Thanksgiving Baked Goods for Sale

It was snowing here yesterday – yes, actual snow flakes! Although it was too warm for the snow to stay, the flurries mean one thing is for sure, the seasons are changing and the holidays are just around the corner. With Thanksgiving just 10 days away it’s time to start thinking about your spread for the big day. Orders will be baked, packaged and ready for pick up on Wednesday November 22.  Please contact me to place your order today!

The Green Giraffe Thanksgiving Baked Goods for Sale

If you need something to munch on while you watch the parade in the morning, my cranberry orange sweet bread will hit the spot.  You’ll find delightful pieces of tart cranberries and delicious oranges in this dense sweet bread that is drizzled with a gorgeous cranberry orange glaze. This also makes a great addition to your dessert table spread.

Thanksgiving Baked Goods for Sale | thegreengiraffeeats.com

If you are looking for the ultimate pie to impress your guests then look no further! My homemade double crust pie is overflowing with 5 different fruits and is the perfect combination of both sweet and tart.

Thanksgiving Baked Goods for Sale | thegreengiraffeeats.com

And last, but not least my brandy pecan pie has it all – plenty of crunch from the addition of both whole and chopped pecans sitting in a syrupy sweet base that has Brandy mixed right in. That along with the slightly salty, buttery crust really makes a perfect bite of pie.

Thanksgiving Baked Goods for Sale | thegreengiraffeeats.com

 

Lemon Parsley Salmon for One

Salmon and asparagus are a pair made in culinary heaven. It is a classic combination that is tried and true and with this super simple recipe for one you can have it just about anytime your little heart desires!

Neither my husband nor kids are big fans of salmon – why I don’t know because I LOVE it.  So when I want it, I generally have to make a single serving, hence the recipe for one 😉 But you can easily multiple this recipe and make several servings.

Let’s get started with a time saving tip…

Storing Fresh Herbs:

Whenever I buy fresh herbs to use, I always chop up the extra and put it into ice cube trays and cover with olive oil. Once they’re frozen I just pop them out and store in labeled ziptop bags for use in other recipes.  This saves time and money and reduces food waste. Here is a picture of my parsley cubes – there is about 1 Tablespoon parsley and 1 Tablespoon of Olive oil in each cube; I use them in soups, sauces and on fish. For today’s salmon I will use 1 cube of fresh parsley.

Parsley Lemon Salmon for One | thegreengiraffeeats.com

To make my Lemon Parsley Salmon for One start with a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place a nice handful of fresh trimmed and washed asparagus (about 10-12 spears) onto the middle of the foil. Season asparagus with salt and pepper to taste. If you don’t love asparagus I would recommend you try fresh green beans or snap peas.

*Make sure to use heavy duty foil, regular foil isn’t sturdy enough.

Parsley Lemon Salmon for One | thegreengiraffeeats.com

Next place a 5 ounce piece of fresh salmon on top of the asparagus.  Then place an “ice cube” of parsley on top of the salmon.

Parsley Lemon Salmon for One | thegreengiraffeeats.com

Next season with salt and pepper to taste and squeeze the juice on 1/2 of a lemon over the salmon. If you don’t have a fresh lemon you can use 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.

Parsley Lemon Salmon for One | thegreengiraffeeats.com

Now fold the foil packet tightly to seal in all the moisture and flavor. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes. Since I always make one serving I just use my toaster oven! You could easily make more packets and bake in a larger oven.

Parsley Lemon Salmon for One | thegreengiraffeeats.com

After 20 minutes remove and carefully open your foil packet. It will be hot and steamy so make sure to be cautious. The asparagus will be tender and the salmon fully cooked with flavors of FRESH lemon and parsley; it will look like this.

Parsley Lemon Salmon for One | thegreengiraffeeats.com

Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with capers for an extra pop of flavor.

Parsley Lemon Salmon for One | thegreengiraffeeats.com

I hope you enjoy this super simple and healthy recipe. Until next time, happy cooking!

