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Hanukkah: We’re All Kosher

Next Wednesday marks the start of Hanukkah (also spelled, Chanukah), an 8 day Jewish festival celebrating the triumph of light over darkness. It begins Wednesday, November 27 and runs through to Thursday, December 5th.

As forklore goes, more than twenty-one centuries ago, Israel was under attack by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks). Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated them and in effect, restored order to the holy land. However, when they went to light the Temple’s menorah, they discovered only a single cruse of olive oil had escaped contamination by the Greeks.  Miraculously, the one day supply burned for the entirety of 8 days.

The sages thereby instituted the festival of Chanukah to commemorate this miracle – the center of which is a nightly menorah lighting wherein everyone gathers around the menorah, blessings are recited from a prayerbook, and a candle is lit each night followed by the singing of hymns and sharing of Chanukah stories and games, such as Dreidel, and gifts are presented. This happens each night for the duration of the holiday.

To celebrate this event, we’ve got a ton of new baskets – all of which are Kosher certified! This means you can make A Tasteful Gift a part of your special holiday! We’ve made it easy to share amazing baskets loaded with incredible tasty treats with your co-workers, friends and family for this meaningful holiday.

Speaking of tasty treats, as olive oil is at the center of Hanukkah, some of the dishes Jewish people eat during this celebration are cheese, donuts and our personal favorite, latkes! We’ve collected 5 amazing recipes you can make to chow down – everything from classic to gluten-free to spicy to just plain luxurious:

1. Standard Potato Latkes from Epicurious

2. Classic Potato Latkes from Shiksa In the Kitchen

3. Gluten-Free Latkes from New Family Nutrition

4. Sweet Potato Latkes with Homemade Apple Sauce from Kitchenelly

5. Cilantro Jalapeno Latkes with Cilantro Sour Cream from Ingredients Inc.

Could it get any better?? Quick, elegant and beautiful gifts PLUS fried potato goodness… Happy Hanukkah everybody!

Do you celebrate Hanukkah? What’s your favorite tradition? Most precious Hanukkah memory? Have your own latke recipe? Share with us on our Facebook page!

Thankful for Thanksgiving 2013

How do you show someone you’re thankful for them?

Here at A Tasteful Gift we’re approaching the Thanksgiving 2013 season, and crafting up a new collection of baskets and decor we’re excited to share with you all!

It’s important, of course, to not only be thankful, but to say it as well. At this time of year, as we gear up for the holidays, we’re trying to remember to tell people how much they mean to us. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we are now. I think this is true for all of us.

Their care and support help get us through our year, and we look for something not only visually pleasing, but also thoughtful and unique, made special just for them to show how important THEY are to us! A gift basket is a perfect gift that can be individually crafted to make sure those closest to us receive something they’ll truly enjoy and know we thought of them in a special way.

Our Thank you gift baskets are an elegant way to show your clients, neighbors, co-workers, family and Thanksgiving host(ess) that you’re grateful for all the effort they’ve invested for you. Not only do our baskets look and taste good, but they’re also more unique than your typical bottle of wine or bouquet of flowers – why not give them a bouquet of edible treats in their favorite flavor profile instead?

Gifts – such as one of our baskets – paired with regular words of encouragement and appreciation can make all the difference for a person. It demonstrates you care. It shows you took time out of your day for them. It exemplifies greatness – both yours and theirs. It brings you closer and really, isn’t that what Thanksgiving 2013 is all about?

Yes. I’m thankful. For all the things I have, the positivity in my life and ultimately, the small moments with the people that I love and care about. Aren’t you?

How are you showing you care this holiday season? Have your ordered your “thank you” basket yet? What does Thanksgiving 2013 mean to you? Share your thoughts on our Facebook Page now!

Happy Halloween!

Boo!

Halloween is only just a week away – have you got your ghosts and goblins and caldron near by? I certainly do!

