MarocMama family in Essaouaira

I’m Amanda, the only girl up there in the picture.  I’m so glad you’ve come to visit me. I am a curious world traveling, mom of two busy boys, foodie at heart, and lover of all things Moroccan.  In 2004 I met and fell in love with my husband in fairy-tale fashion on the streets of Marrakech, Morocco and our journey hasn’t slowed down since.

 Where Did MarocMama Come From?

In French, Maroc is Morocco and Mama, well that’s universal! I started this blog in 2007 as a way to share my recipes and the recipes of my husbands family as they have been shared with me. While I still share recipes from time to time, sharing our international lifestyle and multicultural outlook has taken a priority. You might hear me refer to MarocBaba  – that’s him up there. He helps me research, write, and keep the website running. Together we also run a food tour in Marrakech. Our two boys have international names that no one can spell or pronounce so for clarity’s sake I refer to them as M and K.  M’s the big guy at 10 years old and K’s our 7 year old little dude.

I hope that you will be inspired to explore Morocco’s culture, cuisine, and natural beauty through our posts. I also hope that through our journey as a bi-cultural family I can offer some insight into the triumphs and struggles along the way.  We love to travel and since moving to Morocco are able to explore this side of the world more. While there’s a lot of Morocco angled content here, you’ll also find family travel inspiration, food from around the world, and other things we’ve found interesting. Come join us for the adventure!

What You Will Find Here

  • Cultural insights on Morocco including religion, family life, and traditions

  • Resources for visiting and taking advantage of all Morocco has to offer

  • Our expat experience in Morocco

  • Family and couple travel information from around the world

  • Traditional, fusion, and re-invented Moroccan recipes

  • Reviews and Recommendations on some of our favorite places and products

  • Pictures of my cute kids and the things that we do

  • And much, much more!

Check Out Our Media Kit
 

Meet the Family

cupcakeMarocMama – Amanda

I began writing this blog as a young mom wanting to share the challenges and triumphs of parenting in a cross-cultural relationship. I’ve enjoyed writing (almost as much as reading) for as long as I can remember. It was a way for me to explore far off places when I felt stuck in the very small, rural community near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that I called home.

I couldn’t wait to leave!

At 16, I took my first international trip and as soon as I stepped out of the airport in Athens, Greece I knew it was a travelin’ life for me! I’m a self professed history nerd and I loved school. I earned a BA in international relations and an MBA in Project Management – and while my day to day work isn’t specifically in either of these fields, the skills I learned certainly are.

Second only to my love of travel is my love of great tasting, amazing food. I’m always up to try most things (except the snails, don’t ask me to do that again!). I plan my travel around what I can eat first, then what else there is to see. My favorite experience so far was exploring Finland. My dream destination is a beach vacation to the Maldives or Sechyelles.

MarocBaba

MarocBaba

I grew up in Marrakech, Morocco. My family has always been incredibly important to me so when I met Amanda it was a huge decision to move to the United States. I’d never traveled far from home. I didn’t know what an adventure I was about to start! It took a little while to get used to life in the US but now I’m proud to say I carry a blue passport and love my adopted homeland as much as my birth country. It was important to me that my kids learn about my culture and learn to speak the languages I grew up with – and that’s a big reason why we decided to become Expats (repats?) in Morocco.

I never imagined that I would travel the world and to tell you the truth I never had any desire to leave Morocco but, I’ve changed my mind! I’m studying right now to be a computer programmer, a job that will allow us to have a mobile lifestyle for as long as possible.

Ten years ago the only food I would touch was Moroccan. Today, I love to try everything and like Amanda am always excited to try new food in new places. My favorite experience so far was taking a Caribbean cruise. I’d love to take another cruise!

Mr M

Mr. M

Some words from the man himself:

The most important thing for you to know about me is that I love soccer (football)! I also really like to be with my family and friends. I like to eat healthy foods. My favorite foods are fruits and vegetables. My favorite TV shows are Myth Busters  and Top Gear. When I grow up I’d like to be either a helicopter pilot, a car tester, or a professional soccer player. My favorite experience so far was when I went to the United Nations in New York with my mom. I would like to go to Spain and watch FC Barcelona play and go to Brazil.

Mom and Dad say:

He might look serious but this kid is all heart and wise beyond his years. We’re pretty sure he’s going to be a diplomat someday because he’s always concerned with making things fair and settling disputes. His teachers have always told us they’re amazed by his understanding and interest in the people and places of the world which sure makes us beam with pride!

