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Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Sassy Side dishes Soup

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup // Dairy Free // Karista's Kitchen

This gorgeous Carrot Ginger Coconut soup is a revised version of my original carrot soup recipe.  As time passes, and the more I prepare a recipe, chances are it’s going to get a few makeovers now and again.

Although I do love my original recipe, I’ve created this version with coconut milk to appease my nagging dairy allergy and to create a different flavor twist to the soup.

I prepare carrot ginger soup almost year round.  My family completely adores this soup in the fall and winter months because of the soothing properties of ginger.  It’s also equally as loved in the spring and summer for the bold taste of earthy, sweet carrots and the tropical flavors of coconut milk.

Last week I topped the carrot ginger coconut soup with candied blood orange that my brother and sister-in-law sent me from Japan.  The simple touch of orange elevated the flavors yet again, creating the most delightful winter soup.

I often make the soup on the weekend and store it in the fridge for quick weekday lunches or a light weeknight meal.  It also makes a delicious starter to Sunday dinner or a late night snack.

And sometimes, I just find myself stopping by the fridge and snagging a spoonful of the silky, lush soup. It’s delicious room temp or warm and obviously, I eat it when it’s cold. 😉

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup

Serving Size: 4-6

Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 12-15 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups carrot juice (enough liquid to cover the veggies in the soup pot)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned organic coconut milk (not the light coconut milk)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and dried thyme. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until all the veggies have softened.
  • Add the 4 cups of vegetable broth or 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups carrot juice and sliced ginger. (enough liquid to cover all the vegetables in the pot) Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the ginger slices, or as many as you can.
  • Either using a hand blender or pour the soup into a blender, Vitamix or food processor and puree. You may need to do this in stages as all the soup may not fit in the blender/food processor all at once.
  • Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and stir in the allspice, pinch of cloves and coconut milk. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. If the soup feels too thick, stir in ¼ cup of vegetable broth at a time until the consistency feels right.
  • Serve immediately. You can keep it warm on the stove if needed. Just keep the heat on low. This soup can be refrigerated for about 3 days and reheated stove top, or microwave.
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    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Soup vegetarian

    Classic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

    Classic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons // Karista's Kitchen

    Can you believe I never liked tomato soup when I was a kid? I mean, really, who doesn’t love tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches? Well, I didn’t.

    I’m not sure why I didn’t like tomato soup; honestly I didn’t like any kind of soup.  My mom prepared all sorts of crazy grilled cheese sandwiches just to get me to eat soup. Which I ate. That is, I ate the grilled cheese sandwiches and usually left a nearly full bowl of soup at the table.

    However, somewhere along the years and with a more developed palate, I became obsessed with tomato soup.  So much that I serve tomato soup often in my kitchen and today, both my daughters love a bowl of tomato soup, tomato bisque, or just a chunky tomato stew.

    For me, it was the creamy texture of tomato bisque that first caught my attention.  I was working in Boston and there was a little Italian deli down the street from where I worked that served the most lush, creamy and cheesy soup.  In a word, it was divine.  The highly entertaining and charismatic deli owner, Giovanni, served it with crusty Italian bread and butter which paired perfectly with the creamy tomato concoction.

    I walked to that deli every day for my beloved tomato bisque, when finally, I realized I was developing a bit of an allergy to tomatoes.  I seriously had to back off the soup for a while. Thankfully at that time, spring was making an appearance and my soup days would hopefully be limited with the warmer weather.

    Of course, I continue to eat tomato soup – just not every day. I enjoy it the most when the weather is cool and rainy outdoors and when the soup is paired with my friend, Sheri’s, version of grilled cheese with apple butter.  For me, its food heaven.

    Classic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons // Karista's Kitchen

    When my client asked for a classic tomato soup recipe for a retro food article, I was thrilled.  I knew I wanted to include grilled cheese somehow, so I made little mini’s and called them grilled cheese croutons.  However, there are times when I really want a hearty grilled cheese and apple butter sandwich with my tomato soup, so feel free to indulge.

    This is totally off topic but notice the sweet table-cloth printed with apricots? Yep, it’s my mom’s tablecloth from the 1950’s and it was so perfect for this shoot.  😉

    Wishing you warm and cozy days all curled up with this Classic Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons!

