Life Around My Table

Life is a culmination of events that shapes who we are and who we become.

My love of food has been a long, adventurous and sometimes painful journey.  Beginning many years ago when I was chasing dreams never to be caught and looking in every corner of life for something that I could always find around the table.

My earliest happy table memories were those spent at a round, white formica table with silver trim and mismatched chairs that sat at the far end of my grandparents galley kitchen.  I could always find Grandpa sitting on the left side of that old table with his coffee mug in hand.  Grandpa had twinkly eyes, a brown bald head and the sweetest smile.  He wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy but he never missed a moment to give me a smile – which always warmed my heart. I’d pull up a chair around the table and sit with Gramps while he sipped his coffee. We’d talk about history and the year 1901 (the year he was born), Gramps life before family and all the wild things he experienced and then we would eventually end up on his favorite subject, hamburgers. He’d joke and make me laugh and I felt safe and loved.

Mary Bernice, my Grandmother, would eventually make it into the kitchen to start supper.  She was a Southern gal who could load a table with an impressive assortment of food.  Because Gramps loved ground beef, she served a lot of pan fried hamburgers and called them steak.  She’d make a beef broth gravy to top that steak along with mashed potatoes, creamed corn and green beans with bacon.  Today I recreate that meal with my version of Grandma’s steak, a Salisbury Steak with Beef Broth Gravy, my Summer Corn Gratin and Roasted Fresh Green Beans with Bacon – because who can resist green beans with bacon?

I come from a family with larger than life characters and people with big personalities.  I often got lost in the shuffle, but I never lost my place at the table.  There is a whole lot of life between those memories and memories I’m creating now.  Life events, mishaps, tragedies and adventures all leading to where I am today.  A chef, writer, photographer, mom (my most favorite job) and wife.

How did I get here?  Fifteen years ago I realized anything I cooked might cause a slow and painful death.  Yes, I lean a bit toward the dramatic. 😉  It was during a career hiatus and another move to a new state that I realized I hated my cooking. So in typical fearless fashion, I took myself to culinary school – never dreaming I’d find a passion so intense it couldn’t be ignored.  It’s been one delicious roller coaster ride ever since.  Jumping into every type of culinary work I could find.

I’ve worked as a caterer, prep chef, cheese specialist, private chef (emphasis in nutritional therapy), culinary instructor and food writer.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most talented Pacific Northwest Chefs, as well as brilliant Nutritionists with the IACP award winning culinary school, PCC Cooks, in Seattle, WA.

Today, I develop recipes for several publishing companies, wineries, online lifestyle magazines and my personal recipe website, Karista’s Kitchen.  As well as the important things of course, like being a mom, wife, the family dog walker (more like dog chaser), a culinary anthropology nerd, and an outdoor and travel enthusiast.  Not to mention my insatiable love of British mysteries.

KCTS 9 Cooks at Home

KCTS 9 Cooks at Home Show


Chef Ana and Me.  Making Crostata // Me in my place among plates of Tuscan cuisine

Chef Ana and Me. Making Crostata in Tuscany // Me in my happy place among plates of Tuscan cuisine

I now live in the Willamette Valley where we’re fortunate to enjoy an abundance of farm fresh produce, meats, poultry and fresh Pacific seafood. One of my favorite ways to spend a day is visiting our local farms and ranches, snapping photos and of course, bringing the farmers a home cooked meal.  My thank you for letting me spend hours playing with the animals or picking produce. :)

Red Bird Acres in Corvallis, Oregon


Here at Karista’s Kitchen, you’ll always find an enticing, sometimes eclectic selection, of whole food and seasonal recipes prepared from the bounty of the Pacific Northwest.  And… with a little decadence just for fun.

