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Entertaining, For the Love of Coffee, Gift Baskets, Holidays

Recipe: Pumpkin Cream Pie With Homemade Pumpkin-Spiced Whipped Cream

September 20, 2016


pumpkin pie with chocolate sauce

by Crystal Watanabe

Pumpkin spice lattes are popping up all over the place again, a sure sign of the arrival of the fall season. Sweaters, boots, and of course fall holiday entertaining are soon to follow.

When Thanksgiving rolls around, there are always at least two or three pumpkin pies on our table—usually because guests are trying to prevent the worst-case scenario of no pumpkin pie at dinner! For me, though, there’s something even worse than no pumpkin pie: no whipped cream.

I look at photos of pumpkin pie slices with cute little dollops of cream on them and laugh. At Thanksgiving dinner, I hold back on the main course so I’m ready to plop a mountain of whipped cream on my pie. My favorite pumpkin pie recipe, then, is heavy on the good stuff.

Similar to how a banana cream pie is constructed, the traditional pumpkin pie filling is on the bottom and a thick layer of spirced cream sits on top. You’ll find it’s light and fluffy and has just the right ratio of cream to pumpkin.

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Feedback, For the Love of Coffee, Gift Baskets, Gift Baskets Catalog, Summer Time Gift

Graduation Gift Ideas

May 17, 2012
chocolate covered oreos graduation gift idea

Welcome back readers,

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day weekend! My weekend was spent digging holes, carrying mulch, planting and fulfilling my gift promises with additional cooking and cleaning. According to the comments section, the number one way to relax is definitely spa and bubble-bath related, so I’ll definitely be looking into some relaxation time soon! Anyway, we have some winners to announce. Congratulations to Donna Yost (May 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm), Jenny S (May 12, 2012 at 11:31 am), Cathy B*****y (May 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm), Marcie (May 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm), and Judy (May 15, 2012 at 8:48 am)! Also as a note to our lucky and random winners, it appears the Mira Luna Mother’s Day gift was a bigger hit than I thought it would be and we ended up selling out of it before the end of the weekend. So as a replacement prize (which I’m sure you’ll all love because it’s a lot cooler than the last one) I’ll be sending you the Wine Picnic Backpack Gift Basket! (Yes, it’s that one really cool picnic gift I keep rambling on about every week here & here). Be sure to email your shipping information to me at and I’ll send out your new gift!

For the last week or so, all I have been seeing on my Facebook dashboard are dozens and dozens of statuses of college or grad school graduation announcements, pictures of graduation ceremonies, caps and gowns, diploma pictures, and more. I know there are at least three graduation parties I have to go to and a few more I’ve been invited to. I only just graduated college last year, so of course I’m jealous of their newly free summers and lack of responsibilities, but I’ll say no thank you to being jobless and learning to make a spare $20 last a whole month. However, since I am now (supposedly) an “adult” with an income, that means I have to pick up a real graduation gift for all these parties I’m expected to go to. And something tells me that no one is going to accept my gift from last year, which was essentially a hand drawn card with “IOU” printed largely and some candy inside.

If you’re the proud parent of a new graduate or you’re in need of some quick and fun gift ideas, stick around for some great graduation gift suggestions! Obviously, money is everyone’s go-to gift and it’s a great idea for poor new grads, but money isn’t exactly the most thoughtful “hey we’re proud of you” gift. So these next few ideas can be a nice add-on or your own way of making your gift more meaningful.

Grad Gift #1

chocolate covered oreos graduation gift ideaNever underestimate the power of a great briefcase or laptop bag. If they’re going to start a job where they are commuting every day or if it’s just a 15 minute travel, they will thank you for a nice sturdy (and stylish) bag to help ease their journey. I definitely say this from personal experience; my back and I encourage this gift! Make it extra special with some gifting extras hidden in the different pockets and openings. Maybe hide a $10 i-Tunes card in one pocket, a tasty treat in the main compartment, and maybe a twenty hidden somewhere wouldn’t hurt. The messenger bag I have my eye on is Fred Perry from, and I may be purchasing one like it soon. As for the tasty treat, I suggest these Congratulations Graduate decorated Chocolate Dipped Oreos®! So incredibly delicious and they’re made with real Belgium chocolate.

Grad Gift #2

starbucks coffee and tea gift basket graduation giftI know I post this gift basket a lot already, but it’s probably one of my favorites and goes perfect for any and all occasions. Of course I’m talking about the Starbucks Break Time Gift Basket. A new grad is going to be woefully unprepared for waking up and having to actually look presentable before 8 am, so a great gift of coffee, tea, scones, and two extra-large coffee mugs is going to be exactly what they need to start off their new life. I’ve talk about this gift so many times, if you want to read a full review go here, for now I’m going to suggest adjoining gifts to keep your grad happy! To keep with the theme, I would pair this with a nice coffee maker or Keurig if they happen to be moving out. You can add on a travel mug and a gift card to their favorite (or soon to be favorite because it’s open in the morning) breakfast place!

