cooks at home


Following Danyelle Musselman through the seasons.


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Sports are the tapestry of Danyelle Musselman’s life. They’re woven through her slender, sculpted body; her can-do spirit; and her generous, open personality. They’re part of the fabric of her marriage, her motherhood, and her career. Even Swish, the family’s Havanese dog, shares a piece of the fabric.

For the wife of Eric Musselman, coach of the University of Nevada, Reno basketball team, hoops takes over everything for five months, with 35 games in the season. This season was extended when the team won the Mountain West title, making members eligible to participate in the Big Dance. Though the season ended after the first game, the team’s overall record of 28 wins and a Mountain West championship is a winner. For most out-of-town games (from Boise to Anchorage) and all home games, the First Lady of UNR’s basketball team has been there. And even off-court, Musselman entertains Wolf Pack players and recruits at home with her husband a couple of times a month.

“I am the hostess with the mostest,” she says with a laugh.

Career wins

Musselman, née Sargent, a lifetime sports fan, decided early in her college years at Florida State University that she wanted to be a television sportscaster. Her first job was behind the camera, editing sports highlights at the CNN Sports Illustrated network. Soon, she moved to on-camera work, as a sports reporter, sideline reporter, and sports anchor with ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL Network, and Yahoo Sports. She’s interviewed such sports heavyweights as LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Julius Erving, and she’s covered big events such as the 2008 Super Bowl between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.

When her daughter, Mariah, was born in 2010, Musselman took a time-out from her career. Then last year, she received the perfect offer: a part-time job as a sportscaster with NextVR, a virtual-reality media company. Her assignments have included covering NFL games and the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans. Because she’s an independent contractor, she is able to pass on assignments when necessary. Being a stay-at-home mom to Mariah, a ball-of-energy first grader, Musselman certainly stays busy.

“Once Mariah gets home from school,” Musselman says, “I’m the taxi driver. She is ready for the next activity, which might be basketball, cheerleading, jazz dance, or acting.”

To keep balance in her life, Musselman devotes time to exercise. She is an instructor for spinning classes at Full Pedal in Reno, plus three times a week she lifts free weights with Mena Spodobalski, trainer and owner of Evoke Fitness, a Reno gym. Working out is her stress reliever, she says.

“I’d like to say I don’t get stressed. But I do,” Musselman says. “I’m a typical wife and mother.”

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Healthy meals rule

At the end of the day, Musselman becomes the kitchen warrior. She is a champion for healthy eating, and her meals are simplicity itself. Her menus emphasize fresh vegetables (broccoli stars because Mariah loves it), lean proteins, which primarily are organic chicken and sustainable fish; and healthy grains, such as brown rice and quinoa. They rarely eat out as a family.

“Eric eats lunch out every day, so when he gets home, he wants a healthy meal,” she says, adding with a mischievous smile, “though he is a bad vegetable eater, but our daughter loves them all.”

Roasted vegetables, treated with an ample splash of olive oil, salt, and pepper, before putting them in the oven, are a favorite. So are steamed vegetables. Musselman’s handy helpers include her slow cooker and electric spiralizer that makes zucchini noodles in a nanosecond, ready for pasta sauce.

But Musselman’s all-time favorite meal is a stir-fry with tons of vegetables over quinoa. She also loves the ground chicken and vegetable dish she made on a recent evening, with Mariah’s help. Once the ground chicken had cooked, she added broccoli slaw and an Asian-style sauce, and with a turn and tumble of quick cooking, dinner was ready.

The family has lived in Reno for “two seasons,” as Musselman puts it — two years this spring. They enjoy life here, and seeing Lake Tahoe has opened new doors for them: Mariah has asked her mom if they can go camping this summer.

“I don’t know how to camp,” her mother, a city girl, says.

Next on Musselman’s list: learning how.

Reno writer Sandra Macias admires Danyelle Musselman’s steadfast energy and positive attitude. When she asked Musselman, who turns 39 in May, how she would describe her life, Musselman’s reply was, “I feel blessed. Every single year is getting better and better. I feel very lucky to be able to say that.” We all should feel so appreciative.


Quick Chicken Stir-fry

(courtesy of Danyelle Sargent Musselman. Serves 4)

1 pound ground chicken or turkey

4 cups broccoli slaw (or favorite mix of vegetables)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons coconut aminos

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce (“I use Whole Foods’ 365 brand,” Musselman says.)

Sriracha (optional)

Roasted sesame seeds (optional)

Brown rice or quinoa

In small bowl, mix together coconut aminos, rice vinegar, and hoisin sauce.

Heat olive oil in pan, add ground chicken/turkey. Add garlic powder, ginger, salt, and red pepper. Cook over medium heat until brown. Add broccoli slaw to meat, and sauté 5 minutes over medium heat. Add mixture of coconut aminos, rice vinegar, and hoisin sauce, and cook until vegetables are tender.

Top with sriracha and sesame seeds (if using), and serve immediately over brown rice or quinoa. Enjoy!





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