Friday, October 30, 2009

Two days of Random Photos

This post has been inspired by a childhood friend of mine. I was lucky enough to talk to her for the first time in probably 5 years earlier tonight. She had mentioned how exciting and interesting my life seems. I thanked her and thought, life is a little less ordinary...I suppose. At least it's nothing like the life that I left behind, the life that everyone back home is so familiar with. I've left the cul-de-sac of my childhood and now I live at the end of a dirt road with a view of the Aegean Sea and Mt. Olympus. As a child, I wouldn't have imagined I'd end up living in Greece or even in Europe, for that matter.  So, after I finished my conversation with her I started to upload photos that were taken within the last two days. Here are some random photos that I've chosen to share with everyone. This is what I see, what I've done or where I've been...this is part of my everyday life. It's interesting to others and I realize that I'm fortunate. Thank you for the inspiration Lisa. 

A boat full of men dressed in camouflage.

Alexandra & Foti posing at the base of a tower.

Kosta, Foti & Izabella

Boats docked at the marina.

Izabella posing for the camera.

An outdoor cafe, empty because it was extremely windy.

Alexandra having fun at a playground.

The front of a taverna.

Myself with Alexandra

The sunset- from our balcony  on Wednesday night.

Mt. Olympus- from our balcony at sunset on Wednesday night. 

A herd of sheep passes in front of our house early Thursday morning.  

Have a nice weekend...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oxi Day

I took this photo of Foti last Friday after he came home from school wearing this soldier hat that he made in class. They've spent the last week preparing to celebrate Oxi Day, which is today.  Shortly after our little photo shoot Foti went to play in the yard, still wearing the hat. It wasn't long before he came stomping in the door shouting, "let Tarzan loose on the street! Let the dog lady get him! I don't want him anymore!"
I asked, "Why? Why would you say those things about your dog?"
He answered, "because he took the hat off of my head and ate it!"
I'm glad that we took the photos right away.

Oxi Day
Oxi Day, which is celebrated on the 28th of October in Greece, Cyprus and Greek communities worldwide, observes Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxa's  refusal to accept the ultimatum made by Italian dictator  Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940.

Emanuele Grazzi, the Italian ambassador in Greece, presented the ultimatum to Metaxa at dawn on October 28, 1940 demanding that Greece allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy nonspecific "strategic locations" or face war. It's alleged that Metaxa answered with a single word: oxi (no). After his refusal, Italian troops stationed in Albania, along with an Italian protectorate, attacked the Greek border.
Metaxa's "oxi" marked the beginning of Greece's participation in World War II. The same morning, Greeks took to the streets shouting "oxi!"
 Since 1942, it's been celebrated as "Oxi Day."

For more detailed information about Oxi Day, have a look at these links...

or you can watch this documentary...

Saturday, October 24, 2009


It's autumn and the pomegranates are ripe. They're beautiful, luscious and incredibly sweet. We have two pomegranate trees that are heavy with fruit. It's time to give. We're lucky enough to receive from our over generous neighbors & friends throughout the year so I love when it's our turn to reciprocate...


Adriane & I 

Friends Never Leave Empty Handed...
Early last Sunday morning I was lucky enough to have a visit from one of my very best friends, Adriane. She lives in the city and it's hard for us to spend time together, so when she said that would stop by I was ecstatic.

We spent a few hours sipping coffee and talking when we decided to take a walk around. The first thing that she did was grab a pomegranate from one of our trees. She said, "I hope you don't mind". Seriously? Of course I didn't mind, she's one of my best friends and I have way more pomegranates than I know what to do with. So, there we under the tree enjoying pomegranates. I clipped a bagful for her to take home.
I think that she said that she had planned on using some pomegranate in a salad later that afternoon, delicious.

Adriane presents a sumptuous pomegranate. 

As we enjoyed pomegranates we discussed their many health benefits and also how wonderfully delicious they were. I also told her that I made a pomegranate liqueur last year and offered her a bit, but she declined since it was so early in the day. I used Iosifina's recipe last year. I need to try it again because although mine turned out beautifully, there's room for improvement.  I'm making more so I can make it even better!

Adriane enjoying a few pomegranates. 

