Pantry Items to Keep on Hand for Entertaining


This time of year, guest are in and out, and not always for a meal. I love hosting friends and family to come by, snack, have tea or coffee, and chat, so I always have a few things in my pantry that I can whip up in a few minutes to make my guests feel special. 



For mid-meal snacks to be served alongside tea and coffee, I love Italian Amaretti cookies because they are usually gluten free (most options) and have a long shelf life. They are slightly sweet, but won't overpower full on flavors like chai tea or flavored coffee. Amaretti cookies also usually come in a tin, wrapped like candies in paper, and it makes for a playful little treat to unwrap and share with guests. 

In addition to these little cookies, I also keep a few types of good quality chocolate, a bit of coconut cream, raspberry jam, a sleeve of thin ginger cookies, mini pannettone, and dried apricots and cherries in my pantry as well, so I can arrange small plates with little effort. Think: coconut cream with fresh berries (if you have them), jam on toast sprinkled with cinnamon, and dried fruits with nuts or whipped into a go-to muffin recipe



Savory snacks work well with everything from San Pellegrino to a local IPA or bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Truffled cocktail nuts, pretzels, sweet potato chips, and crackers are perfect compliments to a cold beverage, and we especially love pistachios because of their salty flavor and snappy shells. 

Remember also that olives, crackers, and a simple artichoke dip can go a long way! I mixed a can of artichoke hearts, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, pinch of salt, and handful of fresh parsley into my food processor, and after a few minutes had super fresh, tangy artichoke dip. 

Pair the artichoke dip with Peruvian oil-cured olives, seed crackers, a jar of harissa (I like the Mina brand), some charcuterie (my go-to brand lately is LaQuercia), and chopped fresh veggies for a full spread. 

And as you know, if you've watched as much Food Network as I have, the presentation is just as enticing as the snacks; make use of smaller plates, layer tea towels or cloth napkins over a tray, and put tiny cocktail spoons and forks around for serving. Have a wonderful time! 


Nicole M. Caruso

I was born in Manhattan to two native New Yorkers who met working in the Garment Industry. Fashion was the family business. Suburban Connecticut is where I grew up and often daydreamed about someday attending New York Fashion Week.

When I was in college studying Communication & Media, I met the man of my dreams. We married nearly one year after our first date, and have been adventuring together ever since. While we moved around the country for his job, I freelanced as a makeup artist, worked in retail, and blogged about style & beauty as a creative outlet. 

Moving back to New York led to serendipitously working for two major fashion houses, where I learned the ins and outs of the industry, and attended Fashion Week both backstage and in the tents. Soon after, Verily Magazine brought me on as Beauty Editor, which was my dream job. It combined all of my passions and hobbies into one, and granted me a deeper understanding of print and digital media. One year after that, I had my daughter and experienced true fulfillment in motherhood. 

Everywhere I have traveled, I have met incredible women who inspired me to be the best version of myself; to wake up every day feeling confident and ready to Carpe Diem. I want to inspire women to explore their feminine genius by investing in their self-worth. This lifestyle blog is the place where I can share my worldview, my experiences, and my tips and tricks to live a more fulfilling life, which include expert style and beauty advice, tips for healthy living, and reflections on marriage and motherhood.