A variety of summer sausage logs and cheese bars in a green and white gift box.

Christmas Care Package Ideas

Food care packages don’t have to be just for friends and family in the military. We’ve got Christmas care package ideas for students and other loved ones! read more

A red mixing pitcher packed with pancake mix, syrup, breakfast links, coffee, apple bread, crème and a red spatula.

Breakfast Gift Basket Ideas: Bacon and Beyond

Celebrate National Hot Breakfast Month by learning how to cook bacon in the oven and breakfast casserole with bacon, and help others celebrate with breakfast gift basket ideas.

Breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, so they say. And whoever “they” are, they’re absolutely right. Eating breakfast gives you an important boost of energy and helps reduce hunger throughout the day.

The human body likes to be fed on a regular basis. Assuming you get eight hours of sleep—which is also important—your body has been fasting for at least that, and probably up to 12 hours, by the time you get up. That’s why it’s important to “break your fast”…which is where “breakfast” gets its name.

Every time you eat, your metabolism kicks in; fasting slows it down to help you conserve energy. That’s why nutrition experts say you should eat at least three meals a day, and many prefer more like five small meals: breakfast, a healthy mid-morning snack, lunch, a late afternoon snack, and dinner.

People who skip breakfast because it reduces calories can actually wind up giving into hunger and making unhealthy choices later in the day. (Anyone who’s ever shopped for groceries on an empty stomach can relate.) Plus, skipping breakfast—or any meal—slows down your metabolism when it could be busy burning some calories.

No, this doesn’t mean we should be continuously eating to feed the fire! You still want to maintain a healthy caloric intake appropriate to your body size and activity level…and if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. Still, spreading those calories out at healthy intervals will help you in your efforts.

The French expression for “breakfast” is petit déjeuner, or “little lunch”. Actually, many people feel that’s a little backward: one old saying advises that you should eat “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”…and a 12-week study by researchers at Tel Aviv University found evidence to support this. They randomly assigned 93 overweight women to a 1,400-calorie diet. Some got a breakfast of 700 calories, a lunch of 500 calories, and a dinner of 200 calories, while others got the same calories and same food choices but with the breakfast and dinner meals switched. While all the women lost weight, the ones with the high-calorie breakfast averaged more than double the weight loss (19 pounds vs. 8 pounds) and lost twice as many inches around their waists than the women on the high-calorie dinner. Timing, as they say, can be everything.

Since eating breakfast is so important—and since February is National Hot Breakfast Month—let’s warm up with a hearty breakfast. While we’re at it, spread the word to someone you love with a nice breakfast gift basket. We have some ideas for you…but before you go shopping on an empty stomach, let’s explore some hot breakfast ideas using one of America’s favorite foods: bacon.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Yes, we know; bacon doesn’t have much going for it, healthwise. But it does contain some protein, and it really livens up a terrific lean protein source: eggs. So eat it sparingly and use it as a flavoring rather than the main attraction. And you may want to change the way you’ve been cooking it all these years.

Frying bacon can be a messy proposition. It can tend to spurt and splatter, and you risk getting the grease on you every time you approach the stove to turn it over. (That’s a really hot breakfast idea.) So why not eliminate the risk and the mess—along with some of the fat—by cooking bacon in the oven? It’s really easy…

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Separate the bacon into slices and arrange them on a rack over a baking sheet. (Many people simply lay the bacon on a baking sheet, but using a rack lifts it out of the grease and lets much of the fat drip off.) Cook 15 to 20 minutes, or to desired crispness. Done!

You can also dredge the bacon slices in brown sugar to get that irresistible sweet-salty combination, and vary the recipe by adding cinnamon or freshly ground black pepper to the brown sugar.

Breakfast Casserole with Bacon read more

Cheese bars and beef logs gift assortments including tortes and cheese logs with slices on a plate.

Food Gift Basket Ideas for Everyone

Gourmet gift baskets are a great holiday tradition…and they don’t even have to be in baskets. We’ll help you out with food gift basket (or box) ideas.

If you’re stuck on what to get everyone for Christmas, you’re not alone! There are so many people to buy for, and consumer goods have become incredibly specialized. You don’t dare buy someone the latest wearable electronic gadget, because it may not be compatible with the operating system on his/her smartphone. It’s almost enough to make you throw your hands up and give cash…which is pretty much the most impersonal gift ever. But there’s one thing everyone likes, and it can make a fine gift: food.

Food Gift Ideas

There’s just something appealing about a basket brimming with delicious food products…which is why it’s been a popular gift for centuries. Basketweaving is one of the oldest crafts known to civilization, with the oldest basket dating to between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago. The tradition of giving gift baskets is associated with the mythical goddess Eostre, who carried a basket of plants as a sacred offering. Many scholars believe this legend was the origin of the Easter basket.

