Blog, Lifestyle

Finding Your Tribe

Paddle boarding with manatees in San Juan, Puerto Rico courtesy of #VIP Adventures

One of the cornerstones of the Mediterranean Lifestyle is Pillar 2: Focus on Family & Community. In the Med, families and neighbors are close-knit. Want to keep a dirty secret? Failed an exam? Lost a job? Hate your husband? Fuggetaboutit. It all comes out within weeks, days, hours – and spreads like tropical storms across the Caribbean skies in September. There is no hiding your dirty laundry. Children grow up, marry and move down the street, perhaps to another village, or to the “city” a couple hours away (to the horrors of the devastated mamas in the Med). Suffocating at times, but these kin are your family – like it or not. They have your back, and they will never let you falter.

I am one of those lucky people who grew up in a tight-knit, totally functional family (is that even possible in today’s reality-TV-obsessed-bigger-is-better-world??). I then married into this same type of situation, and my familial tribe grew to include my in-laws and the rest of his clan.

But what happens when you don’t have such a laundry list of healthy, functional family members? Or if you love your family until it hurts, but they still may not get your eccentric ways. Find your own Tribe. And although I  grew up with a functional family, I was always a little bit off. A little too loud or laid back. A little more Mediterranean than Western. I was blown away to discover a new set of Tribe members. We call ourselves Rock Sisters.

Laughter is the best antioxidant, medicine, anti-aging procedure – signed, Dr. Goddess

I write for a mega-blog called Women Who Live on Rocks. Chrissann Nickel, our fierce and fearless leader, a total rockstar (pun-intended) decided to organize the first ever Writers’ Rock Retreat to introduce 10 female writers. Instead of meeting virtually, we did something so 20th century. We actually met. Women Who Live on Rocks is focused on Caribbean island-living. As a Mediterranean Lifestyle chic, I think I slipped through the cracks.  And boy am I glad I did. For 5 days in San Juan, Puerto Rico, we collaborated, laughed, danced and drank. Not necessarily in that order, either. After all these years, I finally found my Tribe.

Why you should find your Tribe:

According to Abraham Maslow (as in Maslow’s Theory): one of the most fundamental of human needs is the need to belong. In the age-old days of the Mediterranean, people live close to where they grow up. Their family is their Tribe (ring in mental clips of The Godfather). But in the West, we move for our jobs/careers; for our husband’s jobs/careers; for better schools for our children; for a better quality of life. Heck, I’ve even heard people moving for better weather. Along the way we may lose our Tribe.

Haven’t found your Tribe yet? Rest assured, they exist. Somewhere out in this big, bad world, they exist and are waiting for YOU to complete them 🙂

We celebrated birthdays

How to find your Tribe:

  1. What do you love to do? Not to get paid for, but actually choose to do for pure enjoyment. I love writing. I love acting. I love swimming. Join a Meetup group near you.  If one doesn’t exist to fit your exact niche (Dancing in the rain while eating Little Debbie’s snacks?), start one! You never know who is thinking: yes! That’s exactly what I *love* to do, too.
  2. Go back to school. Yes – I’m serious. Visit the website of your local university or community college. Schools have come a long way in community outreach. A quick scan at my local university, and I see that I can take a class on the cosmos, dream analysis, and ukulele for beginners (I’m serious). Classes are typically pretty cheap, in the evenings or on the weekends, and a great place to meet your potential Tribal Sister or Brother.
  3. Log on. Facebook, Yahoo! and other social media sites are laden with groups you may be passionate about. The more precise or specific, the better to narrow in you like-minded folks.
  4. Watch Yes Man with Jim Carrey. Avoid stupid, dangerous stuff (unless that’s your thang) and then say yes. Had I not said yes to flying to Puerto Rico, leaving my children in my husband’s capable hands and doing something DIFFERENT, I may not have met my ultimate Rock Sisters. Say YES to new adventures and see where it leads you. I almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
  5. Put it out in the Universe. It may sound corny, but it worked for me. Writing can be a lonely process. It’s hard to meet like minded passionate, positive, strong, fun, and fabulous women from my home office. I put out positive vibes into the Universe, and it came back, ten-fold.

