You know that frustrating feeling when you just can’t find the perfect gift for your friend or family member? It’s not that you don’t know what they like, but after years of gift-giving, you feel like you’ve run out of options.
So how do you keep your gifts meaningful and exciting, year after year? You gift them a subscription box.
Themed subscription boxes can have surprising items that you may not expect but your friend, sibling, or mom will undoubtedly love.
To prove how many options you have when gifting subscription boxes, here’s a list of a few of the most popular ones.
1. Bloombox Club
For the people in your life who have dreams of covering their home in plants, this is the subscription they need. Or, they may want to improve their outdoor garden.
Bloombox delivers seasonal boxes of plants, from perennials and trees to vegetables and tropicals. There’s also a whole section of indoor plants.
Or, this subscription gift box is a great option for those who have had more than a few plants die in their care. Every plant comes with clear care instructions to make it as easy as possible to keep them alive.
2. Brew Tea Co.
For the tea lovers of the world, this subscription box is perfect. You can order your friend’s favorite teas and even a teapot for loose leaf tea.
It’s an easy way to stay stocked up on a monthly basis so they never have to worry about running out.
It’ll also give them a chance to try out new brews and explore flavors they may not have considered before.
3. Rare Birds Book Club
With this book club subscription box, you can select from two mystery blurbs. All the books are recently published works by female authors, and the title of the book will be a secret until it’s delivered.
Your birthday gift recipient can participate in discussion chats about the book and plan on receiving the next read every 3, 6, or 12 months.
4. Bloom & Wild
For that special someone in your life who deserves fresh flowers all the time. Whether your love is romantic or platonic, this subscription box is a wonderful option for fans of bouquets.
When the flowers arrive, they’re ready to bloom. So the full breadth of their beauty can be enjoyed for days.
5. Wild Deodorant
Another one of the subscription box ideas that work to support the earth and fight climate change is Wild.
Once you order a case and your first deodorant scent, your subscription includes three refills for your case as frequently as you need them.
Plus, Wild offers some beautiful scents like jasmine and mandarin blossom, pina colada, and mint and eucalyptus. It’s hard not to want to try them all right away.
These deodorants are also aluminum-free and there are sensitive skin scent options.
6. Baker Boxx
If you have friends or family who got really into bread-baking during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, this box was made for them.
They can receive a new baking recipe every month, complete with all necessary ingredients and instructions. There are a few different themed options, including one that is exclusively bread recipes.
7. Seasonal Candle Subscription
Candles are one of the most popular gift ideas for your aunt who’s hard to buy gifts for, or your colleague who covers their desk in nice-smelling things.
These boxes come with eco-friendly soy candles in a variety of scents. They arrive seasonally and are packed with some extra mini-gifts to make the experience that much sweeter.
8. Smol for Cleaning
Everyone has a friend who is always looking for ways to make their life more earth-conscious. And that’s what makes this eco-friendly cleaning subscription a fantastic gift option.
From cleaning sprays to laundry detergents and dishwasher tablets, this subscription box has everything you might need to start cleaning for the earth.
Lastly, a snack subscription box. For your friend who just can’t get enough snacking in throughout their day, you know they need a lot of options.
These boxes, which you can find at https://snackperk.com, offer all the popular snack brands in one box. Or, you can opt for one of their other subscription boxes that includes more traditionally nutritious snacks.
No matter what kind of snacks they tend to eat, SnackPerk comes with granola bars, crackers, cookies, chips, and inevitably a few surprise items.
If you’re still not sure what kind of box your birthday recipient will enjoy, pick a subscription box like FabFitFun. It comes with a variety of fun products from skincare to fitness to lifestyle.
It’s an especially great option for your friend who never knows what they want or your mom who deserves to treat herself.
Subscribers can select what items they want to receive, and they will also receive a few surprise items. They can keep whatever items bring them joy and swap anything that doesn’t float their boat.
Subscription Boxes for Everyone
There truly is a subscription box for every person in your life. Plus, it takes out some of the guesswork when you’re trying to figure out what would make the best gift.
Let the subscription boxes do the work for you, and sit back while your gift becomes your friend or family member’s favorite gift every time.
If you’d rather treat yourself and your friend at the same time, check out these quality travel tips for every location worth visiting.
