The Next Generation: A Party Fit for a Future Niece

 my sister-in-law is having a little girl! last weekend my mom and I threw her a shower in CT....
 Tera (my sister-in-law) and our friend Diana...
 details...sparkling lemonade and yummy chocolate covered sunflower seeds dressed up in autumnal colors...
 tons of tiny gourds in different shaped vases, a carved Baby Dacek pumpkin, and candles...ahhh a fall shower!
 cabbage plant in the center pieces by my mom's best friend, Barb. so beautiful....

 the menu: fresh fruit, three different quiches, a big salad, yummy potato casserole, sweet and savory french toast casserole (thanks Cindy!) and croissants
 diaper cake a la Vermont.....
 in case you are wondering what it takes to make a VT baby.....
little Addy (Diana's daughter) enjoying the food and baby fun! she's getting so big!

the take away.....kiki's mint milanos (and the recipe). yum!

it was a gorgeous day and turned out to be a shower filled with loving family and friends - the details may have added to the event, but the people sharing in the enjoyment and anticipation of a new little one are what made it all perfect. thanks to everyone.

to follow Tera's pregnancy check out her blog (it's super cute) called Glowing Me.


Cheesy Broccoli Soup: Part of a Well-Balanced Wardrobe

 this weekend my mom and I hosted a baby shower for my expecting my sister-in-law. it was so much fun and I will post pics of the day later...I still can't believe I am going to be an auntie! by the time my husband Bryce and I got to Boston this afternoon, I had only one thing on the brain....a yummy, wholesome, warm dinner! have you guys heard of a site called Pinterest? one word: amazing. 'nough said. alas, the recipe....I adapted this from a soup that I found on Pinterest and with a couple tweaks, it executed beautifully.
 cheesy broccoli soup
serves 6-8 bowls
2-4 tbsp butter and a dash of e.v.o.
1 cup chopped onions
1 1/2  - 2 cups of finely chopped carrot
1 cup celery (although I wasn't exact on this) finely chopped
1 1/2 -2 tbsp minced garlic
8 cups chicken broth (low sodium if possible)
3-4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 cup water
several shakes of chicken bouillon powder (to your taste, but this does add a nice kick of flavor)
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/3 cup milk
3-4 cups of chopped broccoli (again I didn't measure perfectly)
3-4 cups of shredded cheddar

melt the butter with the e.v.o in a soup pot. add the onions, carrot, and celery and saute over medium heat until soft. add garlic, cook a couple more min. give a healthy shake of the bullion powder, pepper, and salt, stir. add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. whisk together flour and water, add into the soup mixture and stir. let simmer until the whole pot thickens. add more bouillon powder if it still needs a little love. add the milk and broccoli. simmer. when broccoli is soft, add the shredded cheese. stir until cheese is melted. if you have time, let the soup sit over low heat for awhile giving the flavors time to marry. if you are in a hurry - pour into a bowl and serve with a hearty baguette....
here is Bryce inhaling it and I did too. thankfully we have plenty of leftovers for the week ahead.

remember - a good recipe always creates a well-balanced wardrobe.


French Onion Soup: Part of a Well Balanced Wardrobe

 mmmm....coming home after a long day and walking into a house that smells like a chef has been hanging out in my kitchen cooking French onion soup all day is so comforting! of course it would only be in my dreams that I actually had a chef, so how, you ask, did my kitchen smell so yummy?
 got to love the crock pot! this morning I threw all of the ingredients in the pot, left it on low all day and bing, bang, boom! instant deliciousness. it's so go do it!
 French Onion Soup recipe (from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow)
yields: 2 large mugs full
3 tablespoons butter
2 yellow onions, sliced into rings
30-32 ounces organic beef broth (you can try veg broth, but it won't give it the same flavor)
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 baguette, 4 -6 sliced and toasted
2-4 slices of Gruyere cheese (or other Swiss)

heat your slow cooker to high and plop your butter in to start melting. add the onion rings. use a wooden spoon to break up the onions and run them in the melted butter. add the broth, sugar, salt, and sherry. stir. cook on low for 8-10 hours (or on high for 4-6). onions should be translucent and soft. pour soup into 2 mugs. add your toasted baguette (as many pieces as you want) and 1-2 slices of your Gruyere over the top. broil in the oven until nice and brown on top (see above pic). pull out with mitts because it will be hot!
do not forget to serve with a beautiful glass of red wine......this soup is crying out for a complimentary beverage, so don't deny it! especially after a long day hard at work in that crock and the soup deserve it!

