Christine’s Plan for Greek Easter During Quarantine

April 15, 2020

I look forward to Greek Easter every year. Greek Easter is usually celebrated on or after Catholic Easter. This year, Easter is April 19, so in case anyone celebrated on April 12 and wants to have two fun celebrations, get your whisk and grill ready as I share some foodie favorites on what to make for your Greek bonanza.

Like any traditional holiday, Greek Easter is about three things (with the obvious exception of religion):  family, food, and fun! I grew up going to a Macedonian Park in Calistoga every year for Easter. The entire family (all 40 of us) would rent a long picnic table and bring different Greek dishes to share. The best way to eat Greek food is family-style. While this year I will miss the smell of lamb cooking on the BBQ, a live Greek band in the background, and Greek dancing snaking throughout the park, I hope to recreate a similar ambiance at home with my favorite dishes, Spotify, and FaceTime.

Here are some Greek classics for you to enjoy!

  1. Paidakia (Greek style lamb chops)
  2. Spanakopita (spinach pie)
  3. Bizelosalata (pea and feta salad)
  4. Tsoureki (sweet Easter bread)
  5. Koulourakia (cookies)

Leila’s Favorite Outdoor Activities for Children

April 6, 2020

If you are like me and have younger children with endless amounts of creative energy, then try some of these easy outdoor activities– best part: they can all be done from the comfort of your own backyard! These three have been our go-tos and should guarantee some fresh air, Vitamin D (if the sun comes back out!) and happy children!  -Leila

  1. Scavenger Hunt: Pick any 10-15 items in your backyard and write a list (for example: flower, bird, ant). For younger children, add a drawing! If you aren’t the artistic type, check out this link to get you started:  Backyard Scavenger Hunt Ideas

  2. Obstacle Course: Create an outdoor obstacle course using chairs, outdoor toys, balls, and pretty much anything else you can find in your garage or shed. It doesn’t need to be American Ninja Style to be fun – check out this Dad’s easy homemade course!

  3. Bug Jar: My 4 year old son loves bugs, so much so that we have created a small bug collection in our home. Our favorite has been “Greeny” the caterpillar! He lives in a wide-mouth mason jar with lots of sticks and fresh leaves. If you try it at home, ensure ventilation and a fresh batch of leaves each day. It’s a great lesson on metamorphosis!

Staying Fit At Home with Tess

April 2, 2020

As a Mama to two toddlers & a full time realtor, hitting the gym has been low on my priority list this past year. The silver lining of Shelter in Place has been a renewed focus on my own health. Nothing feels more important than staying strong, flexible, and agile during this strange time. Below are a handful of sites that have made an enormous difference to my mental and physical wellbeing these past few weeks. Hope these resources bring the same joy to you! Tess

  1. Peloton – Strength, Yoga, Cycling, Outdoor Runs, Choreographed Dancing, Meditation & more. My Peloton App has been my main go-to for at-home strength work-outs and stretches post-walks.  Try the Peloton App for 90 days for free
  2. Pure Barre – Small movement with big results. My personal favorite of the barre classes.  My first class at the Burlingame Studio literally left my abs and legs sore for four days.  Enjoy the 7 day trial; try out their on demand classes with a multitude of options for lengths of classes. 
  3. Nandi Yoga – My favorite local yoga studio in San Mateo is offering 35 live streaming classes per week. The easiest way to join a class is to go to their website, www.nandiyoga.com and click the “Join an Online Class” button 5-10 minutes before a class is scheduled to start – you will be added to the live stream. Namaste baby!!! 
  4. ClassPass  – Over 2,000 on demand classes for you to try! Great way to sample a myriad of workouts.  Download the ClassPass app today and enjoy a 30 day trial. 

Pro Tip: If you are having any pain, it could be due to your shoes being old or not the right fit for your body.  A Runner’s Mind in Burlingame is offering virtual gait analysis as well as curbside pickup or delivery of shoes. Support your local businesses and stay healthy!!!! 

 

Casey’s Favorite Books to Enjoy at Home!

March 30, 2020

  1. Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid: This book is so immersive you will not be able to put it down and you will be googling the band and wondering why you never heard of them. This fiction is so believable you will believe it is non-fiction.

    “Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.”

  2. Crazy Rich Asian Series, Kevin Kwan: These are easy, fun reads that will certainly have you laughing out loud and enjoying our time at home during shelter in place.

    Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny series about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs within them.”

