Food Bloggers and Their Favorite Celebrity Chefs

For the last 6 months, I’ve been running steady at 5 days a week. During these workouts, I’ve alternated between long runs, my longest being 10 miles, fartleks/interval runs, and speed runs. This schedule, although it may seem like a piece of cake for those in training, is a significant schedule for me, as a I juggle a full-time job, writing assignments on the side, two kids, and a husband.

I am now in the thick of my busy season as work – a season that lasts from September-November. As a result, I have decided to give myself a break. I’m cutting my running back to 4 days a week, which may not seem like much, but it frees up a whole morning of running for me, allowing me to sleep in (at least sometimes). I actually started running the 4-day a week schedule 2-3 weeks ago and have found that I not only am running better/stronger, but I am eating less and maintaining my healthy weight. Hmm…maybe 4-day a week runs will be a more permanent schedule? We’ll see!

Cookbook Giveaway Winner!

And now for the winner of the Simply Suppers Giveaway….that would be Erin from A Girl and Her Mutt! She commented…

I LOVE Cat Cora! It’s not often enough that you get to see a great female chef bring it hardcore like she does.

I am also a HUGE fan of Mario Batali.

Congratulations Erin! And a HUGE thank you to everyone for sharing the names of your favorite celebrity chef. Leave it to food bloggers to name them all – ha! There were so many names mentioned including Cat Cora, Mario Batali, Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, the Barefoot Contessa, and more. I have to admit, I got a little weepy when I read all of the chef names. I used to watch the Food Network and my favorites chefs all the time. Now that I don’t have cable, I barely watch any TV at all, including the Food Network.

Have a great night everyone 🙂

Interview with Iron Chef Cat Cora and Cookbook Giveaway!

The Chicago Gourmet held last weekend played host to many of Chicago’s famous chefs, including Rick Bayless and Jimmy Bannos, Sr. But the event also brought in other, more international chefs, including one Iron Chef – Cat Cora. During this event, I had the pleasure of chatting with Cat Cora about her latest book, how she gets her kids to eat new dishes, and about her new show on OWN – the Oprah Winfrey Network.

5 Minutes and 5 Questions with Iron Chef Cat Cora

1) When you’re not doing cooking shows and book tours, what’s a typical day like for you?

I get up with my kids (four boys under age 6), we eat breakfast together, get lunches ready for school, get everybody dressed, then wrangle everybody together to head to school. After that, I go to work in my home office. I also try to get in a workout, maybe a little yoga. Then we end up back at home and done with everything by 5 PM to eat dinner and spend some quality time together.

2) In your latest book, Cat Cora’s Classics With A Twist, you have a variety of flavor combinations and ethnic foods. How do you get your kids or kids in general to eat these ethnic foods and try different things? My kids don’t eat everything that I cook for them in this new book. There are some things that they’re just not ready for. It’s about getting them involved in meal planning and mealtimes, gearing the food toward them and actually getting them invested in the meal. If you get kids invested in the meal, they tend to eat more and eat more often, and they feel empowered because they can help make decisions about the meal. And this whole discussion with kids should be a 5-minute conversation not a two hour negotiation – give them two options and have them pick one.

3) How do you decide if/when a new recipe will be added to your restaurant menu?

You need to decide who your audience is first, which helps narrow things down. Then, you need to think about the style of restaurant you have and your concept. When we started the restaurant at Disney, we really had to look at things that were familiar to people. We couldn’t get too crazy or too out-of-the box because it is Disney. You get people from all over the world and there are a lot of different things that they like to eat. We’re about to open a sexy lounge with small plates at the Virgin America terminal at the San Francisco airport. That’s a whole different dynamic and a whole different audience.

4) If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?

I definitely know that I would want to perform. I would have definitey tried to go into acting of some kind. I also love to write, so maybe a novelist – and I can still do that, it’s in the future plans!

5) What’s on the horizon for Cat Cora?

I have a new show coming out in January 2011 on Oprah’s network – OWN (which stands for Oprah Winfrey Network). It’s an hour-long show, once a week. We can’t announce what it is or what the name is just yet, but it’s really about bringing families together about food and solving people’s dilemmas in the kitchen – very similar to an intervention show. I’m super excited about it.

Cookbook Giveaway

In keeping with the chef/cooking theme, I’m giving away a brand new book by another notable chef and author Jennifer Chandler. Her book Simply Suppers features homestyle comfort foods, such as potato soup and enchiladas, with a southern flair.

To enter the giveaway, you can either…

  1. Leave a comment on this post about who your favorite celebrity chef is and why OR
  2. Tweet/Retweet this post

You have until Tuesday, October 5 at 9 PM Eastern to enter. Good luck!

Sunday is Giveaway Time!

With such a busy travel schedule coming up, I find myself making tons of lists:

  • To do lists
  • Packing lists
  • Shopping lists
  • Clothing lists

…and so on. When making my lists, I try to keep them in the same notebook or folder, so that they are easy to find and refer to. However lately, I find that I’ve filled most of my little notebooks and have resorted to making lists on sticky notes or on Word documents on my computer. Although this helps get my items on “paper”, I’m not always in front of my computer and I tend to lose the sticky notes after a few days.  This obviously makes my life more hectic and stressful, and I definitely do NOT need more stress in my life right now!

In addition to lists, my schedule pretty much forces me to keep a detailed calendar/schedule for all of my trips, family functions, and other responsibilities. I really don’t like living my life on a schedule, but c’est la vie. This is the main reason I attended the Time Management session at the Healthy Living Summit a few weeks ago. I wanted to learn how to become a better time manager, although not a micro time manager. It was at HLS where I learned about the Quo Vadis day planners, notebooks, and other products that help make scheduling life easier.

For weeks now, I have been looking for a stylish yet functional notebook as well as a planner and had my eyes set Quo Vadis. The parent company of Quo Vadis, Exaclair, very graciously sent me several notebooks, mini-notebooks, planners, and notepads to try. Although I have not tried the planners as of yet (because they are for 2011) I’ve tried the Rhodia dotpad and the Clairefontaine magnetic journals. The dotpad is perfect for making lists – you can tear your list out and take it with you when you’re done, or you can leave it in the pad to save for reference. The Clairefontaine journal is equally handy for journaling daily thoughts, making “life lists”, etc. And what else I love about this journal is that it is hard cover and comes in a very Eurochic design, complete with a faint old-fashioned map of the Mediterranean…

The magnetic strip is a huge bonus – I don’t have to worry about it falling open or flapping around when I’m writing outside on my deck.

As you can see from the pictures above, I received way more Quo Vadis goodies than I can actually use. So you know what that means – it’s giveaway time!

Clairfontaine Journal Giveaway!

I will be hosting several giveaways on both RWC and Bistro Chic involving these awesome notebooks and planners in the coming weeks. The first giveaway will be for one of the stylish magnetic notebooks (the brown hardcover picture above). As I said before, it’s perfect for keeping track of your day-to-day thoughts and activities, and it’s also small enough to fit in your laptop bag or even your purse. So whenever you have a new idea to add to your list – voila! – just pull out your Clairefontaine journal and go to it.

There are two very easy ways to enter the giveaway for one of these awesome Clairefontaine journals:

  1. Comment – Leave a comment on this post tell me how you would use the journal if you won. Or
  2. Tweet – If you don’t have time to leave a comment, you can tweet this post out as a chance to enter.

You must do one of these two things by 9 PM Eastern, Wednesday, September 8, 2010 in order to enter.

I just had another great idea – I’m off to write in my journal!!

Good luck everyone!

And The Winner Is…

(Photo source)

And the winner of 27 Things to Know About Yoga is….Carrie from Simply Fitting Into My Life And My Old Jeans! And, what’s even better is that Carrie is a Mamavation mom, just like me! I swear it was not fixed. But seriously, all moms deserve something free and I think this yoga book will be great for her. Congratulations Carrie! I’ll be emailing you for your address so I can send you the book!

