Cook-Off Winning Chili Recipes

Even though Spring is approaching in just three short weeks, it certainly still feels like we’re in the dead of winter in most parts of the country. When the temperature dips below freezing, the one thing everyone really wants is something warm and comforting for dinner. Soups and stews are high on the list, along with cheesy casseroles and lots of starches like pasta and potatoes. And speaking of a warm bowl of comfort, today happens to be National Chili Day! Somewhere between a soup and a stew, chili holds a special place in the heart of virtually all Americans. The word “chili” is simply short for “chili con carne”, which is Spanish for chili peppers with meat. Most people would agree that chili consists of chili peppers, meat, tomatoes, onions and garlic. But here’s where it gets complicated! Texans (and those in Cincinnati) mainly agree that true chili doesn’t have any beans it in at all, while the rest of the nation pretty much disagrees, using everything from kidney to pinto to black beans and beyond. Then there are all the vegetarian versions. In fact, it might not even be red! White variations of chili have become popular in recent decades. Long story short, when you look at how many different types there are, it’s safe to say that people’s definition of what “chili” actually is – that’s up for debate. Chili Cook-Offs The concept of chili-cooking competitions began in the 1950s in Texas, and soon began cropping up all over the United States. ICS, the International Chili Society, is head of most of the nation’s official cook-offs, with the...

Terrific Treats for the Break Room

This Friday March 1st is Employee Appreciation Day. If you’re looking for something delicious to send to the office, you’ve come to the right place! GiftTree specializes in delivering extraordinary, delicious gifts. Whether you have a team of twenty employees or a hundred, GiftTree has tons of delectable options. Let’s take a look at some terrific treats for the break room. Above all, employees should feel valued all year long. Let your employees know you appreciate their hard work – it doesn’t have to be Employee Appreciation Day to show your thanks! Terrific Treats for the Break Room There are so many ways to Recognize and Reward Employees – Companies with high employee engagement have 50% higher sales. They experience 22% higher productivity. Studies show that most employees feel happier and more productive at work after being positively recognized. As a result of this, they also feel more satisfied with their jobs. On a wider level, appreciation improves a company’s overall culture. For most, the ideal work environment is one where people are put first. By creating a culture of consistent recognition, you’re creating an environment that makes it a pleasure for employees to come to work every day. Fresh Fruit Gifts Decadent Chocolate Baskets Cheese & Charcuterie Cookies & Brownies   Comment Below What do you think is the best way to show Employee...

The Best Employee Appreciation Gifts

March 1st is Employee Appreciation Day! Are you a business owner or part of an HR department? If so, Employee Appreciation Day is a perfect chance to show staff the work they do is valued. One of the best ways to show employee appreciation is with gifts. At all different price points, these tokens of gratitude send a message that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed! Here are some of the best employee appreciation gifts. Personalized Delights for the Desk Embossed Fine Leather Journal Desktop Artisan Compass Personalized Leather Cord Traveler Personalized Thank You Wine Crate GiftTree’s personalized gifts for Employee Appreciation Day are extraordinary. We pay special attention to the finishing touches of your gift, including a card bearing your personal message, ribbon and personalization.   Gift Baskets of Goodies for the Group Bountiful Cellar Encore Gourmet Orchard Harvest Four Seasons Looking for something to send to a group? If so, our gourmet gift baskets are perfect. Imagine any of these showing up in the break room at the office! Your employees will enjoy every sip, nibble and moment of Employee Appreciation Day. Fresh Flowers & Plants for the Office Thank You Jewel Garden Radiant Blooms Bouquet Orchard Harvest Oceanside Garden   Order Today! You’ll have Guaranteed Delivery By Friday, March 1st. Check out the rest! Explore more Employee Appreciation Gifts here!  ...