    Loads of Love,


    Classic Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

    Serving Size: 4


    • 2 tablespoons ghee or extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 onion, finely diced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 28-32 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
    • ½ teaspoon dried basil
    • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 ¼ cup vegetable broth
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • ¼ cup heavy cream
    • 8 slices good quality white bread
    • 1-2 tablespoons of butter
    • 4 slices cheddar cheese


  • In a large pot over medium heat, add the ghee or olive oil and onions. Sauté the onions until wilted and then add the garlic and cook one minute longer.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, dried basil, pinch of crushed red pepper, vegetable broth and sugar. Bring to a slow boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes.
  • While the soup is cooking, prepare the croutons. Pre-heat the oven to broil. Butter one side of each slice of bread and place them buttered side down on a baking sheet. Add the cheese slices to the bread and then top with the remaining bread buttered side up. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and toast. Flip the sandwiches and toast the other side.
  • Remove them from the oven and let them cool. Slice them into small square croutons.
  • When the soup is done either transfer to a blender and blend until smooth or using an emersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then stir in the heavy cream.
  • Serve the warm soup in bowls topped with the grilled cheese croutons.
  • Notes

    This recipe first appeared in Home By Design Magazine Fall 2016

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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Life Around My Table Soup Turkey

    Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

    Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup // Karista's Kitchen

    Although Thanksgiving turkey dinner is a treat, it’s really the leftovers that excite my family.  During the cooler months, soup is king in my house.

    This Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup is the perfect way to use leftover turkey, along with the loads of delicious turkey stock I prepare the day after Thanksgiving.

    It wasn’t long ago we lived back east and visited Plymouth Village every Thanksgiving.  It felt surreal to walk through the village on Thanksgiving day, soaking up the history while giving thanks for family and friends.

    A few Thanksgiving dinners we dined at the village for their annual feast. Other times we would dine at one of the many local restaurants in the area serving Thanksgiving dinner.

    One particular year we dined at the sweetest restaurant which was in a renovated Victorian home.  This was of course before my days at culinary school, so something as simple as a delicious soup still mystified me.  Honestly, I don’t think I had ever tasted such an exquisite soup like the Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup we had that day.  So rich and flavorful with tender pieces of roast turkey and the woody, heady scent of the mushrooms combined with aromatics of thyme and sherry… I was in soup heaven.

    Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup // Karista's Kitchen

    Each Thanksgiving since, I re-create that soup.  And each Thanksgiving I always think I’ve done a pretty good job with my re-creation.  This Thanksgiving season, I decided it was time to share the recipe for my Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup. 🙂

    This year we had a lovely Thanksgiving day with our family that began with Mimosa’s and then continued with silly faces for the camera, everyone in the kitchen cooking and singing – and a few peeled off into the family room for a dance off. We’re a crazy lot, but I love our zest for life and love and family and for the gratefulness we all share.

    My messy kitchen from Thanksgiving Day // Karista's Kitchen My oldest sassy gal preparing the Thanksgiving dressing // Karista's Kitchen My two sassy gals at Thanksgiving // Karista's Kitchen Thanksgiving Table // Karista's Kitchen

    Life around my table is always filled with love, inspiration and of course, tasty food.  Bringing us together, cementing our connection and supporting each other.  During this holiday season I try to extend my reach and bring others to the table that aren’t so fortunate by donating to our local food bank, giving to our local shelters and community centers as well as churches in our valley that support local families.

    This year I encourage you to extend your love and life around the table by giving to a local family or a food bank in need;  filling their empty well with your love of food or service this holiday season.  After all, isn’t that what the holidays are for? For loving each other, giving freely and supporting each other.

    In the past, I was the fortunate recipient of this kind of love.  It was extended to my family many years ago when I was a child.  A time when our family was at one of the lowest points of my childhood.  A time when my parents needed help, needed compassion and love.

    Our community brought us food, not just for Thanksgiving dinner but for several weeks after.  That compassion made a huge impression on my 10-year-old self.  I’ll never forget the kindness and grace in our neighbors faces as they delivered the food.  For me, it meant survival – and a little joy during a joyless time in our lives.

    I treasure you all and I’m so thankful for your support here at Karista’s Kitchen. I wish you the happiest, most delicious and joyous of holiday seasons.

    Loads of love,


    Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

    Serving Size: 6-8

    Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup


    • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 2 celery stalks, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup sliced fresh seasonal mushrooms (I used cremini, shiitake and oyster)
    • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
    • 1/4 cup dry sherry
    • 6 cups turkey or chicken broth
    • 1 cup wild rice, not cooked
    • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
    • 3 cups diced turkey meat (this recipe is also great with leftover roasted chicken)
    • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms for garnish
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • Chopped Italian parsley for garnish


  • Heat 1 cup of water to boiling. Place the dried porcini mushroom in a heat proof bowl and pour the boiling water over the mushrooms making sure all the mushrooms are moistened. Let that sit for about 15-20 minutes. The gently remove the mushrooms to a chopping board with a mesh strainer. Reserve at least 1/2 cup of the mushroom liquid to add to the soup. Chop the porcini mushrooms and add them to the fresh mushrooms.
  • In a large pot, add the extra virgin olive oil and heat over medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the onions and celery and sauté until wilted. Then stir in the garlic, the porcini and one cup fresh mushrooms and thyme and cook for one to two minutes longer or until the mushrooms begin to wilt.
  • Stir in the sherry and let it reduce by half. Then stir in the turkey or chicken broth, 1/2 cup of porcini mushroom liquid and bring it to a boil.
  • Stir in the rice and Italian parsley and then turn it down to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer until the rice is cooked.
  • Stir in the diced turkey or chicken, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Sauté the 1/2 cup of mushrooms and minced garlic clove in a bit of butter and then season with salt and pepper. Use the mushrooms and chopped Italian parsley to garnish each bowl of the soup.
  • Notes