Thanks so much everyone for leaving comments to enter the giveaway. Look for more giveaways in the coming weeks!

I’m off to watch Psych on Hulu!

Eat, Pray, Love: My Culinary Journey

Happy Tuesday everyone! Over the last few days, I’ve really been getting into Eat, Pray, Love. Unfortunately, because I read before bed/in bed, I can only get through 5-6 pages at the most each night. But, I’ve finally made it through the “Eat” part. Of course, after reading this section, I now want to move to Italy and eat pasta and gelato all day long.

Inspired by the book, tonight I attempted to make an authentic Italian pasta dish. What that translates into is Jennifer going to Fresh Market and spending $17 on two blocks of fresh cheese in hopes that they will make her dish more “Italian”. Ok, I have never spent $17 on two (very small) blocks of cheese in my life! I can already tell that eating my way through Eat, Pray, Love (ie. eating the food from the countries mentioned in the book) will not be cheap. But then again, Indian food is basically rice and curry, so how expensive could that be?

Anyway, in the book, Liz talks about eating the traditional Italian pasta with cheese and pepper. The way she described it in the book sounded so simple but absolutely amazing! So, I combined pasta with a little olive oil and mixed in pecorino, parmesan, and asiago cheeses, along with roma tomatoes, peas, and tons of pepper. Oh yeah, and bacon. Sorry Italians, I did not have prosciutto in the house, so bacon it was. But we all know bacon makes everything taste better. It was probably not as close to traditional Italian pasta as I would have liked. It was more like a pomodoro sauce, light on the sauce and heavy on the tomatoes- but it tasted awesome!

Aside from wanting to eat pasta and gelato at every meal, I also want to go to Italy now more than ever. Actually, this is not really a good time to go considering every Eat, Pray, Love groupie will be traveling there in the next two years, similar to what happened with Under the Tuscan Sun. I wonder if India and Bali will see an influx of American visitors this year as well??

OK, must start my book travels to India. I am considering lighting a candle and reading it while sitting on a yoga mat. Is that too much?

Speaking of yoga….only one more day to enter my Yoga Giveaway! By leaving a comment on Sunday’s yoga post, you could win your very own copy of 27 Things to Know About Yoga. And quite honestly, who wouldn’t want to know that?

Have a great night everyone!

Yoga Book Giveaway!

Oh yoga, how I missed you! I finally made it to yoga after missing class for two weeks straight. I absolutely love the yoga instructor at my studio. I know I’ve said that before, but she is one of the reasons I get up so early on Saturday mornings, just to get there 30 minutes before class so I can reserve a space. Yes, she is THAT good! I happened to see her at Target last week (after I missed her class). I ducked into another aisle – I didn’t want her to remember I missed her class. Plus, Ms. M and Mr. C were not being very Zen-like. But, yesterday’s class was amazing as usual. We did quite a few hip openers, which I really needed since I did a bunch of lunges on Thursday morning and was still feeling it two days later.

And Speaking of  Yoga

Have you ever been in a yoga class and not understood what the instructor says? This happens to me more often than I like to admit. I usually just watch someone else in the class, hoping that I’ll catch on. I’ve also been in a situation where my instructor says something in yoga-ese (aka Sanskrit) and I’m just clueless. I find that nodding and looking very serious only goes so far. Well, if these things have ever happened to you, you’re in luck!

Last month, I received an awesome little book – 27 Things to Know About Yoga. Or, as I like to call it, everything you wanted to know about yoga but were afraid to ask, book. The book was sent to me for review, which I am totally grateful! I learned quite a bit from this book, despite it being only 176 pages. But that’s one of the real pluses of the book, it’s short, very easy to read, and provides just enough detail to make you feel smarter about yoga.

