Expanded Interest

Have you noticed something new on our site? With our growing fan base, it is a pleasure to welcome guest bloggers to our Eat Fit to Live blog. We look forward to stretching into new areas and topics to provide you with extra resources and knowledge to live the best Mediterranean lifestyle you can. Stay tuned and don’t forget to leave us your comments!

Have you ever considered a Reset Retreat?

Our guest blogger, Cierra Savatgy-King, explains…

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Do you wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed, and do it again the next day? Have you found yourself rinsing, repeating and losing sight of who you are in the midst of day-to-day monotony?

You are not alone. It’s extremely easy to fall into patterns, and those patterns aren’t always healthy ones. We frequently use ‘healthy’ when referring to the food we put in our bodies or the exercise we exert, but our mental wellness is not to be forgotten. Refocusing on pattern resetting can jolt us out of auto-pilot living and into more aware, healthy individuals who are living with intention.

I know this story all too well. And I never thought I would. Somehow the day-to-day shuffle found roots in me and it was like an invasive plant. The nasty roots kept growing. My life was on auto-pilot and I wasn’t taking care of myself. The more I spoke with others about this, the more I realized we could all use a little help.

So I decided to do something about it. I co-founded a company that helps other people reset their patterns in an unforgettable setting.

Reset Retreat is a wellness and adventure retreat in Belize with a focus on resetting your path. Our focus is helping guests make themselves the priority. We provide an exotic environment in which guests can disconnect from the world and reconnect with themselves. The 5-day experience includes daily life coaching and yoga, a sail on a stunning catamaran, a snorkel adventure to swim side-by-side with docile sharks and other sea creatures, and a chance to relax, unwind and learn tools to reset your patterns.

Psst. Round trip flights for guests flying from San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Dallas and Corpus Christi are included, but only until July 24th. Check it out.

Unforgettable settings create a perfect recipe for self-discovery because all our senses are firing. We’re hearing things more clearly. We notice the color of the water. We’re more open to what we’re seeing. And those lessons are easier to recall when we need them later.

However, not everyone can attend a retreat like this. That doesn’t mean there aren’t small daily things you can easily do to help reset your own patterns. Sometimes it’s the tiny things we do that allow us to see life just slightly different: and then those big steps aren’t clouded with fog. Clarity emerges.

10 simple ways to reset your daily patterns to turn off auto-pilot and allow for self-discovery. These tiny changes had a monumental effect for me.