And got blue masks that they promised would reverse the aging process

I am also old-school. I love social media sites, but nothing compares to a gaggle of girls, sorority-style, playing, laughing and learning in a big house in Old San Juan. I will treasure those days and look forward to when we will be reunited. In the meantime, my What’s App chats keep me chuckling as I proceed with normal life as a wife, mom, writer and entrepreneur. And, I think this is what a Tribe is all about: they got my back; I got theirs. They keep me laughing, sane and focused. And sometimes (like right now) very unfocused, as I am trying hard not to check my messages and see what some of those crazy gals are up to.

And simply celebrated. We did work! I promise, honey!

Focus on Family & Community is Pillar #4 in Goddess Living. I am humbled to realize that it has more to do with choosing a positive Tribe than simply what family you were born into. Choose your Community. Choose your Tribe

Choose your Tribe and let your hair down – knowing  they’ve got your bare back.

Want to meet my awesome Tribe? Check out what these fabulous ladies are up to.

Chrissann Nickel (the organizer of this life-changing event); Women Who Live On Rocks
Jennifer Legra, Dominican Republic: Drinking the Whole Bottle
Riselle Celestina, St. Maarten: The Traveling Island Girl
Mariah Moyle, The Bahamas: Out Island Life
Brittany Meyers, Tortola, BVI: Windtraveler
Lizzy Yana, St. Thomas, VI: Island Lizzy

Liz Wegerer, Bonaire: The Adventures of Island Girl

Jennifer Morrow, Puerto Rico: Jen There Done That
Sherri DeWolf, Key West: Deeply Creative; Island Jane

 

Want a peek into our 1st ever Writer’s Retreat? Click here

I’d love to hear more about Your Tribe! Have you found them yet? Let’s hear it, goddesses. . .

Blog, Cooking

Citrus Tahini Dressing

Citrus Tahini Dressing

One of my favorite things to do is zazz up a simple (boring) green salad or humble tabbouleh salad with a sultry, spicy, sweet kick. Plus, it’s a great way to use up that 16 ounce of tahini you bought and made hummus that one time. It’s sitting in the back of your fridge or cupboard, waiting to be used and collecting dust. It’s begging for you to get a little crazy and experimental. So pull out that versatile sesame butter and let’s get cooking.

Citrus Tahini Dressing – add it to your Tabbouleh, falafel or simple green salad!

Ingredients

  • Juice from 1 fresh orange (the riper the better)
  • Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Orange zest (optional)
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon honey, sugar, agave or stevia (optional)

Method: blend all of the above until smooth and pour over your salad. Serve immediately or allow to simmer in its gorgeous juices to allow the garlic to become potent.

Note: if your tahini is quite thick (the bottom portion and little of the natural oil is reserved, or if you notice this dressing is a bit thick), you may thin it out by adding small amounts of water. Check, taste and modify as needed.

Voila! Transform simple salads into an epicurean delight with this heart-healthy dressing.

If you are looking for more ways to use up that delicious, protein-rich tahini, check out this earlier post about 7 Things To Do with your Tahini that aren’t Hummus

Got any other great tahini recipes? I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a comment below or email me at claudia@livelikeagoddess.com

Blog, Cooking

Lebanese Bulgur Salad

Lebanese Bulgur Salad

I think of this wholesome, one pot, warm bulgur “salad” as being a suped-up version of  tabbouleh. I love the fact that this meal is all chopped, thrown in a pot, and cooked within 30 minutes. It’s fast, simple, delicious and nutritious. It pairs great with my Citrus Tahini Salad dressing, which you can whip up in advance and store in a jar in the back of your fridge. Pull it out when you need to add a bit of jazzing up to your green salad, tabbouleh or this warm bulgur salad.

