Hi, I’m Marzia!
Welcome to Little Spice Jar, I’m so glad you found my little nook of the internet where I share everything food, travel, and life-related.
I’m the person that writes the recipes, takes the pictures, and cooks the food that you see. Professionally, I hold a B.S in Human Nutrition and Foods from the University of Houston, but as I was completing my schooling, it became increasingly apparent to me that my loyalties lied more in the food science and food preparation aspect of my degree than clinical nutrition. Still, I graduated and continued to do what I thought I should be doing, working in the healthcare industry. But in the evenings, you’d find me in the kitchen, whisking, pan-frying, sautéing and roasting to my heart’s desire.
My mother and grandmother have shared the greatest gift there is with me; the love for all things food. My maternal grandmother had the biggest heart I’ve ever seen in a person; I want to be just like her. She was a mom to 5 kids, and on any given day would cook for at least a dozen people and would always have extra helpings for the strays my mother and her siblings would bring home. I’ve never heard anyone say her food was anything but delectable. Honestly, you could taste how much love went into any and everything she made!
As a child, I could see the same values instilled in my mom and saw how she strived to teach them to my siblings and me. She has always taught me to cook food with my whole heart; to truly invest myself in the task and it will be satisfying, even if it’s not a hundred percent perfect. Though I’m not cooking for a crowd on a daily basis, I do pour my heart into every recipe I test and eventually share here on the blog.
I currently live in sweltering Houston, Texas (seriously, you’ve heard me complain about the weather almost weekly) with my husband, Anees (produced: “a niece.”) He is the chocolate obsessed, head food-taster as well as the guy that handles all the tech and business-y end of things.
About Little Spice Jar (LSJ):
LSJ started in 2013 on a whim when I needed something to fill my days after I left my job in the healthcare industry (needless to say, I’ve never looked back.) The name ‘Little Spice Jar’ is something my husband and I came up with because my goal has always been to share recipes that are heavy on the flavor yet simple enough for anyone to prepare. In the past, whenever I’ve made a recipe I found on the internet, I’d always mess with it a ton; upping the garlic, adding a pinch of red pepper flakes, or going heavier on the spices than what was listed, so the name was certainly befitting. Only years later did I realize it’s a two-fer; I’m married to a guy named, Anees (like star anise… the spice)
I love that the blog still teaches me new things to this day. One of the most valuable lessons: to eat seasonal, local, organic, non-GMO foods whenever possible. But that it also doesn’t have to mean eating boring or overly healthy foods. I cook with mostly fresh and healthy ingredients but still enjoy making tacos and pizza along the way. It’s all about that balance, right? Over the years I’ve found I love making simple, flavorful recipes made almost entirely from scratch. I think most of the stuff I share is pretty practical and usually easy enough to throw together on a weeknight. Now and then you’ll see dessert recipes sprinkled in. You’ll also find that I’ve shared a number of my favorite slow cooker and instant pot recipes because I believe from-scratch-food doesn’t have to mean slaving over a stove all day.
In the beginning, the blog was just a hobby for me. A place where I could save the recipes along with pictures that I’ve tested. If you scroll through the archives, you’ll see that the photos and my writing are anything but perfect. But over time, I started getting comments from family and friends about how much they enjoyed some of the recipes I’d shared, and that’s when I began to take more interest in learning photography, writing and furthering my skills in recipe development. I’m happy to report that I now run this blog as my full-time job. It’s unbelievably satisfying for me to share my love of food with you! It also gives me the opportunity to keep things fun and unpredictable!
11 Random Things About Me:
- Vanilla cake with buttercream frosting is my biggest food weakness. Bad things happen when we have some in the refrigerator!
- My friends and husband tease me that I’m Monica from FRIENDS because 1.) I provide the cookies and 2.) I have a whole different standard of clean.
- When I started college, I had the hopes of becoming an interior designer, and within a year and a half, I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to do full-time. At the time, my parents let me redesign their kitchen, and I did it without breaking a sweat. Though it turned out fine (they still live there and haven’t changed it), looking back, I know I had no idea what I was doing!
- I love mystery/thriller and true crime books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts. I’ve listened to the serial podcast about Adnan Syed at least four times and at this point have watched every episode of Law and Order SVU at least twice. As a child I aspired to be a detective or a forensic specialist; not much has changed.
- I worked as a makeup artist with MAC for a few years while in college.
- I have severe wanderlust! Like all the time. But as soon as I start planning a trip, I get extreme anxiety mostly from all the planning that’s required and from a fear of missing out on something.
- I have 15 letters in my hyphenated last name. Up until 2012, it was 4! If I had to fill out a scantron now, I’d probably be a little frustrated. Side note: do colleges still use scantrons? If not, I just dated myself.
- I wholeheartedly adore the magical world of Harry Potter. Like, way more than what’s considered normal for a thirty-something-year-old. Here’s a bonus: I’m possibly the only person you know who wants a pet owl named Hedwig.
- Peonies are my favorite flower of all time. Call me basic.
- I was born just outside of Chicago and will always consider myself a Chicagoan (or at least a midwesterner) even though I haven’t lived there in nearly two decades!
- I go through food phases. 2014 will forever be remembered as the year of The Black Bean in our house because I was making and putting black beans in EVERYTHING. In recent years, it’s been mushrooms, avocados, and now garbanzo beans.
Thank you so much for stopping by!
I regularly share about our travels and other life happenings. If you’d like to learn more about us, there’s tons of stuff to check out under the life section of LSJ! Feel free to come say hi on my personal insta as well. If you’re interested in knowing more about blogging or recipes, I suggest taking a peek at my FAQ’s page.
Finally, thank you so much for being here! You give me a reason to continue doing what I LOVE to do! <3