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little lace box

Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Salad VRAI Magazine

Autumn Harvest Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Autumn Harvest Salad from A View to Delicious Magazine // Karista's Kitchen

I know I’m blasting your inbox with posts today and I’m hoping you don’t mind an extra post.  I wanted to mention that this gorgeous Autumn Harvest Salad recipe is included in our first digital food magazine, A View to Delicious!

We published A View to Delicious to highlight the bounty of the season and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.  This magazine is our first issue and it won’t be our last.  We’re working on a second issue that is going to be jam-packed with even more recipes, stories, photos, tips and techniques that you won’t want to miss.  I’ll announce more about it later. 😉

Until then, A View to Delicious is on sale!  Click HERE  (and enter code “delicious 50” for 50% off ) to download your copy today and don’t miss all the delectable recipes that are so perfect for this time of year.  And so perfect for your holiday table!

As well, we have a new kitchen shop that is filled with the most unique and fun kitchen finds and so perfect for your holiday shopping.  You’ll find the link at the top of the front page under “Shop Karista’s Kitchen Store”.  Check out the new Karista’s Kitchen Fall Baking and Spice box. I love this little box for gift giving.

This beautifully curated box is perfect for the FOODIE and home chef!  The Karista’s Kitchen Fall Spice & Baking Box contains hand selected, high-quality spices that are perfect for all seasons but especially wonderful for Fall Baking! Included in the box are two packages each of fragrant smoked paprika and Korinje cinnamon and a delightful matcha green tea salt.  I completely adore the Matcha Green Tea Salt as a finishing salt for the Autumn Harvest Salad.

Also in the box are four Kilner square spice jars, crafted in the U.K., three recipes from Karista’s Kitchen and a gorgeous tea towel from Claudia Pearson or Belle & Union. Purchase the box as a hostess gift, birthday gift or gift to yourself.  Be sure to use the coupon code for 25% off this box! Coupon Code is: kkbox25

Karista's Kitchen Spice and Baking Box from the Karista's Kitchen Shop


Loads of love and gratitude to you all for reading and supporting Karista’s Kitchen!

Delicious Wishes,



Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Tips and Techniques

Holiday Gift Guide from Karista’s Kitchen

Holiday Appetizers from Karista's Kitchen

I’ve got some special gifts I’d love to share with you, including links to these delightful appetizer recipes which you’ll find at the end of this post. 🙂

This Holiday Gift Guide is filled with products from very special companies and artists that I completely adore – companies and artisans with integrity in their products and their mission.  

Maybe you’re looking for that special gift for that special someone or for family members that seem to stump the gift giving every year.  I’m certain you’ll love one or more of these unique gift ideas that won’t break the bank but will warm the loved one’s heart.

I don’t know about you but I love Little Lace Box delivery day.  The excitement that wells up inside of me when I see that red little box on my door step is literally overwhelming.

A fruit spoon from Little Lace Box

My fruit spoon from Little Lace Box

Little lace box is dedicated to seeking out only the most talented and creative up-and-coming designers, whose products might not have even hit the market yet.  This year you can choose to “gift” your box to whoever you choose at any time during the year. This creates an easy and fun way to remember birthdays, holidays, special occasions or just because moments.

Not only can you subscribe to the gift box but Little Lace Box also hosts my Karista’s Kitchen store. We carry a gorgeous line of products on the website that are carefully curated for our customers from new designers and artisans. Truly the unique and special gift for that special someone.  

For the food lover or home chef in your life, I have two food companies that provide the perfect food gifts to give.

smoked salmon from Two If By Seafoods

Smoked Salmon from Two if By Seafoods and Barn2Door

Barn2Door is a marketplace to help consumers purchase clean, sustainable, local and regional food. This is a company near and dear to my heart. As a culinary professional with time spent in nutrition, I can’t advocate enough for local, clean, healthy food.

