Safari Themed Baby Shower

Giraffe CakeIn the beginning of December my sister’s best friend, Christina, and I threw a baby shower for my sister Sarah. Several years ago my sister, grandmother and I departed on an adventure throughout East Africa so right away we knew what the theme should be! Not to mention my sister’s affinity for giraffes. So it was set – now let the planning begin!

TABLE SETTING

The color palette we chose for the majority of our decorations were browns, greens, yellows, and blues. So let’s start at the table.

Congrats Sign

Safari Baby Shower Table

The table runners were made by my friend & co-worker Kim who purchased the fabric from a local fabric shop. For the center pieces, I purchased several large and small mason jars, wrapped them in burlap and finished it with a twine bow. The flowers were a combinations of green Poms, Hydrangeas, Birds of Paradise and Eucalyptus from our backyard. The plates, napkins, cutlery, table cloths and premium stemware were purchased online from PartyCity.com.

Baby Shower Center Piece

FAVORS

As a takeaway for our guests, we had a 187ml bottle of Kenwood Vineyards Yulupa Sparkling wine wrapped in a burlap bag with a tag that read:

Capture1Additionally, we had these adorable (and delicious!) giraffe cookies made by Trisha Thomas who owns Dessert Divas in Sacramento.

Dessert Diva Cookies

MENU

1454680_10101160479112657_640340608_nQuiche Lorraine • Mushroom Spinach Quiche

Parmesan & Cranberry Salad • Fruit Salad • Assorted Muffins

Assorted Cheeses • Giraffe Cake • Safari Cake Pops

Cucumber Water • Jungle Juice (Pomegranate / Cranberry Punch)

Safari Table SettingTo save on time (as we had a lot to do in terms of decorating and last-minute crafts), we ordered the quiche from Whole Foods catering and picked up the fruit salad, muffins and cheese from the local market.

Parmesan & Cranberry Salad with Peach Vinaigrette

  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Toasted walnuts
  • 2/3 cup peach nectar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • pinch of salt

This recipe yields 6 – 8 servings so I tripled it for the shower. To make the vinaigrette, mix together the peach nectar, vinegar, mustard, and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add in the oil whisking constantly. Add the cranberries and toasted walnuts to the mixed greens and toss well with vinaigrette. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese. The original recipe, adapted from Sandra Lee, calls for Pear Nectar but I swapped it our for peach and I also added in the walnuts to give it some crunch!

Punch & Water

Jungle Juice Punch (Cranberry, Pomegranate & Tangerine)

  • 5 cups cranberry juice
  • 3 cups tangerine juice
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 liter soda water
  • Fresh cranberries, for garnish

This was a huge hit at the party and it was so easy to make. In a large punch bowl combine the cranberry, tangerine and pomegranate juice. Top with soda water and garnish with fresh cranberries. (Variation: swap out the soda water for sparkling wine to give it an adult kick!)

Cake Pop For Parties

For dessert we had these adorable safari cake pops, made by our dear friend Lisa and this amazing raspberry marble (chocolate marble cake layered with chocolate ganache, vanilla buttercream, and fresh raspberries) giraffe cake made by Diana Katra, Cake Whimsy in Campbell.

Giraffe Cake | Aprons & Stilettos

While my sister was opening presents, we played baby bingo! These cards were so easy to make in Photoshop (or InDesign). If you don’t have the time to design your own baby bingo cards, you can find an array of adorable cards for purchase on Etsy.

Baby Bingo

My sister is due any day now so we’re just waiting around for the call! This will be her first, my parents first grandchild and my first time being an Auntie! I can’t wait! Cheers! ~Crystal

Table Setting

Coconut Milk & Poached Salmon Soup with Blood Orange Salad

Coconut Soup & Blood Orange Salad

Morgan and I were laying out by the pool, enjoying the 90+ degree weather and a glass of Kunde Sauvignon Blanc when we decided to make soup for dinner. Soup?! On such a hot day. Yes. I love soup, even during the warmer months,  but I don’t experiment enough with making them.  It was settled then. Soup it was.

Ingredients for Salmon Soup

We both love Thai cuisine and decided to integrate similar ingredients used in Thai cooking  to build our Coconut Milk & Poached Salmon Soup. And what better way to brighten up the strong aromatic & spicy components of our soup than with a delicate blood orange salad.

We rushed off to Oliver’s to pick up the essentials.

Filet of Wild Alaskan Salmon, Pacific

Coconut Milk & Poached Salmon Soup

1 Wild Pacific Alaskan Salmon, Filet – middle piece
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 white onion
2 garlic cloves
1 stalk lemongrass, snapped in half
Ginger, sliced (about 12 rounds)
2 (13 fl. oz) cans coconut milk
3 chilies, chopped (we used two Jalapeño & 1 Fresno pepper)
Fish sauce, few dashes
2 bay leaves
1 lime, juiced
5 – 7 springs cilantro
Salt, to taste

Salmon for Coconut Soup

Combine stock, 1/2 onion (whole – not sliced), garlic, lemongrass and ginger in a pot and bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Add coconut milk, chilies, fish sauce, and bay leaves and simmer for another 10 minutes. Strain and return the broth to the stove. Cut the raw salmon filets into small chunks, add to the broth and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Once the salmon is cooked thoroughly, add in juice from one lime, cilantro and salt. Serve immediately with blood orange salad and vino of your choice.

We were out of the Sauvignon Blanc so we enjoyed a glass of Rosé with our dinner which paired great with the spicy kick in our soup. Don’t have bottle of Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc? Pinot Gris or Gewürztraminer would also be a fine match.

Blood Orange Salad

Blood Orange Salad

Arugula
2 blood oranges, sliced
Small bag of sliced almonds
1/2 red onion, sliced

Citrus Vinaigrette

1 blood orange, juiced
Olive oil, heavy drizzle
Red wine vinegar, few dashes
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

Blood Oranges for Salad

Combine all citrus vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. Cut the skins off of the blood orange and slice orange wedges for salad. Combine oranges with arugula, onions and almonds and toss with citrus vinaigrette.

Serves 3-4

~Enjoy, Crystal

Heirloom & Edamame Salad

Heirloom Edamame Salad

If you’ve read my previous post, then you know that I just harvested an array of  multicolored Heirloom tomatoes from the garden. All shapes, colors and sizes: Cherokee Purples, Yellow Valencia, Purple Russian and Oxacan Jewels just to name a few. Since these vibrant beauties are ripe and ready to eat, I’ve decided to add them to as many dishes as possible this week.  Therefore, for today’s post I married the Heirlooms with one of my favorite snacks: edamame. Healthy, easy to make and gorgeous to look at, this is the perfect salad to enjoy during the warm days of summer.

Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomato &  Edamame Salad

2 cups edamame, cooked and cooled
Heirloom Tomatoes, chopped (I used 6 small tomatoes)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon olive oil (if you have sesame oil that would be a great substitution)
Green onions, chopped
Sea salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately.

Heirloom Edamame Salad

Enjoy~ Crystal