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Before we all go into a cheese/charcuterie-induced coma in the coming weeks, I wanted to circle back and remind you of my favorite event planning tip (coming from an ex-professional planner)…remember that this is all less about WHAT is on the table, and more about WHO is around it. The stress of holiday planning can ruin the party (literally) so I hope by reading this you feel inspired, find some things you love, but more so that you feel like this season is all about the joy of being together. At a fancy dinner, on a chic weekend getaway, or sitting in your PJs with girlfriends watching terrible Lifetime movies…these are all forms of celebration and ways for us to commune (exactly the way we want to). Thank God for that.

 

Happy Winter,

For more from me on entertaining, check out my advice column, Ask Chinae, over at The Chill Times.

Copper Bowls
We’ve all been there: One minute you’re happily drowning your mashed potatoes in gravy and the next, the entire room goes silent because Great Uncle Greg is denying climate change. Thankfully, Girlboss has identified some actionable ways to deal with the friction (we’re talking good ole deep breathing and “I” statements, my friends). Take a look and raise a glass to a holiday season free from screaming matches.
Hot List
Interior design inspo - @interiorglobe
@accidentallywesanderson
cooking inspo- bon appetit
minimalist baker
Place to buy art - @tictail
Grocery Hack - Foodkick
Fun Holiday Gift - Nintendo NES Classic
www.domesticate-me.com
instagram - @serenagwolf
youtube - Serena Wolf
Twitter - @serenagwolf
Facebook - Domesticate me

Since graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Paris in 2011, Serena Wolf has put her culinary skills and sense of humor to work as a private chef, culinary instructor, food writer, recipe developer, and blogger extraordinaire at Domesticate-Me.com. She is the author of the bestselling cookbook The Dude Diet: Cleanish Food for People Who Like to Eat Dirty and the forthcoming Dude Diet Dinnertime (HarperCollins 2019). Serena’s work has been featured on The Today Show, The Doctor Oz Show, The Chew, Martha Stewart Radio, The New York Post, Self, ELLE.com, SHAPE.com, People.com, and FoodandWine.com, as well as many other well-known publications and media outlets. She lives in NYC with her dude.

YOU STUDIED SOCIOLOGY AT HARVARD, THEN UNEXPECTEDLY ENDED UP AT CULINARY SCHOOL IN PARIS AT LE CORDON BLEU. WHAT DREW YOU TO THAT PATH?

Truth be told, it’s still pretty hilarious to my friends and family (and myself!) that I ended up in the food world. Nobody in my family cooks, and prior to culinary school, the only thing I had ever cooked was a burnt grilled cheese. I moved to Paris and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu on a whim after graduating from college at the height of the financial crisis, and I was only meant to do the basic 3-month course before coming home to start my “real life.” But halfway through the course, I completely (and unexpectedly) fell in love with cooking and signed on to complete the full diploma program. Never looked back.

YOUR BOOK, THE DUDE DIET, MAKES HEALTHY EATING ACCESSIBLE AND PALATABLE TO EVEN THE PICKIEST EATERS. WHY BASE YOUR BOOK ON THAT PREMISE?

The book was actually inspired by my husband, Logan, who used to have an outrageously grim view of all healthy food. He thought that eating well meant restricting himself to a life of kale and tofu, which I quickly realized was an all too common misconception. So I set out to recreate delicious comfort food recipes with good-for-you ingredients—I’m talking everything from chicken fingers to lasagna—in the hope of convincing skeptics that you could eat healthily without giving up the foods you love.

Tune out all the diet noise, and eat REAL food. It’s as simple as that.

WHAT IS YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?

Tune out all the diet noise, and eat REAL food. It’s as simple as that. Replace processed crap with nutrient-dense whole foods as often as possible, and cook delicious meals at home whenever you can—cooking for yourself is the only way to truly know what’s in your food.

DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DINNER PARTY.

Summer in Maine. My oldest friends laughing around a long outdoor feasting table drinking extra chilled wine (likely followed by late night Bud Heavies) and eating a fresh, family style meal—I’m thinking grilled fish and steaks with chimichurri and big colorful salads—by candlelight. Orrrrr pizza in a pillow fort in my living room. Same, same, but different.

YOU'RE SUPER OPEN ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH. DOES YOUR ANXIETY EVER AFFECT YOUR LOVE OF COOKING AND HOSPITALITY? ANY TIPS FOR PEOPLE STRUGGLING WITH ANXIETY WHO ARE NERVOUS TO ENTERTAIN?

Thankfully, cooking and entertaining are two things that actually relieve my anxiety. I’ve always found the cooking process meditative, and hosting people I love is my favorite way to get out of my own head since my anxiety doesn’t have a social bent. With that said, entertaining can be stressful, and for those who do have social anxiety, the hosting element can be triggering. My advice to anxiety-prone entertainers is to leave themselves plenty of time to prep, always have at least one guest that they feel very comfortable with and understands their anxiety (never underestimate the power of a human security blanket ), and remember that your guests are there to have fun, not judge everything about your food/home/entertaining skills (us anxious peeps have a tendency to overanalyze).

RAPID FIRE ROUND...

Your last meal: My fallsheet pan medley (basically roasted butternut squash, chicken sausage, and red onion) over greens with a fried egg and lots of Sriracha.

Favorite recipe: Cheeseburger Quinoa Bake. Don’t knock it til you try it.

Instagram must-follow: Eden Grinshpan aka @edeneats for food, but mostly dance moves and general positivity.

Guilty pleasure or weird obsession: Sour Patch Kids. And early 2000s teen dramas.

Hostessing horror story: The first time I hosted Thanksgiving, I was living in Paris and invited 14 people for dinner at my friend’s apartment. It turned out only one of the burners worked, and the oven temperature was off, so we didn’t eat until midnight. However, I’d bought out the wine store downstairs, so I’m not sure anyone remembers…

Project or product you want to plug: The Dude Diet: Cleanish Food for People Who Like to Eat Dirty and its forthcoming sequel Dude Diet Dinnertime (fall 2019)

CHINAE ALEXANDER
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Editorial Director: Liz Deadrick
Copyright © 2018 Chinae Alexander, All rights reserved.

27 W 24th St #10B, New York, NY 10010

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