I have finally made it to my dream island, Santorini. I felt like I was in a story book or in an imaginary doll house on the edge of the world waiting to wake up. Random roof tops to sit and see the sunset where it felt like we were literally in the clouds because there were puffs of white surrounding us (we were touching them!)

Not only was the island incredibly dreamy, the food was great too. We went to a small restaurant called Aktaion a family owned restaurant from grandfather, father to son right by where we stayed in Firostefani, Santorini. It had amazing homemade traditional Greek dishes. This was one of the restaurants that was a quaint hole in the wall with food to die for. One word for this place: Moussaka. Their moussaka had the perfect amount of spices and was baked in a clay dish to add more flavor.

For those of you who are wondering what exactly this strange dish is it is a mouth watering combination of cinnamon spiced lamb and or ground beef mingling with thinly sliced eggplant topped with a delicious cream sauce (bechamel) and baked to a golden perfection. This is a dish I strive to perfect and test over and over until I get it just right. Test number 1 has been completed and tasted his brother..they said they approved but I want to get it just right!

moussaka 2MoussakasantoriniDoll Housesunset in the clouds

Sunset while touching the clouds…. haha




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 In Greek: ντάκος, Dakos

I love it when I’m anxious about something and I can effortlessly pull together something amazing to eat. I get lost in the art of making Greek inspired recipes. When I can cook with ingredients that are in season and organic while creating something that nourishes people and brings a smile to their face- tada! 🙂

Today dakos for lunch and tonight a Greek cooking class for dinner! Traveling has been so fun and eye opening. All of the different cultures amaze me and the various ways of living teaches me new concepts about how to live a healthy sustainable life. Greeks sure do things differently! From enjoying the small things in life to eating a healthy Mediterranean diet, Greeks do many things right (even though it may not seem like it with the current economic crisis ;))!

Dakos, delicious, healthy and a great representation of the Mediterranean diet, straight from Crete. It’s similar to the common bruchetta but definitely has its own personality. Dakos refers to a recipe that uses Cretan barley rusks (paximadi).

These rusks are traditionally made with barley flour (whole grain), salt and yeast. Barley contains soluble fiber that helps lower bad cholesterol. The tomato, olive oil and oregano are excellent sources of antioxidants. When you buy rusks from the market they are hard so you rinse them in a splash of water to soften them a bit. It is a rich source of fiber so this small bite fills you up!
 If you don’t have Cretan rusks you can substitute with thick whole grain bread that is toasted or left over from the night before. You can also crumble the rusks in salads. The recipe is fast and east, makes for a great appetizer as well!
Serves: 4
4 round Cretan barley rusks or 4 thick slices whole grain bread, toasted
1 medium tomato chopped or grated
1/2 cup cottage cheese or crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup of olive oil
Dry oregano
Kalamata olives, optional
Quickly rinse the rusk under running water (skip this step if your using bread!!). It should still be crunchy but not too hard.Top with about 1 tablespoon cottage cheese or feta cheese. Sprinkle tomatoes on top, oregano, then olive oil and olives if desired.

Enjoy and Yasas!




Weekly Highlights

I’m so excited to spend some time in my swim suit with the new friends I have met in Greece. Here are a few things I have done during my time in Greece along with what has caught my eye this week, many of which have been inspired from the amazing Greek culture I have had the opportunity to surround myself with~ Opa and happy forth!


 View from hotel in Poros, Greece~amazing

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Favorite cold treat~ light and healthy coconut frozen yogurt. It’s not hard to imagine the light and fresh taste, yet rich flavor of this yogurt from the photo alone. Via anjasfood4thought

Anja's Food 4 Thought: Coconut Frozen Yogurt

Exploring island of Poros on a 4-Wheeler with Spyros
















Cheers~ happ 4th Via

Fourth of July or Memorial Day Party - switch blueberries out for cherries!

Lamb~ Greece is full of tasty lamb Via Donna Hay

char-grilled lamb shoulder with tomato and feta salad ❥

Whats in the News~ The banks in Greece have been closed for 5 days now. It’s hard to find an ATM that works and if we do the Greeks can only take up to 60 euro out a day. Difficult times but everything is fine for now. We will wait until the weekend to see what will happen next.


















Have a great 4th of July!
















 Poros Greece


There are few things in this life that I don’t have to think about. In terms of enjoyment thank goodness for those few things, right? By thinking I mean those things you have to dig away at in order to unpack it to make sense of something, it feels a bit forced. I don’t have to think about how to season a piece of meat the right way, my faith, what kind of food nourishes me, right VS wrong and risks to take. I do, however, have to think about algebra equations and scientific puzzles….sounds stupid?…oh well.

When I start over thinking what comes easiest to me I find I ruin it. Simplicity wins.

