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the everygirls guide to cooking maria menounosWhile Maria Menounos is best known for her groundbreaking work as the managing editor and co-anchor of E! News and her familiar presence on the red carpet, Menounos’s writing has earned her a reputation as a lifestyle guru in recent years, with titles like The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life (It Books, 2011) and The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness (Zinc Ink, 2014). Her newest title, The EveryGirl’s Guide to Cooking (Zinc Ink, 2016), released in March of this year, offers a wide range of simple, healthy, and delicious recipes, perfect for beginners and easily customizable for more confident, experienced chefs.

Menounos created the concept of “The EveryGirl” to address the everyday dreams, goals, and concerns of today’s woman. In her words: “The EveryGirl is every girl out there who wants to try to have it all—health and happiness, and a life of meaning.” This relatable idea resonates throughout the entire cookbook, as Menounos offers tips on both cooking and life that can be applied to a variety of different situations. “Many women are so busy today,” she says. “A book like this with fast, easy, and simple recipes is something we need.” Focusing on recipes that require little experience and few expensive ingredients, Menounos includes chapters for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts, with recipes like Caramelized Onion Omelets, Three-Bean Power Salad, Crustless Chicken Pot Pie, and Anytime Oatmeal Fruit Crumble. “This really is what I eat during the week,” Menounos adds. “The quinoa and honey yogurt parfait is my go-to breakfast that I pre-make for the week and take to work when I have an early call time. For lunch, I’ve been obsessing over the warm sweet potato salad with kale and brown rice, and the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with toasted pecans are like a little piece of heaven when they come out of the oven.”

In developing recipes for the cookbook, Menounos drew a great deal of inspiration from her mother, Litsa. Her dishes often include a Greek flair that reflects her upbringing. Recipes like kayiana—a type of Greek omelet—Litsa’s potato salad, or spanakopita bring traditional Mediterranean flavors to the kitchen in healthy, accessible ways. “My mom worked two jobs and cooked for my father, who had type 1 diabetes,” Menounos explains. “No one was busier, but she employed old village pragmatics, modern innovations, and creativity to her cooking to make it all work. And she found a way to make it delicious. Hers are the recipes I share in the book—many are diabetic-friendly and gluten-free, or can be modified to fit a number of dietary restrictions.”

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In addition to the wide variety of inventive meal and snack recipes, The EveryGirl’s Guide offers a chapter on innovative smoothies that are sure to break up the morning blues. From Matcha Mango to Tropical Paradise, the book’s smoothie recipes incorporate fruits and yogurt that can satisfy a sweet tooth while providing important nutrients. If you’ve ever struggled to choose between a nutritious smoothie and that necessary morning cup of coffee, Menounos offers a solution: caffeinated smoothies, like the green Java smoothie or banana-coffee smoothie, which make for a healthy breakfast with a caffeine kick.

EveryGirl Tips, interspersed throughout the cookbook, enhance the easy-to-follow directions. Menounos shares a variety of lifestyle tips and personal tidbits, including EveryGirl cooking moments and celebrity cooking encounters. Drawing on her wealth of experience entertaining guests, Menounos also offers tips on lighting, music, and menu-planning for the perfect soirée, as well as a series of recipes that are perfect for potlucks or dinner parties, including Olive-Feta Dip, Chive-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Eggplant-Potato Casserole.

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Advice on pantry basics and essential ingredients rounds out the cookbook and offers additional information on the building blocks of a healthy, sustainable diet. Menounos even shares her experience cooking healthy treats for her dog, Benjamin, with recipes that she developed with friend and veterinarian Dr. Brian Spar. Treats like Canine Mini Patties and EveryPup Skinny Treats are simple to make and incorporate whole, healthy ingredients, eliminating the additives found in some store-bought dog treats.

Although Menounos has cultivated an impressive career on the national stage, she traces her roots to Massachusetts. Born and raised in Medford, she credits the Boston area as an integral part of her support system: “I can’t say enough about Boston all these years. My fiancé, Keven Undergaro, and I are both from Medford, and the Boston community has always rallied behind us. It will forever be our home.”

The EveryGirl’s Guide to Cooking (Zinc Ink, 2016)