    This is a great recipe for leftover roasted chicken as well. Increase the fresh or dried mushrooms as you prefer. As well, add or delete broth depending on how thick or thin you like your soup. I prefer a heartier soup so often I'll only add five cups liquid instead of six.

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    Karista's Kitchen Pork Soup VRAI Magazine

    Spanish White Bean Stew

    Spanish White Bean Stew 1 VRAI Magazine

    There is a new article and recipe over at VRAI Magazine today.  It’s all about the gorgeous Spanish White Bean Stew called Fabada.  January is all about reinvention at VRAI Magazine and my version of Fabada certainly qualifies as a reinvention.  I think that’s what I love most about world cuisine – finding beautiful and delicious recipes that can stand alone and please the palate or can be recreated to suit my family’s taste buds.

    As always, you will find a fantastic selection of recipes at VRAI Magazine as well as travel, DIY, lifestyle and fashion articles.  Not to be missed!

    Wishing you a most delicious Sunday!


    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Soup vegetarian

    Sipping Broth with Green Curry and Lime Leaves

    Sipping Broth with Green Curry and Lime Leaves // Karista's Kitchen

    Because I have a curious nature, recently I’ve been reading about the Scandinavian tradition called Hygge – pronounced Hoo-Gah.  A word that doesn’t quite translate into English except that Scandinavians will tell you it roughly means “cozy atmosphere” or “coziness”.

    I’ve always loved the word cozy.  In fact, after watching the play Les Miserable at least 20 times, I vowed to name my first daughter Cozette, and call her Cozy for short.  That didn’t happen, although now my oldest gal tells me she would have loved that name.

    My dear friend Maria of Pink Patisserie is Norwegian.  She tells me Hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life.  The warm glow of candlelight, friends and family gathering around a table of food discussing the little things and the big things… this can all be translated as Hygge.

    Sipping Broth with Green Curry and Lime Leaves // Karista's Kitchen

    After reading about Hygge, I realized I’ve been practicing it in my home for years.  During the winter months in the Pacific Northwest, we live through very short days and very long nights.  When the day is lit, it’s typically gray and overcast; sometimes with a misty fog that rolls through.  I’ve never minded the winter months.  I’ve always felt it was a time of renewal, a time to take deep breaths and re-fuel for the spring and summer months.

    To keep things feeling more cheerful, I often light candles in the house.  Setting them in key visual locations.  Sort of my version of keeping the home fires burning.  I typically light all the candles just as twilight begins so that when everyone returns home the house feels warm and cozy.

    Thanks to my very wise sister in law, I just invested in flameless candles.  They look and feel as warm and cozy as real candles.  They give the room a warm glow which is so nice when we’re sitting in the family room reading or chatting about the day or hearing stories and drama of the life of a teenager.

    During these low lit days I often make myself a sipping broth for my working lunch or when I’m not feeling up to my usual self – creating a little Hygge in my day.  This sipping broth is so lovely for when we’re sick or when we just need a cup of comfort and nourishment.   I make my own chicken stock and usually make my sipping broth from that homemade stock.  But when I’ve run out and need a cup, I’ll use an organic chicken or vegetable broth purchased from my local co-op market. Currently, I’m really loving the organic Better than Bouillon brand for chicken and beef broth and Rapunzel brand for vegetable broth.

    I’ve listed my basic chicken stock recipe below as well as instructions on how to make this simple sipping broth.  If you can’t find fresh lime leaves, a squeeze of lime works well.  I usually find fresh lime leaves in the produce herb section of my market.  Sometimes I can find dried Kaffir lime leaves in the Asian food section of my market.  You can also order them online.

    Wishing you warm and cozy and all things Hygge!


    I’ve also included my simple chicken stock.  I don’t follow the rules here.  (When do I ever follow the rules?)  This stock has never failed me and it’s the base for all my soups, stews and this little sipping broth. The key is to begin with quality ingredients. This is a “flavored” stock, although not heavily flavored.  I find the fresh herbs to be fragrant and slightly apparent, but not overwhelming.  There are all kinds of stock one can prepare.  I don’t add carrots or celery to my stock, I think it completely changes the flavor.  I don’t salt or pepper my stock until I need to use it for a recipe.  So when you taste the stock, it should taste flavorful, but in need of salt and pepper.  This is a good thing.

