Back-to-School Survival Guide

Just a a week into the school year and already my crazy and ever changing work schedule, parent-coffees, school open houses, after school activities, homework, play dates have got me running in circles.  Below you will find some tips and great finds to help you, not just survive, but thrive this back-to-school season.

  1. Not All Snacks Are Created Equal: When we’re really busy, it’s easy to neglect our health. So I try to always have easy, nutritious snacks that my kids love stocked in the fridge. Muuna Cottage Cheese is our family favorite.

Available in Low-fat and Classic Plain, each cup has delicious real pieces of fruit on the bottom like pineapple, raspberry, black cherry and peach. It has 15 to 19 grams of protein, only 9 grams of sugar and contains probiotics. The best part? They are delicious. So much so, that my husband and kids are constantly reminding me to pick them up at the grocery store. The rich and creamy Muuna Cottage cheese is perfect for a grab and go snack, breakfast or lunch for every member of your family. 

2. Early Bird Catches the Worm: For a creature with such a small brain, that’s a pretty smart instinct. Mornings run much smoother when I wake-up just 15 minutes before my kids. Mostly because Mommy has had time to put in her contacts and have her first cup of coffee.

3. Stay Connected: As parents I believe it’s in our DNA to constantly worry about our kids and there whereabouts… if only I could implant a GPS chip!! 
Well next year my daughter enters middle school so we have already started shopping for her first cell phone. That may sound like a big responsibility for such a young person, but hear me out. The Alcatel 7, available on MetroPCS, is a great phone at a great price, making it the perfect first phone for your child as they head back to school. The Alcatel 7 brings high-end features your kids will love – like a duel camera, portrait mode, and huge 6 inch HD display – all on a budget. I love the all-day battery – it gives me the peace of mind that I can reach my kids if I have to. Now, I just need to hope she answers my calls!

4. Inspire Fun and Friendship: As the school year gets closer, I try to remind my kids how much fun it will be to see their friends and make new ones. This year, my daughter got super excited about making friendship bracelets for all her friends and all the credit goes to her Cool Maker KumiKreator. It made it fun and easy! With KumiKreator your child will braid bracelets in minutes. There are 10 unique bracelet designs and  6 different colors to choose from so that she can customize her bracelets..  Kids can make KumiKreator bracelets during after school hangout sessions or at a sleepover with their besties. It’s a great way to create fun accessories that match their outfits. You can even purchase refill packs for more color options. 

5. Family Activity Calendar: It’s time to bring back the school calendar. Hang it somewhere everyone can see it. I find this to be extremely helpful when you have multiply caregivers. As a working mom, I need my husband, my mom and our part-time nanny to all be “in the know”. I use to be the sole keeper of my children’s ever changing and very busy schedule. At night dates for doctor appointments, birthday parties,  after school activities would swim through my head. Not anymore. Everyone (including me) knows to turn to the trusted school calendar for answers.

6. Family Dinner: Last, but certainly not least be sure to sit and have a family dinner (homemade or takeout) as often as possible. It’s amazing the things my children will share at the dinner table… and be sure to make clean-up a group effort!

I hope these tips help. Wishing everyone a healthy and happy school year and be sure to follow me on instagram @erekav

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Tips for Managing Back-To-School Stress

September is go-time! Back-to-school wardrobe, supplies, haircuts, doctor appointments, soccer games, dance classes, new friends, parent committee meeting, fundraisers…the list is endless and stress for both parent and child is at an all time high. Now that I’m a 6 year veteran to the whole back-to-school thing, there’s less panicking and more preparing! Here are a few tips to help make the transition to back-to-school a whole lot easier for parent and child.

As a parent – Whether you’re at work, or running errands, how many times have you wished you had an extra set of eyes at home? Well you can. The Amazon Cloud Cam is an affordable and easy to use home monitoring system that can provide protection and peace of mind.

The Amazon Cloud Cam lets you keep an eye on things at home no matter where you are. You can check a livestream on your computer or mobile device, or set up custom notifications for when it detects motion, like when the kids are coming or going, or a pet is acting up. In addition to the incredible night vision it also has two-way audio so you can remind your kiddos to get started on that homework or clean up their room! 