Why We Gift Wednesday: Your Stories

Welcome to another edition Why We Gift Wednesday! Each week, we celebrate one of the thousands of reasons that we truly love giving by hearing from our wonderful customers themselves. Whether they’re honoring relationships, feeling grateful, or simply being there for one another, Why We Gift Wednesday: Your Stories is all about the greatest gift we can give to one another: connection. So why do we gift? Our customer Todd wrote this amazing story to us: “I recently had an organ transplant and my wife was the living donor. After surgery we went to the transplant ward for recovery. We had never had surgery before and based on experiences at other hospitals I expected it to be hell. But the Johns Hopkins nurses in the transplant ward were amazing. Amazing bedside manner, extremely helpful and pleasant. We were there for 9 days and our recovery was quick because we were treated so well. In that time we all got to know each other and even joked around. It was like no other hospital experience we had had previously. So when we got discharged and were home I felt like we should thank them. Didn’t want to send flowers or a fruit basket so I searched online and came across GiftTree. There was a giant basket of chocolate and goodies and each item could be shared. Perfect. So I ordered it and they received it right away. Thank you Gift Basket for helping me thank those that took care of us.” Receiving above-and-beyond medical care is just another perfect reason to give a generous gift. Doctors and Nurses are so selfless, going...

Ideas for Random Act of Kindness

This week, February 17 through 23, is Random Acts of Kindness Week! Founded in 1995, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation inspires people to practice kindness and “pass it on” to others. How should you participate? There are so many ways! Beyond buying coffee for the guy in line behind you, there are opportunities to be very intentional with your kindness. So, to get you inspired to show a little kindness this week, here are seven good ideas. Random Acts of Kindness Ideas 1. Organize a clean-up party! Do you know a park that needs some TLC, or a stretch of road or waterfront with a lot of litter? If so, gather some friends, family or co-workers, grab some gloves, rakes and trash bags, and make that landscape look good as new. 2. Clean out your closets or pantry and make a donation! This is a two-fer – you’re showing kindness to others and showing kindness to yourself. It’s a great way to feel less stressed, more organized and show respect for your living space. Helpful Hint: animal shelters are always looking for donations of old towels and blankets for the dogs and kitties to stay warm and comfortable while waiting for their forever home. Which brings us to idea #3… 3. Walk the dog, play with the cat! Volunteers are always needed at local animal shelters for feeding animals, cleaning up, dog-walking and playing with kittens. So cut out some time to spend with those fur-babies who could use some human love and affection. 4. Send an encouraging letter, note or e-mail! Life is stressful, and sometimes the thing that helps the...

Champagne 101 – A Crash Course on Bubbly

It may seem like a drink that’s only used to ring in the New Year, raise a glass of at a wedding, or to sip the occasional mimosa at brunch, but champagne doesn’t have to be reserved only for special occasions. Champagne can be enjoyed on its own of course, or from appetizer to dessert, Champagne pairs perfectly with a wide variety of foods throughout the entire duration of a meal. And if you love it, why not make it one of your everyday standards? At first, the labels, terms and price points seem a little daunting, but fear not! GiftTree is here with a crash course on the confusing world of champagne. With just a little bit of knowledge, you can integrate champagne into any occasion, making the event feel extra special.   What is champagne? Champagne is sparkling (carbonated) wine made in the Champagne region of Northern France. However, not all of them hail from the region; in fact, champagne must be from the Champagne region in order to bear the name. If the wine is from Spain, it’s referred to as Cava, in Italy it’s known as Prosecco or Spumante, and in the United States, Sparkling Wine.   What kind of grapes are used to make champagne? Three types of grapes are used – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Pinot Meunier. If you see a champagne labeled “blanc de blancs”, that means only white grapes, Chardonnay, were used to make it. If the label reads “Cuvee”, it is a blend of all three varietals. And if you see “blanc de noirs”, the Champagne is made from red-wine grapes. That means Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier, but the skins are removed quickly so the wine remains white. If the...

GiftTree’s 10 Best Wine Baskets to Give As Gifts

Commemorating a new partnership, thanking a colleague for a business referral, receiving exceptional medical care – these are all great reasons to give a beautiful gift basket. Here at GiftTree we particularly love wine gift baskets – it’s so much more than just a gift, it’s a whole experience. When your recipient spreads out everything in their wine gift basket, sees the great wine and the perfect pairings, they’ll be so excited to taste it all. And best of all, you are the one who gets the recognition! Your great taste and generosity will stand out and be remembered. With all that being said, let’s have a look at GiftTree’s 10 best wine gift baskets to give as gifts – onward!   Wine Baskets Under $100  Wine Tasting and Chocolatier’s Selection. “Berry-rich” is the word I think of to describe this basket – a milk chocolate tablet with real bits of raspberry, chocolate balsamic strawberries and Koppers’ chocolate-covered cherries are just some of the decadent confections. They’re paired with an aromatic Chardonnay and a beautifully lush Cellar Master’s California red blend. Ships to every eligible state, including New York and Illinois! Country Estate. A full-bodied red blend and a golden Chardonnay are paired with gourmet sweets and savory snacks like Ghirardelli sea salt chocolate, Camembert cheese and roasted sea salt almonds, creating an idyllic countryside picnic no matter where the celebration may be. Ships to every eligible state, including New York and Illinois! The Finer Things. Velvety Cabernet along with bold, old-vine Zinfandel are the pillars of character that set the standard for this basket. They’re paired with gourmet savories and sweets to...