    Sipping Broth with Green Curry and Lime Leaves

    Makes one cup

    Sipping Broth with Green Curry and Lime Leaves


      For the Sipping Broth
    • 1 cup organic chicken or vegetable broth (chicken stock/broth recipe below)
    • 1/2 teaspoon Thai green curry paste
    • 1-2 lime leaves
      For the Chicken Stock
    • 1 whole chicken carcass/bones (After I roast a chicken and serve it for dinner, I take what's left and make this stock)
    • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 small head of garlic halved or coarsely chopped (with the skin on and everything, no need to peel)
    • 4-5 sprigs fresh oregano (I don't really count the sprigs, I usually just run outside and snip a small handful from my garden)
    • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme (same as above with the thyme)
    • Handful of fresh Italian parsley
    • 1 dried bay leaf, optional


    For the Sipping Broth
  • In a small pan heat one cup of broth with the lime leaves and green curry. Stir to blend the curry with the broth and when the broth is heated through, pour it into your favorite mug. Savor and enjoy. The longer the lime leaves sit in the broth the more lime flavor and fragrance you will experience. The lime leaves are my favorite ingredient.
  • For the Chicken Stock
  • Place the chicken carcass/bones into a large pot. Throw in the onion, garlic, herbs and bay leaf if using. Fill with water until just covers the chicken and aromatics. Place it on the stove top over medium heat and just as it comes to a boil, turn it down to low and cover with a lid. Don't let it come to a rolling boil or it will foam. If it foams, just skim the foam off the top.
  • I keep my pot over the lowest heat setting and I let it simmer for at least 8-10 hours but most of the time I'll let it simmer for 16 hours. The longer you simmer the more flavorful the stock. Typically I'll put the stock on in the evening and let it simmer stovetop all night. The next day after about 16 hours I will uncover the pot, turn the heat up just a bit to medium low and let the stock continue to simmer for another 30 minutes, reducing the liquid a little and creating a more flavorful stock. I always end up with about 4-6 cups stock. Just enough to make one soup or stew recipe for my family. I make stock every week!
  • Take the stock off the heat and let it cool. Strain the stock into a clean container and either refrigerate or freeze. It will last in the freezer for up to three months and it will last in the refrigerator for about 7 days.
  • Use and season the stock as desired.
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    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Sassy Side dishes Soup

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup

    I could eat my weight in cauliflower and in red curry cauliflower soup.  I like it steamed, roasted, pureed into mashers, served raw with pesto or Bagna Cauda and in soup.  Who knew this opaque and not terribly attractive veggie could light my culinary fire?

    I think it has to be in the top five of my favorite veggies.  Cauliflower is versatile, affordable, nutritious and relatively painless to prepare, just like this Red Curry Cauliflower Soup. 

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup // Karista's Kitchen

    This soup couldn’t be easier.  It also holds well in the frig for up to three days, as well as in the freezer for up to two months.  I love pairing this soup with a seasonal chopped salad and crusty bread or Naan for dipping.

    I also serve this soup as a starter for a dinner party or a light lunch with an Asian chicken salad.  And of course, you can dine on a bowl of this soup a la carte with your favorite glass of wine.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup

    Serving Size: 2-4

    Red Curry Cauliflower Soup


    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 large head cauliflower (about 2-2 1/2 lbs) stemmed and chopped
    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely diced
    • 1 stick lemongrass, halved vertically
    • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
    • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
    • 1 14oz can coconut milk (not light)
    • 2 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 ½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste
    • ½ teaspoon turmeric
    • Squeeze of lime juice to taste
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat. When it’s hot add the onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the garlic, chopped cauliflower, lemongrass, fresh ginger, cilantro and vegetable broth. Let the veggies and broth simmer on low for about 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.
  • Next, stir in the coconut milk, Thai red curry paste and turmeric. Bring it back to a simmer. Let the soup simmer on low for another 5-10 minutes to bring all the flavors together.
  • With an immersion blender, blend the soup to a puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the soup to a blender or vitamix and puree. Then pour the soup back into the pot. If the soup feels too thick, add another ¼ cup veggie broth until you feel you have the right consistency.
  • Season with salt and pepper and then add a squeeze or two of lime juice to taste.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions or fresh cilantro.
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    Halibut Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Seafood Shrimp

    Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

    Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

    The day has arrived!  VRAI Magazine has launched!

    I feel honored to have been asked to be a VRAI Magazine Food Contributor and beyond delighted to be a part of this spectacular team of professionals.  VRAI Magazine is a lifestyle magazine reinvented for true living. “Real bloggers, true stories, genuine conversations”.

    Along with other fantastic articles, DIY projects, travel and fashion, you can find my newest recipe, Brazilian Fish Stew, also known as Moqueca, at VRAI Magazine.

