Rachael Ray Attends Food Bank of New York Awards Dinner

Monday, April 30, 2007

Last week, Rachael Ray attended the 2007 Food Bank of New York Can-Do Awards Dinner Honoring The Edge and Jimmy Fallon. The event was held at Abigail Kirsch’s Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on 23rd (that probably means something to you New Yorkers, but it means nothing to me). Popsugar has a ton of pictures of the event, including several Rachael Ray pictures.

This is the Food Bank's annual fundraiser, where they honor people who have worked to end hunger. The Master of Ceremonies was Stanley Tucci and this year the dinner honored The Edge, Jimmy Fallon, Credit Suisse, Southern Wine & Spirits of America and Time Out New York.

Celebrities attending the event included Mario Batali, David Bowie, Emeril Lagasse, Iman, Josh Hartnett, Chelsea Clinton, Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, Kate Bosworth, Ed Burns, Christy Turlington, and Helena Christensen. President Bill Clinton was the Honorary Dinner Chair.

The Food Bank of New York helps distribute 250,000 free meals a day in New York every year. You can learn more about the organization at its website.

This Week on Rachael Ray's Talk Show

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Here are the highlights and recipes from Rachael Ray's talk show this week. For the recipes from this week's shows, check out the shopping list and the recipe archive. The recipes are listed by category in the order they appear on the show.

Monday: The Prom at Enterprise High. It's not often we see Rachael so serious (like in the picture above), but it's certainly called for in Monday's episode. Rachael traveled to Enterprise, Alabama, to throw a prom for the students who lost eight classmates to a tornado. Mandy Moore performs and Good Charlotte sends a greeting to the students. For the prom, Rachael makes Mini Meatball Sammies, Mini Chicken Sausage, Peppers and Onion Sammies, Buffalo Chicken-Filled Tortilla Cups, and Doctored Pigs In A Blanket with Dipping Sauces.

Tuesday: Judge Judy. On Tuesday, Rachael welcomes Judge Judy! She talks about her 11 grandkids, her new career after 50, and her most important advice. This episode also features a fashion segment called "Who Wears It Better?" with Daisy Fuentes.

Wednesday: "It's Not Your Fault You're Fat!" Rachael and Dr. Manny talk about what could be happening if you eat right and exercise, but are still overweight. This is also "Wild Wednesday," which means Rachael gets to meet some animals brought by Jarod Miller. They also play an animal version of "Who's Your Daddy?".

Thursday: Grey's Anatomy's Justin Chambers. Justin Chambers, who plays Dr. Alex Karev (sigh) on Grey's Anatomy, stops by to talk about being a father of five, how he handles love scenes, and what his favorite date night is. This episode also features a 4-year old who won't leave the house without makeup on and three new recipes for kids.

Friday: A Dame of a Mystery Taster. The mystery taster is a "living legend" who "brings the audience to tears." Rachael helps identical twins work through their 28 years worth of issues. Dinner is the family friendly Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and Stuffed Mini Potatoes.

Rachael Ray Roundup

Friday, April 27, 2007

So last weekend I said I wasn't going to do anything and I ended up being a busy little bee the entire weekend. I really mean it this time. Me. PJs. Couch. That's it. Well, and I might do some blogging. And some cooking. Let's be reasonable, huh?

We have no more travel plans until June (when we'll be going to Vegas, baby) and I am sooo looking forward to doing some spring cleaning and trying out some new recipes. So wish me luck for doing nothing. I obviously need it.

Here are the Rachael Ray posts from around the blogosphere. If you write a post about Rachael Ray or see one that you think would be perfect for the Roundup, please e-mail me. Have a great weekend.

  • Talk Show Ratings Update: Broadcasting and Cable says that Rachael Ray's talk show ratings followed the upward trend for talk shows this week. She was up 5% to a 2.0 rating.
  • The Girl Scouts have video of Rachael Ray helping some girl scouts getting a cooking badge.
  • Mrbunsrocks at The Daily Struggles of the Domestic UnGoddess adapted Rachael Ray's recipe or Chicken Marvalasala and Pappardelle with Rosemary Gravy with good results.
  • Jacob at Food Network Addict compares Rachael's old style and her new style.
  • Adam at Men in Aprons discusses Santoku knives, including Rachael Ray's.
  • Cate at Sweetnicks tried "a new recipe from Rachael Ray, Peas Pullao, from the May 2007 issue of her magazine." Cate calls it "[s]imple to make and pretty darn flavorful to boot...."
  • Angela M. at Shelterrific gave Rachael's Pea-sto Pasta a try and says: "despite the goofy name, it’s really amazing and so simple."
  • Rachael Ray is among those being considered for inclusion on Time's 100 Most Influential People list. Go vote for her!
  • Jamie Leigh tried Smoky Sweet Potato Chicken Stoup with Roasted Poblano Quesadillas from Rachael's Food Network show, 30-Minute Meals. You can see Rachael make this meal when the episode re-airs on Saturday.
  • Idgie at Idgie's Front Porch offers tips on how to carry out Rachael's $40 a Day concept with a Southern spin.

Video from President Clinton's Appearance on Rachael Ray's Talk Show

Thursday, April 26, 2007

CBS put up a little clip of President Clinton's appearance today on Rachael Ray's talk show. Think they're a little excited about it? It's for a good cause, so I'm more than happy to promote the heck out of it here!

Check it out:

Rachael Ray's Sweeps Lineup

Talk shows pull out all the stops for Sweeps and Rachael Ray's talk show is no exception. The show announced that it has a competitive lineup starting today with President Bill Clinton's appearance. He's there to talk about the partnership between the Clinton Foundation, Rachael Ray's new charity, Yum-o! Organization, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to help kids and their families make healthy food choices.

This show will be followed by the much publicized prom thrown by Rachael Ray for Enterprise High School in Alabama, where eight students were killed this year by a tornado.

