About

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Hi, I’m Jenna!

The writer, photographer, and recipe developer behind the scenes of Heavenly Spiced. It’s great to meet you! 👋🏽

I grew up in Upstate New York; however, military spouse life currently has me living in sunny Florida cloudy (yet still beautiful) Washington State. At the age of eighteen, I married my high school love, Jon. My happiest times are when we’re cooking together or going on spontaneous weekend getaways.

about me image clearwater beach

Those getaways almost always include our Morkie, Bentley. Ten years young with the sassiest personality. He loves long walks on the beach, waiting for crumbs to fall while I’m cooking, car rides, and new adventures. How loud he chews carrots and cucumbers is so obnoxious, yet super cute.

Travel & Adventures:

Travel is another love of mine. ✈️🧳 Since Jon joined the military, we’ve had the pleasure of living in Germany and traveling around Europe (although we were young and broke, we made the best of it), in Delaware and taking weekend trips to places like Philly, Atlantic City, and D.C., and in Florida, getting spoiled by beautifully sunny, hot days on the beach. It’s safe to say I left a little piece of my heart in each of those places!

In October 2021, we kissed the white sandy beaches of West Florida goodbye as we embarked on our cross-country road trip to Washington State; our new home for the next however-many years. The ten-day trip from Florida to Washington was the most amazing, memorable, magical experience I’ve had in my life. I think I can say the same for Jon and Bentley. It was a bonding experience like no other! We had each other, that was it. It was so much fun and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the whole world.

Although we were welcomed with rainy and chilly weather when we arrived in the Pacific Northwest, everyone says the summers are gorgeous. Which I can now attest to after spending our first summer (2022) here in WA! Wow. More on that later.

I would love to hear about your firsthand experiences. Do you have any must-see/do/eat recommendations? Not only in Washington or the US West Coast, but all over the world!

Before Heavenly Spiced:

For the last few years, I worked as a Lifestyle Concierge for a travel company. It was much more interesting than anything I’ve ever done jobwise. Researching Michelin Star dining, booking food & wine tours, and creating travel guides were just a few of my daily tasks. I found myself living vicariously through the lives of my clients, who were eating sushi at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo, and luxurious alpine-flavored dishes at Restaurant St. Hubertus in Italy. Goals!

Although the job was stressful and the company a bit unorganized, I’m forever grateful for the opportunity; for my polished multitasking and organizational skills, sparking my love for research, and broadening my knowledge of the world. 🌏

I speak in past tense because in the summer of 2020, I unfortunately lost my job due to COVID-19. At the time, it was devastating, for sure; however, it lead me to exactly where I should be. Cooking, learning, and blogging about food!

Heavenly Spiced, the Food Blog:

Heavenly Spiced dark and moody display of herbs in brown bowl and in background with colorful spices on brown wooden spoons

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought of starting a full-blown food blogging business, but here we are!

Just for fun, I would often post pictures of my food on my personal social media. There was no real effort involved. I took pictures of the final plate with my iPhone and posted them with just a simple caption, leaving my friends and family high and dry with no recipe, and no explanation. I just liked to cook and make my food look pretty.

Which is how I know this career path was meant for me. 💙

Why the name “Heavenly Spiced”?

Simply put, the name Heavenly Spiced stems from my beliefs that garlic is life, fresh herbs belong in almost every dish, and food deserves a lot more love than just salt and pepper. When cooking, I am constantly thinking: salt, fat, acid heat. A balanced dish is everything.

Heavenly Spiced dark and moody display of herbs in brown bowl and in background with colorful spices on brown wooden spoons

MY PASSIONS FOR COOKING AND PHOTOGRAPHY: WHERE IT STARTED

Little do they know, I’m a foodie and photographer because of my Mom and Dad. Not because these were interests of theirs (they were not), but because of their support and encouragement. They noticed my interest in photography, so when I was thirteen, they surprised me with my first DSLR camera.

I took that thing everywhere. I loved taking photos with my group of best friends (like most teenage girls do), of nature, I took a photography class in high school and was in charge of the yearbook photos. To make some extra money (since I couldn’t speak the language to work anywhere local and the amount you get paid to work on base wasn’t worth the extra car and gas money), I even started a photography “business” in our little town of Dansenberg, Germany when I first moved there. I would find trails in our cute little village and have (mostly) military families from the base meet me for family photo sessions. It was actually a lot of fun! Although my camera skills weren’t the absolute best back then, I learned a lot from those experiences.

A few years ago, my beloved Canon camera broke. It must have been exhausted from me not only using it constantly, but I also dropped it several times. I was crushed because it really was my most treasured item. The following Christmas, my parents replaced it with a new one and I’m so thankful to them for that! They knew how much that camera meant to me.

Mom's hand-written note to daughter in first vegetarian cookbook gift

My mom also bought me my first cookbook in preparation of me becoming a new wife at the age of eighteen. She sent it to me soon after I moved to Germany, along with this cute note written in the book. 💛

The cookbook was likely a (thoughtful) way for her to ensure I was eating more than grilled cheese and frozen spring rolls; even from 3,824 miles away.

It’s a vegetarian cookbook because for a decade, I was one. However, my new passion for exploring and cooking new foods was growing. To be honest, I was tired of limiting what I could taste and try, and although I’m no longer a vegetarian, I still love and appreciate a good meatless dish.

Healthyish Recipes for a Well-Balanced Life:

When I think of the term “well-balanced life”, the first word that comes to mind is happiness. I wholeheartedly love eating healthily and taking my vitamins, becoming more knowledgeable about food by reading and researching from the comfort of my bed, and working long hours in the kitchen testing recipes. These things make me happy.

Do you know what else makes me happy? Indulging in the world’s guiltiest of pleasures (perfect soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies, I’m looking at you), learning about food through travel and experiences, and pleasantly cooking alongside my husband without worrying about measuring each ingredient for a potential blog post.

A well-balanced life to me means practicing loving self-discipline; being present, working hard but also giving myself the freedom to play hard, and just finding a higher purpose and joy in the task at hand, no matter how challenging.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. 😁 I would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment below, reach out via my contact form, or find me on social media via the links below.

I look forward to having you along on this journey of mine!

XO,
Jenna

💚💙

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