  1. Drive home a different way. You have to be more aware of where a stop-light is or if you’re passing a school zone. It forced me to be aware of my surroundings and I started noticing beautiful trees and flowers I’d never seen before in my own neighborhood.
  2. Give your taste buds a shock. Try a menu item you normally wouldn’t pick at your favorite restaurant or challenge yourself to try 5 different types of greens with your dinner for one week. You may find you really like something that’s healthy for your body that you hadn’t tried before.
  3. Let nature lead you. Instead of plopping in front of the TV to relax, drive/walk to the nearest park – or a park you’ve always been curious about. Have something creative in mind (writing, drawing) or just sit for 15 minutes and notice the sounds and smells. Disconnect your electronics.
  4. Stop using the word “busy.” When someone asked how I was, I used to always respond with, “busy.” I realized how often I was using this and how it provides no value to say it. We are all busy! It’s like answering, “I’m alive! And you?” I tried not allowing myself to use this word for a month, then realized how big of a change I felt. I now consider “busy” profanity in my house. Consider the question with a real response. It shifts the energy. “Today I’m excited because I nailed a presentation” “Really? What was it about?” Boom. Authenticity unites.
  5. Call your barista by their name. It somehow feels awkward for me to do this. I don’t think it’s just me, because I noticed most of us don’t do it…even when the person is wearing a nametag. Test it out: you may be surprised at how it actually wakes up the person in front of you and they engage with you personally. It’s a fun experiment.
  6. Do your daily walks/runs backwards. Not literally backwards, though that would shake it up too. Go the opposite way you normally go or pick a different path altogether, even if you have to drive 3 minutes to get to another neighborhood. Houses, trees, and yards look different. You don’t know what’s right around the next corner.
  7. Dance like a complete fool with a ‘Morning Happy Dance’: This sounds totally silly and I may regret sharing this, but sometimes at my house we have “Morning Happy Dances.” They consist of about 30 seconds of throwing your hands around in the air, jumping with no rhythm whatsoever, making contorted movements…then going back to normal like it’s no biggie. If that doesn’t “wake me up” out of a funky pattern, I don’t know what would. A more low key example: While sitting at work, try getting up and taking an unexpected short walk around the office with a coworker.
  8. Try saying ‘yes’ to something you normally say ‘no’ to. I have a friend who believes in saying ‘yes’ to almost every invite. It has led him to some incredible experiences that most of us would consider once-in-a-life. (It’s also led him to being taken by real pirates once, so there’s that). Point being, saying ‘yes’ to something wild can completely wake up every inch of your senses. A friend invited me to a trapeze class. “What? You want me to fly through the air, 40 feet up with no training?” I did it. My hands were shaking like I’ve never shaken before – and I’m not even afraid of heights. I felt more free than I’d felt in years.
  9. Try saying ‘no’ to something you normally say ‘yes’ to. Alternatively, ‘no’ can allow for unexpected ‘me time.’ I tend to pack my schedule completely full. The old me would think if my calendar wasn’t filled, I was doing something wrong. But what actually has happened with some empty slots, besides less stress and ‘me time’, is that open slots have allowed for spontaneity with things I truly care about. It never gets written in my calendar, it just happens.
  10. Set a goal (with a deadline) and reach it: This can be small and attainable. It’s so easy to say someday you’ll do this or that, but then we get filled with guilt for NOT doing it. We can’t always do everything we want, but something changes inside us when we reach a goal. A pattern is broken. Have you been saying you wanted to try a painting class? A dance class? You wanted to plant a small garden? Pick something small, put a short deadline on it, and just do it. I was surprised how this change in pattern made the BIG goals much less scary to conquer.

I’m a work in progress, like we all are. Some days I do the above magnificently well. Others I stumble and fall right back into my previous patterns. But, realizing that small changes in my pattern can wake me up gets me excited to try something different.

These experiences have inspired me to think differently, act differently, and see the world at a slightly different angle. I still wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, and go to sleep, but I’m doing it awake. These tiny changes made a monumental impact in my life.

I hope one or two of these makes an impact in your life.

If you’re interested in hearing more about Reset Retreat in Belize, visit us here… We love making new friends.

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Cierra is co-founder of Reset Retreat and lives in Austin, TX. She has been living on vacation rentals to ‘reset’ her own path for 2 years. She’s a recording artist, a crazy cat lady, and loves exploring new things and doing handstands along the way. She’s also a big fan of Greek food.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.

Some childhood memories bring smiles that last into our adulthood. The memory of my cousins standing in the back of my grandmother’s truck chanting I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream is one of those wonderful summertime memories for me.

The Food Network Magazine (July/August 2015) fans give us the inside scoop on their ice cream tendency.

74% have at least one carton of ice cream in their freezer right now.

74% Scooped 26% Soft-Serve

45% Smooth

55% with stuff in it

Favorite Topping

57% Fudge 20% Carmel Sauce 18% Other 5% Butterscotch

Sprinkles 

16% Chocolate 65% None 19% Rainbow

61% Admit to eating it straight for the carton

Best alternative to ice cream

57% gelato 26% frozen yogurt 10% sherbet 7% sorbet

What kind of cone?

61% waffle 17% cake 28% sugar

Neapolitan flavor choice:

52% chocolate

20% vanilla

28% strawberry

Now that we have some of the facts how about some recipes? Almost half of those who took the survey make their own ice cream

Here are some of the latest finds for those do it yourself ice cream fans.

Pam Lolley,

Southern Living

JULY 2015

Blueberry-Lemon Zest Ice Cream

Blueberry-Lemon Zest Ice Cream Recipe

Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

If you like creamy, fruity ice cream with a little bit of zing, you’ll love this ice cream dish

Yield:

Makes about 1 qt.