I have arrived in Athens, Greece where I will be living until September 5 traveling to various parts of Greece and Europe (above is a picture of Poros where we stayed last weekend on a small island). I asked myself after a couple weeks of being here, did I have to realllly think about moving here? No. I knew it was something I needed to do and wanted to do whether it turned out to be horrible or great. How did I know? I just knew I would’ve always looked back.

I’m hitting all of the hot spots I can during my travels. Pastichio, a Greek-style lasagna is one of the most popular foods made in Greece.

A warm creamy rush with rich bechamel sauce and nutty spices makes for the perfect authentic Greek dish to bring to your lips and melt in your mouth.

From family to family and generation to generation traditional Greek recipes are the BEST! Zoe (my boyfriend’s mom) taught me this one as we worked away in her kitchen at home. It’s full of life!

Zoe= life in Greek

What do you have to think about? What are your natural gifts God gave you to sharpen and what are your challenges?

Stay tuned for the pastichio recipe! ( I have to test the amounts to make sure you have the best recipe! Zoe knows her recipe by heart and what she does measure is by weight) …For the cooks who have to “think” about what they are doing stay tuned, otherwise simply create 🙂



A Lighter Kind of Stew

10922727_10152570129631820_2566253958061273120_n   1 pot. easy ingredients. new flavors.

I tried this a few nights ago, its now one of my top 5 favorites to make for my family. The flavors blend together~ its pure harmony! The main thing I like about this is its a switch up from your regular hearty beef stew that everyone loves to have in the winter. This goes great with winter weather and the summer heat.

Dear Guardian Angel, I believe in God’s time all wounds will be healed… I pray that he should remain in my heart and you, most loved guardian angel, will always be with me through all obstacles through all accomplishments and all of life’s journeys.

Chicken Stew in White Wine Sauce

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay

*Try to purchase all ingredients organic 🙂

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound chicken breasts

11/2 cups brussels sprouts

sea salt and black pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pound baby potatoes, cut into 2 inch slices

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 sprigs thyme

2 tablespoons lemon juice

finely grated pecorino cheese, to serve


Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; set aside.

Add brussels sprouts and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add potatoes, broth, wine and thyme; bring to a boil. Top with chicken and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender and brussels sprouts are cooked through but have a nice crunch. Add lemon juice and stir until combined. Top with cheese. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!


A Healthy Crisp for America’s Struggling Food System




 Essential for our current health and our future…change is possible!

A plethora of  ingredients are banned across the globe because they are considered unsafe for human consumption.  It seems like common sence, you know, to ban something that could harm us? …in the USA it’s not. Coloring agents (blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, and yellow 6) and Olestrea found in fat free potato chips are still being put into our food. From Food Babe, “41% of Americans are projected to get cancer in their lifetime!  Americans are sicker and die younger than other people in wealthy nations. The United States spends 2.5 times more on health care than any other nation, however, when compared with 16 other nations we come in dead last in terms of health and life expectancy for men and near the bottom for women.” We need HELP.

I have been struggling with trying to think of various ways I can contribute to improve the USA’s corrupted food system. From volunteering on organic farms, spreading the word and eating organic food I still feel like there is more to be done. As I dive into Food Babe’s amazing blog as I mentioned her above, (a blog investigating what really is in our food which is causing cancer and obesity among a plethora of other issues and diseases) my heart is aching for the consumer’s of this food, that being the person reading this right now, me and loved ones. We are being tricked into eating foods that are contaminated. Tricked by people with power. People who don’t have the morals and values that we hope for. Our food system is hurting many families as it hurt mine.

Many large food companies don’t care about our health they only care about making money by adding additives, genetically modified organisms and pesticides to our foods to make production go faster and save money. I hope you will stay up to date on Food Babe’s findings and try to eat local and organic whenever possible. Remember, eating healthy and organic is not only good for you, it is good for your mind, body and our environment!  

Enjoy the recipe below. I pray it will help you and your family eat healthy and stay nourished!

Food Babe’s Blog: 


* For each ingredient the amount depends on how many sandwiches you’ll be making. Feel free to add any additional ingredients to make it how you want it! This recipe is simply an idea that hopefully helps spark more creativity and healthy eating! I pray and hope you will try to use organic and local ingredients. 

  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Garlic Hummus
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Oregano
  • Shaved pecorino or parmesan cheese- optional
  • Lemon wedges -Optional
  • Fresh Dill

Instructions: Assemble to you liking and look to the picture above for guidance. Eat as an open faced sandwich and squeeze the lemon on top just before eating. Enjoy!

  Happy and healthy eating!









Summer Time





Set free personal judgements and un-needed expectations. You are your own worst critic. Let go of entitlements. Be free. Breath. If you look down on yourself, little by little you capture your inner soul and put it in a box. God made us all perfect and just the way He wanted us. Have trust in HIM….even when at times it seems as if His plan is taking you in so many crazy and unheard of directions. 

I’ve learned to listen to what I need and what I want to do, not what I should do; something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. Doing what I should do, that simply tires me.