I easy is this?

enjoy and xoxo,

Love Anthropologie? You will Looooooove Ruche!

do you love anthropologie? yes? you will love Ruche!

The philosophy is the same, the flirty feminine style is the same, but the prices are extremely more friendly....see some of my fave picks on their website right now.....

how cute is this shirt? Find it here for $28.99

this is a fabulous tribal looking long maxi skirt that converts into a dress....find it here for $36.99

WOW. in love with this dress. it really reminds me of a cute little Marc Jacobs print/color scheme. here for $36.99

scarves, sunglasses, shoes....oh my! loving the color of these sunglasses for $12.99, polka dot scarf in soft colors for $13.99, sweet grey mary janes with bow detail and small platform sole for $38.99, and last (but certainly not least) the gorgeous $16.99 long watch pendant

happy shopping and have a great weekend! I am off to visit my bff in FL!



Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and a Citrus Vinaigrette: Part of a Well Balanced Wardrobe

This salad really should be part of one of my "Stolen Idea" posts because I stole the idea! Duh. Well, at least it's my modified version, so perhaps it's a partial steal! Regardless it's delish and a great accompaniment to any meal. My friend DJ and his wife Angela had me over last week to meet their beautiful daughter, Lila (3 months old) and also cooked for me! A treat on both accounts. Which is why I will dedicate this post to my friend and his magic salad......

DJ's Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and a Citrus Vinaigrette


Arugula (I buy Olivia's Organic from Whole Foods)

Goat Cheese - a mild variety in log form

Walnut pieces

Beets (LOVE BEETS brand from Whole Foods, they are pre-made and so easy)

For the Dressing:

1/2 cup orange juice (or 2 oranges squeezed)

2-3 small shallots, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon EVOO, plus 1/4 cup EVOO

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon of sea salt


For the dressing:
Dice your shallots. Saute until transparent in the 1 tablespoon of EVOO over medium-high heat. Set aside off of the heat. In another saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the juice by about half, or until it thickens. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, combine in the Cuisinart with OJ, red wine vinegar, and salt. Mix until well-blended. With the Cuisinart running, slowly add the olive oil and emulsify! Set aside.

For the salad:

Ahhh the goat cheese! Roll the goat cheese into balls about the size of a large truffle. Place your nuts onto a plate. Take your goat cheese balls and press down until a little "patty" forms and the nuts get stuck into the cheese. Do this to all sides and don't skimp. Set aside. Take your pre-packaged beets and slice them. WARNING: they will turn your fingers pink, so be prepared with a good hand-soap to do a little scrubbing afterward! Assemble your arugula on a plate, add the beets and put the goat cheese bites of heaven on the side. Drizzle (don't douse!) with the Citrus Vinaigrette. Serve it up!

I have eaten this salad with a chicken dish and also as a compliment to homemade pizza. It's versatile and for those people who love goat cheese the nuts really kick it up a notch. Additionally, the light citrus flavor of the dressing cuts the bitterness of the arugula and enhances the taste of the beets. As usual it's all about the components marrying together and complimenting each other!

This will be a perfect and quick salad to bring to that special Labor Day BBQ!



Panzanella: Part of a Well Balanced Wardrobe

I ran home from work tonight. I do it a couple times a's approximately 9-10 miles and by the time I reach the front door I am exhausted and STARVING. I figured that tonight my husband would have started dinner. Unfortunately I was wrong and given the fact that I haven't grocery shopped this week (I know...gasp!) I knew that our fridge was spotty. I am decent at improvising on the quick (even though I was suffering from runner's brain = cloudy, incoherent thoughts). After looking thru the pantry and fridge and gaining an understanding of our low inventory, I knew what needed to be done.....

...tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, cucumbers, green bell pepper and a hearty baguette (in the freezer) were all waiting for me to create. I knew we had fresh basil in the garden and of course plenty of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. All ingredients for.......PANZANELLA!!! I love the way this salad is quick, easy, and covers all things "recovery" to re-energize my body after a long run - protein, carbs, and yummy fresh veggies that will help with muscle repair. Also this is a great last minute dinner or side to your dinner that you can use as a spring board for much more - add shrimp or canned tuna in oil....olives...different herbs.....other veggies! It's truly a "kitchen sink" kind of dish! So as I always say - MAKE IT YOUR OWN!

Kiki's Quick Panzanella:

(serves two)

1 large cucumber (or a couple small ones)

Grape Tomatoes or cherry ones (we pulled a couple out of our garden tonight, yum!)