Grad Gift #3

wine picnic gift basket graduation giftOkay, I guess I am going to push that really sweet Picnic Backpack Gift Basket on you guys one more time because I love picnics and I’m just not done talking about them! You all already know what awesome things are in there, so let’s talk about some add-on gifts for your new graduate. I see this as being a kind of funny gift if they’re moving out or away seeing as this gift basket comes with some plates, utensils and cups. I would attach a grocery store gift card to help with their daily needs, and a nice cookbook like A Cookbook for a Knucklehead: Bachelor, New Graduate, Beginner, and Other Spoiled Brats. I think this book would be great for anyone going off on their own for the first time and doesn’t know how to get dinner without it being delivered by Mom or Grubhub.

As always with any gift, add some of your own personal touches to them like a nice card with a hand written message, maybe a keepsake, or something passed down. Your new graduates are going to need your guidance, support, and maybe $40 for gas.

In the comments section (1-2 paragraphs) tell me what you think is the best gift for a new high school or college graduate! FIVE lucky and random winners will also be receiving the Picnic Backpack Gift Basket!

Congratulations to all those Grads out there!


For the Love of Coffee, Gift Baskets, Gift Baskets Catalog

Starbucks Break Time Gift Basket

April 30, 2012

One of’s best-selling gift baskets and it’s clear to see why. Just about everyone loves coffee, and even better when it’s from Starbucks. This Starbucks Break Time Coffee Gift Basket comes with a whole lot more than just coffee though, it’s positively packed with all sorts of sweets, treats and extra gifts that will bring a smile to any coffee lover’s face!

The first thing you notice about this bountiful coffee gift basket is the beautiful green and gold bow that sits wrapped around the contents, Starbucks® official colors. A real dark willow basket with wooden handles holds a variety of coffees, tea, cookies, mix boxes and two very large white Starbucks® logo coffee mugs. This gift basket seriously has everything you could ever want in a coffee gift basket, and is even very well color coordinated with the dark basket, white and tan coffee and treat contents and the green and gold bow completing the gift.

So let’s examine what treats await us inside this supremely awesome coffee gift. Like I said, the two Starbucks® coffee mugs are huge! The coffee mugs are much larger than a normal cup and I can even fit my hand in them. This is a definite plus for when you need a large coffee or tea. These mugs will also come in handy when you want to add some marshmallows to your hot chocolate or dip biscotti in your morning coffee without spilling all over the place. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the coffee gift basket, and they’re just mugs.

For coffee, they’ve included Starbucks® Espresso Whole Bean Coffee and Starbucks® Sumatra Ground Coffee. For the whole bean coffee, this is for those of us who are lucky enough to have our own coffee grinder and enjoy having super fresh coffee in the morning. For the rest of us, just go into your local Starbucks® and they will gladly grind the coffee for you for free! They’ve also thought about those times when it’s either too late for coffee or you’re just in need of a warm drink and included a packet of Tazo® Tea (Calm and Awake Flavors), Starbucks® Classic Fair Trade Cocoa, and Starbucks® Marshmallow Cocoa! And yes, I’ve already gotten to the hot chocolates and they are very delicious and chocolaty and they go perfect with the other goodies inside the Starbucks® gift basket! I haven’t opened the tea yet…but that’s because I already have a box of the Calm flavor that I had previous bought from Starbucks®!

Now to the edible treats! Inside this Starbucks® coffee gift basket, they’ve graciously included Starbucks Selects® Vanilla Almond Biscotti, Starbucks Selects® Key Lime Cookies, Starbucks Selects® Honey Oat Biscuits, and my favorite part of all: Starbucks Selects® Scone Mix. I am just genuinely impressed that so many delicious treats are provided in this gift basket. The honey oat cookies are so flavorful and fresh tasting, I’ve already paired them with my own tea and they go perfectly together. I didn’t even hold back when it came to the key lime cookies, they lasted all of five minutes and I wish I had them back already! There are plenty of the vanilla almond biscotti to go around, and I’ve already incorporated one into my breakfast coffee each morning that was the other part of the gift basket, I will definitely need to run out and grab more soon. But let’s move on to what really impressed me, the scone mix. I decided to try my hand at making these and they came out perfectly (I’m attributing this more to the box mix than my ability to follow directions). I spread a little bit of butter and preserves, had them with some coffee…it was a delicious breakfast!

This Starbucks® coffee gift basket is the perfect gift for your coffee obsessed friends! Use it as a birthday gift, house warming present, a nice gift to celebrate a new job, when you get to the winter months it will be perfect for the holidays, no matter the occasion, this is the best gift basket to get!

