National Cheeseburger Day

I love to celebrate holidays.  So I was excited to have the opportunity to grill up a segment at CBS San Francisco this morning in honor of National Cheeseburger Day, which is September 18!

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To make the day a bit more festive, I worked with a couple of companies to pair up wines with favorite cheeseburgers.  Omaha Steaks has almost two dozen different types of burgers, so I chose six burgers, piled them high with toppings and cheese, and matched them up with some favorite wines from Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits (White Plains, NY).

Here are the pairings shown in the segment.  Cheers!


* Burger photos courtesy of Omaha Steaks.

On-the-Air: Los Angeles

I made a quick trip to L.A. this week (if you can define a "quick trip" as consisting of two five-plus hour flights, both of which had extensive delays) - to chat about Valentine gifts at CBS L.A.  

I absolutely love working with the people at the "KCAL News at Noon" - and always look forward to catching up with everyone!

Pro tip for TV appearances: show up with lots of treats!  In this case, two gorgeous rose bouquets, three dozen gourmet brownies and several bottles of wine - along with other fun and creative gift ideas for your Valentine.  

Here is the full segment from Tuesday.  For details on everything shown, check out this Valentine gift guide.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Game Day Party (Football Optional)

When it comes to football, I have to admit that I've never been a huge NFL fan.

But I can always get on board for throwing a party!  So with The Big Game coming up in less than two weeks, I am getting my game on for a Super Bowl segment this week in Portland.  

Here are a few of the yummy foods and drinks I am showing for several companies.  Happily, the crew is always eager to help "clean up" the display after the segment wraps.

We have been ordering steaks from Omaha Steaks for forever.  In addition to their yummy burgers and franks, this Fan Favorite Finger Food assortment includes game-day faves like bacon-wrapped pepper jack shrimp, artisan steak flatbread, Buffalo chicken wings - along with the absolutely essential gourmet franks in a blanket. (all photos from Omaha Steaks). (Photos courtesy of Omaha Steaks).

For guests who do not eat meat, Sweet Earth Natural Foods has an array of super-flavorful appetizers and entrees that are all made from plant-based proteins and natural ingredients.  For an easy appetizer platter, serve an assortment of international burritos such as the Curry Tiger (with flavors of turmeric, cinnamon and cardamom), the Kyoto (with sesame) and the Get Cultured, a Korean-inspired blend of seasoned tofu, cabbage, red peppers, edamame and ginger.  (These are all so yummy, you'll want to make plenty for your meat-eating friends as well!) (Photos courtesy of Sweet Earth Natural Foods).

Continue the international theme with Sweet Earth's easy entree bowls, in 12 flavors ranging from a curry Chana Masala to Bean and Mango Cubano to General Tso's Tofu - a healthier hack of what is normally a very heavy dish.

These burritos and entrees are all simply heat-and-eat, but if you want to make a recipe or two from scratch, you can make these savory Benevolent Bacon Potato Skins that use Sweet Earth's Benevolent Bacon (it is made with seitan, a protein made from wheat that cooks and crisps up like bacon).  Load up potato skins with beans, corn, jalapeno, avocado, lime and tomatoes - and top them off with chunks of the bacon.  All of these Sweet Earth products are readily available at stores like Walmart, Target, Whole Foods and more, and you can check out their web site for store locations and more recipes. (all photos from Sweet Earth).

Judging from the commercials, you'd think all anyone drinks during the game is beer.  But - surprise! - wine is quickly becoming the drink of choice for many, especially as more women watch the game and host parties.  For people who love organic products - or just a great Sangria - Eppa Sangria is a perfect match for burritos and other Sweet Earth foods.  For a food-friendly wine that goes with just about everything, Barone Fini Pinot Grigio is full-bodied enough for heavier appetizers, but will not overwhelm the lighter fare - if you have any - on your Super Bowl menu. (Photo courtesy of Eppa).

In my opinion, sparkling wine is great for any occasion - and what better time to break out the bubbly than for Super Bowl?  Yellow Tail Bubbles is a perfect pairing with all of the savory fare on your menu, and at only about $9.99 per bottle, it's easy to stock up for a crowd. (Photos courtesy of Yellow Tail).