1 Green Bell Pepper

Basil - a healthy handful

Mozzarella balls, quartered

1/2 a baguette, baked in the oven until nice and crispy ( I always buy these, cut them in half and freeze it - so quick to thaw and its accessible in a pinch)

Sea Salt/Pepper to taste

EVOO/Balsamic Vinegar

Directions: slice and quarter the cucumber, same with the tomatoes (enough so you equal parts of each). Cut the green bell pepper and throw that in the mix too. Chop the basil, toss in. Add the mozzarella balls. Pull the bread out of the oven and cube it. Don't forget the crumbs too - they add texture and who doesn't like them?? A couple nice turns on the ground sea salt and pepper. Mix all of the ingredients until you have a well rounded assortment. Pour olive oil all over, probably about 2 tablespoons (?) and same with Balsamic (except a little less). Mix again. Add a little more salt/pepper. Taste. Add a little more of the EVOO and Balsamic until the bread has soaked up all the goodness and is a little soft on the inside, but still crusty on the outside. YUM. Serve in a bowl with a BIG TALL GLASS OF WATER (or wine if you didn't' run 10 miles like I did - haha).

I had to include pictures of my two sous-chefs (Milly on the left and Barley on the right)....well let's face it the only reason they were right by my side is because they love tomatoes more than I do!!! Don't worry - they didn't go hungry!



Asparagi Verdi: Part of a Well Balanced Wardrobe

Ohhhh Asparagi Verdi how I love thee! Short and sweet tonight, guys! You have to try this quick and easy recipe for Asparagi Verdi. I had it at a lovely little Italian bottega in NYC on 59th between 5th and Madison on the upper east side (Bottega del Vino). Pure delight! I figured that this must be quick and easy to throw together, so tonight I did just that! I had already hard boiled some eggs on Monday night in preparation for the week, so this literally took all of 2 minutes to put on a plate and get in my belly! My husband truly enjoyed it too, although he added some balsamic vinegar about mid-way through....which is fine! I encourage you to take this to great heights and use what I have done as a basis of a clean, simple, beautiful salad. Also, tomatoes are at the peak of ripeness, so take advantage of this time.....and use them as much as possible!

kiki's Asparagi Verdi:

(serves 2, easy enough to adapt to more)

Asparagus (one bundle)

2 Tomatoes (preferably yummy heirloom ones cut in 4 wedges per plate, but as seen above I only had grape - I am a big believer in using what you have in your kitchen!)

2 hard boiled eggs

Olive Oil (don't skimp here! This is one of the most important staples in your kitchen, so spend the $$ and buy a good one!)

Sea Salt crushed

Cracked Pepper

Directions: Flash steam your asparagus and I really mean just that. You want these guys crisp and fresh with full gorgeous natural flavor. When done, run immediately under cold water to stop the cooking process. Put aside. Cut your tomatoes (whatever kind you are using). Put aside. Drizzle olive oil on your individual plate. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper. Put your tomatoes on the side of the plate. Add your asparagus in a "fiber" pattern across from your tomatoes. Carefully slice your egg width wise and lay over the top of your veggies. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle (to your liking) with sea salt and pepper. Just remember, get one piece of each in every bite - you will notice the balance and life that they give one another. Serve w/ a hearty baguette and your fave bottle of wine!!! Eat and enjoy a well balanced wardrobe.




Mint Milanos: Part of a Well Balanced Wardrobe

What started as a case of S.A.D. gone terribly wrong this past winter has since turned into an absolute obsession. What you ask is S.A.D. and for that matter what is the absolute obsession? Although I shouldn't joke about a serious illness (seasonal affective disorder), I truly think that in my deep winter slump I turned to the kitchen for some tender, love, and care. One cold evening after I had just eaten an entire sleeve of Pepperidge Farms Mint Milanos I suddenly needed more! But, alas, it was late and stores were closed. Well, you know I love a good recipe and I often think it adds balance and heart to your overall style, so I decided to tackle my own MINT MILANOS! I had never had a homemade one, but that didn't mean it couldn't be done. What came next I never expected....but has now become a staple in my recipe repertoire!

A hybrid of several recipes, Kiki's Mint Milanos are easy, yummy, and will make your entire audience crave more and more! I recently made them for a baby shower at work and for my brother and his wife who are expecting their first baby in February! Yeaay I am going to be an auntie....a celebration where cookies are a fabulous idea.....enjoy and feel free to let me know if you have any questions about this one!

