POSTED FEBRUARY 22, 2012  9:00 am

From Parenting:

What inspired you to write a third cookbook?  My fans. They wanted more of the classic Italian recipes, like linguine and clam sauce, and I’m reaching a milestone birthday—I’m not going to say what one—and it’s important to stay fit. So in this book I give my fans the classics they wanted with a healthy edge.  (Tree will be 40…)

What are the most important things to keep in mind while in the kitchen?  Cooking is not hard; the more you do it the better you get it. We use fresh ingredients, we jar our own eggplant, make our own sauce, even our own sausages! Oh, and always be sure to use real EVOO [extra virgin olive oil], there is no substitute.

When did you first start cooking?  When I first got married. I wanted to impress Joe, so I went out and bought all of these cookbooks. They would have a million ingredients, I’d spend all this time on it and I wouldn’t even like it! My husband was like, “Thanks, but you should stick to what you know—what your mom cooks, what my mom cooks… You don’t have to cook all this fancy stuff.”  (Juicy doesn’t like too many ingredientzeszzzesss!) 

Do your girls like helping you make dinner?  Every time I cook I try to get my daughters involved. Whatever Mommy loves to do, they love to do. Mommy loves putting on makeup, so they love putting on makeup.  Mommy loves to shop, so they love to shop. So, mommy loves to cook; they love to cook!

Mommy and Milania grocery shopping…

Do you make anything your kids won’t eat?  The kids, God bless them, are not picky eaters. They’ll eat anything. I think it’s because I started them on real food when they were around 4 months. They ate what we ate. I would just mash it up with a fork or blend it in a food processer.  (God bless them…)

Celebrity Apprentice is just about to air; how was that experience compared to your three seasons on the Real Housewives of New Jersey?  Housewives came along and I thought, oh, this is fun; I’ll do it for fun. I didn’t know it was going to be what it is and I’m grateful for that, but now it’s a job and that’s it. Celebrity Apprentice was a breath of fresh air; it’s what I am now. I’m a mom and a businessperson. I want to show my girls that Mommy is working hard so they grow up to be successful independent women.

What charity did you chose to represent?  I’m representing NephCure; I actually just did a PSA for them that will air soon. It supports a rare kidney disease, Nephrotic Syndrome, that doesn’t have a cure.  I want to raise as much awareness as I can for them.

Do you have a personal connection to NephCure?  I had met this little boy, Matthew, at a charity event. He was so sweet and later I found out he had this rare disease. When I met him he was 7 and my daughter is 7. He takes 15 pills everyday and his cholesterol is 365. Even if he could get a kidney transplant, 70 percent of the time the disease will attack the kidneys again. He’s become the son I never had.  (Interesting… changing up the charity story… now Tree met Matthew when he was 7!  Wonder if Juicy is OK with his new son???…. more about Tree’s connection to NephCure here.)

Juicy didn’t even like Tree’s brother JoeGorga!!!

Did you enjoy being on the show and participating in the challenges?  Everyone asks Was it fun?! Ha! I wouldn’t say it was fun, but it was very challenging—long hours, but now that I did it, I feel like I can do anything. Donald Trump is amazing.  He is a very smart man; if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be where he is today. It was an amazing experience, and I’m glad I did it.  (Trump would not be where he is today without the $35 million inheritance he received… puh-leeze… ain’t got nuthin’ to do with his “smarts!”)

What’s up next for you? Fabulicios!: Fast and Fit  comes out in May; I have this new bottled cocktail called the Fabellini, an all-natural peach- or raspberry-flavored Bellini, coming out in Jersey liquor stores this month and hopefully will be national soon, and who knows maybe I’ll start making some Skinny Italian brand sauce!   (Note to Tree:  Check with Don Caro about selling that sauce… is her “Brownstone” sauce still available???)

(Thanks to SH reader “JZ”!!!)


AND… if you were wondering what ever happened to Tree and Juicy’s  house in the Catskills… HERE.