Kitchen Fashion Show

I have a coat rack in my kitchen.  I hang all of aprons on it.  I select my apron based on my outfit, the season, the sauciness of my ingredients, my current mood.  I catwalk from the fridge to the counter.  And back again.  I work it.  I serve it. 

Today, I am all about Gracious Linden.  Sweet spring green to complement the weather and the cabbage I am about to whomp into slaw.  


Winter Soups

This week my adorable, 9 year old bio terrorist took down all of us.  The bug he brought home moved efficiently through the family and then struck, to my horror, the office.  I turned off my computer, donned my apron, and lept into soup-making-hyperdrive.  We needed mending (and I needed to pay penance to the sweet people with whom I work!)  One soup features nutty, crunchy barley for our resident vegetarians and the other is a quick tweak on my favorite chicken noodle soup (found in Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style).  To both soups I added kale (my “Superfood” of the month.)  I hope you don’t find yourself needing to make these easy, tasty soups but rather find yourself able to prepare them as a pleasure on a cold day.

Vegetarian Barley and Vegetable Soup

Adapted from a recipe posted by Jolinda Hackett on

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 8-9 cups water or vegetable broth

  • 3/4 cup barley, uncooked

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 1 1/2 cups kale, minced

  • 1 zucchini, sliced

  • 1 24 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley OR 1 tsp Italian seasoning

  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup or stock pot, sautee garlic and onions in olive oil for 4 to 5 minutes, until just barely soft. Carefully add vegetable broth and remaining ingredients and bring to a slow simmer. Allow to cook until barley is soft, about 30 minutes, preferably longer. Adjust seasonings as desired.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten

  • 1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone in, skin on

  • Olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 quarts Chicken Stock

  • 1 ½ cups minced kale

  • 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)

  • 1 cup medium-diced carrots (3 carrots)

  • 2 cups wide egg noodles

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350.  Rub the chicken with Olive Oil.  sprinkle with S&P.  Roast for 35 to 45 minutes.  When cooked and cooled , remove from bones, discard the skin and shred the chicken.

Meanwhile in a large pot, bring the broth to a boil and add the kale.  Let simmer with the lid on or 35-45 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and noodles. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, until the noodles are cooked. Add the cooked chicken meat and parsley and heat through.

And if things are really bad in your house:

I googled "vegetarian soup for the sick" and  found this wonderful recipe calling for parsnip, peppers, and kale.  It deserves trying as well!



New Years Resolution


3…2…1…Happy New Year! If you’re like me, you love the promise of a fresh start that comes with the start of each year. Also, if you’re anything like me, New Year’s resolutions are not your forte. But even I can stick to them when they have to do with home décor. On that note, here are a few ideas for resolutions you can make (and hopefully not break!) for creating a warm, inviting atmosphere in your home this New Year.

Resolve to…make it personal: I’ll admit it, I’m mad for monograms. Incorporate an extra-personal touch throughout your home by monogramming anything from pillows to cocktail aprons to placemats.

Resolve to…be a gracious host: Have guest towels on hand when there’s company – as beautiful as they are useful, these must-have linens can make anyone feel like the guest of honor.

Cooki's Aprons

Resolve to…have a happier happy hour: Out with the old and in with the new rings especially true when it comes to cocktails, in my opinion. Try garnishing drinks with spices like ginger or rosemary at your next dinner party or brunch.

Place a chic cocktail napkin beneath each glass for a sophisticated touch that will have everyone asking for refills.