Halloween

Though I have to be honest – I’m not entirely sure how useful they will be. I’ve found over the years that less and less children seem to be trick or treating. I’ve used this opportunity however to host my own Halloween themed dinner parties! Who says Halloween has to be for the under 12 age demographic, anyhow?

That’s right – I’m cooking up one heck of a goulish feast and highlighting the season’s best produce in the process. While others are carving pumpkins, I’m stuffing mine with fresh herbs, sausage and delicious apples!

The key to a great Halloween holiday themed party is simple: Keep it themed. Create dishes that can be mostly prepared ahead of time and are either Autumnal or Spooky oriented.  Try creating some fun Halloween snacks. Decorate the table with orange, white and black colored napkins, candles, place cards and centerpieces, or keep it elegantly goultastic by sticking to white pumpkins, black accents and a few splashes of red.

Either way, be sure to finish the meal with something sweet – after all, you don’t want to be tricked for not having treats!

Other things to keep in mind when hosting a Halloween dinner party:

1. Invitations. If you haven’t sent these out yet – it’s best to make phone calls or send an email for a quick response. Suggest an RSVP date so people know to reply quickly. If you haven’t had a chance to send out proper invitations, think about putting together a thank you note and goodie bag for when guests leave instead.

2. Music. Keep it upbeat, lively and fun. There are a great collections of spooky or fun vintage-lounge type music available out there that will coax guests into feeling festive!

3. Games. You want people to feel entertained, right? Donuts on a string, pumpkin carving, and of course, there’s always bobbing for apples!  If you’re Halloween party is strictly for adults, be sure to line up a few fun games for the older crowd.

4. Drinks. BYOB is totally acceptable – especially if you’re doing all the cooking. However, welcome guests with a Halloween themed cocktail to get them in the spirit of things when they arrive!

5. And finally, if you really want it to feel like a party, ask people to come in costume! Be sure to mention there will be food involved so they can choose outfits that will permit fork to mouth access.

What about you? How will you be celebrating Halloween? Hosting a dinner party? Any tips for us? What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?

 

Birthday Gift Basket

How do you celebrate your birthday?

Birthday Gift

As we all get a little older, it seems birthdays don’t quite hold the significance that they did when we were small. Instead of a party full of balloons, pin the tail on the donkey, we’re content to enjoy a good meal with a few close friends and a couple bottles of fine wine.

Celebrating our birthdays doesn’t have to be less exciting as we age – in fact, they should become more so! When we’re young, a birthday is an opportunity for junk food and giggling children to play. As we get older (and wiser, mind you), there’s more to celebrate. Academic achievements, professional accomplishments, lessons learned, friendships nurtured, families grown. And as our tastes refine, so can the gifts we give.

A birthday gift basket is not only tasteful but tasty! They’re dignified and in leading the busy lives that we do, they’re already wrapped beautifully – just waiting to be ripped open and devoured. Whether you prefer something wine friendly like our Tasteful Gourmet Basket, savory like the goodies found in our Gourmet Celebration Basket, sweet like our Chocolate Madness Basket, or fun like our Happy Birthday Basket, there’s always a collection of fine indulgements to share with the birthday girl (or boy). Chuck in that cheap bottle of wine and you’re all set! Who needs cake when you have a whopping selection of carefully chosen and elegantly packaged delicious treats? Not me, that’s for sure!

I know we live in a culture of youth and that aging is often resisted and refuted. But as each birthday rolls around, we can give thanks to ourselves and each other and use it as an opportunity for celebration. For reflection. For laughter. For eating. Aging doesn’t mean getting old, it means getting happier. And if you define happiness like I do, a little bit plumper. And I’m good with that.

Yes. I believe we should celebrate our birthdays as we grow and the memories we have with each other. I honestly can’t think of anything better than sharing a bottle of wine with close friends and family, while savoring on decadent chocolates, gourmet cheese and dips or delicious olives and re-counting our histories while toasting the future. That’s a birthday I can get on board with. How about you?

How do you celebrate your birthday? Is it something you look forward to? Or resist? Do you have a favorite birthday snack? Which basket would you like to get on your birthday?