Packed with protein and fiber, bulgur is a whole wheat and used in place of rice in parts of the Eastern Mediterranean. It’s low in calories, but packed with nutrition. One cup of bulgur has less calories, fat and more than twice the fiber and protein of brown rice! So please – get very familiar with this “super food” and enjoy!

Bulgur wheat comes in Very Fine, Fine, Course, “Breakfast” or Kernels. All are used for various recipes. I love the Course kind for this warm Lebanese saaad

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried basil
  • 1 cup coarse bulgur
  • 2 ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 1.5+ cups broth: vegetable, chicken or beef
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper, as desired
  • Pinch of paprika, cayenne pepper, as desired
  • Italian parsley, finely sliced
  • Crumbled Feta cheese, optional

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook until lightly translucent.
  3. Add red pepper and zucchini, and saute for another 2 minutes
  4. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes and basil, cooking 2 more minutes.
  6. Stir the bulgur into the tomato mixture, making sure that the bulgur is well coated.
  7. Stir in the broth. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne to the bulgur mixture.
  9. Continue to cook, covered until the bulgur is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.
  10. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the parsley & feta over the top.

Have you tried to make this meal?  I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line below and Unleash your Inner Aphrodite. . .

Blog, Cooking

Red Lentil Balls (aka Meatless Meatballs)

This is a recipe I learned while living on the island of Aphrodite (aka Cyprus). We typically eat these handheld, flavorful balls in the summertime alongside watermelon and lounging by the pool or beach. Sounds like a hard life, right?

Red lentils and all forms of legumes are a wonderful part of the plant-based Mediterranean diet. In the West, we think of lentils in the form of soup or salad. I’m most familiar with green or black/brown (sometimes also called French) Lentils. But in actuality, there are a variety of different lentils that are consumed in various dishes. They include green lentils, red lentils, yellow  (chana dal) lentils, brown lentils, mung beans, and even related to kidney beans, soy beans and black eyed peas. They each have an important place in a natural, healthy Mediterranean diet.

Red lentils are probably the easiest to prepare, as they are the smallest, thinnest and quickest to cook. Unlike other legumes, red lentils do not need to be soaked overnight. However, like all beans/legumes, lentils should be rinsed and quickly inspected  for foreign particles or natural stones that may have slipped through the manufacturing process.

So, why replace typical meatballs with red lentil balls? Lentils are a high protein, low fat and calorie, cheap source of protein. They are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and will not clog up your arteries like typical animal-based proteins. For more information on the health benefits of lentils and other legumes, take a look at Organic Fact’s site: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/health-benefits-of-lentils.html

Red Lentil Balls 

Red Lentil Balls are a great meatless substitute for those looking for a hand-held, flavorful and protein-rich dinner. They are also colorful, aromatic and versatile. Pack these in picnic basket for an option to a traditional meal.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of red lentils, rinsed
  • ½ cup of fine bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Handful of fresh or dried mint
  • Handful of fresh or dried Italian parsley
  • Seasonings to taste include: salt, black pepper and cumin, as desired

Method

  1. Boil the lentils in a bit of salt until cooked, approximately 15 minutes
  2. When the lentils are still hot, place the bulgur, and leave to absorb the remaining water.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in olive oil. When translucent, add to the bulgur/lentils.
  4. Transfer all to a bowl and add yogurt, parsley, mint and spices. While still warm, begin to knead until well mixed.
  5. Shape the balls into flattened, handheld “sausage” shapes

Dipping Sauce

A nice dipping sauce for the Lentil Balls includes adding sliced parsley, dried chili flakes (for a bit of heat), lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Mix well and dip the lentil balls into them. Enjoy!

Another awesome dipping sauce that I love to use with these simple lentil balls is a Thai red sweet chili paste.

Go ahead and give it a try! I just delivered a course in my Mediterranean cooking class at James Madison University on these red lentil balls. The students LOVED them. I promise!

Got any other great legume recipes? I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a comment below or shoot me an email at claudia@livelikeagoddess.com

Unleash your Inner Aphrodite. . .