Barn2Door makes it easier to find local growers and food from your area, or specialty foods from other regions that ship directly to you, the consumer.  It’s truly a win-win for everyone – supporting our local farmers and food artisans and preparing healthy food for our family.

I’ve been a fan of Jovial foods for many years now. I bake with Einkorn flour and I use many of their pasta products in my recipes. Jovial has created this lovely Einkorn baking gift set that is the perfect gift for the home chef in your life. If you’d like to read more about the Einkorn cookbook and flour, check out my book review here.

Einkorn - Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat Fudgey Chocolate Brownies

Fudgey Brownie Recipe from the Einkorn Cookbook

If fine art is what you’re looking for, look no further.  A dear friend, who happens to be one of the most talented artists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, has an Etsy shop filled with her gorgeous prints.  Krystyna has an impressive resume and has sold her paintings and commissioned work all over the world.  I feel so lucky to own four of her prints, proudly displayed in my home.

Another friend of mine, Jim O’Donnell, is an experienced and amazing travel photographer, writer and archeologist.  He also has a lovely collection of photography prints that makes me swoon every time I see them.  Jim writes a fabulous travel and photography blog Around the World in Eighty Years.  You won’t want to miss it!  Jim O’Donnell prints make a perfect gift for the photography enthusiast, or for someone who is a connoisseur of photographic art.

Now I’m hungry and I want to go shopping. 🙂

Happy gift giving!


To find the appetizer recipes click on the links below:

Honey Dijon Glazed Pork Belly with Rosemary White Bean Puree 

Asian Salmon Cake Sliders

Sausage Rolls

Baked Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates 



Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad vegetarian

Arugula, Spring Peas, Asparagus and Feta in an Herbed Vinaigrette

Arugula, spring peas, asparagus and feta in an herbed vinaigrette // Karista's Kitchen

My spring greens are wildly growing out of the garden boxes and it’s only mid-April!  Every morning Tank and I walk outside to preview the spring greens that have popped up or grown an inch overnight.  We fight with nagging slugs that are taking pleasure in dining on my Pok Choy and then we snip greens for salad and sautéing.  Tank pretends to be interested in my garden boxes but I’m not fooled; he only accompanies me outside to chase imaginary critters out of the back yard.

This week it was all about pok choy and arugula.  Although some of the spinach found it’s way into breakfast.  I had so much arugula, I was making arugula, granny smith apple and hummus roll ups and this lovely arugula salad all week long.  I even ate it one morning for breakfast… with a fried egg on top. Delicious!

Sal de Ibiza from Little Lace Box and Karista's Kitchen

Spring produce is the first gift of the the growing season.  The bright green leafy produce have endless amounts of uses and can be combined with so many other delicious produce of the season.   Using these delicious greens should be effortless and simply prepared.  The flavors are so delightful, I wouldn’t want to overshadow them with additional heavy ingredients.  So I’ve kept this salad light and happy – dressing it with finely chopped fresh herbs from my garden, a splash of lemon, extra virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper and finished with a lovely Sal de Ibiza Fleur de Sel from Karista’s Kitchen Store.  A lovely spring salad for a lovely spring day.

Wishing you everything beautiful and delicious in this spring season!

Loads of Love,


Arugula, Spring Peas, Asparagus and Feta in an Herbed Vinaigrette

Serving Size: 4

Arugula, Spring Peas, Asparagus and Feta in an Herbed Vinaigrette


    For the Salad
  • 2-3 cups arugula leaves
  • 1 cup baby sweet peas (thawed if using frozen)
  • 1 cup roasted or steamed asparagus
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (I love to use Valbreso Sheep's Milk Feta on this salad)
    For the Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (about the juice from one large lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • Fleur de Sel to finish


  • Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, chopped herbs and Dijon Mustard if using. Season to taste with black pepper and a little sea salt.
  • In a bowl, add the arugula, peas and asparagus. Toss the greens with some of the vinaigrette (to your taste) and then plate the salad onto 4 salad plates or one large platter.
  • Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel and then garnish with Feta Cheese. Serve immediately.
  • Notes

    Sometimes I serve this salad as a lunch entree with brie or goat cheese on crostini, slightly warmed and toasted in the oven and then drizzled with honey.