The Willamette Valley // Karista's Kitchen

The beautiful Willamette Valley

I wish you all good health, happy hearts and loads of love in your life around the table, 



For questions about working with me, recipe development and food photography please feel free to contact me at


  1. Karista–this so much fun! Chicken Marbella is on my menu this week, and I can’t wait to see what’s next! Heidi

  2. Oh, finally, a place to go to be inspired when it comes to dinner! May my family benefit from your passion!

    • I’ll do my best! And don’t hesitate to make a few requests. I just posted a pasta recipe for a blogger who made a request. Happy Cooking! K

  3. So glad to see you are pursuing this!

    • Thanks Suzanne! Here’s hoping my blog inspires all home chef’s to get back into the kitchen. Wishing you great health and great food!

  4. I just found your website…I’ve known you all these years and just found out? GADS! All of your recipes sound delicious and those that you’ve shared with us at IVE ARE delicious! You have inspired me back into the kitchen, at least for the summer….

    • Melissa, I’m so glad I’ve given you inspiration to get back into the kitchen. I’ll be posting several more grill recipes soon, and when the weather starts to turn cooler I’ll post some yummy fall recipes that I know you’ll love! Have a wonderful summer Melissa!

  5. Oh my gosh….you haven’t aged since you were 16! lol Great to see your face again..and congratulations on your wonderful success!

    • Ha ha ha!! Thank you for the sweet compliment! And you look fabulous yourself! Enjoy the recipes!

  6. Nice to hear your story. :)
    Life is full of journey, right?
    Happy cooking!

    • And the journey is the fun part!

  7. Karista, this is such a lovely “about” description! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Thanks for commenting! It’s so hard to write an “about” page! When your my age (44), there’s so much life that’s already been lived, hard to put it into a few paragraphs. Hahaha! Have a fabulous rest of the week Alexandra!

  8. Hey Karista Thanks so much for leaving such a nice comment on my blog! I love your about me page. I really feel you come alive in it. I look forward to seeing more of you and your cooking. Heather x

    • Heather, Thank you so much for the kind words! I love your blog and always look forward to what you’re posting next. Have a wonderful rest of the week!

  9. elwood is so incredibly adorable! your family is beautiful!

  10. Thanks for the sweet words Monica! Our big guy isn’t with us, sadly at 12 years old he passed in August. :( He was the best dog! But we have our little guy, Tank, who is totally smothered in love by the girls.

  11. i totally understand…. i have a HUGE love for dogs. they are just the best.

    • They are! We love our animal babies. My two daughters are dog fanatics I think. They’re always bringing home strays. Luckily we always find the owners. :)

  12. Lovely blog, lovely family and lovely dogs – don´t take Elwood´s photo down. He may not be with you anymore but he was still a big part of the family. Am off to look at some of your gorgeous recipes!

    • Thank you so much for stopping by! Yep our big boy Elwood was a huge part of our family. And he was so darn cute. Thanks for your sweet comment Tanya!

  13. Hi! it’s always a good thing to know someone from a different part of the world :) continue the positive look in life .., it’s contagious !

    • Thanks for the comment! Looking forward to checking out your blog.

  14. so nice to meet you – we have the same sentiments to life and yes, always eat dessert :)

    • Lovely to meet you too Tandy. Love your blog and I too love all things lavender. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

  15. Thanks for finding my blog. Your blog is great and the food and the photos — wow! Can’t wait to read more. Catchy blog name :)

    • Thanks Danny! Love your blog as well and can’t wait to browse a little more. Yes, my catchy blog name is quite original. LOL!

  16. Beautiful Blog and beautiful family!!! Love your notes on how to live life to its full :)

    • Aww… Thank you Ali (is it Ali?). And thanks so much for stopping by! Love your blog too and can’t wait to see what other dishes you’ll be cooking up! Delicious Wishes :)

  17. Quite a good looking crew :)… and Elwood’s pic should definitely stay! Thank you so much for the encouragement… truly means more than you know. I’m so happy that you love where you have landed! Where do you teach?

