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?

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). 

Think Outside the Gift Box

Need a few gift ideas that are out of the ordinary?  Here are some creative ideas I am sharing for several companies on my holiday TV tour!

  • For someone who constantly redecorates, SwitchArt Magnetic Frames and Prints, available exclusively at Art.com, are the ideal gift.  They can switch out magnetized prints on a magnetic frame base as often as they like, updating for each season!  Choose from thousands of art prints, or have Art.com convert your favorite photos to magnetized art to be displayed. 
  • Magazine readers will love the digital magazine app Texture, which gives unlimited access to more than 160 magazines – including back issues – for just $14.99 per month.  That is what you would pay to buy just three print magazines, but this includes all of your favorites.  From People, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair to favorite sports, home, fashion and food titles, literally thousands of magazine issues are at your fingertips on any iOS or Android device.  Since subscribing two years ago, Texture has saved me hundreds of dollars on print magazines - and literally lightened my load during frequent travels.
  • For a festive gift or delicious wine for your holiday party, stock up on Yellow Tail Bubbles Sparkling Wine.  At only $9.99 per bottle, it's easy to buy a case so you always have a few bottles on-hand for hostess gifts or unexpected guests.
  • People who love to entertain will enjoy state-shaped cutting boards from Bed Bath & Beyond that are fashioned from either bamboo or slate.  Use them to serve fruit and cheese, or display them to accessorize your kitchen.
  • Celebrate the 50th anniversary of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with an adorable Snoopy Cookie Jar Bouquet from Teleflora.  Seasonal flowers are nestled into a replica of Snoopy’s decorated house as seen in the classic Christmas show.
  • Fill that empty treat jar with all-natural Grain-Free PURE Chewy Pet Treats from CANIDAE.  With no corn, wheat, soy or fillers, they boast a simple ingredient list, so you actually know what you are feeding your pet! 

 

* Photos courtesy of Teleflora, Art.com, Texture, Yellow Tail, Bed Bath & Beyond, and CANIDAE.

On-the-Air: "Daytime"

My husband and I love to entertain year-round, but we especially look forward to Thanksgiving. This year, we are hosting dinner for 10 in our Manhattan apartment.  The turkey and ham have already been ordered, which frees me up to make veggies, other side dishes and homemade bread.  We also happily accept offers from guests to bring their favorite desserts!

A bit of planning can help you avoid the stress of organizing a large gathering.  Here are a few tips I shared for several companies on the "Daytime" show and "Good Day Chicago" to help simplify your holiday. 

  • Take inventory of your dishes, stemware, serving pieces and table linens.  Borrow or purchase any needed items now, instead of scrambling the night before Thanksgiving.
  • No need to buy and store multiple sets of dishes for each holiday.  Start with a basic set of white dishes such as open-stock Everyday White Rim Dinnerware from Bed Bath & Beyond, and accessorize the table with seasonal touches for each occasion.
  • Welcome guests with a savory assortment of limited-edition Daily Chef appetizers from Sam's Club.  No prep work is needed - just pop them in the oven while you prepare other dishes or greet your guests!  From bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin bites to caramelized onion and bacon pastry puffs, these appetizers look elegant and taste delicious.
  • For your own table or a hostess gift, Teleflora has gorgeous floral arrangements nestled into food-safe "vases" that can be used year-round.  The autumn blooms and elegant taper candles of the Bounty of Beauty Centerpiece are displayed in a beautiful hand-glazed stoneware bowl.
  • Don't stress about pairing a different wine with each course.  Simply choose one red and one white that go with everything.  Yellow Tail Big Bold Red has spicy flavors that complement the fall flavors on traditional holiday menus.  For a crisp white wine, Barone Fini Pinot Grigio is a food-friendly wine that pairs well with everything from appetizers through dessert.
  • Half an hour before guests arrive, take a bit of time to chill out.  Read a magazine, watch a holiday show or listen to music.  If you relax and enjoy the party, your guests will, too!  

Something Special for Mom

From gorgeous flowers and festive wines to products to help her look and feel her best, it's easy to find affordable and creative gifts for the special Moms in your life. Here are few ideas I shared for several companies on my Mother's Day TV segments.

 

 

* Photos courtesy of Teleflora, Boots, ATTITUDE, Eppa Sangria, Yellow Tail, Miracle Links, POSH Chicago, and Shari's Berries.