Scrumptious 3 Easy Dessert Recipes To Try Out Today
Are you planning a dinner party soon and not quite sure how to end it?
You wouldn’t dare think of getting dessert delivered in these times when between 46 and 54 percent of people have become burgeoning cooks.
If you’re not one of those master-chefs-in-the-making, don’t worry. Simple desserts are delicious too.
Check out these easy dessert recipes that make it look like you spent hours in the kitchen.
1. Everybody’s Favorite Brownies
This one is for all those who’ve tried to make brownies and failed before. This delectable dessert is notoriously temperamental for its too soft or too crunchy outcome.
Here’s how to get it perfectly right the first time, quickly and easily.
- 1 cup of melted butter
- 2 cups of white sugar
- ½ cup of cocoa powder
- 1 t of vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- ½ t of baking powder
- ½ t of salt
- ½ cup of walnut halves
- Grease a 9×13-inch pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine all the ingredients except the walnuts and then spread the batter into the prepared pan. Decorate with the walnut halves if desired.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick and continue baking until the toothpick comes out coated with crumbs.
- Cool on a wire rack.
Brownies are delicious when served plain or topped with ice cream or cream.
2. Simple and Delicious Chocolate Cheesecake
Chocolate and coffee are two of everyone’s favorite flavors. You can never have too much of a good thing, combine and you’ve got a showstopper dessert.
Ingredients for the Crust:
- 1 Full-size pack of Oreo cookies, crushed finely
- 8 T of unsalted butter, melted
- ½ t espresso powder
Ingredients for the Filling:
- 14 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
- 1 ½ t espresso powder
- 24 ounces full-fat cream cheese
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- ¼ cup of light brown sugar, packed
- 1 T of Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 ½ t of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of heavy cream
Ingredients for the Ganache:
- 1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
- 1 ¼ cups of heavy cream
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 t espresso powder
Espresso beans and chocolate shavings to garnish
All ingredients should be at room temperature.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs, butter, and espresso powder in a large bowl and mix well.
- Press the crust into the pan, pressing it down firmly, and place the crust in the freezer.
To Make the Filling:
- Fill a medium-sized pot one-third full with water and bring it to a simmer.
- Find a heatproof bowl that fits the top of the pan snugly and place it on top of the pan. It should not touch the water.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate to the bowl. Heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate’s melted.
- Remove from the heat but leave the bowl of chocolate balanced on the pan. Stir in the espresso powder and set aside.
- Pulse the cream cheese in a food processor for about two minutes until smooth.
- Add the sugars and the cocoa powder. Beat until smooth.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix for about 20 seconds until just combined.
- Fold in the chocolate.
- Take the bowl out of the food processor and stir the filling with a rubber spatula until it’s evenly combined.
- Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the filling inside, smoothing the top.
- Transfer your cheesecake to the refrigerator.
- Leave to chill for at least six hours.
To Make the Ganache:
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.
- Bring the cream to a low simmer in a small saucepan and pour half the cream over the chocolate pieces.
- Set aside for two minutes.
- Whisk the melted chocolate/cream mix into the remaining cream.
- Whisk carefully until it’s smooth and glossy.
- Add the butter and stir the mixture with a spatula until the butter’s melted, then fold in the espresso powder.
- Set aside half a cup of the ganache until needed and pour the rest over the chilled cheesecake.
- Sprinkle the cheesecake with the chocolate shavings and set aside for one hour.
- Place the remaining ganache into a piping bag and pipe stars around the edge of the cheesecake. Top each star with a coffee bean.
To serve, slice the chilled cheesecake with a sharp knife. Wipe the blade clean after each slice.
You can store this dessert in the refrigerator for up to four days, so it’s a great make-ahead option.
3. Easy Dessert Recipes With Cake
You simply can’t go wrong with cake and cupcakes are one of the world’s favorite treats.
They’re easy to dress up or down and look fantastic displayed on a cupcake tower at dessert time. Try this easy vanilla cupcake recipe:
Ingredients for the Cupcakes:
- 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 3 t baking powder
- 1 t salt
- 1 cup of milk
- ½ cup of vegetable oil
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, large
- 1 cup of water
Ingredients for the Frosting:
- ½ cup of salted butter
- ½ cup of shortening
- 4 cups of powdered sugar
- 1 ½ t vanilla extract
- 2–3 T of water or milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and place cupcake liners in your cupcake pan.
- Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
- Combine the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and eggs in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Slowly add the water and mix slowly until combined. The batter will be thin.
- Spoon the batter into your prepared cupcake liners.
- Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 17 minutes.
To Make the Frosting:
- Combine the butter and shortening and mix until smooth.
- Add two cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth, then add the vanilla essence.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar and enough water or milk to reach the desired consistency.
- Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.
You can decorate these cupcakes with sprinkles, chocolate, or fruit, depending on your preferences.
Cooking Up a Storm
Armed with these easy dessert recipes you’re ready to wow your guests and impress your friends at your next dinner party.
In case you’re wondering what’s for the main course, browse our blog for more awesome food and drink ideas for every occasion.
6 Healthy Dishes from Around the World
Global cuisine has never been more accessible with people all around the world able to explore and discover foods from other nations.
While every country has a range of traditional dishes, there are some which they have become especially renowned for that deliver both delicious flavours and an injection of healthy nutrients.
Here’s a closer look at six dishes from different countries which are guaranteed to tantalise the tastebuds as well as giving your body a real boost.
#1: Shakshouka – North Africa
Arguably one of the most traditional dishes in North Africa and originating from several countries, Shakshouka is a health-giving stew that combines eggs with a spicy sauce and vegetables. Frequently served as a hearty breakfast, it is also eaten at other meals, sometimes with the addition of potatoes or chickpeas to add more carbohydrates.
The eggs are poached in the sauce and served up baked alongside the vegetables to deliver protein and a veritable feast of vitamins and minerals. With eggs starring as the superfood alongside tomatoes, there’s protein, antioxidants, healthy fats plus Vitamins C, A, B6, B12 and D. Finally, not forgetting the minerals, this dish tops up copper, zinc, iron, potassium, choline, and selenium, making it a feel-good food that also tastes delicious.
#2: Katsu Curry – Japan
Japanese cuisine is renowned for being one of the healthiest in the world, full of fresh ingredients and carefully balanced.
Katsu curry is one of their signature dishes which feels more decadent but still retains lots of health benefits. The recipe has an interesting history as it was introduced by the British but over the years has become to represent Japanese cooking. It’s very different to the heavier Indian style curries and offers all the flavour but in a much healthier presentation.
The dish includes chicken, a source of protein that’s naturally low fat. Any type of rice can be used but brown rice provides slow-release energy and helps to keep tummies feeling full.
The aromatic sauce is served alongside an array of vegetables including edamame beans, dressed mixed leaves and shredded carrot for a glorious explosion of colour – and taste – on a plate.
#3: Winter Borscht with Brisket – Russia/Ukraine
Best described as a hearty broth, borscht originates from Russia and Ukraine with a long tradition of serving the dish in both the countries. Although it’s a natural fit for the winter months with its hearty and filling ingredients, it can be served chilled in the summer, making it truly a dish for all seasons.
Borscht is a soup that’s crammed full of vegetables, but there’s no specific rules about what to include. Borscht tends to always have the same core ingredients, namely garlic, white cabbage, potatoes, red beets, onions, and carrot. Beets are the star of the dish and help to give borscht its distinctive red colour, plus a generous dose of folate, manganese, B6, iron and antioxidants.
To add more protein and make it even more filling, it’s possible to add brisket. Unlike other cuts of beef, brisket is lean and brings all the benefits of red meat to add to the superpowers of the vegetable combo.
#4: Fish Tacos – Mexico
It’s off to Central American for a spot of Mexican food now, but there’s none of the beef burritos that the country is famous for.
Mexico has many sensational dishes but they’re not always the healthiest – an accusation which can’t be levied at fish tacos. Freshly caught seafood has an abundance of health benefits and with lots of fresh fish available, it’s a part of the Mexican diet which isn’t spoken about so frequently.
Fish tacos feature freshly caught fish from the ocean served up with corn tortillas and salad. Much lower in fat than their beef equivalent, fish tacos deliver all the flavour and none of the calories of their counterparts. Add in a fresh salad and there’s a big plate full of health-giving goodness.
#5: Apricot and Almond Souffles – France
If your taste buds are craving a little sweetness, this dish from France proves that it doesn’t need to be savoury to be healthy.
