My Latest Project…

August 4, 2017

Hi everyone,

You have probably been wondering where on earth I have been the past few months. You must have thought I disappeared completely.  Don’t fret inter-web friends, I am still here.  In fact, I have been working hard on a new recipe this whole time and it goes something like this:

1 part sugar
1 part spice
1 part everything nice


So if you haven’t guessed by now, I had a baby girl. On July 9th, Jeff and I welcomed our little Magdalena Vasiliki to the world and we are head over heels in love. Isn’t that something every new parent says?  it’s so cliché but I guess it’s true.  She is so adorably squish-able.  She is so sweet…I could just eat her up, chomp! I may have nibbled on some toes already.  LOL.

Anyway, I basically have been living the past 9 months in shock and awe at my ever changing body and never ending nausea wondering what this little girl would be like.   In addition to sugar and spice and everything nice, I’m pretty sure Miss Magdalena is made of carrots,  cucumbers and raspberries…and a little bit of Swiss cheese.  That’s pretty much all I ate the whole time.

How on earth do those crazy baby apps decide that “this week, your baby is the size of a pineapple” and then the next week it’s “the size of a butternut squash”? Doesn’t that really depend on how big the actual fruit or vegetable is? Or is this an “on average” estimate? I know, I am thinking way too deeply about this baby to vegetable analogy, but come on!  Sometimes it made no sense.

Anyway, I played along with the weekly fruit/veggie game, always wondering what little Magdalena really looked like, or what she would be like.  Well there is no wondering anymore.  She is here right now and I can hardly believe this little girl is all mine.

I was also was very fortunate to have 3 very kind and generous women in my life give me the most amazing baby shower.   My koubares, Eleni, MaryAnn and Vayoula organized a very elegant and intimate baby shower at Sepia’s event space with my closest friends and family.  My favorite flowers, peonies and hydrangeas were the center pieces. The food was excellent.  At a place like Sepia how can anyone go wrong?  And of course the bonbonieres were these super cute little baby elephants with the traditional white Jordan almonds tied to them.  it was perfect.

I do think everyone was annoyed with me though because I wouldn’t tell anyone the sex of the baby.  Even my baby registration was all white and grey colored sheets, blankets and onesies.  Neutral colored car seats and play yards.  Everyone of course tried to guess…and I have to say everyone was wrong.  Something along the lines of “oh you look to pretty to be having a girl.”  Ummm, okay, thanks???  Although, if they were paying attention, they would have noticed I wore a vintage pink colored dress to the shower…hello, I gave clues all along…haha!

I am also glad to report that I did not give up on wearing heels the whole time I was pregnant.  I wore booties and sandals with adjustable laces to accommodate the random Kim K. type of swelling in my feet.  Whoa!  Thankfully, they have shrunk back down to normal.  My shoe collection is saved!

On July 29th, Jeff and I celebrated 5 years of marriage. This year, we were able to celebrate it with our little Magdalena. We walked across the street to our favorite Italian restaurant in Chicago, Monteverde and had late lunch celebrating our anniversary. Our lives will never be the same.  And we are so grateful for it.

I wonder what kind of foods Magdalena will like? Will she like being the “flour girl” and help me bake, like I helped my mom?  Or will she be all about mac and cheese?

Here is a link to my new favorite song: Me and Magdalena by the Monkees. Yes those Monkees!  It was a song written by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie.  I think it’s the most beautiful song I ever heard.

Jeff and I decided that Magdalena needs a real music education. We will need to inform her musical tastes by listening to ABBA and Cracker and the musical stylings of They Might Be Giants and of course the kiddie version of the Smiths. Did you know They Might Be Giants write children’s songs? There will be no purple dinosaurs, bizarro tele-tubbies or yo-gabba-gabba creatures in this home…sorry Magdalena =)

Anyway, dear blog readers, I hope to be back more often with new posts and recipes for you soon.  Thanks for reading.

Take care,

#linklove_wednesday on a Thursday!!!

January 26, 2017

It was my birthday last week.

Here are my favorite links for this week, January 26, 2017:

1.  For the next time you have 9 hours to let a pork roast in the oven…whoa.

2.  These Scandinavian people!  First it was hygge now it’s logom

3.  This was a total bummer!  Waaah!

4.  Well if Julia Child said so, it must be right.

5.  Reading is good for your health.

6.  Well they don’t have all the Miss Universe titles for nothing folks.

7.  Easy moules frites from BevCooks…mais oui!

8.  All the sauces you will ever need.

9.  I’m just going to put this right here…and smile.

Soda Water – A Magical Baking Secret, oh and How to Make a Lazy Girl’s Tiropita.

