Santa Maria Novella Pot Pourri!

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Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella

Santa Maria Novella

Once you’ve been enveloped by the magic scent of Santa Maria Novella’s pot pourri, you’ll understand why generations since the 1600′s are captivated followers that flock to Florence to stock up. Scrupulously handmade using ancient methods, this incredibly long-lasting, beautifully fragrant potpourri is a full-bodied blend of herbs and flowers (a secret formula), all grown without pesticides in the Florentine hills exclusively for Santa Maria Novella. Each batch is collected by hand, then soaked in essence in enormous, centuries-old earthenware jars, sealed with wax, then aged for several months, and carefully packaged as it has been for centuries. Use a needle or safety pin to poke small holes in bag, or, for best results, remove from bag and place in small bowl. Fluff with fingers occasionally to release scent. Freshens closets, bathrooms, automobiles, boats. Lasts 9 to 12 months. Repels moths and insects. No synthetic fragrances. All ingredients 100% organic and pesticide free.
(TIP:  Put some in your closets!)

Kitchen Tip: Peeling Ginger

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Simply take a spoon and firmly scrape with edge of spoon along the  skin of  the ginger root. Voila!

Now, that wasn’t so hard!

Kitchen Tip:  Peeling Ginger Root

Kitchen Tip: Peeling Ginger Root



Deer Mount & Funky Plates

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I love taxidermy!  I was fiddling around with ideas on how to create a fresh new perspective of taxidermy at the farmhouse.  It then struck me!  I had been collecting some funky cool plates, including some up cycled vintage china plates by artist Angela Rossi that I purchased on  I basically created a circle of plates around the deer mount and bam!  You can use any old china plates from tags sales.

Deer Mount With Plates

Deer Mount With Plates


Snake Lady Plate: Angela Rossi

Snake Lady Plate: Angela Rossi

Monkey Man Plate: Angela Rossi
Monkey Man Plate: Angela Rossi



Le Labo: Santal 33

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I was in Los Angeles and my friend Kevin was wearing this scent.  I finally buckled and asked “WHAT IS THAT COLOGNE YOU ARE WEARING?!”  ”It’s Santal 33 and it’s made by this place called Le Labo” he chuckled back at me .   Well, low and behold, the Le Labo store is only a few blocks from us in Soho and I never noticed it!  When we returned  back to NYC I hustled over there and nabbed me a bottle.  This stuff is amaze balls and it will last a long time as it comes in a perfumed oil with a dropper.    It’s a woody aromatic fragrance for BOTH

Le Labo: SANTAL 33

Le Labo: SANTAL 33

women and men. Features sandalwood, virginia cedar, cardamom, violet, papyrus, spices, leather, musk and amber.  You can Santal 33 perfume oil at Le Labo.

Party Recipes Sides

Sweet and Spicy Wings

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Pork Rind, Nutella & Sriracha Chicken Wings

*This recipe was developed out of a 3 ingredient challenge where I had to create a dish using Pork Rinds, Chicken Wings and Nutella.  Here you go!


12 large chicken wings

2 cup crushed pork rinds

½ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup Nutella

4 Tbs Sriracha or 6 Tbs of hot sauce

1 Tbs garlic powder

1 Tbs red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste



1. Crush pork rinds and set aside (tip: pulse in food processor).

2. In separate bowl, pat wings dry with paper towel.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. Over low heat, melt Nutella and remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients and thoroughly mix.

4.  Add sauce and thoroughly glaze wings.

5.  Dredge wings in pork rind crumbs and place on parchment covered cookie sheet.

6. Place in 400 degree oven for approximately 24-30 minutes.

7.  Sprinkly red pepper flakes evenly over wings and serve with your favorite dipping sauce or eat as is!

* I like a lot of kick on my wings so I pour more Sriracha or hot sauce over the finished wings.  It make for an even better presentation as well!

*** You can find Sriracha in almost any grocery store in the ethnic/asian section.  It’s inexpensive and really good on so many things!


Recipes Sweeties

Farmhouse Kitchen Sink Cookies

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I always get asked to bake these cookies for get togethers.  Finally, I’ve broken down.  Here ya go…share it with the world.



