Category Archives: BasketWorks

The 5 Most Popular Foods of Winter

When old man winter is knocking at your door, ’tis the season to enjoy hearty meals that provide sustenance to deal with howling winds. 

Ooh, how folksy! 

Winter calls for good old-fashioned comfort foods that take longer to prepare but are worth the effort to warm the cockles of your heart. 

To that end, over here at BasketWorks, we present the five most popular winter foods to cozy up to.

1. Hearty Soup

Hearty soups like chicken noodle, split pea with ham, and beef barley are the go-to meals in the dead of winter. 

I know, it’s been pretty mild so far in Chicagoland, but I’m sure I just jinxed it.

Soups are easy to prepare and are also great for lunch leftovers. You just toss everything in a pot or slow cooker and let it simmer until all the flavors infuse the broth. Enjoyed with chunks of crusty bread smothered in butter, a grilled cheese sandwich or crackers, soup is the quintessential winter food.

2. Comforting Macaroni & Cheese

Mac n’ cheese has reached legendary status as the ultimate comfort food. 

It has gone from the recognizable blue box everyone keeps in their pantry to a gourmet-level meal with all kinds of clever ingredients that bring it to the next level. But deep down, we all crave the same good old-fashioned version mom always made. 

When it comes to feeling like a warm hug, nothing does it better than mac ‘n cheese.

3. Luscious Pot Roast

Pot roast may be the mother of all comfort foods. 

Slow-cooked meat, gravy, potatoes, and carrots. I mean, come on. 

Pot roast is the ultimate winter meal and just as easy to prepare as soup if you have a slow cooker handy. After a hard day at work, nothing says welcome home more than a simmering chunk of tender beef.

4. Spicy Chili

126.95 million Americans can’t be wrong. Yes, that’s how many of us consumed chili in 2020. Is there anything they don’t track?

Chili is a versatile dish, and we’re going to focus on the spicy kind. 

Whether you love it with plenty of beans or are all about the meat, spicy chili is packed with flavors. That combination of meat, beans, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and spices is a kick start to your taste buds, creating a warming sensation from tongue to tummy, ideal for a cold winter’s day.

5. Rib Sticking Stew

Speaking of versatility, there are hundreds of stews to choose from, like classic beef stew, French boeuf bourguignon, Irish lamb stew, and chicken stew topped with light and fluffy dumplings.

Another slow cooker-friendly meal, stew allows you to combine ingredients and let them simmer while you get on with your day. Always rich and flavorful, stew goes down easy when the weather is snowy, damp, or downright miserable.

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Speaking of soup, it’s always nice to have a bowl when you’ve got a winter cold or bug. To that end, check out our Soup and Quackers Get Well Basket, a lighthearted pick-me-up with chicken soup mix, crackers, a stuffed animal duck, and more! 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today! Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Winter Blues May Be More Serious Than Its Name Suggests

On occasion, I write about mental health, a subject that is near and dear to my heart. 

Gorilla on Your Back, a blog post I wrote about what it feels like to have depression, was picked up by the Huffington Post, and I also also gave a TED Talk-like presentation on the subject at my synagogue that you can view here.

We’re almost a month into winter, a time when many people suffer from the “Winter Blues”, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression that often requires treatment. 

I’m not a doctor, but that doesn’t mean I can’t educate about this condition. In today’s blog, I look at why the winter blues may be more serious than the name suggests.  

What is SAD?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, approximately 5% of all Americans experience symptoms of SAD, which is caused by a reduced level of sunlight, something we’re not strangers to in these parts. 

When this happens, it causes confusion for our internal clocks that help manage our waking and sleeping hours. Less sunlight reduces serotonin levels, the chemical that impacts our mood. When we don’t have enough serotonin, it can result in symptoms that make us feel sad, listless, tired, and disinterested in the things that usually bring us joy.

What’s Sunlight Got To Do with It?

Why does less sunlight get us down? 

Sunlight affects your circadian rhythms which work like an alarm clock for the body. This is why they’re also known as the internal clock. Less sunlight impacts how our bodies manage the hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for mood regulation. Our bodies use the morning light to trigger wakefulness, and (to get super sciency) we actually have something called retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in our eyes that detect sunlight and trigger our circadian rhythm into wakefulness. We wake up because the RGC reaction stops our production of restful melatonin. 