Customer Appreciation, For the Love of Coffee

Warm Wishes

January 19, 2012
Starbucks® Blends Gourmet Coffee Gift Basket Product Code:96329

Welcome back readers!

Just a quick note, thank you guys again and again to continue coming back here to read and comment. You’re all very sweet with great stories, I’m going to try to respond more often while I have time 🙂 Hope everyone is feeling great and aren’t actually in desperate need for our Friend on the Mend get well gift basket! You should all be feeling fresh and healthy after we talked about eating more fruits and greens. We’ve still got about five people who can enjoy these gift baskets anyway 😉 Congratulations to Melissa (January 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm ), Ann Mathew (January 15, 2012 at 2:25 am ), Emily (January 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm ), Ed (January 19, 2012 at 11:20 am ), and Mitch (January 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm )! Send your info to and I’ll send out your Friend on the Mend gift baskets!

Now, I’m not really a big fan of winter…at all. I don’t like having to be stuck indoors all the time, and whenever I want to do something I have to take into account if it’s indoors, if it’s warm, will I be spending money that I don’t really have? Will I be seeing people? Do I need to put on real pants or can I just keep these comfy sweat pants on…? I think you all get my point.

Starbucks® Blends Gourmet Coffee Gift Basket Product Code:96329

Starbucks® Blends Gourmet Coffee Gift Basket $39.99; Product Code:96329

I’m a big coffee and tea drinker during winter. Well, more tea right now since I’ve tried to cut back on coffee for the month (which has honestly been really hard for me and my ability to get out of bed in the morning). Either way, warm beverages make for a cozy and happy Alex. I actually like sitting in Starbucks® to enjoy some coffee or tea with friends, but once it’s cold there are so many new factors to just wanting to enjoy a good cup of something warm to drink. First off, you have to drive. This is big inconvenience number one for me. If I had gone to school for differential equations, time theory, and Tesla, you bet I would be working on a teleportation device right now. Unfortunately for all of us, I saw the Jeff Goldblum version of The Fly when I was little and pledged myself to a life of words. Any Starbucks location will always be packed with other people who decided that since they drove there, they should probably just stay there to make up for even being out. And then there’s the pants thing (if we’re being honest, I would definitely go out in my sweats, I just don’t want to deal with the staring…this must be how celebrities feel!).

Starbucks Deluxe Coffee for Two $59.99; Product Code:94877 So, my big solution to enjoying hot beverages during a very cold and bitter season? Manifest Destiny your nearest Starbucks® location and just move in there! Just kidding! All you need to do is stock up on some incredibly awesome coffee and tea gifts. I’m sure I’ve posted enough about the Starbucks® Break Time Gift Basket so much that you all can draw it with your eyes closed, so I’ll just link to it  here. We have a new(ish) Starbucks® gift in that I think looks amazing. Our Starbucks® Deluxe Coffee for Two gift basket is for coffee-lovers everywhere. It includes a variety of coffee blends, ready brew, two chocolate colored mugs and more inside a fashionable tweed container. Pretty snazzy if I say so myself (yes, I just pulled out “snazzy”). We also have our loyal standby the Starbucks® Blends Gourmet Coffee gift basket with various blends of coffee and tea to last a few non-trips outdoors! There’s also our Starbucks® Warm Wishes Mug gift set that comes with smooth coffee, tea, two mugs, cocoa, cookies and more! All of these are great alternatives to help you stay warm, cozy, and make indoors a little more fun.

Are you stuck indoors for winter? How do you spend your winter season? Tell me in the comments section (1-2 paragraphs) and TEN lucky and random winners will win Starbucks® Blends Gourmet Coffee gift baskets!

Stay Toasty!

Christmas Gift Baskets, Customer Appreciation, For the Love of Coffee, Gift Baskets, Holiday Gift Baskets, Party!

Holiday Preview (Shh..don’t tell Thanksgiving)

November 17, 2011
Sweet Treats Mug & Cocoa Gift Basket

Hello Readers!

Lots to cover today, so I’ll just jump right in! Congratulations to Carolyn (posted at November 13, 2011 at 8:50 am), Beth (posted at November 10, 2011 at 6:11 pm), Terrance (posted at November 16, 2011 at 10:19 am), Frank N.F.L. (posted at November 16, 2011 at 10:20 am), and Ann (posted at November 17, 2011 at 8:42 am)! Email your full names, address, and information to me at and I’ll send out your festive cornucopia gift basket!

