Tag Archives: food

about imperfection & new beginnings

20 Jan

 Recently I met up with a dear friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a while and she asked me the question I have been asked a few times since the little guy outside joined our family:

‘how do you do it all? 

I thought she meant my latest creation, so in pure excitement I began to blabber about the whole process behind each new recipe post.

‘No, no’  she kindly interrupted me. ‘I mean, the whole thing. The kids, the house, the crafting, the new blog’, she said.

‘Well, its chaotic and some days are really tough, but if you take a look at the great big picture, life is great. Seriously, I can only recommend adding another tiny human to an already messy household’ I replied.

Its like my sister told me when I asked her why she is getting another dog, when she already has one. ‘Since I do everything anyway for Pluto, why not do it for one more?’ And so she got Micky. And after a hell of very difficult first year, they learned to love each other and have become inseparable. Did you see what I just did there? I compared the addition of another tiny little human to the addition of another pet. I know, I know. It is very naive and too simple. But you know what? Simple is good. Simple is sometimes better.

N. & I have been having the same conversation every night for the past 19 months and 3 days. HOW DID WE LIVE WITHOUT PETROS? And honestly, I don’t know. I think back at the very dark period in my life when I first found out I was pregnant again & I try to understand the heartache. Why was I so devastated? So blind? My old self infuriates me. But I am not holding a grudge anymore.

I think the most valuable lesson my little guy outside taught me is to embrace imperfection. I have become softer, calmer and more forgiving. Mainly with myself. And that is a huge thing my friends. HUGE. I don’t drown anymore in guild trips. When I fall, I gather my pieces and get up again. Perhaps stronger than before.

And during this self transformation I decided to share the love I have for food and started my own food blog. And this is an invitation for you my lovelies to get engaged. There is a link on http://www.wonderbitesbytatu.com where you can subscribe and get my recipes per mail, you can like my facebook page, you can follow me on instagram or spread the love and help me build my tribe!

Are you with me?

until next time

love

t

 

this is my truth

18 Nov

I don’t want to make any excuses.

I don’t have time. I am guilty of using this phrase every now and then and although it seems to be most of the time true, it actually isn’t.

Yes, having three kids and a household to take care of doesn’t leave me with a lot of ‘free’ time, but it all comes down to HOW I chose to spend this ‘free’ time. Most of the time you will find me in my kitchen. Sometimes I am too tired to do anything productive which is OK. Ever since the little guy outside made his début I find myself in a constant state of accepting and embracing imperfection.

Talking about imperfection I have decided to embrace my imperfect little belly which depending on the angle of the picture makes me look 3 – 5 month pregnant. I am at my pre-pregnancy weight but my body has changed and I have learned to respond with a smile at innocent little five year olds who ask me WHY I have such a big belly. Instead of badmouthing my body I tell them that I have been lucky enough to grow inside me 3 utterly nauseating at the time wonderful creatures and that I love to eat. 

I still breastfeed my 17 month old blessing of a wonderfully vivid and healthy boy. I officially apologize to any of you I had silently criticized about extensively breastfeeding your toddlers before. I never planned to nurse him that long and although I am in a constant forgetful sleep deprived mode, I am no way near weaning him because the truth is, I still cherish this special bond. So, for all of you who are dying to ask me the same question I have been asked a zillion times in the past six months when will you stop? the answer is whenever I feel ready.

I love making plans. Sure, making plans and actually executing them are two different things but even if the plan doesn’t work out it doesn’t mean it was not worth it in the first place. That being said, the execution of my BIG PLAN to start my own food blog has taken a bit longer than anticipated, not because I didn’t have the time until now it’s because ”life happens while you are busy making other plans”. But I am determined to make it happen, so stay tuned 😀

Last but not least. Appreciate the small things, learn to let go & enjoy life.

Chose to be happy.

until next time

love

t

   

it is his fault

28 Mar

One of the glorious aspects of being pregnant (again) is that I can literally blame EVERYTHING on the little guy inside.

LAME? Sure. But, tell me you have not used the pregnancy card yourself and I will call you a liar well respected human being.

Let me give you some examples.

  • I am cranky, irritated and cry for no reason whatsoever? Blame it on the hormones.
  • I am obsessed with food 24/7.Blame it on my ‘pregnancy cravings’. OK, OK you are right. I have always been obsessed with food. I just don’t need to hide it anymore.

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  • I get easily frustrated with the speed my bump is growing and feel genuinely hurt when I see other people’s shocked expression the moment I tell them that I still have three months to go.  Even Yiannis had a similar expression on his face when he came to me the other morning and looked at my belly. I still can’t get the brief conversation we had after that out of my mind.

