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

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

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, the first being their insanely...
Holiday Wines Part I – The Chardonnay Line Up

Holiday Wines Part I – The Chardonnay Line Up

Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here! In addition to all I’m grateful for, this has me thinking about wine. And dinner. Our table usually numbers more than 30. We’ve been known to have three turkeys (roasted, grilled, and deep fried) and everyone contributes their favorite side dishes. Many wines pair nicely with turkey, but when it comes to Thanksgiving Dinner, there is so much more happening! A beautifully roasted bird may take center stage at the buffet table, but the meal itself is all about the sides. We tend to overload our plates with those beloved side dishes—crowding that sliced turkey into a hodge-podge patchwork of fabulous flavors, textures, and colors. That’s right where tradition slowly changes and grows for the better. I mean, before JoJo joined our Thanksgiving celebration, we didn’t have jalapeño-spiked cheesy corn at the table. Now her Texas influence is an integral part of our annual tradition. For me, pushing some spicy, creamy corn into the mashed potatoes and gravy was an obvious move, but when Uncle Fran’s bittersweet orange-cranberry chutney mingled in . . . a serendipitous flavor bomb! Chardonnay is definitely one of the go-to favorites for Thanksgiving Dinner. It’s versatile yet familiar. And Chardonnay is known to play well with others. Whether you’re serving dinner this year or you’d like a nice bottle to present to your hosts, here’s a guide to some of our favorite Chardonnay trios for 2020. Lighter Chardonnay Trios For milder fare, we suggest a lighter Chardonnay. Think classic turkey dinner with simply prepared vegetable dishes, ambrosia salad, and Parker House rolls. We think these Chardonnays...
Gifts to Thank the Holiday Party Host

Gifts to Thank the Holiday Party Host

Christmas gatherings and holiday parties play a huge role in December’s celebrations. In fact, 70% of those who responded to this recent survey said they plan on attending at least one or more holiday parties this year! Most of the time, these parties take place in private residences. What does that mean? Think about it – food, decor, drinks, invitations! Well, it means that there are hosts who have worked really hard to make that holiday party special. So how do you thank the holiday party hosts? We here at GiftTree think a great thank you gift sends the perfect message of gratitude. Here are some unique gifts to thank the holiday party host!    🎄UNIQUE THANK YOU GIFTS FOR HOLIDAY HOSTS 🎄 A Little Something Sweet. Our Chocolate Peppermint Bark is perfect. Luscious white and rich dark chocolate is layered and sprinkled with a snowfall of crushed candy cane pieces. It’s a unique and festive treat that’s great to bring with you to the holiday get-together.   A Little Something Savory. This monogrammed slate cheese board makes a sophisticated gift all by itself, but we take it to the next level with an offering of premium artisan cheeses and gourmet pairings.   A Toast to Togetherness. Bringing the Black Tie Duo to a black tie event or sending it after the party is a grand gesture that will surely be appreciated. Two bottles of wine and perfect pairings – we recommend upgrading to the conversation-starting premium version. It includes Bridlemile Dundee Hills Pinot Noir and Polmanter Napa Cabernet with wine cards included. You can even engrave your “thank you” message on the...
How to Throw the Best Office Baby Shower

How to Throw the Best Office Baby Shower

It starts with a co-worker letting you know that she’s expecting, or a colleague telling the team about his wife’s pregnancy. What should we do? The word starts to get around about throwing an office baby shower, but how exactly is that done? Here is a step-by-step guide to throwing an office baby shower that will be remembered and enjoyed by everyone. Your Guide to Office Baby Showers: Q & A   Is it ok to throw a shower at all? First thing’s first – before jumping in, make sure that you’ve cleared it with both the expecting person and your HR department. If the expecting mom or dad would feel uncomfortable with a shower being thrown for them, respect their wishes. And at some companies, HR may way to take the lead on all celebrations, so make sure you’re good there, too. And even though surprises are fun, it’s probably wisest not to risk it unless you’re absolutely sure they would love it.   Who should be in charge, and who should be enlisted to help? If you’re their closest work-friend, manager or direct report, congratulations – you’re the one who should be in charge. If you need assistance in putting the shower together, ask their department co-workers or those you know are friendly with the expectant person to help. Most importantly, it is best to keep the guest of honor involved in the whole process, so that they feel good about all of it.   When should an office baby shower take place? Most people would prefer for an office party to be short and sweet, not taking...
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...
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,...