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 II – The Reds

Holiday Wines Part II – The Reds

Red is the color deeply entwined with some of our strongest feelings—passion, love, rage, danger. It even symbolizes good luck. What better wine to bring to you next family gathering? For many reasons, the holidays are a great time to stock up on wine—to enjoy, to gift, and to collect. Like the color itself, red wines offer a spectrum of bold and dazzling varieties to enjoy. The Cabs tend to work nicely with most red meats, lamb, and a flavorfully prepared ahi tuna. We love Pinot Noirs for their versatility—most are both smooth and bold enough to work well with lighter fare such as roasted salmon or game fowl and heavier, classic dinner fare like Beef Wellington. Speaking of Beef Wellington and family gatherings—this is one of my family’s traditions! Many years ago, I gave my husband The New Basics Cookbook by Silver Palate authors Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. We’ve had decades of fun exploring so many cuisines and cultures through the recipes and informative anecdotes. Once beyond the chicken-nugget rite of passage, our kids joined us on the journey. While we each have our distinct preferences, we all look forward to Beef Wellington as our Christmas Eve tradition. In fact, my oldest—now living on that other coast—has asked for the recipe so many times that she’s receiving her own copy of The New Basics as a gift this year. Based on how tattered that original paperback is, I’m even springing for the hardcover edition. You can find that hallowed Beef Wellington recipe below. And if you want to find some great red wines, here are a few...
A Few of Our Favorite Fruit Recipes

A Few of Our Favorite Fruit Recipes

During these cold and dreary months of mid-winter, it’s a good time to consume as much fruit as possible. And with the new year as well, a lot of people are looking to get healthy. That’s why fruit baskets make a perfect gift for these mid-winter milestones, from birthdays to anniversaries and more. GiftTree’s gift baskets of fruit are filled with premium gift-grade pears, juicy California oranges and of course, our home state, Washington-grown crisp and perfect apples. Every piece of fruit in our gift baskets is hand-selected, inspected and arranged perfectly, so your recipient gets the best fruit basket they’ve ever seen.   With fruit on the mind, we decided to put together a few of our favorite fruit recipes, too! Keep reading to get some fresh ideas for delicious fruit gifts. 🍎 🍊 🍐 A Few Of Our Favorite Fruit Recipes 🍎 🍊 🍐     Our Favorite Pear Salad For the Roasted Pear Vinaigrette:  1 large ripe pear, peeled, cored, and cut in half  1/3 cup olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided  1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice  2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar  1 clove garlic, minced  1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot  2 to 3 teaspoons honey  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste   For the Salad:  1 head Red Leaf or Romaine Lettuce, washed and roughly-chopped  2 ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced  1 cup candied walnuts  1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese  ¼ red onion, thinly sliced  1/3 cup pomegranate arils (seeds)   PREPARATION Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the pear halves on...
The Best Office Potluck Recipes

The Best Office Potluck Recipes

Chances are, right now you’re in the time of year where there’s an office potluck on the horizon. I have a love-hate relationship with office potlucks. On one hand, I love to get together with coworkers and enjoy the food that they’ve made. Other the other hand, I never feel like I have enough time to make dishes that are really special, something my coworkers deserve. (Seriously, Erica, how do you have time to make that fancy 18-layer dip?!!!) And so I end up racing to the grocery store to buy something that’s pre-made and totally mediocre, unworthy of my amazing colleagues. Well, no more! Recently, I took the time to gather up the best office potluck recipes. Onward!   The Best Office Potluck Dishes   Pulled Chicken Sliders A slow cooker is your friend for this recipe, brought to you by Natasha’s Kitchen. Just a couple tweaks make this an even more lightning-fast recipe! Just bake the chicken breasts the night before (or get a rotisserie chicken and shred) and bring everything into the office kitchen the next morning. Right away when you get into the office, plug in that slow cooker, add the chicken and the rest of the ingredients, and turn it on to HIGH til lunchtime (4 hours). Add Hawaiian slider rolls, cole slaw and BAM – lunch to please a crowd. Don’t forget tongs!   Tarragon Chicken Salad  You’re going to absolutely love the combination of fresh, herby tarragon, savory chicken and creamy mayonnaise in this recipe, courtesy of Feasting at Home. Bring along a package of croissants from the grocery store bakery and watch...
Slow Cooker Weeknight “Dump & Go” Recipes

Slow Cooker Weeknight “Dump & Go” Recipes

Between our careers, keeping up with the household, the kids’ school and the upcoming holidays, this time of year is just BIZ-EE. It can be hard to get a nourishing and healthy meal on the table with the limited amount of time we have. That’s why we’re so grateful for things like Instant Pots and Slow Cookers! It’s as simple as “dump & go”, “set it and forget it”…. you know what we mean. Here are a few slow cooker recipes that are perfect for weeknights! These recipes are brought to you by GiftTree‘s own Corporate Team! We also thought we’d ask our Sommelier for wine pairings, too, because why not? It’s been a long week.     Slow Cooker Weeknight “Dump & Go” Recipes All Photos Courtesy Shutterstock   Slow Cooker Turkey Black Bean Chili By Christine, Content Manager 1 lb. ground turkey 1 sweet yellow onion, diced 1/2 cup chicken broth 2 cans S&W® Chili Beans, undrained 2 cans Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained 1 can S&W® black beans, drained & rinsed 1 small can diced green chiles, your chosen degree of heat Big dollop of tomato paste chili powder, cumin, bay leaf salt & pepper to taste Christine says…. “In a skillet, dice and sauté the onion until tender. Add ground turkey, season with salt and pepper. When the turkey is almost cooked through, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook until turkey is completely browned. In your slow cooker, combine the turkey-onion mixture, all the cans, tomato paste, spices and bay leaves. Salt and pepper to your liking and cover. Cook for at least 8...
Fall Grilling at its Finest

Fall Grilling at its Finest

Although I am sad at how quickly my favorite season has passed us by, Summer has come and gone; Fall is officially upon us as the equinox began on September 23rd. Even though the temps are cooling down, it does not mean grilling season has to come to an end! Allow us to introduce our take on Fall Grilling. We’d like to shine a spotlight on our partners and friends at Chicago Steak Company, a featured artisan of GiftTree‘s since 2017. Did you know that we sell these gourmet, tender, succulent, mouthwatering steaks in our Epicurean section? Allow us to help you think outside the box and treat a special business partner, employee, friend or steak and beef enthusiast with these four unique gifts. We’ve also got the scoop from Food Network on these 50 Grilled Steak recipes that will be a crowd pleaser! First, start with the steak: Epicurean Food & Drink Gifts   Gourmet Grilling Gift: Completely trimmed and tender filet mignon, succulent sirloin steaks, marinated lemon herb chicken breasts and luscious steak burgers create a specially-curated selection of grilling delights. Therefore, making the perfect gift for friends, family, colleagues and even yourself.       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.       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...