Here's the entire Sweeps lineup:

  • President Bill Clinton (April 26)
  • Michael J. Fox (April 27)
  • Judge Judy (May 1)
  • Grey's Anatomy's Justin Chambers (May 3) (I will probably watch this episode at least twice)
  • Robin McGraw (May 7)
  • Mandy Moore (May 8)
  • Patricia Arquette (May 9)
  • Craig Ferguson (May 10)
  • Paula Deen (May 11) (that'll be fun, huh? Imagine what Jacob will do with those pictures.....)
  • American Idol's Sanjaya (May 14) (Noooo!)
  • Ty Pennington (May 15) (there could be spontaneous combustion caused by two uber-high energy people in such close proximity)
  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler (May 18)
  • Tim Gunn (May 18) (Make it work, people!)
  • Chris Meloni (May 22)
  • Two award-winning Mystery Tasters (May 4 and May 14)

So which ones are you looking forward to? I am definitely anticipating the appearances of Justin Chambers (for obvious reasons), Paula Deen, and Tim Gunn. I bet Paula and Rachael together will be a major hoot and with a new season of Project Runway still pretty far off, it'll be nice to get my Tim Gunn fix.

[Source]

Rachael Ray's New Charity: Yum-o! Organization

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Awhile ago, I wrote about Rachael Ray's new charity, which was tentatively called CAKE. Looks like that name got ditched, since the Alliance for a Healthier Generation had this to say about a new program: "The Alliance and Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! Organization partner to help families across America make healthier food choices." So, there you go! Rachael's new charity is still aimed at helping kids eat healthier, but it's name has changed to the Yum-0! Organization and it's got a fancy new interactive website. Yum-o!'s motto is: "Cook. Feed. Fund."

The organization's first task is a partnership with President Bill Clinton's Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association's Alliance for a Healthier Generation to help parents offer their kids healthy meals. This partnership will be announced tomorrow on Rachael Ray's talk show, when President Clinton stops by for a visit.

Here's how the Alliance describes the program:

We know that parents and kids are pressed for time and it can be tricky to know how to cook basic, healthy meals that are quick and cost-effective. Plus, with all the easy access to inexpensive, fast food it can be really tough to ensure your family gets a nutritious, balanced diet. That’s why the Alliance, Rachael and Yum-o! have partnered to provide the right tools and know-how to help take control of your meals and improve your child’s eating habits at home and in school.

Together we will provide the right resources to . . .

EMPOWER kids and parents to make better food choices
ENERGIZE kids and families to take the Go Healthy Challenge
EDUCATE parents on how they can make a difference in the health of their children’s schools

I gotta say despite the cheesiness factor, I love the name "Yum-O!" for the charity. It's fun, it's lighthearted and it fits with Rachael's upbeat spirit. Plus, it's a great name if you're trying to appeal to kids. Some snooty name for it probably would have been disappointing.

I'm looking forward to all this organization will do to help fight childhood obesity and teach kids and families about good health choices. Although, to her credit, Rachael wants to make her work approachable for kids. She told the New York Times: "Me, I don’t want to talk about obesity. I want to talk about how fun healthy food is, period." Where do I sign up to help, Rach?

For now, I'll just spend some time exploring the new Yum-o! website....

It's a Keeper: Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We had a bit of a Spring cold snap here in Northern California, so I was in the mood for something warm for dinner. I was inspired by a local cafe chain called La Bou, which has the best roasted butternut squash soup - it's a creamy and delicious treat for lunch pretty often for me. Luckily, I didn't have to figure out how to make it on my own (which pretty much would have been a disaster) because the February issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray has a recipe for Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup. I had to give it a try.

This is not advertised as a 30-minute meal, so I recommend it for a weekend night, although it's easy enough to make for a sick day at home, too. It just takes awhile to do the roasting. The recipe was part of a feature on all the things you can with caramelized onions. Unfortunately, I was too lazy to do that part, but the recipe for the onions is included below. Since they were just a topping, I thought I could cut corners....

Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

Four Servings
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 55 min

1 butternut squash (about 2 3/4 pounds), halved lengthwise and seeded (I am probably the only person who uses the scale at my grocery store - I cannot look at a squash and say, "yeah, that's about 2 3/4 pounds.")
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 large yellow-fleshed potato, such as Yukon Gold (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups chicken broth [I often wonder if they mean stock when they say broth. Chicken broth is so pale and salty, that I am often tempted to get either the chicken stock or the reduced sodium broth. I went with the stock this time.]
1/4 cup plain yogurt [Don't know about your store, but at mine they only sell plain yogurt in huge tubs. Any ideas for what I can do with the extra?]
1/4 cup caramelized onions [Follow that link for the caramelized onion recipe.]
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley or chives

1. Preheat the oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the cut side of the squash and the garlic cloves with the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut sides down on the baking sheet, tucking the garlic cloves and thyme into the squash cavities. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. [By the way, this will make your house smell sooooo good.]

2. Meanwhile, place the potato in a medium saucepan and fill with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a low boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. When the squash is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the peel and the thyme. Cut the squash into large pieces. In a blender, working in batches, puree the squash, garlic cloves, potato and chicken broth. [I used my food processor.] Season with salt and pepper.

4. In a medium saucepan, heat the soup over medium-low heat until warmed through. Divide among 4 serving bowls and top with the yogurt, onions and parsley. [Or, if you are lazy like me, skip the onions.]

The Talk Show Experience

Monday, April 23, 2007

I'm a sucker for stories about what it's like to visit Rachael Ray's talk show, since my odds of going anytime soon are slim to none (New York is a looooong way from California). This recent story from Jaclyn Kopel at Pace University's Pace Press is a fun example of these stories.

Kopel is "a huge Rachael Ray fan" and "watches the show religiously," so I think we can assume she had high expectations. One month after requesting the tickets, they arrived in the mail. The show provided a list of colors that "were not allowed to be worn due to filming specifications." Because of the huge popularity of the show, Kopel ended up spending more time in line to see the show than she actually spent watching the show. Reminds me of the rides at Disneyland.

Kopel was herded into the waiting room for half an hour, which was "stocked with cookies, brownies, chips and sandwiches." That came in handy since they were not allowed to eat during the actual taping.