Souffles are renowned for being a rich and heavy dish, and a challenge to cook, but this version is completely different. Apricot and almond soufflés are made from fruit puree and egg whites and offer a light and airy bite to eat which also delivers a powerful nutritional punch.
Almonds are higher in fibre and calcium than any other nut while apricots provide a rich source of beta-carotene and potassium, two nutrients which are vital for cell and organ health and essential bodily functions.
There are other fruit-based soufflés in France which offer the same light and airy experience without any of the rich chocolate decadence of their naughtier cousin. So, if apricots aren’t for you, there are lots of other light and fruity soufflés which also bring great health benefits too.
#6: Bibimbap – Korea
This Korean dish is one of the most popular Asian dishes that offers incredible flavour and macronutrients while still being respectful to Korean culture.
A single bowl of food which incorporates all elements, bibimbap features rice, protein, pickled vegetables, and a special sauce. The vegetables can vary but typically include spinach, radishes, carrots, and kimchi plus a sprinkling of mushrooms. The great thing about bibimbap is that you can switch out anything you don’t like.
The vegetables are picked in salt and sesame oil and sautéed until they are tender while still retaining some bite. Along with the rice, there’s protein in the form of bulgogi but it’s the gochujang child paste which is the real hero of this warm and flavoursome dish.
Which One Would You Choose?
If the above menu of global recipes has got your mouth watering, why not try recreating your favourite one at home? With simple ingredients, it’s surprisingly easy to dish up a different plate of food from another country and you might just discover a new recipe to impress your friends.
The Different Types of White Wine Explained
Have you tried to select a good white wine for a special meal, or as a gift, but get overwhelmed by the endless white wine options at your local winery?
So many different bottles, with different labels and categories, can be frustrating. While you might not want to become a wine connoisseur, you wish you had a little knowledge of the types of white wine and its flavors.
The guide below will introduce you to the basic types of white wine and how to pair them with food. Knowing your white wine options and how they affect your palate will help you make the perfect selection later.
Chardonnay might be considered the “go-to” white wine for casual gatherings, rather than for a large meal. But, Chardonnay is actually a very full-bodied wine, and best paired with creamy, heavier food.
There is a distinction between Chardonnay and Chablis. Chablis is a region in France where wine is made from the Chardonnay grape. Chablis is not usually cured in oak barrels, as is a lot of Chardonnay, so it has a much lighter taste and is often paired with light appetizers like raw oysters.
Pinot Grigio has really taken Chardonnay’s place as the “go-to” wine these days, due to it’s consistently dry, light, and slightly fruity flavor.
Lighter in color than Chardonnay, a Pinot Grigio can be paired with pasta and heavy salads, as well as most seafood. A Pinot Grigio stands well all by itself as well.
Sauvignon white wines are on the dry side, with a tart taste. Certain varieties, particularly those from New Zealand, have a more fruity taste. Many describe the taste as having a slight hint of grapefruit or sour apple flavor.
This is a great stand-alone wine, but pairs well with cheese, and fresh seafood.
Moscato is a sparkling white wine that is often thought of as a “dessert” wine, due to its sweet flavor. But these days, Moscato is becoming a popular dinner wine, as it pairs well with spicy foods, and even with a refreshing summer salad. And, of course, you can pair it with your favorite dessert.
Moscato is lower in alcohol content as well, making it a good starter choice for someone new to drinking white wine.
Riesling is also a popular dessert wine, as it is quite sweet, though not as sweet as Moscato.
Again, pairing it with spicy Asian or Indian dishes is a great idea, or with fruity desserts.
From a region in Germany, Gewurztraminer is a great dry/sweet combination wine and is slightly fruity. This white wine is less popular in the United States, usually because the other wines listed here are more familiar.
If you are unsure whether to go to a dry wine or sweet one, try a bottle of Gewurztraminer and pair it with cinnamon-laden desserts, creamy bisque soups, or curry dishes.
Choosing from the Types of White Wine
With so many types of white wine, how do you choose?
First, decide if the wine will be paired with food, and if so, what kind of food, and work from there.
If the wine is a gift for someone else, find out if they prefer a dry or sweet white wine. If the wine is for you, choose one from each of the types of white wine, and have a tasting party!
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