Health and Wellness May 2022





By Sherri Holzer

“After 25 years, why would I want to take a risk and try to start cooking for my family?” I leaned in closer to Lisa, who joined me in my backyard after attending one of my Mediterranean cooking classes. 

Ten women gathered in my kitchen for a morning of instruction; after learning techniques, plenty of questions, and taking copious notes, the group headed to my dining room to enjoy the meal. White table linens provided a crisp backdrop to the cobalt blue bowls and platters I filled with vibrant colors of the Mediterranean. The ladies took a culinary journey, enjoying a salad of heirloom red tomatoes, green cucumbers and kalamata olives, painted with splashes of white sheep's milk feta cheese. Crisp golden ridges of skewered chicken souvlaki marinated in my grandmother's “secret” marinade were nestled atop a lemony orzo mixed with roasted summer zucchini, fresh dill fronds and toasted pine nuts.   

This was Lisa’s first class with me. I couldn’t help but notice, as she lifted her fork, her eyes closely examined each bite the fork held steady as it rotated so that she could scrutinize the perfect chicken pieces coated in garlic and thyme, Lisa asked, “Do you really believe that I can learn to cook?”   

We sat on a bench in my yard, and she began sharing the fear of putting herself through the discomfort of exposing her inability to feed her family without a microwave and a boxed meal kit. She had ambitiously tried to make a pasta primavera with grilled shrimp a couple of weeks prior. A barrage of questions came next. What exactly is capellini pasta? How do you know when spaghetti is done? Why did the shrimp come out rubbery? It was frustrating for her to try and decipher the recipe instructions, terminology, and the new ingredients. When it was served for dinner, no one liked it. A frozen pizza became plan B. I wasn't surprised to hear her following words, “I’m better off just sticking to frozen foods and take out,” and “I hated that after all the work I put in, they wouldn’t even just eat it!” 

Here is what I KNOW to be true: There will always be fear when we decide to try new things. We are never alone with fear, and everyone experiences it at one time or another. Fear is defined by as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.”  

I've witnessed so many women who possess a real fear of learning to cook. It’s not just about trying to follow a recipe for themselves, it’s more about being vulnerable to criticism and experiencing the heartfelt pain of family and friends who might not appreciate the effort. 

Through my work as a health coach and cooking instructor, I have had the pleasure of supporting clients as they experience the tremendous feeling of pride after walking into the fear and doing it anyway. My students experience feelings of accomplishment and joy rather than the negative emotion of helplessness or criticism. Learning to cook with confidence is empowering. When I learned to cook, I realized I could be creative, and once I understood I could make and create food, I also felt that I could do other things. I realized I could teach what I learned. I felt empowered. Doors opened. I could have a business. I could help other people heal and have fun while I did it. It’s the stepping stone to your potential. If you are feeding yourself and your soul - you can do anything! 









Recipe for Eftimia’s Chicken Souvlaki. Serves 4  

  • 10 garlic cloves (Peeled) 

  • 2 tbsps dried oregano 

  • 1 tsp dried rosemary 

  • 1 tsp sweet paprika 

  • 1 tsp dried thyme 

  • 1 tsp  both kosher salt and black pepper 

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine 

  • 1 lemon (juiced) 

  • 2 bay leaf 

  • 2 1/2 lbs chicken breast (boneless, skinless, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces) 

  1. Prepare the marinade. In the bowl of a small food processor bowl, add garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary, paprika, salt, pepper, olive oil, white wine, and lemon juice (do NOT add the dried bay leaves yet). Pulse until well combined. 

  1. Place chicken in a large bowl and add bay leaves. Top with marinade. Toss to combine, making sure chicken is well-coated with marinade. cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight (see note for quicker marinating option.) 

  1. When ready, thread marinated chicken pieces through the prepared skewers. I use metal skewers. 

  1. Prepare an outdoor grill (or indoor griddle). Brush grates with a little oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Place chicken skewers on grill (or cook in batches on griddle) until well browned and internal temperature registers 155° on instant-read thermometer. Be sure to turn skewers evenly to cook on all sides, about 15 minutes total. While grilling, brush lightly with the marinade (then discard any left marinade). 

  1. Transfer chicken to a serving platter and let rest for 3 minutes. 


Add Comment
Subscribe to posts