It’s All Sanskrit To Me

For instance, I finally learned what yoga mudra is! It’s a symbolic physical gesture usually made with the hands, ie. Hands together at heart center.  So yesterday, when my yogini said, “brings your hands into yoga mudra”, I nodded reassuringly and felt much better that I was not the clueless one in the room. I imagine a conversation with the lady next to me….Excuse me, do you speak Sanskrit? Why yes, I do.

Other Things I learned About Yoga

  • The types of yoga – It really is great for a quick review and follow-up reference, but not if you want to go really in-depth in one area.
  • Yoga Manners – For the most part, I follow good manners for yoga, according to what is spelled out in the book. Although, I have been guilty of leaving before the end of savasana – no one is perfect.
  • The teacher makes the student – I could have written this chapter!!! Although I totally know this from experience, the book really reinforced this principle.

Now, For the Yoga Book Giveaway!

If you want to brush up on your Sanskrit or want to learn about the limbs of yoga, you have the opportunity to do just that! I’m giving away one copy of 27 Things to Know About Yoga to one reader. How to enter the Yoga book giveaway – just leave a comment on this post, or retweet this post and voila….you’re entered! You have until Wednesday, August 4, at 10 PM Eastern to enter. Come on Healthy Living Summit attendees, show me some love!

Good night all and Namaste

So Many Books, So Little Time

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book just for fun and even longer since I’ve read a book cover to cover. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading books, but rather I read them in shifts – a few pages in one book one night, then a few pages in another book the next. I have so many partially read books, it’s crazy! And the craziest thing of all is that our house has a small library in it – no joke! Because I used to work for a company that promoted books, I have a ton of self-help books, although they are becoming quite dated. And, since I’ve been blogging, I receive at least one book a month in the mail to review. Most of the time, not all the time, I’m able to read through the book – not cover to cover but more than skimming – to write a decent review. However, I still don’t consider reading these books as leisure reading – most of the time, it’s work.

A few months ago, I noticed a new book in my office’s lunchroom library (where people bring books they don’t want) – Eat, Pray, Love. Of course I know this book has been out for years and will soon be coming out as a movie. My brother and sister-in-law actually gave me the hardcover book when it first came out. I really wanted to read it, but at the time, I had absolutely no time to read. I ended up taking the book back to the store. Even now, I have very little time to read. But when I saw the book in the lunchroom, I felt it was fate telling me that it was time to take a step back and make time to read it.

I brought the book home and it has literally been sitting on my bookshelf in my room for MONTHS. Aside from having no extra time to read, I’m a little nervous about reading the book. I know the premise of the book – it’s hard not to when it’s been out for so long and now it’s been turned into a movie. I’m nervous that it will reflect a lot of what is happening in my own life – fed up with my job, wanting to travel and see things, and wanting more out of life.

I’m convinced that if I read this book, it will make me either a) very depressed or b) want to quit my job and move to Europe with Scott and the kids 🙂

Well, it’s time to see how this story will begin and where it will lead.

I’m off to read….

The Bible of Berries

For the past week, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with all of the wild mulberries and blackberries I’ve picked near my house. Yesterday morning, after an awesome yoga session, I added a heaping cup of blackberries and mulberries to a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch (about 16 g of fiber total!), plus a handful of blueberries and strawberries. So yum! My kids were even asking for bites of my berry cereal bowl!

Even after my cereal, I easily have a full cup of mulberries left. Ironically, about 2 weeks ago, I received a complimentary copy of The Berry Bible in the mail. Apparently, this book has been out for a few years but this is the 2010 version. The Berry Bible is just that – a bible for all things berry! It has the lowdown on all of the popular berries, like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc. But it also covers the more obscure berries like huckleberries, lingonberries, and mulberries!

And the book tells you just about everything you need to know about berries, like when and how to pick them, how to wash and freeze them, recipes for making them into jam, pies, jellies, smoothies, etc. I only wish the book would have included pictures of the berries. I had to use the internet to find out what many of these berries look like. Overall, this book is definitely a keeper, especially if you eat berries as much as I do.