Lemon Parsley Salmon for One

Parsley Lemon Salmon for One | thegreengiraffeeats.com

  • Prep Time: 5m
  • Cook Time: 20m

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces fresh salmon
  • 12 asparagus spears
  • 1/2 lemon or 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Parsley ice cube (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon capers (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place asparagus onto a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. *Make sure to use heavy duty foil, regular foil isn't sturdy enough.
  2. Season asparagus with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Next place a 5 ounce piece of fresh salmon on top of the asparagus.
  4. Then place an "ice cube" of parsley on top of the salmon.
  5. Next season with salt and pepper to taste and squeeze the juice on 1/2 of a lemon over the salmon. If you don\'t have a fresh lemon you can use 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.
  6. Fold the foil packet tightly to seal in all the moisture and flavor. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes remove and carefully open your foil packet.
  8. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with capers for an extra pop of flavor.

How to Cut Up a Whole Watermelon

A few weeks ago, I was at my neighbors house for our weekly pizza dinner when I volunteered to cut up some watermelon to add to our spread. I got to it and looked up to see my friends looking quite perplexed at how I was cutting up the watermelon – they had never seen it done that way before.

The following week, I was at a MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) meeting and my table was chit chatting about food prep. Several ladies chimed in that cutting up large fruits, especially watermelon, can be intimidating and that they just end up buying it pre-cut at the grocery store. I told them that if they “peel” off the rind it is so much easier. One of my mom friends, Dana, encouraged me to take a video the next time I was cutting up a watermelon, and so I did! I apologize for any camera shakes – I’m still figuring out how to better stabilize my phone attachment on my tripod.

 

Meals To Go – Garden Fresh Minestrone

September is here, and although it’s not officially fall yet, I couldn’t help but take the pile of hoodies and yoga pants down from my closet shelf. My house is dotted with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes and Orchard Fresh Apple and Honey Pumpkin candles have been flickering away in the evening.  I love fall, it is, and always will be my favorite season.

I love waking up before anyone else, tip toeing downstairs and savoring that first cup of piping hot coffee on our deck in the morning. I’m reminded that it’s almost too cold to be barefoot as my feet squeak and slide on the dew covered deck boards. I sit for a rare moment in silence as my coffee mug billows with steam.

Fall is a time for harvest, for gathering, for sharing, and for cooking. Our little family garden has given us a bountiful crop and still has a lot left to give – my eggplants are finally coming in and we planted a late summer crop of turnips, I am hopeful they will be ready by mid October.

Last week, using some of my beautiful home grown vegetables, I made a delicious batch of my Garden Fresh Minestrone and portioned it for that week’s lunches. As usual I snapped a picture to put on my Facebook page. Some friends had asked me if I would ever consider selling my food, so I put it out there and asked if anyone would be interested in purchasing some – I was shocked and delighted when orders started to roll in.  And with that small leap of faith my Meals To Go business was born.

Here I am filling soup orders. You can thank my hubby for this candid photo 😉

Now they’re all portioned and ready for packaging…

And the final touches – green bags, of course, are filled with soup, reheating & storage instructions then sealed with my oh so adorable labels.  These orders are ready for pick up! If you are interested in FRESH delicious and convenient Meals To Go, please contact me or follow and like my page on Facebook to see what I will be cooking up next.

 

Three Knives Every Home Chef Needs

Is it time to replace your knives? If so, watch my video to learn what 3 knives every home chef needs to be successful in the kitchen.

My knives are made by Calphalon and come from the Contemporary collection. If you’d like your own set, here are the links to each of them! Happy cooking and happy cutting 😉

Chef Knife

Serrated Edge Knife (also called a Bread Knife)

Paring Knife

Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Buffalo wings (insert slurpy food sounds here). They’re spicy, they’re saucy and oh so messy – what a fun finger food to eat.  I will admit that if I get a craving for wings, I prefer to eat them at a restaurant – mainly because they’re a lot of work to make well and the fact that I don’t own a deep fryer – although I could MacGyver one from a large pot, that’s besides the point.

When wings sound good, but we’re just not up for going out to eat, I make my homemade buffalo sauce and we enjoy it on Buffalo Blue Chicken Salad or Buffalo Chicken Tacos, and it really hits the spot! What’s even better is that my sauce is super healthy, yep, really it is!  Many commercial wing sauces use refined fats as well as chemical thickeners to make the bottled sauces shelf stable and heavy enough to fully coat a chicken wing. I’m not bashing them, they do taste good, but if you’re trying to watch our waistlines and steer clear from extra fat and additives, you might want to give my twist on tradition a try.

I have been making this sauce for years now…fair warning it is HOT.  My husband, who adores spicy foods of all kinds, claims, “it’s not hot it just tastes really good.” His words not mine.  Most other friends and family who have tried it agree with me – it’s HOT, but in a really good I want more of that crazy tangy heat kind of a way.

