All posts by Ashley R.

What’s Happening in Romania?

Romania Top 5 2017 — A Year in Review | From Dill To Dracula

Header via Alexandru Hariga

Note: At the scheduling of this post, Saturday, February 4, 2017, the Romanian government has decided to repeal the ordinance which caused massive protests through the streets. If you’re curious about what the ordinance was, and how Romanians responded, please continue reading.

Since I usually do Romanian to English translations, here’s the English to Romanian translation of this blog post’s title:

Ce se întâmplă în România?

(Pronounced ch-eh ss-eh in-tomb-pluh un rome-ah-knee-uh)

Whew. That’s a mouthful.


If you follow the From Dill to Dracula Twitter feed (@DillToDracula) you’ve been seeing quite a few of my RTs regarding mass protests currently going on in Romania’s big cities—Bucharest, Timisoara, Cluj, etc… It’s not unlike all the protests we’ve been having across the pond, here in the good ol’ US of A. (Though, now-a-days, how good ol’ really are we?) Romanians have taken to the streets in defense of their hard-earned democracy, and I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned of the situation, drawing comparisons with our current political climate. My, what a small world it is. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the positive similarities :/

They’re claiming these protests are the largest since the fall of communism of 1989. If you’ve been following the blog, and my venture with my book One Thousand Stars That Bind, I have a special interest in that period of time, and to see it repeated—in my lifetime, no less—is both heartbreaking and fascinating. I stand with my fellow Romanians. #resist

Let’s see what’s happening

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A Behind The Scenes Look at Romania

An Inside Look At Romania | From Dill To Dracula

Image via

This week, I want to share with you an inside look at Romania presented by the one and only Rick Steves. There’s so much beauty and history to this country, sometimes words just don’t cut it. But pictures do. Videos even more so. It may be less than a half hour long, but this is an in-depth look at the country, the culture, and the outside influences that helped shape it into the country I know and love today. And I’m not the only one.

Looking for more? Though it’s not Romania specific, Rick Steves does have an Eastern European Travel Guide you can pick up to assist your next trip to Romania.

Looking for something a bit more specific to the country? You can one of the many travel guides focused on Romania here, here and here.

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Jumări {Pork Graves}

Romania Top 5 2017 — A Year in Review | From Dill To Dracula

Some of my favorite Romanian delicacies are things I know I’d never be able to make (or even attempt to make) on my own. And, ironic enough, they all tend to be pork products. Go figure. The previously featured Clisa {Smoked Bacon} is one of those; a great addition to eggs, soups, campfires, or as a midnight snack on its own. This next recipe-less feature is called

This next recipe-less feature is called Jumări (pronounced jew-mair-ee) is a true treat in my household. Up until Thanksgiving 2016, I hadn’t had a piece of these golden nuggets for years, and that’s simply because they’re literally fat, fried in more fat, and sprinkled with salt. A.K.A. You can’t eat too many at once, and you most definitely shouldn’t eat it without bread to sop up all the grease swimming around in your stomach.

I’m doing a great job selling these, aren’t I?

↓ How about some pretty pictures?

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{Galerie} Winter in Romania

Winter in Romania | From Dill To Dracula

header via Augustin Lazaroiu

Sometimes words just don’t do a beauty justice.

Most of the time I hate everything about winter—the snow, the cold, the gloomy gray—but there’s something magical about how winter transforms Romania. It’s straight out of a fairytale, and I’m ready for my story to begin.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s some visual reading material 😉

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{Guest Post} Inside The World’s Most Ridiculously Extravagant Communist Building: The Palace of Parliament – Bucharest, Romania

Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania | From Dill To Dracula

An Nou Fericit!
(Happy New Year!)

Well… we made it. 2016 was pretty rough. For all of us. Here’s to a better 2017!

I was thrilled to stumble upon an article filled with high-quality images of the famed Palace of Parliament in Bucharest, Romania. It’s a point of feature in my new novel One Thousand Stars That Bind, and I’m sure most don’t realize how absolutely beautiful it is, even though it’s a representation of such a dark time in Romanian history. Communism, that is.

Since I don’t imagine I’ll be able to take a trip to Romania any time in the near future, I reached out to Nate at to see if he’d let me syndicate his blog post right here on From Dill To Dracula. I’m thrilled to bring share an inside look at what’s considered the second largest administrative building in the world (second only to the Pentagon, mind you). Nate shares more facts about it, so I’ll let him take it from here.

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Top 5 Innovative Vampire Novels

header via

Being a vampire novelist/fan/obsessor, I tend to gravitate towards those types of stories in my reading free time. It has nothing to do with me being Romanian… okay, so it might have something to do with me being Romanian. Vampires are in my blood. Pun absolutely intended. A few years ago I was asked to put together my top five most innovative vampire novels. Since it fits with the folklore of Romania (obviously) I’ve decided to syndicate it.
Also, this GIF is TheBomb{dot}com:

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Zacusca {Roasted Red Pepper Spread}

Zacusca {Roasted Red Pepper Spread} | From Dill To Dracula

Romanians love dips and spreads. I’ve already featured Salata de Vinete, an eggplant salad spread, and today I’m excited to bring to you another smokey veggie goodness recipe: Zacusca (pronounced zah-coo-sk-ah). And… surprise! Even though the star of this recipe is the red pepper, there’s eggplant in this one, too!

Fall is the perfect time to make this recipe. With the Autumn harvest, there’s an abundance of fresh vegetables with robust flavors just waiting to be made into something anew. Zacusca is smokey, salty, a little sweet, a little acidic, and fits perfectly atop a slice of crusty baguette. This is also a great recipe to couple with my Coca Bread, or Romanian Flatbread. It’s quick and easy to whip up and gives you a nice carrier to get the zacusca to your mouth.

Since it does take a while to complete this recipe, I wouldn’t fault you for passing it up. Thankfully, zacusca has become more mainstream, with some specialty grocery stores stocking it on their shelves. Here are some options I found from Amazon: here, here, and here.


↓ Recipe below ↓

—But first, some pretty pictures—

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Romanian Flatbread

Romanian Flatbread | From Dill To Dracula

You’ll notice I don’t have the Romanian translation of this blog title. That’s because I’m not entirely sure it’s a Romanian recipe, though it is a family recipe and as many generations back as I can document my family has come from Romania. So I’m going to go with this recipe having Romanian roots. We call it Coca Bread (pronounced coke-ah) but I wasn’t able to find an equivalent recipe anywhere online so that might just be a family name.

That being said, this recipe is awesome and easy when you want (and/or need) a quick bread to sop up soup or sauce. It’s quick to make, doesn’t need time to rise, and I’m pretty sure you have all the ingredients already in your pantry/refrigerator. I’d liken it to a pita bread or naan, but there are still differences between those recipes and this recipe.

This is a fantastic recipe to have in your back pocket should you realize midway through cooking a meal that bread would really take it out of this world.

↓ Recipe below ↓

—But first, some pretty pictures—

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