It’s official—Tia Mowry has yet another trade that she can add to her already overflowing resume. The actress/businesswoman/author/producer/mom recently introduced her latest project: Tia at Home, her new cooking show on the Cooking Channel.
The 36-year-old actress took a break from the kitchen to chat with ESSENCE.com about her deep-seated love of cooking, how she makes sure her family has healthy meals and how she manages to balance her busy life.
You’re a busy woman! What led you down this culinary road?
I like to approach situations or projects that I’m passionate about. So I just felt that this was the right timing to introduce the world to a hobby of mine, which is cooking. But I think that it really came out of wanting to inspire. People want to know how we do it as moms. I want to inspire moms to get back in the kitchen. I want to show moms that not only is it great to have your kids eat healthy foods as opposed to McDonald’s, but it’s great to bring the family back together. Growing up, that was when my family would talk about how our day was, what was troubling us, who bullied us at school. It was like a therapy session for the family. So I want to encourage moms to not be intimidated by the kitchen and see that we can prepare these healthy meals and also bring the family dynamic back. Life is hard enough. If we can come together and just laugh and joke and cry with a few drinks going around the table and with great food, why not?
Can you tell us some of your favorite recipes?
I have these brownies that I make that are just a homerun with my family. I make them with almond butter, prune puree, walnuts, cocoa powder and whole-wheat flour, and I like them because they’re delicious, but they’re also guilt-free. Another thing that I like to make is this cauliflower crust pizza. It’s basically a pizza with cauliflower crust. You put the cauliflower in a food processor with whatever seasonings you want—oregano, Italian seasoning, dried thyme, salt, pepper—and the mixture almost turns into a dough. Then you kind of do what you would do with regular dough: Put some tomato sauce on it, whatever toppings you want, throw it in the oven and it’s done! You can eat the whole thing without feeling guilty. You’re just eating cauliflower!
Does Cree realize that all this food that you’re feeding him is actually healthy?
No, I don’t think he does, but I’m pretty impressed by his food choices. We have cheat days on the weekends where I’ll let him eat whatever he wants, but many a times when I offer him ice cream or mac and cheese or hot dogs, he doesn’t want it. When you start them off young, that’s all they know.
What are you secrets for juggling your home and professional lives?
I try not to get too far ahead of myself. For example, I’ll wake up in the morning, and the first thing that I’m thinking about is my son and making sure he’s okay and off to school. Then, I’ll go to the set of Instant Mom, and I focus on work. I literally take everything a moment at a time. If you ask me what’s happening at the end of the week, I won’t know. I will start to look at what’s happening at the end of the week maybe on a Wednesday or a Thursday instead of a Monday. But also, I do have to make sure that I have help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Communicate with who’s responsibilities are what.
What would you tell those working women who are addicted to the convenience of fast food and takeout?
I think it first starts with perception. I saw how changing my diet really benefitted my health. After I changed my diet, I was able to get pregnant, and then my eczema went away and then my migraines went away. Also, if something is really important to you, you will make time. You schedule in your hair appointments, you schedule in your nail appointments. I think it’s the same thing with food and preparing meals.
We all want to know—is the way to a man’s heart really through his stomach?
Yes! Men are men. I’ve been married to my husband for eight years now; we’ve been together for 16 years. And I’ve found that all I have to do is keep him fed and loved, and he’s the happiest person. Men just want to be full, watching their basketball game and enjoy some hugs and kisses.
Catch Tia at Home every Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on The Cooking Channel.