Me: Look honey, your brother is growing fast.

Yiannis: Yes, I see that.

Me: In a few months time I will have a belly in the size of a watermelon.

Yiannis: But you already do.

OUCH….

Even little miss sunshine gave her little brother a kiss last night, looked at me and said: Mom, will your belly explode??

POINT TAKEN.

The thing what scares me is not the actual size of the belly now but HOW something SO oversized will grow back into anything remotely NORMAL once the little guy is out. I know, I know. I will need to exercise. But if you know me, you know how much I hate exercising. Don’t get me wrong. I like exercising but in its disguised form. Like playing tennis, swimming or cycling. I absolutely HATE the gym.  PERIOD.

  • I wear yoga pants the whole time (except for once or twice a month when I do get out of my house to have my blood tests done and doctors appointments). Which brings me to the next point…
  • The need to buy new clothes. This is quite an imaginary one though. As I am still considered high risk, I have not been given more freedom to move around and do something crazy, like drive. So no new fashionable maternity clothes for this pregnant mom. But thanks to my dear friend Iro who was kind enough to bring me her maternity clothes, I can squeeze my watermelon into something that actually fits.

I have missed out on quite a few events of the past three months in my family’s life. And I will miss some more. But that’s OK. After all I have the PERFECT excuse.

Until next time

love

tatu

detox day

6 Dec

I am not talking about actual physical detox, like these incredibly disgusting healthy greenish little magical juice cleanses all you healthy people are voluntarily inhaling (good for you by the way, but SERIOUSLY??)

I am talking about the oh-so-needed MENTAL DETOX.

We are all living hectic lives. We worry and stress and our lives are dictated by deadlines and promises we feel obliged to keep. Do we ever take a break? Not really. There is no time, we keep telling ourselves. There are one hundred other million things to do before. Before what though? Before we reach our limit? Before we hit rock bottom? Can’t we identify the warning signals ahead of time? Can we not avoid the meltdowns?

We sure can.

We just need to learn to let go or have someone push us into that direction.

Two days ago, I was lucky enough to have my mom talk me into enjoying some alone time. I was hesitant at first (to say the least). But then, the idea of enjoying some pre-Christmas window shopping with my sis seemed irresistible. The couple of hours I originally had in mind magically turned into a whole stress free day away from everything and all obligations. We strolled around the shops, nostalgically missing our old uncomplicated lives and ease of spending, wished we could afford the 10 things we were sure we NEEDED (spoiler: if you come to think about it, there are very few things one ACTUALLY DOES NEED), met up with two close friends, indulged in digesting the ultimate junk food (yes, people, my DETOX involves ACTUAL JUNK FOOD) and obeying to my pregnancy craving which included Bradley Cooper, toffee and raspberry. YES, that Haagen Dazs ad definitely hit this pregnant woman’s sensitive spot.

When I returned home I was dead meat but incredibly happy.

Thank you mom

Until next time

love

tatu

the PERFECT dinner

10 Mar

Remember I told you about the perfect Saturday from hell?

The dinner that got cancelled on THAT Saturday was rescheduled for Friday night. You know how they say that when you are really super excited about something it usually ends up sucking in the end??? Well..this was totally the opposite. This was the PERFECT Friday night.

It all started when my mom had the brilliant idea to take THE KIDS to her house for a sleepover in order for us not to stress about not returning too late from our friend’s house and sleeping in. Shhhhhhhhh. Did I just say it out loud??? To all the sleep deprived parents who just read the last line, ignore it. Pretend I never wrote it & you never read it. PRETEND.

We left the kids, dressed up, picked up some flowers and arrived at our friends house. There was only one thing that could spoil the evening – N. & I were still unsure of who was going to sacrifice himself and let the other drink so she can drive home safely. Yes, you read correctly. SHE. I love N. THAT MUCH to actually avoid inhaling one wine glass after the other. But I had too much of a good mood to let anything come in my way. So, I sucked it in. I (semi) volunteered to be the designated driver.

N.K.& Y.M. the lovely hosts and good (no filtering) friends of ours prepared & executed a perfect dinner. N. & I. were a little bit like the flies in the milk (that probably makes sense only to Greek readers) because we were the only ones who didn’t know the rest of the gang.

In an effort to break the ice, N.K. had the brilliant idea to introduce me as the blogger friend to the rest of the group (all parents) and she praised for the blog and then exaggerated (a lot) and then praised again. I am telling you this girl wouldn’t have done a better job if I paid her.

