It's impossible not to love our Guest Editor, Daphne Oz's smiling face - or sincere enthusiasm about breakfast tacos. We're talking about morning mantras and feeding the fam from inside this domestic goddess' own cozy nest.

It’s finally back – that delicious time of year where self-care and indulgence begin to merge; where cooler weather fully justifies lazy nights in, and fresh-baked (vegan, gluten-free) cookies happen just because. We’re welcoming the cozy season ahead with open arms and the return of a former TCM Guest Editor whose kitchen prowess is the exact kind of inspiration we want to chew on right now.

We first met Daphne Oz when she was newly married and had just launched her first official cookbook. She blew our minds with cauliflower grilled cheese sandwiches (yes, really) and life advice from her dad (Dr. Oz, people!). Now, Daphne is rounding out five years on an Emmy award-winning TV show, has two gorgeous kids and has recently launched a beautiful new cookbook aptly titled The Happy Cook.

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Daphne ‘s smiling face – or sincere enthusiasm about breakfast tacos. We’re happy to reconnect with this domestic goddess and talk everything from holiday cooking to healthy morning routines this month. Join us all November, starting with our glimpse into her family’s cozy morning schedule…

I can’t start my morning without… A HUGE GLASS OF WATER! I drink about a gallon of filtered, room temp water every day. I also like to throw a protein shake together in the blender before I run out the door: I use whole yogurt, frozen cherries, mango or blueberries, a handful of spinach, chia seeds or flax meal, and then all my supplements/powders/dusts and vanilla mushroom protein powder. I feel like however I eat breakfast sets the tone for the way I eat the rest of the day – it changes my energy, it changes what I crave, so I like to start as healthy as possible. It’s also a great insurance policy with tons of nutrition, just in case the rest of my day gets off-track. My kids love a smoothie, too: theirs is avocado, banana, strawberries, spinach, and yogurt plus a kids’ omega-3 supplement and vitamin D and C. Great for immunity, brain and eye health, and especially good as we go into cold season.

Quickie breakfast during the week… See smoothie above. My kids also love the Warrior Waffles from The Happy Cook dipped in buttered maple syrupI keep a batch in the freezer, so I can just pop a few into the toaster. They also like soft-boiled eggs with buttered whole grain toast soldiers for dipping. If we’re on the run, I tear the bread up and toss it all together in a bowl with the eggs: we call it “Eggy Peggy.” Protein, fiber, and good fats that keep them full all morning.

Family’s fave breakfast on the weekend… Croissants! We pack the kids into the double stroller and go to the bakery near our house for pastries and coffee first thing in the morning most Saturdays. At home, my kids love guacamole any time of day, so we make a lot of breakfast tacos and I load them up with eggs, cheese and guac for them, and then cumin black beans, scrambled eggs, guac, salsa, and spicy crema or chipotle cabbage slaw for the adults. They make a great and universally pleasing brunch spread, too with fresh fruit and yogurt. We make lots of omelettes or fritattas with whatever we have in the fridge, or pancakes. New Jersey bagels with cream cheese and tomato or Turkish breakfasts (a platter of cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, simit – a kind of pastry – with cheese and honey and strong tea) when we’re out visiting my parents in NJ. I also make a lot of granola and muffins with the kids, they love all the measuring and mixing.

Coffee, green juice or both? Both! Green juice makes me feel clean, vital and vibrant, and coffee makes my brain work.

My favorite moment in the morning is… My kids are the happiest little crazies right when they wake up. I love listening to their chattering and laughing, stealing cuddles when I can get either of them to sit still. On days when I head to the studio, I’m gone before they wake up so I miss all the fun. But the upside is I get quiet time in hair and makeup to catch up on emails, read the papers, and possibly do a little Insta/Snap scrolling…

Always happy when the kitchen smells like… Cookies! Or my grandfather’s spaghetti sauce.

Family’s favorite tunes at home: A lot of oldies, and then whatever is on the radio. We love Raffi, Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac, Frankie Valli, Rolling Stones, Ben E. King, the Beatles… The kids love any song where they can kind of understand the words. My daughter is obsessed with that Sia song “Cheap Thrills” (see sings the line “’Til I hit the dumpster” instead of “dance floor,” which is priceless) and my son loves Adele’s “Say Hello To Your New Lover.”

Daily uniform this fall: High-waisted jeans and a wonderfully worn white tee, plus my husband’s sweater (or my Lingua Franca “Domestic Goddish” sweater – in love!). My knee-high boots are about to come out now that it’s truly cold, but I’ve been loving some black suede mary jane-style pumps with a little strap and a stacked heel. A great long trench or cozy bomber jacket rounds out the look with an oversized scarf and sunnies.

Natural beauty staples always in my bag: I love RMS Buriti Bronzer and RMS Master Mixer to make my skin look healthy and glowing on the run. My Milk Cosmetics Coverage Duo undereye concealer gives me back the hours of sleep I’m missing. Living Libations PoeticPits is a tiny little roll-on deodorant that fits in every purse. I also love the Living Libations Rose Glow Lover Lips tinted lipbalm. Soft, pigmented lips always wake your face up. Half the battle of feeling awake is looking the part, and it’s nice to hit refresh when you might be fading in the afternoon with a quick hydrating face mist – I love Lil Fox Aphrodite Rose Toning Mist.

Healthy go-to lunch on set: We eat “lunch” in between tapings at 10:15am, so our options are limited, plus we’ve generally eaten at least a few different dishes during the shows. I go for quinoa and mixed greens salad with avocado, or a Greek salad with grilled chicken. On naughty days, I get the baguette with butter, ham and gruyere from the French bakery nearby…it hits the spot. I always drink a ton of water and finish with green or chai tea, or iced tea with lemon in the spring and summer.

On my reading list: EVERYTHING! This fall has been crazy with work, so I listened to Sweetbitter, The Girl on The Train, and The Girls while I was commuting and traveling. I read a ton of parenting books – right now, it’s The Whole Brain Child. Once things settle down, I am really excited to read The Sixth Extinction. I’ll get some good short fiction in there, too – my favorite.

Best fitness tip ever for moms: Find a workout that lets you forget your working out because you are (somehow, miraculously) having fun. Whatever it is, make it a daily habit – even if you only have time for 15 minutes of dedicated activity. I have found so many excuses over the years to not work out, but I am so much happier when I make time for it and when I’m consistent so I’m not just suffering through sore, tight muscles all the time and can stay loose and limber. It’s less about losing weight and more about feeling strong in my skin again after baby, when so much changes and we all have to sort of figure out who we are and how to connect with ourselves again.

Healthy kid’s snacks always on hand: Cucumbers and lebne (or greek yogurt, or cream cheese), popcorn, toast or rice cakes with almond butter or cheese, kale chips with olive oil, salt and nutritional yeast, cut apples with lemon squeezed all over – my kids love the sweet-sour combo, and it keeps the apples from browning. Pretzels. Smoothies! Kids love to mix and match their own, and it gets tons of fresh fruits and veggies into them on the go.

Best tip on stress and feeling balanced: Balance isn’t static, it’s constantly recalibrating. If you feel like the scales are tipping the wrong way today, make an effort tomorrow to rebalance in the right direction. But try not to be too hard on yourself. It’s a process and you have to be able to enjoy your life even while you’re learning to do little things a little bit better each day.

Current mantra: Keep growing, and have fun!

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