    • Deb, thanks for the compliments! I’m kind of in love with my good looking crew. :) I work now as a personal chef with an emphasis in nutritional therapy. I also teach classes for our local farmer’s coop market, PCC Natural Markets, here in Seattle. The program is called PCC Cooks and has won numerous awards for their cooking school program. A great group of culinary and nutritional experts. I feel honored to be a part of the school. Wishing you all the best!

      • That is fantastic, Karista! What an incredible opportunity! It will be fun to follow your journey, and best to you, and your crew, as well :)

  18. Happy Saturday to you!

    So, I probably should have done this initially, but I admit I was a bit lazy after writing up such a long post; however, I nominated you for an award a while back and I wasn’t sure if you ever saw the post? Here is the link:

    I think your blog is fabulous; nearly as fabulous as you!

    • Oh WOW! Thank you so much Cara! I feel so badly I didn’t see the post. I try so hard to read all my favorite posts daily or at least every other day but my client and teaching schedule has been fierce of late and I’m so behind. You are too thoughtful! Thank you again my new friend!

      • You are very welcome! And no worries; I completely understand. To be honest, when I see that an “award” post has come through, I usually just skim to see if I have to do something, then move on — quickly. LOL.

        • I do the same but for some reason I completely missed this post! Shame on me. My head has been buried in cooking curriculum and nutritional menu planning and not in my blog or reading my fave bloggers. Not to mention my two sassy girls who can completely take over ones moment of quiet reading! LOL!

  19. Awww… thanks Cara! I’ll pass along the compliment to my hair stylist. She’s a dear friend and may I say amazing with my wildly curly hair. I had crazy hair before I met her!

    I am so sad about your ankle!! I know it’s not easy to stay off a limb especially when you’re active. You’re in my prayers friend!! Just hang in there and this too shall pass. Are you sick of hearing that yet?!

    And it’s so great that you and your husband were running together. I think that’s been the key to such a great friendship/relationship with my guy. We always try to have fun. Together. Whether it’s a hike, flying, bike riding, skiing, running, kayaking or just a long walk with Tank by the lake. Quality time. We don’t get a quanitity of time, but what do have is quality. So important. Ok that’s my little long married person life lesson. LOL!!

  20. Karista,
    I owe you an answer. I am not in my opinion a photographer yet. The day someone pays me something for my work is the date I will stamp myself a photographer. I like to think of myself as a storyteller and photos do this marvelously.
    I have been looking through your comments and it is a veritable who’s who of my favorite bloggers. Now, I am with Cara at the shock of of your having a 20 year-old daughter. You and your husband look about my age so I am more than impressed. Kudos to you guys :-)

    • Haha! Oh you and Cara are going to give me a big ego! We do indeed have a 20 year old and my youngest is 14. My two sassy gals as I like to call them. They keep me young as does my husband. He’s the culprit really. Older than me by seven years he can out run, out kayak, out ski and out hike me any day of the week. Which just makes me even more competitive. LOL! And someone should most definitely be paying you for your photography. Amazing! I hope you include them all in your book. The one that’s going to be a NY Times best seller! :)

      • you must be a great mother because you have nurturing down :-)

      • :) Awww… thanks! I’d like to think so but my daughters would probably beg to differ.

  21. Where do you get your recipes from? Do you accept recipes from your readers? I have a great family recipe I’d love to share. If you’re interested, let me know and I can email it to you.
    Thank you

    • Patrick, most of my recipes are my own and/or an adaption of a recipe I love. I rarely post other peoples recipes, however I do have a Facebook page called Karista’s Kitchen. I love to have home chef’s share their recipes on that page as long as they are mostly fresh ingredients. I’m a whole foods advocate and feel fresh is best. If you’d like my opinion before posting on the facebook page just email it to me. Thanks!

  22. Nice to meet you and your family. I see that your sassy girls are indeed a bit older than my ponytails–what gorgeous girls! Looking forward to learning more about your cooking adventures in the Northwest. What a great blog you have here!