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen vegetarian

    Truffle Pesto and Asparagus Flatbread with Goat Cheese Crumbles and Dressed Arugula

    Truffle Pesto Asparagus Flatbread with Goat Cheese and Dressed Arugula // Karista's Kitchen

    I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been a little tardy with recipes recently.  It’s certainly not intentional, just a hefty dose of life and work; and reminding myself that balance is key to keeping my healthy and happiness wells filled.

    Honestly, I wish I could post something delicious for you every day.  I have a never ending list of recipes and recipe ideas that I keep in one of the many journals that float around my house.  Some get posted here, some go to clients, some get tossed into the garbage (never to see the light of day) and some get filed away for next year because the season is gone and I ran out of time.

    Truffle Pesto and Asparagus Flatbread with Goat Cheese and Dressed Arugula // Karista's Kitchen

    However, you are in luck today.  This little beauty happened one winter day after Little Lace Box sent me a jar of La Favorita Pesto Genovese (Italian Truffle Pesto) to sample for the Karista’s Kitchen Store.  One dip of the finger and I was hooked.  I had to find a spoon and take a bigger sample… and another sample… and another.   Same thing happened when I sampled a Buttered Salted Caramel sauce only I think I “sampled” half the jar.

    Truffle Pesto and Asparagus Flatbread with Goat Cheese and Dressed Arugula // Karista's Kitchen

    The Italian Truffle Pesto is a clean and fresh tasting basil pesto laced with Italian truffle and perfectly suited for a variety of recipes.  Our weather is warming a bit here, the days are longer and dinner seems to become lighter fare.  We dine later in the evening year round but it seems during the spring and summer months dinner is typically after sunset, so a quick and tasty Flatbread often shows up to the table.

    Because it’s spring, asparagus had to make an appearance – along with crumbled goat cheese and the exploding arugula from my garden, lightly dressed in a lemon vinaigrette; making this a gorgeous and delicious flatbread for brunch, lunch or supper.

    You can certainly prepare this tasty flatbread with your favorite basil pesto (jarred or homemade) but if you’d love a chance to win a jar, I’m giving away one jar for two fabulous readers over at VRAI Magazine.  Feel free to jump on over and enter to win! Or, you can head on over to my kitchen store, Karista’s Kitchen, hosted on the fun and fabulous (and re-designed) Little Lace Box website and purchase a jar (or two!).  While you’re there, stay a while and browse our delicious selection of gourmet and artisan food products.  With more products being added soon!

    Wishing you all a most delicious spring!


    Truffle Pesto and Asparagus Flatbread with Goat Cheese Crumbles and Dressed Arugula

    1-2 servings depending on the size of your flatbread

    Truffle Pesto and Asparagus Flatbread with Goat Cheese Crumbles and Dressed Arugula


    • 1 prepared or store bought flatbread
    • 1 jar La Favorita Pesto Genovese or your favorite basil pesto
    • 1/2 - 1 lb spring (thin spears) asparagus spears, trimmed
    • 2-4 ounces goat cheese
    • 1-2 handfuls fresh baby arugula
    • 1 lemon
    • Dash of extra virgin olive oil
    • Fleur de sel or sea salt for garnish


  • Pre-heat the oven to 425F.
  • Place the flatbread on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Spread a few tablespoons of the pesto onto the flatbread (enough to cover the surface) leaving about a 1 inch edge around the flatbread.
  • Place the asparagus spears onto the flatbread in a single layer. I like to place them "head to toe" so I can fill the flatbread completely with the asparagus.
  • Sprinkle with just a pinch of salt and pepper and then layer with goat cheese crumbles.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges of the flatbread are nice and golden brown and the goat cheese is soft and golden on top.
  • Remove the flatbread from the oven to cool.
  • While the flatbread is cooling, toss a few handfuls of baby arugula with a squeeze of lemon and dash of olive oil.
  • Place a mound of dressed arugula onto the center of the flatbread and sprinkle with a little fleur de sel or sea salt. Slice and serve.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Salad Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Citrus and Arugula Salad with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts

    Citrus and Arugula Salad with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts // Karista's Kitchen

    There are moments, much to my children’s dismay, random musings come flying out of my mouth and I realize at that exact moment, most likely my young ladies etiquette training didn’t quite stick.  What would my Grandmother say?

    Yes, I had my very own GrandMama.  My paternal Grandmother was a proper lady and a stickler for manners. When I was very young, I would spend hours at her little pink house learning the fine art of a tea party, listening to fascinating stories about her ancestry, learning how to be a gracious hostess and how to sing opera.  We always had tea and toast (Grandmother’s substitute for English biscuits) and my sister, Grandmother and I would all take turns singing Grandmother’s favorite song, Que Sera Sera.  

    I was young when my Grandmother passed but she often pops into my thoughts, especially when I do something she wouldn’t approve; which sort of makes me giggle because I can just hear her “Tsk Tsk!”.  I always think of her when I watch Downton Abbey or when my daughters use the wrong cutlery at the table.  I’m not sure she would have cared for the world we live in today… but I think that’s why she charms me.  A character bigger than life, although she stood a scant 5 feet tall.  Living in times past, always regaling me with stories and tall tales that never ceased to amuse me.

    Little Lace Box

    I thought of Grandmother again this week when my Little Lace Box arrived.  Oh how she would have loved this box! The January Little Lace Box was curated around a theme they call “The Dining Car”.  The theme is to commemorate the beginning of the fifth season of Downton Abbey on PBS.  The box was curated on the notion of “practical vintage”.  The perfect mix of vintage, beauty and practicality.  I can honestly tell you it is the perfect mix of products for me.  Little Lace Box brings the designer to you in an online boutique and curated monthly box full of fabulous finds created by up-and-coming designers.  I love that this company highlights the work of new designers, artists, food artisans and many more.  This is what we all need when we’re starting the  long walk down our entrepreneurial path! A company that will believe in our work, our art and share it with the world.

    Little Lace Box

    I realize this is a recipe website but I adore Little Lace Box so much I wanted to share it with you – along with a recipe of course.  A recipe that would have been approved by my Grandmother. She would have loved this salad.  So fresh, so lovely and on the prettiest little plate.

    One of the most fantastic things about working in my field is all the beautiful people I have the pleasure of meeting.   So many wonderful people who make a lasting impression on me and my work.  The lovely Carolina was our tour guide and historian for my DaVinci Wine Storyteller Experience in 2103.  Yep, I’m still talking about that trip because it was so completely heavenly.  Carolina is not only beautiful on the outside, she is every bit as beautiful on the inside. I enjoyed every moment we shared, chatting about life, love, history, art, culture and of course food.  She shared with me this delectable salad that she often makes in her home.  I adapted it a tiny bit, adding the cheese, but it is just as lush and fresh and delicious with or without the cheese.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Citrus and Arugula Salad with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts

    Serving Size: 2-3

    Citrus and Arugula Salad with Feta and Toasted Pine Nuts


    • 1 cup assorted citrus wedges (grapefruit,mandarin oranges, blood oranges,etc)
    • 2-3 cups baby arugula leaves, packed
    • 1/3 cup feta cheese (or sub with goats cheese)
    • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
    • Drizzle good quality aged balsamic vinegar
    • Drizzle good quality extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large bowl, toss the arugula with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • Divide among 2 or 3 plates and then top with citrus and dust with feta cheese and toasted pine nuts.
  • Serve immediately.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen vegetarian

    Crispy Polenta Bites

    Crispy Polenta Bites with Creme Fraiche, Balsamic Glaze and Fresh Basil with DaVinci Pinot Grigio


    There is an exciting new company in town and it’s called Little Lace Box!

