EXCLUSIVE: Vanessa Lachey Talks Recipes, Family & The Holidays

The holiday season is upon us and for many this means that it’s time to prepare for wonderful occasions with family, friends and loved ones over wonderful meals while creating lovely memories. While the thought of a lovely family gathering sounds nice, for many the holiday season also brings stress and anxiety about hosting the perfect family gathering and preparing the food.

Moms.com recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Actress, TV Host, and mom of three, Vanessa Lachey who loves to cook about her partnership with Libby’s Fruits & Vegetables, hacks for a stress-free holiday season and what matters most to her during the holiday season.

While holidays are a time of joy and feasting, they can also be stressful. What are some things that you do to set boundaries during the holiday season?

Our kids are getting older, and we've had to set some family boundaries. I think that there's a loving way that you can have a conversation with your in-laws or your immediate family about that. It's about finding a compromise, but boundaries are very important especially during the holiday season.

We've tried to make time for our extended family at different times around the holidays where we've included everyone. Then, there are times where our extended family just knows that we are doing the holiday as our own unit. We set boundaries, and expect for them to understand that just as they had traditions growing up, that we now have traditions that we are creating with our own children too.

For the holiday season, what are some of your personal hacks for making sure that everything goes smoothly when you’re hosting a party?

My biggest tip is doing as much prep, both food and decor that you can before the day of the actual event or holiday. Like a week before a holiday, I started planning out in my mind where the table is going to be, and who's sitting where. If we're bringing in another table, how many seats do we have? I do the place settings and then I actually put out all the plates, all the silverware, and all the serving trays. I have a sticky note that I place for each area of need or food. And then two days before, I'll start shopping and prepping the food. The actual day before, the majority of the food is prepped, and everything is in the fridge again with a sticky note. Preparation is key.

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During the holidays, who does most of the cooking in your home? What systems do you have in place?

If I were to sit here and say that I'm a good cook and that I cook all the time; that would sound really conceited, because I've been on a cooking show where kids cook better than me and more than me. But I enjoy cooking and do the majority of it in our home. I think the beauty of why I love using Libby's products is that I'm free to experiment. I've got great measurements and great ingredients. I do all the cooking. Nick doesn't cook for us much, but he has started cooking more. Not that he can't, he can, but he started cooking more once we had kids. He makes their breakfast, he makes their dinners if needed. If I'm not there or if I'm there we'll make it together. But for us, I do all the cooking for our parties. I do all the cooking, but then our deal is that he does all the cleaning. It's a wonderful partnership. I just sit there stuffed and he puts all the dishes in the dishwasher.

You’ve decided to partner with Libby’s for the Holiday season, can you speak about some of their current initiatives and what makes their brand so appealing to you?

I love that Libby’s is so generous to those in need. They're making a donation to Feeding America, which is the largest hunger organization and domestic hunger organ relief fund in our country. Another reason why I am such a big fan of Libby’s is the prep, and I am a huge advocate for wanting to tell busy mommies to not be afraid to open your pantry, grab a can of vegetables and make that dish. It's actually really fresh. There’s no peeling, washing, cutting, and dicing. There's no running after your kids and forgetting what you just put in the oven. It's easy, and that's what it should be about. A stress-free, easy environment. So you can be a better woman, a better person, a better mommy who’s able to enjoy her family and enjoy the moment.

Speaking of having a successful holiday season, what does success mean to you as a wife, mother and career woman?

I've always just put my family first. When my family is healthy and happy, I've hit my ultimate ideal of success and everything else is a cherry on top. It's like the icing on the cake. I wanted to be a mom and I'm very lucky that I have a career where I can do both. I can go away and film something during the day, and be home with my kids. I can shoot a quick movie in one month and know that my husband is there holding down the fort while I'm away. Success to me is knowing that you have a strong spouse who supports you, who understands your will to be independent and to be creative, but also supports you in wanting to be an amazing mother is key as well. Whether you find that support in a spouse, family member or someone in your past, you definitely need a support system.

You can see Lachey up next in her new Lifetime movie, Christmas Unleashed, debuting December 7th.

To find some of Vanessa's recipes for easy to make meals, click here.

In the spirit of the holiday season, readers can win up to $1250 by submitting their favorite recipe by heading to www.GetBacktoTheTable.com/Cansgiving or entering via Instagram or Twitter using #Cansgiving and #sweepstakes and tagging @LibbysTable.

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