What We Love Most About the Holidays

December 13, 2011 at 1:02 pm , by

Our staff here at Ladies’ Home Journal is not just incredibly talented, hard-working and yes, nice (hear that, Santa?), but they’re also a sentimental bunch. So we’ve shared some of our favorite rituals, memories and traditions below—just for fun.

Ever since I got my French bulldog, Smuckers, two years ago, my obsession is designing holiday cards featuring him in festive garb. (I use tinyprints.com.) Last year he was an elf (a pretty angry-looking one); this year he’s dressed as Peeved (left), one of Santa’s lesser-known reindeer. Lest you feel too sorry for him, note that he was paid handsomely in cheese cubes for enduring the three-minute photo shoot. And if you think this makes me a little bit crazy, well…you might be right. But with a face like that, how can I resist? —Jessica Brown, features editor

When my son, Oliver, was 3 we gave him his first Duplo blocks. He loved them so much it started a holiday tradition, and we still give him a Lego set each year. He’s 19 now! —Jeffrey Saks, creative director

When I was little, my parents had one Christmas record that we played over and over: The Andy Williams Christmas Album. Now I have it on CD, and I love listening to it (no matter how uncool) because it brings back good memories of opening presents with my brothers. —Kate Lawler, executive editor

What I love most about the holidays is that my 85-year-old mom is vibrant, happy and healthy and is still around to share this special season with us. —Sally Lee, editor-in-chief

I always feel grateful at Christmastime (when I’m not cursing the crazy crowds, that is) that I live in New York City. This time of year is pure magic in the Big Apple! —Lorraine Glennon, senior books & articles editor

Ever since I’ve outgrown toys, I’m all about the cookies this time of year. Christmas. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Las Posadas. Whatever. I’m totally interfaith and multicultural in the month of December. Whoever/whatever you celebrate, I will eat your cookies. And, no matter how Grinchy I get in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the Charlie Brown Christmas album by Vince Guaraldi always brings a smile to my face. (And gets me dancing like a Peanut.) —Ron Kelly, managing editor

For me, it’s decorating the house. This year I’ve tapped into my inner Martha Stewart by putting a Christmas tree in every major room. My big helper is my 3-year-old, who likes to hang all the ornaments on the same branch. Sigh. —Susan Pocharski, entertainment director Read more

Teach Your Children Well (because your words may come right back at you!)

November 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm , by

“No, I don’t wanna have radish soup, it sounds yucky!”

I’m sorry to report that was me, talking to my five-year-old son—not vice-versa.

Granted, I was a bit tired. It was the end of the day on a Sunday, after a weekend that was nonstop activity. Our last outing had been to a healthy food event at a local public school. My friend Jen is a big advocate of local and sustainable food, and she’d invited us to join her and her kids to the event, featuring a performance by her uncle Tom Chapin, a singer who was debuting his new kids’ album, Give Peas a Chance, all about healthy eating. There would be exhibitions about making veggie smoothies, composting and raising chickens in your backyard.  I figured it would be a fun outing with good music (it was), the boys would have fun playing, and maybe Scott would learn stuff. But me? I’m already an adventurous eater, well-versed in healthy options, I thought. I read “Chick Lit,” this month’s LHJ article on backyard chickens. My mom’s been composting forever. I had nothing to learn.

Enter the radishes. (For more of the story and an easy recipe, read on.)

Read more

Win a ‘Girls Night Out’ courtesy of StubHub!

October 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm , by

As an ESPN Sportscaster, Erin Andrews knows a thing or two about holding her own in a seemingly male-dominated sports environment. Now huddling up with the “Girls’ Night Out” campaign supported by StubHub.com, Erin hopes to encourage more ladies to do the same. “Women love sports and they know just as much as men do,” Erin told us. “It’s about good food, good times tailgating, and a chance to get together and be fanatical which, I think, is the same thing that drives men to sporting events.” We agree! But not only can you have a girls’ night out, you can also help a girl {or guy} out because a portion of all tickets sold to specified Girls’ Night Out events will benefit TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors). “[TAPS] was one of the biggest reasons I was excited about this partnership,” Erin said. “To be able to raise money for these people, especially right now, is so important.” Well, if supporting your favorite team AND a great cause isn’t reason enough to call up your girlfriends, StubHub is sweetening the deal for our Ladies’ Lounge readers.  Just leave us a comment about your favorite team to watch with gal pals in the comments section below, and you’ll qualify to win a $500 gift card for use on their site! So c’mon ladies, and be a good sport.

*Official Rules


Burger Bash, Pie Mania…and a Recipe to Keep!

October 12, 2011 at 9:51 am , by

Time to Eat

Picture 1 of 10

Sampling the tasty burgers!

