All posts filed under: lifestyle tips

20 Beaches of Greece

Let me help narrow the field of amazing Greek beaches to relish. With a coastline of 8,498 miles, Greece challenges tourists and locals alike. In a good way! For every new beach found, another discovery awaits. Whether your mood is mellow or high energy, whether you prefer to lie on pebbles or sink your toes in the sand—you’ll find your perfect beach experience on either the mainland or one of the numerous islands. I’m happy to provide a short list of can’t-miss beaches that my dear Instagram followers assure me are THE BEST. Because I have not combed every single Greek beach, you’ll have to take their enthusiastic words for it. On Instagram, I simply posted a picture with the instructions to leave a comment with a name of their favorite beach in Greece with a short why. The endorsements below came from local Greeks in Greece, as well as Greeks living in America, Australia, South Africa, Trinidad and the UK. The results cover nearly every corner of Greece and range from beaches that cater …

5 Favorite Beaches in Crete

Greece’s largest island, Crete, provides hundreds of beautiful beaches that draws crowds in the summer months. Below are just five of my favorites, plus some extra suggestions for you to check out on your next visit to Crete. Do you have a favorite? Please comment and share 🙂 Falassarna Beach: I’ve taken some of my best photos on Falassarna, catching shots of the big waves and vibrant skies. My favorite beach in all of Crete, Falassarna stretches far along the coast and makes an especially nice spot for sunset lovers since the beach faces west. There’s no need for an Instagram filter or Photoshop, the natural beauty of Falassarna does all the work. Elafonisi: The early bird gets the worm, or better, a sunbed to lie on at the always-crowded Elafonisi beach. Don’t let the crowds deter you, though. Elafonisi is one of the most sought-out beaches in the world for good reason: the pretty pink sand contrasts brilliantly with the tranquil turquoise water. Talk about paradise! Do visit, but be diligent in picking up …

5 Things to do in Crete

Of the thousands of Greek islands, one holds a very special place in my heart—Crete. With sandy shores, rugged terrain, bustling nightlife, ancient treasures, and world-renowned gastronomy, Crete is a feast for the senses. Everyone agrees Greek hospitality rates a ten on a scale of ten. However, Cretan hospitality rates a 20. Cretans robustly share their traditions with friends and strangers over endless drinks and abundant food, providing an experience like nowhere else in the world. But that’s only half of it. My Greek roots span much of mainland Greece, but my Cretan roots are what I am most proud of. My yiayia and other Cretan women have taught me the most about cooking, and I’ve danced in Cretan groups my whole life. Whenever I step foot on Cretan soil, a feeling of pride and excitement rushes through me. Crete is the largest and most populated island in Greece, making it impossible to get the full feel of Crete in anything less than one week or just one trip. But let’s try. Let’s pack our …

Importance of Parea

“Back in Greece, your circle of friends grows larger and larger as you go through life. In America, the circle mostly shrinks or stays the same size.” “Why do you think that is?” “Time. Nobody has time here. It seems that every time you make a new friend, another friend has grown too busy or moved away.” This quote from the “Humans of New York” Facebook page struck me when I first read it a few years ago. Humans of New York (HONY for short) catalogues New Yorkers in candid photos and quotes, and has since branched out to capture the stories of humans across the globe. Theirs is a view of the world captured by different eyes. While I read HONY posts almost daily, this particular thought caught at my heart. And here I am years later telling you why. Friendships should not dwindle as we go through life. This is backwards, America. We need our friends. We need our parea. I think of parea as a posse of friends that enriches my quality …

Talking Greek Food and Festival on KUTV

I am excited to share I was asked to talk about the upcoming Salt Lake City Greek Festival on KUTV2 while cooking one of my favorite Greek dishes, Bouyiordi. I was interviewed by KUTV’s Fresh Living Hosts, and later cooked alongside Chef Bryan Woolley, an American celebrity chef. Find more of his wonderful recipes at: http://cookingwithchefbryan.com/ Find the video of us cooking here: https://kutv.com/features/food/recipes/cooking-with-chef-bryan-bouyiourdi-spiced-baked-feta For those in Utah, stop by the Greek Festival happening Sept. 7-9. Info here: http://saltlakegreekfestival.com/