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,...

Chocolate Covered Valentine’s Day Gifts

Here at GiftTree, we’re pretty much surrounded by chocolate 24/7. It’s in our baskets, it’s on our desks, it’s in our break rooms and there are samples constantly floating around.  (*Dramatically covers eyes with arm* “It’s our cross to bear!”) But surprisingly, we never get jaded about the idea of receiving chocolate as a gift. It’s luscious, it’s decadent  That’s why we’re excited to introduce these exquisite Valentine’s Day chocolate gifts, ready to delight.   Valentine’s Day Chocolate Gifts         Wife or husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, moms, Aunties or your favorite coworkers, everyone deserves a delicious gift of chocolate this Valentine’s...

Why We Gift Wednesday: Your Stories

Welcome to another edition Why We Gift Wednesday! Each week, we celebrate one of the thousands of reasons that we truly love giving by hearing from our wonderful customers themselves. Whether they’re honoring relationships, feeling grateful, or simply being there for one another, Why We Gift Wednesday: Your Stories is all about the greatest gift we can give to one another: connection. So why do we gift? Our customer Veronica wrote to us: ? “I gift because I love my friends and right now, one friend has a sister going through serious cancer treatments. They are very close, young and best friends to each other. I sent a gift for the both of them to share. It was the coffee basket. She enjoys her coffee and I’m hoping it’s gonna bring a little sunshine to her dreary days.” ? Sending comfort and encouragement to those who need it the most – above all, this is why we gift! From get well gifts to birthday gifts, anniversaries and more, GiftTree is here to help you celebrate life and all of its milestones. Through our curated gift baskets, personalized keepsakes and much more, GiftTree is all about generosity and giving. Explore our many gift options and make ‘much ado matter’ with easy checkout, fast shipping and artful...

February Birthday Purple Power

Did you know every birth month has its own flower? Each of those flowers has its own dedicated meaning, as well. It’s believed that the Romans began this tradition, and the Victorian era also brought floriography, the language of flowers. Between its birthstone and birth flowers, February is all about the purple power! February Birth Flower February’s birth flower, violet, symbolizes humility and faithfulness. In the Northern half of the United States, wild violets are commonly known as blue violets or wood violets. Violets grow in shaded woody areas or wooded wetlands. They range in color from white to yellow, pink to the most common purple shade. The state flower of Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Illinois and New Jersey, wood violets bloom in early spring and last into summer. Violets are a beautiful perennial wildflower, so they may not be an ideal bouquet to give for a February birthday. However, a great gift option that still includes violets is the African Violet, a common indoor houseplant that is beautiful and easy to care for. They like low light and lots of water. Native to eastern tropical African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, African Violets range in colors. But for February birthdays, we suggest giving a potted African Violet in its popular deep purple hue. You can find African Violets at any floral shop or grocery store. However, we also offer it in two of our basket plant gifts, the Blooming Garden and the Simply Chic Plant Basket!   February Birth Stone Another awesome idea for a February birthday gift is an Amethyst. The February birthstone, amethyst is a gorgeous purple...

