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.

Father's Day Gift Guide

I don't know about your father, but my dad likes gifts that are practical.  (Of course, like most dads, he'll tell you not to give him a gift, but that usually doesn't stop me).

So, I am excited to partner with several companies this year to share fun and practical gift ideas on my Father's Day TV segments!

On Mother's Day, we take moms and grandmas out to brunch or lunch.  But on Father's Day, the tables are turned, with grilling tools and equipment ranking among the most popular gifts.  Instead of taking Dad out to lunch, we send him outside to cook for us!  If you do that, why not give him the new Char-Broil Signature Gas Grill?  Whether he is experienced on the grill, or wants to cook like a pro on his first time out, this grill makes it easy, so he can relax and spend time with the family while cooking.  The adjustable cooking zones let you prepare different things at the same time - perfect for families where everyone likes something different - ensuring that everything gets cooked to juicy perfection. 

Photo courtesy of  Char-Broil .

Photo courtesy of Char-Broil.

Dad needs something to cook on that grill, like this Father's Day T-Bone Gift Package from Omaha Steaks.  It includes a 30-oz. T-bone steak (large enough to share!), eight ground beef sliders, Omaha Steaks' Signature Seasoning, four gourmet franks, potatoes au gratin, and a creamy New York-style cheesecake.  Order by June 13 to use ground shipping.  For last-minute gifts (or just dinner tonight!), check to see if they have a store nearby.

Photo courtesy of  Omaha Steaks .

Photo courtesy of Omaha Steaks.

For something special to drink, you can customize a free wine label for a bottle of Josh Cellars wine that includes his name, a special message, and photo.  Buy the wine locally, and go to their web site to create your label.  Be sure to opt in to have your label displayed on the Josh Cellars billboard in Times Square, and they will email you a photo of your billboard when it runs!  I already did one for Scott; this is what you will see.  And - the label and billboard are totally free, as long as you order your label by June 8 (otherwise, you'll have to pay for expedited delivery to get it before Father's Day).  How cool is that?

Speaking of personalized gifts, this elegant personalized tan leather toiletry bag from Personalization Mall is a stylish and practical way to help him stay organized when on the go.  Make sure you order by June 12 to do standard delivery.

Photo courtesy of  Personalization Mall .

Photo courtesy of Personalization Mall.

Finally, gifts don't get much more practical than this Gillette Fusion Razor.  It uses Gillette's advanced 5-blade technology for a close, comfortable shave without irritation (I can recommend this because Scott uses it, and loves it!).  This budget-friendly gift also reflects Gillette's lower pricing they announced earlier this year.  And since you can pick it up on a trip to Walmart, it's an ideal solution for a last-minute gift.

Photo courtesy of  Walmart .

Photo courtesy of Walmart.

So - how are you celebrating your dad this Father's Day?

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!


Getting Personal

If you’re trying to come up with a gift that won’t get returned, why not personalize your holiday gifts?  Here are a few ideas I am sharing for several companies on my holiday TV tour.  (The final one is the gift my husband and I give to everyone in his family!).

  • To frame a special photo or piece of art, does custom framing by mail for a fraction of what it costs in a framing shop.  To use their new service called Frame Your Art, first browse their large selection of frame styles and mats.  You can even upload a photo to see exactly how your art will look in the frame you choose!  They will then send you pre-paid packaging, which you use to ship in your art.  I love this idea, because you can frame photos, prints, diplomas, children’s art projects or any other art you want to display.  Prices range from $59 to $189, depending on frame style and size – and you get free shipping both ways!  Just make sure to send your art back by December 11 to get everything in time for the holidays.
  • Rag dolls are a classic Christmas gift, and I love the Christmas Rag Dolls from Personal Creations.  Not only can you have them personalized with a name, but you can give a doll that looks just like her!  Choose from Hispanic, African-American or Caucasian dolls, and the Caucasian dolls have either blonde, brunette or red hair.
  • Wine lovers will enjoy a bottle of Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Chardonnay customized especially for them.  Buy the wine locally, and then create a free custom label on their web site that is designed especially to fit the Josh Cellars bottle.  Order by December 13 to receive it in time for Christmas.
  • Photo books are special gifts that will be appreciated for years.  Each Christmas, we “surprise” my husband’s family with what is known as the Sewell Family Yearbook, a photo book featuring hundreds of family photos from the previous 12 months.  Throughout the year, I collect pictures from family, and organize them into a photo book on Shutterfly.  It’s a great way to get pictures out of the computer and out where people can actually enjoy them.  The best part?  Sitting around the tree at Christmas, paging through the books and sharing memories of the last year. 


* Photos courtesy of Personal Creations,, Josh Cellars, and Shutterfly.