Total time: 6 Hours, 45 Minutes
Recipe Time
Hands-on:  25 Minutes
Total:  6 Hours, 45 Minutes
Ingredients
2 cups coarsely chopped blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (5-oz.) can evaporated milk
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest

1. Bring blueberries, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring often. Cool 30 minutes; cover and chill 2 to 3 hours.

2. Whisk together condensed milk and next 5 ingredients; cover and chill 2 hours.

3. Pour milk mixture into freezer container of a 1-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and times will vary.)

4. Remove container with ice cream from ice-cream maker, and freeze 30 minutes.

5. Stir lemon zest into prepared ice-cream mixture, and swirl in chilled blueberry mixture. Transfer mixture to an airtight container or a loaf pan covered tightly with aluminum foil; freeze 3 to 4 hours or until firm.

Strawberry-Basil Ice Cream

Pam Lolley,

Southern Living

JULY 2015
Strawberry-Basil Ice Cream Recipe

Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Fresh strawberries and basil become a refreshing treat in this summertime ice cream recipe.

Yield:

Makes about 1 qt.

Total time: 6 Hours

Recipe Time

Hands-on:  10 Minutes

Total:  6 Hours
Ingredients
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (5-oz.) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 (16-oz.) container fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Whisk together first 6 ingredients; cover and chill 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, pulse strawberries, basil, and lemon juice in a food processor 5 or 6 times or until finely chopped. Stir strawberry mixture into chilled milk mixture.

3. Pour milk mixture into freezer container of a 1-qt. electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Instructions and times will vary.)

4. Remove container with ice cream from ice-cream maker, and freeze 30 minutes.

5. Transfer mixture to an airtight container or a loaf pan covered tightly with aluminum foil; freeze 3 to 4 hours or until firm.

For additional home made ice cream recipes try these out from Food & Wine.  More advice can be found from Food 52 15 tips for better homemade ice cream.

Happy Cooking!

New baking finds just in time for Father’s Day ~ a sweet for your sweetie

How perfect to find two new dessert recipes this week just in time to bake for dad on Sunday.  We know dads love a good dessert and what a fun way to either bring the kids into the kitchen or have the older ones make it themselves.

The first proclamation honoring fathers was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.  In 1972 Father’s Day became a permanent national holiday when it was signed into law by President Nixon.

This Sunday at Papouli’s Greek Grill we will think of our grandfather, father and the many men who have shaped and enriched our lives. Papou is greek for grandfather and papou Nick was a wonderful man and it is his photo you see in our logo.  We want to wish all you dads and papou’s a Happy Father’s day.

Now into the kitchen to make some sweet easy desserts for dad. This first recipe I found is from the Huffington Post, by Suzy Strutner.  She calls it the Laziest Ice Cream Cake ever requires only 2 ingredients and 3 steps. Take a look and enjoy.

Sometimes, one scoop simply will not do, and you need a WHOLE CAKE of ice cream.

And it turns out the easiest ice cream cake you’ll ever make is a take on the classic ice cream sandwich trick. But instead of slicing up teeny pints of ice cream, this epic recipe uses a whole damn carton… because why not?

To start, you’ll need a frozen carton of vanilla ice cream, a package of Oreos, crushed, and a sharp, serrated knife. Then…

Step 1: Cut one third of the ice cream container into a round slab, and peel away the carton from the edges.

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Step 2: Sprinkle crushed Oreos on top.

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Step 3: Repeat steps one and two until you’ve layered the entire cake, and freeze until solid.

Mmm, lazy ice cream bliss.

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If you’re an ice cream perfectionist, shave the ice cream layers as you go so the cake stands perfectly straight. If not, then that’s (literally) cool, too. Top your creation with chocolate syrup if desired.

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My other find is called Brownie Split by Krystal

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I love a great banana split in the summertime as it is cool and refreshing on a hot summer day. Sometimes ice cream isn’t easy to transport or keep out on those hot days!  So here is a perfect banana split alternative dessert to take to those many BBQ’s and pot luck parties you will be attending this summer.  It’s the perfect twist on your classic banana split!  Best of all it’s easy to transport and won’t melt as quickly as your ice cream.