How To Celebrate Valentine’s Day at the Office

It seems like there is absolutely no time between the holidays and Valentine’s Day, am I right? Here at GiftTree we’re gearing up big time for this lovey-dovey holiday. Our Valentine’s Day Gift Collection is off the hook, we’re prepping all our florists for the big day, and we’re even making some time for ourselves to celebrate, too. Since Valentine’s falls on a Thursday this year, why not make the office feel a little more kindhearted, too? Here are some cute ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day at the office. Tip #1 Send joy to the breakroom with shareable sweets! Delicious treats that can be shared are a perfect way to celebrate. And when you have the opportunity to make them Valentine’s Day-themed, why not make it cutesy? The team will love the sweets and enjoy the break, too.   Tip #2 Send individual Valentine’s Day gifts to the staff! No matter what industry you work in, it’s safe to say that every employee wants to know that they are valued, and the work they do is noticed. Sending your employees a little gift that says “You’re appreciated!” is always a good idea, and Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to do so. Tip #3 Brighten the Lobby with a Valentine’s Bouquet When a client or customer walks into your office, what is the first thing that you want them to notice? A lot of people would say that a welcoming reception area gives an air of respectability and organization. Therefore, adding a bright and beautiful Valentine’s Day-themed bouquet is the perfect touch.   Comment Below How do you celebrate...

Why We Gift Wednesday: Your Stories

Welcome to another edition Why We Gift Wednesday! Each week, we celebrate one of the thousands of reasons that we truly love giving by hearing from our wonderful customers themselves. Whether they’re honoring relationships, feeling grateful, or simply being there for one another, Why We Gift Wednesday: Your Stories is all about the greatest gift we can give to one another: connection. So why do we gift? Our customer Kristine wrote to us: “No words… the birthday balloon bouquet delivery to my 2 year old Godson BEATING cancer at the Children’s hospital was the best money I’ve ever spent in a long time. His smile and the happy look in his eyes made my year ?.. wish I could upload the video. Thank u for the easy process and on-time delivery!” Is there anything better than a loved one full of health and happiness? Above all, this is why we gift! From get well gifts to birthday gifts, anniversaries and more, GiftTree is here to help you celebrate life and all of its milestones. Through our curated gift baskets, personalized keepsakes and much more, GiftTree is all about generosity and giving. Explore our many gift options and make ‘much ado matter’ with easy checkout, fast shipping and artful...

2019 Valentine’s Day Flowers

When you ask people what their favorite gifts to receive is, it’s not a big surprise that flowers are towards the top of the list. Nothing brightens a room or brings a sparkle to the eye quite like fresh, beautiful Valentine’s Day flowers. And Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year to send bouquets! Did you know that every year, 224,000,000 roses are grown in the US in anticipation for Valentine’s Day? That’s 224 BILLION roses! While you try to wrap your mind around that number, check out GiftTree’s incredibly beautiful selection of Valentine’s Day flowers this year.   Keepsake Vases   Ravishing Roses   Playful Pinks & Purples   Embracing the Unconventional   There are SO many more fabulous flower and gift ideas in this year’s Valentine’s Day collection. CLICK HERE to see the rest of the Valentine’s Day Gift Collection!     Comment Below What would be YOUR favorite Valentine’s Day gift to...

A Chocolate Bouquet for Valentine’s Day

Giving the gift of fresh flowers on Valentine’s Day sure is thoughtful and kind. But what if you could combine that thoughtfulness with the decadence and indulgence of chocolate, too? So we created BonBon Blooms™ – a chocolate bouquet for Valentine’s Day! We took delicious truffles and chocolates and artfully arranged them in pretty vases and bases to resemble the freshest bunch of blossoms. We think it’s more exciting than fruit and more enticing than flowers! When fine chocolates are gathered together to make a gorgeous bouquet, it’s truly a memorable gift.   BonBon Blooms™ for Valentine’s Day     BonBon Blooms™ Hearts Bursting Bouquet Send hugs & kisses this Valentine’s Day! This adorable “bouquet” of Lindt Strawberries and Cream truffles, Hershey Kisses and Italian chocolate hearts, beautifully arranged in a vibrant container.                 Just like a bunch of long-stemmed red roses, the BonBon Blooms™ Sweetheart Bouquet is made up of a dozen milk chocolate truffles. It arrives wrapped in pink and white paper with a red satin ribbon, displayed in a glossy white gift box. How romantic!                   BonBon Blooms™ Radiant Rosé Bouquet Our stainless Champagne chiller is overflowing with a “bouquet” of luscious Lindor chocolate truffles in white chocolate and Irish cream, served with a companion bottle of Claribel California Vintage Rosé Wine.                   Explore the entire Valentine’s Day Collection Here     Comment Below:  What kind of chocolate would you like to see in a...