During the summer routines are lost to lazy days, but now that school is back in session it’s time to streamline our routines in order to make life easier for all.

Let’s start with the mornings, I always feel like I’m just barely pulling it all together as we race to the bus stop. Truth is, nothing happens until I’ve had my 1st cup coffee and because I NEVER have time to sit and sip, I’ve started using these Chinet Comfort Cups. 

These hold up to 16 ounces of much-needed coffee and fit most single-serve machines so you can make your coffee just the way you like it. Plus, their easy-fit, snap-and-go lid, allows you to grab your beverage and take it wherever you go without worrying about spills or messes. I love the double wall of insulation which keeps your drinks hot and your hands cool. They definitely make my mornings easier so I can focus on the kiddos. You can find Chinet Comfort Cups at most grocery and big box retailers.

Moving on. Half of the insanity comes with cleaning up the constant mess. The house is turned upside down, by kids running in and out, dragging mud and dirt all over your floors. So I was super excited when I found one tool to tackle all of our back-to-school muck quickly and easily.

The Rejuvenate Click n Clean helps you speed clean every flooring surface – that’s right, every flooring surface.  From hardwood to laminate to tile, carpet and even that hard to tackle grout. The Rejuvenate Click n Clean multi-surface spray mop is light weight, easy to use so that you literally click, clean and go.  Plus it comes with 2 reusable microfiber cleaning pads the can be washed over 400 times which saves you money and is good for the enviroment. With the kids finally out of the house and back to school, floors will be clean and you will have more time to focus on the things that matter most. You can find this exclusively at Home Depot.

Back to school days are long, tiring and work up quite an appetite. When my kids get home, they are always STARVING. I’m always looking for quick, stress-free snack options….something I can whip up while I TRY to get them to tell me about their day. Ellio’s Pizza and NEW Breadsticks are delicious and easy snacks to enjoy right after school. They are made with 100% real cheese and ready in less than 15 minutes….leaving my kids happy and ready to tackle their after-school activities.

And for the 2nd year, Ellio’s is awarding a $10,000 scholarship to a remarkable kid as part of the Phenomenal Kids Scholarship Contest. To submit your own phenomenal kid, just visit Ellios.com

I hope these tips help! Remeber not to over commit yourself or your child. Down-time and family-time are key to a healthy and happy school year. Please remember to send comments and follow me on instagram @erekav !

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Veggie Round-Up

Chances are this Memorial Day your grill will be occupied with meat, meat and more meat! So I like to take my veggies inside and give them the love they deserve. Here is a round-up of my favorite veggies sides all of which are SUPER easy to make! Enjoy!

SPICY ROASTED CORN WITH COTIJO CHEESE:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Frozen Roasted Corn
  • 2 green jalapeno, deseeded and diced
  • 1 large red pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 tsp of Salt
  • 1/2 cup Grated Cotijo Cheese
  • Cilantro

Let’s Cook!

  1. In a large skillet melt the butter
  2. Add the shallots, red onion, jalapeno pepper and red pepper. Cook until they begin to get tender
  3. Add the roasted corn and salt. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes or until the corn is warm.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with Cotijo cheese and garnish with cilantro

HONEY ORANGE ROASTED CARROTS

Ingredients:

  • 1 bundle of organic orange carrots, stems removed (thin carrots work best)
  • 1 bundle of organic purple carrots, stems removed (thin carrots work best)
  • 3 tbs spoons of local honey
  • Juice from 1 large orange
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tsp of sea salt
  • 6 ounces of goat cheese
  • 1 tbs of chopped parsley

Let’s Cook!

  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper
  3. Cut each carrot in half
  4. In a small glass bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey , orange juice
  5. Toss the carrots in the mixture
  6. Evenly spread the carrots on the pan. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. (If the pan looks too crowded, use 2 pans)
  7. Reserve the remaining honey, orange mixture
  8. Roast carrots for 20 minutes. Remove and drizzle the remaining honey/orange mixture on the carrots.
  9. Return to oven for another 20 minutes or until the carrots begin to brown
  10. Remove carrots and allow to cool for 10 minutes
  11. Plate carrots.  Sprinkle remaining salt, goat cheese and garnish with parsley.
  12. ENJOY!