Claudia

Blog, Lifestyle

How to go from Type A to the Mediterranean Way

Ah that could be me. Right there. On the right. Oh yes! If I wasn’t sitting at my desk freaking out over that stupid deadline. But in my mind’s eye: that’s totally me.

We women are just natural go-getters, aren’t we? Many of us are inertly driven: at work, at home, in the community, and at the gym. The list goes on. It can be exhausting juggling the many balls in our lives. We all think it’s normal, this fast-paced, hectic lifestyle we lead: 9-to-5 job (who am I kidding? It’s more like 8:30-to-6:30. Can someone please tell me how Corporate America managed to log an extra couple of our hours?!). When we come home, we take our children to a myriad of sports, music or arts lessons. We crawl towards the finish line: the weekend, where many of us spend hours cleaning, prepping and shopping for the next week.

When did life become so boring and rigid?

Here’s a dirty, little secret: there IS a society in which women still live a more balanced, natural lifestyle. It’s called the Mediterranean. It’s way more than just a diet. It’s a lifestyle that we can copy here in the West.

I moved to Cyprus, the island of Aphrodite, 10 years ago. I watched, listened and learned the ways of the local women. With their glowing skin, perfectly piqued eyebrows, and harmonious lifestyles, they seemed to manage life’s precarious situations a bit more elegantly. Aphrodite swims through the veins of the women in Cyprus and throughout the Mediterranean. Here’s what I learned:

  1. They let go more easily

Before the Med: Like the proverbial square peg in a round hole, I used to force life’s hand. I was a control freak. A total Type A who liked to get things D-O-N-E (preferably yesterday). But boy, when things didn’t work out, did I get tired/angry/frustrated. I usually ended up in tears of frustration.

After the Med: Breathe. Life ebbs and flows in the Mediterranean. Actually, it ebbs and flows, everywhere. But there are less distractions in Cyprus. We can’t control everything, and what fun would it be if we could?

  1. They pray

Before the Med: Stellar careers are matched with stellar husband and stellar children. Weekend warriors are businessmen and women, racing to the airports on Sunday evenings or early Monday mornings. Weekend warriors also include the travel-sports family (insert soccer mom joke here). Clinics, tournaments, practices and theater rehearsals have replaced incense, sermons and devotionals.

After the Med: Reclaim your Sabbath. Whatever that means to you: Friday, Saturday or Sunday (or all 3!) and spend time rejuvenating. In the Med, women pray as a family before meals, and when things get tough at work/home/illness, they rush to church, light a candle or seek advice from their local rabbi/priest/imam. Spirituality is still central. 

Ommmm. Inhale. Hold 2, 3, 4. Exhale slowly. Repeat.

  1. They know work is not as important as family

Before the Med: Deadlines, reports, presentations and budgets. Meetings upon meetings to discuss our next meeting. Must find new clients or the best new marketing scheme, else we lose existing clients. Expand or die. Make your targets; meet with the press. Promote ourselves, our branches, our business on social media or else be considered a dinosaur.

After the Med: Despite the siesta jokes, Mediterraneans are busy, too. But they know that the presentation can wait until the morning to send out. Bosses understand that a working mom (or dad) needs to get back to feed children supper. Family comes first, the rest follows. Guess what? The world does not fall apart.

  1. They rely on their Village

Before the Med: We Western Superwomen are another breed: we work, workout, have children, volunteer, clean our own homes, wash our own laundry, cook elaborate meals (and Instagram them), make unique, homemade costumes for Halloween (thank you Pinterest!), still look sexy/hot/desirable/ over 40 or 50, try Orange Theory, Mud Runs, Triathlons, pop vitamins, do a cleanse, detox and more. We do it all ourselves, and then watch Netflix to relax, while skimming FaceBook feeds by night. What a life.

