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The first month of the new year is over and I still don't feel like I have a handle on healthy eating. It was one of my goals for the year! I eat far too much junk and when I sit down for a meal, it's a little more decadent than it should be for me to lose the ten pounds I gained since last summer.

I thought I'd make a list of some of my favorite Greek foods I plan to eat to slim things down a bit.

Greek Salad

Starting with the basics, a Greek salad is a combination of sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, green bell peppers, red onion, olives, and feta cheese, typically seasoned with salt and oregano and dressed with olive oil. It’s a dish packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-rich vegetables.

Horta and Hortopita

Hortopita, or wild greens pie, is a savory dish filled with a variety of nutritious greens like spinach, kale, chard, and dandelion greens. I can dial back on the cheese to make it healthier.

I also love Horta, or boiled greens. maybe I can steam it instead of boil and then use less olive oil than I normally would have.


Traditionally served in pita bread with tzatziki, souvlaki can be made with chicken, pork, or lamb skewers, and they’re often grilled. High in protein and light on carbs, it’s perfect for a post-workout meal. As far as meat dishes goes, this one is on the lighter side and I can primarily choose chicken to trim things down a bit.
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Yes to all these - I have been craving Horta like mad - mostly spinach but I try to mix it up. Greek salad - I don't seem to want this year. I only seem to want it in the summer. I have been enjoying cabbage salad and stuff like that lately. Lots of soups for me, too.

What are 5 ingredients of Greek cuisine you can't live without?

I am working on stocking a better pantry for cooking Greek foods, but I thought I'd do something fun.

I would love it if you could share with me your top five staple ingredients for Greek cuisine and maybe a little but about why.

I am going to share mine to get things started:

1. Feta Cheese - Of course! Greek food wouldn't be the same.
2. Phyllo - I have learned that I won't make my own, so I have to keep it on hand.
3. Greek olive oil - I should have put this first! I can't live without olive oil lol
4. Greek oregano - I bring a bunch back from Greece or order it online when I run out. Nothing beats it!
5. Greek olives - I like to keep 2-3 different types on hand - I get these from a local Greek store.

What are your choices?


Learning about Greek wines

Greek wines offer a window into the country's rich traditions. I have been taking the time to learn more about it lately!

Greek wine history dates back over 4,000 years, intertwined with myths and traditions where wine was celebrated as a gift from the gods. Today, Greece's unique climate, diverse soils, and indigenous grape varieties contribute to the production of wines with distinct character and quality.

Indigenous Varieties to Know:
  1. Assyrtiko: Originally from Santorini, this white grape is all about minerality, crisp acidity, and lemony flavors, making it a perfect companion for seafood.
  2. Agiorgitiko: One of the most important red varieties, primarily grown in the Peloponnese. It produces wines ranging from soft and fruity to full-bodied and age-worthy.
  3. Xinomavro: Often referred to as the "Barolo of Greece," this red grape from Northern Greece offers complex aromas and a strong tannic presence, ideal for aging.
  4. Moschofilero: A highly aromatic white variety, yielding wines that are fresh and floral with lively acidity, hailing from the cool-climate region of Mantinia.
  5. Retsina: While not a grape variety, no discussion on Greek wine can be complete without mentioning Retsina, a traditional white or rosé wine flavored with pine resin. A contemporary approach to Retsina has given it a much-needed makeover, making it an intriguing option worth revisiting.

Did I miss any wines? I am guessing I did...


Different Types of Feta Cheese?

Whenever I buy feta cheese from different places, it tastes slightly different. Does anyone know why? I know that there are specific rules for creating feta cheese, so what is responsible for his differential in flavor and texture?

Is it possible that a place (for example a restaurant) may not actually be buying "Greek" feta? Meaning, could it be a situation where they aren't following the rules and are making a feta-like cheese using different milks, etc? Perhaps it isn't from Greece?

I truly only like Greek feta as far as I know. How can the other places call it feta if they're not following the rules?


Corn Dishes from Greece

I noticed in Greece while I was there last that there is actually corn! Does it grow in Greece? I think I read somewhere that it grows in Northern Greece, but I have never been.

Does anyone know if there are some Greek traditional dishes that involve corn? I know that we can get street corn in the summer (and it's delicious), but I am not sure what Greeks would actually do with it. I am pretty sure it's not native to Greece, but I do see corn sometimes here and there on menus while in Greece.

Usually I am on the mainland when this happens, but like I said, I have never been to Northern Greece.

Cooking Greek Style Octopus

One of the things I like about Greek cuisine is the octopus! It's so tender and flavorful. I get it a lot when I am in Greece and only a few times in the United States. I want to learn how to do that. In particular I want to know:
  • Choosing the Right Octopus: What should I look for when buying octopus? Are there any specific types or sizes that work best?
  • Tenderizing Process: I’ve heard that tenderizing the octopus is crucial. What methods do you recommend? I’ve heard of everything from beating it to simmering it in a pot. What works best?
  • Cooking Techniques: Should I grill it, bake it, or cook it in a stew? I'm aiming for something that's traditionally Greek.
  • Marination and Seasonings: What are the best herbs, spices, or marination techniques to use? I know olive oil and lemon are staples, but are there any other must-have seasonings?
Any advice you can give is welcome!
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