Hvar Town, Croatia

Pin It From Zadar we continued by bus to Split, where we got on the next Catamaran to Hvar Town.  I was picturing an open boat, where you can sit on the deck and sip on a fresh fruit smoothie, but it was a regular ferry where you couldn't even go outside.  Luckily the trip was just over an hour and I had a good book to pass the time.  I think I was actually sobbing half the way to Hvar.  The book was sad, but more on that later.

An hour and a half later we arrived in Paradise.  We got to our apartment (which was the best apartment we have stayed in yet!) and while we were settling in, there was a knock.  "I am sorry.  Fresh Lemonade?" the apartment owner asked, "It is from the tree outside," she said pointing to the tree.  "No need to apologize and Yes, Please!" was our response.  We sat on our balcony sipping on the fresh squeezed lemonade.  "Pinch me.  I must be dreaming," I thought out loud.   Paul pinched me and I didn't wake up.
We spent a few days by the sea, reading books and taking walks along the coast.  Though there aren't beaches and it is mostly rocky coast line, there are still nice spots to relax and take a dip every now and then.
The color of the water was insanely beautiful.
We came across a father and son catching what seemed to be like whatever they could find.... and this was where I had just been swimming.  Glad I didn't know what they were doing when I was in the sea.  Catch of the day: Octupus and some long eel type weird fish thing (you get the drift).  Pretty crazy!
We would walk around the port after we had enough sun and grab a fresh lemonade or fresh juice.  Did I mention it was full sun and in the 90's all week?!
The highlight of our trip though, was an all day sailing excursion to Vis Island and the Green Cave for some snorkeling.  The snorkeling was mediocre, but sailing around the small islands near Hvar was so relaxing with the ocean breeze.  I also love getting the view from the sea.
  Some other boats sailing by peacefully:
Boats lined up at Hvar Port upon our return:
Smallest to biggest:
The next day we took a walk along the coast and found a pretty big beach we had heard about.  I think one of the only beaches in Hvar Town (and by beach I mean pebbly and rocky).  Tip: Bring your water shoes if you visit Croatia! 
We finished our books and then it was time for a cocktail while the sun set. 
Hvar Town was amazing.  Though we had 4 nights there, I could have easily spent a whole week and would love to go back.  

As always, let me know if you want any tips if you are planning a visit to Croatia.  You can read about the rest of our trip to Croatia here.  Check back soon for details on the rest!

Pin It


Lake Plitvice: It'll "slap" you silly

Pin It One of my good friends decided she wanted to start wearing red lipstick.  Best. Idea. Ever.  She is brilliant and I clearly owe all my future red lipstick wearing days to her.  Thanks Brit :)  It's especially fun when you are on vacation and no one knows you. 
We left for Croatia last Saturday.  It was amahzing.  Beautiful scenery, beautiful weather, great food, great company and friendly locals.  We couldn't have asked for a better experience.  We flew into Zadar, located right on the Adriatic.  Though are main reason for going there was to access Lake Plitvice National Park, it was a great city to spend a few days in.  It has history, beach, a happening old town and makes a great base in Northern Dalmatia.

Lake Plitvice has been on our bucket list of places to see since we saw a public television program on it a few years before we moved to Belgium.  We had to go and we are glad we did.  Though, its not the easiest place to get to, it is definitely worth the trip.  Set half way between Zadar & Zagreb (the capital), the national park is the most visited park in Croatia.  Our tour guide had said the park reaches up to 17,000 visitors per day during the high season.  I would recommend visiting in May, June or the fall.  Though there were people, it wasn't packed with tourists.  We wanted to visit the park independently, however I read a few horror stories on the public busing situation to and from the park.  That being said we took an 8 person tour bus.  Independence in the park would have been great (and if you can swing it, you should), but we saw what we came to see without any stress from our side.  
You will come across "slap" after "slap" (waterfall in Croatian) walking through the park.

The water was emerald green, deep sea blue, turquoise and aquamarine.  Unbelievably bright due to the minerals in the water and the sun.  The water was so pure and clean you could drink it straight from the stream.

It was refreshing in the hot Croatian sun and had to be, since you are not allowed to swim in the park.  Though it will take all the power you have to resist the urge to jump in. 

Love the foot pics.  Obviously.
 Wooden foot paths take you through the park.  There are many trails ranging in different lengths for you to take.
Cliff jumping anyone? 
If you are headed to Croatia, Lake Plitvice National Park is a must-see.  What is the most beautiful natural place you have been to?  I'd love to hear about your adventures.  This definitely tops my list. 
One last photo:

Pin It

Croatia: The Highlights

Pin It
Back to life.  Back to reality.

While we were away, we went here:



& here.

We ate this:

& drank that:
& had a great time.

Check in soon for more details! 
Pin It


Stuffed Mushroom Monday

Pin It Look what I made!  Sorry if I sound a bit like a Kinder-beaner, when I say that.  They are just so cute.
Really easy and really tasty.  You can do it, too.  In 15 minutes or less.
I had envisioned this with portabellas, in which case I would have got a little more creative.  But, the past two times I have been to the one store in my neighborhood that has portabellas, they were out.  Both times I had a delicious meal in mind.  Both times I was a sad sad girl.  Plan B: little button mushrooms.  Remove the stem and dig out the gills, but handle these buttons with care.  Note: You may want to bake these a bit and get rid of some of the water before you fill them.  I didn't and the pan was a little watery.       
Baked or not, stuff those buttons with your favorite pizza sauce.
Then top 'em.  I did a few varieties just to experiment a bit.  One with ham and fresh mozzarella, one with ham and an Italian cheese blend, and one with a spoonful of sundried tomato and pesto cream cheese.
 Bake 'em for 15-20 minutes.
These would make a nice party appetizer, especially with the different varieties.  Make it ahead of time and pop it in the oven when the guests arrive.  I have seen a million stuffing mushrooms ideas and each sounds better than the next.