WHOLE ROASTED PARMIGIANO REGGIANO CAULIFLOWER

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large cauliflower head rinsed well
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of parsley
  • 1/3 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1/2 tsp salt

LET’S COOK

  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2.  Trim the cauliflower head. Remove the leaves, but be sure not to remove to much of the base/stem.
  3. Place the cauliflower head in a baking dish. Fill the baking dish with 1/2 inch of water. Cover the dish completely with aluminum foil making sure the edges are sealed tight. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until you can easily poke a toothpick through the center of the cauliflower head. You want the cauliflower to be lightly steamed.
  4. While the cauliflower is cooking, combine the parsley, olive oil, grated cheese and salt in a food process and process until smooth. Remove the paste and set aside.
  5. When cauliflower is cooked through, remove from the oven.
  6. Discard the aluminum foil, drain the water from the baking dish and let the cauliflower cool (in the baking dish) for at least 5 minutes
  7. Increase the oven temp to BROIL
  8. Brush the cauliflower head with the parsley and parmigian paste and return to oven for at least 10 minutes or until the cauliflower head is a deep golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven, slice and devour!!

BABY ELOTES-MEXICAN CORN:

INGEDIENTS:

1 package of baby corn (approximately 18 pieces)

2 tbsp of butter

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp of light sour cream

2 tbsp of mayo

¼ cup of grated cotija cheese or grated parmesan cheese

smoked paprika to sprinkle

1 tbsp of chopped parsley

LET’S COOK!

  1. Heat butter in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. When butter melts add baby corn and cover. Cook for 2 ½ minutes. Flip corn. Cook for another 2 ½ minutes then remove from heat.
  2. While corn is cooling, mix the sour cream and mayo together well.
  3. Once corn is room temperature, sprinkle with salt and place on serving platter.
  4. Brush the corn with sour cream/mayo mixture.
  5. Sprinkle cheese generously over corn
  6. Sprinkle smoked paprika lightly over corm
  7. Garnish with parsley and serve!

CAULIFLOWER ROMESCO

Romesco sauce is a nut and red pepper-based sauce that originated from Northeastern Spain. The fishermen in this area made this sauce to be eaten with fish. I make jars of it and use it on everything from fish, to chicken to roasted cauliflower and even EGGS!

Try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of purple cauliflower broken down into florets

1 head of yellow cauliflower broken down in to florets

2 tbsp of olive oil

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

grated parmigiano or grated ricotta salata (for plating)

chopped fresh parsley (for plating)

Romesco Sauce

2 red roasted pepper (jarred or homemade)

4 roasted piquillo peppers (jarred or homemade)

1/2 cup of jarred roasted tomatoes

5 raw garlic cloves

1/2 cup roasted almonds

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1/2 tbsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp of olive oil

LET’S COOK! 

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.Place florets on baking sheets and toss cauliflower in olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly.
  3. Roast cauliflower until golden brown and tender. About 35 minutes
  4. While the cauliflower is roasting, combine all of the romesco sauce ingredients in a food processor. Process until all ingredients are fully combined. The sauce should not be over processed. I like for it to have texture.
  5.  Generously layer the sauce onto a large circular dish and place the roasted cauliflower on top while still hot.
  6. Sprinkle the cauliflower with parsley and grated cheese of choice. I prefer pecorino romano or ricotta salata.
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ADULT ONLY Tequila & Mint Watermelon Wedges