The show's resident comic, RC, warmed up the audience, then Rachael made her entrance. Here's what Kopel had to say about her:

Once everything was in place, it was amazing to see Ray in person. I couldn't believe how funny and beautiful she was. She improvised a lot of the show and cracked a lot of jokes. I was lucky to have a great seat within inches of Ray for most of the show, allowing me to hear a lot of her conversations with the crew. She seemed as warm and bubbly off camera as she was on.

I am so jealous because she got to attend the taping with Kenny Loggins, one of my all time favorite artists (how can I love Justin Timberlake AND Kenny Loggins?). We get a little behind the scenes info that makes me even more jealous: he performed "Love Song" twice. I could listen to that song 10 times in a row! Everyone in the audience got a copy of his CD and the snack of the day - pan a chocolat.

Kopel's final thoughts: "The whole experience ended up being a lot of fun, but the biggest thrill for me was when I actually got to talk to Ray. During one of the commercial breaks she came over and commented on my long hair." Green with envy over here!

Photo from Rachael Ray.

This Week on Rachael Ray's Talk Show

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Here are the highlights and recipes from Rachael Ray's talk show this week. For the recipes from this week's shows, check out the shopping list and the recipe archive. The recipes are listed by category in the order they appear on the show.

Monday: How to Make Over Anything. Kristan shows us how a few simple touches can makeover those clothes filling up your closet. Also, changes you can make to your house to get it to sell faster and, in general, how to make over anything. Gretta joins in the fun by making over an audience member. Rachael makes over a classic recipe by making Caesar Salad with Fried Ravioli Croutons.

Tuesday: Aaron Eckhart. Rachael looks at two very different parenting issues with two moms. One had troubles with a live-in nanny and the other is very overprotective of her daughter. Life Coach Harriette Cole helps out both families. Aaron Eckhart stops by to talk about his leading ladies, including current co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Wednesday: New York vs. Chicago Pizza Throwdown. The pizza throwdown results are finally in. Also, Life Coach Harriette Cole helps a woman who is a slave to her kids. We can all learn how to make sure the kids know who's in charge.

Thursday: President Bill Clinton. Thursday's a big day for Rach. She had an hour-long kitchen table chat with former President Bill Clinton. They talk about his childhood struggles with weight. They also discuss their new partnership, which is aimed at changing the way kids eat. President Clinton even joins Rachael in the kitchen!

Friday: Michael J. Fox. Michael J. Fox joins Rachael to surprise a young woman raised over $60,000 for his foundation and she did it by making pancakes! He also talks about his life and his battle against Parkinson's.

Rachael Ray Roundup

Friday, April 20, 2007

So, what are you doing this weekend? I'm doing nothing and I couldn't be happier about it. After our trip to Europe we went to a wedding in Orange County, so we are looking forward to an entire weekend of zero activity (except some cocktails with friends tonight). We were thinking about going to our local Strawberry Festival, but word on the street is that it's going to rain. The whole "April showers bring May flowers" thing is very true in Northern California. How else do we get that water that Southern California steals from us? I kid!

Here are the Rachael Ray posts from around the blogosphere. If you write a post about Rachael Ray or see one that you think would be perfect for the Roundup, please e-mail me. Have a great weekend.

  • Talk Show Ratings Update: TV Week refers to Rachael Ray's talk show as a "breakout hit." Media Life Magazine echoed this sentiment, saying that "no new shows that can be labeled hits, outside of "Rachael Ray," the new talk show."
  • Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen gives a plug to Rachael Ray's Dijon Asparagus. Kalyn also offers an eloquent defense of Rachael Ray, calling her "someone a lot of food snobs love to underestimate, but I credit the bubbly Ms. Ray for inspiring people with the idea that cooking at home doesn't need to be time-consuming, and this recipe is definitely a keeper." Yeah, what she said!
  • Cate at Sweetnicks tried Chocolate-Raspberry Truffle Bars from the February issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. She says: "Simple, simple, simple, and sure to impress your guests, and better still, a perfect one to make if you're a little pressed for time."
  • Merri at Merri Musings discusses Rachael Ray's involvement in the planning of the Enterprise High School prom. The episode will air on April 30.
  • Annie of Mixed Salad Annie was inspired by Rachael's Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce to make her own recipe for something similar.
  • Rachel at Rachel's Bite shared her take on the recipe for Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies from the April 2007 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. Everyone at her work raved about them.
  • Bob Sassone at Slashfood features the newest issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray.
  • The Deseret News informs us that Rachael Ray is among the chefs and foodies praising the Silver Palate Cookbook on it's 25th Anniversary.
  • Tracey at Foodie Obsessed highlights Rachael's cute idea of painting your kids' toast.
  • Office Tally shares an excerpt from Rachael Ray's magazine where Ed Helms (Andy Bernard) is interviewed about what he eats.
  • Heather at Eating for One tried a few of Rachael Ray's recipes, Turkey Taco Salad Bowls and Janet’s Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, with great success.
  • Yumsugar has more pictures of Rachael Ray's hosting gig for the City Harvest 25th Anniversary party.

Rachael Ray Hosts City Harvest Anniversary Party

Thursday, April 19, 2007

According to New York Social Diary, Rachael Ray hosted the 25th Anniversary party for City Harvest last night. The event was held at New York City's Cipriani 42nd Street and raised more than $1.1 million.

The evening included recognition of big supporters of City Harvest, including FreshDirect, Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Market and Tropicana. Some stars in attendance were Broadway legend Bebe Neuwirth, Susan Lucci, and former Trading Spaces host Paige Davis.

City Harvest is an amazing organization that Rachael mentions often on her talk show. According to its website:

City Harvest will rescue 20 million pounds of excess food from all segments of the food industry - including restaurants, manufacturers, wholesalers, greenmarkets, hotels, corporate cafeterias, grocery stores and farms - and deliver it to more than 600 community food programs throughout the five boroughs using a fleet of 16 trucks and volunteers on foot. Each week, City Harvest helps over 260,000 hungry New Yorkers find their next meal.

