Pack the Perfect Picnic Basket

Pack the Perfect Picnic Basket

It’s SUMMER! The sun is out, the breeze is perfect and since we’re not in the dog days of summer quite yet, it’s not too hot or buggy yet. Therefore: it is picnic season! Picnics are so awesome – what a great way to relax and enjoy nature! But a fun picnic can go south quickly, when it’s discovered that some key equipment or ingredients were missed. To help avoid that, we’ve come up with the Picnic Basket Checklist! It’s a great way to learn how to pack the perfect picnic basket. The Ultimate Picnic Basket Checklist ⬜ Lightweight Basket, Tote, or Cooler Make sure it is easy to carry, waterproof and durable. ⬜ Blanket to Spread Out You’ll need it if there are no picnic tables at your destination. A table cloth will work, too! ⬜ Low-Seated Beach Chairs Not needed – only if you prefer, but we love having a backrest! ⬜ A Trash Bag or Two Makes cleanup SO much easier! ⬜ Paper Towels Double duty – cleaning up and mealtime napkin use. ⬜ Moist Towellettes / Baby Wipes If there are kids, sauces or both in the picture, you’ll need these. ⬜ Plates Lightweight and eco-friendly are the way to go! If you must get disposable, try compostable bamboo! ⬜ Utensils Depending on what you’re having, you may need serving ware, too. The link above might be perfect! ⬜ Cutting Knife, Small Cutting Board You can pre-chop everything if you’d like, but you may want it for cheese and salami. ⬜ Corkscrew or Bottle Opener If your picnic destination allows alcohol, these are essential! ⬜ Shatterproof Glasses...
Dining Al Fresco: Tip, Tricks & Recipes

Dining Al Fresco: Tip, Tricks & Recipes

Ahh, summer. Nothing beats dinner on the patio on a balmy summer evening. But there are a few things you need to know! Here are some helpful hints, tips, hacks and even a couple meal plans to make your backyard dinner extra special. TIP #1 Take It Easy Dining outside is all about letting the atmosphere set the tone for the evening, so keep your recipes simple (and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy yourself more, too). Dining al fresco usually means that there’s lots of fresh produce in season. Therefore, showcase it by preparing it simply. Grilled corn on the cob with butter, crisp asparagus with sea salt, and a colorful, flavorful caprese salad come to mind. TIP #2 Make It Sustainable Yes, it is a little more work, but glass plates, cloth napkins and heavier glasses are much better for the environment than one-use picnic supplies. Plus, everyone hates how those cheap paper plates go limp immediately after dishing up. This tip is actually a two-for-one deal – since you’re not using paper plates, paper napkins and disposable cups, congrats! You’ve wind-proofed your outdoor meal, too! TIP #3 Light It Up If you plan to eat outdoors during the evening, some nice lighting will be needed. There are lots of ways to set the mood – candles, lanterns and string lights come to mind. Get creative! Check out Pinterest boards for patio lighting and have fun. If you can keep the scent of the candle or torches away from the table, citronella does double duty of repelling mosquitoes and adding light. Which brings us to our next...
May is National BBQ Month!

May is National BBQ Month!

How’s the weather in your area? Most of the United States is in full-blown Spring mode right now. That makes us think about one thing: grilling. May is National BBQ Month! It’s time to wheel out that barbecue and get grilling. Whether you use charcoal, gas, a smoker or a portable for tailgating, grilling is essential to this time of year. What will you be grilling this summer? If you’re looking for some delicious options, we’ve got your meats! Chicago Steak Company Gifts What began in 1963 as a small family run butcher shop called Meats by Linz, Chicago Steak Company is now one of the nation’s leading home deliverers of USDA prime beef. Chicago Steak Company is proud to continue the rich tradition of delivering midwestern corn-fed aged USDA Prime Beef and Premium USDA Choice steaks to homes and businesses across America.  A proud partner of Chicago Steak Company, GiftTree is delighted to offer four exclusively curated gifts for the grill. You won’t believe how luscious these steaks are, and what great summer gifts they make! Premium Angus Steak Selection Tender filet mignon, succulent boneless strips, mouthwatering ribeyes and top sirloins full of flavor – this perfect combination of Premium Angus beef steaks is a best seller for Chicago Steak Company. Gift Includes: Two (2) 6 oz. Filet Mignons, Two (2) 10 oz. Boneless Strips, Two (2) 8 oz. Sirloin Steaks, Two (2) 8 oz. Ribeyes. Tomahawk Ribeye Steaks Gift These Dry Aged Tomahawks are the ultimate bone-in ribeye, with an extra long bone for extraordinary presentation. Boasting a mellow taste that only comes from the longstanding dry aging process, this Tomahawk...
Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus Volume II

Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus Volume II

Last year we posted a blog called Valentine’s Day at Home: Wine, Music and Menus and the response was so overwhelming and fun, we thought we have to do a Volume TWO! It can be great getting dressed up, making reservations at a fancy restaurant and spending Valentine’s Day on the town. But these days, many couples opt to spend the holiday at home, especially when there are kids in the picture. When work has been crazy, the sitter is busy, the traffic is nuts and the restaurants are all booked, the idea of staying home, pouring a glass of wine, putting on some relaxing music and eating a delicious meal together sounds more and more appealing. We’ve put together a few menu plans (along with their matching wines and some fun music recommendations) to make your Valentine’s Day at home romantic, memorable and meaningful. After all, it’s not about going out – it’s about celebrating love!   Menu Plan #1 – For the Seafood & Champagne Lovers Pour: Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne. A luxurious, world-famous Champagne that boasts soft white-fruit aromas of peaches and pears and a finish of fresh walnut. The smooth, juicy mid-palate segues to a clean, crisp finish ideal for sipping Play: The Party, Andy Schauf. Bubbly songs full of fun combine with a nice dose of moody to create a playlist that is perfect for a party of two, cooking dinner, sipping Champagne and just being together. Appetizer: French Butter Lettuce Salad, courtesy of Fine Cooking. The lightness of this simple salad makes the perfect starter for the creamy goodness to come. Main Dish: Two recipes from Café Delights,...
Perfect Gift Ideas for the Holiday Party Host

Perfect Gift Ideas for the Holiday Party Host

Have you ever thrown a Christmas party, a New Year’s Eve soiree or any kind of holiday get-together? If so, you probably know how much work it requires just to have a little fun. It’s certainly not as simple as putting out some cheese and crackers. Days (and sometimes months!) in advance, party planners decide on the invite list, the menu, the drinks, the decorations, the activities and so much more. We have more than a few helpful blog posts about entertaining, of course, but what about being one of the guests? It’s important to let the host know how much you appreciate all the thought and planning that went into this great gathering. That’s why you’re probably familiar with the old adage, “don’t show up to a party empty-handed!“. Show your gratitude by bringing something special! Here are a few perfect gift ideas for the holiday party host. Memorable Wine Gifts Classically timeless and rarely regarded as a misstep, bottles of wine are a standard gift to present to the host. GiftTree’s selection of wine gifts is chock full of great bottles of wine – some can even be engraved with your very own personal gift message!   Festive Bouquets to Deck the Halls Bringing a floral arrangement is a wonderful idea for the party host. They can place it wherever they like (don’t pick the place for them) and be reminded of your nice gesture all evening long.   Generous Offerings for the Home Bringing something for the hosts’ home is a wonderful gesture. GiftTree’s personalized gifts make no exception! They’re always great conversation starters, and serve...
Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas

Happy Thanksgiving! What are your plans for the holiday – are you heading to someone else’s home to gather with friends and family, or are you hosting a Thanksgiving gathering yourself? Have you been blessed with the task of hosting this year? Create a fun, fancy and festive table! It’s easy and inexpensive with these inspiring tips and Thanksgiving table setting ideas. Tablecloth and Linens You may feel the urge to splurge on expensive, name-brand linens so they last, but here’s a money-saving tip: don’t buy a Thanksgiving-themed set! Instead, opt for simple designs or solid colors that reflect a palette that works for many occasions. It will be a set you can use all year. Burgundy, cream, gold or dark green are great choices that cover a lot of holidays. And remember – placemats or table runners are great options, too. I love my simple burlap runner and use it for a million different occasions.   Dinnerware The same goes here – a Thanksgiving-themed set of dishes means you can only use it once a year. Go for china, glassware and silverware that sets the table for a plethora of special occasions. The charger underneath a dinner plate, colored cloth napkins, festive napkin rings and other decor can be counted on to bring the table to its intended theme. Little Touches of Autumn It doesn’t seem all that important, but these little bits and bobs are a chance to make the table really Autumnal-looking. Thanksgiving accents for the table are easy to come by, too. Check your local grocery store for things like: Mini Pumpkins Chestnuts Walnuts Gourds Apples...