So here we go…

Into a saucepan over medium high heat add a Tablespoon of canola oil, a large onion, a few chopped up garlic cloves and a good pinch of Kosher salt.

Buffalo Sauce | thegreengiraffeeats.com

Reduce heat to medium low and allow the onion to sweat out it’s natural juices slowly. You don’t want to brown the onions, if you see them turning brown your heat is too high. Make sure to stir the mixture every few minutes. After about 10 minute add in 5 red chili peppers seeds and all.

I grew these little beauties in my garden and love to use them when they’re available. However, in the off season I use dried chili de arbol which you can find online or in the Hispanic aisle of most supermarkets. If you use the dried chilis make sure to soak them in warm water for 20-30 minutes, drain and then add them to the onions.

Let the chilis cook with the onions for a few minutes and then add 12 oz. of cayenne pepper sauce and a couple of Tablespoons of distilled white vinegar. I use Frank’s Original Red Hot because I like the flavor and it has just 5 basic ingredients in it, all of which I can pronounce.

Cook this on medium heat for 10-15 minutes then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. It will cook down and reduce in volume and thicken up – all good things 😉

Next pour the mixture into the base of a blender or the mixing cup of your immersion blender (affiliate link). Blend until the sauce is smooth; you will notice it change from a darker russet color to a vibrant orange. This happens as the cooked onions are blended up thickening the sauce without adding butter.

Ta-da! You just made thick, fiery, and HEALTHY Buffalo Sauce from scratch! You can douse your wings all you want and feel guilt free.

This sauce will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen for up to 2 months.

It never lasts that long at my house – in fact, I use the entire recipe when I make Buffalo Chicken Tacos 😉  If you’re feeding a crowd simply shred 2 pounds of cooked chicken into your crock pot and pour the full 2 cups of sauce over the chicken, mix , set on low for an hour and your shredded buffalo chicken is ready to be made into tacos.  I like to use a Costco rotisserie Chicken because it is easy, already seasoned and usually yields about 2 pounds. Not a Costco member? No problem, you can use any shredded chicken.

We like to pile the saucy shredded chicken into warm tortillas, then top with my tangy sour cream sauce, crumbled blue cheese, homemade pickled red onions and a little shredded lettuce. Now dig in and keep the cold drinks coming!

Healthy Buffalo Sauce

Healthy Buffalo Sauce | thegreengiraffeeats.com

  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 30m
  • Serves: 12
  • Yield: 2 cups sauce
  • Category:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 5 red chili peppers or 5 dried chili de arbol
  • 12 ounces Franks Original Red Hot
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

Instructions

  1. Into a saucepan over medium high heat add 1 Tablespoon oil, 2 cups onions, 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and allow the onion to sweat out it\'s natural juices slowly.
  3. After about 10 minute add in 5 red chili peppers seeds and all. If fresh chilis aren\'t available use dried chili de arbol and make sure to soak them in warm water for 20-30 minutes, drain and then add them to the onions.
  4. Let the chilis cook with the onions for a few minutes and then add 12 oz. of Frank\'s Original Red Hot and 2 Tablespoons white vinegar.
  5. Cook this on medium heat for 10-15 minutes then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. Next pour the mixture into the base of a blender or the mixing cup of your immersion blender. Blend until the sauce is smooth.
  7. This sauce will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or can be frozen for up to 2 months.

 

Bake and Sip Class

I’m happy to announce that registration is now open for my next Bake and Sip Class on Wednesday, August 23. My last class was a huge success thanks to the many wonderful women who attended.  My kitchen was alive with girl talk, clinking glasses, belly laughs, and blossoming home bakers. Here is a great group shot of all of us.

Bake and Sip | thegreengiraffeeats.com

Bake and Sip | thegreengiraffeeats.com“Laura’s Bake & Sip Scone class was amazing!! I’d never made scones before, but she made it so easy. With detailed instructions and organized work stations, the ingredients came together quickly…and who can beat cooking with friends! Laura shared a wonderful family recipe for Cherry Almond Scones that I know will become a favorite with my family too. I highly recommend, and look forward to seeing what other classes Laura will offer in the future!”

-Sarah Walrack

“The Green Giraffe Eats has the best recipes and cooking classes. I have tried many recipes from her blog, sampled what she has cooked herself, and attended her scone class. Her class was so well thought out and fun for everyone attending I would highly recommend it to anyone considering it. Laura had every single detail perfect including setting up multiple work stations, pre measured ingredients, and samples. I can’t wait for her next class!”

– Taylor Fernandez

Bake and Sip | thegreengiraffeeats.com“Spending a night with my girlfriends learning to make scones was so much fun! And eating the scones the next morning – simply delicious!”

-Andrea Stewart

“I LOVED it and can’t wait for more classes!!!” -Brynn Kordik

Bake and Sip | thegreengiraffeeats.com

Make sure to secure your spot today! Register before August 13 and receive $5 off. Please contact me with any questions or register!

Cheers, Laura

 

 

Bake and Sip Cooking Classes

Over the past several years many of my friends have asked me to teach them how to cook, and have lovingly suggested I offer cooking classes. I had always been reluctant, thinking no one would sign up for these classes.  Well, fast forward to this summer when I decided to give it a try. I have been blown away by the level of interest and am excited to announce that my first Bake and Sip event is already full!

What is a Bake and Sip event, you may ask? It is just what it sounds like – a baking class and an opportunity for you and your friends to socialize, have a glass of wine and learn how to make something new.

If you are interested in my next class, please contact me and I will be sure to let you know when registration opens.

Remembering Summer

Hi, friends! I’m still here, but summer 2017 is kicking my butt, really it is. Well, I suppose I should say my legs, yes, summer is kicking my legs. You probably think I’m training for a marathon or perfecting my squat form or that I’m a new beach body coach – ha! When in reality, I am just clumsy and have fallen down several times – no joke! In fact, two weeks ago I bit it when I fell off of my parents dock and landed back first in the lake; I scraped up my left leg pretty badly. I’ll spare you the gruesome pictures, but we’ll just say I needed prescription pain meds and antibiotics.

Besides my big fall, I’ve just been busy with summer life – you know how it goes, the days are long and they fill up fast. We play hard; our clothes are stained with watermelon juice and lemonade; our fingers sticky from holding melting Popsicle sticks; our bodies become bronzed and we smell of aerosol sunscreen, camp fires, and lake water; we stay up later, listen to music a little louder and dance in our driveways.  It’s all so marvelously ordinary and maybe that’s why it’s getting to me.

Summer seems to be slipping away like sand in my hand. The tighter I squeeze it the more quickly it escapes my grasp. I worry that I won’t remember how my daughter says headfore when she means forehead and clothwash when she means washcloth, or the way my kids melt into my arms when they want to snuggle. I worry that I haven’t taken them on enough adventures, or enough trips to the pool and park, enough play dates and story times, or read them enough books, or taught them enough about God. I try to memorize their smiles, their eyes, their tiny little noses. I drink espresso to keep my eyes open, I don’t want to miss a single moment.

And the not missing anything is exhausting – the most emotionally taxing type of exhaustion I’ve ever experienced.  In all my efforts and good intentions to never miss a thing – it, ironically, feels like I accidentally slept in one morning and when I finally woke up my tiny humans had started to dress themselves and feed themselves and busy themselves.

Even though my husband and I taught them to do these things slowly, diligently, lovingly over many months, when I wake from my slumber I forget the vexing days that went into the teaching. You forget all the hard, long, exasperating hours.

It just SMACK hit me in the face that my babies are trying so hard to grow up and become adults, to be like mommy and daddy. And I want nothing more than to stop them, suspend the moments of their youth, freeze time, and let them be little for a little while longer.

I worry that they will never have enough of a childhood and that I simply cannot keep up with slowing them down in the face-paced world I brought them into.  I wonder who they would be if they grew up in a different place and a different time. I wonder what type of mom I would be if I was raising them in a different place and a different time. I wonder if they wouldn’t be in such rush to the destination of adulthood if the world moved a little slower. If calendars didn’t exist to fill up, and days didn’t need schedules and agendas and to do lists.

And when I worry all I can do is pray that I am getting it right. That when I choose love over hate and giving over taking and joy over sadness and adventure over certainty and humility over arrogance and patience over haste that my children are watching me and learning from me and wanting to be like me.  I pray that even on the hardest days I remember that I am who they want to become and that I have to be my very best self.

So, I will try to remember this summer, to slow it down, to savor it like a heady glass of Cabernet. I’ll swirl it around in my mind, painting a picture in my head. I’ll revel in the moments of my children’s youth.