Finally, Party City is great for one-stop shopping for table decor.  From football-themed partyware to decorations, it's easy to style a great gridiron-themed party - whether or not anyone watches the game.

Do you actually watch the game - or are you all about the food and commercials?

Keeping It Simple

'Tis definitely the season for open houses and parties.  While we have people over quite frequently, I don't always have a lot of time to do elaborate preparations.  Especially this time of year, when I usually have just a couple of days at home between long stretches of time on the road on TV tour.

Happily, I grew up in a house in which my parents entertained a lot.  One of the tricks I learned from my mom was to prepare as much as possible in advance, so you can actually spend time with your guests.  Whether it was a small dinner party or an open house for 100, Mom always had everything under control - and would be ready long before the first guests arrived.

This week, I had a great time sharing ideas for easy holiday entertaining for Sam's Club and Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits (Stamford, CT) on several shows.  When it comes to food and drink pairings, keeping it simple is definitely the way to go.  Even better, Sam's has a lot of ready-made appetizers and desserts, so you can keep your kitchen time to a minimum!  Here are a few ideas:

Food styling by  FoodStyl.

Food styling by FoodStyl.

Sparkling wine is festive for any occasion - especially the holidays.  The crisp flavors of Enza Prosecco ($14.99) pair nicely with tomato bruschetta, bacon-wrapped dates, and the creaminess of a wheel of brie topped with roasted pineapple and habaňero sauce.  Or, try this cranberry-orange baked brie.

A food-friendly white wine, Barone Fini Pinot Grigio ($11.99) goes with just about anything, but is especially nice with seafood like a shrimp tray with cocktail sauce.  It also brings out the creaminess of desserts like Sams' Member's Mark pumpkin cheesecake or Italian creme cake.

A full-bodied red wine such as Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon ($16) and whiskey like Redemption Rye ($29) definitely call for heavier fare.  Pair these up with hearty foods like beef tenderloin skewers, BBQ or beef sliders, or a block of sharp cheddar cheese and crackers.  Red wine is also a fabulous pairing with chocolate, whether you prefer yummy sea salt caramels or a decadent red velvet cake.

Cheers to the holidays!

Thanksgiving Made Super-Easy

Scott and I are gearing up for one of our favorite holiday traditions: hosting several friends for Thanksgiving dinner.

While I generally make pretty much everything from scratch - including tons of leftovers for us and for people to take home - this year is a bit different because I am doing TV appearances both Thursday and Friday morning.

So - ready-made items to the rescue!

If you're in a similar boat this year, I shared some quick and easy Thanksgiving dinner ideas for Omaha Steaks, Teleflora and Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits (Stamford, CT) on today's "Daytime" show.  Click on the photo to see the full segment, and check out details below.

With "Daytime" co-host Jerry Penacoli.  Food styling by  FoodSTYL Tampa Bay .

With "Daytime" co-host Jerry Penacoli.  Food styling by FoodSTYL Tampa Bay.

If you don't feel like cooking everything from scratch this year, you can order a complete turkey and trimmings dinner from Omaha Steaks.  You still need to cook the 10-pound turkey that comes with it, but all of the sides - yummy sage stuffing, green bean casserole, smashed red potatoes, and turkey gravy - are all ready to heat and eat.  It even comes with a pumpkin pie.  If you prefer to customize your own meal, you can "build your own" meal for four, six or 10 people - choosing from a delicious assortment of savory meats, scrumptious sides and delectable desserts.

To accompany that meal, Barone Fini Pinot Grigio is a food-friendly white wine that complements many dishes on a traditional holiday menu.  For guests who prefer red wine, Josh Cellars Pinot Noir is a nice match for red meats and heavier dishes on the table.  Sparkling wine is perfect for any occasion, and greeting guests with a flute of Enza Prosecco will get any party off to a festive start.

For your own table or an ideal hostess gift, the gorgeous flowers in Teleflora's Autumn Gathering Centerpiece are nestled into a food-safe artisanal stoneware bowl/vase that can be used year after year.

Happy Thanksgiving!