Tag Archives: recipe

Power in a small package

We always have a bowl of olives at the table, be it lunch or dinner. It’s a starter, an end to a meal, or just the pleasure of savoring the olives of the season.

Experts recommend taking 7 olives a day. In our house 7 is just not enough! My daughter alone can eat 20 in one sitting if i don’t stop her!


-Olives contain a natural chemical that reduces stress in the brain. Eating a daily serving of olives improves memory by 25% according to a research from the University of Massachusetts.

-They are rich in iron, which helps in the rise of hemoglobin in the blood.

-Olives, like olive oil, contain oleic acid which keeps skin soft and healthy, and improves the appearance of wrinkles by 20%.

-Olives contain vitamin E, an excellent antioxidant for skin health.

-Olives have a high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, making them an ideal food for the prevention of cardiovascular disease by decreasing cholesterol levels in the body.

-The combination of monounsaturated fat and vitamin E make olives a great health benefit;they help in preventing the risk of colon cancer.

Both black and green olives can complement almost anything; salads, pasta, chicken, cheese, pizza, dips, appetizers, Greek yogurt…

This is a salad that i love, and have whenever i can: Wild Thyme Salad

(If you can’t find wild thyme in the grocery stores or at the local farmer’s market, try it instead with wide leaf origano, since they are from the same family.)

-1 bunch of wild thyme

-4 green onions finely chopped

-10 green olives cut in half

-Juice of 1/2 a lemon

-olive oil, salt and pepper.

Rinse and dry the thyme. Pick the leaves and place in a plate. Add the chopped green onions and the olives. Mix with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

We usually eat this salad with pita bread. Enjoy

*image via pinterest

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Zaatar Crepes

I know i promised every week a recipe from “the lady who knew everything”, but this week i am going to share a recipe from my cousin’s husband, a sweet sweet man with a love and knowledge of gourmet food. He seems to always be in the kitchen when he is not working, and comes up with delicious dishes for his family and friends.

This week i had the pleasure to spend some time with them, having coffee in the sun on their balcony, their adorable dog running from one person to the other, their two kids playing nearby and the amazing scent of the Zaatar Crepes sifting through the house…

Wasn't smart enough to take a picture of the actual crepe! You will have to make do with this!!

Wasn’t smart enough to take a picture of the actual crepe! You will have to make do with this!!

For those of you who don’t know what Zaatar is you can read all about it in my post here .


For 1 cup of milk, add

-5 tablespoons of flour

-1 egg

-5 teaspoons of zaatar

-a little olive oil

Mix everything and make crepes as usual. Before removing from pan, add a slice of cheese (swiss, camembert, anything that melts), fold the crepe and serve.


*image via pinterest



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Basil pesto sauce recipe from an old Mediterranean aunt

Since i’m visiting my parents, i took the occasion and started rummaging through my mother’s cooking books (which are all over the place!). I was very happy when i found a booklet written by an old friend of my mom’s who was an amazing cook and gardener, a booklet where she wrote all of her famous recipes, using ingredients mostly from her garden. She was one of the first people my mother met when she arrived to this country, and she learned a lot from her. (She used to call her the woman who knew everything!)

Today we had pasta for lunch with a delicious pesto sauce, and i’m going to share the recipe with you.


Basil pesto:

3 cups basil leaves(chopped)

1/2 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts

1/2 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic

salt and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

In a blender or food processor, puree basil and nuts. Add garlic, oil and Parmesan, and process till well blended and desired consistency is reached.

Place in a container, add some olive oil on top and cover. This keeps well in the refrigerator up to two weeks. It freezes well too.

(You can replace the basil with parsley for parsley pesto)

Keep tuned for more recipes each week from “the lady who knew everything”..

*image via ivory-coastlines.tumblr

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Why add yogurt to your diet

Yogurt has been part of the Middle Eastern diet as early as 2000 BC. Back home we eat a lot of yogurt, and by yogurt i mean the plain kind; for breakfast, with some foods at lunch time, at dinner and even as a snack with some honey.


-Yogurt is a rich source of calcium, a mineral that contributes to colon health and decreases the risk of colon cancer. People who have diets high in calcium (like the Scandinavian countries) have lower rates of colorectoral cancer.

-Yogurt can boost immunity; the bacterial cultures in yogurt have been shown to stimulate infection-fighting white cells in the blood.

-For children, its is a most balanced source of protein, fats, carbohydrates and minerals.