Alexandra eating a pomegranate.
 Our children love snacking on the fresh fruit from our trees.

Often, I juice the pomegranates for the kids since they love it. I add sugar from time to time, depending  on the sweetness of the fruit  that I juiced. Sometimes they can taste bitter and tart.

I know that there many different ways to use pomegranates in cooking and I'm ready to explore. I'm also going to start applying the juice to my skin after cleansing my face as I've recently discovered that it could reduce the signs of aging as well as prevent skin cancer.    This year I'm really enjoying our bounty, can't you tell?

Health Benefits of Pomegranates

-Fights Breast Cancer
-Lowers Blood Pressure
-Lung Cancer Prevention
-Slows Prostate Cancer
-Keeps PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) Levels Stable
-Protects Neonatal Brain
-Protects Arteries
-Alzheimer's Disease Prevention
-Lowers Cholesterol
-May prevent development of dental plaque
-Prevention of Osteoarthritis
-May reduce the formation of skin cancer
-Stimulates production of collagen & prevents breakdown of collagen fibers



Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It was midsummer  when she told me that she would be travelling to Thessaloniki and since it's near my home, we agreed that we would meet. It was a must, since we'd been blog friends for about a year. I was anxious to meet her as I find her an inspiration. She's an amazing writer and I find myself consumed by her posts. I prefer to read them in the morning as I sip my coffee since they're usually entertaining, informative and as I've already said, inspiring. 
I've tried her recipes and many of them have become favorites and staples on my table. I join her in solidarity as a mother of young children and an expat that's trying to teach our good eating habits by offering healthy choices and homemade meals on a daily basis. I've learned so much about the natural foods available at my footsteps, foods l probably would have never considered eating as I thought they were only weeds that I needed to get rid of. She's someone I can send an email that consists of a mere sentence or less...and she knows exactly what I'm talking about. She's funny, intelligent, thoughtful and adorable. She's Maria Verivaki, the Mediterranean Kiwi of Organically Cooked. 

Maria on my balcony.

Early in September, Maria and her family embarked on a vacation that was quite different for them. They  took a ferry boat from Crete to mainland Greece so that they would have the opportunity to explore the hidden treasures of Greece at their own pace. We expected her to be in our area the during first weekend of September. The two of us explored different places to meet and we had originally settled on meeting at the mall in our area. On the day that we had planned our visit, she and her family were set out for Halkidiki. So, I thought about it a little more and then I thought about the children. Sure, we could meet someplace neutral it would be nice, but what about he kids? If we were to meet at the mall my kids would start wandering off or begging for something 10 minutes after we had arrived, it's inevitable. Then, I thought about her kids. They have been in a car off and on for a few days and were probably tired. So, I decided to invite them to our home for coffee as it's on the way back to the city, where they were staying. After I made my suggestion, she agreed that it would be a nice change.
I met Maria and her family in the center of my town since it's usually much easier for us to have first-time visitors follow us to our home, given we don't have an address. Naturally, I recognized her immediately. She was standing beside her car so I parked behind hers, hopped out and gave her a great big hug. Next, I was introduced to her husband Dimitri and then her children. The children were having a spat in the backseat of the car and she looked at me and asked, "would you mind taking the kids in your car"?  Of course I didn't mind and besides, I knew they'd love to watch a little bit of a movie on the DVD player. They were thrilled with DVD player but it's such a short drive to my home that they only got to watch the previews before the actual movie began. Nevertheless, they were instantly happy.

When we arrived at my home Gigi greeted the family at our gate and then our kids, followed by Kosta. Our kids were so excited to have visitors because they rarely have others to play with at home since we virtually have no neighbors. Well we do, but most of them are chickens and dogs.
So, the children became acquainted quickly and off they went. We didn't see or hear much of them for the entire evening. Our husbands sat together on the balcony and discussed...well...who knows what- for hours. Everyone got along so well, it was wonderful.
 Over coffee we  had so much to talk about, it seemed as if we'd known each other for much more than only a year. We laughed a lot and every now and then we would stop our conversation because we'd hear something drop upstairs. We'd stop talking long enough to make sure that the kids were fine and then continue right where we left off.