    Moqueca is a traditional seafood soup from Brazil.  Every Brazilian family has their own special recipe for this dish, as does every chef who creates it.  Typically, Moqueca is a slow cooked seafood soup.  However, I’ve created a lovely simple and quick version that is big in flavor but doesn’t take a lot of time.  So simple, I sometimes prepare this stew on a weeknight, skipping the shrimp and just adding in the white fish.

    This light and enchanting spring soup is perfect for the season.  A base of coconut milk and seafood stock – it boasts huge flavor.  A lovely addition to your spring menu rotation.

    Click HERE to download the recipe and all the other fantastic articles and recipes at VRAI Magazine.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!



    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Soup vegetarian

    Spicy Black Bean Soup with Lime Crema and Avocado

    spicy black bean soup with lime crema and avocado

    I have selected two words for 2014.  I think I’m only supposed to choose one but I couldn’t make a decision between these two words.

    Maybe my new word for the year should be decisive.

    Someone once told me I had a talent for connecting.  Ok, never thought I’d hear that described as one of my talents.  But I’ll take it.

    A bright young professional, a former business acquaintance, visionary; someone that waltzed through my life but for a season.  Although much younger and less life experience, this astute and intuitive young professional was correct.  Without ever paying attention to that little habit of mine, I realized, I like to connect people.  Of course, if it’s a love connection I’m even more delighted.  But I don’t think I’ll be changing my career path to match maker anytime soon.

    Shortly after that thought provoking moment, one of my dearest friends told me her Mom once said “one of the most important things in life is our relationships”.  That too struck me and I’ve never forgotten. (Thank you Kristen… and Lola)

    My friends Mom was correct. Relationships, connections, for a lifetime or for a season, help shape us, make us who we are and who were meant to be;  often helping us and others find a solid path.

    A New Year's Weekend at the Beach

    So, I started this year thinking my word for 2014 would be connect.  However, I’m also quite fond of the word listen.  If I hadn’t been listening I would never have “heard” both my business acquaintance or my friend.  Two words that allowed me to pause and reflect, and then proceed with open ears and an open heart.

    I admit, it’s not always easy to actively listen. I have so much swimming around in my head most of the time.  I’d like to tell you I often contemplate super cool subjects like why stars split or why some years we have La Nina or El Nino. And, although the weather and astronomy interest me, my head is usually swimming with a list of seasonal ingredients and how I might pull them deliciously together in a new recipe.  Among other things of course, like being a Mom.

    And how will I segue into this lush little recipe?  Well… I’ve been listening to my readers and I’m now connecting you with this delightful, seasonal and delicious recipe that simmers warm and cozy for the winter months. (apparently, I also like adjectives)

    It’s a new year with new recipes and hopefully a few new food projects. I love hearing from my readers.  If you have recipe ideas or questions, meal ideas or meal idea questions feel free to email me at  I’ll answer as quickly as I can.  I promise I will listen and hopefully connect you with the information you need.

    Loads of Love and Delicious Wishes,


    Spicy Black Bean Soup with Lime Crema and Avocado

    I know the ingredient list looks long.  But I promise you’ll probably have most the ingredients on hand and I’ve broken down the ingredient list in order of use.  Sectioning ingredients always helps me when I’m preparing a new recipe.  So I thought it might be helpful for you as well.  Enjoy!!

    Serves 4-6


    The Veggies:

    Tablespoon or two of olive oil

    1 white onion, diced

    2 cloves garlic, finely diced

    1 poblano pepper, roasted, skinned, seeded and diced

    The Spices:

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    ½ teaspoon ground coriander

    ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

    ¼ – ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

    The Base of the Soup:

    1 14 ounce can organic diced tomatoes with juice

    4 cups vegetable broth

    6-8 cups cooked black beans OR 4 14 ounce cans organic black beans

    Salt and pepper to taste

    1 lime, squeezed

    The Garnish:

    1 lime sliced

    Sliced green onions

    Hand torn cilantro

    Sliced avocado

    ½ cup sour cream mixed with a squeeze of lime juice


    Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add the oil.  When the oil is hot add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent.  Then stir in the garlic and roasted poblano pepper and stir for a minute longer.

    Next stir in all the spices, the tomatoes, vegetable broth and *black beans *reserving  two cups or 1 can of black beans. This is a semi pureed soup.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Let the soup simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.  Add a squeeze or two of lime juice, about a tablespoon, and then take it off the heat.  Puree the soup with either a hand blender or carefully transfer the soup in batches to a vitamix or blender and puree.

    Add the soup back to the soup pot and stir in the last two cups of black beans or last can of black beans.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and extra lime juice if needed.

    Serve the soup in small bowls and garnish with sliced green onions, torn cilantro leaves, sliced avocado, a slice of lime and dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

    Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Soup vegetarian

    Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

    Butternut squash soup with apple and coconut milk

    Butternut Squash, Apple and Coconut Soup

    I never met a squash I didn’t like.  Roasted, steamed, grilled, sautéed, battered and fried, pureed for tarts and desserts and of course soups.  Paired with additional Autumn ingredients, butternut squash is a lush and mouthwatering seasonal produce that’s not only good for the soul, but good for the body.