So what did I decide to do with my mulberries? I don’t really have enough to make jam – you need a few cups to do that. So, aside from eating them on my cereal (as pictured above), oatmeal, and on ice cream, the book says that I can freeze them – and that’s what I plan to do with whatever is left today!

Got Fiber?

(Photo Courtesy of Flickr)

A few months back, I received a complimentary copy of the book, The Full Plate Diet. The main premise of the book is that by adding more fiber to your meals you will essentially lose weight (because you will feel fuller, eat fewer calories, etc.). Since I received the book, I’ve been reading it intermittently. Although I do not believe that just eating more fiber can help you lose weight – and keep it off – I think that how much fiber we eat does impact how much we eat and, therefore, how many calories we take in.

In the past few days, I have been trying to add more fiber to my daily meals. On average, I was eating about 15 g of fiber a day, which is actually below average – most Americans eat around 20 g. The authors of The Full Plate Diet stress that our bodies need 40 g of fiber each day to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Wow, that meant that I had to add 25 g of fiber to my daily meals! I was convinced that I would have to eat prunes, sticks, and rocks in order to get that much more. That is, until I read more of the book. The Full Plate Diet gave me a great overview of foods and their fiber content, which was extremely helpful. I mean – who knew that raspberries have one of the highest fiber contents of all fruits?

So, yesterday was the big day. I attempted to reach 40 g of fiber without eating tree bark and without turning into a bloated monster….let’s see how I did:

Jen’s Fiber Intake for Monday


  • 1 cup Kashi Go Lean cereal – 8g
  • 1 cup raspberries – 8 g
  • 2/3 pear – 4 g


  • 3 cups mixed spinach and romaine – 6 g
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes – 1 g
  • 1 cup strawberries – 3 g


  • 3 cups mixed spinach and romaine – 6 g
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes – 1 g


  • 1/2 cup strawberries – 1.5 g

Total – 38.5 g of fiber

Just to clarify, this was not ALL the food I ate yesterday, just the food that had a significant amount of fiber. Because I ate other things during the meal, like couscous, I’m sure I surpassed the 40 g mark. Not too bad! But, I have to admit, getting this much fiber in my diet was a real challenge. I don’t normally eat a cup of raspberries at one sitting, nor do I eat two spinach salads in one day. I really think that a good way to jump start your fiber-filled day is with your breakfast. Just by eating the high fiber cereal and the raspberries, I was able to knock of 16 g of fiber – that was more than I would normally eat in a whole day. But, if it weren’t for Kashi and the fruit, I’m fairly certain my fiber intake would have been much lower for the day.

So how did I feel? Well, not too much differently than I normally feel. Although I did feel a more full throughout the day and I felt like I had more energy. I also did not crave food at my normal “snack times”, which I’m totally happy with.

If you’re curious about how much fiber you’re eating throughout the day, go to The Full Plate Diet online. The site has a great tool where you can select the food you’ve eaten at each meal and it will calculate the fiber intake – so easy and kind of fun in a weird “I heart fiber” kind of way. And, if you need to add in more fiber to your diet – let’s face it, we all do – check out the free e-book version of The Full Plate Diet. The books gives the top fruits, veggies, grains, etc that contain the most fiber and essentially give you the most bang for your calorie/fiber buck.

So, before your next meal, ask yourself – Got Fiber?

10 Things You May Not Know About Mireille Guiliano

Hello All! I am still so exhausted from yesterday! Running 7 miles then gardening for 5 hours really wiped me out!

If you haven’t already heard, I’ve posted my article featuring the interview with author Mireille Guiliano. In 2005, she released her first book, French Women Don’t Get Fat. Now, five years later, she has just released her fourth book – The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook.

To learn more about the new book as well as 10 Things You May Not Know About Mireille Guiliano, check out the article on Bistro Chic! See you all tomorrow…