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Hi! I'm Anita Khalek. Thanks for visiting my blog.
I started this as a way to organize my recipes and thoughts, then soon realized that it had become a fun place to hangout. When I began blogging in 2009, I had just had my second child. Life was busy, but I was yearning for something to do just for me, to keep me thinking and creative. In the midst of a busy schedule, I hadn't realized that my health was deteriorating faster by the day. After many visits, tests and scans, no doctor was able to tell me what's wrong. But I surely felt like I was dying slowly. Until one day, with the recommendation of a neighbor, I got to the right doctor.
Although I had always eaten healthy, made from scratch food, mostly organic and never believed in the use of artificial anything in my food, I was told that I had to stop everything I'm eating. My first appointment with the new doctor was 4.5 hours long. I left exhausted, shocked, and confused, yet I was happy that I had a diagnosis, even if it was Leaky Gut!
My food was reduced down to a list of about fifteen ingredients and my world was flipped upside down. It took me a couple of weeks to figure things out. I had to reinvent everything and re-evaluate everything I knew. Today the ingredient list is expanding and my health has improved drastically.
My recipes on this blog reflect my upbringing. I grew up around food and people in the kitchen. My family lived in several different countries around the Mediterranean and every summer, we would spend it back in our village in the Lebanese mountains. Of the many lasting memories during those times, were the times spent watching my mother and aunts cook together, bake fresh breads or desserts, and during the late summer, waking up to the sounds and aromas of preparing/making mounéh items- all things harvested that are sun-dried, cooked, canned, pickled and jammed to stock up for the winter months.
Today, still living away from my hometown, I find that cooking the food of my childhood keeps me connected even from afar. This blog is my journal for these time-tested recipes and other new creations. I am inspired by fresh, local, ingredients, my Lebanese culture, the Levant region in general and various travels around the world.
As of February 2011, since my diagnosis with Leaky Gut, I don't use certain ingredients like grains with gluten, dairy or processed sugar. For a good guide to my recipes, check out the Recipe Index page.
The recipes shared on this blog are written with great care, catering to our tastes at home. If a recipe is adapted from a book or a magazine, the source will be sited. And, if you find that a recipe is seriously in need of attention, please let me know so I can fix it.
The photography on this blog is also my work. As an amateur photographer, shooting and styling food makes me happy. I like natural settings and always use natural light. Thanks for your visits and your readership.
To contact me, please email me at anita(at)myfreshlevant(dot)com. Enjoy browsing and happy cooking!