Curious how actress and author Ali Larter balances it all with a relaxed attitude? Our friends at Health recently interviewed Ali about eating light, her favorite workouts, and how she keeps manages to keep her cool.
"I have to eat dessert every day of my life, even if it's just a piece of dark chocolate," says Ali Larter, nibbling on an afternoon snack of fresh fruit at a Beverly Hills café. The 37-year-old New Jersey native — married to actor Hayes MacArthur and mom to toddler son Teddy — spent nearly 365 days gathering (and sampling!) more than 100 of her favorite recipes for her new cookbook, Kitchen Revelry. She even put on five pounds while she was creating this witty love letter to entertaining. Over a soy cappuccino, the self-described "bad-girl Martha Stewart" chatted about everything from breaking wineglasses at parties to shedding that dreaded holiday weight gain.
Tell us what inspired you to write this book.
I left home when I was almost 18 and traveled around the world as a model. In Japan or Italy — where I didn't know anybody — food was always my way to make a connection with people. When I moved to New York in my 20s, I wanted to throw dinner parties. But I threw one, and it was such a disaster! I attempted to make complicated recipes I had never tried before — I was panicked the whole night.
Obviously you have come a long way since then.
Now I can't go a month without throwing a dinner party. For me, entertaining has become a metaphor for life. If you mess up, laugh at it and order in pizza. What's important is putting yourself out there.
It's so easy, when you're entertaining, to worry that your guests are judging you by your flatware.
You are your hardest critic. When people come over, they don't care about the table settings or the linens or the outcome. What they care about is being there with you and having a nice evening together.
Do you apply this newfound philosophy outside the kitchen as well?
Yes. I was exhausting myself with the pressure of doing everything right. I'm a doer by nature. If I have a 10-hour day, I'm probably still going to work out and cook dinner, too.
It sounds as if cooking is therapeutic for you.
When I have a crazy day, I enjoy chopping and cooking — it relaxes me. But then there are times when I'm in the middle of cooking and my son is running around, and I just leave it. I see that he needs me and cooking isn't working right now.
What do you consider your go-to outfit as a hostess?
I love wrap dresses. I also like a great pair of old jeans with a nice T-shirt. I just add some bold jewelry and bright red lipstick to glam it up.
So, what makes you the bad-girl Martha Stewart?
My approach is definitely messier. I try to create an environment where people aren't scared if they break a wineglass.
With all your entertaining, how do you manage to squeeze into those jeans?
I tend to work out for an hour about four days a week, and I love to run. It's the quickest way, with my busy schedule, to be able to enjoy my life and keep my weight at where I want it to be. Sometimes I grab a trashy magazine and hit the treadmill. But I prefer to go for a nice run outside. It's a huge de-stressor for me.
Keep reading to learn more about Ali Larter's healthy lifestyle.