Over the years, the tradition spread to other occasions; Christmas gift baskets, Mother’s Day gift baskets, Halloween gift baskets…even movie night gift baskets! And it doesn’t even have to arrive in a basket; in fact, many of today’s best food gift baskets are actually gift boxes. When food shopping online, boxes are much more compatible with today’s automated shipping systems, are much more likely to arrive intact, and can even hold more artfully arranged cheeses, sausages, baked goods and other gourmet foods.

Gourmet gift baskets are available in a wide variety to cover virtually any gift recipient’s taste preferences. Fruit gift baskets, meat and cheese gift baskets, candy baskets and more are available ready to order for delivery almost anywhere in the country (check your seller’s website for restrictions). Or if you have someone on your list with special dietary needs and no pre-made assortment is available, you could put together your own gift basket. For example, find decorative baskets at your local retailer and shop for individual items to put together gluten-free gift baskets or other special gifts.

The Dessert Gift Basket

It seems everyone is a sweet tooth during the holidays, and many people don’t have time to bake…so take the time to give something indulgent! A dessert gift basket adds an extra touch of festivity to any holiday celebration, and comes in a variety of forms.

Chocolate gift baskets—or better yet, the classic box of chocolates—are always welcome, especially during the time of year when family and friends are hanging around and in the mood for a nibble or two. Candy gift baskets and fancy tins come in bright holiday colors and look great under the tree.

Of course, many people avoid decadent desserts and prefer a nibble of fruit after dinner.

Dried fruit gifts read more

Holiday food gift box of snack size cheese, sausage, desserts, nuts, mustards and candies with a small plate of samples.

The Best Corporate Food Gifts…In Good Taste

With more at stake than the rest of your gift giving, corporate gifting is something you want to do right. Let us help you find the best corporate food gifts.

It can be stressful enough trying to decide what to give loved ones for Christmas. Will they like it? Will if fit? Does it match their décor? And those are the people who are near and dear to you. When you’re buying corporate Christmas gifts, the stakes are considerably higher. The impression you make on an important client can have an impact of millions of dollars, and making employees feel valued and appreciated can impact performance and retention.

Corporate gifting is something you want to do right…so what are the best corporate gifts? As the old saying goes, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” We think that applies equally to both genders, in all walks of life…hence the description of food as “the gift that’s never returned.”

Corporate Food Gifts

There’s a reason corporate gift baskets are big business: they’re convenient, they’re tasteful, and people love them. Food gift baskets are some of the best corporate gifts you can send. There are a lot of them out there, so it won’t be hard to find one to fit every type of person on your list.

Of course, everyone’s different and has different tastes, so don’t try to find one corporate gift basket that’s perfect for everyone; chances are it doesn’t exist. Instead, find a source that offers a wide variety of corporate Christmas gifts so you can cover everyone on your list with one convenient order.

Corporate Gift Basket Ideas

For starters, don’t feel limited to baskets. Some of the best meat and cheese gift baskets actually come in boxes. A variety of meats and cheeses, possibly combined with some contrasting baked goods, can be artfully arranged in a durable box that makes an eye-popping presentation and ships well.

Speaking of baked goods, who wouldn’t enjoy a dessert gift basket loaded with cakes, petits fours and other handcrafted goodies? Again, these sweet treats can be combined with an array of cheeses, sausages, candies and other items—and packaged in boxes, as well—and there are a number of options at virtually any price point to fit your corporate gifting budget.

Needless to say, chocolate gift baskets, with assortment of chocolates and candies, have always been some of the most popular corporate gift baskets. There’s a sweet tooth in every office, and those who prefer not to keep it all for themselves will delight in sharing the wealth with everyone else…especially during the holidays.

Ah, but what about the client or employee who’s a little more health-conscious, or is a vegetarian or vegan? Dried fruit is a fabulous gift that keeps well and offers a great blend of nutrition and festive flavor, and brings a welcome taste of summer sun to the dreariest winter day.

Corporate Christmas Gifts? No Problem! read more

Colorful Fruit Gel Slices arranged in an opened red Swiss Colony tin.

Care Package Ideas for Soldiers: APO/FPO Shipping

The best gifts for military men and women are those that provide a taste of home. We’ve got great care package ideas for soldiers.

The men and women who serve our country in the military are heroes—especially those who are deployed overseas and separated from their families. While they may share a special bond and camaraderie with the other troops in their units, the loneliness of missing one’s family and friends can be a lot to bear. The holidays are especially tough, as those are the times families get together to celebrate. It is at this time of year that a care package from home is especially appreciated.

Gifts for Military Men and Women

The term “care package” originated with the humanitarian organization CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere). Originally called the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe, the organization was formed in 1945 as a means for providing food relief to starving populations in the wake of World War II. This relief came in the form of “CARE Packages” consisting of surplus Army field rations that had been prepared for a planned invasion of Japan that never happened. Initially, for $10 an American could have a CARE Package sent to a friend or family member in Europe. Over time, the recipients were no longer specified and the program morphed into a general relief effort.

It’s interesting to know that the term “care package,” used to describe a parcel of goodies sent to a service member away from home, began as a way of using military supplies to help struggling families.

Military Care Package Ideas read more