Is there anything better than a cold slice of watermelon on a hot summer day??? YUP. A cold slice of tequila and mint simple syrup infused watermelon! Give it a try, you won’t regret it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of rinsed mint leaves
  • 1 small seedless watermelon quartered and cut into 1inch slices
  • 1 bottle of tequila blanco (you won’t use all of it and it won’t go to waste)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh mint
  • 1 tbs of sea salt
  1. In a single layer, arrange watermelon slices at the bottom of  two 9-by-13-inch baking dishes. Pour the tequila over the wedges until the wedge is 1/2 way submerged then put them in the refrigerator.  Allow the watermelon to soak for at least 1/2 hour, then gently flip each wedge and allow to soak for another 1/2 hr.
  2. While the watermelon is soaking, combine the water and sugar in a sauce pan.  Bring water and sugar to a boil and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and liquid is clear. Congrats you just made simple syrup! Now let’s jazz it up…
  3. Remove simple syrup from heat, stir the mint leaves into the simple syrup and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes remove the leaves and allow it to come to room temperature. Simple syrup can be stored in your fridge for about a month.
  4. Just before serving, remove the wedges from the baking dish and arrange on a serving tray. Generously pour the mint simple syrup over the wedges. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the wedges and ENJOY!
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A Taste of Summer-Tuna and Tomato Napoleon

When I came back from San Sebastian, Spain I was obsessed with their canned tuna and Guindillas (Basque pickled peppers). So one hot July afternoon I decided to assemble this beautifully balanced little salad which took me right back to one of my favorite cities in the world. Enjoy this light, yet satisfying salad!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Large red tomato of your choice (I prefer Beef Steak tomato or an heirloom variety like a Brandywine) cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 Large yellow cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/2  Can of high quality canned albacore tuna (no salt or oil)
  • 1 Can or jar of good quality sardines (you will only need 1 or 2 sardines
  • 3 Tbs of high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Quindillas vinegar pepper (can be found at WholeFoods)
  • 1 Olive of your choice
  • 1 Tbs of chopped parsley for garnish
  • 1/2 Tsp of sea salt
  • 1 toothpick

LET’S START ASSEMBLING:

  1. Empty the can of tuna into a small bowl. Drizzle 1/2 tbs of the olive oil and 1/4 tsp of the sea salt. Using a fork gently mix ingredients together. You want to make sure the tuna remains chunky.
  2. Layer one slice of the yellow tomato onto a plate. Drizzle 1/2 tbs of olive oil on top of the tomato and dash of salt
  3. Layer the tuna mixture on top of the tomato slice
  4. Layer the red tomato slice on top of the tuna. Drizzle 1/2 tbs of olive oil top
  5. Place the anchovy on top of the tomato
  6. With a toothpick pierce one olive and one pickled pepper anchoring it to your tomato/tuna stack
  7. Drizzle remaining olive oil over your tomato and tuna stack
  8. Sprinkle remaining salt
  9. Garnish with parsley
  10. Bon Apettito!

 

 

 

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And on the 5th Day of May…We Drank. Raising a glass to Cinco De Mayo!

Hello all! Below are a few of my favorite tequila/mezcal recipes! If you see me on Cinco De Mayo, chances are I’ll be sipping on one of these beauties! Hope you have a fun day. Be sure to check out my instagram @erekav and share your Cinco De Mayo pics with me!

MI PAIS FELIZ (My Happy Place)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 of a serrano pepper sliced (do not deseed)
  • 2 tbs of cilantro
  • 4 oz. of pineapple juice
  • 2.5 oz. of tequila blanco
  • 1/2 cup of ice
  • 1 large ice cube

EQUIPMENT

  • Shaker
  • Muddler
  • Tumbler
  1. To the shaker add the serrano pepper slices and cilantro.
  2. Using your muddler, muddle the serrano pepper and cilantro well
  3. Add ice, pineapple juice and tequila
  4. Seal the shaker and shake for at least 20 seconds (I build in my workouts where I can)
  5. Add the large ice cube to your tumbler.  Pour drink into tumbler
  6. Salute!

MEZCAL NEGRONI “The Mexicana-Italiana”

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup of ice
  • 1.5 oz. of mezcal
  • 1 oz. of Campari
  • 1/2 oz. of sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 large JUICY orange
  • 1 large ice cube

EQUIPMENT

  • Shaker
  • Tumbler
  1. To the shaker add the ice, mezcal, compari, sweet vermouth and the juice of the 1/2 orange (do not discard the rind of the orange)
  2. Seal shaker and shake for at least 20 seconds
  3. Place large ice cube in tumbler, pour contents of the shaker over into the tumbler
  4. Squeeze the orange rind over the drink to to infuse the essence of the citrus
  5. Salute!