    Ok, I could totally go nerdy here.  I LOVE (can you hear me singing that word?) sharing the health benefits of whole foods.  However, for the sake of time, my time – as I’m supposed to be in my car picking up my teenager at this very moment – I’ll keep the nerdy stuff to a minimum.

    Low in fat, heart healthy, significant amounts of potassium, vitamin B6 and folate.  Not too mention it’s beautiful rich and orange hue signifies it’s abundance of carotenoids and beta carotenes.  All of which keep the heart, eyes and immune system healthy.  It’s also been known to help decrease inflammation caused by arthritis and asthma.  Phew!

    There is no doubt butternut squash is a power food.  A power food with a velvet and creamy texture when cooked and can be prepared sweet or savory.

    butternut squash soup

    Butternut Squash, Apple and Coconut Soup

    I adore this soup. It’s like a warm hug in a bowl.  Combined with the sweet tart of the Autumn apple and tropical flavor of coconut milk, this soup is a staple in my frig during the holidays and winter months. Easy to prepare and stays in the frig for up to 5 days.   Make an extra batch to freeze in small bowls for after school snacks or a light lunch.  It also makes an excellent holiday party starter, served in small pretty bowls.

    I like to pair the soup with my favorite grilled Irish cheddar on cinnamon raisin bread.  Lovely flavors that compliment the rich and creamy butternut squash soup.  When I serve this to the Bennett Crew for dinner, I include roasted green beans or broccoli or a spinach salad to round out the meal.   Perfecto! (yes, I still believe I’m in Italy)

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,


    Butternut Squash, Apple and Coconut Soup

    All the ingredients can be adjusted to taste and preference.  I’ve given approximates, but feel free to add a little more of this or a little less of that to create a soup to your family’s tastes.

    Serves 6 for a dinner meal or 12 for a party starter


    1 medium to large butternut squash

    1 medium shallot, finely diced (about 2-3 tablespoons)

    1 medium to large apple, peeled and diced

    2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger (or more to taste at end of cooking)

    2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil

    Olive oil

    1 – 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (whole coconut milk in a can.  I prefer Thai Kitchen Organic)

    2-3 cups vegetable broth (or more if needed)

    Pinch of cinnamon (or as an option, pinch of curry spice)

    Salt and Pepper to taste

    Serve with Grilled Irish Cheddar on Cinnamon Raisin Bread


    Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice the stem section off the squash first and then slice the butternut squash in half vertically – lengthwise (very carefully).  Scoop out the seeds.

    Brush the cut sides of the squash with a little olive oil. Lay the squash halves cut side down in a glass baking dish and add a little water to the pan.   Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and skins are golden brown and toasty.  Remove from the oven and  when the squash has cooled, remove the meat of the squash and place it in a medium mixing bowl, mashing it as much as possible.  Set aside.

    In a large soup pot over medium heat add the butter or coconut oil.  When the butter/oil is melted and hot, but not smoking, add the shallot and diced apple.  Sauté until the shallot is translucent and the apple is starting to soften.

    Next, stir in the mashed butternut squash, pinch of cinnamon, coconut milk and veggie broth (start with 2 cups and add more as needed).  Heath through and bring to a very slow simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    With an emulsion blender, or in your vitamix, carefully puree the soup. It will be very hot.  Continue to adjust seasoning and liquid to your tastes.

    Allow the soup to slowly simmer covered for about 15 minutes.  Watch the soup as you don’t want it to burn.  Turn off the heat and let the soup sit stove top for another 15 minutes.

    This soup intensifies in flavor the longer it sits.  If serving for dinner I’d prepare it as early as possible so the flavors have time to develop and meld together.  Better yet, prepare the soup a day before and re-heat stove top for the evening meal.

    The soup will hold in the frig for about 5 days.  However, if you have leftovers, freeze after 3 days.  The soup will hold in the freezer for about 3 months.






    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Sassy Side dishes Soup vegetarian

    Asparagus and Leek Soup with Crispy Mushroom Gremolata

    Asparagus Leek Soup

    Asparagus Leek Soup with Crispy Mushroom Gremolata

    It’s been a beautiful few days here in the Pacific Northwest.  Unusually warm spring weather brought everyone outdoors, with barbecues grills heavily in use.  It’s just a little exciting when one can grill outside without donning the rain gear.

    In addition to grilling all weekend, I made a big bowl of my Mother in Law’s Macaroni Salad, the Bennett Crew’s favorite.  Along with a dish of my brother’s famous salsa.  Bought three huge jar’s of Woodstock organic pickles (I love chilled pickles on a hot day) and I brought out the pretty glass pitcher for my sweet tea.

