How Jessica Seinfeld Balances Family and Food on the Weekends

For the cookbook author and entrepreneur, the weekends are for coffee, coffee, and more coffee—and scones and muffins, too.

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New York Times bestselling cookbook author Jessica Seinfeld has a lot on her plate. The Manhattanite lives with her husband comedian Jerry Seinfeld, their three children, two dachshunds, and two cats. Her fourth cookbook, Food Swings, out April 25, is a collection of more than 125 recipes that reflect real-life eating habits.

Seinfeld is also the president and founder of the GOOD+ Foundation (formerly Baby Buggy), a nonprofit organization that has donated more than 30 million items to low-income families through their national network of more than one hundred antipoverty programs across the United States.

We checked in with Seinfeld to see how she winds down on the weekends, and what she does in order to reset for the week ahead.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I wake up around 7:30 a.m. to a quiet house. I have an Elektra coffee machine I bought on sale (it was the floor model) which brings me about as much joy as my children and animals do. I make that rich, creamy cup I have been waiting for since the night before. I savor it as I get the ingredients ready for our son, who is our pancake master. The kids get up, and the day starts.

What are your favorite things to do for yourself on the weekends?

I like to go to a mid-morning hot yoga class with my friends. We are all giddy with a small pocket of free time because our kids are happy and playing all together at one of our houses. After class, we hit a bakery where we enjoy some muffins, scones, and more coffee. We laugh about how we have just eaten what we just sweated out.

I also like to visit food markets alone on the weekends. If I bring my kids, they will end up ruining it for me by either being bored looking at vegetables, or they will harass me about trying all the cookies or cupcakes they see. So I sneak out and go alone.

How do you deal when you’re away for the weekend?

As someone who runs her own business and nonprofit organization, there is always something more I can be doing. Since a lot of what I do either involves cooking, writing, or strategizing and fundraising, I can be almost anywhere and get work done. I am trying to instill stronger work/life boundaries and allow myself more downtime, though I’m not there yet.

What’s on your “must-do list” every weekend?

I try for the weekend trifecta: I take my family somewhere smart, like a museum or art exhibition. We love the Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum, The American Museum of Natural History, as well as The Museum of the City of New York.

Small art galleries are also a way to get some culture in quick bites that the kids appreciate. We are so lucky to live in such a vibrant city and be immersed in art and culture. Our kids are not at the age where they enjoy doing these things, but I try to show them the treasures of the world and hope something sticks somehow.

We spend a lot of weekends at our home on the east end of Long Island. We play baseball, basketball, and tons of ping pong. We also have family tennis matches at our local tennis center. It’s a lot of work to keep everyone busy and not sitting on their phones, so I keep us moving all day. At night, we watch movies or eat dinner at our favorite restaurant, where every one of us orders the same thing each time. Our kids love the cozy feeling of having family traditions.

Our family likes to plan what treat we’ll enjoy together over the weekend. It could be something new and exciting or an old, favorite. We may do our traditional bagels and lox on Sunday morning, meatball heroes for lunch, or go visit a new pizzeria, doughnut shop, or bakery we’ve heard about. It is a fun focus for us and our kids get to practice their negotiation and debate skills, which often means a small war has to be settled at some point.

What do you do on Sundays to prepare for the week ahead?

Sundays are an important day for me to get organized. I look at everyone’s schedules and coordinate logistics as much as I can in advance. I also get some meals planned, shop, and stock the fridge with healthier snacks to grab on the run: I wash and cut up vegetables and store them in a container with ice water. I wash berries and fruit and put them in bowls in the fridge.

Having those healthy snacks ready and staring me in the face helps me make a smart choice instead of grabbing chips and cookies. I make a big jar of chia pudding for weekday morning Glory Bowls (see Food Swings recipe) before I jump on the subway to get to work.

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Published on April 20, 2017