I’m having my favorite. This is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and full disclosure, it’s the same bottle that I’ve had open for about the last four nights. I have my little, tiny glass every evening.
Iris goes to bed at seven o’clock, pretty much like clockwork. She has a very strong internal clock it seems, and then I get to have my evenings. I usually pop some popcorn, watch some Bravo and just chill out.
It’s a huge adjustment and honestly, I can’t remember what life was like without her. It’s the greatest love and it’s overwhelming. It’s all consuming. All I can think about is how much I love this little, tiny human. Physically, it has been challenging for me. I had a rough recovery. I had a really hard time healing and spent four or five weeks thinking, “Well, this is just how you feel, I guess.” Finally, I went back to the doctor and my doctor said, “Yeah, you’re not quite healing right.” So, thank goodness I went back. I think if it hadn’t been COVID, I probably would’ve gone right back to the doctor. I was afraid to go anywhere at that point because we were at the height of things with no vaccines yet.
That was tough. I couldn’t exercise and it took me longer to get back to that point. Exercise had always been such a huge part of who I am. I loved my workout routine, so I was missing that and missing that connection to my body. I was just grabbing whatever I could eat and not carving out any time to cook anything healthy.
In November I started doing WW, and that just helped me remember how to eat again. It helped me think about finding those fruits and vegetables and nourishing my body. In January I became one of their ambassadors. It was awesome to do something and love it, and then start working with them. I got back into my workout routine. It’s about finding those little pockets of time to do it.
I love that you are sharing what has served you with WW and helping other women. Do you feel strong today?
There are times when I’ll feel completely exhausted and I think, “Am I ever going to feel rested again?” And then, the other day I slept 10 hours and felt like an amazing human being. You have days where you feel like you’re thriving and days where you feel like you’re surviving. On those thriving days it’s like, “Yes! I got up. I had my fruit bowl, I made my big kale salad for lunch and then I cooked a fabulous dinner. And the baby likes what I’m making her and my husband is happy, and we’re all, ‘yay.”
And then I have a day where I think, “Just give me the bag of potato chips. I’m not working out.” But I think that’s how everybody is.
I really appreciate your honesty. We could look at you from far away— not knowing you— and think, “Oh my God, this amazing career and this gorgeous husband and this beautiful, healthy baby. And she’s got all the things.” But you, like all of us, there are the good days, there are the bad days. And you just have to keep showing up. Right
100 percent. I try to keep it real on social media because I’ll look at some people’s social media sometimes and think, “How does she have it so figured out?” You have to remember that people are people.
I read a headline that said, “Katie Lee Biegel gets back to her pre-baby weight.” When you read a headline like that, how do you feel about it?
A headline like that makes me roll my eyes and laugh because it’s taken out of context. I posted on Instagram talking about how the number on the scale was back to what it was before I had a baby, but my body has changed so much. It’s the same number on the scale, but I’m two sizes bigger than I was. My hips are wider. I don’t have exactly the same body as I did before. I don’t know that I ever will, and that’s okay. That’s what we have to accept. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when I looked in the mirror and thought, “Gosh, I wish that my old jeans fit me.” I’ve got this closet full of designer clothes that don’t fit me anymore. But the reality is, it doesn’t matter what that number is. It’s how you feel, that’s what’s important.
I think one of the other beautiful things about motherhood is that it’s really romantic looking at your partner in a new way, through a new lens of him becoming a father. What has that been like for you and your marriage creating a family?
Oh my gosh. You’re so right. To watch the love and the bond form between my husband and Iris, it makes my heart explode. I love seeing the two of them. Of course, she says, “Dada.” That’s the only word she says. I’m like, “Come on, say mama.” But she loves him and idolizes him so much. When we first had her, I saw him in a totally different light. He was seeing me in a different light and it made us have this totally different connection. You used the word family. That’s really what it feels like. It really feels like family.
You’re back at it filming “The Kitchen” on Food Network and have a new cookbook, “It’s Not Complicated.” What is your mindset as it pertains to getting back to work and your career?
The week that my book came out was the same week that I had to go back in the studio for the first time. It was everything at once and it felt like, “Train is leaving the station… got to just hold on.”
Maybe that was the best way to jump in, with both feet. I really enjoyed going back to work. I was so nervous to go. I thought that I was going to be so sad. Yes, I missed Iris, but it felt so invigorating to be back. Maybe it was also from being home for so long and not being able to see people. It was great to be back with my crew and my co-host. I had fun. It almost felt like a little bit of a vacation.
Sometimes I’m impressed with what I do in the kitchen and sometimes I’m adventurous and screw it up. Tell us about the new book, “It’s Not Complicated: Simple Recipes for Every Day” — I’m hoping this book is for me?
This is the book for you, Catt. It’s not complicated. I truly believe that anybody can learn how to cook. It’s all about picking the right recipes. I don’t like to cook complicated recipes. If I look at a book and there’s a big, long list of ingredients, and two pages on how you have to do it, and it takes five hours…. “Next.” I have no interest in that. I like simpler foods. I love a great roast chicken. I tell you exactly how to do it in the book, and it’s very simple.