Rachael discussed City Harvest with Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon when each of them visited her talk show. You can check out the video of those conversations here. Also, check out video of Rachael volunteering for City Harvest here. Good job, Rach!

Clips from Rachael Ray's Talk Show

These clips range from the early days of Rachael Ray's talk show (my cousin Jeny's appearance) all the way to some pretty recent ones. I think Jeny did a great job! When's my turn?

My cousin Jeny was part of Rachael's Progressive Party episode:



Interview with Stephanie March (Bobby Flay's wife and former star on Law and Order SVU), Part 1:



Interview with Stephanie March, Part 2:



ShatterGARD anti-burglar glass:

Bid on a Trip to Rachael Ray's Talk Show

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We know that Rachael Ray recently did a very good deed, now it's your chance to help her do another one. Rachael is participating in a charity auction to benefit Girls Quest.

According to its website, this auction will help the organization "raise funds to support Girls Quest's programs for underserved girls in New York City." The proceeds will help "provide unique outdoor experiential education, year-round mentoring, and leadership training programs to more at-risk girls."

Rachael donated four tickets to her talk show. There are no bids yet, but the opening bid requirement is only $150.00! You have unil April 30, 2007, at 6:00 PM EDT to bid on the tickets. The estimated value of the tickets is listed as "Priceless," which makes sense since there is such a crazy long waiting list to get them.

Another little tidbit of information garnered from the post about the auction: Rachael's show goes on hiatus from May to mid July. So, don't expect lots of new shows during that time period!

Go check out the auction and bid on the tickets!

It's a Keeper: Mean Green Chicken Tortilla Stoup

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Mean Green Chicken Tortilla Stoup from the November 2006 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray is perfect when you have been eating bad food for about a week and you decide that it's really time to clean up your act. Now, I know there are tortilla chips and cheese in this recipe, but other than that, it's all veggies and healthy yumminess. This recipe serves 4 and it was all gone by the next night (there's only two of us).

Mine ended up more soupy that stoupy, probably because a few of my tomatillos went bad, which meant I didn't have the amount called for in the recipe. It came in well under 30 minutes and it was a relaxing diversion after a busy day. Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
12 tomatillos (about 1 pound) - peeled, rinsed and chopped [That means you take off the papery husk, rinse off the stickiness on the outside, then chop them up.]
1 zucchini, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (half a palmful)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 12-ounce bottle Mexican beer [I used good old Corona. It was tough, but I drank one while I made the recipe, too.]
1 quart chicken broth [I used chicken stock. Do you think that makes a difference?]
6 sprigs fresh thyme [No need to chop it up, you just throw it in there and then take out the stems after the leaves fall off.]
3/4 pound chicken cutlets, sliced into 2-inch strips [They call them thin-cut breast fillets at my store.]
One 8-ounce bag tortilla chips
2 cups freshly grated cotija or Monterey Jack cheese
1 lime, cut into wedges [Buy two so that you have some for your Corona!]
4 scallions, finely chopped
Cilantro, chopped (a generous handful)

1. In a large soup pot, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the tomatillos, zucchini, onion, jalapeños and garlic and season with the cumin and salt and pepper. [Gotta love the chop and drop. Saves time if you just chop and drop as you go instead of chopping it all then adding them all at once. However, if you chop really slow, waiting till it's all chopped is a better idea.] Cook until the onion is softened and the tomatillos become saucelike, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the beer and cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and thyme, cover and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken and cook at a low boil for about 6 minutes. Discard the thyme stems (the leaves will have fallen into the stoup). Season with salt and pepper.

2. Crush a handful of tortilla chips into 4 bowls and sprinkle with the cheese. Ladle the chicken stoup on top. Squeeze a lime wedge into each bowl and top with the scallions and cilantro. [Enjoy with your Mexican beer.]

Pre-order Available for Rachael Ray's New Cookbook

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's time to start pre-ordering! Rachael Ray's newest cookbook, entitled Rachael Ray: Just in Time: All-New 30-Minutes Meals, plus Super-Fast 15-Minute Meals and Slow It Down 60-Minute Meals, is now available for pre-order at Amazon. The release date is November 6, 2007. Unfortunately, there's no image of the cover yet. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it will be fun and bright.

Rachael once said she didn't want her books to cost more than a CD and this one fits that rule at $13.57 on Amazon and a regular retail price of $19.95. I'm excited about the concept of this cookbook, which Rachael previously explained on her talk show:

I have been kind of obsessed with double duty cooking recently. I'm working on the next cookbook and it's a 15, 30 and 60. 15-minute meals, 30-minute meals and 60-minute meals and all the 60's are doubles. That means in the time it takes you to make one meal, you can split it up and make two entirely different tasting meals with two different personalities on two different nights.

November is so far away! Luckily, with her talk show and magazine, there are always new Rachael Ray recipes to try out.

This Week on Rachael Ray's Talk Show

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Here are the highlights and recipes from Rachael Ray's talk show this week. For the recipes from this week's shows, check out the shopping list and the recipe archive. The recipes are listed by category in the order they appear on the show.

Monday: Picky Eater's Lunchbox. Eva LaRue of CSI Miami gets some lunchbox ideas from Rachael. Also, learn how to get rid of bacteria when "The Accidental Housewife" answers questions. Rachael shares a recipe for 15-minute Pasta with Shrimp, Pancetta and Pas.

Tuesday: Valerie Bertinelli. Former sitcom star and current Jenny Craig spokewoman Valerie Bertinelli discusses her very public diet. Rachael also discusses how to control what your kids see on TV without banning them from watching shows they like. Gnocchi, Spinach, Gorgonzola and Toasted Walnuts is what's for dinner.

Wednesday: Unluckiest Bride. Rachael introduces us to a woman who may be the unluckiest bride ever. The show gives us a behind the scenes pass to see what it's like to be in Rachael's studio audience. Life coach Harriette Cole offers tips for parents to make sure they are treating all their children the same. Rachael also shares a recipe for Stuffed Eggplant.