I felt great.

Like I just received the we-kind-of-feel-sorry-for-you-for-not-working-anymore-and-we-feel-we-should-praise-anything-you-do-apart-from-taking-care-of-your-children-24/7-even-if-it-is-a-blog-about-JUST-THAT award.

We ate GREAT food, we laughed (A LOT), we talked about movies & kids & football & LPG. And SOME WERE EVEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO DRINK A LOT (I cherished my one glass of white wine & drank it in the same pace & desperation as James Franco drank the last drops of his water in 148 hours).

No, I am not an alcoholic. I am a stay at home mom.

Until next time

love

tatu

marathon cooking

9 Dec

Have you ever been in a situation where you need to prepare the PERFECT dinner and everything goes like planned? No, me neither.

I love to cook. Not on a daily basis and not with 100,000 restrictions. I love to cook for my appreciative and non picky friends and family members. I don’t mind a minor restriction here and there. Taste is very subjective and there are things which are a big no-no on my list as well. I have never tried snails, the thought of the slimy thing going down my throat is just too repulsive and I hate liver, the smell of it alone can bring me the pukes.

Yesterday was the annual dinner N. and I host for his part of the family to celebrate his name day (name days are in Greece a bigger thing than birthdays). This is a tradition which we (masochists) started when we first moved to the suburbs, 6 1/2 years ago.

Being a perfectionist myself I wanted to please everyone. By pleasing everyone (this is impossible, in case you were wondering), I had to cook something different (who wants to be served the same food every year), tasty as hell,  gluten-free, diabetic friendly and garlic free. The latter being the most restrictive for me.  I wanted it to be perfect.

I went to a delicatessen store, two super markets, the farm market and the local butcher to get everything I needed and started to cook at midday.

Today’s verdict:

  • If you cook for 8 hours straight chances are that you will probably a)fall asleep during dinner or b) pass out while serving the 8th dish.
  • When you NEED it to be perfect you can be sure for one thing: IT WON’T!
  • A successful dinner has one main prerequisite: RELAX and enjoy!

xxx

T

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I am the supermarket junkie

30 Nov

I believe that there are two kinds of people. The ones that love a good super market thrill (like me) and the others who absolutely dread going to the super market (my sister). I am not sure if there is anyone in between.

I love a good super market visit. I am not prone to buying half of the store but I love finding new things on the shelves.We live in the suburbs of Athens and we really have crappy super markets. If I need to find everything I want I must go to 4 different places. Am I crazy? Maybe. Still, I have my reasons.

I need to cook three different kind of meals daily. Two low fat for N. & Yianni due to high blood cholesterol levels, one low calorie/low carb for me as I have recently had a thyroidectomy and one full fat for Iliana as she is the LUCKY one in our family with no dietary prerequisites or problems.

Furthermore, I try to find the healthy alternatives to shitty products full of MSG and not pay a small fortune while doing that. I could just go to the health store and buy everything from there. There are two problems though. One: I would need to find a job in order to afford the extra costs. Two: N. doesn’t really believe in organic stuff (I mean yes, they are better for you, but do we really know WHERE they are coming from)?

So, to cut the story short, these are the places I visit on a weekly basis: the local supermarket, the german discount super market chain -you can’t really beat their gherkins-, the local farm market and the health store (kid or kids inclusive).

xxx

T

Any other supermarket/grocery store addicts out there?

 

 

guilt free oven baked parmesan crusted schnitzel

11 Nov

4 pork chops
1/4 cup mustard
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
100 gr grated parmesan cheese
2 cups crushed corn flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tbsp olive oil

1. Use a meat hammer to pound the pork chops until very thin.
2. Mix the crushed corn flakes with the parmesan, the seasoned salt and the paprika.
3. Spread enough mustard on each pork (both sides) and then dip the chops, one after the other, into the corn flake mixture.
4. Preheat oven to 225°C. Place schnitzels on oven tray. Pour a little olive oil on each. Place the tray in the oven on the middle shelf
5. Bake for 20 minutes (or more depending on the thickness) until crumbs are crisp and golden.

