You may remember this actress from her stint on 90s powerhouse shows like Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills 90210, but today, Tiffani Thiessen is up to so much more. She appeared on USA’s White Collar most recently, and she now stars in the delightful Dinner at Tiffani’s on the Cooking Channel, which came out of her genuine love for cooking and entertaining. Her healthful lifestyle has her whole family hooked on eating well, including her 5 1/2-year-old daughter, Harper, and 7-month-old son, Holt. She took some time to chat about what’s all on her plate these days.
What does healthy eating mean to you in 2016?
We are healthy eaters around here. For me personally, I try to go with an 80/20 philosophy–healthy 80% of the time and have a wiggle room 20% of the time. If you don’t have a little fun, it can be hard to stick to 80%. I always believe when you have kids, leading by example is best you can do. Thankfully, my daughter makes healthful choices on her own. We have chickens in the yard, we’re gathering eggs, and growing veggies and citrus with her. She loves seeing we are growing our own food, which helped pique her interest in healthy eating.
Can you share any more tips for getting your kids to eat their best?
Really, it’s about leading by example and growing our own stuff. My daughter will pull kale right off the planter boxes and eat it. Last year, we grew pumpkins and squash. She’s interested in cooking with me and loves watching me make risotto. I’m slowly and carefully teaching her how to use a knife, get closer to stove, and just be safe and have fun.
How has your eating or cooking philosophy changed over the years?
I cook at home a lot more. It’s just what I love to do. Not that I don’t enjoy eating and traveling. It’s just that cooking at home means really connecting with my family and friends. It’s a time to talk about your day and connect over food.
Do you have any smart snacking tips?
I love cucumbers with lemon juice. Lots of flavor! I also use oatmeal in many of my recipes. Harper has a lot of fun creating her own bowl. We love it swirled with unsweetened peanut butter and apples. We also eat a lot of everything that we grow. We are pretty healthy snackers, but I’ll always make some room for wine, cheese, and dark chocolate. This will never change.
Is your love of oatmeal bowls what led to your partnership with Quaker? Tell me more.
Yes! It’s really simple. It’s called Bring Your Best Bowl contest. We’re asking people to get inspired by how they would create best bowl of oatmeal using 2-5 toppings that might inspire Quaker to come up with new flavor. We’ll all get to pick three finalists, and Quaker will produce those flavors. The winner gets $250,000, plus it allows people to get creative with oatmeal. Here’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy oatmeal:
Double Berry Crumble
½ cup Quaker® Old Fashioned or Quick Oats, prepare as usual
¼ cup fresh blueberries
¼ cup fresh raspberries
1 tbsp vanilla yogurt chips (substitute white chocolate chips if desired)
1 tbsp slivered almonds
½ tbsp graham cracker crumbs
Add toppings, stir and enjoy!
Tell me about Dinner at Tiffani’s. What’s been your favorite moment?
The show came about organically. I love to cook and friends would always say “let’s go have dinner at Tiffani’s!” Eventually I heard it enough that I pitched it to the Cooking Channel. In my career, I’ve worked with a ton of interesting people who I thought would be fun to have on and show how we reminisce–we just talk and eat. How organic is that? It’s like a late night talk show, but sitting down and eating. It’s fun for people to see celebrities being natural and having fun.
Every episode is fun, so it’s hard to pick a favorite moment. I have fun themes for each episode and a menu that goes with each. I’d say the most anticipated episode is coming up with Mark-Paul Gosselaar [Thiessen’s co-star from Saved by the Bell].