NYC kitchen with gray cabinets and gray wooden floors with a wooden butchers block in the center of the kitchen that holds branches and leaves.

The Kitchen

The kitchen has become my solace, a soothing place for me to express myself and feel safe in my own skin. For three decades of my life, the kitchen was a place of terror and fear riddled by loops of anxiety and depression, the inability to trust myself and feel worthy of my creative gifts. Yet, now this room is at the heart of who I am. It has helped me build my sense of self and guided me into believing in myself through the creative act of cooking and preparing beautiful meals.

I’ve desperately tried to settle into the handful of Manhattan kitchens I’ve inhabited on this island, yet this is the one that has helped me embrace the kitchen as a safe place for me to land.

Once a fragile room to enter, lined with medical equipment and boxes of supplements is now a warm space at the heart of my home filled with beautiful fabrics, hand-thrown pottery and fresh greens and branches from nature. It has surprisingly become my entry point for conscious living and embracing the tiny pleasures of life.

Never before has it been more clear to me how the energy of my home impacts how I think and feel. For me, it all begins in my kitchen and as I look around this room I can’t help but see how it’s a reflection of the healthy, creative woman I’ve become.

Here, I’m sharing what you’d find on any given day inside my sun-drenched Manhattan kitchen from what I’ve stocked in my fridge and pantry to the elements I’ve used to create a cozy healing abode for myself amongst the fast pace of the city.

I first fell in love with this loft as soon as I opened the door two and a half years ago. As I opened the door to enter, the kitchen was right in front of me staring back at me. I remember thinking to myself, “This is it. This is my new home – the home that will help me fully heal and start truly living.” What I love most about this home is the high ceilings and the golden light that floods in every morning drenching my apartment with a beautiful glow that seems to dance along the towering white walls.

Since this home is a loft, meaning there are no doors from room to room, it’s been important for me to create an ambiance that is warm and cozy – something that flows from room to room and the kitchen is no different than any other room. I’ve brought in pieces of my life and small objects that allow my kitchen to flow with the rest of my home.

The coziness of my kitchen is created through a few key elements I love.

  • Dimmed lighting, which softens the ambiance of my home and helps me relax.
  • Soft music playing on a small speaker on the floor at the edge of my kitchen (I use Sonos).
  • Fresh greens I buy from the bodega down the street and place in an old glass jar. These greens last about 4-6 weeks in a large glass jar with water. They’re about $7 for one bundle of a few leafy branches so I often buy a few bundles to fill out my kitchen with a touch of nature.
  • Fresh branches I buy at the Flower District here in NYC and store in a large vase or bottle (no water is needed for these – they last forever). You can use a large glass jar or vessel or terracotta planters to display the branches. You can also use plants if you prefer. If you aren’t in NYC, you can find many tall branches online.
  • A small antique gold mirror and tiny lamp with a gold lampshade line my countertop, two items I found in my aunt’s basement many years ago and have traveled with me from home to home, along with a few other items such as a small marble bowl filled with my favorite sea salt, a tiny white ceramic coaster with a little rip that holds my favorite pepper: Aleppo pepper, a sage bundle for when I’m in need of clearing the energy of my home, and a few crystals that keep me calm and centered.

When it comes to cooking, I love simple. Simple ingredients. Simple techniques. Simple, simple, simple.

There really are only two staples that I have on hand at all times because so much flavor can be created from just these two gems. For my recipes, I suggest having the following on hand before you dive in and start cooking.

Pantry Staples

There are a few odds and ends I really love having on hand. If my hands get dry from washing dishes, you’ll see what I love to use to keep my skin soft. I filter my tap water with the filter listed below to remove fluoride and chemicals etc. (you can read further about removing the chemicals in our lives in my first cookbook, Eating Clean). And lastly, my aunt piqued my interest when I was a child because she always used cloth napkins – I remember being in awe of how we didn’t have to throw them away. I use a few cotton and linen varieties but all that’s needed is to toss them into the washing machine and they’re clean – no waste!

Kitchen Odds + Ends

I always have leftovers and I often store many of the recipes I create each week in my freezer when I can’t possibly eat everything in a few days. Here’s what I love to use to keep my leftovers fresh in my fridge and freezer.

Glass Jars for Leftovers

And last but certainly not least, the basic equipment I use for my recipes is as follows. You don’t need to run out and buy all of this right now but it makes a world of a difference to have a few quality pieces that will last a lifetime.

Fridge

Countertop

Baking

Cooking

Kitchen Cleaning

Other

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