Thursday: Does Marriage Matter Anymore? Rachael takes on several issues related to marriage, like what if one partner wants to get married and the other doesn't want to and whether marriage really matters. We will also hear three rules for determining treasures from trash when shopping. Ugly Betty's Mark Indelicato shares secrets from the show and helps Rachael make a huge Italian dinner.

Friday: Babysitting Horror Stories. Hear confessions from former nannies about what they do when you aren't around. The Insider's Lara Spencer even shares her own babysitting stories. Use this knowledge and some helpful tips before you hire a babysitter. Jennifer Love Hewitt answers questions about cocktail parties and there's a new round of Stump the Rach.

TV Alert: Food Network Awards

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Food Network Awards will be airing at 9 p.m. on Sunday, so set your DVR. Rachael Ray will be one of the presenters. According to the Miami Herald, you'll really need to set your DVR because most of the show is boring. However, there is one exception. The show is boring...

Unless Rachael Ray was at the podium. Her booming voice and savvy timing kicked things up a notch. She even made the winner of the best technology award, a kitchen device called the Anti-Griddle, sound sexy.

The same reporter saw Rachael on the red carpet before the show and said: "The always gregarious Rachael Ray ("Hi, guys!") was probably underdressed, in a polka-dot disco dress, but we'll give her a pass; she is a real cutie, with zero attitude."

Rachael Ray Roundup

Friday, April 13, 2007

I finally recovered from our trip to Germany and Italy. I must be getting old because it took quite a while to readjust. I also finally made it through our 1,000 pictures and narrowed them to about 355. I promise to put some up on Flickr to share.

Here are the Rachael Ray posts from around the blogosphere. If you write a post about Rachael Ray or see one that you think would be perfect for the Roundup, please e-mail me. Happy Friday!

  • Leah Maria at All Things Yummy tried Rachael's Sesame Noodles with great success.
  • The Good Ole Cook at Home Cooking is What I Like was inspired by Rachael's recipe for Lemon Spaghetti to make her own Shrimp Scampi and Lemon Spaghetti.
  • Rae at The Northern Southerner celebrated a personal Rachael Ray week and tried her Spiced Shrimp and Italian Club Finger Sandwiches.
  • Rachael Ray made $6 million last year, according to a new report by Parade magazine.
  • It must have been a really sloooow news day, because tons of blogs, like this one, were mesmerized by the dress code for Rachael Ray's talk show. Wait, a television show is controlling how it looks when broadcast? The horror!
  • Reality TV Magazine informs us that Rachael Ray will be participating in the Next Food Network Star again this season.
  • Julie Cochran at The Life & Times of Ju Ju & Boo Boo tried Chicken Tortilla Soup with Lime and it was "fantastic."
  • Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane just got her first shiny new Rachael Ray cookbook. I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets so excited when those little guys arrive in the mail.
  • The Everyday Home Agrees that you should never cook for one, even if there's just one of you.
  • Sarita at Creating My Dream Life is a big fan of Rachael's recipe for Turkey Taco Salad Bowls.

Clips from Rachael Ray's Talk Show

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Today's installation of clips from Rachael Ray's talk show is all Jeffrey Dean Morgan, all the time. You may know him as Denny from Grey's Anatomy. He appeared for a second time on Rachael's talk show yesterday, but I thought it might be fun to reminisce about his first appearance.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan Interview, Part 1:



Jeffrey Dean Morgan Interview, Part 2:



Jeffrey Dean Morgan Interview, Part 3:



Jeffrey Dean Morgan Interview, Part 4:

Why You Should Never Cook For One

Rachael Ray recently talked to the Boston Globe about why you should never cook a meal for only one person. She was single for a long time before meeting her husband John and always said that she never cooked for one. She made a recipe for 4 and lived off the leftovers.

When I was cooking for one, I often found that it was just easier to get take out, since it was faster and cheaper usually. But Rachael says that cooking for one has its benefits: "If I know what's going in is healthful, I don't feel like an extra portion is a bad thing." Rachael recommends meals that make good leftovers, like "chilis, pastas, stews, pizza, omelets, and roast chicken."

Here are a few of Rachael's recipes that will make some great leftovers and would be perfect if you're cooking for one:

May Issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The May issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray has hit newsstands and it looks like a keeper. This issue contains a whole bunch of grill-themed and spring-y 30-Minute Meals including Fluffy Florentine Frittata, Pressed Manchego Cheese Sammies and Spicy Spanish Salad, Grilled Eggplant and Capicola Stacks, Grilled Ratatouille with Ricotta and Charred Bread, Figure-Friendly Soba Dipping Noodles, Grilled Surf and Turf, Grilled Tuna Steaks with Potato and Green Bean Salad, and Sea Bass Puttanesca in a Foil Pouch.

In a feature called The Good Egg, this issues shares recipes for Poached Eggs with Mushroom Home Fries, Egg, Goat Cheese and Tomato Toasts, Bacon and Egg Caesar, Alsace and Lorraine Omelet and Mango Soufflé with Coconut Whipped Cream.

In the No-Recipe Zone, you can learn how to make a veggie-cheese tart. In the ever popular Burger of the Month feature, you'll find Sloppy Joe's Spanish cousin: Sloppy Joaquin. In Hand Me Down, the magazine recreates a reader's favorite chocolate chip cake and you can also learn how to make marshmallow-coated coconut cake.

The "Get Togethers" the magazine shows how to throw a mother-daughter scrap booking party so you can preserve all your favorite recipes. Maybe some of these will make the cut after you try them out at the party: Great Grandma's Baked Chicken, Wild Rice with Pine Nuts, Asparagus Salad, Chilled Raspberry Cream Pie, and Pomegranate Coolers.

If scrap booking isn't your thing, how about a Kentucky Derby party? This one using the Express Lane concept (meaning if you have the required stuff on hand, you'll only have to pick up a few things at the store): Bourbon Old Fashioned, Country Ham Biscuits, Benedictine Salad, Grits Cakes with Pimiento Cheese, and Mint Julep Melon Bites.

You can also get recipes for turning a weeknight meal into a Cinco de Mayo fiesta and learn why screw cap wine can be just as good as the corked stuff. Also, the mag provides a few unique gifts to give away as favors at your parties.