Serve the schnitzels hot from the oven with a slice of lemon and enjoy.

p.s. If you don’t like pork, use chicken instead. Equally delicious!

dad is the hero

2 Nov

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When Yiannis was born and motherhood hit me in the face I remember N. coming home very tired having spent the last 12 hours on the road and at the office only to find me in an even more exhausted state. The poor and (at the time) ignorant husband of mine asked me the worst question one can ask a burnt out mother at the end of a long day; What did you do all day???? 5 years and a daughter later he has now become the wise husband who doesn’t dare ask this question anymore. For those of you who can not relate with the above, let me share with you my version of a typical day:

  1. Wake up by my physical alarm, Yiannis.
  2. Get dressed, chose Yiannis clothes, have a 15 minute debate with Yiannis on my choice of his clothes, prepare his lunch box, have another 10 minute debate on food, give him a kiss and send him off to school
  3. In the meantime, I warm up a bottle of milk for Iliana and do my best to convince her to get back to sleep. I try to eliminate this step on a daily basis by reminding N. & Yiannis to be quiet but women and men (and apparently young boys) have a different perception on the definition of quiet.
  4. I have my first cup of coffee and enjoy 10 minutes of uninterrupted silence. Heaven in the eyes and ears of mothers with young children.
  5. I prepare the cholesterol friendly but at the same time calorie boosting kind of food my family needs for the day.
  6. Iliana wakes up. I have a debate with her on what shade of pink she ll wear today (child no 2 imitating child no1).
  7. I make the beds, tidy the rooms and clean my children’s mess I was too tired to clean the night before. I officially got over the fact that everything had to be put back to its original place, I bought a large plastic box I hide under the children’s green plastic IKEA table, shove everything into this lovely box and smile with satisfaction. Covering up mess with more mess is brilliant.
  8. Depending on the day and our needs we leave the house and go to either one or more of the following: super market/butchers/local farm market/pharmacy
  9. Upon our return home I patiently sit by Iliana’s side for about half an hour to forty-five minutes to help her eat. After that time frame two things happen: I lose my patience and Iliana has managed to eat two spoons of food (unless it is pasta and she eats two plates of food).
  10. I put Iliana down for a nap a bit earlier than necessary for the following two reasons: I desperately need some more quiet time and to avoid the meltdown which occurs about an hour later if she skips her nap. This is when coffee no 2 is needed and well appreciated.
  11. By the time she is tired enough to sleep I wake her up to go and pick exhausted, cranky Yianni from school. This is my ‘favourite’ time of the day since both of my kids are at their ‘best’ and tied to their car seats. Frustration pure!
  12. After half an hour whining from both we settle on the craft we will attempt to create all together. An hour later kids are happy and messy and N. walks into the door and comes to my rescue!

p.s. This is a version of a day running smoothly. A more challenging day includes a sick child or worse, two sick children or worse, a sick mom, two sick children, and a poor (still healthy-not for much longer) husband.

In either case, dad is the hero!

xxx

T

guilt-free raspberry with a hint of lime cheesecake

10 Oct

Our family is a bit of a disaster when it comes to food limitations (high cholesterol and thyroid issues). The only one who can truly eat what she wants is Iliana and she is in a ‘not feel like eating much mode’ at the moment. Ironic, right? For the last few years, I have twisted and turned most of the recipes I knew into healthier versions. Of course there are still quite a few which would be a sin to lighten up and we do let ourselves indulge (once in a blue moon) and enjoy the full fat/full everything version.

This cheesecake is a much lighter and healthier no bake cheesecake. I hope you will enjoy.

INGREDIENTS

  • 200 gr digestive biscuits
  • a handful of blanched almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of light butter
  • 2 packaged of light cream cheese (400gr)
  • 1 low fat greek yogurt (200 gr)
  • 1 lime (both juice and zest)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of agave nectar (you can substitute it with honey, I prefer the agave nectar as this has a less distinct taste)
  • 3 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes
  • 300gr fresh or frozen raspberries (or any type of berries or sour cherries)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Directions

  1. Blend the digestive biscuits together with the almonds to produce fine crumbs (don’t overblend).
  2. Melt the butter and mix together with the above.
  3. Press the mixture into an 8-inch pie dish. Bake in a preheated oven at 150 C for 15 minutes. Leave to cool while making the filling.
  4. Beat the cream cheese in a mixing bowl together with the yogurt, the agave nectar, the lime juice and zest until softened. Heat 1 tablespoon of water in a pan and add the soaked gelatine leaves. Once melted, add to the cream cheese mixture and mix well.
  5. Pour the cream cheese mixture onto the (cooled) crust.
  6. Chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for a few hours.
  7. For the raspberry sauce, combine the raspberries with the sugar in a saucepan and bring to low boil. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to get the consistency you like. I like the sauce to be a bit tart, if you prefer it sweeter just add more sugar.  Leave to cool and refrigerate until needed.
  8. Take the cheesecake out of the fridge, pour the raspberry sauce over it and serve.  Image
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