Nothing goes so well together as a juicy burger and a sweet piece of pie and at the 2011 Blue Moon Burger Bash, (part of the New York City Wine &Food Festival) presented by Pat LaFrieda Meats and hosted by Whoopie Goldberg, tasters could get their fill of both!

The event was a gluttonous feast of burgers, cooked on the new Hamilton Beach outdoor grill, milkshakes (at a station manned by Duff Goldman) and of course, the ultimate in pie indulgence.

For the first course, chefs from 20 different restaurants dressed their burgers in explosively delicious flavors using jalapeño, bacon, cheddar and other secret ingredients and presented them for judging by some of the biggest names in food: David Burke, Adam Richman, Andrew Zimmern and Anne Burrell.

As tasty as the burgers were, I had my eye on the massive dessert table jam packed with endless rows of pies created by Dangerously Delicious Pies which were, in fact, dangerously delicious

I was in heaven going back for 2nds, ok maybe 3rds, and my favorite was the chocolate pie. It was just as creamy and delicious as the Ladies’ Home Journal Chocolate Covered Pretzel Pie. Check out the recipe for our amazing chocolate pie, along with many other tempting varieties, in the October issue and bake up some decadence. — Cathie Yun

Pink Products GIVEAWAY for Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

October 10, 2011 at 10:05 am , by

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month! With so many “pink products” now available in stores and online, we wanted to give you a chance to win the entire collection of our favorite Do Good-ies donating to this important cause. Write a comment about Breast Cancer Awareness in the section below for a chance to win everything you see pictured here! Learn how these products are giving back and where you can buy them to sport your own pink pride.

WIN IT ALL! Just write a comment below about Breast Cancer Awareness

Ford Warriors in Pink  (2 tees, hoodie, and travel mug – as seen in our October issue!)
Get them here!  100% of net proceeds help support Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Avon Nailwear Pro (Nail enamel in ‘Pink Power’ – as seen in our October issue!)
Get it here! 100% of net profits donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade

Elaine Turner (Studded leather wrap bracelet)
Get it here!  100% of the proceeds from these bracelets will be donated to the Nellie B. Connally Breast Cancer Center at MD Anderson

KitchenAid Cook for the Cure

Get it here! KitchenAid’s pink items benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure   all year long, not just October. In honor of the 10th anniversary of this partnership, KitchenAid is committing to a minimum of $450,000 in donations to Komen in 2011, supported through the sale and registration of pink KitchenAid products together with celebrity chef auctions and grass roots efforts that encourage cooks to get friends and family involved.  

Smashbox “O-gloss”
Get it here! Through the end of October, the entire purchase price will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Bars (20 total, 4 flavors)
Get them here! Through the end of December 2011, specially marked pink ribbon packages of Intense Dark™ will carry a code inside the package redeemable for a $1 donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation

Counting for a Cause (Rose gold-dipped bracelet)
Get it here! 50% profits from each sale benefit The Karmanos Cancer Institute

Yoplait Bag with BCA products (Two coupons for FREE  yogurt, tote bag, journal, keychain, pen, and pink lid collection kit)  Get Yoplait yogurt at your local grocery store to ensure freshness! Yoplait donates 10 cents for every pink lid redeemed by December 31, 2011 to benefit their Save Lids to Save Lives campaign  {up to $2,000,000.00}

Pure Fiji Frangipani products (Hydrating body lotion, coconut sugar scrub, coconut milk bath soak, body butter, nourishing exotic oil, handmade coconut soap, and island candle)
Get them here! 10% of all sales from the Frangipani line that are purchased during the month of October will be donated to Susan G. Komen. Pure Fiji is also donating products to the survivors that participate in the Susan G. Komen race in Denver, Colorado.

Glass Eye Studio & Seattle Chocolates (Hand- blown glass white floppy bowl with strawberry crème truffles)
Get it here! Through the end of October, for every set purchased a $10 donation will be made to Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Taylor Kenney (Poppy Earrings – as seen in our October issue!)
Get it here! 30% of sales will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Susan G. Komen For The Cure’s ‘Promise Me’ (Fragrance)

Get it here! With every fragrance sold, a donation of 13.5% of sales is made to Susan G. Komen for the Cure , with a minimum guarantee of $1,000,000 dedicated to breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment.