After the Med: Superwoman was a fictional character (who rocked briefs, Linda Carter!). Women rely on a vast and intricate village, including, but not limited to, parents, siblings and friends to help with the child-rearing, cooking, and laundry. If no one lives nearby, they buy help when they can afford it. They pitch in to help one another (I have personally helped clean another woman’s house and on multiple occasions helped cook for a party, and clean up after many-a party). If someone looks tired, frail, we don’t daintily ask “is there anything you need?” We get in there, roll up our sleeves and help with the dirty work. Because we know one day soon, we will need their help soon.

  1. They worry less

Before the Med: those furrowed brows and lines do not need Botox. We need a change in our mental attitude. Let go, forgive those who hurt you, pray more and focus less on work and more on relationships.

After the Med: if it won’t matter to me in 1 year, then I try to not worry about it. There’s something intoxicating about shrugging my shoulders and saying “ah screw it!”

This really IS me. I really don’t care that much anymore. And I feel great going from Type A to the Mediterranean Way

Blog

Bob Harper goes Mediterranean

You guys remember Bob Harper, right? The personal trainer to Oprah Winfrey-turned-celebrity? He hosted Biggest Loser for 17 seasons and was the epitome of health. Tattooed, tough arms sprung from a chiseled chest. Lean legs and cut calves. But surprisingly, Bob was only 51 when he suffered a heart attack in February 2017. He acknowledges he is lucky; Bob thankfully survived the heart attack. His number one change was not walking more or pumping more iron. His first change was a return to the roots: a return to the Mediterranean Diet. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/14/health/biggest-loser-bob-harper-heart-attack-recovery/index.html

Bob’s cardiologists (and hundreds of doctors, nutritionists alike agree) recommend a Mediterranean Diet. My fellow goddesses, we are all in the right spot. Link up to my recipes site for authentic Mediterranean meals that are easy to prepare. http://www.livelikeagoddess.com/category/cooking/

If you have a question, drop me a comment below or an email. I love hearing from you!

A true Mediterranean diet is prepared simply with fresh ingredients. The primary focus is on vegetables, not protein or carbohydrates. We Mediterranean goddesses know a diet rich in vegetables and fruit are naturally filled with high volumes of water, that keeps eyes, skin and blood vessels clear from impurities. Use only the freshest ingredients, and when possible, locally sourced and produced food items. It helps promote your local community, and the produce is typically fresher, more nutrient-rich, as they are not slowly withering away being shipped.

Mediterranean sauces are simple. Repeat after me: olive oil & lemon & garlic or olive oil & tomatoes & garlic. Your choice. Stick with this combo for dressing your salads, your meats, your vegetables. Don’t be shy to experiment. Make vegetables your staple.

If you need to count how many vegetables you have eaten, then you haven’t eaten enough

Don’t believe me? Check out Web MD’s reason to switch over to a Mediterranean Diet http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-12-reasons-to-love-the-mediterranean-diet

In 2017, I hope you are continuing to live in the moment, to live healthy and clean, and to live like a goddess.

Unleash your Inner Aphrodite . . .

Claudia

Blog, Cooking

Are Probiotics the New/Old Anti-Depressant?

 

Researchers at the University of Virginia (wahoo-wah!) School of Medicine have discovered a fascinating link between increased probiotics and reducing the symptoms of depression in mice. It’s all very new and quite exciting. Specifically, the probiotic  strain Lactobacillus, found in the live cultures of good quality yogurt, have shown to improve gut health, relieve anxiety behaviors in laboratory mice. What’s really cool? Is there is NO REASON to believe that this won’t translate into the same benefits in human beings, according to lead researcher Dr. Alban Gaultier.

And here I was all this time thinking the reason that the reason people seem happier in the Mediterranean was a function of sunshine (think Vitamin D intake), spending more time in meaningful relationships (cultivating family & friend ties), a deeper sense of purpose through Faith & Spirituality,  and a better work/life balance! I consider these my 5 Pillars of Goddess living. Read all about them here: http://www.livelikeagoddess.com/five-pillars/

Changing your diet may not only be beneficial for your waistline, but also for your mood!

I absolutely love this, because it makes sense, doesn’t it? When you are in pain, are you not agitated? I certainly am. It makes sense that if your belly is agitated internally, then it manifests into anxiety and pain externally. Our extremely sophisticated bodies are linked between body, mind and soul.

