When I first got married, I was not a good cook.  Wait, there’s more to it than that.  I couldn’t do anything in a kitchen if it didn’t involve a microwave.  Really.  I actually set the stove on fire when I tried to boil water.  So pathetic!  17 years and 4 children later, cooking is a necessity and I have learned a ton.  I still don’t always love it, though.  Sometimes, it can be really disheartening when you get a recipe that looks good and spend a very long time preparing the meal, only to have it be ok or not good at all.  It really doesn’t even have to do with cooking skills, but the recipes are just not good.

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With that in mind, I don’t always love to be adventurous in cooking and I continue to make things that are tried and true.  But, that gets old.  I’ve been trying to branch out and try new things and the opportunity to do just that came when I received a copy of Idiot’s Guides: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Denise “DedeMed” Hazime.  Honestly, the thought of cooking Mediterranean food didn’t seem easy at all and was even a little daunting.  I took a look at the cookbook and decided the best way for me to try something new was to just do it!  I picked a couple of recipes that sounded good and went to the store for the ingredients.

I am really working at losing weight, so the great thing about this cookbook is that it promotes healthy recipes. Hopefully big on flavor and small on calorie count.  I really wanted to try to make my own hummus, as that is a snack that is tasty and healthy. There are many recipes in the cookbook for hummus, but I went with the traditional  one.  I made my own tahini paste using the recipe in the book and then created the hummus.  It looked like it should and so I tried it….wow, it was delicious!  So easy to make, not loaded with preservatives, but with very healthy, tasty ingredients.  Stepping out of my comfort zone was starting to pay off!

With that success, I decided to get more adventurous and make chicken shawarma.  My kids were excited to see what shawarma actually was since none of us had ever tried it, but Iron Man assures us it is delicious in The Avengers.  A marinade is necessary for this meal and was so easy to put together using garlic, Greek yogurt, lemons and a lot of spices.  I let this marinade sit overnight and all I had to do was cook it up on the stove the following evening for dinner.  Talk about a quick and delicious dinner!  Served on pitas and with a garlic sauce, also found in the book, this recipe is one we’ve had several times since then.  It’s so good and easy!

I love the flavors in Mediterranean cooking and, surprisingly, my kids are really liking them, as well.  I love finding recipes that all six members of our family will enjoy.  I am excited to find recipes that are actually enjoyable to create and turn out well.  It makes cooking less of a chore, for sure!

Idiot’s Guides: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook is loaded with tons of great recipes for appetizers, lunches, dinners, different meats, desserts and treats.  I am really excited to continue cooking my way through it and putting great meals on our family’s dinner table this summer when fresh veggies are in abundance.  The food is so good, it doesn’t feel like “diet” food at all, just a really healthy, delicious way to live.

I highly recommend this cookbook to anyone who wants to learn how to cook Mediterranean foods and tweak their lifestyle while they are at it.  You can pick up your own copy online at http://www.idiotsguide.com.

Just look at some of the recipes you can make using this cookbook!

 

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Baba Ganoush

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Falafel

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Pita Bread