The shorter days of winter interrupt all these cues, causing our bodies to overproduce melatonin, so we think it’s night all the time.  

Why is Serotonin Important?  

Serotonin and melatonin are opposites when it comes to SAD. 

Serotonin helps keep our moods level and our energy levels up. When we don’t have enough sunlight and our serotonin levels are lower, it allows mood-enhancing neurotransmitters to have free reign, which in some of us increases the symptoms of depression.

Can Seasonal Depression Be Treated?

You bet it can. 

Since the lack of natural sunlight is a leading cause of SAD, getting more UV light can ease symptoms. Light therapy or phototherapy mimics daylight, so your internal clock can recalibrate itself. The therapy is applied using a lightbox and requires about 30 minutes of exposure each day. It is a passive light source like any other light you use, with the key difference being it produces UV light. 

However, severe symptoms should always be reported to your doctor as soon as possible to diagnose your issue and ensure you receive proper treatment.

Helpful Resources

SAD is only one of several mental health conditions, and often symptoms overlap among them. There are so many resources available to educate you on mental illness and point you in the right direction for treatment. Let’s start here:

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today! Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

How To Plan The Perfect Sledding Outing

Although you might feel grumpy and disenchanted when the cold weather arrives, there’s something to be said about the first snowfall in Chicago. 

Everything gets quiet and glistens under a frosty white blanket. Okay, maybe the latter part of that sentence is more realistic, but what I’m building up to here is that rather than letting the snow get you down, you can thrill downhill on a speedy fast sled. 

Today, we’re temporarily veering off the topic of gift baskets to focus on our guide to planning the perfect sledding outing.

Choose the Right Gear 

You can’t show up to your favorite hill unprepared. 

Oh no, because sledding is the quintessential traditional and other adjectives ending in “al” activity, so you have to get it right. 

First, you need to choose a sled:

  • Toboggans: Toboggans offer good control with “reins” you can lean into to direct the sled. The toboggan is the classic choice to fit up to four people. The curved front and smooth bottom plow through deeper snow quite well.
  • Sledges: Sledges operate the same way as toboggans but include runners on the bottom without the curved front. They are a good choice for a rider or two.
  • Saucer: The saucer is a disc, ideal for single sledders. However, they can be quite fast. We’re talking Clark Griswold on a trash can lid fast, so not the best choice for small kids or novice sledders.
  • Snow tubes: Tubes are inflatable, offering a nice and comfy ride compared to other sled types. They come in different sizes and shapes but are harder to control and can also go scary fast.  
  • Kicksleds: These are like little chairs on runners. They are easy to operate and designed for a single rider.

The key is to make sure the sled you choose has easy grips to hold onto for safety. A helmet is a must for kids and highly recommended for adults. Sleds pick up speed fast, and noggins must be protected. 

Also, wear SPF sunscreen for your nose and chapstick for your lips. Also, bring along a bottle of water because dragging the sled up that hill is hard work.

Pack Some Food

You’ll want to pack a lunch to refuel and warm up after a few trips down the hill. 

So, what does one include in a winter picnic basket? 

First and foremost, you’ll want a thermos filled with your favorite heartwarming beverage. Hot chocolate is the classic, especially if sledding with kids. But hey, if coffee is the only thing to get you back up that hill, it is just as sled friendly. Teas work, too, as does a nice hot toddy or spiked cider. 

Think simple and transportable snacks, like wraps and sandwiches cut into bite-sized morsels, sausage rolls, little quiches, “hand” pies, cookies, crackers, cheese, etc. Pack everything into an easy-to-carry picnic basket, tote, or duffel bag, along with paper plates and napkins.

Dress for It

Kids are stubborn (if you haven’t noticed), and they may not want to bundle up. Too bad. 

Snow pants keep you warm and dry. Dress in layers, with a thermal shirt and long johns. Also, thick socks and winter boots are a must. Avoid scarves, as they can be dangerous when sledding. Instead, wear a turtleneck or neck warmer. A properly fitted hat that won’t fall over your eyes in mid-descent finishes off your look.