Sweet Treats Mug & Cocoa Gift Basket

Sweet Treats Mug & Cocoa Gift Basket $34.99; Product Code:94880

Now I know I’ve been on and on about not forgetting Thanksgiving (which I haven’t!) and I said I wasn’t even going to think about Christmas until December hits, but I’ve got a blog to write and I’m trying to not think about food too much before Thanksgiving so I can prepare myself for an early turkey-induced coma. So what I’m about to write about might be a big “huh?” But I do want to share some of our really great Holiday gift baskets with you all! (Plus, who could say no to the holidays? Sorry Thanksgiving, you’re cool and all, but I like listening to “All I Want for Christmas Is You” on repeat too many times).

On with the show! First up we have a exclusive Holiday gift, the Sweet Treats Mug & Cocoa Gift Basket. Outside is getting alarmingly too crisp for me and I’ve already picked out a nice comfy pair of slippers to wear while I’m preparing myself a yummy mug of hot cocoa! In the Sweet Treats gift basket you’ll receive two solid, red ceramic mugs perfect for the holiday season, chocolate truffle cocoa, mini marshmallows (the kid in me is screaming with joy!), Fannie May® Dark Chocolate Squares, cookies, and more! Such a cute gift for a Secret Santa, office coworker, family member, friend, or (like I’ll be doing) a nice treat for yourself! Highly recommend this cold day companion since winter is coming (who do I think I am? Game of Thrones? I miss that show…)

Santa's Holiday Delivery Truck Gift Basket

Santa's Holiday Delivery Truck Gift Basket $79.99; Product Code:94842

If you’re in need of a cute holiday gift that could also double as adorable decorations, this next one is the perfect gift (and it comes with a video!) The Santa’s Holiday Delivery Truck Gift Basket is overflowing with tons of great snacks and dessert treats for everyone to enjoy and boasts a super cute container as well. Don’t take my word for it (though you really should by now), watch our video we made for it!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving celebrations and be safe, eat lots of food, have fun with your families and friends! And in the comments section (1-2 paragraphs) let me know what you’re most excited for this Holiday season! I’ll choose FIVE winners on Wednesday November 23 to win our Sweet Treats Mug & Cocoa Gift Basket!

Comment on!

Feedback, For the Love of Coffee, Gift Baskets, Gift Baskets Catalog, Product Designers, Summer Time Gift, Uncategorized

10 Ways to Spruce Up Your Space

July 7, 2011

Hello again, Baskets Readers!

WOW! We had a HUGE influx of commenters to the blog today. Thank you to everyone who has read and participated, I hope you all stick around. Before we get into this weeks post, we have 2 winners to announce from last weeks’ contest. Congratulations to our two random winners, JD Burnsed (posted July 7, 2011 at 11:04 am) and Patricia Sauber (posted July 2, 2011 at 11:55 pm)! You will both receive the Regal Oak Grandeur Gift Basket. Please send your full name and address to and we can help you claim your prize. To our other readers, stick around at the end for another possible contest!

Friendly Baskets blogger at home w/part of the Starbucks® Break Time gift basket!

Mondays! Ack! Okay, so it’s not actually Monday, but it feels like it right? The week after any holiday weekend always feels like a series of never-ending Mondays. Extended holiday weekends are all fun, beach trips, excessive eating and games, until you wake up to find an army of ants making claims of Manifest Destiny over your kitchen. Which, coincidentally is also the time you curse your apartment for its lack of a dishwasher appliance (yeah, that one is probably just me). Maybe you had a fun party weekend in or out of the house, or maybe you’re Joey Chestnut and on your fifth consecutive hot dog eating championship win (woof!). Either way, I think we can all agree that we need a break from our vacations (also we need to clean and rightfully take back our kitchens).

Continue Reading…

For the Love of Coffee

We love coffee. That love has turned into a gift basket.

October 28, 2010
Warmest Regards Autumn Gift Basket
Warmest Regards Autumn Gift Basket

Does the thought of a luxurious coffee break make you smile? In a paragraph or two, tell us about your dream coffee gift basket. For those that posted on our Facebook Fan Page already, you can copy and paste the paragraph from there if you want. If you want to express further coffee love, that’s not a problem!

As part of the expression of our love for coffee, we will be giving away 3 wonderful coffee gift baskets. The one we will be giving away is  featured to the left and is named the “Warmest Regards Autumn Gift Basket”.


Just look at it. How beautiful. Wait that doesn’t sound too modest…But we are truly in love with it and we want all the coffee fans out there to try it. We love coffee.


Now let’s hear those paragraphs telling us about your dream coffee gift basket. We’ll pick the 3 winners at random via


Winner Status:
Surprise Winner) Peter S. (Post on October 28, 2010 at 11:39 am)
Winner #1) Cindy Quisenberry (Post on October 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm)
Winner #2) Diane (Post on October 29, 2010 at 10:23 am)
Winner #3) Costana Hornbaker (Post on October 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm)