Less than 20 days….

Yay! It’s Wednesday again, and Christmas is less than 20 days away. Still I can’t believe it is here already. Maybe it’s these warmer days we are having, starting out in gloves, jackets and hats and peeling those layers as the day goes on. This morning, I am actually in flip-flops. It should not be warm enough for flip-flops!

2017 has been a great year for The Green Kitchen and 2018 is looking even better. I have been blessed with far more career opportunities, reaffirming my decision to totally focus on making The Green Kitchen a raging success!

We have to be careful this time of year, though. We, as in those of us who think we HAVE to do it all, the decorating, the shopping, the cooking, the greeting cards. I too, am guilty of all this. I love being efficient with my time and when I have even a few extra minutes, I think “what can I get done”?

This can lead to careless mistakes. Like climbing up on the arm of a porch chair to “quickly” hang an ornament. And down I went. But did I attend to it then? Nope. No time, not to even sit and cry. I had to leave right away for work. Now 2 days later, I am about to have my leg X-rayed. The knot on my shin bone suggests a break.

I’ve said for years, how much of a “klutz” I am, constantly doing things like this. But I read somewhere a while back, that it’s not klutzy, it’s that we have so much on our minds, that we don’t take the time to be safe. And yes, I am very guilty.

So my message this holiday season is one I will try to practice myself and that is to slow down. We don’t have to do it all. No one is going to “unfriend” us if they don’t receive a Christmas card from us. Our world won’t come to a crashing halt if the house isn’t totally decorated.

Let’s all slow down and be a little easier on ourselves. Let’s enjoy time with our families.

And The Green Kitchen can help you enjoy that family time by handling your holiday cooking, even with just a dish or two. The homemade cranberry sauce, the dressing, the gravy – whatever dish you don’t want to fool with or are daunted by. Give us a call at 804-687-7099. Or email us at cheftammy@greenkitchenrichmond.com

Happy Holidays!

Hands That Love to Cook

Yay! It’s Wednesday again! We’ve just gotten through Thanksgiving and some of us are now focused on Christmas. Bah humbug some of you might say, and trust me when I say I’ve said that before too. There has been couple of years in my life when I didn’t put up a tree until Christmas Eve and then with only a single ornament. Our lives has just become so dang busy, it’s a wonder we get anything done at all some times.

Did you venture out last Black Friday? One year I went out before dark, along with the masses and found myself around Best Buy’s parking lot in the back at the farthest corner waiting in line, for just 1 item for my son. The blessing there was that I was first in line to check out. But I think it was the last time I went out on that crazy day of the year. Amazon has become my new BFF. Yours too, I bet.

While you are thinking about what to buy for your loved ones, let’s talk about the best gift-the gift of food. Food sustains and nourishes us. We not only want it, we must have it in order to survive. And we all want to be here a long time. So why not eat something delicious, and freshly prepared?

At The Green Kitchen, we offer all services related to food.
• Weekly prepared meals.
• Meals for special occasions, births, anniversaries.
• Health challenges from illnesses to operations.
• Cooking instruction.
• Catering.

We cater to our clients’ needs. No carbs? No problem. No pork? No problem. No gluten? No problem.

I’ll leave you with this: What business do you think profits the most in January? Gym memberships! And that’s when we all make New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier. Why not start the new year off with the help of The Green Kitchen? We’d love to help you with your goals of eating better. Reach out to us at cheftammy@greenkitchenrichmond.com or 804-687-7099

Remember, food prepared with hands that love to cook tastes better!

Happy Thanksgiving

Good Wednesday everyone and the day before we all stuff ourselves with fabulous food! Do any of us eat like that the rest of the year?

There are certain foods that only appear on my dinner table until the holidays. Fresh cranberry sauce is one such dish. I love it. And of course, the bird itself. I’ll eat turkey sandwiches throughout the year, but never do I think of having a whole bird any other time of the year.

And when does everyone eat? Growing up, we used to eat earlier in the day, which allows for a great nap and then “leftovers” for dinner later in the evening.

This year, I’ve been blessed with an invitation to have dinner elsewhere and I do not have to cook. While I love the idea of not cooking, I am filled with mixed emotions about it as well. I just love to cook. And not only that, I love leftovers, especially the carcass of the bird because I make a homemade smoked turkey stock and then a Thai Soup. I’m attaching the soup recipe below. I made it for a friend one year, who when she first heard about it, the look on her face said she wasn’t going to like it. Then, after she had it for lunch the next day, she called me to rave about it and now she gets a pint every year!

The recipe came to me from the Richmond Times-Dispatch many years ago and has become a yearly staple. I highly recommend you try it.

Before I post the recipe, I want to say how thankful I am. My fundraising dinner went well. I served a great dinner to 14 hungry diners, and a representative from FeedMore attended and was able to speak to their cause. I look forward to planning another one for next year. Hope to see you there.

I also want to say how thankful I am for my children, Caitlyn and Watson Fralin, pictured here. It has been wonderful watching these two grow into the great young adults they are. I love you both.

And last we hope you’ll keep The Green Kitchen in mind for any of your cooking needs. From weekly ready-made healthy meals to catering, we listen to our clients and “cater” to them specifically. Give us a try! You won’t be disappointed. cheftammy@greenkitchenrichmond.com or 804-687-7099.  And as promised, here’s that great recipe:

ThaiTurkeySoup

Winter is Coming

Good Wednesday everyone. On Facebook today, there was a contest to see who could correctly predict the first 1” of snow that Richmond will see. What? Snow? Already? Wasn’t I just in flips flops a couple of weeks ago?

Part of me is ready for winter. Ready to hibernate a bit. Or at least have a bowl of comfort in the form of a soup, stew or chili while in front of my fireplace. How about you?

I set aside some chores or tasks until I am forced by Mother Nature to stay indoors. This winter will be no different. I used to sew a lot years ago and would like to take that up again, maybe make a couple of pairs of chef pants. I love being crafty and used to do a lot more than I do now. But, of course, the cooking career I’ve taken up is pretty crafty too.

Another project is to finally put some old photos in albums. Yes, I know that’s old school, but they will be handed down to my children one day and while they love this current electronic age, I know they will get a kick out of seeing these pictures in albums.

But until that first snow hits, I will be spending time in the kitchen, as usual. This weekend is my FeedMore fundraising dinner here at my home, 5:00pm-9:00pm, Saturday, November 18. Tickets can still be purchased by 5:00pm Thursday, the 16th on Eventbrite. https://www.facebook.com/events/119439872080632/

The event will be an intimate gathering of some great folks. I realized after planning this event, I am “competing” with Barack Obama and the Richmond Forum. Can’t say I blame anyone for attending that!

But that is what life is, right? You roll with the punches, as is said. I will still be able to cook a great dinner and the folks attending are supporting a great cause – FeedMore.

And then it’s Thanksgiving next week, where we will all overdose on turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. Be sure to tune in to next week’s blog, as I plan to share a great recipe for leftover turkey! And if you need help with your own Thanksgiving feast, be sure to give The Green Kitchen a call, 804-687-7099, or email us at cheftammy@greenkitchenrichmond.com. We’d love to help you!

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is 2 weeks from tomorrow. Wow, where has this year gone? And what are you thankful for?

I am thankful every day for the day itself, my children, my home and pets, my friends and loved ones, and am also blessed to be doing something I love for work – feeding people!

Every chef knows the importance of food. Some of our careers are based on presenting the diner with a beautiful plate in a great setting of a restaurant. Mine is a tad different in that I provide weekly ready-made meals to clients. Clients who don’t have the time, but some of those clients are suffering from illnesses and disease.

But there are others who suffer in the great RVA, those who count on such organizations as FeedMore, the Central Virginia FoodBank and Meals on Wheels. These families count on such organizations to feed their own.

Did you know that Meals on Wheels has been delivering now for 50 years? Or did you know that through FeedMore’s BackPack program, kids go home with a backpack of food on Fridays to ensure they have food over the weekend? Be sure to check out their link for more information for such a great program. https://feedmore.org

Food is not only for a great presentation. We must have it to sustain life and nourishment.

And at this time of year, when our giving and generosity abounds, let us remember that there are many families who don’t have enough to eat any other time of the year either. When you see the food donation boxes in local businesses, I hope you’ll give. When you are purchasing your own groceries, may be grab and extra bag of non-perishables to drop off in those boxes.

And this chef is giving in her way as well. I’m hosting a chef dinner here at my home on Saturday, Nov. 18th from 5-9. Tickets are $60 and proceeds to benefit FeedMore. Come enjoy Smoked Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Onion Soubise, Vegetable Gratin, Winter Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette and Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake with a Caramel Drizzle. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite. https://www.facebook.com/events/119439872080632/

For more information, contact us at 804-687-7099 or
cheftammy@greenkitchenrichmond.com.

Reasons to be Thankful

This week brings yet more to be thankful for. But shouldn’t every day be like that?

I’ve just finished preparing 2 meals for a friend. This friend sadly lost one of her 21-year old children this weekend. And I can only imagine the pain she must feel.

Our children are born to us and we, as mothers, become very powerful, starting from first becoming pregnant. We grow that life inside us and when it’s time, they make their grand appearance to the rest of the world. Nothing truly prepares us for that moment.

We watch them grow, little clones like ourselves. Some times we know what the next words from their mouths will be. It truly is an incredible experience. I am thankful for mine and truly sad for my friend. I sit here, with her in mind, trying to decide what to write next. And I am nearly at a loss for words.

So I do what I do best and that is cook. Food isn’t just about the pleasure of taste. It is what sustains us. We must eat.

We celebrate with food. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and yes, death. If you grew up in the South, as I did, when one passes, you take the family food. A real southern tradition. It’s comforting to the ones who have lost loved ones, and it’s comforting to the one preparing the food. I have said for years that you can taste the love in someone’s food when they have enjoyed preparing it.

Fortunately for me, I have chosen such a career. One that brings me great satisfaction in knowing there are families out there nourishing their bodies with food I have lovingly prepared.

I will be delivering these meals soon, hoping my friend can taste that love.

The Green Kitchen is available to do the same for you, should the occasion arise. We can be reached at 804-687-7099 or cheftammy@greenkitchenrichmond.com.

Easing into Fall

Well, I am loving these temperatures. I’ve now turned the heat off and opened the windows. Will have to close them before turning in, but it was nice listening to that rain Monday night.

The changing of the season brings so much to mind. I’ve decorated for Halloween and will continue through Easter next year, and I love having my dining room and sitting room done up for all the holidays.

It also brings to mind changes in general. Where were you last fall? What a difference even a year can make. And my little white Chihuahua, Luna has been with me 2 years already. What a love she is. Her and her big brother, Little Bit are approximately 4 years old now. They had a tough beginning but I think they have enjoyed rescuing me.

And this is the beginning of the “giving season”. We should all remember how fortunate we are. Many in my circle are suffering in one form or another, so I do give thanks every day for how blessed I have been. My animals are just one example. Of course, my kids are as well. My daughter has relocated back to Richmond after being in 2 different states for 2+ years and it’s been great being able to see her so much more. And my son has been cooking with me since 2013 and is becoming quite an accomplished cook himself. He works very hard at all his jobs and I couldn’t be more proud.

And The Green Kitchen is happy to be sponsoring Give Thanks, a fundraising dinner here at my home on Sat., November 18th. Check it out on EventBrite and The Green Kitchen Facebook page. Proceeds will benefit FeedMore. I hope you will be able to help us support a great cause, remembering those who don’t have the same Happy Thanksgiving.

In the meantime, my catering schedule is filling up so if you need help with any holiday party you might be throwing, give us a call, as we’d love to help you shine for the holidays! Give us a call at 804-687-7099 or email us at cheftammy@greenkitchenrichmond.com

Fall is here and soup is on!

Wednesday is here again, already! Weren’t we just here?

And what great weather! That is, if you are a fall lover as I am. Time to break out the boots, sweaters, clean out the fire pit and make lots of delicious and hearty soups and stews. Like I did yesterday.

What do you do with leftover roasted potatoes?

Why potato soup, of course!

What? No recipe, you say? You are in luck this morning as I am here to “walk” you through SoupMaking 101.

Grab your favorite stock or soup pot and let’s get started.

Most cooking involves beginning with some sort of fat, i.e., olive oil, butter, coconut oil, etc… Or if you are a bacon lover, start with some diced bacon and let the fat render on a medium heat. Now you can either remove the bacon, leaving the fat behind and add it back in at the end, or leave the bacon and add other ingredients.

Next, add diced onions and maybe some minced garlic. Saute these in the hot fat until soft and translucent. Next, another choice, either add some flour to coat the onions – this will thicken your soup. Or omit the flour, as there are other ways to thicken when it becomes necessary. However, for my potato soup, I do add some flour here.

Now add diced potatoes and some stock. How much of each is up to you. As far as the stock, 1 quart is 32 ounces or four 8-ounce bowls of soup, so think about how much you want to make. Or in the case of my many leftover roasted potatoes, I added 4 quarts of stock. Yes, it is a lot, but once ready, I can portion the soup into containers and freeze and have soup all winter long!

Next simmer the potatoes until soft. Once soft, mix some sour cream and egg yolks together and gently stir into the soup. Either could be omitted, depending on preference.

Here is where I break out my immersion blender, a very handy tool to own. I then run the blender through the soup, breaking up the larger chunks, but leaving some for a great consistency.

Let simmer for about 15 minutes longer and voila, soup is on! Grab your favorite crusty bread and enjoy.

But wait, how is that SoupMaking 101, you ask? Soups are all basically the same base. And like all cooking you build with your flavor components. You can substitute shallots for the onions or omit them completely. Why stop at potatoes? Diced carrots and apples with a little curry powder added make a fabulous combination. Or how about that leftover broccoli or asparagus from dinner the night before? Does it have to be chicken stock? Nope! Vegetable stock works well. Does it have to contain a dairy product? Nope! Do you like it chunky or smooth?

Soup is one of the most versatile and forgiving things to make and great for not wasting leftovers, especially on these chilly nights that are moving in quickly. And, my clients will likely receive a soup every other week in the fall and winter months.

However, if you’d rather not make that soup or dinner, The Green Kitchen would love to help you out! Give us a call at 804-687-7099 or email us at cheftammy@greenkitchenrichmond.com

Time Saver

Some days you just want to stay in your pjs and not get in your car. Not fight traffic. Not think about who you should or could or even want to impress that day. This not only includes your employer, but also your spouse, significant other and even your children. Whether you punch someone else’s clock or are self-employed, we all have these days.

You might be as busy as I am, growing my own business. My work week starts on Sunday, when I typically grocery shop to supplement my weekly produce delivery. And I’m fortunate enough that I now cook for 30 individuals, or 1 company and 6-8 families on a weekly basis. That’s a lot of grocery shopping. Then the groceries are dropped off at the church kitchen where the “magic” is made on Mondays and Tuesdays. At the end of both those days, deliveries are made all over town.

Or your family calendar might look like this: a jigsaw puzzle of which spouse or significant other is going to run the kids around to their activities? Which spouse is responsible for dinnertime that evening or week? Yet, these 2 simple questions can mean for an exhausting week – am I right?

So it’s finally the weekend, and you’d love to relax, but there’s housework and yardwork and the kids’ sports. Who has time or desire to grocery shop for the week?

Hiring or having someone to help you with your day-to-day life shouldn’t be a luxury. A lawn service might help your lawn look great, giving you time to spend at the kids’ baseball or soccer game. A housekeeper might help your house stay clean, giving you time to spend helping the kids’ with their homework project. How could having someone who takes care of the menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking be any different?

Imagine all the time you’d get back, or as they say in business, imagine your ROI – Return on Investment. I used to position what I do as “love me, love my food”, but that has changed. What I really sell is time. Time to be with your family, and to be present daily.

So like you, there are days I don’t want to be in my car at all. There are days I don’t want to get out of my pjs. But every week one thing remains constant in my chosen line of work. Knowing there are 30+ individuals enjoying my meals, and that is great satisfaction!

The Green Kitchen would love to give you back quality time with your family. Check us out at www.greenkitchenrichmond.com and/or give us a call or text at 804-687-7099.

Doing What You Love

Are you doing something you love? As in a career or job? I am.

Travel with me back in time to 2004, I started working a part-time job, really volunteering, at Sur La Table helping chefs get ready for the evening’s cooking class. I’d leave a miserable job at 5:00, and head to SLT and go home at 10:00 so happy.

Then in 2005, I am on a treadmill at the Y, reading an article titled “Finding Your Dream Job Making Money Do Something You Love”…. Well this intrigued me to say the least.

Up until then, I’d always thought your 9-5 Monday through Friday paid the bills and “hobbies” or things you loved most were done after work and on the weekends. Suffice it to say, that article changed my life (and not walking on the treadmill, LOL).

So, after some soul-searching my thoughts kept coming back to working with food. I’d always loved to entertain and cook, but never thought about a career in food.

This soul-searching exercise turned into going to culinary school at age 44 AND graduating with honors 3 years later, though there were times in those 3 years, I cried and wanted to quit. The many projects and papers due – go figure, it wasn’t about just learning to cook!

Everything since 2004 has propelled me to today, and never happier have I been.

The Green Kitchen continues to grow, and more rapidly since the beginning of this year. Big things are on the horizon so stay tuned!

In the meantime, call The Green Kitchen to help you with any sort of cooking needs!

From weekly meals, cooked fresh and delivered – think about how much time you would be able to save by taking menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking out of your daily equation? To catering your holiday parties – why not let someone else do the work while you enjoy your guests?

Or has someone you love just had an operation? Wouldn’t a gift of a few meals be appreciated more than flowers or a plant? What about the new baby just welcomed into this world? Wouldn’t it ease the parents’ minds to have meals already covered?

Check us out at www.greenkitchenrichmond.com or give us a call at 804-687-7099 today and see how we can make your life easier and more delicious!