘should’ be eating. But that’s listening to MY hunger, not theirs. I prefer to serve up say, a lasagne and salad, or tacos and a whole bunch of fillings, and let everyone serve themselves. I find my boys eat a good range of foods, and more of it, when they have control over their own meals. (Really, they don’t because I have still decided what to serve! Ha ha! Shh, don’t tell them…)

And we’re all a lot happier at the dinner table. Which is the whole point.

Do you eat your meals ‘family style’? Please leave a comment with your favourite meal to serve – we all need some more ideas!

Chicken taco image courtesy Head here for the recipe.