A girl I used to work with was on her way to a get together with a bunch of her girlfriends one day and she said to me, in passing, that she had to stop and pick up a gift to exchange at the party. I asked her about it, wondering if it was someone’s birthday, and she said that her and a bunch of girls were getting together to have some drinks and exchange with one another a few of their favorite things. I thought “What a great idea!” I think these girls were exchanging girly things like cosmetics and what not, which would also be great, but when I heard this I thought of all my favorite delicious treats and how cool it would be to make a gift basket for my sister for her upcoming birthday filled with all of my secret, and not so secret favorites. What a great gift to receive, and I was hoping that my sister would take it as a clue and send me a basket of her favorite goodies in return. How fun to try a bunch of new stuff, and a very cute way to get to know someone better too, a way to be close when you’re so far away.
That is my little sister on the far right. She lives in Colorado. Isn’t she beautiful?
Well…I never ended up making this basket for my sister because every time I bought the stuff I ended up eating it all. Hey!!!! Can you blame me? It was MY favorite stuff after all. I still think its a great idea and I still want to do it one day, or maybe even have a party like those girls I was telling you about did, but in the meantime I’ve decided to just write about it. SSSSOoooo without further ado,
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
I was first introduced to these treats last Christmas by my friend Carrie. I was a bit apprehensive about trying them at first. I’m not much for dark chocolate or the combination of salty and sweet. Well, I wasn’t until I had these I should say. They changed my whole perspective. The combination of the bitter chocolate, the sweet caramel, and the crunchy salt is like nothing I have ever had. It is heavenly. What else makes these so special is that you can only get them around the holidays so you either have to stock up or wait expectantly for Christmas to roll around once again. I tried stocking up but they didn’t even last until New Years!
Izze sparkling grapefruit is a delicious little thing I found at the health food store. I think you can get it at some regular grocery stores as well. It is basically grapefruit soda but it’s made with all natural fruit juice and soda water so it’s not loaded with extra sugar and other additives. I absolutely love these. I just tried their peach flavored one the other day and it was great too. They have a huge variety so I’m looking forward to trying them all. I love the bottle design too. So simple and clean I think they would look pretty in a basket.
Nutella!!! Creamy delicious hazelnut chocolate spread. Need I say more? Well I will say more. The best way to eat this stuff is to smear it on a piece of white bread and chow down. Sounds weird I know but its really, really good. My French aunt Zabet used to give us this. I wonder if it’s just a European thing. I tried to make some sandwich cookies for Christmas last year by mixing this and chocolate chips together for the filling. The filling was good but the cookies I used weren’t, so I think I will have to do a few more experiments with that one.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. This product is a delicious green tea ice cream wrapped in a sweet mochi. I don’t know about you but I think green tea flavored things are great. I’ve also developed a taste for unique flavors of ice cream. This summer I think I am going to try and make lavender-honey ice cream (stay tuned for the blog). Anyway this stuff is weird and yummy. The mochi outside is powdery, sticky, chewy, and just weird. Not for everyone for sure, but I love it, and the inside is creamy yummy green tea ice cream. A great little treat. I guess this wouldn’t do well in a gift basket though huh?
Hot Tamales oh Hot Tamales. These things are like cinnamon flavored crack. I swear this girl I used to work with knew how much I loved them so she would bring me a box from time to time. Not the small box, the big one. The thing wouldn’t even last a day. For some reason I just can’t stop eating them once I start. They must put something in them. YUM!!!
Cadbury Fruit & Nut hmmm, my mommy used to always have one of these candy bars stashed in her bedside table. Now I do too. They don’t last long though. Something about the combo of raisins and almonds with the Cadbury creamy lovely chocolate makes for the perfect bite. I love these candy bars. My husband hates raisins with an unnatural passion and cannot understand my taste for this bar. He comments every time he sees me getting one about how much he hates it.
This is another Trader Joe’s treat. What a neat store. Trader Joe’s Butter Almond Thins taste a little bit like Pepperidge Farm’s Chessmen cookies but with a much better texture and flavor. They are just paper-thin little cookies but they are great. They break easily though so every time I’ve gotten these, almost all the cookies have been in a million pieces. Still taste great but not great if you want to serve them at a party.
This is another one from my childhood. I remember my grandmother having boxes of this in her basement freezer. I don’t know if I was actually allowed to have any or not but I loved it and would snag a piece on the way out the door, headed for a day at the lake. My fondest memories were made at that lake.
Chocolate Lace is a really neat product that I have always wanted to try to make at home. Its basically just caramelized sugar drizzled on a sheet pan in a pretty swirl design and then covered with chocolate. I don’t know how easy or difficult this would be to do at home. It seems rather fragile so I may run into some trouble there. If anyone has any experience or tips about making chocolate lace I would love to hear from you.
Chantilly cookies from Pepperidge Farm were another of my mom’s favorites that I took a liking to. They have actually changed the name and stopped topping them with sugar, which I am very upset about. The sugar was the best part. These yummy things were filled with raspberry jam. Sooooooooooo good. I hate it when companies change things. It’s just like when you finally find a lipstick you like and then they discontinue it right when you run out. Jerks.
Well folks. That was a few of my favorite things. I must have sugar on the brain right now because I just noticed that there are only sweets on this list. I guess one day I will have to write another blog.
A Few of My Favorite Savory Things… A Few of My Favorite Spicy Things…
Lets just say
To be continued…