  3. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett: This is a book you will want to read a second time. The characters and the story stay with you. Beautifully written.

    “A world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.”

  4. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah: 

    “The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.”

  5. The Charm Bracelet, Viola Shipman: A wonderful recommendation from my Aunt Terry.  This book will have you laughing, crying and hugging (or zooming) those you love to let them know how important they are.

    “Through an heirloom charm bracelet, three women will rediscover the importance of family and a passion for living as each charm changes their lives.”

  6. Girl, Wash your Face, Rachel Hollis: If you are a working mom this will resonate with you deeply.  You can read it in small bites and you will be hooked!

    “With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.”

  7. Bad Blood, John Carreyrou: I listened to this book on Audible.  I really enjoyed the reader and the story is fascinating.  How one person could lie so easily blows my mind.  

    “Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.  Elizabeth was a complete and utter fraud.”

  8. Becoming, Michelle Obama: I recommend listening to this… you will not be dissapointed, Michelle reads her own book.  Hearing her voice share her story is truly incredible.

    “In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.”

  9. Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss: This book had incredible gems.  Whether you are negotiating a major deal for work or a later bedtime with your 7 year old, his strategies will help you succeed and make the other side feel like they did too.

    “Chris was the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues to succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counter-intuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.”

  10. Living with a Seal, Jesse Itzler: More than anything, after reading this book I was left pondering what parts of my life are on autopilot and how I can spice them up.  A fun and easy book that will leave you feeling introspective.

    When Jesse felt himself drifting on autopilot, he hired a rather unconventional trainer to live with him for a month-an accomplished Navy SEAL widely considered to be ‘the toughest man on the planet’”

What Casey’s Cooking During Quarantine

March 25, 2020

What Casey’s Cooking During Quarantine – 10 Trusted Recipes!!!

I absolutely love to cook. It brings me joy to set a beautiful table, cook a yummy meal and serve those I care for deeply. These days I am cooking more regularly, like every single night. I find that with all the unknowns in our days, I am looking forward to the evening food preparation.  A chance to do something normal, sit down together and talk. I hope that these recipes make your evenings easier. Share your favorite recipe below!

  1. Winter Minestrone: This soup is one of my favorites.  It is hearty and delicious! She puree’s ½ a can of beans to give it a creamy texture.  https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/winter-minestrone-recipe-1942096
  2. Contessa’s Roast Chicken: This is actually a weeknight staple for the Sternsmith Family.  Steam some broccoli and you have a perfect meal. https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/skillet-roasted-lemon-chicken
  3. Lentil Soup.  I always thought I hated lentil soup and then I made this one.  I used French green lentils and have been eating it for lunch daily during quarantine.   https://cookieandkate.com/best-lentil-soup-recipe/comment-page-10/
  4. Vegetarian Chili: A truly yummy chili and amazing vegetarian option.  I made a small topping bar with all her suggestions and it was a hit! https://cookieandkate.com/vegetarian-chili-recipe/
  5. Paleo Chili: This recipe is done in the instant pot and could not be easier.  It is yummy and healthy. It calls for ground beef, but ground turkey or beyond burger are fabulous alternatives. https://www.wellplated.com/paleo-chili/
  6. Best Banana Cake – Thank you, Ina! When you purchase too many bananas and have 2-3 overripe sitting on the counter, you have the ideal solution.  We make this with Cup4Cup flour so that Ben (gluten free hubby) can enjoy also. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/old-fashioned-banana-cake-recipe-2102260
  7. Waffles: Breakfast is a thing in our house.  I believe in hot breakfast and waffles are a favorite.  Why should they just be for weekends? I make a big batch of batter and make these a few times a week. It takes as long to put it in my waffle maker as toasting an Eggo. If you are gluten free, no problem, just use Cup4Cup flour.  https://www.food.com/recipe/better-homes-and-gardens-waffles-378320 
  8. Bacon Zucchini Fritters: This side is totally decadent, and the kids will love them too! https://www.paleorunningmomma.com/bacon-zucchini-fritters-paleo-whole30/
  9. Greek Salad: We love a good Greek salad.  Add canned artichoke hearts and romaine lettuce for a big salad meal! https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/greek-salad-recipe-1948517
  10. Lamb Chops: If you want the perfect protein with the Greek salad, add in Ina’s lamb chops.  Set them in the marinade the night before and they only take a few minutes to grill. https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/rack-of-lamb