    The Little Lace Box features a new accessory/product created by an up-and-coming designer sent directly to you every other month. Get it here first, a special fashion accessory for you and/or your home. Also included in your box is a selection of name brand and boutique brand products and discounts exclusively for the fashion maven inside every woman.

    Crispy Polenta Bites with Creme Fraiche, Balsamic Glaze, Fresh Basil and DaVinci Pinot Grigio

    I’m certain you’re wondering why I’m promoting this darling little company?  I think it a clever idea and I’ve signed up.  It’s also the company my brilliant and talented sister started.   Quite the fashionista herself (I’m totally not, unfortunately) my sister kept discovering new designers and the loveliest of products she and her three girls loved.  So why not share these products with everyone?  Thus, Little Lace Box was born.

    Of course, Little Lace Box will also be highlighting products for those of us who are kitchen-ware enthused.  Which is why I created this lovely little recipe for Little Lace Box.  A delightful and delicious nibble that’s almost fuss free.  Displays beautifully on your Hors D’oeuvres table, sitting in those gorgeous new serving dishes you’ve been wanting to use.  Or maybe a new serving board that’s become quite popular these days.

    Every box is a beautiful surprise.  Go to the website and view the latest list of new designers and the products that will fill each box.

    While visiting Little Lace Box website, don’t forget to like their Facebook page and Instagram for all the latest fashion and home accessory developments.  Big love and huge congratulations to my sis!  You rock!

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Crispy Polenta Bites with Crème Fraiche, Balsamic Glaze and Fresh Basil


    1 cup quick cook polenta

    1/4 grated parmesan

    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1 cup crème Fraiche or sour cream (crème Fraiche is a French sour cream, usually a bit thicker than our sour cream here in the states)

    1/2 cup good quality aged balsamic vinegar

    Handful of fresh basil

    Salt and pepper to taste


    Prepare the polenta to package directions.  Typically the brand I use is one cup polenta to three cups liquid.  I like to use an herbed vegetable broth for this recipe.  But half milk and water is also nice.  Gives it a creamier texture.  Just before the polenta is thickened add the 1/4 cup grated parmesan to the polenta. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

    Oil or butter a medium size baking dish, 8×11 or 9×13 work well.  Pour the warm polenta into the baking dish and smooth the top.  Let it cool completely.  If I’m making this for a dinner party I’ll prepare the polenta and refrigerate overnight and then finish the recipe before serving.

    Once the polenta has cooled, pop it out of the baking dish onto a cutting board or clean surface.  Using a small round or square cutter, cut bites out of the polenta.  I like these “bite sized” so a biscuit cutter is usually to big.  Once you’ve cut out as many small bites as you can, trim up the remaining polenta for test bites. 🙂

    Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.  When the oil is hot but not smoking, pan sear both sides of each polenta bite.  Drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet or plate.

    In a small sauce pan heat the balsamic vinegar over low to medium heat and let it reduce by half, becoming thicker and more of a glaze.   I highly recommend pulling out the good balsamic vinegar for this recipe.  On occasion I can find a bottle of really good aged balsamic glaze that doesn’t have to be heated.  It’s already reduced.  I’ve found this at a few specialty markets, natural markets and Whole Foods.

    Next, take the handful of fresh basil, stacking each leaf one on top of the other and roll into a cigar.  Slice the ends into what is called chiffonade. I’ve included some photos at the bottom of the recipe.

    Place each bite on a platter or serving board.  Dollop or pipe crème Fraiche onto each bite.  Drizzle with the balsamic glaze and garnish with the basil chiffonade.  A sprinkling of sea salt on each bit is also lovely.

    Serve immediately.

    Basil Chiffonade

    Basil Chiffonade