January 17, 2017

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about my summers in Greece. I would venture to guess it’s the experience of any person with Greek roots. You just got shipped off to grandma and grandpa for the summer and marinated like an olive on a salty Mediterranean beach. I know, terrible right? Total FWP (first world problem). It couldn’t be helped. This was our lot in life, but these times were probably the funniest, most ridiculous and most memorable times of our lives. And many of those memories are punctuated with amazing food.  

So if you are not Greek, I am almost 100% sure you probably had similar experiences as a kid, be that if you spent your summers in Michigan, catching smelts or in Romania on the Black Sea. I want to you to tell me about them in the comments below. I like to find out about my readers.

So back to summers in Greece…as a child, my uncle, who was a farmer by trade, was always up at the butt crack of dawn. As such, it was my good fortune that he was able to make it to the local bakery first thing to get me a tiropita, a cheesy, buttery, flakey little package of yum. I would wake up and find a tiropita on the kitchen table waiting for me. Man was I spoiled.

This memory has stuck with me, as my love of tiropita. But making tiropita can be such an ordeal. And there is so many different ways to make them. Some people make little triangles, which takes forever to make. You can easily spend your life making an endless army of over 100 little cheese filled phyllo triangles. And if you choose to make whole big pie, you can be sitting there stressing over the right ratio of flour, milk, butter and eggs to make a béchamel sauce. Bechamel! Come on! I don’t have time for that.

What’s a modern girl, with traditional food tastes to do?

Well stress no more folks. I have a secret. Soda water. No not to drink, although you may want to mix it with some vodka and ice to celebrate how easy this recipe is afterwards…soda water is the secret ingredient to this lazy person’s tiropita. Your friends and family will think you slaved over this dish. Made your kitchen sink a disaster of measuring cups and dirty pots. Covered your floors with flour. But no. We will not tell them that you made a “no-measure needed” recipe. We will let them believe you are a hardcore, cooking traditionalist. Ha!

So how do we make this? Here we go:
Tiropita with Soda Water


1 lb package of phyllo dough

1 stick of butter melted

8 oz feta cheese, crumbled

8 oz kefalotiri, grated

6 oz gruyere cheese, grated

6 oz emmanthaler, grated

6 eggs

1 can of soda water, 12oz.



Start with prepping your cheeses, crumbled your block of feta, grate the other cheeses. Too much work you say? Get your kids to do it. Enlist a friend to help you grate. This will be done in less than 10 minutes together.

Now, if you can’t find kefalotiri, add more gruyere or emmathanler. Just don’t stress, any combination and ratio of cheese will work. I like a mix because they do different things, feta is tangy, kefalotiri is salty, gruyere is creamy, and emmathanler which is basically Swiss cheese, is mild but savory. But doesn’t it sound fancier as Emmanthaler, so say that instead! So gourmet! When your cheeses are ready, melt your butter and set aside.  

Next, unpackage your phyllo dough carefully and place a wet paper towel over it to keep moist and prevent it from drying out as you work. I use a 12 inch round aluminum pan, but you can use a 9×13 inch rectangle also…whatever works kids, this is easy, no stress tiropita.

Begin by brushing melted butter all over your pan and lay down your first piece of phyllo dough. Brush butter on that layer and add the next. Keep doing this, butter, phyllo, butter, phyllo, until you have 6 layers. Then scatter half the grated and crumbled cheeses your prepared earlier over the phyllo dough. Salt and pepper lightly. Repeat the butter, phyllo layers 6 more times. Add the last half of your cheese combination, salt and pepper again and top with the final 6 layers of phyllo dough and buttered layers. It’s important to butter each sheet of phyllo dough. This will ensure a nice flakey crust. Don’t cry to me about butter. Life is too short. It’s good for you. Julia Child once said, “With enough butter, anything is good.”

Next, trim the excess pieces of phyllo dough that are hanging over your pan. You can also choose to fold them under the pie, but why? LOL. In the end you are trying to minimize the excess dough. Then score your cheese pie with a knife into even serving sized pieces.

Finally, I reveal the secret. Beat 6 eggs and add a can of soda water to them. Pour this concoction over your tiropita. Yes! Just do it. Let it soak in, in between the layers everywhere and then bake at 375 for about 50-55 minutes.

Your pie will puff up, brown nicely and amaze you. Trust me, this is the easiest cheese pie you ever made. I am not sure how this magic works, but somehow the soda water and eggs transforms the phyllo dough and the cheesy layers into something amazing that reminds me of those mornings in Greece when I had a bakery tiropita from the village.  




Happy New Year!!!

December 31, 2016

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for reading my blog this year!  I can wait to bring you new topics and recipes in 2017.

Happy New Year!



P.S.  The recipe for the Vasilopita in the picture below can found here.  Enjoy!