Before you go buy your next tub of Dannon, be certain to read those labels! I have seen “yogurt” being sold on the shelf that is nothing more than thick milk, strained of water, preservatives and sugar, with absolutely no live cultures! Don’t be a fool and read those labels! My favorite yogurt brands are the following:

  • Fage
  • Chobani
  • Brown Cow (love the cream on top)
  • Green Mountain

For a great list of the best/worst yogurts on the market check out Eat This/Not That’s site: http://www.eatthis.com/greek-yogurt

A word of caution: Please do NOT pick up the flavored yogurts! It may be tempting, but it is full of sugar and not at all what a goddess such as yourself deserves! Pick up a yogurt with as many live strains as possible, and do not pass the expiration date

In the Old Country, we eat our yogurt nearly daily, and it is always on the table. Thick, creamy – no one would even consider getting a low fat, zero fat yogurt. We also prefer to eat our yogurt sans the sugar, and with a savory twist. Check out my recipe for Authentic Goddess-Style Tzatziki that can be whipped up in under 5 minutes: http://www.livelikeagoddess.com/tzatziki-cacik-jajeeka-its-good-no-matter-how-you-call-it/

To read the entire medical report that has this Mediterranean Goddess super excited to know she’s on the right track for both belly and mental well-being, follow along here: https://makingofmedicine.virginia.edu/2017/03/07/probiotics-in-yogurt-can-reverse-depression-symptoms/

Here’s to your Health! Live well, fellow goddesses!

Discover your Inner Aphrodite. . .

Claudia

Blog, Lifestyle

Are Probiotics the New, Natural Anti-Depressant?

Researchers at the University of Virginia (wahoo-wah!) School of Medicine have discovered a fascinating link between increased probiotics and reducing the symptoms of depression in mice. It’s all very new and quite exciting. Specifically, the probiotic  strain Lactobacillus, found in the live cultures of good quality yogurt, have shown to improve gut health, relieve anxiety behaviors in laboratory mice. What’s really cool? Is there is NO REASON to believe that this won’t translate into the same benefits in human beings, according to lead researcher Dr. Alban Gaultier.

And here I was all this time thinking the reason that the reason people seem happier in the Mediterranean was a function of sunshine (think Vitamin D intake), spending more time in meaningful relationships (cultivating family & friend ties), a deeper sense of purpose through Faith & Spirituality,  and a better work/life balance! I consider these my 5 Pillars of Goddess living. Read all about them here: http://www.livelikeagoddess.com/five-pillars/

Changing your diet may not only be beneficial for your waistline, but also for your mood!

I absolutely love this, because it makes sense, doesn’t it? When you are in pain, are you not agitated? I certainly am. It makes sense that if your belly is agitated internally, then it manifests into anxiety and pain externally. Our extremely sophisticated bodies are linked between body, mind and soul.

Before you go buy your next tub of Dannon, be certain to read those labels! I have seen “yogurt” being sold on the shelf that is nothing more than thick milk, strained of water, preservatives and sugar, with absolutely no live cultures! Don’t be a fool and read those labels! My favorite yogurt brands are the following:

  • Fage
  • Chobani
  • Brown Cow (love the cream on top)
  • Green Mountain

For a great list of the best/worst yogurts on the market check out Eat This/Not That’s site: http://www.eatthis.com/greek-yogurt

A word of caution: Please do NOT pick up the flavored yogurts! It may be tempting, but it is full of sugar and not at all what a goddess such as yourself deserves! Pick up a yogurt with as many live strains as possible, and do not pass the expiration date

In the Old Country, we eat our yogurt nearly daily, and it is always on the table. Thick, creamy – no one would even consider getting a low fat, zero fat yogurt. We also prefer to eat our yogurt sans the sugar, and with a savory twist. Check out my recipe for Authentic Goddess-Style Tzatziki that can be whipped up in under 5 minutes: http://www.livelikeagoddess.com/tzatziki-cacik-jajeeka-its-good-no-matter-how-you-call-it/

To read the entire medical report that has this Mediterranean Goddess super excited to know she’s on the right track for both belly and mental well-being, follow along here: https://makingofmedicine.virginia.edu/2017/03/07/probiotics-in-yogurt-can-reverse-depression-symptoms/

Here’s to your Health! Live well, fellow goddesses!