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

Remember when I said in the intro that I’d be veering off the topic of gift baskets? Well, that was a half-truth. 

It’s still the holiday season, and we’re busting out all the stops with our Let It Snow Holiday Gift Box, stuffed with 2 Walker’s shortbread packs, 2 chocolate covered pretzels; 2 Dolcetto cookie bites, 2 Pirouline wafer two packs, and more!

We are open with limited hours tomorrow and shipping as fast as we can.

Happy Holidays! 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today! Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Health Benefits of Cookies

Three words that don’t make sense together in any order are “health”, “benefits”, and “cookies.” 

But we’re all about blowing minds with unconventional cookies. If we could find the nutrition in chocolate, wine, and popcorn, there’s nothing stopping us from tackling cookies. 

Cookies come in thousands of recipes, and with the right mix of ingredients, they can prove to be a healthy snack that provides plenty of energy to get on with your day. 

Today, we take a look under the jar lid at the health benefits of cookies. 

Weight Loss

Naturally one associates eating cookies with weight loss…not. 

This might seem like an impossible benefit to eating cookies, but your body needs a certain number of calories each day to ensure you can manage your metabolic activities. While you don’t want to consume large quantities of sugar in your daily diet, natural sugar does help provide the energy required to help you burn calories efficiently. 

The right dose of natural sugar can also provide more energy, in general, to help you remain more active. Also, when dieting, it is better for you to indulge in cravings so you avoid derailing your diet altogether. 

A yummy low-fat cookie works nicely to satisfy your sweet or chocolate cravings.

Nutritious Ingredients

There are plenty of cookies that contain natural, healthy ingredients (Yay!) Some good examples of the nutritious ingredients to look for in cookies include:  

  • No artificial preservatives, sweeteners, and colors 
  • Grains such as oats
  • Whole Wheat flours instead of bleached flour
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Peanut and nut butters
  • No artificial preservatives, sweeteners, and colors 
  • Dark Chocolate (Yes, chocolate can be good for you!)
  • Dried fruit

Protein Carb Snack

Cookies rich in proteins, such as peanut butter and chocolate, are excellent post-workout snacks. 

You get the double whammy of carbs and protein to fuel your body and muscles to make up for all the energy you use. Your workout depends on the energy stored in your muscles, which means you need to replenish that energy shortly following physical activity. Cookies do that nicely.

Again, choose natural ingredients. 

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

It’s now time to veer off course. 

It’s the holidays, so indulge now and be healthy later. To that end, we’ve got the perfect gift for you: our Cookie Cookie Cookie Gift Basket, bursting with scrumptious selections, including Cooper Street twice baked white chocolate cherry, Poppies chocolate lace, Tate’s Tiny chocolate chip, Bahlsen, Flathaus lemon Snaps, Grey Ghost bourbon chocolate and more. 

Happy holidays! 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today! Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Holiday Gifting Made Easy

You’d think with so many brick and mortar and online retailer options, that finding the right holiday gift would be a cinch. 

Why is gift-giving so hard? Because it is. 

But this isn’t a blog post about why; rather we focus on how to make it an easy process. 

The holidays are the perfect opportunity to show your gratitude to your friends (including frenemies), family (including those who don’t necessarily deserve your gratitude), and clients (who are always awesome no matter what).

You want something meaningful enough to convey your message effectively yet affordable enough that it won’t break your budget. You also want to ensure your gift is available and will arrive on time. 

Let’s take a look at making holiday gifting easy with four simple steps.

Step 1. Determine Your People Gift List

Get planning now if you haven’t started already. 

Make a list of the people you want to thank with a token of your appreciation, complete with their addresses and telephone numbers. 

For business, it’s a good idea to separate the list based on client details, such as longer-term clients vs newer clients or higher value clients vs lower, you can assign different “levels” of gifts based on cost. This ensures everyone receives an appropriate gift.

Step 2.  Determine Your Budget

This step should probably go first, but it’s funnier this way. 

I should have warned you at the beginning that there’d be some math involved, but whatever. 