M is outgoing and always ready to make new friends, especially those that want to be outside playing. He loves sports and playing with anything that has a motor. He was driving his own four-wheeler when he was just 3 years old! He isn’t afraid to try new things, especially food. For years he’s mom’s sous chef and taste tester.

Mr K

 Mr. K

 Some words from the man:

Hi I’m K. I really like to watch TV. My favorite shows are Pokemon and Transformers. I also like to play Minecraft and watch walk through videos. My favorite food is rfissa. I want to do YouTube walk through videos when I grow up. If I can’t do that then I would like to be a zoo keeper. My favorite experience so far was when my grandma and grandpa came to Morocco. I would like to go to China and see pandas or to South America to see sloths.

 Mom and Dad say:

K was small in size when he was born but came with a huge personality! He’s always done things his way, you might even say a little stubborn! When he was still in utero Amanda had to have an inversion to get him positioned to be born, and then he flipped back the wrong way again! He’s also very affectionate. K is always up for more cuddles and loves to be close enough to touch someone. He likes to create things but he also really loves video games. We think that when he grows up he might be a veterinarian or have another type of job that involves animals because he LOVES them!

Get in Touch

Are you looking for a great contributing writer? Need the perfect pair or family to explore your destination? I love writing and sharing my experience and expertise. We all love traveling around the world! We are currently accepting freelance writing opportunities and partnerships, sponsorships, and spaceships to all corners of the world! To view many of the locations I’ve written for and/or been featured on please visit my media mentions page.

 Memberships and Affiliations

Professional Travel Bloggers Association

Morocco Destination SpecialistCertified Culinary Travel Professional

Passport Party Project

ExpatsBlog.com - Where Expats Blog

Multicultural Kid Blogs

Amanda MouttakiWho is MarocMama

Comments

  1. Trika

    Hi Amanda, glad I found your blog. I was looking information about working in Morocco then I found yours. It’s a very informative blog you have here. Anyway, I am Indonesian married to an Indonesian too and at the moment is living in Casablanca following my beloved husband who got the opportunity to work here.

    Nice to meet you and interested in your food tour.

    Cheers,
    Trika

  2. Nur Albukhari-D'Cruz

    Hi there,

    I will be moving to Marrakech, Morocco, next month with my husband and I love love love your blog. It has been really helpful so far and I can’t wait for my big move.

    Sending much love from Singapore for now.

    xoxo
    Nur

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Very cool!!! Send me a message when you’re settled – I’ll be back in September, would love to meet up!

  3. alami

    Salam alikum
    I am Alami from morocco, i came across your website, I find it very interesting, it’s nice to see Morocco with a different point of view.
    Wish you good luck Ramadan kareem

  4. beth

    Hello Amanda. I ve actually been following yiu for two years Mubarek! My fiancee is Moroccan and we met herenin the US, im American as they come. I found yiu I think when I was inquiring about Ramadan. Inlove yiur recipes. Last year I made Harissa and the pistachio griba. This year 8 made them again and I just made the chicken dish with the cannelloni beans. Anyway I wanted to say mashalla and jazak al khair.

    Warmly
    Beth

  5. Alia Chandler

    Hello Amanda — Thank you so much for all your information regarding language, culture and food! My husband and I are Americans, new to Morocco, living in a small rural area on the Mediterranean coast with an international group that has gathered here since January 2014. My husband and I are learning Darija with the help of a private tutor and several internet sites that now include YOURS ♥ I have a blog myself and have been posting my own impressions and challenges since arriving here in April. I find the Moroccan people so warm and welcoming — unspoiled by the “rubber stamp” kind of life I left in the US. We go to our little grocery store and try out our new words and phrases and the people just light up with every new word we speak. It’s so encouraging. Your greeting phrases are very helpful and I look forward to checking out your section on Moroccan customs and culture. And thank you so much for the B’ssara recipe — I was planning to make it for dinner tonight and your version sounds yummy. Ramadan Blessings, Alia (I had that name before I moved here.)

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      So glad to have found your blog. It looks like a lovely little community you’ve built around yourselves! I know life here is sometimes a challenge but sounds like you’re doing great! So glad you enjoyed the soup!