 

MEZCAL TINTO

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5  oz of premium mezcal
  • fresh squeezed juice from 1/2 lime
  • fresh squeezed juice from 1/2 a large lemon
  • 1.5 tbsp of simple syrup
  • approximately 1/4 cup of cabernet
  • 1/2 cup of ice

EQUIPMENT

  • Shaker
  • Tumbler

Shake ingredients 1-4 in a shaker filled with ice. Shake fast for about 1 minute until the ice starts to melt and the drink becomes frothy. Place a large square ice cube into a tumbler. Pour the contents of the shaker over the ice cube. Top the drink with cabernet. SALUTE!

 

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Whole Roasted Parmigiano Reggiano Cauliflower

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large cauliflower head rinsed well
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of parsley
  • 1/3 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1/2 tsp salt

LET’S COOK

  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2.  Trim the cauliflower head. Remove the leaves, but be sure not to remove to much of the base/stem.
  3. Place the cauliflower head in a baking dish. Fill the baking dish with 1/2 inch of water. Cover the dish completely with aluminum foil making sure the edges are sealed tight. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until you can easily poke a toothpick through the center of the cauliflower head. You want the cauliflower to be lightly steamed.
  4. While the cauliflower is cooking, combine the parsley, olive oil, grated cheese and salt in a food process and process until smooth. Remove the paste and set aside.
  5. When cauliflower is cooked through, remove from the oven.
  6. Discard the aluminum foil, drain the water from the baking dish and let the cauliflower cool (in the baking dish) for at least 5 minutes
  7. Increase the oven temp to BROIL
  8. Brush the cauliflower head with the parsley and parmigian paste and return to oven for at least 10 minutes or until the cauliflower head is a deep golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven, slice and devour!!
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How I Turned My 15 Minutes Into 15 Years

"In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes," -       Andy Warhol

 

I finally purchased a new computer which forced me to go through my old (I mean really old) files to see what I could purge. In doing so I came across an interview I did back in 2007 for a novelist who was writing a book about “celebrity.”

After my run as a contestant on The Apprentice season one, I went on to host 8 seasons of Kidspace on HGTV. At the time of this interview I was hosting NBC’s live daytime talk show, In The Loop with iVillage. 

For those of you who are wondering how I turned my 15 minutes of reality TV fame into a 15 year career, give this interview a read. I think my answers are telling. I believe it was my approach and handling of my post Apprentice celebrity status that kept me in this crazy business for the last 15 years.

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Q: What is celebrity (expand)?

ME: I think, for some people, celebrity is like being the most popular kid at school, but on a MUCH bigger scale. It’s that need to be liked, admired and recognized. Some people think “celebrity” can bring them all of that.

After The Apprentice, I guess I was a celebrity of sorts. At first I embraced the spotlight. I took advantage of the parties and the VIP treatment. I even stumbled through my fair share of red carpet photo ops. Through it all I remember feeling inauthentic. Simply put, I felt like a phony. What was I famous for? Was I proud of what I was famous for? No I wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not regret my Apprentice experience, nor am I disappointed in my performance, but at some point I understood that I needed to make more of the experience. I wasn’t satisfied with being just a TV personality. I guess celebrity in itself was not that important to me.

I take pride in working hard and being good at what I do. I was not good at being famous just for being famous. Pre Apprentice, I was a good senior marketing manager at Estee Lauder and now I am working hard to be a good television host on In the Loop with iVillage.

The other thing that was new and strange was my new celebrity social life. The Apprentice was the #1 show on TV. Our cast was invited to the hottest parties. I spent sooooo much time networking at parties, events and premiers and less quality time with my close friends and family. I missed long chats with my best girl friends. I missed date nights with my boyfriend (now husband). I missed long dinners with my family.

I feel for the child stars that have always been in the limelight and have a hard time building real friendships, the kind that can save your life. I realize now more than ever how important it is to keep quality friends, family and even respected colleagues close. These are the people who won’t be afraid to tell you the truth no matter how much it hurts. 