Kiki's Mint Milanos

1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour

1/2 tsp of coarse salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature (this is important to the baking process)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 large egg

4 oz of semisweet chocolate (I use Bakers, but you can use whatever is easily accessible)

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract (seen above as McCormicks)

Parchment lined baking sheets

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt. In a medium bowl (or kitchen aid) beat together butter and granulated sugar on high. Scrape bowl to make sure it's all included, beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg - beat to combine. Flip your mixer to low and add the flour/salt mixture until just combined. Form little "logs" with your dough that are about 3/4 of an inch width by 2 inches long (approx, mine always vary and I think that makes them look fun and organic) and put on parchment lined baking sheets. Makes about 54 cookies. Place in fridge and chill until firm - approx 15-20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Bake the cookies until they are lightly golden on the edges - depending on the heat of your oven it should take approx 15 min, rotate sheets halfway through. Transfer to racks and cool thru. While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate on your stove top or in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. In another bowl whisk together confectioners sugar, peppermint extract and enough water to make the consistency a little looser then paste. With a knife, spread chocolate on one side and your mint glaze on the other side. Sandwich together! Careful - they will slide a bit, so do them fast and pop them in the fridge to set for 10 minutes! Result? Cookie HEAVEN and the perfect Mint seen below (this one lasted just long enough to snap a picture...soon it was in my belly!)......

I always stack my cookies (separated by wax paper) in a Tupperware container. If these don't fly out of your kitchen the day you make them than they will last up to 7 days when stored in an airtight environment. The key to these cookies is making sure each bite, each morsel, each tiny little delectable piece of mint/chocolate has a hint (just a hint) of sea salt! It will give you a rich, savory, sweet combination that will leave you wanting for more....and more....and more......


a mouth-watering kiki

Food - It's Part of a Well Balanced Wardrobe!

Photo courtesy of wmannphotography

I know you are probably thinking - wait, what? Food as part of your wardrobe? It's odd, but I always think of personal style as a well-rounded execution on all things that you enjoy doing in your life. For me, one piece of the pie (literally and figuratively) just happens to be cooking/baking. I love being in the kitchen and when I have a dinner party to go to, there is nothing better than arriving with a perfect dish that represents your taste and style! To kick off this beautiful 4th of July holiday weekend, a friend of mine threw a roof deck party at her place in South Boston. The sunset over the city, the drinks, the food, and the company were all equally wonderful. For this soiree I made a modified version of the Giada De Laurentiis recipe called Pea Pesto. It is so easy breezy to make and gets rave reviews time and time again! The best part is that it's fairly healthy and requires ingredients that you usually have in your house! The above photo is of my friend Andrea and me on the roof and she has one of my creations in her mouth....very delicious and also an attractive shot of the two of us (oh and PS...yes those are Foster Grants I am wearing!).

Pea Pesto by Giada De Laurentiis, modified by Kiki
For the pesto -

One 10 oz bag of frozen peas defrosted

One garlic clove

1/2 cup Parmesan/Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

One teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

for the crostini:

One day old baguette (whole grain or regular)* if you don't have day old than put your fresh one in the oven on 300 for 10 min or so until crust is crispy

olive oil for brushing

carton of cherry tomatoes, diced

pinenuts toasted (eyeball the amount, I like a lot so I am generous)

One lemon

Pesto Directions:
Pulse together the peas, garlic, cheese, salt, and pepper in the food processor. With the machine running, slowly add in the olive oil until it is well combined which takes a couple minutes. Set aside.

Crostini Directions:
Preheat your grill (you can also use a stovetop griddle pan) on medium-high heat.
Slice your baguette into 1/2 inch pieces.
Brush both sides with olive oil.
Grill until golden on both sides which takes 1-2 minutes. I like mine with little dark grill marks, but it's all personal preference!

Spread pea puree on top of each piece (to your discretion, probably about 1 tablespoon if I had to guess).
Add tomatoes and pinenuts, again to your liking.
When ready to serve, squeeze fresh lemon liberally over each one.
Yields approx 30-40 pieces.

ENJOY your 4th of July!!

Gwyneth.....Actress, Singer, Mom, Blogger? Who knew?

My friend Parker, who always has her finger on the pulse of what's current, reminded me today of a fantastic blog that's written by a very famous woman. Known for her many roles in movies and in the spotlight as a fashionista, Gwyneth Paltrow launched a blog called GOOP ( It's an insightful look at all of her thoughts and ideas, from fashion and food to travel and spirit. No pretense, just a unique glimpse into her all encompassing world! Sign up for her newsletters and have a serendipitous moment when you receive a new email from your bff, Gwen. For one brief second it's like you're friends....well.....maybe not, but close enough.