  6. Audrey

    Hi Amanda,

    I’m so glad I found your blog! It’s just what I needed. My name is Audrey and I’m from California, and my boyfriend is from Fes. We’re living and studying in Russia right now, where we met. We’ve been working out our differences pretty well so far, but looking towards the future, thinking about where we’re going to live, how to raise kids, etc. can be a little daunting, and it’s always nice to hear from someone that’s been in the same place. I actually made a chocolate cake from one of your recipes for his birthday, that’s how I discovered your blog. :)

    Anyways, just wanted to say hi and thank you for all the interesting things you post!

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Pleasure to meet you Audrey. So happy you found my recipe and tried it out! Yes you’re right it can be daunting and a big challenge but it’s possible! Best wishes to you and your boyfriend. – Amanda

  7. Pingback: Cooking Less American: Healthy One Pot Recipes from Morocco

  8. Catherine Wright

    Hi there Amanda and Melinda,

    Firstly, HUGE Apologies for the long delay before getting back to you and my sincere thanks for your replies. We’re actually spending eight months in Scotland with my husband’s family before we go to Morocco and I am submerged in packing up for that and so many of my emails have fallen by the wayside. So sorry for what may have seemed like rudeness.

    Now I return to your website Amanda I again am loving reading your posts. I really loved your reflective piece about reaching your six months in Morocco and also your piece about the orphans and international women’s day. I would like to find out more about the orphans when we get there so thanks for the tips as I would like to get the whole family involved in some voluntary work when we are in Morocco. Thank you also for filling in that additional detail about living in Morocco when for some reason your first response was cut off half way.

    And Melinda, that’s very exciting that you might be able to help us find a place to live, THANKYOU for your kind offer!! We will be in Morocco from roughly February to August 2015 and we are discussing the option of having a car ( as one consideration, can you live in the medina of Fez and keep a car somewhere?). Yes! we want an immersive experience absolutely and are open to living at the seaside and are looking at schools too. Any suggestions would be VERY gratefully received.

    Maybe it’s better if we communicate directly between each other for privacy sake and to not hog Amanda’s website. How does that work Amanda? Is it possible to be put in contact with each other somehow? I would appreciate it very much.

    Thanks again for your help. What a fantastic resource and meeting place your website is Amanda, congratulations!

    Catherine ( from February!)

  9. Melinda

    Salam Catherine and of course Maroc Mama!

    I think I can help you fine a place! I am in the states now, but can still make some calls. When will you be visiting. How many rooms would you like? You want to immerse yourself, correct? I also know of AMAZING schools, you kids do not have to even go all day. (I think, that may be summer though.)

    Would you like to live near the seaside? Since you will be staying for six months I am assuming you have a car. You can get anywhere in morocco relatively quickly. By quickly I mean under six hours or so.

    I will check things out. Let me know!

    Melinda

  10. Catherine Wright

    Dear Marocmama,

    What a wonderful blog/website you have created! Congratulations! I love your warmth and your yummy recipes!

    I was wondering if I could ask you for some advice. I am an Australian poet and writer in my mid 40’s who has travelled a lot to developing countries ( including India and Egypt ) and have had a dream to live for a year in Morocco since I was 20, although I have never been there.

    I now have a Scottish husband, a boy of 10 and girl of 8 and we are coming to spend 6 months there from feb 2015 to Aug/sep 2015 after time in Scotland. I would love some advice about where to live if you felt you could. We would have a base where we would hope to make some daily connections with locals and then make 4-5 day trips elsewhere. Sadly we will only have basic French although will all take some Darija lessons while there.

    I would love if possible to live in a medina which is not overpopulated with tourists, but rich in Moroccan tradition and beauty ( don’t we all?), preferably in a riad/ dar. Marrakech sounds amazing and well located for trips but very busy and touristy and full of foreigners ( like me!). Is this true? Can you get away from that? Fez sounds incredible but I wonder if it would be so well situated for other travel and if it would be too overwhelming for our kids ( who are used to a lot of trees, greenery and space- although they have travelled a bit too). I am also open to other city suggestions as the kids won’t be going to school for that time.

    Sorry for such a long introductory email, but I thought the background would be useful. I would be soooo grateful for your help.

    Best wishes,

    Catherine

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Hi Catherine. Six months is and isn’t a long time. I’ve now been living here that long after having visited for 10 years. I just now am feeling comfortable and at peace.It’s hard to say a specific place to live. Are you planning to homeschool? What type of budget would you have? I think you’d be more comfortable in medium to larger city where you have the conveniences of the west while still embracing the reality of what is. Many people here do speak English so language is becoming less and less a problem. There are a lot of tourists here, everywhere but they are tourists. They come and leave usually in a few days.In my day to day life there’s a slight chance I might run into one but it’snot overrun. There are spots in Marrakech that are overrun by tourists, but again it’s about location and how you choose to interact. For me Thrusdays I have lunch with expat friends and it’s my saving grace. We’re able to share stores and solve the issues we’re facing. At your children’s ages you could enroll them with the French Institut or Center for Lanaguage and Culture – English Junior programs. Marrakech allows you to leave and go to Ourika, or Essaouaira, evne Rabat for a day or night. One thing to keep in mind is you’ll need to leave Morocco after 3 months as an entry stamp only lasts that long. There are apartment rentals available, but most are not furnished at all. I’d start looking for some furnished apartments you could rent; maybe 3 months in one area and 3 months in another. There are some expat groups on Facebook that are pretty good for making those kids of connections. I wrote an article about our life/income and I’d say if you want a middle class lifestyle budgeting 1000-2000 pounds per month should give you enough to live comofortably and travel.

      0

      1. Catherine Wright

        Hi there Amanda,

        You are so lovely! Thankyou very much for your guidance, I am really grateful. I’m not sure if you noticed but for some reason your response was cut off at the end of ‘ One thing you might like to consider is…’ I am on tenterhooks to know what that might be and how much else you wrote that is missing!

        In terms of budget, I have found it hard to get prices for anything other than what looks like luxury accommodation from the websites I have found. I would be looking for something comfortable and probably mid range, though have no idea how many dirhams that is likely to be. Do you know of any trustworthy websites for Marrakech and Fez? And what do you think about Fez as a place to live with kids my age?

        I don’t want to monopolise your precious time. Thankyou for your generosity of spirit to a stranger who is floundering about a bit with this big issue of where to find a nest for her babies!

        Catherine

  11. Pingback: Blog Page Critique: MarocMama

  12. donna

    My Moroccon fiancce will be coming to me in October. I want him to feel comfortable here. He is a teacher and will need work here also. I know nothing of his culter. Any thing I can learn would. Be appreciate. I am so glad to have found your site,especially your recipies. Thank you so much. Donna

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Hi Donna – I would recommend really taking as much time as you can to learn about the culture and expectations of your fiance. It’s not an easy thing to have a cross cultural relationship and at least having an understanding of the other is a great place to start. It will be difficult for him to work as a teacher in the US, he’ll need to go back to school to get certification so hopefully he can prepare for that. I wish you the best of luck!

  13. Fatima Sahara is my name! :)

    Bonjour!

    Shokran bizef for your blog! I just stumbled on it while looking for Ramadan crafts for my little boy. I too am an American married to a moroccan. We met in middle school, but fell in love after highschool. I’m always happy to find people who are just like me! I look forward to all your posts and I hope I can share my experience with you.

    B’slema!

    1. Author
      Amanda Mouttaki

      Hello! I wish I had more crafts to share but I’m not so gifted in that department! Have you seen my friend Amnah’s blog? She’s so awesome when it comes to crafty things! http://littlelifeofmine.com/ I’m so glad that you’re here and look forward to learning more about you and your story too.

      1. Fatima Zahara

        Amanda,

        Sorry, as you know, Ramadan is pretty jammed pack with things to do. Thank you got the website! I found really cool things. I REALLY wanted to make a “Prophet Mobile” (Mobil?). It is similar to wind chimes, but with the names of some of the Prophets and in the middle “Allah” written in Arabic. I wanted to do it all in clay.
        Sadly, I have so many things I want to do and not the time or the energy to do them. :/

        I did check out the language websites; SO AWESOME. The one that has the basics of Darija is perfect. I especially like how the site tells you the feminine and masculine version of each. That was definitely a great find on your part. Thank you so much for sharing.
        I can’t wait to trade stories with you too. I live in DC and I know two other couples just like us. One of the husbands works with my husband and the second couple lives about two blocks. One would think we would all hang out more; I guess life gets in the way.
        Anyway, sorry for a long post. Just wanted to say hello and wish you and your family a very Happy Eid! Eid Mubarak! Br-ohk- a wash. (I butchered the America spelling of that last one…I can’t be perfect all the time.)
        Whoopsie—Eid Munarak to everyone who reads this too! May you all be showered with blessings of happiness and love.

  14. Narjis

    Hi,

    I am in school for Global Studies and hope to do work regarding human rights and advocacy. My goal is to work in the U.S and also Morocco. I am a Moroccan woman but adopted (as a baby) by an American family. This year I will learn Arabic so that my trips to Morocco go smoothly and also my future work.

    My real question is… Should I learn Darija or Modern Standard Arabic? I don’t want to waste time learning modern Arabic if my fellow Moroccans won’t understand it.

    1. Author
      marocmama

      Hello! What a great experience – and what an interesting story you have. My advice on language is that any Moroccan will understand Modern Standard Arabic. If you learn this, you’ll probably begin to pick up Darija easily as you spend time there. Have a wonderful journey!

    2. Fatima Sahara is my name! :)

      If I can intercede, (is that the correct word?)
      I would learn Darija. I spent a long time secretly learning MSA and when I went to speak to my in laws they had no idea what the heck I was talking about! The only thing I could say that they understood was, “El h’ssan yarkos”, which translates into “the horse is dancing or dances”. Not very helpful. I have an AMAZING book recommendation if you would like it. It is what the peace corps secretly use to learn Darija. The best part is I can now say I know ALL my alphabet and pronunciations. I can also read some small words now. I feel pretty darn proud of myself. I’ve been married to my husband now for almost 8 years, but I have known him for more then 16…you’d think I would be fluent by now. ;)
      Many blessings to you and I wish you luck. Reply if you would like the book name.
      Amanda may you recieve countless blessings for your blog. You are an angel!

      1. Author
        Amanda Mouttaki

        So happy you’ve stopped by and shared your story. I have actually printed the entire Peace Corp Manual book and tried to use it – if there were just more time in the day! Have you seen my language page? I have some other resources there as well. I agree with the problems learning Darija or MSA – they both have a place, just depends what your language goals are I think!

  15. Ranakeshwara

    Hi, Amanda, I feel it is truly free with you to write a few words because of your openness and friendless. I am very happy to note that you excels and excellently keep your interests nurturing for everyone’s interest. I am from Sri Lanka. Its an Island just below India. Its an independent country. I was working for Sri Lanka Police as a high ranking officer. I also served in Sierra Leon and East Timor under the United Nations carrier development of Police Officers in those two countries. I appreciated your catering and other trade activities. Your story is very charm and simple. My best wishes for your future progress.

  16. Chris Rawstern

    I, too married a foreigner, way back when, and learned a totally different way of eating and cooking. I look forward to perusing your site. I came here via the article on assumptions about marrying an Arab. It is difficult to overcome fear and prejudice, but we keep working on educating!

    1. Author
      marocmama

      Thank you – you’re so kind! I’m dying to get to Austin to eat your food! A Twitter friend told me about it maybe 2 years ago and since then it’s been high on my “must eat” list! :)

  17. Pingback: Moroccan Crêpes — My Halal Kitchen

  18. Eileen

    I’ve spent a lot of time in Tunisia but have visited the more touristic Morocco. Love the desert ksars. I am learning from reading posts like yours that there is more to Marrakesh than the “string man”, the Sudanese dancers, and lots of souvenir shops. We really like Tunisian food which is so healthy. I also love Mourad’s book and appreciate your comments on it. His approach to food is excellent. He makes you want to seek out those 20+ whole spices and start toasting and grinding and cooking exotic dishes.

    1. Author
      marocmama

      So glad you found your way here. There is so much to Marrakech. I only hope I can capture some of it to share with the world!!

  19. Pingback: Things to do in Marrakech, Morocco

  20. Jennifer

    Hi Amanda! I am so glad I found your site! I am American married to a Moroccan as well and we have one little boy. We met in the US and we recently just returned from our first trip to Morocco together. I fell in love with his family, the culture, and the country. I have made some Moroccan meals but now that I’ve experienced all of his favorites and have seen how they should taste I’m excited to try to make more and your recipes will be very helpful! Msemmen is my first to try at perfecting because it’s at the top of his list of favorites. He doesn’t return from Morocco for another 2 weeks and I hope to have some made for him the night he returns. Thank you for sharing your recipes!

  21. Emily

    Hi Amanda – Love your site! I’m also American married to a Moroccan with a little boy. Looking forward to your posts!

  22. Donna Poupore

    What a darling picture and interesting story. Love you much.

    1. Author
      marocmama

      Hi Andrea – you can scroll down and on the right sidebar there is a subscribe option.

Leave a Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.