    Although we enjoyed our warm and sunny weekend, my chicken gals didn’t enjoy it quite as much.  The hen-house and chicken yard is nicely shaded but that didn’t keep my chicken gals from digging holes everywhere.

    I found Cocoa (my friendliest and bossiest chicken gal) in a hole so deep, all I saw was her head.  It startled me and for a split second; I thought my chicken gal was ill.  Thankfully she popped out of her dirt hole, excited and clucking when she saw me approach the chicken yard.  I’m sure she knew I was bringing freshly dug worms, leftover kale and chard for afternoon treats.

    I can happily say the Bennett Crew did not get freshly dug worms, leftover kale or chard for their afternoon treat.  Nope, much to their delight, they were served Asparagus and Leek Soup with Crispy Mushroom Gremolata.  A flavorsome soup, rich with the flavor of spring asparagus and leeks.

    Although it was warm outside, I served the soup room temperature and it was perfectly delicious.  It’s also delicious served warm, for those cool spring evenings sure to return.

    Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!


    Asparagus and Leek Soup with Crispy Mushroom Gremolata

    Serves 2

    Can easily be doubled


    1 lb asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces

    1 ½ cups chopped leek, white and pale green parts only

    1 clove garlic, lightly chopped

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    1 ½ cups vegetable broth (for a thinner soup, add additional broth at the end of preparation)

    ½ pint heavy cream

    ½ teaspoon herbs de Provence, crushed between fingers as you’re adding it to the soup

    Squeeze of lemon

    Salt and pepper to taste

    For the Gremolata

    ¼ cup thinly sliced mixed mushrooms (I used chanterelle, cremini and shitake)

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

    ½ teaspoon lemon zest

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter


    Heat the butter in a medium saucepan or small pot over medium heat and add the leeks and garlic.  Sauté until the leeks are soft and somewhat golden.

    Add the asparagus and the vegetable broth and simmer covered for about 10-15 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.  Puree ¾ of the vegetable mixture in a blender, vitamix or food processor until smooth.  If you want a completely smooth soup go ahead and blend all the vegetables.

    Add the puree back to the pot and then stir in the herbs de Provence crushing it between your fingers as you add it.  Then stir in the heavy cream and just a squeeze of lemon.  Heat the soup on low, without bringing it to a boil or simmer, and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Take the soup off the heat and let it sit covered while you prepare the Gremolata.

    In a sauté pan heat the butter and when it’s hot and frothy add the mushrooms.  Let them “toast” in the butter and once they are soft and slightly toasty take the pan off the heat and gently toss with the parsley and lemon.

    Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the Mushroom Gremolata.  Serve immediately.

    This soup is lovely served room temperature during the summer months.  Pair with a crisp, dry white wine.

    Appetizers Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes Soup vegetarian

    Kabocha Squash Soup

    Kabocha Squash Soup

    I have a brother.  I also have a twin sister, who I completely adore, but this particular post is about my  brother… and Kabocha Squash.

    Yep, my baby brother.  My “Bro” as my sister and I love to call him.  Youngest of three, six feet of handsome, über intelligent and the best brother a gal could have.

    Kabocha Squash Soup

    Kabocha Squash Soup

    My brother, Cameron, married the most beautiful Colombian gal, Paula, and they have the most darling of children, my niece and nephew.  Talk about love.  Those two little ones stole my heart the minute they were born.

    Can you tell I’m completely in love with my family? I know, lots of gush in this post.  But I can’t help it.

    My brother, the hiker and kayaker

    My Brother and his family live in Japan.  Work took them to Japan, but it’s now home.  I can hear it in my Brother’s voice, the way he passionately talks about the food, culture, the new friends and all the adventure to be discovered in a foreign land.

    Of course the food is always a highlight of our Skype conversations. 🙂  If my brother wasn’t a genius academic, he’d probably be a chef.  When we get together for family reunions, it’s full on hanging out in the kitchen preparing all kinds of delicious food, lots of new wine to sip, a few fave cocktails and of course, always lots of laughter.

    My sister, my brother and me 🙂

    Cam and I try to chat often and last time we chatted he mentioned dinner at a friend’s home.  He talked about the most amazing Kabocha squash soup.  Simple, sweet, creamy and just a little bit decadent, with a hint of spice.  Perfect for an Autumn evening.

    That conversation got my culinary wheels spinning and I just had to make this soup.  I often roast Kabocha squash and sometimes use it in place of pumpkin if I can’t find a good sugar pie pumpkin.  But I’ve not made Kabocha Squash soup.  Until today.

    Like the butternut squash, Kabocha squash is slightly sweet and feels a bit like sweet potato in texture.  Spices such as cinnamon, five spice powder or a curry blend, beautifully compliment the subtle honeyed flavor.

