Dobar dan from Croatia!  I'm Amanda. Welcome!

I began this blog after quitting my job as a journalist to move across the world with my love, and we've been traveling, growing our family and cooking ever since. 

Okinawa to Croatia

When we moved to Okinawa, Japan, I didn't realize that we'd find a beautiful small island with a slow and quiet lifestyle,  or a home on the turquoise East China Sea surrounded by eighty and ninety year old Japanese farmers who became like family, or that I'd rediscover my passion for cooking. I suddenly had a lot of free time on my hands, local farmers and great food right outside our front door, and that was it. I fell in love with cooking and sharing good food with family and friends around our table. It is an art form that I have always enjoyed, but didn't fully realize or focus on before moving to Okinawa. 

I grew up with literally the best cook in the world -- my Mama! It is true that I am biased, but any of our friends could tell you the same as they beg for seconds and thirds. My Mom gave of herself through every meal she made us -- from Mediterranean pastas and breads to roast lamb and vegetables, to grilled fish or tri-tip -- we ate so well in our house! But it didn't stop there. She taught me not only how to cook, but the importance of fresh, healthy ingredients to create simple and masterful meals, as well as the necessity of sitting down together each day as a family over delicious, natural food. I also had the amazing opportunity to study in Italy and learned how to cook Italian cuisine in Rome and Padova.  It took all of about two seconds to fall in love with pesto, parmesan, real pizza, cappuccino, tomatoes, and gelato (of course). Living on Okinawa, which boasts of one of the healthiest diets in the entire world, my love for cooking was further heightened and gave both Cam and I an appreciation for local cuisine. Okinawans seasonally eat what they farm on island and what they catch in the sea.

Now that we live in the capital of Croatia, I shop daily for fresh ingredients in the open markets and we have fallen head over heels for Croatian wine. To learn about this beautiful region's complex and tumultuous history (part of my own family's heritage) is in part to learn about the food and traditions of it's people. 

Cooking is truly a beautiful art that we all have the ability to possess and share. I believe that no meal ever has to be boring. From the textures of vegetables, to richness in meats, to the colors of fruit, the options of natural foods are as vast as the possibilities of what can be put on the table each day. I am also an interior design-wannabe and love a simple, beautiful home and table and watching how it can transform a meal to bless those who are eating together. I wholeheartedly think the table is the heart of the home. It's such an important part of life. None of us can survive without eating and drinking, but meals are so much more than that. It's time to sit down, relax, talk, communicate. I think that something so simple has such great importance, with ramifications through our whole society. All throughout the Bible, too, we see breaking of bread together, meals shared, good food and wine, real conversation.

My hope is to spark in you what my Mom, Italy, Okinawa and Croatia have sparked in me. Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoy the travels, our family life in beautiful Croatia, and the dishes I create as much as we do!

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