    • Thank you for your kind words! It’s been a fun ride raising my two gals. :) We love the Northwest. So many resources for fresh food. And beautiful too. A little too much rain but the price we pay for the beauty that surrounds us. Thanks for stopping by!

  23. Found your site on and thought I’d check it out. Subscribed to your feed and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!

    • Thank you! Hope you like what you find here. And yes, there is a lot more to come. Delicious Wishes :)

  24. Saw that you’re attending Blogher Food Conference this year. I’ve never been, but am really excited! Great blog…love your Airedale pic too. My aunt and uncle have always had them and they are such sweet dogs.

    • Erina I just saw your comment. :( I hope we can meet up at the closing reception this evening! Thanks for stopping by!

      • Oh shoot…sorry we didn’t get to sync up. Are you going to the Replenish and Reboot event tomorrow?!

        • Yes! I will be there with my friend and fellow blogger Maria from Pink Patisserie. See you tomorrow :)

    • Cara! You are too kind my friend! Thank you!!! I’ve been at a Food Conference so I’ll be sure to check out the post. :) Hugs!!!

  25. I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award! If you would like to participate, see this post:

    • Nancy, I’m so honored. Thank you so much! I will head over and check out your post.

  26. Congratulations!
    I’ve nominated you for the Inspiring Blog Award as you inspire me! Here it is x

    • Thank you Emma!!

  27. What a fabulous looking family of furries & humans:) Is that a Yorkie I see driving? :) great website :)

    • Thank you Poppy! No, Tank is supposed to be a Cairn Terrier. Although most people think he’s a Norwich Terrier. He’s blonde so his coat is softer than most Cairns and he sheds. So he gets super duper hair cuts often. :)

      • A Terrier is a Terrier:) They all have delightful personalities:) My little one went to heaven a few years ago… but anytime I see a Terrier I smile:) Tank is a cutie pie:)

      • Awww. thanks Poppy. Our big terrier, the Airedale, Elwood, passed a year ago. He was a part of our family for 12 years and I just can’t bring myself to take the picture off my website. :( We love our Terrier’s too. They are the best dogs!

  28. Karista, great site and beautiful family- absolutely lovely!

    • Thanks Jamie! I kinda love them too :)

  29. Hi Karista, I’ve jst found your blog and don’t know where to start. Every dish you make looks so delightful. Loving the Cessna too! Looking forward to pouring through your blog for inspiration.


    • Hi Dave, I just found your comment! So sorry for the delayed response. Thank you for your kind compliments. I hope my recipes inspire! Delicious Wishes, Karista

  30. Hi Karista! I just learned about your blog from a friend at Foodportunity – sorry I didn’t get a chance to chat with you. I’m happy to discover your delicious blog. The dishes I’ve peeked at look inspiring and I like your writing. You have a beautiful family, too. And you will love being a chicken mama! My 3 girls provide endless entertainment in addition to eggs. I look forward to stopping by more!

    • Thank you Hannah! Yes, I am sooo excited about my baby chicks. Now about 4 weeks old. Last night one of them (actually my favorite) wasn’t doing too well. I think she’d been trying to fly and hurt her wing. She’s better today thankfully. I didn’t sleep a wink last night, kept getting up to check on her. You’d think I had a newborn. LOL! Thanks for stopping by Hannah. Do you have a blog? I’d love to check it out too. Delicious Wishes, Karista

      • You are bringing back memories of my first weeks with my baby chicks – I’d get up at all hours of the night to go check on them. We’re protective mamas! Glad to know your little one is doing ok.

        Thanks for asking – I do have a blog: Hope our paths cross sometime soon!

  31. Hello, dear one, I have awarded you! Come check it out. 😉

    • Thank you sweet lady!! I so appreciate your thoughtfulness. Love!

  32. Karista, Ive nominated you for the Reality Blog and Sensual Blogging Awards. I know you’ve received many accolades but I just wanted to say that you rock!