    If you can’t find Kabocha in your local market, many Japanese substitute with Kuri pumpkin or Sugar Pie Pumpkin.

    I wish you all a most delicious week and leave you with an old Japanese Proverb“One kind word can warm three winter months.” 

    Loads of Love,


    Kabocha Squash Soup

    Adapted by a recipe from Kaori Sakakibara

    Deepest thanks to my brother’s friend, Kaori Sakakibara, for sharing her recipe.


    Serves 4


    1 Kabocha squash (should yield about 1 ¾ – 2 cups cooked squash)

    ¼ cup heavy cream

    2 cups veggie broth

    Pinch or two of cinnamon (to taste, about ½ teaspoon)

    Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    Optional: 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger


    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

    I roast Kabocha squash the same way I roast butternut and pumpkin.

    Slice the stem section off the squash first and then slice the squash in half (very carefully).  Scoop out the seeds.

    Brush the cut sides of the squash with a little oil. Lay the squash halves cut side down in a glass baking dish and add a little water to the pan.   Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender and skins are golden brown and toasty.

    Once the squash has cooled, scoop out the pulp and place it in a blender, food processor or vitamix and puree.

    Add the tablespoon of butter to a medium soup pot over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted, whisk in the squash puree with the heavy cream and veggie broth.

    Heat to a light simmer, adding additional veggie broth if you’d like a thinner soup.

    Whisk in the cinnamon (and fresh ginger if using) and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

    Keep the soup warm for about 10-15 minutes to allow all the delicious flavors to develop.  Serve warm as a first course or as a light dinner with a fresh salad of winter greens.

    Chicken Karista's Kitchen Soup vegetarian


    Mulligatawny Soup from Karista's Kitchen

    Every morning I find myself sitting on the kitchen floor in front of my baby chick’s crate, coffee cup in hand, chatting and playing with my four fuzzy little gals. This morning was no different.

    I heard Ranger Craig walk up the stairs to the kitchen and out of the corner of my eye, I caught a  slight smile forming around his mouth.  He tells me I need a farm.  I tell him I’ve known this for years. 🙂

    My oldest gal suggested we get a pig.  Not a “raise it for ham” sort of pig, but a “play with the cute little piggy” pig.  That’s out of the question… but did mention I’d love a goat?

    Mulligatawny Soup from Karista's Kitchen

    Mulligatawny Soup

    My new friend and local blogger Wendy, over at Chez Chloe , recommends two Nigerian Dwarf Goats.  I agree!  I have a Washington cold rain forest jungle behind my house.  I’ve often thought a few goats might take care of that jungle for me.  And fresh goats milk for cheese sounds delightful.

    If you’re my neighbor and you’re reading this, never fear.  I won’t be getting goats any time soon.  Mostly because my two sassy (human) gals would probably sneak them into the house.  That would not be good.

    Until then, I’m completely happy sitting on the kitchen floor… talking to my baby chickens.


    This is a soup with many variations.  A tumeric laced soup with huge flavor and usually includes beef, chicken or lamb.  My version of Mulligatawny is filled with all the wonderful flavors of Autumn.

    Apples, sweet potatoes and the lovely Indian blend of spices, Garam Masala.  Instead of rice, I’ve used wheat berries.  I adore Jovial Foods Einkorn Wheat Berries, nutty, with a little hint of sweetness, these wheat berries make a delicious substitute for rice.

    Serves 4-6  can easily be doubled


    2  teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

    1  tablespoon Garam Masala or:

    2  teaspoons ground coriander

    1 teaspoon ground turmeric

    ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

    ¼  teaspoon ground nutmeg

    Pinch of ground cloves

    3 garlic cloves, minced

    1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger

    1 tablespoon butter

    1 onion, diced

    1 carrot diced

    4-6 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth for vegetarian version)

    3 tablespoons tomato paste

    1-2  teaspoons Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chile Paste (or a teaspoon of hot sauce)

    1 apple peeled and diced

    1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

    2 cups diced cooked chicken (optional)

    2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

    1-2 cups cooked wheat berries

    Salt to taste


    Mix together the black pepper and Garam Masala.  If using the individual spices, mix together the spices and black pepper and set aside.

    Heat the butter over medium heat in the bottom of a soup pot and then add the onion and carrots.  When the veggies have softened and wilted add the garlic, ginger and spice mixture, stirring for about one minute.

    Then slowly mix in the chicken broth.  Stir in the tomato paste, roasted red chile paste, apples and sweet potatoes.  Let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft.

    Add the diced cooked chicken and cooked wheat berries.  Taste for seasoning adding salt as needed.  If you feel the soup needs a “lift” in flavor, add a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar.  The longer this soup sits the better it will taste.

    An excellent soup for freezing.

    Additional add ins:  Diced parsnips, diced turnips, or winter greens.