Maria enjoys Gigi's  & Alexandra's company...

I had a peek in Foti's room from the balcony and found two young warriors...

The children exhausted after playing for hours. They watched a movie to wind down. 

prime minister's country house
Maria's husband, Dimitri, with Kosta

All of us had such a nice time but then it started to get late and everyone, especially the children seemed to be pretty tired. It was bittersweet to see them leave, we wished that they could have stayed for days! We've already discussed what we'll do the next time we meet here, unless we end up in Crete first, you never know!

Here's a nice photo of myself with Maria...


Maria's Gigandes

The aroma of gigandes baking is enticing...

I've been making gigandes for years and they were good. All of my friends in the U.S. loved when I made them and my sister used request that I make them. I used to make gigandes based on a recipe from one of my favorite cook books and although they were good, for me, they were never quite right.
Since I love Maria's recipes I decided to try her version of gigandes.  What she adds in hers, that I had never put in mine, is tomato paste. I had never used it in mine and it makes a huge difference in the consistency of the sauce by adding richness and more flavor.  Also, she adds sausages to her beans. So far, I haven't used sausages but I can imagine that the beans with the sausages combined are delicious. But my family loves her recipe! I make these at least once every few weeks. Thank you Maria!

Maria's Gigandes Recipe is here .

-More favorite recipes from Organically Cooked-

Lemon cake

...well... just to name a few .There are so many!

Visit Maria's other marvelous blog :
One Day in Hania

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Seaside in Autumn...

On Tuesday,  the winds changed and made a mess of everything. Signs of winter are present. I was the only one on the beach and  loved it. I love listening to the sound of the waves and the wind blowing in my hair. I was wearing sandals.


On Wednesday, the winds ceased and granted us a beautiful silhouette of Mount Olympus. The sun was shining and the air crisp. I had to wear socks out of the house for the first time since spring. Last night, we fired up the furnace.  I love autumn.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Chairs & Nets

A local fisherman uses old chairs to keep cars from driving over his drying nets. I've passed so many times thinking that it would be interesting to photograph, so I finally did.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Night with Peter Minakis
Well, it was more like "our" night with Peter Minakis since my husband was along. I thought I'd make a somewhat scandalous title since earlier in the day that we were supposed to meet Peter, his status on facebook mentioned our plans and included the phrase, "scandalous photos to follow"...very funny. Well, there aren't any scandalous photos but there is evidence that we've met.

A little more than two and a half years ago, when I was sitting at my computer starting my blog I wouldn't have imagined that I would be meeting and keeping in contact with so many amazing people. Sure, I've read the blogs and commented but I had never expected an ongoing conversation about all things Greek and more importantly, food. Although I'm not technically a foodie, I love food and I do actually use the recipes and suggestions that my Greek foodie friends have to offer, since Greek cooking wasn't a part of my life until I married Kosta. Well, actually cooking wasn't a part of my life until I met Kosta, but that's another post in itself.

As I skim the sites of the Greek food bloggers for new recipes to try, I often find myself enthralled in the history, stories and anticdotes offered with the recipes. What I really love is reading a post of a foodie with a sense of humor, since I love to laugh and can't wipe this permenant snicker off of my face. Peter's site has  everything that I look for and more. What's more, is that he's so personable and does try to address everyone that comments or comes in contact with him somehow. I'm not sure how he does it, but, he does.

After following his site for a while I realized that his  family summer home in Greece is very near our home. So, we exchanged tweets and agreed that it would be nice to get together when he was in town. So, after he arrived we set up a date and that was that.

Everything was set that day, we decided that we would stay in his village, Nea Kallikratia, for dinner and all that was left for us to do was to show up. Well, it turns out that we had a pop-in that evening. Typical. We had plans (for once) and as things are running smoothly, someone pops in. It was supposed to be a five minute visit and it turned out to be over an hour. Great, I still had to get dressed. So, I called Peter to tell him that we would be late. Ever patient Peter was understanding since first, he's Greek and second, he's in Greece where almost everyone is late for almost everything.

We met Peter in front of  a church in his village, parked our car and enjoyed a nice walk toward the seafront.

We started the night with drinks at a beach bar. The water was so calm, the ambient music was perfect and the bar wasn't overcrowded, perfect!

After our drink we headed toward one of Peter's favorite Psarotavernas, one he's been dining at for as long as he's been spending his summers here. Look at how happy he looks! What a perfect "foodie" picture, I  think.

As you can see, there's always octopus on the table when Greek seafood lovers are out. It was delicious!

Here's something different...I chose grilled eggplant over eggplant salad and this is what was served. Roasted eggplant with melted feta, lots of garlic and parsley. I have never had this before and it was scrumptious.

Here we are with Peter. The picture was taken with his camera since I failed to get one. Thank you Peter!

He also took a picture of us, it's rare that we have someone available to take a good picture of us and with such a great background . We had a wonderful dinner, wonderful conversation and now, we have a wonderful new friend. Thank you Peter, we can't wait to see you again next summer!

Related Links: 
Greek Food and Beyond
Grilled Sardine Fillets With Chips ( here he shares another great recipe along with his summer routine)
Kalofagas on Twitter
Pay it Back with Food

Monday, October 5, 2009


 There are so many stories that lie within forgotten and unkempt things. I took these photos about one month ago as I  walked along the beach with the kids. Watching them quietly examine what was before their little eyes was amazing. Izabella was worried that one of the kids near us lost their sandal and wanted to return it. This sandal appeared to have been lost for a while. But, I let her ask the children nearby if it belonged to any of them. It hadn't.
 Foti carefully inspected the old fishermen's shack and asked so many questions. He found old hooks and fishing lines in the sand. He talked about this shack for the rest of the afternoon, offering his thoughts about who it belonged to and why they didn't fix it.
And I took photos, naturally.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lovely blog~

This week  I've received my very first blog award. Jessica, of  Prospero's Cellphone
has awarded me with the One Lovely Blog Award and I'm completely flattered, especially coming from her. She's so smart and witty, her posts are well written and intriguing...I'm flattered that she feels I'm award worthy. Have a look at her blog, you won't be disappointed.

Two years ago, when I started this blog I wasn't seeking anything but a way to express myself and keep our family and friends up to date with our transition. I chose the name of my blog in a willy, nilly moment as I sat in front of my computer wearing Alexandra in a sling. She was sleeping so peacefully, so I took some time to do something for myself.
"hmmmmm......I know, I'll name it after my favorite foods which will also represent the cultures that make up our family". Ok. Rice, Beans & Pastichio...yes, that willy-nilly.  I apologize to those of you that arrive here seeking a plethora of recipes and food posts but I also thank you for visiting and inspiring me continue blogging. There have been a few times within the last year that I was ready to stop blogging due to commitments and lack of time. But then, I realized that blogging has enriched my life beyond  my expectations. I have made great connections, fantastic friends and learned a lot from my peers. I've  also  personally met other bloggers that share similar interests. (to be revealed in future posts)
I feel that I'm awarded daily by my reader support which includes family, friends, neighbors, fellow bloggers and definitely, my lovely lurkers. Thank you.

Part of accepting the award is to pass it on to other blogs that I  feel are deserving so...

I'd like to pass this award on to -

mimi on the breach- a blog I've been following for almost two years. It's a smart blog written by Mimi, a university professor,  trying to figure out the whole parenting thing.  Her daughter is the same age as Alexandra and we're simultaneously dealing with a lot of the same milestones and toddler temperament issues.

Organically cooked- I can't say enough about Maria and her blog. I love her stories behind the food and most of all,  her recipes, many of which have become staples on my table. I've learned so much from her. She's a diligent blogger and churns out scrumptious posts regularly.

Caridad in Crete- Jude's lovely blog is always full of beautiful photos, her witty musings as well as real emotion. I love visiting Jude and I'm glad that she found me!

 The Making of Liz is blogging about the process of her family relocation combined with starting her own business. I can relate to Liz as she's a mother of young children and a lot of her experiences mirror some of mine, especially since she's now living in the countryside.

Here's one of my new favorite photos, taken last night. Lovely smiles for a lovely award!      

Thank you Jessica! This was a lovely surprise. 


Thursday, October 1, 2009


I took this picture last week. Yesterday they were gone. It's definitely autumn.