I also think celebrity can slow down your self-growth. When you’re in the spotlight you’re always “on” constantly presenting a version of yourself …one that entertains your audience/fans. It’s easy to lose sight of who you really are, what’s most important to you and who you want to become. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget about your long term happiness.

Q: Your achievement in business is remarkable, especially for someone your age at the time (GE and Estee Lauder) have you abandoned the corporate world for a career in front of the camera?

ME: I may have abandoned the corporate world, but I have not abandoned the business world. TV is a business. A very tricky business.  Eventually I hope to have enough of a name to launch a brand of my own. I have a few ideas.

Q: Fame/celebrity for you was almost unplanned, its not like you spent years pounding the pavement, bartending, going to acting school, etc (did you?) so you may not have been prepared for fame as it happened for you, what was that experience like and how has it shaped who you have become?

ME: I don’t consider myself famous. I’m just on TV. I love hosting because I get to learn something new every single day. It’s one of the most challenging jobs I’ve ever had and I have so much fun doing it. I welcome the celebrity aspect because I think I’ve learned to manage it and to use it to my advantage. 

Q: When you got the job as Tony Danza’s sidekick, did you feel prepared to take on such a big job?

ME: Absolutely not. I had no idea what I was in for and in retrospect that was a good thing. I’m glad that my role was small and manageable. I think what the executive producers liked about me was that I wasn’t over trained. I was spontaneous and somewhat natural on camera. Again I just had fun with it and didn’t say no to anything they asked me to do. Whether it was racing with Dale Earhardt Jr. or going to trapeze school with Tony Danza, I jumped right in! I hope I never lose that spontaneity.

Q: Why didn’t you continue for the second season of The Tony Danza Show?

ME: My role was never fully defined and proved not to fit in with the formula of the show, but in just one season I learned so much. I know that I will be a better co-host of “In the Loop with iVillage” because of that experience and my experience on Kidspace (HGTV).

Q:You are in a rare group, most people who come from reality shows don’t continue to work on television, its really just you and Elizabeth Hasselbeck (and maybe one or two others) so why do you think you’ve been a success when really hundreds of others never could cut it?

ME: I ask myself the same question everyday. I have no idea why I stood out. I guess producers saw someone who was not frightened by the camera and who could connect with viewers. My first request came from TLC. They wanted me to host a show called “Help Wanted”, but my contract did not allow it. Next I got an email from Buena Vista to audition for “The Tony Danza Show”. I didn’t have nor did I seek out an agent after “The Apprentice”. I was assigned an agent when I was presented with the “Help Wanted” contract. Things sort of fell into my lap thanks to “The Apprentice”. I like to think I landed the role of host of “Kidspace” (HGTV) and co-host of “In the Loop” because of my experience and because of my authenticity, but that’s just what helps me sleep at night. There are no concretes in this business.

Q: When you are on such a big show like The Apprentice and then Tony Danza, do you start to get addicted to the attention?

ME: Not really. It’s fun at this level, but I can imagine it getting very tiring and intrusive if ever I were to become really famous. Again, I was 27 when “The Apprentice” ended. I wasn’t a kid who needed attention. I liked my life, my friends and my family. The other positive side is being able to give back. I once had an organization donate $10,000 to a charity for a few publicity shots. That’s rewarding.

Q: There is a great deal of research published this year about the emerging adult population (the 18-25 set) saying that they are more narcissistic then ever before and their parents contribute to the idea they are “special” and should be famous despite the fact they may not have any talent, what are your thoughts on this need for fame at all costs?

ME: So frightening. Can someone tell those poor kids that finding their true talent and passion (I believe we all have one) is far more rewarding then faking someone else’s dream. I definitely think that both You Tube and reality television has encouraged people to seek out fame at any cost. Fame equals money and happiness in most people’s mind. Maybe someone needs to do a show about the aftermath; we can call it The 16th Minute.

I just read “Measure of a Man” by Sydney Poitier and I was blown away by his message. Everyone should read that book.