-Yogurt, because it contains less lactose than milk, is good for healing intestines and is a “healing food” for diarrhea.

-The probiotics (beneficial bacteria) in some yogurts balance the microflora in your gut, and aids with digestion.

activia-vanillaThis is one of my favorite probiotic yogurt, i have it everyday with some fruits and chia seeds, tastes great!

-Yogurt is good for lowering the risk of blood pressure.

For the face: it gently exfoliates the top layers of the epidermis, which can clear up blemishes and discolorations and may even reduce fine wrinkles. My mom used plain yogurt on my brother’s face when he came back from skiing once, and had his whole face burned and peeling!It was funny but worked wonders!

-Yogurt may help you loose weight: It helps feel fuller and less hungry.

An unusual use of yogurt is as a brass polisher! ‘The lactic acid works to eat away the tarnish”.

Tzatziki sauce Recipe:

-3 cups plain greek yogurt

-1 clove garlic, crushed

-2 medium cucumbers, diced

-1/2 tsp dried mint

salt (optional: juice of 1/2 a lemon)

Great on its own, with meat or chicken, grilled veggies…The perfect summer side dish!

*images via google




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Are you eating lentils?

Since we eat meat very rarely, twice or three times a month, we use a lot of legumes in our diet. And lentils are one of my favorites.

Researchers have found that eating lentils (and other legumes) is the single most important dietary factor in longevity; lentils are a nutritional fountain of youth!



Low in calories and high in nutrition, lentils are perfect to eat this season as salads. They are very easy to cook and taste great!

1-Lentils are very rich in protein; 26% of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein, which makes them a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.

2-Lentils are great for weight loss. One cup of cooked lentils contains only 230 calories, but still leaves you feeling full.

3-Lentils are good at stabilizing blood sugar levels and slowing down digestion. Great for people with diabetes.

4-Several studies have shown that eating high fiber foods like lentils reduces your risk of heart disease.

5-They are a great source of magnesium which improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

6-Lentils help also in reducing blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fiber.

Red lentils provide less fiber than the black, brown or green variety, because they are sold with their hulls removed.

Mediterranean lentil salad Recipe:

1/2 cup cooked lentils

lemon juice

extra virgin olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

1 tomato finely chopped

salt and pepper

1 small cucumber finely chopped

1/2 red pepper finely chopped

1/2 avocado cut in cubes (optional)

Mix all the vegetables with the lentils, add the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper.


*image via pinterest


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Happy Easter everyone! Since all i see around me these days are eggs, what better subject to talk about!

Who doesn’t like a fluffy omelet for brunch? I love omelets, and love experiencing with the ingredients. Eggs are an important part of our diet where i come from; we have them for breakfast, lunch or even dinner sometimes. Plain, with spices, veggies or meat.

There is a misguided belief that the cholesterol in eggs (found in the yolk) raises cholesterol levels and puts you at risk. But several studies have shown that there is no link between egg consumption and either heart attacks or strokes.


Eggs are an excellent source of protein. Vitamins D and K which are found in eggs, protect us against cancer and help us live longer.

Organic eggs that come from free-range chickens are the best choice.

-Eggs may reduce the risk of cancer.

-Eggs keep our vision in good condition.

-Eggs may help in weight loss: feel fuller, more energy.

-Eggs are an ideal muscle- repair food after a workout.

-Eggs have high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for heart health, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

-Eggs are one of the only foods that contain vitamin D.

And here is my favorite and easiest omelette recipe:

2 eggs

1/3 cup cooking cream

3 mushrooms cut in slices

3 slices tomato

3 slices avocado

1 slice swiss cheese

salt & pepper


1 tablespoon olive oil

*Beat the eggs with the cream, salt, pepper and origano.

Saute the mushrooms in the oil, add the egg mixture. Let it cook, flip to the other side.

When done, while still on the fire, add the cheese, let it melt, then add the tomatoes and avocado.

Turn over half the omelet and serve.

Enjoy your eggs!

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The natural antibiotic

When i was a kid, i used to come back home from school and find my mother preparing her famous garlic spread. I used to eat it in a sandwich (with pita bread) for a snack or sometimes even before lunch, it was that good!

I didn’t know at the time that she was feeding me pure antibiotic in a sandwich!



Today we know that garlic is excellent for creating and maintaining overall health. Add to that its natural antibiotic powers: it’s effective against toxic bacteria, viruses and fungus.

