Who is Zia?

~ August 2013 ~

~ Littledude, Ladybug and Zia ~

~ March 2014 ~


Zia means “Aunt” in Italian, and that’s me.  1/2 Italian 1/2 Irish and all Foodie. This is my nephew and niece who lived with me for over a year ~ until quite recently now they visit a few days a week ~ and are currently 33 and 21 months (a little over 2 /12 and 1 1/2) respectively. Yup 1 year apart “Irish twins” (and my sister is the Italian/German one – go figure). We all started living together in May of 2013 and it is then that my culinary adventures began and Zia’s Kitchen was born.

I’ve loved cooking all my life, and am a foodie at heart.  Living with these little monkeys challenged me to create dishes that they will love and to help expose them to all the glorious things food can be.

Food = Love.

If you have ever tried to get a toddler to eat you know it is a challenge and the rules change daily!

A lot of the recipes I try are about getting the Littledude and Ladybug to enjoy more than your standard kid fare and try new things.  Kid sized, kid portioned and kid trickery like hiding the green veggies because the Littledude is on a current “No Green things” kick, and as of a few months ago, Ladybug has joined in.  What IS it about green food that makes kids turn around one day and say “no WAY!”??

I am the only one in the family (that we know about) who has to eat Gluten Free after being told in 2009 that Gluten was what had been making me so sick for a long time. I do most of the cooking, so….Gluten Free it is!  My sister agrees, it’s not really good for you so has no problem with feeding the kids a mainly Gluten Free diet, but they do eat non-gluten-free when I am not around.

Going Gluten Free is a challenge and took some adjusting. I am always trying out new Gluten Free products on the family and will rave about my favorites and lament about the sub par and because Gluten Free packaged products are expensive, I will be brutally honest.   It’s a Gluten Free jungle out there, and you don’t want to waste your money on terrible products! Most of the GF products I buy are for baking, flours and mixes etc. the rest of the time it’s all about real food.

In the past year this has gone from a hobby, to something I have become truly passionate about.  This blog is an update from the original and you will see more and more posts that are food industry related, not just recipes.  It’s scary what is happening in the food world, and I find myself becoming more involved in it every day!  My “office” is now the kitchen and this little corner of my bedroom with my computer where I do freelance writing, social media marketing and edit my photography.  All photography on Zia’s Kitchen is mine (photosbyamandanicole.com) and taken either with my big girl camera or my iPhone.

Yes, I am a Gluten-Free Foodie Blogger who is also a Photographer. I would be the generic trifecta if I was a a real mom instead of a full time Auntie.  Oh and if I was crafty and had an Etsy shop, but I’m not. Thats my sister’s department.

Well, it’s about time to head into the kitchen…..


Oh yeah, Zia has another future foodie on her hands now as well.  She lives up in New Jersey with her mom (my other sister) so she doesn’t get to benefit from Zia’s Kitchen directly……Yet.


~ July 2014, 6 months ~
Introducing my newest niece who has been christened “ButterBean” by her Zia.


LadyBug and Littledude
~ July 2014 ~

man they grow up quickly

So, from my family of food lovers with wee foodies in training to yours…….away we go!

Nom Nom



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