We’re going to stay on clients a moment, though this same approach can be applied to friends, family, strangers, what have you. Set a budget limit to assign a budget to each gift “level,” using the value of your association with each client as your guide. Remember to include the total cost, such as tax and delivery, as the longer the list, the more quickly these small numbers add up. It’s not about sending something ostentatious and expensive, but instead something thoughtful as a token of thanks.

Step 3. Select a Gift Style or Theme

You’re at an advantage if you have a sense of your gift recipient’s taste. 

This allows you to narrow down your choices by selecting a gift style or theme. For example, you could choose to give all of your friends and family members gifts that are handmade (and then give the gift of a hand massage and manicure afterward). Or, you could focus on giving eco-friendly gifts that will help reduce your carbon footprint. Whatever gift style or theme you choose, make sure to put thought into each and every present. 

It’s a nice touch. 

Step 4. Finalize Your Plans

You can see the finish line! Now it’s time to finish. 

Your gift isn’t ready without a personalized message and a delivery date. You don’t want the gift to arrive after the holidays. Forget better late than never. Get a sense of shipping and delivery schedules, as there can be lags during the holiday season. 

Just like that, your work is done. But it’s not because…

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Today is Giving Tuesday, and we’ve got you covered. 

BasketWorks proudly supports the Northfield Food Pantry with our Gifting for Good Food Pantry Gift Basket. Twenty-five dollars from each basket sold will be donated to the pantry. A card is included in each basket notifying the recipient of this donation. And it’s a great basket, loaded with holiday goodies like Everton butter toffee pretzels, English tea cookies, peanut brittle,, ice wine chocolates, and so much more. 

Happy Holidays!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today! Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

5 Health Benefits of Turkey

You’ll enjoy this blog post…if you’re not a turkey. 

I know what you’re thinking: Come on, everyone knows turkey is healthy. What is this, a throwaway post? 

Well, folks know that turkey is white meat and on the leaner side, but it kind of ends there. Oh, but there are many more ways this bird does the body good. 

Today, we carve out (see what I did there?) the answers. 

1) A Healthy Source of Protein

Turkey is often touted as a healthy source of lean protein, and for good reason.

A single turkey breast can contain as much as 20 grams of protein, more than half of the recommended daily intake for most adults! We love protein because it’s essential for muscle growth and repair. 

Now, I won’t claim that you can’t go wrong with a juicy slice of turkey, because you can if you’re not careful about portion sizes. While protein is crucial nutritional content, you don’t want to load up on unnecessary calories. 

2) It’s Stuffed with B Vitamins

Who knew that turkeys are flying multivitamin packs?

Turkey is an excellent source of several different B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6. These vitamins are essential for metabolism, energy production, and nervous system function. 

So when you’re enjoying that delicious turkey dinner, remember that you’re also getting a healthy dose of nutrients that will help keep your body running like a well-oiled machine or something. 

3) Reliable Source of Minerals 

As any self-respecting Thanksgiving host knows, the turkey is not only the centerpiece of the meal, but also a veritable goldmine of minerals. 

Turkey is rife with selenium, zinc, phosphorus and iron, which can support thyroid function, immunity, bone health and energy production.

4) Turkey is Low in Fat

As a lean protein, turkey is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and one can argue that it’s a healthier option than other types of meat. In fact, turkey actually gives salmon a run for its money when it comes to omega 3 fatty acids.

Keep in mind, how you cook turkey–sauteed with olive oil rather than bacon fat–impacts saturated fat levels. 

5) Known to be Heart Healthy 

Turkey is often hailed as a healthy alternative to red meat. 

But what about turkey’s effect on the heart? Turkey can be quite beneficial for heart health. The amino acid L-carnitine, which is found in turkey, has been shown to improve blood flow and decrease inflammation. 

Turkey also contains CoQ10, an important nutrient that helps protect the heart from damage. In addition, the selenium in turkey can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

You know what goes nicely with turkey? Our Ultimate Autumn Gift Basket, replete with Everton butter toffee pretzels, cheese straws, mulling spices, ginger cookies, mixed nuts, and so much more. 

