Fans of The Office already know that Melora Hardin can sing (like in the hilarious moment her character, Jan Levinson, sang "Son of a Preacher Man" to her newborn). The multifaceted actress just released her third album, All the Way to Mars, is also busy shooting a new comedy series, The Wedding Band, and gearing up for Broadway in Don’t Dress for Dinner this April. As big a fan of salads and organic cereal as she is of M&Ms; and chocolate-covered pretzels, Hardin does her best to navigate the craft services table on set. "We’re in our first season, so we don’t get the gourmet catering yet," she laughs. "Sometimes it’s the weirdest things like sushi and…a burger bar." Not that she minds. Burgers and bacon are favorites, as you’ll see in this week’s L.A. Diet.
Wednesday, January 18
That morning, I had Brown Cow vanilla yogurt and water for breakfast. I don’t do caffeine so I don’t drink coffee. I went to Pilates, and then met up with Gildart, my husband, for some lunch at The Counter in Toluca Lake. I built my own burger, a beef patty cooked medium with avocado, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and ketchup on a whole wheat bun. We also shared the half and half, fries and sweet potato fries. Then water and more water. I like to hydrate.
After a lengthy trip to the Apple store to fix my computer and sync up all my devices, I came home to a yummy dinner cooked by my husband. I feel like I was brought up believing that you sit down to dinner, so I’m trying to raise my kids the same way. It sets a wonderful feeling about eating to me. So we had organic, mild Italian sausages, asparagus ,and rice pasta with butter and parmesan cheese sauce. And then one small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream between two small butter cookies for dessert. And some more water.
Thursday, January 19
I had a later call on the set, so I got up with the kids around 6:30 A.M. I had one fried egg, a half of a piece of 100% whole wheat toast, one slice of bacon, a shot of fresh squeezed orange juice—I have these little shooter glasses and try not to drink too much of it—and hot mint tea. After I took the kids to school and went to dance class, I went to get my hair colored at my salon in West Hollywood. In the chair, I ordered a half of a house salad with chicken and truffle fries from the local restaurant around the corner, Marco’s. I love cold salad with warm chicken, it’s one of my favorite things. And anything with truffle on it.
Then I had to drive all the way out to Santa Clarita to do a table read for the next episode on my new comedy series, The Wedding Band, which airs on TBS in June. I ate dinner on the set, from our caterers. Roasted chicken, broccoli, veggie risotto, steamed carrots, water. I finished it off with three peanut M&Ms;, and about four or five dark chocolate covered pretzels for the car ride home. I try to be careful, so I really do count them. I could eat a whole handful, but then get a bad headache.
Friday, January 20
I woke up early with the kids again. For breakfast I think we had a soft boiled egg, with whole wheat "soldiers"—you cut the toast into strips so the kids can dip them in the egg. I also had some mint tea and a tiny, little glass of orange juice. I dropped the kids off at school, went to pilates, and grabbed lunch with my best friend. We went to Marmalade Cafe, which I love. It’s usually either that or Le Pain Quotidien.
I headed out to work, and I remember it was a very long night. I probably didn’t get home until 3:30 A.M. For dinner, I think I just grabbed something from catering, mostly Caesar salad and some kind of meat they were offering, probably chicken. Lunch was really dinner for me that day. But Brian Austin Green is in our show, and he ordered a Tommy’s burger bar at midnight. I haven’t had a Tommy burger in like 15 years. I had a half a cheeseburger and the chili on the side.
Saturday, January 21
Believe it or not, this was the day we took down our Christmas decorations. I really like to decorate, and I got our tree late–I was singing at Feinstein’s in New York–so we didn’t get our tree until a week before. So on the weekends, I try to make something fun for the kids, and my fun thing for them is French toast because it includes eggs and wheat toast. Their favorite! I made a whole slab of bacon for the family, and we had some tea and orange juice.
Throughout the day we snacked. I probably made the kids a half a sandwich each with some chips. I think my husband and I just had what we call a smorgasbord lunch. You know, you have whatever you pull out of the fridge. Maybe some avocado, tomato, maybe some rice crackers. Later, we had dinner with friends at this place called Dish in La Canada. I think I actually had a burger that night, but I can’t remember. Wow, it was a big burger week for me, which is not common!
Sunday, January 22
We had a big Sunday breakfast. We all had scrambled eggs—my husband has his very patented way to make them. You cook them in a sauce pan, not a frying pan, and you melt quite a bit of butter in there, and cook them very slowly. He likes his very wet, so you just keep stirring, and then immediately take his out, then mine, and then the kids after they cook some more. I made bacon, and my husband and I had avocado and tomato. I think we still had some whole wheat crumpets, too.
The kids went off and played, and we finished with the Christmas decorations. Later, we headed to see Our Town at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Since we had a late breakfast, we didn’t really eat lunch, which I realized when we were getting in the car. So I grabbed a couple of apples and Luna bars for the car, and we all had some. At the theater, during the intermission, they have these homemade potato chips there, and we were all so hungry, so we all had some.
After, we went out to dinner with my parents, to Villetta in Santa Monica. I had been there before, and it’s so lovely. We were the first people there. I had the burrata salad, cheese, prosciutto, and lettuces. I shared that with the whole table. Then I had the black cod, which was delicious. We had some wine. My dad is a Chardonnay drinker, so he picked it, and I had some. My mom wanted to order the apple tart, warm with homemade ice cream for dessert, and I had a bite or two of that. The kids had the sweet potato doughnuts, and I had a little bite of one.
Monday, January 23
I had an early call, so I had breakfast at work, a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, which is my favorite thing at work. That or a veggie scramble with whole eggs, not egg whites. And peppermint tea.
I was on set all day, so for lunch I had something from the pasta bar. I made my own with asparagus, tomato, a tiny bit of garlic, mushrooms, some scallions, and chicken. Mostly sauce, just a little pasta. I had them mix the red and white sauce. I had some Caesar salad and water, and one chocolate chip cookie.
Since we worked so late, they brought in a second meal, gumbo and jambalaya. I had a little bit of jambalaya, but it was too spicy. I have a wimpy mouth. Just some rice and chicken, a small bowl, probably only six bites. A little bit of corn bread. And water. We wrapped around 8:00 or 9:00 P.M., and then I headed home.