While there, we visited the tiny country of Slovenia. We stayed in the capital, Ljubljana, and rented a car as we drove around to see the major sights. One morning we walked down to a farmer's market along the river before we heading out and bought a cheesy pastry from one of the stands. We DIED over how good the pastry was. I don't even know how to begin to describe how amazing it was, and really it doesn't matter - what does matter is that we have literally been talking about how good it was and how much we want to recreate it for nearly four years since that trip, but since we had no idea what it was called, we've never been able to.
I suppose it was a little foreshadowing - one that I can only recognize the significance of now, with four years of hindsight.
When we began the international adoption process, one of the recommendations was to start thinking about how you'll incorporate your child's culture and heritage into your family's - and of course, one of the most obvious and easiest ways is through food.
So I hopped over to Pinterest and typed in "traditional Bulgarian food" and wouldn't you know, the first thing that popped up was Banitsa, which looked strangely ... familiar.
Yes, our little breakfast from the farmer's market in Solvenia, the one my husband and I bring up every time we're reminiscing about Europe, or talk about our favorite breakfast foods or just when I randomly have a craving for it, (Ahem, nearly every day in both pregnancies.) is a popular and traditional Bulgarian breakfast.
What. are. the. chances?
You better believe I set to work on making it right away.
I pulled Eli in the kitchen to help me and it was the perfect recipe for toddler hands - well, except for when he wanted to pull on the "paper" (aka, phyllo dough) a little too hard. But overall, it's a pretty hard to mess up recipe. Perfect for me, and toddlers.
Of course, he wanted to eat the filling, but I wasn't too comfortable with all the raw eggs, so I gave him one of his favorite snacks - a FLYJOY bar to munch on in the meantime. (And speaking of supporting other cultures, I love that FLYJOY gives a portion of their proceeds to HOPE International to fund small-business loans and training in developing counties.)
While the final product wasn't exactly what I remember from that sunny day in Europe, it was pretty darn close. I think I need to just work on the "fluffy" factor, you know? I think Eli and I handled the phyllo dough a little too much .... but, since the adoption process usually takes 2-3 years, I've got a while to perfect Eli and I's technique.
And so, here's to many more years of making Banitsa, the traditional Wifler breakfast.