After reaping the health benefits of turkey, you can reward yourself with treats!

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today! Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

How to Keep the Peace at Thanksgiving Dinner

You know what they say, “You can choose your friends, but not your family.” 

That expression could not be more illuminated than during the Thanksgiving holiday, specifically at dinner. We’re supposed to peacefully break bread, yet so many tables turn into sparring rings over old family stuff, new family stuff, or just stuff in general. All this stuff gets all the attention rather than the actual stuffing

It’s hard to bite your tongue when Crazy Uncle Fill-In-The-Blank starts mouthing off about, well, fill-in-the-blank. Keeping the peace is attainable, but it takes some skill and a lot of patience. 

So, I encourage you to read on. 

Prepare Yourself Mentally

If you worry about a particular person who tends to make things feel less than peaceful, prepare yourself mentally for their arrival. 

If entertaining with a partner, agree on a signal (something subtle that doesn’t require a life ring as a prop) that tells them you need relief from a stressful situation. You can also tell yourself it’s just for a few hours and try to let negative comments trickle away like water down a duck’s back. Don’t forget about your guests. 

Allowing them to prepare for encounters with their less than favorite people can help keep everyone calm. If you know of possible conflict, give a head’s up to those who might stand to suffer the most so they can also prepare themselves for the day.

Set the Right Tone

Create a warm and welcoming environment where the focus is on family and gratitude. 

Or do your best. 

For example, have everyone write out what they are thankful for on a card and drop it into a basket. If things get heated, you can pull cards and share everyone’s contributions. Of course that might encourage the Thanksgiving disruptor to compose some unfriendly thoughts, but what can you do?

You can also have a potluck, so everyone brings their best dish to create a feeling of inclusiveness. 

Reduce risk for conflicts by creating “decorative” place settings that strategically keep people who tend to fight as far apart as possible.

Have Subject Changers Ready

Thanksgiving occurs after the Midterm Elections, so it’s okay to ignore the 800 pound Turkey in the room. 

Have some neutral discussion points ready so you can quickly try to change the subject. If arguments break out, try to insinuate yourself into the discussion by asking a question or bringing up something a little less controversial.

Keep Your Sense of Humor

Although it can be difficult to keep smiling when everyone is at each other’s throats, humor can go a long way to cool the mood. Be sure to read the room and think of something funny to say that might help everyone relax and shift to a more positive state of mind. 

Pay attention to conversations and interject your own comments before things have a chance to heat up.

WIsh I can tell you to say, but it’s your family, and I’m not touching that one. 

Set Off-Limit Conversation Rules

Most families have known hot-button topics sure to lead to escalated arguments. It’s your house, so your rules apply. Let everyone know in a fun way certain topics are off limits. Anyone that breaks the rule has to do the dishes—alone.

Keep an Eye on the Bar

Responsible hosts keep an eye on the bar to make sure no one has one drink too many. If hosting makes it too difficult to do so, assign a bartender. 

Alcohol fans the flames of emotion, which can turn an innocent comment into World War III. You might even consider limiting how much booze you serve. Only have a certain number of bottles of wine set aside for dinner and a fun-themed cocktail like pumpkin spice or apple pie martini as an aperitif.

As the host, you can create a neutral environment where everyone feels welcomed, included and safe. Whether it’s your crass uncle, inappropriate aunt, or political cousin, you can help avoid conflict and survive another family Thanksgiving dinner by keeping the peace.

🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨

One way to put a Thanksgiving peace-offender in a positive mood is by surprising them with our Autumn Harvest Gift Basket, built in a copper-toned tin and replete with chocolate covered cranberries, crunchy snack mix, Anna’s cookies, mulling source, and more!  

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today! Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Health Benefits of Crackers

The humble cracker has come a long way since the days of boring saltines served on the side of chili and soup. 

Crackers have become a bit of an art form with a multitude of gourmet options that bring your cheese and charcuterie boards to the next level. Many of the new ingredients being used to up the flavor profile of these crispy little snacks, such as grains and seeds, have also made crackers a surprisingly healthy snack. 

If you thought our blog about the health benefits of honey was astounding, buckle up for this one about crackers, specifically multigrain. 