The travel feature takes us to a location near me for once - San Francisco. Choose from five different days in the City (that's what we call it - definitely not San Fran). If San Francisco isn't your thing, try out the Jazz Fest in New Orleans. Or head to the opposite coast and take a preppy trip to Newport, Rhode Island.

It's A Keeper: Easter Brunch

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Three out of four ain't bad, right? I made Rachael Ray's Easter Brunch menu (called Easy Yet Elegant Sunday Brunch in Get Togethers) and of the four recipes, three were huge hits and the fourth failed because I am a rookie cook. Hey, you live and learn. And if that doesn't work, just serve mimosas. That works too.

The menu included Roasted Red New Potatoes with Sweet Paprika Butter and Parsley, Elsa's Ham and Asparagus Toasts, Broiled Citrus Salad with Cointreau and Brown Sugar and Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon (although I used ham, not salmon).

The recipe that didn't turn out was the Broiled Citrus Salad, but it was entirely my fault. I thought I was being a smart cook by putting the brown sugar on top before I was ready to put it in the oven. What actually happened was that the sugar dissolved, so there was nothing to get all caramelized and yummy on the top. E for effort.

The rest of the recipes, especially the toast, were huge hit and got quickly gobbled up. I can't tell you how long it took, not because of the mimosas, but because there was a required Starbucks run about halfway through the cooking process, so my sous chef husband was off duty. But it probably took about 45 minutes total, with my husband making the eggs. This would be a great menu for a baby shower, wedding shower, or any time you need an easy but elegant menu. Here are the recipes (6 servings) with my comments in brackets:

Elsa's Ham and Asparagus Toasts

1 pound thin asparagus spears
Salt
1 loaf chewy, crusty farmhouse style white bread, cut into 3/4-inch slices [The cookbook says 1-inch slice, not sure if that makes a difference.]
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 tablespoons Dijon or grain mustard [I highly recommend the dijon.]
1 1/4 pounds boiled, baked or smoked ham, order thick slices at deli counter [I went with the honey cured ham
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fontina, shredded or sliced [You can find fontina in the specialty cheese case.]

Holding 1 spear at each end snap off the tough stem of asparagus. Use this spear as a guide line to trim the bundle with a sharp knife. Simmer asparagus in salted boiling water 3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Cut asparagus to fit the size of the toasts.

Toast 8 thick slices of farmhouse style bread under a preheated broiler 6 inches from heat. Combine softened butter and mustard. Spread the toasted bread with mustard butter. Cut sliced ham into smaller pieces to process. Grind the ham in your food processor. Spread the toast with ground ham. Arrange steamed asparagus spears on top of the layer of ham.

Top each toast with a few grinds of black pepper and a mound of fontina cheese. [I forgot the pepper but remembered at the last minute.] Return toasts to hot oven under broiler and cook toasts until cheese melts and lightly browns at edges. Arrange ham and asparagus toast on a platter and serve.

Roasted Red New Potatoes with Sweet Paprika Butter and Parsley

3 pounds small red new potatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 stick butter [Any recipe with a half stick of butter is, by definition, good.]
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Sort potatoes. Potatoes that are 2 inches or less in diameter can be left whole. Halve remaining potatoes. Coat very lightly with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and roast potatoes 20 to 25 minutes, until just tender. Transfer potatoes from the oven to a bowl.

Sprinkle in parsley and season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes with butter and paprika to coat evenly. Adjust salt and pepper, to your taste, and serve. [So easy that I don't even have any comments.]

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon [Make sure you start these last so that they're nice and hot.]

1/4 pound sliced smoked salmon [I went with ham instead, since it was a Easter brunch.]
12 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
12 to 15 blades of fresh chives, finely chopped

Reserve 2 slices of salmon for garnish. Chop the remaining salmon into very small pieces.

Whisk your eggs and cream together. Add 1/2 of your chopped chives and season eggs with salt and pepper. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt butter in the pan and add eggs. Scramble eggs with a wooden spoon. Do not cook eggs until dry. When eggs have come together but remain wet, stir in chopped salmon. Remove pan from the stove and place on a trivet. Garnish the eggs with remaining salmon and chives and serve right out of the warm pan.

Note: If you are serving these eggs with the other recipes provided as a brunch, a platter of store bought fruit filled dainties will complete your elegant brunch. Allow 1 dainty per person but halve dainties so that guests may mix and match varieties. [I served it with banana nut and blueberry muffins. These were good for snacking on while I cooked.]

Rachael Ray's Good Deed

Monday, April 09, 2007

Rachael Ray's talk show is making national news and the gossip pages for its most recent good deed - throwing a prom for the Alabama high school that lost 8 students to a tornado. Rachael planned the menu for the prom dinner and even went to help prepare it herself. She also attended a school assembly, paid for the dance and will feature it in an episode that will air later this month.

Rachael issued a statement about the event, saying: "The students of Enterprise High are so courageous, given all that they've gone through. When I heard about what happened to their school and classmates, we wanted to help. The prom was all about celebrating their accomplishments and honoring the classmates who tragically lost their lives," she said.

The "Caught in a Moment" theme for the dance included pictures around the dance floor of the two seniors killed by the tornado, Jamie Vidensek and Michael Tompkins.

As my Uncle said in the comments to Friday's Roundup, Rachael Ray certainly walks the walk. How refreshing! Although, I have a feeling that this was one of those gifts that left the giver with as much satisfaction as the recipients.

This Week on Rachael Ray's Talk Show

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Here are the highlights and recipes from Rachael Ray's talk show this week. For the recipes from this week's shows, check out the shopping list and the recipe archive. The recipes are listed by category in the order they appear on the show.

Monday: Celebrity Incognito. Rachael's audience today includes a major celebrity in disguise and the audience has to guess his or her identity. Kristan Cunningham helps us with our spring cleaning. A Grilled Meatball Caesar Salad is what's for dinner.