400 grams Button Mushrooms
1 jar of your favorite pizza sauce

Sliced Deli Ham
Fresh Mozzarella or Italian Cheese Blend
Sundried Tomato & Pesto Cream Cheese (or other delicious cream cheese blend, or make your own flavored cream cheese)

Chopped Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Chopped Basil


Preheat oven to 350F.  De-stem and carefully remove mushroom gills.  Bake for 10 minutes to reduce water if desired.  Stuff with a spoonful of sauce.  Top.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Garnish with chopped tomatoes, a drizzle of Olive Oil and Chopped Basil mixed together.  Serve immediately.

Bon Appétit! Pin It


Two Years and Truly Blessed with a serving of Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Pin It Two years ago today, My Taste tester and I tied the knot.  Back then he wasn't My Taste Tester, since pretty much the only thing I could make was a grilled cheese sandwich (and even that I had trouble not screwing up!).  Needless to say a lot has changed since that blissful June day, two years ago.  Not that I am an expert now, or anything.  But here's a wedding recap in pictures:
Sneak peak.
At the ceremony.
After the ceremony. 
 Jumping shot!
With my girls.
The whole crew.

And if you really want to know what the day was like here is a sneak peak of our video.
Our photographer was the best.   If you are getting married in the future, definitely check out Kim Thiel Photography.  Her photos & videos are gorgeous and she is a dream to work with!  (That's us at the top of the blog, too!)

Back on topic.  So, what has happened since we tied the knot?  Here are some of the highlights:

1.) I went to my first Packer Game!  Go Pack!

2.) Obviously, we moved to Belgium!

3.)  I started to dabble into cooking!

4.) We have had lots of visitors and have done loads of traveling in Europe!

5.) We have each had two great trips back to the States (always for weddings, but can't find a better excuse than that!).

6.)  As previously mentioned, Paul got a promo!  Woo Hoo.  Congrats to Hubs! 

That being said, you can see why the past two years have literally flown by.  I feel so blessed to have  such a great husband to share all of these moments with and look forward to what the future will bring.   

They say there is no better way to a man's heart than through his stomach... it took me a while to figure this out, but I can confirm that it is most certainly true.  So I made Paul Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas for our anniversary dinner.  While it is nothing fancy, it was the perfect casual at home dinner.  Next week we are on (a dream) vacation... so there will be plenty of time to celebrate.
You could try to tell me you wouldn't want to devour enchiladas filled with this, but I know you would be lying.  Meat lovers won't even miss the meat (I know this, because as much as I hate to admit it, I am a meat lover).   This meal is perfect the way it is. Seriously.  Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Black beans, Corn, Spinach, Onions, Garlic, the perfect blend of spices, throw some gooey cheese in there and it'll have you going goo-goo ga-ga.  Wrap it up in a corn tortilla.  Goo-goo Ga-Ga.
We have made these enchies a few times, but never with sweet potatoes. We loved it before.  We love it more now.  The sweet potatoes (our new obsession) brought it over the top.  I can't wait to figure out what other dishes currently in the repertoire that will be brought to a whole 'notha level by adding a little sweet potato - sweet potato (pronounced: you say tomato, I say tomato).  I haven't even mentioned the health bennies, yet!  They are high in so many vitamins and are the new (to me, at least) super food!   Click here here for details on Sweet Potato nutritional info.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas
as adapted from koko cooks


For the potatoes:
3 small-medium sweet potatoes (diced, peeled if you desire (I left the skin on for health purposes and barely noticed it)
1 T Olive Oil
1 T Brown Sugar 
1 t Cumin
1 t chili powder
1/4 t cayenne pepper 
1 T Olive Oil
2 T flour
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
1 can tomato paste
2 1/2 c vegetable broth

2 T Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 c fresh baby spinach
1 c frozen, fresh or canned corn
1 can black beans
1 T cumin
1/2 t ground coriander (I only had the balls and ground it myself with a mortar & pestle)
dash of chili powder and cayenne pepper as you desire
1 T chopped cilantro
1 c shredded cheese (Mexican blend would be great or cheddar if you can't get your hands on it!)
8 corn tortillas

Fresh Pico de Gallo
Avocado Slices
Greek Yogurt


I roasted the sweet potatoes the same as I did here.
Preheat your oven to 400 F.  Mix the spices for the potatoes in a ziplock bag.  Add the diced potatoes and oil.  Mix.  Let marinate for 10 minutes.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, checking and flipping every 10 minutes or so.

Heat 1 T of oil in a small sauce pan.  Mix in the spices, flour & tomato paste.  Whisk together for 1 minute.  Whisk in the broth.  Bring to a boil.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.  Sauce will thicken.

In a large pan, heat 2 T olive oil.  Sautée garlic and onions, until desired softness.  Add spinach until wilted.  Add black beans and corn.  Mix in the seasonings.  Add the sweet potatoes and 1/2-3/4 c of the cheese.  Warm tortillas in oven or microwave until softened.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 F.

Pour in a layer of sauce into a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  One by one fill the tortillas and roll lining them in the dish.  Top with sauce and the remaining cheese.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with homemade pico de gallo, sliced avocadao & cilantro.  Top with Greek Yogurt if desired (we forgot it in the fridge!).

**If you have extra filling make a few for the freezer (I made a freezer tortilla pizza/quesadilla thing)  I'll keep you posted on whether or not it turns out!
Bon Appétit! 
Best. Meal. Ever. Pin It