A Boost of Fiber

When you choose multigrain crackers, you get a boost of fiber that can offer some unexpected health benefits. 

First, if you serve up a nice platter of crackers and cheese as a healthy appetizer, you feel full and will eat less at dinner. The high fiber content can aid in weight loss because it helps you feel satisfied longer. 

Fiber is also known to reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Lots of Protein

We make a big deal about protein for good reasons. 

Protein is essential for energy and carrying oxygen throughout the body and in our blood. It also promotes antibodies that combat infections and illnesses, as well as maintaining healthy cells and generating new ones. 

If that weren’t enough, protein helps you lose weight because you actually burn more calories during the digestion of proteins.

Vitamins and Iron

Grains contain B vitamins that allow you to convert the nutrients in your food into fuel. 

As a result, your metabolism gets a boost that keeps it running efficiently throughout the day. B vitamins from grains offer the following health benefits:

  • Vitamin B3: This is great for your skin while also supporting a healthy nervous system.
  • Vitamin B1: This B vitamin helps keep your appetite in check for healthier eating habits.
  • Vitamin B6: This contributes to healthy red blood cell production.

Grains are an excellent source of iron which is also great for your blood. Iron helps produce red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout your entire system and store it in your muscles for future use. You need iron for energy, cell growth, and DNA synthesis. When you combine your crackers with vegetables, cheese, and fruit, you also get a good boost of Vitamin C, which improves iron absorption. 

Win-win.

Building a Healthy Appetizer with Crackers

You can build an even healthier ensemble with your crackers by adding these ingredients:

  • Hummus and other planted-based spreads such as guacamole
  • Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, and pistachios
  • Pickles and brined foods such as olives, peppers, and beets
  • Fresh and dried fruits such as figs and dates
  • Vegetable sticks with healthy dips such as tzatziki, yogurt, raita, and soft cream cheese

You might not always think of crackers when you think of healthy snacks, but when you choose multigrain crackers packed with grains and seeds, they become not only tastier but also healthier. 

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Seeing as we’re in the thick of fall, there’s no better time to place an order for our Flavors of Fall Gift Basket. We’ve gone fall out (see what I did there?) on this one, which features Everton toffee pretzels, mulling spices, Anna’s ginger cookies, 3 Dad’s popcorn, and much more! 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company, located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today! 

Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

What Are the Most Popular Fall Foods?

Don’t fret about summer being in the rearview mirror, because fall is pretty awesome. 

Fall is a great season when it comes to food, for it’s the season of the harvest when local produce is in abundance with a veritable cornucopia of squash, root vegetables, apples, pears and more, all ripe for the picking. 

Today, we admire the wonderful foods of fall. 

Squash, Squash and More Squash

If you aren’t a big fan of squash, you should really give it a chance. Squash comes in an endless list of varieties, each with its own unique taste and texture. Most have a wonderfully nutty flavor just begging for butter and brown sugar to bring out its best. It can be roasted with other vegetables,

pureed into all kinds of heartwarming soups, or be tossed into pasta and stews. 

Spaghetti squash (yes, that is a thing) can be roasted and shredded as an alternative to pasta if you’re on a low carb diet, complete with its own ready-to-serve bowl.

All Things Pumpkin Spice

You know you love it and can’t get enough of it—pumpkin spice. 
Whether it’s in your morning latte, an afternoon donut, or a decadent dessert at your next dinner party, pumpkin spice is a fall mainstay. This blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger is enough to put your nostrils and taste buds into overdrive with their pungent aroma and deep nostalgic flavors that remind you of Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends.

An Apple a Day

Apples really don’t need their egos stroked anymore, but we can’t help ourselves. 

There is no better time to indulge in a crisp, sweet apple than the fall. 

When plucked fresh from the tree in late September, the apple becomes a sublime fruit whether you eat it straight up, dip it in caramel, pop it in a crust and bake it into a pie, or enjoy it in all kinds of dishes from salads to stuffing and roasted veggies to curries and soups.

Apples, as always, you win. 