Discover your Inner Aphrodite. . .

Claudia

Blog, In The News

Media Release: Taste of the Valley on WHSV

http://www.whsv.com/content/news/Taste-of-the-Valley-Taking-on-the-Mediterranean-lifestyle-415352443.html

Thanks to the awesome crew at WHSV-TV 3 for producing and airing this segment on Tabbouli/Tabbouleh

I have been long espousing this all-in-one salad that combines protein, fiber, and slow-release carbohydrates in the form of whole wheat couscous as its base. But this typical Middle Eastern (roots are Lebanese/Syrian) salad offers more than just carbs; it’s loaded with fresh Italian parsley, chopped tomatoes, scallions, cucumbers, feta, lemon and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (of course). I like to make mine slightly spicy using a red pepper paste. To get the exact recipe, check it out here: http://www.livelikeagoddess.com/tabbouli-salad-with-a-kick/

This Taste of the Valley segment on Tabbouleh aired last Tuesday (Tabbouleh Tuesday!). One thing I forgot to mention in the recipe above: you can turn this simple, delicious and fresh salad gluten-free, simply by replacing the whole wheat couscous with quinoa. While I love quinoa’s protein and nutty flavor, it is definitely part of the New World foods (South American roots), and therefore a twist on the original Middle Eastern Tabbouleh salad. Prepare the quinoa according to its own package, and replace in this simple recipe. Enjoy! Please share as I love to see all of us eating healthier in the New Year!

Try it for your next BBQ in replace of pasta or potato salad!

Got another recipe that you love to share? Another version on this Tabbouleh classic? I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line below.

 

 

Blog, Cooking

Omelette with a Turkish Twist

One of my favorite, quick, dirty meals is an omelette. What I found most interesting living in the Mediterranean, was the use of eggs. Sure, an occasional boiled one was found on my breakfast plate. But for the most part, eggs are considered lunch or dinner fare. And even better, was the play of eggs loaded with tomatoes, veggies, seasonings to make that egg-taste disappear. Now, full disclosure here: I used to *hate* eggs. I mean it was up there with cream cheese (yes, I’m weird). I couldn’t get myself near an egg unless it was scrambled with a load of butter and salt.

But that was before I learned about menemen! Man this stuff is awesome! It’s quick, light, and loaded with vegetables that take the egg-smell right out of your omelette. It’s super quick, and doesn’t need elaborate changes, so I’ll share with you the recipe right as I learned it: authentic, clean Mediterranean eating.

Menemen Recipe – Servings for 3

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, crushed (or 1/2 can of whole ripened tomatoes, crushed)
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly diced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced – OR – 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Halloumi cheese, shredded (if you don’t have -or even know about – halloumi, it is a Cypriot staple. It’s an awesome cheese great for grilling. In the absence of halloumi, use Mozzarella).
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Seasonings: salt, pepper, paprika

Method

  1. In a heavy saucepan, coat the bottom with olive oil
  2. Toss the onions and peppers in the olive oil and cook over medium heat until translucent
  3. Add the tomatoes and continue to stir frequently, until the color turns deep burnt orange and red
  4. Toss in the eggs and Halloumi, stirring frequently. The halloumi will melt right in. Remove from heat and add your spices: salt, pepper and paprika to taste.

Your meal is done! Here’s another crazy twist: in the Med, if we drink fruit juice, it is ONLY freshly-squeezed (no Tropicana for us). And we drink these freshly-squeezed juices ONLY in the afternoon, never for morning. Enjoy your Menemen with a glass of freshly-squeezed OJ and a fresh green salad!