Friday, September 25, 2009

They Say Good Food Comes in Threes

cover_large Isn't it funny how all of a sudden you have a theme in your life and you had nothing to do with it?  Over the past couple of weeks, that's been happening to me with cooking.  First off, many of you know I'm a Wii Enthusiast and just love video games.  I was totally pumped to be invited to an event being put on by The Food Network with Iron Chef Michael Symon.  The party was to announce the new Wii game, Food Network: Cook or be Cooked!  By Namco Bandai Games.  I had so much fun at the event.  First of all, I got to meet Chef Symon and spoke with him for a quite a few minutes.  He is so cool and such a fun guy.  He and I had a really funny exchange about Iron Chef America.  I asked him about the Chef line up at the beginning of the show.  I had heard that the chef's weren't really there if they weren't going to be competing in that show.  He confirmed that was true.  Then I asked him if he was going to take his model home to keep and to freak people out.  Turns out it's a real person who looks like the chefs, but is a stand in.  I had thought they were mannequins!  We both cracked up laughing.  See what you learn at these parties?

Namco Bandai had a bunch of plasma tvs set up with the game and we all got to take a turn.  You actually get to use the Wii controls as if you are cooking and using real utensils.  There are recipe challenges and you really learn how to cook and use proper professional technique.  The highlight forBRJ_2811 me was when Michael Morishita of Namco Bandai made a dish playing the game while Chef Symon made the exact same dish following along with the game, but in the demonstration kitchen!  It was so fun to watch them compete.  They both BRJ_2869 made a chicken broccoli stir fry from scratch.  The best part of the event was the fact that I really got to taste Chef Symon's stir fry.  On the way out, I received a couple of cool gifts: Food Network Magazine, which I didn't know about and a utensil from The Food Network products line that looks like a giant tweezers.  Food Network: Cooked or Be Cooked is coming out next month.  Stay tuned to my blog for a giveaway.

The second part of the cooking theme was when I was invited to have lunch with cookbook author Annabel Karmel.  I had actually heard Annabel interviewed on a radio show about cooking a few years back and was intrigued with her angle: Healthy cooking for kids.  In advance of our lunch meeting, Annabel's publisher sent over a sampling of her cookbooks (she has written about 20 of them!)  Some of my favorite titles: I Can Eat a Rainbow which is set up like a child's board book and shows fruits and vegetables in a colorful fun way. Mom and Me Cookbook which I really love because it actually shows photos of each step in the preparation of each recipe.  This is really helpful to someone like me, who isn't super confident in the kitchen AND children who are not yet able to read. 

Next I was off to The Ivy to meet Annabel for lunch.  Annabel is an absolutelyannabel_karmel lovely woman.  She is British and resides in London with her husband and 3 children.  Her motivation for launching her cookbook career was the tragic death of her first baby, Natasha.  She then became very over protective of what her next baby ate.  Her books are not just cookbooks, they contain many nutrition tips and information in a really manageable format.  Annabel's books are Sweet_and_Sour_Chicken_new extremely easy to read and fun to look at.  Chip and I made Sweet and Sour Chicken which was soooo easy to make, I was really surprised.  The recipes are for meals that the whole family can eat.  I highly recommend Annabel Karmel's cookbooks to anyone with kids.  You can find a lot of recipes on't Annabel Karmel just the best name for someone who writes cookbooks for children?

Now for number three!  My very good friend Maria works on the show Top Chef which was nominated for eleven Emmy Awards.  She invited me to be her guest at the Top Chef Emmy party!  It was so much fun and the food was my favorite, Mexican.  It was really great to meet the people Maria works with.  Top Chef is a fun show and the current season is underway.  New episodes every Wednesday night, check your local listings for times.
So now you see.....Good food does come in threes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Emmys and My Hair

Emmy I'm really excited because I'm going to an Emmy party on Sunday.  I love TV.  I mean, like a TV in every room, love TV.  Plus, having worked in Hollywood for years, I know a lot of people who are at the show and parties.  Famous and behind the scenes famous people.  Hollywood is a small town.  So, imagine the small town coincidence that happened to me at the BlogHer conference in Chicago in July:  I had been invited by Suave Professionals to stop by their booth to check out the Suave Professionals line of products and to get my hair done.  I sat down in stylist Anna Vidito's chair and learned that she is a stylist at Lukaro Salon in Beverly Hills.  The other stylist working with her was Luke O'Connor, owner of Lukaro, and celebrity stylist for Suave Professionals.  It just so happens that the only person I allow to touch my eyebrows, Robert Bolanos, is at Lukaro!  Anna, Luke and I all got a kick out of the connection.  I love Lukaro's space, it has a really unique, sunny, Spanish courtyard feel, right in the middle of Beverly Hills.  Everyone who works there is so nice and welcoming.  If you are in LA and want a fun, glamorous salon experience, book an appointment at Lukaro.  With that coincidental connection out of the way, Anna, set about helping me figure out an easy hair styling routine and explained how to do it and which Suave products to use.  When I even get the chance to wash my hair (that's what happens with two toddlers) I tend to just let it air dry.  Anna's tips showed me how I could actually do my hair in five minutes!  I even got full size samples of each of the products Anna used on my hair.  Later that evening I got a chance to speak with Anna and Luke again at the party Suave Professionals hosted at Roof on the Wit Hotel.  The party was a blast and The Wit is THE place to be in Chicago.  Luke, Anna and I got to talk more about The Suave SH-8p5oz-VolumizingRootLiftercopyProfessionals line.  Our conversation really gave me a whole new perspective on Suave.  To be honest, I tend to be a hair product snob, buying expensive products only available at salons.  The fact that Suave is available at stores and is less expensive is really appealing.  I'm really happy I got to use the products at home and create the same salon look that Anna gave me in Chicago.  This just proves that you don't have to buy expensive products to have great hair.

Here is where it all comes together:  The Suave team contacted me this week to tell me some fun news.  Actress Kate Walsh who plays Dr. Addison Montgomery on “Private Practice” is putting America in the stylists’ chair  and asking them to choose her hairstyle for the award show this Sunday!  Suave Celebrity Stylist Luke O’Connor will be styling her hair for the show, but first, she is asking fans to visit to view and vote for their favorite hair style for her to rock on the red carpet.  After voting, visitors can enter for a chance to win one of 100 red carpet swag bags and download coupons for Suave Professionals products.   They will also be sending out Luke’s tips on how to get the look after the show… so you can recreate it at home.  I swear, Luke and his team make it so easy to style your own hair.  Go ahead and vote for Kate's hairstyle, you can vote every day up until the Emmys.  I'll be on the lookout for Kate this Sunday.  Won't it be funny if we end up at the same party?  Luckily, I know how to do my hair...Even if I have no idea what I'm going to wear...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm in Sweden

No...Not Switzerland, Sweden. It amazes me how often Americans confuse the two countries JUST because they both start with "Sw". One of my pet peeves about Americans is that so many of us are absolutely terrible at geography. There, I've said it: I'm a geography snob. I can pretty much point out and name any country on an unlabeled map. Understanding geography is so vital to understanding wars, politics, culture and people. A tool that so many Americans sadly lack. Anyway, enough with my rant. I love my home and God Bless the USA.

However, my mother-in-law happens to live in Sweden so we are here for a visit. Sweden is a nice place, although very Swedish. I've finally got a few minutes to post because I'm at Bus Fabriken, an indoor play place that is nicer than any I've ever seen at home. It's also funny to look around and all the kids here look like The Village of the Damned. Ok, I'm off to climb a volcano with Chip!