Sweet Sweet Santorini.

Pin It I have always wanted to go there.  You know, you see that photo with the white cliff side villages, blue dome churches, with a pink sunset and a clear blue sea backdrop, and you think someday I will go there.  Well, we just got back from there....
...and it was everything I dreamed of.  
 I was a little worried it wouldn't live up to the hype, but it did.  Santorini is my Favorite. Place. Ever. (besides White Lake).

Waking up to this view is easy to get used to.  The infinity pool was right outside our small apartment's door.  Perfect for travelling with Charlie!
Yes, we took our 8 week old son, Charlie, to Greece and I am pretty sure he loved it as much as I did.  Most people thought I was crazy when I told them, but we had a surprisingly relaxing vacation and Charlie did really well.  We figure the sooner he gets used to travelling, the easier it will be, and so far we are on the right track.
Thanks to the Phil and Ted's Traveller (which packs up to the size of a carry on), Charlie was able to hang pool side in the shade while we swam and relaxed in the loungers.  The housekeeper, Saba, loved little Charlie.  Greeks love babies and we felt welcome everywhere we went.
In fact, I think travelling with Charlie made our experience more exciting, because everywhere we went locals started conversations with us.  While shopping I learned so much about Greek culture from the locals (who would have thought?).  Did you know that Greeks spit on babies to bring them good luck?  No one actually spat on Charlie... but we got so many well wishes for him to have a happy and healthy life.  Even the men love babies.

My parents joined us on the trip, which made things a lot easier.  I don't think the trip would have been nearly as relaxing had it been just the three of us.  It helped that Charlie had four people to nap on.

We spent the first few days of our vacation in Perissa at the beach (see Charlie napping on Grandpa and Dad above). He brings relaxation to another level.  If only I could be as relaxed as that guy!

On our way to Oia (where we spent most of our time), we stopped at the Santorini Brewing Company, a micro brewery which just opened up in 2011.   On our way to the brewery we were a little lost, but ran into the Crazy Donkey Van. Follow that van!
Though there is no formal tour, they are happy to show you around the brewery and give you generous tastes of each of their beers (they were out of yellow donkey when we were there - but we did get to try it at a restaurant in Oia).  We tasted the Red Donkey and Crazy Donkey and both were pretty kick ass.  I think everyone's favorite was the Crazy.  Not surprising, since we are all a bunch of crazies! We bought some extra to enjoy at our hotel. We would have brought some back to Belgium- but the beer isn't pasteurized and needs to stay cold.
Thanks to Grammy and Grampy, Paul and I were able to get out sans bebe for a hike from Fira (the capital of Santorini) to Oia (the village we were staying in).  It was about a 3 hour hike along the caldera with incredible views.  At times there was sea on both sides of us.  This walk is a must do if going to Santorini.
We spent the rest of our days lounging poolside.....
...and enjoying Greek cuisine (which I have a new appreciation for!).  Tomato Balls recipe coming soon.
 Greek salads in Greece are amazing, but the most amazingly different tasting of all is the Greek Yogurt. So creamy and delicious, add a little honey and you have dessert.  I will forever dream of that Greek Yogurt...and Santorini.

Santorini we will miss you.

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Sweet Potato Falafel Ball Salad

Pin It For those of you who love sweet potatoes and love falafels, this is for you.  This here, is the good stuff.  It's funny, because a few years ago, I don't think you could have gotten me to eat a falafel. I wasn't a big fan of chickpeas (or trying new things) in general and I was pretty afraid of hummus.  In fact, I think the only sauces I would eat were ketchup and ranch.  Oh how my world has expanded and I have fallen in love with the chickpea and all its splendor (and lots of other things, too - I am still working on seafood though).