Tuesday: Size 0 Horror Stories. Rachael and her guests discuss dieting obsessions. Debbie Matenopoulos and a former model discuss their own diet nightmare stories. Magician Justin Kredible is back, this time on the orange carpet of the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. I heard he was the hit of the event, so it will be fun to seeing him tricking celebrities. Plus, Rachael's theme song is creating strife for one family. For dinner, Rachael makes Sea Bass with Herb Butter.

Wednesday: Dancing with Laila Ali. Dancing with the Stars' Laila Ali teaches Rachael a few moves then they make a figure friendly sandwich. Jeffrey Dean Morgan visits the show again, this time giving some behind the scenes info on the show. Colby Donaldson share three things to need to know to get a deal when you buy a car.

Thursday: To Spy or Not to Spy. A private investigator visits to share gadgets to help you spy on, I mean keep track of, your kids. Rhea Perlman serves up the snack of the day and she helps Rachael make a spicy dinner for Potluck Thursday. This episode also features beauty secrets from around the world.

Friday: Getting Real with Lauren Conrad. The Hills' Lauren Conrad provides a makeover for a teenager and chats about being a reality TV star. Basketball star Stephon Marbury stops by to share how to find affordable sneakers for your kids. Actress Nia Long shares the 411 on her leading men and and learns a recipe for kids from Rachael Ray.

Easter Recipes from Rachael Ray

Friday, April 06, 2007

How is it Easter already? Where did the time go? Well, if your Easter is anything like mine, you end up with a million eggs in your fridge and nothing to do with them. Luckily, there are many Rachael Ray Easter recipes for us to use those little guys up.

The best resource I found with a whole bunch of options in one place is Every Day with Rachael Ray, which devoted an entire page on its website to its very own Egg Hunt. You can find all these recipes there:

Photo from morgueFile by Xenia.

Rachael Ray Roundup

Can you believe they let me back in the country? Yeah, me either, but they did and here I am. Thanks to Kate for posting for me while I was gone. We got back Tuesday and I am just starting to feel like a normal person again.

The trip was just amazing. It snowed in Munich when we arrived, but we still drank beer at many a beer garden and made some new friends. My husband tried about 8 different things with "wurst" on the end of the name, while I tried spaetzle, potato soup and potato pancakes with applesauce, to name a few. I would definitely go back to Munich.

Italy was a treat. I think we ate gelato at least twice a day (we even visited Rachael's pick in Rome, San Crispino). My favorite was definitely the Amarena (black cherry). Luckily, we walked everywhere so burned all that gelato off quickly. After eating a restaurant near the Spanish Steps, I was inspired to perfect my own carbonara recipes, using Rachael's as a starting point, of course. Check out some of my food pics at the end of this post.

But back to business, here are some post from around the blogosphere from this week (and last) about Rachael Ray. If you see something that would be great for the Roundup or write a post about Rachael Ray or one of her recipes yourself, please e-mail me so I can make sure to include it in the Roundup! Happy Easter!

  • After the recent pet food scare, lots of folks are talking about cooking for your pets at home, including Chris at Apartment Therapy, who checks out some of Rachael Ray's recipes for pets.
  • Cate at Sweetnicks fired up her grill to make Rachael Ray's Buffalo Chicken Chili (one of my new favorites) and her new Spinach, Artichoke, and Cheese Wrap Dip recipe. While the chili inspired trips for seconds, the dip ended up being a dud, but will likely get a second chance due to some technical difficulties. I guess we know what to get Cate for Christmas now.
  • Peppers and Pollywogs discusses the Sweet Sixteen Standoff featured on Rachael Ray's talk show.
  • There is some dismay that New York won the Chicago v. New York pizza challenge on the Rachael Ray show. Hey, someone had to win, right?
  • Here's another example of how being on Rachael Ray's show can make a product an overnight success. The Boston Globe shares the story of the creator of the Gabbybaby t-shirts, who says that since the show aired: "It's been unbelievable. I haven't slept."
  • That Journalist dug into the archives and found a post where she discusses why she is thankful for Rachael Ray (and other things too).
  • Mike at TV Food Fan gets to the point about a recent article regarding Rachael Ray's husband and he celebrated his birthday, too. Happy belated birthday, Mike!
  • Bill Pitcher at Second Helpings highlights a recipe by Rachael Ray to use up your extra thin mint girl scout cookies (if you have any!).
  • Shawnda at Foodie Bride shares the best pizza dough recipe she has run across and it's from Every Day with Rachael Ray, of course.
  • Erin at Erin Cooks tried the Asparagus Parsley Pesto Risotto Bake from Every Day with Rachael Ray. It wasn't a winner at first, but became delicious as leftovers. I always feel that way about chili.
  • Jacob at Food Network Addict points out a little something that drives me crazy.
  • Rachael Ray had stunt hands for her Chefography, according to the Newtown Bee.
  • Tracy Thompson at Foodie Obsessed highlights the new 10 Ingredient Challenge from Rachael Ray's magazine.
And, just for some Friday fun, I thought you might like to see some of the food we encountered on our trip. Most of the food is missing a couple bites because I was usually starving by the time we found somewhere to eat:

Currywurst and potato soup in Munich:


The Viktualienmarkt (like a farmer's market) in Munich:


Apple Strudel in the alpine town of Fussen:


Street food in Florence - focaccia pizza:


A salami and gruyere panino eaten at a sidewalk cafe in Rome:

Parents Magazine Features Rachael Ray

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It's probably not surprising that with no kids, I do not keep up on Parents magazine. But, thanks to my cousin Jeny, I recently found out that Rachael Ray was featured in the April 2007 issue of Parents. In an article called Rachael Ray to the Rescue, Rachael helped a family with "three small children and no time to cook." They were in a rut and needed some advice on new recipes to make for their family.

If you've ever checked out Cooking Rocks!, you'll know that Rachael Ray has a passion for coming up with kids recipes. She especially likes coming up with ways to trick kids into eating vegetables. The recipes featured in Parents fit both of these themes.

