The cookbook features 125 recipes from the bestselling authors like skillet shrimp with tomatoes and feta in the comfort of your own kitchen.
The Radnor native, registered dietitian and recent co-author of Easy Everyday Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 125 Delicious Recipes from the Healthiest Lifestyle on the Planet (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) shares her inspiration, motivation and the path that led to her fruitful success.
How did you initially enter the culinary industry?
Through the back door via my nutrition degree! While attending Penn State, I became interested in dietetics after living a not-so-healthy lifestyle for a few years. I fell in love with the field, but from a food standpoint rather than from a nutrient aspect. I wanted to educate people in a preventive fashion through the enjoyment of food and cooking.
What’s your mission when it comes to preparing recipes?
My co-author, Serena Ball, and I wanted our nutrient-rich recipes to have a yum factor along with easy shopping, prepping and cooking. We have a very clear mission as two dietitians who love food as much as you do. I often say, ‘If something is healthy but it doesn’t taste good, don’t eat it!’ There are plenty of other ingredients, or perhaps even a different cooking method, to enhance that food and fall in love with it.
What were the inspirations behind your most recent cookbook?
Growing up with an Italian American mom (South Philly born and bred), I’ve always appreciated Mediterranean cuisine. Last year, my trip to Israel had a huge influence on this book. The basic ingredients of their simple diet—fruits, vegetables, spices, seafood, whole grains, meats and cheese—provide satisfaction. It’s about taking the time to enjoy your meal and appreciate the dishes’ simple flavors. I’m also lucky to have fabulous cooks in my family too. Serena and I describe in the recipes’ headnotes how they originated—from cooking with a favorite aunt to a visit to an obscure cafe in Tel Aviv.
What tips would you recommend to those looking to make a healthy change in their diet?
There are two things: Don’t change everything at once and make changes you can live with over time. The idea is to slowly make that change a habit. Of course, you will lose weight, or perhaps have improved circulation with a strict diet, but is that how you want to eat forever? Each day is another opportunity to embrace better, healthier eating that satisfies you.
What’s next on your agenda?
We’ll continue to enhance our weekly livestreaming series on our Teaspoon of Spice Facebook page at 12:30PM E.T. every Thursday, and we plan to write more cookbooks for sure!
Photography by: Linda Xiao