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September 30, 2012

I'M BACK !!!!

 

‘I’M BACK and I’m NOT going

ANYWHERE!’

 
Hello my friends! How are you? I have missed you all soooo much!

In case you were wondering, I am still alive! Mostly!

      I have written nothing and commented on nothing and done absolutely nothing but "light and easy" posts and that was just to ensure you that I haven't given up on my blog. That is something I couldn't/wouldn't do.

      First I owe you guys an apology for my prolonged silence. I didn’t mean to be gone for so long, but life happens. These past 3 weeks have been bumpy - a lot of things came up in my life and they were coming at me non-stop!  It was a combination of crazy hectic work, emotional roller coaster and a family medical issue that required my full attention. Sure things haven't settled down yet and I'm still in recovery, but I'm back to blogging and so eager to share my ideas and the events happening around my life and around the world.





      Oh, how I missed blogging. It has become a part of my life (a good, fulfilling, recreational and stress relieving part!) Writing posts with varying themes and reading other posts while commenting. Yeah!!! The pleasure of it! And I missed you my dear readers/friends and your comments!



 
      I want to take a minute to thank you all for being patient and continuing to visit, read and subscribe despite my absence! Trust me, even though I haven't been able to write anything, I still checked in daily. I am amazed by all of you and so very grateful for your support. Thank you! Your loyalty has been duly noted.

Let me just tell you that lots are coming up, so stay tuned!
 
Well, as I said, I'm back and I'm bearing gifts. "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!" Hahahaha!
 
Here's  my delicious gift - a recipe for 'mosaico' dessert. A very popular, especially for kids, sweet treat that is very easy to make.
 
 
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 vase of nutella creamy chocolate spread
  • 24oz. of unsweetened chocolate (2 bars)
  • 2 packs petit beurre (appr. 450gr sweet butter cookies)

petit beurre biscuits
  • 1 cup of fresh milk
  • 1 1/2 tbs butter                             
  • 1 shot of cognac or rum       
  • grated walnuts (optional)

Break the chocolates into pieces, melt in a double boiler or in the microwave, and add the milk, nutella, the butter and the cognac or rum (and the optional walnuts).
 
Grind one pack of biscuits into a relatively fine state and break the rest into larger pieces. Add them into the chocolate mixture. Then spread the mixture onto a baking parchment paper. Try to roll the mixture (with the help of the paper) into a log. Keep it covered in the baking parchment paper and also cover it with aluminum foil. Refrigerate until solid cold. 
 
After it's been cold we can also glaze it with chocolate or dust lightly with sifted confectioner's sugar. Decorate (or not), cut slices and serve. It's de-li-cious!!! 



 

I look forward to hearing from you!!!
 

 Photos are courtesy of Google images.

September 23, 2012

I AM GREEK AND I WANT TO GO HOME - Official Slideshow Trailer



"I AM GREEK AND I WANT TO GO HOME"
 
Independent Movement for the repatriation of looted Greek antiquities
 

          

September 18, 2012

I AM ALIVE!!!

 
I know I haven't been around lately and I just wanted to let you know that I am alive!!! I have not been abducted by aliens
 

...it's just a lot of things are happening in my life right now that require my complete attention and time. My brain is completely preoccupied with everything that goes on.


I apologize for my absence. I will soon be with you so please bear with me as I put up light and easy (for me!) posts for a while.

I' ll be back!!!!






 
All photos are courtesy of Google images and gliter-graphics.com 

September 14, 2012

HOUSEHOLD TIPS




      I won't lie about it, I HATE housework!!!  I still do it but I moan and groan through it all. I have other more important things to do! I was born to have maids! ..."Earth calling to Vickilicious... Earth calling to....!!!" All right, all right! (A girl can daydream, can't she?)

      Since I hate housework but have to do it, I try to make it easy with lists, good organising and good time management. Let's not forget I'm a control freak. Of course, I have a list of tips for those special, difficult to deal with situations that show up on top of the regular daily cleaning chores/habits. I have already posted some here and here. Check them out!

      Today, I'll add some more tips and make my list grow. I don't like not knowing what to do when something comes up, I like to be prepared. (the control freak, I was telling you about?)

September 11, 2012

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL / Agiasmos


 
 
       First day of school! What a day today has been! One that started soooo early! You'd think after the 3 careless, schedule-free, 'wake up whenever' months they had,  I would be on my toes, rushing and bustling this morning and trying to wake them up... "Mommy, can I have 10 more minutes, please?" Then ask for ten more, then it'd be 5 more and then I'd have to become the dictator they think I am anyway and start yelling cause we would be already late! Well,...Nope! None of that happened!
 