Origins Make a Difference (Skin Rejuvenating Treatment - as seen in our October issue!)
Get it here! Through the month of October, $5 from every North American sale of this treatment will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Bobbi Brown Pink Ribbon Collection (High Shimmer Lip Gloss & Lip Color)
Get it here! (while supplies last 10/1/11 – 12/31/11) Bobbi Brown will donate $10 from the sale of this limited edition set to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Ann Cares (Pink jewel ring – as seen in our October issue!)
Get it here! 70% of the proceeds benefit Breast Cancer Research Foundation 

Emma Stine (Blush Rosette Earrings)
Get it here!  30% of sales will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure 

Sonia Kashuk Proudly Pink (5 piece purse brush set – as seen in our October issue!)
Get it here! Available for one year, 15% of this set will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

 *Official Rules

Get in the Kitchen for a Healthier Heart

October 7, 2011 at 11:49 am , by

I never cook. I’m a busy college student—between classes and commuting to New York City for my internship here at LHJ, I just don’t have time. But this week, LHJ sent me into the kitchen. I got to go to the American Heart Association’s launch event for the Simple Cooking with Heart campaign. The AHA partnered with celebrity chef Marc Anthony Bynum (that’s him in the middle, with me on the left and editorial assistant Amelia Harnish on the right), a winner on the Food Network’s Chopped, to give a group of journalists a cooking class. After a quick lesson in knife skills, we made two of the easy, tasty and healthy recipes from the campaign to get families back into the kitchen.

On the menu was Asian-style noodles paired with Asian coleslaw. We started with the dressing for the coleslaw: low-sodium soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, olive oil and vinegar. Then I learned how to seed a cucumber and the easiest way to chop a red pepper: just slice the sides off and throw away the rest. I felt like a real chef!

After that, we moved on to the noodles, which just took mixing ramen, chicken broth, a little bit of garlic, mixed vegetables (a bag of frozen is fine) and a lean cut of pork in a skillet. Bring to a boil. You can substitute any protein you want—chicken, beef, shrimp—and it’s still heart healthy. The whole thing took a little over 30 minutes.

Easy! After the cooking fun, I was able to bask, as well as feast, in my accomplishments. I wolfed down the meal I created and I realized I should definitely be cooking more. It felt good knowing that I had made something myself. If I can do it, you can, too. It’s fun, and a good way to slim down.

“Just getting back to home cooking can lead to healthier diets because restaurant foods are always higher in fat and sodium,” says Rachel K. Johnson, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and an AHA spokesperson.

Here are Dr. Johnson’s tips for getting back into the kitchen:

  • Try new things to find good, simple recipes that the whole family enjoys.
  • Make a shopping list to save time.
  • Get your kids involved. They’re more likely to eat healthy food if they’ve participated in the kitchen.

You can find lots of quick, good-for-you recipes at the Simple Cooking with Heart website to get started (Click here and here for the recipes we made at the event). Head to their website, and commit to cooking more. It’s the first step to a healthier heart!

Perfect Pairing: Two Wines, One Salad

October 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm , by

My wife, Lindsay, has an arsenal of delicious salad recipes, and and as luck would have it, a friend sent over two new wines for us to sample. Each bottle pairs perfectly with the same salad recipe (with one simple ingredient modification). It was so good, I had to share.

Lindsay’s Couscous, Lentil and Blue Cheese Salad
1 cup lentils, cooked
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup couscous, cooked
½ tsp salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 head romaine or other lettuce
1 lemon, cut into wedges
6 plum tomatoes or 1 small beefsteak, cubed
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
¾ cup (3 oz) blue cheese, crumbled

The key to this recipe is making it once and then adjusting it to taste, though you might nail it on the first go. Salt and pepper the cooked lentils to taste, having stirred in 1 tbsp lemon juice. In a separate large bowl, add 1 tbsp oil to cooked couscous and fluff. In a small bowl make the dressing: To minced garlic whisk in remaining 2 tbsp juice and 3 tbsp oil and salt and pepper to taste. Then stir the lentils and dressing into the couscous and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Before serving, shred romaine on a platter and stir tomato, mint and cheese into salad, then turn salad onto romaine. Garnish with lemon wedges and additional tomato wedges. Makes plenty for leftovers.

Wine Parings:

2009 Marilyn Merlot (Napa Valley; $30) With a full body and wonderful mouth feel, this wine’s mature red fruit and toasted oak flavors in a well-balanced acidity make it fun to sip, and its dried-herb bouquet invite you to pair it with Lindsay’s salad recipe. It also happens to have a long, smooth finish that mellows to memories of chocolate and vanilla—consider it built-in dessert.

2007 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma; $25) This wine’s price is no reflection of its quality: It drinks like a $100 bottle and it makes a bold statement, showing aromas of red cherry and blackberry with hints of licorice, toasted oak and spices and its palate offers more of the same, plus generous vanilla and caramel in a long finish. This is (need I repeat?) a big, bold, strapping wine.

To pair the Simi Cabernet Sauvignon with the salad recipe above, stir some cooked cubed ham or cold cooked bacon bits in before serving. The reason for larding up the salad is to add to the welcoming viscosity of the cheese—it gives the wine’s acidity something to balance out. Just add fresh baguette slices for a complete meal.