Archive for February 21st, 2007

My uncle, Triantafyllos

The “American Idol” show entered its final rounds last night, and it was considerably funny than the qualifications round. I thought that the best male performance was from Blake Lewis (he only had two wrong pitches in the whole song). Despite his very good performance, he didn’t get the props from Simon Cowell.

This reminded me of my uncle in Greece, Triantafyllos (married to my mother’s sister). He is a goat shepherd. He has always been a sensitive person, mostly shown by his animal loving (an alien concept in the mountain village we are from). And it also shows from the hobby he developed in the late ’70s: singing. He was never tutored, he is just a natural talent.

In the early ’80s there was a music TV show competition in Greece that was sweeping the ratings, just like “American Idol” does today, 25 years later. The show was called “Na i Eukairia” (”here’s the chance”). Some very popular Greek singers have been found by this show. So, my uncle Triantafyllos, decided to go for it, in 1981. He took the bus to Athens (an 8 hour drive back then), went there, and he sang a traditional clarino-music song. Unfortunately, bouzouki-music was more popular with the kind of viewers the show had, and so my uncle got the rundown from one of the judges, Rozita Sokou. Needless to say, he hated her since then.

My uncle started singing in some local village celebrations in the ’80s. He never left herding as his main profession, but 2-3 times per year he would go sing to villages close by — just for the fun of it. However, I am pretty sure that if he had had a more positive-sounding judging, he might have pursued singing professionally.

Similarly, I think that Blake Lewis is an amazing talent, and although maybe a bit raw right now, he would easier make it in the show business if Simon was not too overly negative with him. I love Simon’s honesty, but sometimes he’s just wrong. Psychology matters.

Diet Recipe: Egg & ham breakfast

When on a low-calorie diet I usually skip breakfast. But this morning I woke up early so I had to have something to keep me on my feet. Here’s a low-calorie breakfast meal, at just 105 calories.

Ingredients (for 1)
* 1/2 cup of EggBeaters (60 cals)
* 30 gr of Farmer John’s fat-free smoked ham (31 cals)
* 45 ml of Light Original soya milk or other fat free milk (10 cals)
* 1 small onion (2 cals)
* A bit of green, red, orange peppers (2 cals)
* Pepper to taste

Execution
1. Cut the onion, peppers and ham in small pieces.
2. In a very small frying pan place the above ingredients and let them cook for 2-3 minutes under medium heat. Stir occasionally.
3. Lightly beat the egg and the milk until they become one in a bowl. Sprinkle with pepper.
4. Add the mixture on top of the currently-frying ingredients and let it cook for a few minutes.
5. If you like the scrambled eggs look (like in my picture) stir the ingredients constantly using a wooden fork, or leave untouched and only turn it once if you like the omelet look. Serve hot.

egg breakfast

Best damn light milk ever tasted

Being on a diet again means that I have to be on the look out for low-calorie foods again. It kinda sucks but what can you do, right?

One of the foods that I was running dangerously low during my previous diet was milk. The fat free cow milk has 90 calories per serving and it tastes like white water. It’s just not good. Don’t get me wrong, I love cow’s milk but the fat free version leaves a lot to be desired in terms of taste.

I had tasted a number of soy milk products in the past but I was never a big fan. They don’t taste as good as real milk. Moreover, their calorie count is at least as much as the cow’s milk.

Now, I am really happy to have found a truly low-cal soy milk (50 cals) that I can actually use during my diet. Not only that, but it’s actually delicious, thick/rich enough, and it has a longer expiration date than fresh cow’s milk (2 months instead of 10 days). The brand is called 8th Continent and the product is the “Light Original” and I found it at the ‘Target’ superstore. I believe that it’s the best choice for milk substitute if you are on a diet.

I don’t work for them btw. :-D