Meet Charlee: Professional Eater, Where Delicious Meets Balance

My name is Charlee and I love food with all my heart and like to think of myself as a professional eater.charlee

I’m an avid cook and cook practically every night for my family. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than nourishing my family from the inside out. I must admit though, I wasn’t always into cooking. I was content with the meal-in-the-box approach and had never even seen a fresh herb before! That was until I met Sid, my husband’s father. Let’s rewind to about ten years ago where the match was struck and the flame began.

Sid was usually always in the kitchen cooking something. He was an attorney by day and a self-taught chef by night. He cooked every night. He wasn’t much of a “recipe” follower, however, no matter what he made it was always delicious. Sid introduced me to the world of food. Every time I came over for a visit, he would show me a new technique, and took the time to teach me the How-to’s. I then took the initiative and started taking classes in my local community to learn proper knife skills, basic cooking and baking techniques from local chefs, and even reading cookbooks, to develop my skills in the kitchen.

Needless to say, this brought Sid and I even closer together as we soon began to share a very special bond and passion for cooking. We sort of had this secret code with each other. He would send food home with my husband regularly and I would send in scratch made baked goods. I fondly remember after having my first son that Sid prepared me a week’s worth of food so that I didn’t have to worry about cooking my first week back. And every Christmas, I always received new gadgets for my kitchen.

Then about two years ago, my oldest son, ABC, starting exhibiting some developmental delays. After much research on my part, I started my son on a gluten and dairy free diet and noticed a major change in his behavior and communication skills. This rocked our wheat and cheese loving world! It was a major transition for us as a family, but with much patience, and many homemade gluten and dairy free treats thrown straight into the trash, we found balance.cupcakes

Sweet, delicious, wholesome balance. We now follow a whole food approach, and maintain a gluten and dairy free diet for our sons, as much as possible.boys

Since I started this journey with my oldest son, I have seen huge changes in my own health. I too, gave up wheat. I also gave up most dairy, processed foods, and have limited grains and sugar from my diet. I had been a type 2 diabetic for almost half my life and was able to ditch the diabetes and blood pressure meds by managing my weight through diet and exercise (article from Forecast Diabetes Magazine with my story).  I have become quite passionate about this lifestyle and have shared my experiences with others who want to escape this processed food world. So as I learn new things, I will post and share them on here as well, and also share various resources in order to help those that want to go through the same process. This is not easy; however, your family and health will reap major benefits.

BEFORE                                             AFTER




I try to stick to the Paleo guidelines, but have made my own adjustments in order to suit our needs . I am continuing to educate myself on different diets and making changes that I feel are in the best interest of our family. So there may be posts for grain-free, paleo, etc., but I am not, at this point, strictly headed in a “one way” direction.


  • Do the best you can with what you’ve got.
  • Take it one meal at a time.
  • Knowledge is power, so don’t take what is suggested at face value. Research for yourself and then determine if this is right for you.
  • Listen to your body because everyone’s body is different.

So now it’s your turn. Please comment below and let me know what experiences you have had on trying to change your habits and diet and where you need a leg up on making changes that will help make them stick. Please share your tips and tricks and resources you may have to help others reading this post.

This post is dedicated to my father-in-law, Sidney Malcolm Crawford who passed away January 7, 2014. Even though I was your daughter-in-law, you always made me feel like your daughter. Your love of food ignited the first spark that has now become a roaring fire.  Thank you for continually feeding my passion and believing in me. I love you and miss you.

Charlee is a Tampa native and currently resides in Valrico with her two boys (ages 5 & 2), and husband, Ben. Charlee is a teacher by day, and recipe developer by mealtime. She loves being in the kitchen and propping her boys on the counter to assist as her sous chefs. She believes that involving her whole family in the process will foster healthy habits and an appreciation of where food comes from. Charlee has a food blog called Little Red Bird Kitchen where she posts recipes and the reactions of her little guys and big guy, too. Charlee enjoys reading, pinning, crafting, and finding tasty local eats. She loves glam vintage, wears Chuck Taylor Converse everyday, and rocks the bow tie. Visit her blog @ and follow her Instagram @CharleeChomps.


  1. Loved your article and the reason behind your passion! I love your comments about do the bess you can with what you have and how you are not strict in your eating plan approach but instead listen to your body. This is so very important for everyone to remember- we are not all alike but we are unique. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Char this is such an interesting post and I cant wait to check out your food posts. Congratulations to you, a Mom, that is interested in finding out how to deal with your son’s food sensitivities and helping him lead a better life. Good job and thanking you for sharing. Susan

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