This remarkable little bulb now tops the American National Cancer Institute’s list of potential cancer-preventative foods. It contains multiple anti-cancer compounds and antioxidants.

The presence of all these antioxidants in garlic have a very positive effect on the immune system and can therefore protect the body against all types of bacterial and viral attacks.

Garlic has also been proven to:

Lower blood pressure.

Lower bad cholesterol (LDL).

Reduce levels of fat in the liver.

Cure asthma: 10 drops of garlic juice with 2 teaspoons of honey.

Stop itching: use raw garlic juice on rashes and bug bites.

-Make warts disappear: crush fresh garlic cloves and apply to warts until they disappear.

And these are just a small list on the benefits of garlic!

But be careful, garlic can thin the blood too, similar to the effect of aspirin.

As for bad breath (we all know the effect of garlic on our breath!), drinking lemon juice or eating a few slices of lemon can stop the bad breath.

And for those of you who are wondering about my mother’s garlic spread, it is very easy to make!



1/2 cup lemon juice

1 cup peeled garlic cloves

salt to taste

4 cups vegetable oil

Mix the garlic and salt in the food processor, then add gradually the oil, then do the same for the lemon juice, so the sauce doesn’t split.

It has to have a creamy texture, just like mayonnaise.

I hope you will like it as much as i do!

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The supergrain of the future

Many people still have no idea what quinoa is or how to cook it. I started adding quinoa to my diet last year, and was amazed at how easy it is to cook, and how versatile it is.

It dates back to 3 to 4 thousand years ago, when the Incas first realized that this seed was fit for human consumption!

Quinoa is a light, fluffy grain. Its is high in protein and fiber, contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and essential amino acids.


Wouldn’t you want to benefit from this amazing superfood?

How to cook quinoa:

Quinoa comes in 3 colors; red, white and black. You can get the tri-color if you prefer.

The ratio is 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of liquid (water or broth for more taste). bring it to a boil as you would rice. Then cover it and turn the heat to low. 18 minutes more or less.

Put off the fire and leave covered for a few minutes. fluff with a fork.

The beauty of quinoa is its versatility:

-You can eat it as a side dish (instead of rice), with a little olive oil or truffle oil.

-Add it to your yogurt and fruits in the morning.

-Add sauteed veggies and you have a complete meal.

-Add a handful to your salads.

-Use it for stuffing peppers or tomatoes.

The possibilities are endless!

Since i found out about quinoa i eat it at least once a week. Here is a recipe i always use when i am in a hurry:

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

A handful of chopped mushrooms

A handful of chopped green onions

A handful of chopped asparagus

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Feta cheese

Saute the vegetables in olive oil, add the cooked quinoa, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Add a little feta cheese over and serve. Voila! Easy, tasty and healthy!

For those who haven’t tried it yet, i hope you get inspired, and for those who have, if you know of other ways to use quinoa, please share!

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Brussel sprouts crush!

The Mediterranean diet relies in a big way on vegetables. With all the nutrients we get from them, they are an essential part of our diet. I try as much as I can to alternate veggies in my menu (we eat it vegetables every day), and bring more variety to our table.

IMG_4255I think i tasted Brussel sprouts only once in my life. It must have been an awful experience because I never tasted it again, till this week!

Two months ago, when I was on one of my trips back home, my husband got some brussel sprouts and had them for lunch. He was so proud of himself and happy with the result. He never stopped talking about these veggies until I gave up and decided to try for myself.

 1-Like all vegetables, Brussel sprouts are low in fat and calories. But they are very high in protein, so you can easily replace a high-fat meat with a meal of sprouts and grains.

2-They have 3-5 grams of fiber per cup which is great for lowering our cholesterol level, and they fill you up without filling you out!

3-They are particularly rich in vitamin C, an anti-cancer agent

4-Rich in antioxidants, they are specially high in vitamin K, which promotes healthy bones, serves as an anti-inflammatory agent and is essential for proper brain and nerve function.

I decided to roast my sprouts, and they were delicious! Couldn’t eat enough!

Roasted Brussel sprouts with garlic recipe:

-20 sprouts, cut in quarters

-olive oil

-6 crushed garlic

-rosemary or any kind of herbs you have on hand

-salt and pepper

-a dash of paprika

Place the sprouts in an oven dish, mix all the other ingredients and pour over the vegetables. Mix well, and roast for about 30minutes or till you see them a bit brownish.

Oven on 400.

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