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Vanessa Lachey is hoping she and her family can “bake some good” in the world.
Lachey just wrapped up her “BakeSomeGood” partnership with Nestl, a campaign in which bakers surprised various organizations with cookies, brownies and other delicious treats. The television personality spoke with Enstars recently to discuss how the campaign went, how husband Nick Lachey helps her with baking and the experience of raising their three children, Camden, 4, Brooklyn, 2, and 3-month-old Phoenix.
Enstars: How would you describe Nestl’s “BakeSomeGood” campaign in your own words?
Vanessa: It was a fun partnership and I’m super proud of Nestl as well as the bakers who broke a world record and baked straight for 100 days. They did good for people who are under-appreciated and they just said “thank you.” It was a simple act of just doing something kind and I think in this crazy time in everyone’s life, it was nice to bring it back to something extremely simplistic and it just had such a great impact. The positive impact I got from everybody was so wonderful and it really, selfishly, forced me to make some more family time. As you can imagine with the newborn, things get extra crazy and you start juggling things differently, but this made it easy for me in mind to say “guys we’re gonna do this today, there’s a point behind this, it’s gonna be for some good” and when we did it I was so grateful afterwards at the end result and to see the kids and how much they enjoyed it. And selfishly, I got some “mommy and me” time with the kiddos.
How did you get involved with the campaign?
I love cooking and baking. So when they approached me with the opportunity I of course jumped on board. I’ve been a Nestl fan my whole life because when you don’t have the time to bake something from scratch they’ve got amazing refrigerated cookie dough that are literally foolproof. I also love that they do these seasonal ones, so around fall we did pumpkin and now they’ve got strawberry shortcake and summer’s coming up, blueberry lemon. They don’t just stop at the chocolate chip cookie. They always reinvent it some way that makes it more delicious and I love that.
These are certainly challenging and divisive times for a lot of people. How can the everyday person bake some good on their own even if this campaign is over?
The campaign is over but it doesn’t mean that “baking some good” is over and it doesn’t mean that we can’t continue as people, as a mother, or you, as a journalist, to do good in our communities. This is just an easy way that I can give you an example to do that and that’s baking something for someone. Have you ever gone into the office and someone had fresh-baked cookies or there’s brownies or cupcakes and you’re like Ehh? No! You look and you’re like “who baked today?!” And it’s such a good feeling. There’s dozens of examples, but this is an easy way that people can dive into it and for me it was great because I came to it with my kids and I can show them what it’s like to give back and what it’s like to put a smile on someone’s face. Cam brought some cookies to teachers, and Brooklyn was in the kitchen with me, so it’s just all these little lessons and all these little moments that hopefully resonate something bigger, moving forward.
You’ve gotten into creating your own recipes as well. Can you tell me about the chocolate chunk cookies recipe you developed?
The beauty of my husband is he doesn’t discriminate in the kitchen! So I can try anything and Nick will try it, and I’ve had to make him get better at being honest ’cause he’s such a good man, he’ll say everything is good. So lately I’m like “babe, if you just tell me everything’s good I’m not gonna get better so you have to be honest!” I like making mistakes, I like trying new things and I like finding something that just sticks because there’s a little bit of pride in it but also I can see on his face that it’s really good and I feel like I accomplished something because I don’t have generations of recipes passed down in my family and I don’t have a mother who bakes in the kitchen and I remember growing up really wanting that and instead of saying “oh well I don’t have that for my daughter,” I try to think how can we change that. So we do it together and we mess up together and then we find things that work Together.
One of my favorites was this salted chocolate chip because when I was pregnant I was craving salty and sweet, so that one I’m super proud of, but that’s the beauty of cooking and baking. Baking you have to be a little more specific with measurements and whatnot but what I found working with Nestl is there’s so many amazing products that it’s to an extent foolproof because you know you’ve got great products to work with that you can play around with and you’re gonna have a fun result. It may not be what you envisioned but it’s gonna be fun and then you perfect it.
Do Nick or the kids get involved with baking?
Nick does not get involved, he’s the taste-tester. I love him and I know he would say the same thing, he does not get in the kitchen. He helps, if I have a big dish then he’ll help me pour it in, but he’s my taste-tester. But the kids, yeah, there’s so many things you can do to have them help you, whether it’s putting the morsels into the bowl or measuring out whatever ingredients you need or even placing it onto the pan, they love to help and I think it teaches them so many things that we can’t even see on the surface. What’s underlying these moments that they’re creating and the confidence that they’re getting and the imagination that they’re using, it’s a beautiful thing to watch, and also to let them see that it’s okay to get dirty and have fun when you’re in the kitchen. It’s not always dinner time, eat, go clean up! Sometimes it Is that, you sit down and you’re like “eat your food!” and so it’s nice to encourage them that the kitchen can also be fun, and baking does that, so I love it for that reason.
Are there specific examples of places people can go to give away baked goods?
Different organizations speak to people differently, obviously you can go on the website to contribute what you want. But for me, I was an Air Force brat, so it was really important for me to give back to military families so I try to do stuff that I can with the military and Air Force in particular. We “baked some good” one day for military families and I loved that because when a parent is away it’s nice that someone else is thinking about you and saying “hey, we see you, we’re here for you, and we appreciate what your parent is doing.” It’s all these little moments that just resonate and it might take a minute in your day but it can last forever in another child or another person. So I think everyone can just take a beat and think what means something to them because when it comes from an organic place then it’s real, and it’s beautiful.
You’re obviously very busy now with raising three kids, but do you have any other special projects coming up?
My favorite project right now is “mommy.” The beauty of this industry that I get to work in is that we are somewhat flexible and I just promised myself and my husband that when Phoenix came we would devote our time to him and to our kids and to being a family because it’s only this short amount of time that he’s this age, and then they grow up and they’re gone, and I’m just an empty-nester! So it’s nice to take a beat and have snuggle time and just remind ourselves what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Everything we do is for our family so it’s nice to just be here for our family when you have a newborn. And I think most moms and families do that and it’s a beautiful thing, so our days are filled with fun activities and bonding time and lots of conversation, laughs, tears, the whole nine. It doesn’t stop, because as you know, newborns eat all day long, so he pretty much needs this 24/7 and I in a weird way love it, ’cause I know that soon, he won’t, so I’m relishing it.
Check out some of the best moments from the Nestl “BakeSomeGood” campaign and get inspired to bake some good on your own at VeryBestBaking.com/BakeSomeGood.