Farmhouse Kitchen Sink Cookies

Farmhouse Kitchen Sink Cookies


Farmhouse Kitchen Sink Cookies


1 cup unsalted butter @ room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2⁄3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar

2 tbs corn syrup

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1⁄3 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup bitter-sweet chocolate (chips or chopped)

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

½ cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup coarsely chopped graham crackers

1⁄2 cup old-fashioned quick oats

2 1/2 tsp used coffee grounds

1 cup rippled potato chips

1 cup pretzel sticks

1 cup corn flakes

½ cup coarsely chopped unsalted pecans


1. Combine butter and sugars in mixing bowl and cream together. Add egg and vanilla, and beat for 10 minutes.

2. On low speed add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix only one minute.

3. Add chocolate, butterscotch chips, grahams, pecans, oats, and coffee and mix 20 seconds. Add corn flakes and pretzels and chips however  LIGHTLY MIX WITH HANDS so you don’t crush these nummy parts.

4. Form 2 inch balls with ice cream scoop and slightly flatten with bottom of a drinking glass dipped in water. Then add a few chips and pretzels atop of each cookie and  gently press into top of dough.  Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.  THIS STEP IS CRUCIAL. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!

5. Heat the oven to 350°.

6. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, place dough discs 3 inches apart and bake for approximately 17 minutes.  Cookie should have a darker edge and lighter center so the cookie with have both crunch and chew!

7. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheets.

Print here: Kitchen Sink Cookies

Recipes Sides

Toasted Quinoa and Avocado Salad

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Me and my friend  and chef Dafna Mizrahi accidentally charred some quinoa today and decided it tasted better than heaven!  Well, low and behold I think we’ve created a memorable salad that will make you a hands down STAR.  If you don’t like quinoa you can substitute Cous Cous.



Toasted Quinoa & Avocado Salad

Toasted Quinoa & Avocado Salad

Toasted Quinoa and Avocado Salad



2 cups toasted quinoa (see instruction )

1 ripe avocado diced

¼ cup diced red onion

¼ cup pine nuts

¼ cup olive oil

¼ apple cider vinegar

½ lemon juiced and seeded

½ tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste



Cook quinoa per instructions on packaging.  Heat oven to 500 degrees. Place cooked quinoa on parchment lined cookie sheet and spread evenly.  Place on center rack of oven and bake approximately 10 minutes or until dark and crispy. Remove and place in large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients, toss together and serve with your favorite protein or veggies.  I like it with my roasted Brussels sprouts.

*If you don’t like quinoa you can substitute Cous Cous

Recipes Sweeties

Cooper’s Christmas Crack!

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Christmas Crack

Cooper's Christmas Crack

Cooper’s Christmas Crack

Cooper’s Christmas Crack

“I broke a toe one Christmas after eating this stuff….sugar high gone bad”



2 sticks butter

1 c. brown sugar (packed)

36 saltine crackers

1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

1 1/2 c. toasted pecans, almonds, peanuts (or whatever nuts you prefer)


  1. Line cookie sheet with tin foil and lay out saltine crackers.
  2. Spray  surface of tin foil with cooking oil
  3. Heat butter and brown sugar to boiling; boil for 4-6 minutes until very creamy and bubbly.
  4. Pour butter and brown sugar mixture over crackers, spreading evenly. Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.
  5. Right after removing from oven, evenly spread chocolate chips over hot crackers with a spatula, creating a chocolate layer.
  6. Workly quickly, sprinkle with nuts.
  7. Refrigerate until hardened (1 hour) cool then break apart into bit sized pieces


Topping ideas:




Peppermint candy crushed







To Print Recipe Click Here: Cooper’s Christmas Crack


Lunch Sides

Cozy Black Bean Soup

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Cozy Black Bean Soup

Cozy Black Bean Soup

Cozy Black Bean Soup


  • 3 cups canned black beans (rinsed)
  • 6 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, chopped for garnish
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


Sautee onions and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil until translucent.  Add remaining ingredients. Simmer on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Garnish with chopped avocado and raw onion.

click here to print Cozy Black Bean Soup





Corn Succotash!

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Corn Succotash


2 cups frozen corn

1 cup frozen lima beans

1 medium red onion diced

½ cup white wine

3 cloves of garlic diced

3 scallions diced

10 Shitake mushrooms chopped (no stems!)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste



In a few tablespoons of olive oil, sautee onions until carmelized. Drizzle a little more olive oil over medium heat adding wine, garlic and cooking for 5 more minutes. Then add shitake mushrooms, corn, scallions and lima beans and cook until done. Salt and pepper to taste.


click here to print recipe Corn Succotash