2019 Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

It’s here, it’s here! Among the many holidays we here at GiftTree look forward to the most, Valentine’s Day is near the top of the list. Behold the 2019 Valentine’s Day Gift Guide! Head over to GiftTree to see the full collection. And did you know that you can preorder? It’s easy! Just check out today and select the delivery date for Thursday, February 14. We’ll make sure your gift ships right on time. Place your orders soon – our Valentine’s Day collection is going to sell out fast. GiftTree’s 2019 Valentine’s Day Gift Guide   Chocolate & Treats ? Sweets for the Sweet Valentine’s Day Fruit & Cookies Gift Deliver freshness and sweetness this Valentine’s Day! Our exclusive gift box is filled to the brim with orchard-fresh fruit, luscious heart-shaped Lindor truffles, Ghirardelli chocolate squares and lots of decadent shortbread cookies. It’s perfectly sweet and sure to please.   Valentine’s Day Heart’s Delight Gourmet Surprise your Valentine with this collection of luscious chocolate truffles from luxury brands, decadent cookies, gourmet nuts and so much more. It’s a sweet gift for sweethearts of all ages. Includes a Happy Valentine’s Day ribbon if no custom personalization is selected!     Personalized Valentine’s Day Cookie Jar Your sweetie will remember your kindness every time they reach for a cookie inside this cute cookie jar with a Valentine’s Day motif, a high gloss finish and vacuum-sealed bamboo lid. With your personalization engraved on the jar, it’s a gift they’ll display year after year. Includes 13 cookies in flavors such as chocolate chunk, cranberry oatmeal and double chocolate brownie.   Valentine’s Day Snacks &...

The Best Cheese I Ever Ate

What’s the best cheese you ever ate? It’s not an easy question to answer, especially if you’re a cheese lover. This Sunday, January 20 is National Cheese Lover’s Day, and if you’re anything like us here at GiftTree,  the word “love” doesn’t quite go far enough to describe our passion and devotion to cheese. To us, cheese is probably the most important culinary creation in the history of the world. Plainly put, cheese is necessary for the continued survival of the human race. With this Sunday being that wonderful day to honor the glory and majesty that is cheese, we think the best way to celebrate is telling the cheesiest stories we know. The Best Cheese I Ever Ate Cheese Tales from the GiftTree Tastemakers   “They say a song can take you back to a place, a time, and evoke your favorite memories.  That’s all well and good, but you can’t eat a song.  What you can eat is cheese, and my recommendation is Pedrozo Dairy & Cheese Company’s Black Butte Reserve. This golden wheel of glory is all that is best and bright in the world.  Made only in the spring time, when the Northern California grasses are tender, green and wave like the seas, this cheese is aged to perfect sharpness.  Each bite starts with the sweet hint of verdant fields and grows into notes of caramel and then finishes with the sharp tang that begs for another taste.  It’s the perfect noshing cheese, and not for the faint of heart! ” – Jen *** “The best cheese I ever ate is Époisses, from Burgundy. I love ‘the good stink’...

It’s National Clean Off Your Desk Day!

Marie Kondo is all the rage these days. Her Netflix series “Tidying Up” is one of the most popular shows on streaming services right now. On the show, she explains her KonMarie Method™ – a simple way to organize the home so that you’ll never have to do it again. But do you think this applies to office spaces, too? Today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day. This day is an opportunity to clean off your desk and get the new year off to a fresh, organized start! Here are some helpful tips to organize your own desk create a workspace where you feel productive and energized. First, File Away (or Throw Away) Items and Papers That Are No Longer Needed. You might want to silence your phone & put your computer to sleep to make this step as distraction-free as possible. Then you can rest assured that you probably won’t accidentally throw something away that you still need. Then, Remove Everything Remaining From Your Desk & Set Aside. Take everything off your desk and wipe down the surface with a damp cloth. Depending on the material of your desk, you may want to use glass cleaner, disinfecting wipes or wood cleaner. You can take this time to clean your computer monitor with the appropriate cloth, as well. Next, Place the Used & Useful Items Back. Gently clean each item as you place it back on your desk, from the tape dispenser to the keyboard and mouse. Place every item in a spot that works best for you, strategically. For example, are you left handed? Your journal would...
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