Brownie split dessert

You will need your favorite brownie mix, banana pudding mix, bananas, whip topping and strawberries.  First make your brownies according to package directions.  Let your brownies cool.  Then make banana pudding according to package directions.  Pour pudding on top of brownies and spread out evenly over brownies. Slice 2 bananas over top of pudding.  Spread whip topping over pudding and bananas.  Top with sliced strawberries as desired.  Slice into squares and serve.

Brownie split making

 Happy Cooking!

Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

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June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month (ABAM) and our journey for a healthy lifestyle begins with a single step. Making that step to attend a yoga class three times a week. Eating a Mediterranean diet, rich in produce, olive oil and fish. Go outside, walk your block,  enjoy your neighbors and take that first step to building your healthy lifestyle.

Join us and Take the Purple Pledge! Commit to raising awareness in June for Alzheimer’s Brain Awareness Month.

* Turn your Facebook profile Purple

* Invite your friends and family to join you in the pledge

* Wear purple between now and Sunday, June 21, The Longest Day 

The End of Alzheimer’s Starts with You!

Summertime and Hamburgers

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National hamburger day was May 28,  but you can stop by all summer long and enjoy our fresh lamb burger or our good’ol traditional burger.

Tasting Table offered tips on how to make the perfect burger. Recommending a cast iron skillet,  a cold bowl when mixing meat and a metal spatula were a  few suggestions to getting you on your way.  Below you will find a recipe to try at home or if the cook is tired you can always join us.

TT Burger with Macerated Onions and Secret Sauce

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 4 burgers

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  7 minutes
Total Time:  37 minutes

    • INGREDIENTS

For the Sauce: 

⅓ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon finely chopped bread-and-butter pickles

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

⅛ teaspoon sweet paprika

For the Burger:

8 ounces ground beef chuck

8 ounces ground beef short rib

8 ounces ground sirloin

½ red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup vegetable oil

4 thick slices aged white cheddar

4 burger buns, toasted

Bibb lettuce

4 thick slices beefsteak tomato

DIRECTIONS1. Make the sauce: In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until combined. Put the sauce in the refrigerator until ready to use.

2. Make the burger: In a large mixing bowl, carefully break the chuck, sirloin and short rib apart using your hands. Gently toss together all three cuts to create a blend. Transfer the meat to a plastic cutting board and divide into 4 equal portions, about 6 ounces each. To form patties, take one portion and gently pat the meat flat using the palm of your hand until the patty is ¾-inch thick. Cup the patty using the interior of your hand between your index finger and thumb without lifting the patty from the cutting board. Using your other thumb, make a small imprint in the center of the patty. Repeat with the remaining patties and transfer them to refrigerator to chill, about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine the onions and vinegar. Season with salt and allow the onions to macerate until they have softened, about 15 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it’s hot. Season the patties aggressively with salt and pepper and transfer to the skillet and cook until lightly charred, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a metal spatula, flip the patties and cook for an additional 2 minutes for medium-rare, then place a cheese slice on each patty. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the cheese has melted, about 1 minute. Transfer the patties to a cutting board and let them rest for a few minutes so that the juices can redistribute.

5. To serve the burger, generously spread sauce on both sides of the burger bun. Place the burger meat on the bottom bun, then top with the macerated onions, lettuce, tomato and bun top. Repeat with the remaining burgers and serve.

¡Por Vida! Papouli’s Greek Grill and San Antonio

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Stop by and try our latest ¡Por Vida! plate featuring chicken and shrimp skewers with a traditional village salad, fresh fruit and cucumbers. Our ¡Por Vida! kid’s menu  offers fresh fruit, vegetables, non fried options, and low-fat milk or water.

¡Por Vida! is a restaurant recognition program that helps adults and children make healthier food choices by identifying those menu items that meet nutritional guidelines developed by the Healthy Restaurants Coalition. When you choose “¡Por Vida!”, you make a better choice “For Life”!

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