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!

 

Trick-or-Treating, New York City-Style

In New York City, most Halloween trick-or-treating happens during the day and in commercial areas.  Shops, dry cleaners, florists, restaurants and other small businesses load up on candy - and adorably-costumed children trick-or-treat along the avenues and major side streets after they get out of school that afternoon.

I've never been much of a competitive costume person, but we love hosting trick-or-treaters.  Where we live - and in most other Manhattan apartment buildings - residents sign up to host trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, and families who live in the building are given the list so they know which apartments are participating.  We have a lot of young families among our 22 floors, and it's always fun to see the children - and to say hi to the parents who accompany them.

I pick up fun ideas for treats and decorations from my Halloween segments, and here are few things I am showing for several companies on TV shows this week.

I had never used "coffin" and "cute" in the sentence - but how cute is this Mars "Candy Coffin" from Sam's Club? Six full pounds of miniature, bite-sized Snickers, Twix, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers and Starburst candies. Your neighborhood goblins - and the parents who raid their candy stash - will love you for this.

(Calories eaten on TV don't count, right?  Pro tip: 3 Musketeers are easiest to eat on-camera.  No sticky caramel or nuts.)

With host Erin Kienzle at Charleston's "Lowcountry Live."

With host Erin Kienzle at Charleston's "Lowcountry Live."

If you need a hostess gift for a party, or just want something festive for your own home, these Halloween arrangements from Teleflora fit the bill - and they have great vases you can reuse again and again. (Photos courtesy of Teleflora).

Finally, hands-down, the best wines for Halloween.  Check out the bottles; Hob Nob does their Limited Edition Wicked Red Blend and Wicked Chardonnay with seasonal labels!  Not only are these full-bodied wines delicious and affordable ($11.99), but they have twist tops - ideal for hostess gifts or easy-serving at your own party. (Photos courtesy of Hob Nob Wines).

Happy Halloween!

Grillin'...and Chillin'

Summer weather always makes me want to fire up the grill.

Since we live in a 15th floor apartment in New York City, our "grill" consists of a cast-iron Le Creuset grill pan.  But with great burgers and seasonings - and a husband who temporarily takes down the smoke alarm when I cook burgers or steaks - that's all I need.  (Two minutes on the white-hot grill pan - and those meats are sizzlin').

But what to drink?  If you want to enjoy your burgers with something a bit more festive than lemonade and iced tea - opening a great but affordable bottle of wine can make it a special occasion.  

There is no rocket science to choosing wine to go with your burgers.  Heavier meats like filet mignon pair best with heavier (higher alcohol content) wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, while a light-bodied (lower alcohol content) wine such as Sangria enhances and balances the lighter flavors of a veggie burger.

If you are celebrating the start of summer or the Fourth of July with a cookout, here are a few burger and wine pairings I am showing for Omaha Steaks and Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits (Stamford, CT).  Each of these wines checks in between $10 and $18:

Here's a look at yesterday's segment on KSDK's "Show Me St. Louis" (click on photos to see clips):

And a similar segment from "Sonoran Living" on ABC Phoenix:

Cheers!

#OneToughMother

Wanna tell the world what makes your mom, grandma, aunt, sister or other mother in your life so special?

This Mother's Day, I partnered with Teleflora and several other companies on TV segments to share new twists on a few classic Mother's Day gifts.

In addition to sending Mom one of these gorgeous bouquets, you can give her an extra "shout-out" on social media.  On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - simply tag #teleflora and describe why your Mom is #OneToughMother. (Photos courtesy of Teleflora).

In addition to flowers, whose mom doesn't love chocolate?  This 18-Piece Assorted Chocolate Gift Box from Godiva's 90th Anniversary Collection includes classic Belgian chocolates from each decade - plus a new raspberry ganache with hints of rose petals that is encased in rich, dark chocolate.  Those white praline hearts in the middle of that box are my personal favorites.  Yum! (Photos courtesy of Godiva).

Pair that chocolate with a rich, Napa Valley Merlot from Joseph Carr Wines.  If Mom enjoys white wine, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc from The Crossings is refreshing in warm weather, while Barone Fini Pinot Grigio pairs nicely with most foods on your Mother's Day menu. (Photos courtesy of Joseph Carr Wines, The Crossings, and Barone Fini).

How do you plan to celebrate Mother's Day?

I (Heart) Valentine's Day

Before I met my husband, I was kind of indifferent to Valentine's Day.

The day was never a downer - but it just didn't always seem relevant to me.

Happily, the day has now evolved into a time to celebrate everyone important to us - not just romantic relationships.

For some cute gift and treat ideas for everyone in your life, I am excited to partner with several companies for my Valentine's TV tour.

Candy has never been this cute - customize your M&Ms with personal photos and sweet messages. (Photos courtesy of M&Ms).

Little girls will (heart) these sparkly Skechers (unfortunately, they don't make them in my size). (Photos courtesy of Skechers).

For fashionistas, this Michael Kors watch is a gorgeous statement piece,  while music lovers will love these red Beats headphones - both available on eBay. (Photos courtesy of eBay).

Think outside the chocolate box, with healthy, kid-friendly treats that are sweet, seedless and easy-to-peel. You can also use these Wonderful Halos in yummy Valentine's Day recipes. (Photo courtesy of Wonderful).

Don't forget tasty all-natural treats for your four-legged friends ($6.39) from CANIDAE. (Photos courtesy of CANIDAE).

For a “Gal-entine’s Day” gathering with girlfriends, this festive Yellow Tail Pink Moscato ($7.99) pairs nicely with chocolate.  For the guy who enjoys whiskey, a bottle of Redemption Rye ($29.99) is an elegant addition to his bar. (Photos courtesy of Yellow Tail and Redemption).

Teleflora's bouquets come in unique vases that can be used long after the flowers are gone. The Lovely Hearts bouquet (far left) is perfect for your mom, sister or best friend, and includes this adorable over-sized mug - perfect for long talks over coffee or tea. (Photos courtesy of Teleflora).

Since we got married, Scott and I have always cooked dinner together at home on Valentine's Day.  We love going out to dinner at other times, when New York restaurants are less crowded and noisy - and they don't inflate prices compared to a normal night!  For an easy and elegant dinner, this "Romantic Dinner In" package ($84.99) from Omaha Steaks includes Chateaubriand, Lobster Tails, Smashed Red Potatoes and Sea Salt Caramel Brownies for dessert.  Yum! (Gorgeous food styling by Kat Barrott of Food Styl Tampa Bay).