Ladies We Love: Carla Hall

June 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm , by

Chef Carla Hall and Fuel Up student ambassador Nikki

Chef Carla Hall and Fuel Up student ambassador Nikki

If you’re a fan of Top Chef, you probably already have a soft spot for chef Carla Hall and her impressive cooked-with-love cuisine  (and, of course, her trademark catchphrase “hootie hoo!”). Now, taking cues from Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign and the new USDA MyPlate guidelines for healthy eating, Carla is spreading the word about how important nutritious meals and fun exercise are for our kids.

“It’s all about food, yes, but you need to move. You need to get up and do something. Back in the day, we used to play. So now I think the challenge right is to go out and get everyone dancing. Especially the kids,” says Carla.

Carla’s teaming up with Fuel Up to Play 60, which brings youth wellness programs to schools (now 70,000 nation-wide!) Student ambassador Nikki, who also joined us with Carla in the LHJ offices last week, loves the changes it’s inspired in her school. “We started a walking club, and give out raffle tickets if we catch you eating a healthy food at lunch. We’ve done a taste test of different exotic fruits, parfaits, and string cheese. Kids like the new foods, and it spreads around the cafeteria, with kids wanting to bring the healthier choices for lunch,” she says.

Carla, always an advocate for cooking with whole foods, loves to hear this. “I’m all about inspiring people to cook at home, and we don’t have to dummy down kids food. Kids will eat lots of different foods if they have the chance to try it.”

One of Carla’s favorite recipes is her granola, a tasty and nourishing mix of almonds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and dried fruit, which she hopes to sell through Alchemy by Carla Hall, of which she is the executive chef and owner.  (But you can make your own now– click “Read More” below for the recipe!) “I like making granola, because I can control how much sugar is in it. And you can use it as a breakfast or a snack, or even as a topping on dessert,” she says.

Not enough reasons to love Carla? We asked her our Ladies’ We Love questions for more:

What makes me a lady:
I’m a southern lady, and I love earrings. I’ll even notice some nice earrings in a scary movie. My husband will say, “Oh, you’re such a girl.”

Favorite guilty pleasure:
A sundae with pistachio, sour cherry ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and toasted almonds.

Three things on my life list:
I want to spend a New Year’s Eve in Sydney, Australia. I want to go to Nepal and have a meditation session. And I want to have a dining experience at Alinea, Grant Achatz’s restaurant in Chicago.

If I could have a super power it would be:
I think I would fly. I just don’t walk fast enough!

Ladies I admire:
Julia Child. The Big O – Oprah, I have to say. And my grandmother.

Read more

Veggie Love

March 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm , by

Rachel & JennieEating healthy is difficult in today’s convenience-driven food market, and getting kids to eat healthy is an even bigger challenge – that’s what led us to Hidden Valley’s ‘Veggie Central’ event at NYC’s Grand Central Station last week. Although the flowing fountains of ranch dressing were fun, the main draw was talking to Jennie Ranch bottlesGarth (of 90210 fame) about her involvement in Hidden Valley’s ‘Love Your Veggies’ campaign. “I try to pick things I can relate to,” says Garth of her spokeswoman status, “I feel good about my work when it aligns with a message I already believe in.” So how does Garth embrace eating healthy at home? “I don’t have junk around as an option.” By eliminating tempting treats from her cupboards, Garth says she and her kids end up snacking on carrot sticks instead of potato chips – makes sense huh? As for parenting tips in this department, Garth advises, “Educate Veggie Lollipopsthem about taking care of themselves and give them a choice without emphasizing the words diet and fat.”… rules for all of us to live by!
With the stress of hectic schedules and the option of ready-made (usually processed) meals, Garth, the self-proclaimed ‘salad queen’, believes that eating healthy and being conscious of nutrition is something people have to make room for in their lives. How do Jennie and her actor hubby, Peter Facinelli (Twilight) manage this with three young girls at home? “We eat together every night,” says Garth, “Sometimes if my husband is filming and can’t have dinner with us, we’ll skype him during dinner or before the girls go to bed.” How refreshing!  Learn more about how to make nutrition a part of your life from Jennie Garth and the folks at Hidden Valley Salad Dressings, and remember to ‘Love Your Veggies’.