The other night I made grilled swordfish and chopped up some fresh tomatoes and put a little capers and olive oil in there. Easy. Really simple recipes, and great little hors d’oeuvres. Go buy a pack of prosciutto and bake it in the oven; it gets nice and crispy. Serve that with a glass of champagne and you’ve got a great little cocktail hour going. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s simple.
What would surprise people to learn about what’s really going on from the production side of bringing a cooking show to life?
Cooking shows feel so intimate, like it’s just you and that other person in the kitchen, hanging out and eating. But there’s such a big production going on. On “The Kitchen,” we have between 70 and 80 people working on the show. There are two culinary teams. There are five of us cooking. People think it’s just you and a camera, but there’s really a lot going on. And a lot of planning. I had a production call today planning Christmas menus. We were planning for episodes through February. I always feel like my calendar goes by so quickly, because it’ll be July and I’ve already made a turkey. Thanksgiving rolls around, and I think, “Didn’t I already do this?” One year, I had made seven turkeys by the time Thanksgiving came.
So what is the best way to make a turkey? Are we deep frying it? Are we brining it?
Well, I would say, it’s not complicated. Don’t make it complicated on yourself. I like to keep a turkey real simple. I do an herb butter under the skin, and my number one secret to a beautiful turkey that tastes great is in your basting liquid. Add a little bit of maple syrup. Just a couple of tablespoons. It will make your turkey look like it came off the cover of a magazine. The sugars caramelize and turn to this nice golden brown. It gives your turkey this little hint of something extra.
[Audience Q/A – Jodi]
When you were talking about eating the bag of chips, I totally relate to that. When you’re in those moods, what’s your favorite “go-to, quick, good-for-you meal” to resort to?
I love a sheet pan supper. I preheat the oven to 425 [degrees]. I always put a piece of parchment paper on the sheet pan so that my cleanup is easy. And then I’ll look in the fridge, and think, “What do I have in here?” I take whatever vegetables, add an onion, chop it up, toss it with about a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper, put it on the sheet pan. If I’ve got a protein like chicken, I’ll cut it into a similar-sized chunk, throw it on there. Or just leave it as the vegetables and do that with whatever kind of grain. I usually keep a cooked grain in the refrigerator as well; I’ll make a pot of rice and just keep it in there so that I can take a scoop of that and add those roasted vegetables with a can of beans and some hot sauce.
[Audience Q/A – Mel]
I am also a WW member. Sometimes when I share anything about the fact that I’m on a wellness journey, whether it be with friends or on social media, I sometimes get a little pushback or diet shame. When you share your wellness journey publicly, how do you describe your WW experience to people?
When somebody says something negative or I see a headline that doesn’t really agree with what I think, I just let it roll off my back. I’ve been in the public eye for a long time now and I’ve learned that you just can’t care what other people have to say. I remember when I was 21, someone said to me, “You better get a thick skin and get it fast.” And it’s like, “Why?” It’s a great thing to want to be healthy and take care of yourself. You only get one body, and you have to take care of it. It feels so good. I feel fulfilled by that. If it’s making you feel good, then don’t let anybody give you any hard time about it. Just say, “You do you, I’ll do me.”
[Audience Q/A – Sophia]
What are your go-to top five condiment staples, your flavor bombs?
I love flavor bombs. You keep these things in your pantry, and you can change up any dish. I always have capers. Capers and garlic and lemon, you can go that route for a dish. I also always have red curry paste and green curry paste, because I can take those with canned coconut milk and either make a quick curry, or I’ll do a marinade of red curry paste and coconut milk and I’ll marinade meat in it and then grill it. Or you could make a vinaigrette and add just a little bit of the curry paste to it to have a totally different flavor.
Miso paste is a really big one for me, we love miso paste in this house. So, whether we’re doing a miso fish– or I actually, I put miso in my chocolate chip cookies, and that is a total game changer.
This might not be a totally popular one, but anchovies kick up everything. If you’re making a sauce and you put some anchovies in there, or in a salad dressing, I always tell people, “I promise you, it doesn’t taste like fishy anchovy; it just bumps it up.” And Parmesan cheese, Parmesan cheese adds to everything, too. Last night for my daughter, I made Parmesan cheese and bread crumb crusted chicken. I mean, chicken fingers essentially, but having the Parmesan in there just made them so good.
I have to follow up with the miso chocolate chip cookies. Miso paste in the chocolate chip cookies? How much?
I put a third cup of miso paste into my chocolate chip cookie dough. When you taste the cookies, you think, “Why do these taste so extra chocolatey and have this little hint of salt?” Kind of like salted caramel, it’s so good. Having that just adds this depth of flavor and it makes the texture of the cookie. I love a chewy cookie that’s almost cookie dough-ish. It does that to the cookie.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
Nora Ephron. I would love to sit and have a drink with her. I was going through my phone yesterday and I went back to when we were getting married. I screenshotted this quote that Harry says to Sally, about everything he loves about her; how she orders a sandwich, how her nose crinkles and all of that. We actually had that read at our wedding. My best friend did a reading of it. Nora Ephron is my favorite writer ever.
Thank you so much for hanging out with us. You’re darling and that was so fun.
I love talking to you Catt, and I love talking to your audience and those were great questions, and this was a lot of fun. It kind of felt like I got to go out with some girlfriends and gossip and hang out.