 I step out into the garden and listen to the sound of the wind and look out at the openness of the blue sky God created. The Love in this life He created is free and overflowing with happiness. I try my best to glorify Him. 

This recipe is open to do what you want to do with it, what feels best for you and your body. What will nourish and energize you? Add any vegetables you desire. I made mine from local and organic veggies because that is what I feel is best for me, that is what I want to do. This is great for grilling out and tastes so fresh! If you don’t care for greek yogurt you may want to skip the greek yogurt sauce. I thought the sauce tasted perfect with the vegetables, it added a certain kind of freshness and unique flavor.


  • 1 cup edamame
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 cups fresh kale
  • 1 onion
  • 2 ears of corn (or 1 for each person)
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli
  • 2 yellow zucchini
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1/3 cup sunflowers seeds
  • olive oil as needed
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Greek Yogurt Sauce:
  • 17 oz plain unsweetened greek yogurt
  • ½ cup dill, minced
  • 3/4 cup mint, minced
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste


Preheat oven to 350.Cut potatoes into small wedges and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Place them in a hot oven to roast for 20 minutes. Wash and chop up kale. Place in skillet with olive oil and season to taste.

Remove tough ends of asparagus. Cut zucchini into thin strips big enough to grill. Slice tomatoes, brocolli, and onion into medium sized chunks. Soak corn in water for about 10 minutes then place on grill with husk still on. Place zucchini, tomatoes, brocoli, and onion on on grill at medium heat until tender.

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice with the minced fresh herbs. Pour herb-yogurt onto a large serving platter. Spread to create a yogurt bed. Arrange vegetables a top of the yogurt. Sprinkle edamame a top vegetables then sprinkle sunflower seeds a top edamame.

Enjoy immediately with warm flatbread or as a side to a main course!

Happy and healthy cooking!










Kale Pesto



Full of olive oil and wholesome ingredients! 🙂


Fresh kale from my dad’s garden. So good!

My latest memories of pesto is from Italy. I had everything from pasta, paninies, meats, and pizza with pesto there. ITALY IS THE LAND OF #1 food. If you can master your favorite pesto you  can incorporate it with just about anything. This recipe is full of antioxidants and will help energize you. I used South Union Bread to serve this recipe as an appetizer. Whole wheat works well and their Olive Ciabatta is great with this. Enjoy, it will go far!! 🙂 * Feel free to add any additional herbs!

My  top 5 favorite ways to use pesto, it’s not just a pasta topping:
Sauce, condiment, spread, marinate

  1. Zucchini  Pasta (recipe coming soon)
  2. Sandwhiches (paninis) learned from Italy yum!
  3. Spread for breads
  4. A top of salmon or shrimp
  5.  Dressing in salad


Kale Pesto

  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cups parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • 2 T lemon juice, optional
  • 1/3 cup-3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper (1/2 t for spicer) optional

In the bowl of a food processor, combine spinach, basil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and garlic cloves. Process with on-off turns, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until ingredients are starting to combine. With food processor running, drizzle olive oil until desired consistency is reached . Serve tossed into pasta, spread onto bread, as a sandwich spread or dip for veggies.

Happy cooking!


My Ideal Cupcake



So, here it is, a simple yet very worth while and much needed blog post. A cupcake that has so much potential it can be any combo of flavors you would want and is my “go to” recipe for any sort of celebration. This is one of the recipes I get the most compliments on. It’s moist with a robust chocolate flavor. It holds 2 different types of chocolate, buttermilk, and a whopping cup and a half of coffee in the batter. I’d say it’s most definitely a hit. Enjoy!

Quote of the week and for all those recent college grads!’s fun right? …:)

“Your vision will be clear only when u look into ur heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens” by Carl Jung

Chocolate Cake Recipe – Use this recipe exactly (besides baking time and pan used). Scoop batter into lined cupcake pans. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out just about clean. A few crumbs on the tooth pick is OK.

Now for the frosting

For this specific cupcake refer to the Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting I helped work on when I interned at Grey Dog Media  page 20. There are a ton of fun frostings you can experiment with in this magazine that I worked on. This is my FAVORITE butter cream frosting I’ve ever used. It was tested many times to get the best texture and flavor.


11⁄4 cups unsalted butter, softened

6 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds then increase speed to medium and beat 1 more minute until smooth and creamy. This recipe makes 31⁄2 cups.

Happy baking!


Our Guardian Angel


I’m back home in Iowa adjusting to the differences of a Florentine lifestyle and the American way of living. What could be a better way to get back in the swing of things than spending time in the kitchen testing recipes!!

For my brother Peter’s birthday each year my Mom made him an Angel Food cake. Although I was sad to think this would be the first year my Mom would not make Peter his favorite Angel Food cake, I was excited that I could let my Mom’s light shine by making him a cake that would hopefully help fill my Mom’s presence that was missing (speaking literally) but was most definitley there in spirit as our “guardian angel” during Peter’s birthday celebration. Continue reading