    • Thank you Danny!! LOL, I’ve never heard of Sensual Blogging Award but I’m honored! Food can be sensual of course. :) You words are so kind and I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness. I adore your blog as well and so excited to see your success. You’re quite the rock star yourself. :) Happy Holidays!

  33. Karista — advanced Happy New Year. I just wanted to let you know that I’m adding one one more award (to your mantle of numerous awards) to wrap up your 2012 with a bang — the Blog of the Year 2012 Award. It was an easy decision for me and you truly deserve it. You are an inspiration!!!!!!! All the best in 2013!

  34. Greetings from Australia Karista,
    I really enjoyed reading through your blog. It’s always great to see someone who is happy and passionate about what they’re doing. Wishing you and your lovely family all the best. The word “Sassy Gals” put a smile on my face primarily because I’m not sure what “Sassy” actually means.
    God bless

    • Thank you for your kind comment and good wishes. Since my girls were little ive called them my two sassy gals…due to their lively and bold personalities. :) just a little love name from their mama. Wishing you all the best and thanks for stopping by! Karista

  35. What a wonderful life you must have :) and what a wonderful blog you certainly do have! Following NOW.

    • Awww… thank you! Life isn’t always sunshine and roses… I try to make the best of every day. Lovely meeting you and thanks for stopping by!! Karista

  36. great recipes within great photograph….
    nice to know you then…

    • Thank you Dedy! Delicious Wishes :)

  37. Wow Karista – love your site!! So happy you found me so I could find you 😉

    • Anne, so glad you stopped by. And so wonderful to connect with another chef! Thank you for your kind words. I’ll be stopping by your blog again soon. Delicious Wishes!

  38. Enjoyed meeting you today! What a delightful blog you have!!

    • Thanks Michelle! I enjoyed meeting you as well. Can’t wait for the next coffee :)

  39. You have such a lovely blog, and all the food and what you write about is all fantastic! If you choose to accept it (and I won’t be offended it you don’t) I would like to nominate you for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award. You have to 1) display the award logo, 2) link back to the person giving the award, 3) state 7 things about you, 4) list 15 blogs that you wish to nominate, 5) notify these bloggers of the award and the rules. The person that nominated me is here: Feel free to ignore the post if you don’t wish to do it, but just know that I find you super-inspiring! Stay fabulous…

    • Thank you! So sorry its taken me so long to respond. I so appreciate your thoughtfulness for the nomination of Very Inspirational Blogger. It deeply touches my heart when other bloggers nominate me for blogging awards.
      Unfortunately, I don’t participate in these awards any longer. My work is so busy, combined with writing projects and this blog, I really don’t have enough quality time to respond to all of them. But I do thank you so very much!! Delicious Wishes :)

  40. I found you via Parent Map and just pinned your Banana Maple Oatcakes, which sound amazing. I love finding ‘local’ blogs! And I’m on a food journey of trying to eat clean. :)

    • Hi Dottie, Thanks so much for your comment. Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond! Hope you enjoy the Banana Maple Oatcakes :) Delicious Wishes, Karista

  41. Love your new site, Karista! Congrats to you and looking forward to future posts. Cheers!

  42. Congratulations on your new site design! It is fabulous. Can’t wait to see what else is cooking in your Kitchen this Fall!!

    • Thanks dear friend! Hope you’re doing well. I’ll be up soon and we’ll have to meet for cocktails. :)

  43. Hi Karista, thank you for stopping by. You have a beautiful site and an amazing collection of recipes. Keep up the great work!!!

  44. I have nominate you for The Versatile Blogger Award. I am not sure if you accept awards, but if you do you can find the rules of the nomination here-

    • Thank you! Very thoughtful of you to nominate me for the versatile blogger award. However, at this time I don’t participate in the wordpress awards. I wish you all the best! Karista

      • Your welcome ! And thanks for responding back !!

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