There's a healthy, colorful balance on this crazy-busy chef's menu.
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molly yeh
Getty / Amy Sussman / Staff
| Credit: Getty / Amy Sussman / Staff

When she launched her blog My Name is Yeh in 2009, Molly Yeh never imagined her kitchen would someday become a set for a Food Network show and the test kitchen where she'd develop recipes for cookbooks like the award-winning Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm ($21.99, Target) and the forthcoming Home Is Where The Eggs Are.

Yeh grew up in a musical family, loved writing and attended Juilliard before working as a celebrity chef. After meeting and marrying her now-husband, a fifth-generation farmer, she moved from Brooklyn to a farm on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota.

She created My Name is Yeh as a journal and to document the unique, colorful and healthy-ish cuisine she developed to combine her new Midwestern home with flavors from her Jewish and Chinese heritage. Quickly after the blog's debut, Yeh became known for her peppy, down-to-earth personality as well as her showy cakes, creative fusion fare and homemade snack upgrades. In 2018, she premiered her show, Girl Meets Farm.

Yeh juggles being a wife, mom, TV host, author and entrepreneur—whew! But, in 2020 and 2021, Yeh carved out time to chat with us about a day in her life.

Before we dove in, though, we couldn't resist asking some other questions.

EatingWell: If there's one recipe you think everyone should try from your site, which would it be?

Yeh: Probably the naturally dyed rainbow cake that I developed for my daughter Bernie's first birthday. I dreamt about it for months and months, and I was just so happy with how the colors turned out. Then of course seeing her stuff it into her mouth with her little birthday crown on was the best!

EatingWell: Finish this sentence: To me, cooking is ...

Yeh: My favorite creative outlet. I love nothing more than decorating cakes—picking the perfect sprinkles, color palette and cookie cutouts to adorn them with. Cooking is also a window into other places, cultures and communities. And it's a way to connect to my Chinese and Jewish ancestry.

EatingWell: Is there a kitchen tool that you can't live without?

Yeh: I love my kitchen scale because it eliminates most of the need to use measuring cups and that decreases the amount of dirty dishes! You also get more consistent results when you weigh things, especially with baking.

EatingWell: What's always in your fridge?

Yeh: Greek yogurt, because no matter what dairy product I'm out of, I feel like Greek yogurt can always be a good stand-in.

EatingWell: Is there a food that says home to you?

Yeh: I would say matzo brei. Growing up, my mom would make it for me, and when I moved from New York City to northern Minnesota, making it felt like bringing a little part of myself to this kitchen. It's so comforting.

EatingWell: What was your biggest adjustment transitioning from city life to farm life?

Yeh: Learning how to live without a bagel place down the street! After months of ordering bagels online and keeping stashes in my freezer, I finally decided that I was going to learn how to make them. They require special high-gluten flour, which helps get bagels extra chewy ... so I had to track that down. It turns out it comes from the type of wheat grown right in these fields. So, I basically live on a bagel farm!

EatingWell: How do you define healthy?

Yeh: Healthy to me is very much a process. It's figuring out what makes me feel good and recognizing it can change over time. A few months ago I was doing a lot of HIIT workouts. I was exhausted all the time and began dreading them. So, I reassessed and started lifting weights instead. I'll probably get sick of that soon, too, but it's about listening to my body and striking balance when I can.

What Molly Yeh Eats in a Day

Breakfast

"Breakfast is almost always a fruit and veggie smoothie or yogurt and granola," said Yeh, similar to this Spinach, Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie. That way, she can kick the day off with some produce and protein—and balance out the many desserts she often tests and samples on a typical day. A seven-minute egg with a slice of seedy toast is also an A.M. fave.

Lunch

"Lunch is a toss-up," added Yeh. "Often, it's leftovers, but if we don't have leftovers then I make this quick stew where I throw a whole head of garlic, a bay leaf, a Parmesan rind, and canned tomatoes or stock in with white beans and let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. I spread the garlic on a piece of bread and use the bread as my spoon for the beans." Homemade miso soup and congee (an Asian rice porridge) are sometimes "on repeat" as well.

Dinner and Dessert

For dinner, salads and casseroles are frequently on the menu. Yeh loves smoked salmon salad bagels. And artichoke chicken with biscuits is one of her go-to family nostalgia dishes to whip up when she's in the mood for comfort food. Pizza Fridays are also a tradition in the Yeh household.

We couldn't resist asking Yeh about her kitchen MVPs. (We can't be the only ones who love spying inside celebs' fridges and pantries?!)

"It's probably a three-way tie between butter, bread and beans. I could live on those three things! And since we have wheat and beans on our farm, I don't have to go very far to get them," Yeh told us, explaining why it's a perfect fit that her newest role is as a partner with Northarvest Bean Growers Association for their "Beans for Life" campaign. "I keep dry beans on hand at all times because they are so versatile. I put them in soups, casseroles, stews—and between their nutrition benefits and creamy dreamy flavor, I feel so great about eating them all the time. For me, a perfect lunch or dinner is a bean stew with freshly baked bread and good salted butter."

And no day is complete without a treat.

"For dessert, I sneak bites of whatever cookies are lying around from being recipe tested. They're always cookies that celebrate holidays that won't happen until months from now because that's what I'm developing," said Yeh. "Like today, I had a hamantaschen [a traditional Jewish cookie] since I'm working on the Girl Meets Farm Purim episode. But it's December, so my tastebuds were confused, but they're used to it by now," she added.

The Bottom Line

We love Yeh's nothing-off-limits approach to eating, and the way she naturally balances out her day with sweets, plant-based protein and produce. Her all-foods-fit philosophy and love for (rather than stress over or fear of) food will be a great example for Bernie as she grows older and begins making her own food choices. Plus her ample use of leftovers and snacks throughout the day are brilliant ways to reduce her overall food waste, even while developing recipes. Yeh's menu gets a "yay" from us!