She started with Pasta, Cheese, and Trees My Mama's Way. Not surprisingly, this recipe is mac and cheese, but with broccoli "trees" mixed in. Next was Pork Chops with Sweet and Hot Peppers, which probably wouldn't have been on my list for the best recipes for kids. Rachael anticipated the same reaction and said:

Don't be turned off by the red hot peppers," Rachael told Helena and Joseph. "They add tons of flavor to this super-easy dish." For the kids, just pick out the peppers right before serving.

Meatloaf Patties and Smashed Potatoes are a perfect recipe for a weekend dinner and the patties "cook in a quarter the time of traditional meatloaf." Rachael also recommends Pizza Burgers because they have a "familiar flavor, but it's more substantial" than just eating pizza.

The last recipe was Crunchy Oven-Baked Chicken Toes, which I recently recommended to my boss when she had some kids over for dinner. They were a hit and healthier that what you'll find in the frozen foods aisle.

Rachael Ray Should Be Inking a Deal with Prius Anytime Now....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's usually not a good thing to be mentioned in the New York Post's Page Six gossip column (unless you are a believer in the "there's no such thing as bad press" theory). But Rachael Ray's appearance in the column today is a happy one.

The Post reports that Rachael is a star who actually practices what she preaches when it comes to being environmentally friendly. Here's what they said:

Rachael Ray puts her money where her mouth is. While other so-called "green" celebrities (you know who you are!) tell others to drive Prius cars and then hop into their own gas-guzzling SUVs or town cars, Ray insists on not only driving a Prius, but being driven around in one. Ray uses Ozo Car - a limo service which only has Toyota Prius or Lexus RX400h models in its fleet - for herself, rather than being chauffeured around in a more luxurious town car.

Good for her, huh?

[Photo from Page Six]

Clips from Rachael Ray's Talk Show

Here are some video clips from Rachael Ray's talk show. Many of these shows are starting to show up in reruns so you have a second chance to check them out.

Emmitt Smith teaches Rachael Ray how to cha-cha. Well, let's be honest - he tries to teach her:



Rachael interviews Patricia Heaton:



Rachael talks to Cybill Shepherd, whose description during this interview of Bruce Willis' kissing ability hit lots of tabloids:



How to open a jar (sounds easy, but we have all strugged now and then, right?):

It's a Keeper: Lemony Poppy Chicken with Couscous

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

We are big fans of couscous in our house, I think because our parents never gave it us when we were growing up. Maybe we aren't sick of it yet. Now, shake and bake and stove top stuffing? They will never be served in my house because my parents made me eat them all the time! But back to the couscous, when I saw Rachael Ray make Lemony Poppy Chicken with Sweet Pea and Mint Couscous on her talk show, I knew I had to try it.

I don't really like mint and I forgot to add the basil, so my couscous turned out a little differently that Rachael's, but it was outstanding. It was the perfect accompaniement to the tangy lemony poppy chicken. All of this was easy to make, although I think it took me about 40 minutes, but I was moving slow (it was a Saturday).

I also made some green beans by placing them in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes, then sauteeing them in EVOO with chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Don't think I made that up on my own, I'm not that good yet. I got the idea from my Food Network How to Boil Water cookbook. It has a great section all about veggies.

Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:

2 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
1 10-ounce box frozen peas
1 1/2 cups couscous [I use organic whole wheat couscous and can't tell the difference with the regular stuff.]
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper
2 lemons zested, 1 juiced
1 1/2 - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets, cut into bite-size pieces [Next time, I would buy the chicken tenders instead of the cutlets, since they are being cut into chunks.]
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
10 leaves of basil, chopped [Oops, forgot to add it]
10 leaves of mint, chopped [Left it out on purpose]

Place a medium-size saucepot over high heat and add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a boil then add the peas and the couscous. Place a lid on the pot and turn off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. [Could that be any easier? You have to say that like Chandler Bing when you read it.]

While the stock is coming up to a boil for the couscous, place a large skillet over high heat with 3 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 3-4 tablespoons. While the skillet is heating up, place the flour on a plate. Toss the chicken in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess. Add the chicken pieces to the hot skillet. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper and the lemon zest, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring every now and then to get them brown all over.

With a microplane or the smallest grade of a handheld box grater, grate in the garlic the last 2 minutes of cooking. [This is Rachael's new favorite trick. She grates the garlic instead of chopping it.]

Once the chicken has browned, add the remaining cup chicken stock to the skillet. Once the stock is hot, add the butter and poppy seeds.

Stir until the butter has melted and the sauce has thickened up a bit, about a minute. Turn off the heat and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the pan.

Remove the lid from the pot of couscous, add the basil and mint and fluff with a fork. Place a portion of couscous on a plate and top with the chicken.

PS - I'm home from Europe! I promise to share some pictures on Friday. It was a wonderful trip, but I am glad to be home.

My Local Station Visits Rachael Ray

Monday, April 02, 2007

How did I miss this? Last September, when Rachael Ray's talk show premiered, my local TV station's Diedre Fitzpatrick traveled to a taping of Rachael's show and wrote a blog entry about her trip!

Here's my favorite excerpt, but you should go check out the whole thing to see what it's like to visit Rachael's show:

My favorite part of these trips is watching the "star" when the red light isn't on. You can tell a lot about them by the way they treat their staff when the red light is off. I've found that many of the celebs who are really nice on TV are really not in real life.

Rachael Ray is an exception.

She is professional, friendly and shockingly funny. After the taping, seven reporters gathered to do one-on-one interviews. Rachael had worked a ridiculously long day and taped two shows. She was sucking in as much coffee as she was oxygen. And yet, she powered through the 15 minute interviews like the day had just started.

After the sixth reporter finished, she got up and started taking off the mic to get out of there. Remember I told you there were seven reporters? Guess who was unlucky numero seven? Yep. Math really ruins everything for me.

Let me tell you there's nothing like walking up to the "it girl" who clearly was in "where are my sweats" mode. But, she sat back down, turned on the charm and proved why people like my father-in-law can't get enough of her.

I really enjoy hearing the "what Rachael is really like" stories. I am sure, like everyone else, you can catch her on a bad day. However, overall, most accounts of encounters with Rachael are positive like Diedre's.

[Photo from KCRA]