Every time I think of Falafels I think of Paris, and if you haven't been to L'As du Fallafel, put it on the bucket list.  It is that good.... and you can visit Paris on the side (bonus!)!  Well, this salad isn't quite L'As du Fallafel,  it is a delicious and healthy alternative (or you can try my Falafel Inspired Veggie Burger).
This salad was filling and a perfect way to spice up my post-baby salad a day plan.  I realized after a few days on the "regimen", I needed a salad with some oomph, or I would be snacking on chips an hour later (kind of defeats the whole purpose, hey?).  Breastfeeding makes a gal hungry and now is not the time to go on a diet.  Eat healthy, yes, but limit myself and feel famished (small exaggeration), no.  This salad will leave you full and satisfied.
I topped mine with a homemade tzatziki, but think tahini or hummus and tzatziki combined would be even better.  Yes, top falafels with hummus.  One can never have too many chickpeas.
Eat, Enjoy and brainstorm about what to do with 3/4 head of purple cabbage or plan a trip to L'As du Fallafel.  Ideas?

Falafel Ball Salad (as adapted from My New Roots)
Makes 15 balls

3 small sweet potatoes (mine were pretty small, if you have medium size, use 2, and large, use 1)
1 jar of chickpeas
1 egg
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions
2 t cumin
Juice of half a lemon
3/4 c whole wheat bread crumbs
salt and pepper
sesame seeds (for rolling balls in)

Pierce holes in sweet potatoes with a fork.  Bake at 400 for ~30 minutes or until softened.  Let cool.  Peel and put flesh in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Mix egg and chickpeas in a blender until fairly smooth with some small bits.  Combine in mixing bowl.  Add cilantro, yellow onion, green onion, garlic, cumin, lemon juice, bread crumbs and salt and pepper.  Mix.  Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes (this will make the ball forming process easier).  Form into balls.  If it is too mushy, you can add more bread crumbs but I found 3/4 cup was sufficient.  Roll in sesame seeds.  Bake for 30 minutes at 400.  Top them on a salad.


1/2 head lettuce ( your choice)
1/4 head purple cabbage, chopped
1-2 carrots, shredded
1 red pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Top with Falafel balls and Tzatziki or Tahini Sauce.  Serve immediately.

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Blueberry Peach Salad

Pin It Well, a lot has happened since my last post, namely Charlie was born.  He graced us with his presence one week and one day late, on July 22 and nothing has been the same since!

I have been pretty much AWOL this entire pregnancy.  Hey - I was growing a human, that's some tiring work.  Then after growing him, taking care of him happened and that is even more tiring.  Now that he is nearly 6 weeks old, I have decided to get back in the saddle and do some recipe blogging again (and soon travelling- WOO HOO!).  Hopefully I can get the creative juices flowing, because during pregnancy I didn't really have any (creative juices, or energy for that matter) and ate a lot of same old, easy dishes and Domino's Pizza and cake and ice cream and chips.  So my cravings weren't the most healthy (nor energizing).  I have to add that I ate a lot of fruits and vegetables, but this was in addition to lots of junk.  Now that I lost my excuse to eat like crap -I am a pregnant lady- give me what I want NOW (which actually sounds really bad), it is time to clean up my act.

To start, I am replacing one meal per day with a salad.  We generally eat a lot of salad, but as a side dish in addition to the pasta or frozen pizza.  But, now I am cutting out that pizza or pasta, at least for one meal per day.  It's not too bold, but it's a start.  To prevent boredom, I am going to have to mix up my salad eating a lot.  No more lettuce, cuc, and tomato only salads (I will still eat them, I just won't blog about it).  It's time to experiment with some new fruits and veggies and homemade dressing concoctions.
Onto the delicious salad creation we enjoyed this afternoon with the end of the season's blueberries and peaches.

Blueberry Peach Salad

1 head red leaf lettuce
1 c blueberries
1 peach
1/2 cucumber
1-2 T pumpkin seeds
Goat Cheese (as much as you desire)

2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T Balsamic Vinegar
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 T Pure Maple Syrup
a dash of salt

Combine Viniagrette ingredients and refrigerate.  Combine salad ingredients.  Top with vinaigrette before serving.

Bon Appetit!

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