Cretan Cooking Class

Who would’ve known a Cretan cooking class spent stuffing farm fresh tomatoes and rolling thick Cretan dough would make for one of my favorite nights ever spent in Greece? I knew it would be fun—but not “so fun that I had to write about it fun.” Best of all, the 20 fellow travelers with me would agree it was the highlight of our trip to Greece. Our day started bright and early at our hotel in Heraklion, Crete. After quickly scarfing down the typical continental breakfast, we boarded a large charter bus and began our trek to Chania. Along the way, we made a pit stop in my family’s home village of Gavalachori. At the Aposperitis taverna (which is directly opposite of the house my great-grandfather was born) we were treated to a light snack of traditional Cretan fare, including kalitsounia, kolokithokeftedes, dakos, kefalotyri cheese, grapes, olives, and of course the two Cretan favorites of all time—snails barbonitsa washed down with delicious Cretan tsikoudia. Soon we were on the road again to our next destination, …

My Big Fat Greek Exit

You’ve known me as “My Big Fat Greek Fanny” for over a year now, and I have appreciated all of the amazing support on my blog, Instagram, and Facebook (mostly from my Yiayia, the Facebook queen). I started “My Big Fat Greek Fanny” with the purpose of teaching people—especially Greeks—how to live a healthier and more balanced life in and out of the kitchen. I’ve shared many of my favorite Greek recipes, discussed the benefits of walking and other fitness tips, and I have even gotten personal about my life with an open letter about the importance of philautia (self-love). Now it’s time the “fanny” moved on. I promise it’s not you—it’s me. I’m Eleni Saltas. I’m a Greek girl with a flair for life, food, and fitness, and I want to fully embody that under my own name rather than a spin off of someone else’s effort. Follow along as I share even more Greek recipes, provide sustainable fitness tips and programs suitable for anyone, and begin a new writing series intended for women …

Philautia (Self Love)

Dear younger self, Life hasn’t always been easy for you but not because life is hard (though it sometimes is). It’s because you are hard on yourself, and you are your own biggest critic. You strive for perfection and have yet to realize life is full of beautiful imperfections. You’re 16 and want to be just like everyone else. As I peer into the past, I have so many things I want to tell you. I want to tell you to put that hair straightener down and let your thick Greek curls run wild. So what if the other girls in school all have straight hair? Your curls make you unique. I want to tell you that what you wear doesn’t matter and to quit begging your parents for name-brand jeans. When you graduate from college, you’ll work at a gym where you get to show up in sweats every day—so spend your money on something more valuable, like traveling. Oh, how much you’ll get to travel in your life! Every road trip you go …

Tsai Tou Vounou (Greek Mountain Tea)

While most people associate the act of tea drinking as sophisticated and paired with crumpets, I link it with being sick. In my family, it just takes one sniffle or a lousy cough for a pot of tea to begin brewing. Thankfully I was rarely the sick one but I definitely mastered the art of fake coughing to get myself a cup of tea here and there. We drink TSAI TOU VOUNOU (Greek mountain tea) in our home. Tsai tou vounou comes from the Sideritis plant that grows high in Greece’s rocky mountains. Sideritis (ironwort) comes from the Greek word σίδηρος (sithiros) which translates to “he who is made of or has iron.” Fun fact: my great grandmother was a Pappasideris. I heard she had an iron will. Tsai tou vounou, also referred to as Shepheard’s tea, offers deep health benefits that have been enjoyed throughout Greece for thousands of years. I get my Greek mountain tea from Crete, where it is called malotira. Named by the Venetians in Crete, it translates to “drive out …

Mile 22

It started off great. Adrenaline rushing through my body, my music playlist blasting one motivational song after another, and it was early enough that the picturesque landscape of St. George, Utah began distracting me. The colorful sunrise greeted me as my feet hit the warming pavement. Before I knew it, I was at mile 13. Ah, halfway there. I exhaled. And then—my adrenaline wore off and the pain in my knees and hips took notice. The music in my ears couldn’t drown out the heavy beating in my chest. As the hot, blazing sun replaced the crisp morning chill, the miles became longer and longer and the finish line seemed unreachable. In 490 B.C., a Greek messenger ran from the site of the Battle of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over the Persians. Pheidippides ran the entire 40 kilometers (nearly 25 miles) without stopping and exclaimed, “Vενικήκαμεν” (Nenikikamen—We are victorious!) to the gathered Athenians, then fell dead. The first modern Olympic games in Athens, in 1896, introduced the marathon as a noble test …