Stew Season

Stew may be the official savory dish of fall, with hearty root vegetables simmered in mouthwatering gravy that slowly tenderizes the less expensive cuts of meat. 

Stew is an homage to rib-sticking, lip-smacking meals that beg for fresh, crusty loaves of bread smothered in butter to sop up every last drop of that impossibly comforting broth.

Excuse me while I fix myself a bowl.

Super Soups

Speaking of the soup family…

Whether it’s the all-American combo of grilled cheese and tomato soup, an elegant bowl of French onion smothered in bubbling gruyere cheese, or a sweet, smooth puree of delicious butternut squash, soups are the ultimate superfood of the fall. They are easy to prepare, make excellent leftovers and provide a warm welcome home after a long day.

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It’s our favorite segment of our blog! Other great seasonal foods are featured in our Flavors of Fall Gift Basket, brimming with Everton toffee pretzels, mulling spices, Anna’s ginger cookies, Marin’s apple chips, smoked cashews, and more. 

About BasketWorks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today! Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

6 Buzzworthy Health Benefits of Honey

Last time we blew your minds with 4 Health Benefits of Cherries That Will Make You Chipper, and if you thought we’d stop there, prepare to be re-mesmerized.

Bees may frighten us with their buzzing and stingers, but we love their honey, that delicious ingredient that adds a depth of flavor to beverages, snacks and chef-worthy dishes. 

If you love the sweet taste of honey, you’ll be happy to know it is also quite healthy, and you bet your sweet nectar that we’re about to explore its health benefits. 

1. Honey Contains Polyphenols

Poly what?

Polyphenols are plant-based compounds found in foods such as fruit. Polyphenols have been linked to many potential health benefits, including:

  • Lowering blood sugar levels
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Prevention of blood clots
  • Improved digestion
  • Improved brain function

2. A Powerful Antioxidant

We can’t avoid the word “antioxidant” because it shows up in every healthy food. So deal with it! 

Fresh, unprocessed honey is rich in antioxidants and the darker the variety, the more antioxidants you’ll find. Antioxidants help neutralize the potential damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. As a benefit, polyphenols can help combat the signs of premature aging.

3. A Healthy Alternative to Sugar

Now that you’re an expert in polyphenols, you’ll be happy to know that the polyphenols in honey can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, especially when compared to basic sugar. 

To be clear, honey does still raise blood sugar levels, but it also helps improve blood sugar regulation because it can help increase levels of the hormone adiponectin. Just be sure you’re using pure honey without any additional sweeteners or syrups. 

4. Improved Heart Health

Honey can reduce the risk of high blood pressure. In addition, the propolis in raw honey could improve your triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Aren’t we just so sciencey?

5. Aids in Wound Healing

Honey has been used as a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory treatment dating back to ancient Egypt. 

When honey is applied to burns and wounds, it can help promote healing and can also ease discomfort related to skin conditions such as psoriasis. Whatever you do, don’t lick it while it’s doing its healing thing. 

6. Calming Coughs and Soothing Sore Throats

Some contend that honey is the ideal natural cold medicine, offering an excellent cough suppressant. 

Just a spoonful has been known to calm coughs without the side effects of over-the-counter medicines. In fact, studies have found it to be better than diphenhydramine, a medicine commonly used to ease troublesome coughs. 

It can also help soothe painful sore throats. If it’s a little too sweet on its own, add a generous spoonful to your tea or a cup of warm water with a squirt of fresh lemon.

🚨🚨🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨🚨🚨

We usually go with one siren emoji, but in case you’re tired today, this will wake you up. 

We can’t talk about honey without mentioning our Breakfast Tray Gift Basket, featuring a mini honey jar, Bonne Maman lemon curd, Sticky Fingers scone mix, and more. 

While honey might be the ideal treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, it makes an excellent alternative to sugar, thanks to its many health benefits.  

About Basketworks

BasketWorks is a woman-owned gift basket company located in the north suburbs of Chicago (specifically Northbrook, IL) since 1997. We are proud to offer a variety of gifts and gift baskets appropriate for all occasions. Each of our packages is built to order, allowing for customization at no additional cost to our clients. Contact us today! Please subscribe to our blog post and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.