Sandra Lee is a name we all know and love. You all may know her as the host of two highly rated television shows on Food Network - Semi-Homeade Cooking with Sandra Lee and Sandra's Money Saving Meals - she also host Sandra Lee Celebrates on HGTV. We were so lucky to sit down with the internationally- acclaimed home and food expert, not to mention a semi-homeade goddess! Check out our chat to see just what she has been up to, how she does it all and what to expect for the future.
You have written 20 books, host two incredibly popular Food Network shows, and are editor-in-chief of Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade magazine. You accomplish more in a year than most people accomplish in their whole life! As an incredibly busy person, how do you manage the work/life balance that everyone strives for?
My work is a huge part of my life, but at the same time, I do not consider it work because I love what I do. I really do live my life the Semi-Homemade way. Not only is it a practical way to cook, it is a lifestyle that allows you to live your life simply and to the fullest. Using savvy shortcuts gives you more time to spend with your family and loved ones, which is something I truly cherish.
When do you find the time to write your books or create recipes or material for your shows or magazine?
I am always thinking about the consumer: what does he or she need to make everyday easier and more enjoyable? I always think about my sister Kimber or my best friend Colleen, both who are amazing mothers balancing work and family. If an idea won't work for them, I won't do it. Even if I am out having dinner at a fancy restaurant, I like to see how I can transform this gourmet, restaurant-cooked dish into something that can be easily made at home with ingredients you can just pick up at a local grocery store.
It must be said, you're incredibly beautiful and always look amazing. Do you have any semi-homemade beauty secrets you can share with our readers?
Thank you! I use beauty and body care products that you can typically find at any drugstore or department store. I love Loréal makeup, and I rely on Lubriderm to keep my skin soft and moisturized. Of course, another part of looking good is eating healthy, which should not require you to spend hours in the kitchen or a fortune at the supermarket. When you're shopping, you can buy the lighter versions of full-fat products. When you cook, use methods like steaming, poaching and broiling to reduce the use of fat. Be selective about starches - choose good carbs like whole grain breads and pastas. Most of all, enjoy what you eat.
If everyone had to have 5 ingredients stocked in their kitchen at all times what would they be?
One of my favorite shortcuts is using Bisquick, which saves all the time you spend mixing flour, baking soda, salt and shortening. It's super versatile, so you can make deep dish style pizza, chicken pot pie, breaded pork chops, cupcakes, cookies and so much more. I also like to stock up on ground sausage in the freezer to substitute ground beef because it has so much more flavor. A diverse supply of seasoning also easily helps turn bland meals to brilliant. McCormick has a great line - their pumpkin pie spice is my go-to seasoning. Stock up on frozen vegetables and refrigerated mashed potatoes, which are easy side dishes that help complete any meal.
Do you have a favorite recipe or a favorite episode on the Food Network from Semi-Homemade?
I am thrilled with the new episodes of Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, which premiered on September 12. I also always have tons of fun doing my Halloween episodes - it is my favorite holiday and I get to dress up in all these amazing costumes. You'll have to tune in to see what I have in store for you this year.
Your involvement in several charitable organizations such as Unicef and God's Love We Deliver (and many others), as well as your spokesperson status for Share our Strength's Great American Bake Sale and Operation Frontline is admirable. How do you decide which organizations to become involved in, and how has this changed your life?
It is so important to give back. I grew up living on welfare and using food stamps to put dinner on the table for my younger siblings, so I know firsthand just how much charity can help. I am very passionate about Share Our Strength, which involves Americans to work to end childhood hunger. No child should be growing up hungry. I'm proud to be a part of Share Our Strength, and it's made me even more appreciative of what I have today.
How can we find out more about these organizations or become involved?
You can easily find out about Share Our Strength and other organizations on their websites, which are linked from my own website, www.sandralee.com. I encourage everyone to get involved - a little goes a long way.
What is up next for you?
I'm currently busy working on my two new cookbooks, Semi-Homemade Comfort Food and Semi-Homemade The Complete Cookbook, which will be released in the fall. Semi-Homemade The Complete Cookbook is my biggest cookbook yet, with 500-plus pages of all-time favorite and brand new recipes. Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee will also be re-launched in September. This time, I will be using 70% FRESH ingredients and only 30% pre-made ingredients in my recipes for healthy and delicious meals. There is a lot to do, but it is all very exciting.
1. I love Mexican food.
2. My favorite color is white.
3. I grew up in Washington state.
4. My Grandma Lorraine who raised me is my biggest inspiration.
5. I am the big sister of 5 siblings.
All things Sandra
Sandra was so kind to send us a few of her latest cook books that we are just dying over along with her latest magazines! Rush out now and grab her Halloween issue -- it has some great ideas if you are throwing a Halloween bash and some awesome recipes! We truly thank Sandra for everything - she is an inspiration to us all!