Q: In the business world there are pretty clear cut steps as to how to become successful, not so in the entertainment world, can you comment on that and the frustration about how much is out of your control, etc. Television is so subjective.

ME: In business you think in terms of bottom lines, return on investments (ROI), marketing, sales numbers and lots, and lots of statistics and charts. In television there is just your gut. I can’t really speak to this subject other than to say, I’m too new to the business.

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I still show up to every audition like I did my first….on time, over prepared, full of energy and now 10 times more confident. I still give 110% to every job whether it’s big or small.

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The Perfect Breakfast

I go through periods where I eat the same damn thing for breakfast/lunch everyday for two weeks straight. When that recipe is healthy, easy to make AND beautiful, I know it has to be shared!

Ingredients:

1 acorn squash

Organic eggs

Olive oil

Favorite hot sauce

Favorite egg garnish (cheese, scallions, salt, pepper…go nuts)!

Instructions for Roasting Acorn Squash (can be done a week in advance):

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Cut the top and bottom off the acorn squash. Cut the acorn squash in half and with a spoon remove all of the seeds and as much of the membrane as possible(that hairy looking stuff).
  3. Cut the Acorn squash into 1 inch rings
  4. Lightly toss the rings in olive oil
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  6. Place rings on parchment paper and sprinkle with salt and olive oil
  7. Roast for 35 minutes or until tender

When You Are Ready to Eat:

  1. Place a large non stick skillet (I prefer Circulon Symmetry) over medium heat. Coat evenly with just a enough olive oil to coat the pan.
  2. Gently press the acorn squash rings (2 at most) against the pan to create a seal with the olive oil.
  3. crack one egg into the center of the ring and cover the pan.
  4. Cook the egg to your preference (at least 3 minutes)
  5. Gently lift the squash and egg with a spatula.
  6. Garnish with your favorite egg toppings! I went with hot sauce. I am obsessed with this mayo free Terrapin Ridge Farms Spicy Chipotle Garnish 
  7. Enjoy!
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Escarole and Bean Soup to Warm the Soul

Escarole and beans. It’s the dish my mom always made me when I was sick. Best eaten with a big piece of crusty bread on a cold day! Sometimes the leafy greens are a bit intimidating for kids so I puree some of the soup and add orzo! Great way to sneak some greens into your kids diet.

Ingredients:

6 heads of escarole

5 cloves of chopped garlic

4 Tablespoons of olive oil

3 cans of cannellini beans (not drained)

3/4 cup of orzo

32 ounces of chicken or vegetable

Grated parmigiano or pecorino romano to finish

Ingredients For The Kid Friendly Version

All of the above + 1 cup of orzo cooked (according to the package instruction) and drained

ADULT VERSION

  1. Fill a large pot 1/2 way with water. Bring water to a boil
  2. Remove the white part of the escarole and discard.  Chop the leafy green part and rinse well.
  3. Add washed escarole to the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes or until all the greens have wilted. Drain the escarole and set aside. Note: I like boiling my escarole because I find that it removes the bitterness.
  4. In the same pot add the olive oil and chopped garlic.  Saute the garlic until it just starts to turn golden brown.
  5. Add back the escarole plus the chicken stock and beans.
  6. Let simmer for 10 minutes
  7. Ladle soup into a bowl, sprinkle grated parm and serve with a big piece of crusty bread!

CHILD FRIENDLY VERSION (with Orzo)

  1. Fill a large pot 1/2 way with water. Bring water to a boil
  2. Remove the white part of the escarole and discard.  Chop the leafy green part and rinse well.
  3. Add washed escarole to the boiling water and boil for 5 minutes or until all the greens have wilted. Drain the escarole and set aside. Note: I like boiling my escarole because I find that it removes the bitterness.
  4. In the same pot add the olive oil and chopped garlic.  Saute the garlic until it just starts to turn golden brown.
  5. Add back the escarole plus the chicken stock and only one can of beans. Let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes
  6. Using a emulsion blender blend the soup so that it still has some texture.
  7. Add the remain 2 cans of beans and the cooked orzo
  8. Ladle soup into a bowl, sprinkle grated parm and enjoy!
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