      At 5:30 this morning incoherent noises woke me up. Following the sound, in my pyjamas and with eye gum deterred vision, I reached my son's bedroom only to see him all dressed up and ready for school!!! No! I'm dreaming, I thought. "Good morning, mom!" Is this MY 11 year old boy?... OK,OK! He's up, I'm not dreaming. Needless to say I was UP, too. Can't go to bed now, can I? As he is having breakfast and I'm going (wearily) through my morning routine, my 9 year old girl enters my bedroom all dressed up and ready to go to school!!! "Good morning. mom!" No way! I couldn't believe it. Such unprecedented anticipation and anxiety!!! (I just had to wake my DH up. He had to experience this, too. Meanie me!)
 

September 9, 2012

MASTICHA: A NATURAL MEDICINE AND COSMETIC

Masticha: the wonderful and legendary elixir!
                             
        In this post I am going to tell you about the Masticha (Μαστίχα in Greek) which has been known since antiquity. You may already know it and if you don't read on to learn about this pure and unprocessed product.

      Masticha  is a 100% Greek product that is not produced in any other part of the world except Greece. More specifically, it is produced only in the island of Chios and is protected by the European Union as an exclusively Greek product, being granted Protected Designation of Origin.
 
      Why only on Chios? Well, this has been the subject of much research. Even though people tried to take masticha to different countries in the past, amazingly enough masticha is impossible to grow in any other part of the world except Chios. (Maybe it's the soil, I wouldn't know!) 

 
It is a natural product that comes from mastic trees, which are small evergreen trees,  native to the island.






this “tear” becomes solid and gives the  fragrant mastiha
Mastiha flows like a tear drop from the trunk of the tree afterit having been slit by the villagers with the use of a sharp tool.
     


      Mastiha is harvested during the summer and it is hard work where patience is also required.  (Unfortunately, this past August the production of masticha was threatened by a huge forest fire that destroyed many masticha groves.)



Masticha looks like off-white, semi-transparent droplets/tears
 
      What also makes the Masticha unique is that it has so many uses. 
       It is used in cooking (every Greek pantry has it) and baking. It is considered a spice and it can flavor everything and anything, from breads and pastries, to tomato sauces and soups.  Masticha is an important ingredient in  the New Year's traditional vasilopita (St. Basil's Pie) and the special Easter bread (tsoureki). (One of my favorites is masticha ice cream! Yum!) 
 
   Another favorite is the hypovrihio (which means submarine). It is in an almost solid thick creamy form mixed with honey or sugar and spooned into cold water. It sinks, hence submarine!  It's a refreshing drink/sweet treat that kids (and not only) absolutely love!
 
 
 

   Masticha is used extensively in the production of alcoholic beverages, the famous ouzo and other liqueurs.
The liqueur known as 'Masticha of Chios'  
is served accompanied by a dessert after each meal or alongside coffee. It is served at restaurants after meals as it is very digestive!
 
 
 
       The resin itself makes a fantastic chewing gum named Masticha, which not only lasts a long time without disintegrating, it also freshens breath and whitens teeth. It has been proven that it can reduce bacterial plaque in the mouth by 41.5% which makes it excellent for oral hygiene. Many toothpastes and mouthwashes have masticha as their main ingredient.
 
 
      Late studies have confirmed - what was already known since ancient times - that Masticha is good for your health. It has therapeutic qualities and therefore has medicinal and pharmaceutical applications.

      Masticha is a traditional remedy for stomach aches and heartburn, and has of late been proven as a treatment and cure for peptic ulcers.




 
      Regular consumption has been proven to absorb cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart attacks and easing high blood pressure. It also helps reduce triglycerides and total lipid levels.
 
lotion
     
 
      Masticha oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and is widely used for ointments for skin disorders and afflictions including eczema, burns and frostbite.

soap
 
      It is also good for your skin and hair which is why it is used in cosmetics and beauty products such as soaps, lotions for hair and skin and even perfumes! Check out Korres Natural Products  or Mastic Spa.
     
      You can also find masticha products at The Masticha Shop (there is one in New York).


Have you ever used masticha or any masticha product?

  

Photos are courtesy of Google images.

September 6, 2012

BACK TO SCHOOL in Greece



glitter-graphics.com

              
       Yes, it's that time again! Summer is over (as far as fun and vacation is concerned only, cause we still have summer temperatures) and the school fever is here. I am ready!!!!

       My children can't wait to go back to school mainly to see their friends again (it's not the homework they miss, I assure you). We grew taller in the summer, we got tanned, we did some clothes shopping, we got new trendy haircuts, we have a lot to show and tell our friends!

       Well Mr. 6th grade and Miss 4th grade helped along in cleaning up their rooms and made them 'school' ready. Cleaned the desk area of toys and stuff and tidied drawers, etc, etc. We checked to see if we have any left over school supplies since especially my daughter loves to draw and write and was doing it all summer. I wrote some things on the list and now I'll wait for school to start to go shopping for school supplies because teachers tend to ask for specific kinds of notebooks or files or other stuff and I don't want to be going back and forth to the store.

But, let me tell you a little about Greek schools.

       In Greece, schools start in the second week of September (on the 11th this year and it's on a Tuesday!) and end in the second week of June. The students have summer vacation (3 months), Christmas vacation (2 weeks) and Easter vacation (2 weeks). Furthermore, students take usually another four days off in order to celebrate their two national holidays (28/10 and 25/3).





September 2, 2012

GREEK SALAD - The REAL one!



      The Greek salad is well known around the world. In Greece we call it choriatiki salata meaning village (rustic) salad. It is mainly eaten in the summertime and it can be a side dish or a light meal.
 
      When I was in the USA I couldn't find a restaurant (Greek one or not) that wouldn't add lettuce to it. !!!! Lettuce? That was almost infuriating to me. Lettuce has no business in the Greek salad. Let me say that again: Lettuce has no business in the Greek salad! If I wanted a lettuce salad I would have asked for a lettuce salad. Restaurants would load the plate with lettuce (cheap!) and I was treasure hunting for the tomatoes and cucumbers and green peppers (expensive!) which are the main ingredients!

GREEK SALAD WITH LETTUCE IS NOT A GREEK SALAD!!!

     You can call it a variation of Greek salad, I'll accept that. And that's what it is. Oh! Don't let me forget about the dressing! There isn't a dressing that comes out of a bottle for the Greek salad. It's olive oil and red wine vinegar that are poured over the salad separately!

     Lately you can find this variation of Greek salad in Greece too, but only at restaurants that cater to tourists. Even there, do ask for the real one with no lettuce! Say cho-ria-ti-ki !

I will give you the recipe for the REAL Greek salad.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes cut into wedges (I prefer small wedges)
  • one red onion sliced into thin (half) rings
  • 1 crisp cucumber sliced into half-moons (whether or not you peel the cucumber is a personal choice)
  • 1 green pepper - julienned                          
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon or less (according to taste) salt
  • 4 oz (120 g) feta cheese crumbled
  • 1 dozen Greek olives (f.e.Kalamata olives, plump black ones or even green)
  • good quality olive oil (maybe virgin but avoid the extra virgin, it lacks in rich taste)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (according to personal taste)


PREPARATION:

After cutting the tomatoes (some peel the tomatoes if the skins are tough; it's a personal call) and peppers and slicing the cucumber and onion, place the salad ingredients with the olives in a large salad bowl. Add salt, pepper and oregano. Pour over the salad the vinegar and the olive oil and toss gently to combine. In the end, add the crumbled feta cheese.

(Note: Toss in a few capers if you like them!)
 




That' s the REAL Greek salad. Now you know!


     Try it and let me know if you liked it! I'd love to hear what you thought of it!


Some photos are courtesy of Google images

September 1, 2012

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON!


Google images
  
       Last night (August 31st) we had a 'blue' moon. It isn't a usual phenomenon to have two full moons in the same month. So the second one is called blue because it is something rare. It happens about every 2,5 years.
 
       The moon isn't really blue but it once became! In 1883 in Krakatoa island of Indonesia there was a huge volcano eruption. The soil and ashes that were ejected into the atmosphere made the moon look very blue. The people were in awe, they had never seen anything like it before in their lives. So, the expression 'once in a blue moon' was born to indicate that something happens very rarely.
 
Google images
     Of course, as Greeks celebrate life (in all its forms), last night's   full moon - being blue and being the last one of the summer - was accompanied by many events. More than 124 archaeological sites all over Greece were open (no entrance fees!) and at many of them they had concerts and/or plays. All under a wonderful, magical and romantic 'blue' moon.

Google images

P.S. Check out my other full moon here! (My photo!)