Happy National Pie Day!

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Pies…..They are simple and delicious, and come Thanksgiving, everybody will try to save room for them. The pies we have come to enjoy today are a fairly recent addition to the pie history that goes back as long as mankind has had the dough to bake a crust and the stuff to put inside it.

Contrary to those elementary school plays across the United States, there was no “modern-day” pie, pumpkin, or otherwise at the first Thanksgiving celebration.  Pilgrims brought English style (meat-based) recipes with them to the colonies. Pumpkin pie, first recorded in a cookbook in 1675, originated from British boiled and spiced squash, and was not popularized in America until the early 1800s.  Because of their crusty tops, pies acted as a way to preserve food, and were often used to keep the filling fresh during the winter months. The colonists cooked many a pie….And they didn’t make bland pies; documents show that they used dried fruit, cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg to season the meats in their pies. As the colonies expanded, the pie became a way to showcase local ingredients and with that came a growth of new, sweet pies. A cookbook from 1796 listed only 3 varieties of sweet pies; a cookbook written in the late 1800s featured 8 varieties of sweet pie; and by the 1947 the Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking listed 65 different varieties of sweet pies.

There are few things as American as apple pie (as the saying goes), but like many of America’s pie traditions, the original apple pie recipes came from England. These apple pie prototypes were made with unsweetened apples and encased in a not so light and flakey nor edible crust. Still, the apple pie developed a following, and was even referenced in “Menaphon” (1589) by poet Robert Greene: “Thy breath is like the steeme of apple pies.”  Pies have come a long way since the days of magpie and pepper, and are made with everything from apples to avocados, but many bakeries say a classic apple pie remains their top holiday seller.

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Whether you prefer apple, pumpkin, berry, pecan, or sweet potato….

Don’t be shy….Have a piece of pie!

Thank You Gifts…Say it With Gourmet Goodness

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Do you have someone in your life you would like to show some appreciation to?  Whether it is a client, friend, family member, or someone who could use an appreciation pick-me-up…Exquisite Gift Baskets has the perfect gourmet thank you gifts to put that ol’ thank you note to shame.

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In the hustle and bustle of our hectic lives good deeds tend to go unnoticed…it is easy to take people for granted, forgetting to show our appreciation for them and all they do.  Say thank you in a most thoughtful and delicious way with an Exquisite Gourmet Thank You Gift Basket.  We offer a variety of gourmet goodness to say “Thanks A Million”, “Warm Thanks”, or simply “Thank You”….completely customizable for the coffee lover, sports fan, snacker, gardener, book lover….so many possibilities, and we always add your personal note to the recipient….handwritten just like the old days.  Showing appreciation is always a beautiful thing!

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

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“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream was a manifestation of hope that humanity might one day get out of its own way by finding the courage to realize that love and nonviolence are not indicators of weakness but gifts of significant strength.”
Aberjhani, Illuminated Corners: Collected Essays and Articles Volume I.

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A Baptist minister and social activist, Martin Luther King Jr. played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. Inspired by advocates of nonviolence such as Mahatma Gandhi, King sought equality for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged, and victims of injustice through peaceful protest. He was the driving force behind history making events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington, which helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

 

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The Early Years

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood, then home to some of the most prominent and prosperous African Americans in the country.  King was a gifted student, at the age of 15 he was admitted to Morehouse College, where he studied medicine and law. Although he had not intended to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the ministry, he changed his mind under the mentorship of Morehouse’s president, Dr. Benjamin Mays, and after graduating in 1948, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, where he earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree, as well as winning a prestigious fellowship and being elected president of his predominantly white senior class.  King then entered a graduate program at Boston University – While in Boston, he met Coretta Scott and in 1953 upon earning his doctorate in systematic theology he married Coretta, settled in Montgomery, Alabama where King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

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The Montgomery Bus Boycott

Less than a year after the Kings settled in Montgomery, the highly segregated city became the epicenter of the burgeoning struggle for civil rights in America, energized by the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus and was arrested. Activists coordinated a bus boycott that would continue for 381 days, placing a severe economic strain on the public transit system and downtown business owners. They chose Martin Luther King Jr. as the protest’s leader and official spokesman.

By the time the Supreme Court ruled segregated seating on public buses unconstitutional in 1956, King, had entered the national spotlight as an inspirational proponent of organized, and nonviolent resistance.  Invigorated by the boycott’s success, in 1957 King and other civil rights activists (most of them fellow ministers) founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), a group committed to achieving full equality for African Americans through nonviolence, with its motto being, “Not one hair of one head of one person should be harmed.”  He would remain at the helm of this influential organization until his death in 1968.

Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955-1956 Time & Life Pictures/Getty Imags

Martin Luther King Jr. – Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955-1956
Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

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Southern Christian Leadership Conference

As SCLC president, Martin Luther King Jr. traveled across the country and around the world, giving lectures on nonviolent protest and civil rights as well as meeting with religious figures, activists and political leaders.  In 1960 King and his family moved to Atlanta, where he joined his father as co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church.  King’s new position did not stop him and his SCLC colleagues from becoming key players in many of the most significant civil rights battles of the 1960s.  During the Birmingham campaign of 1963 their philosophy of nonviolence was put to a particularly severe test.  It was during this campaign activists used a boycott, sit-ins and marches to protest segregation, unfair hiring practices, and other injustices in one of America’s most racially divided cities.  On April 12, 1963 King was arrested for his involvement – While in jail King penned the civil rights manifesto known as the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” an eloquent defense of civil disobedience addressed to a group of white clergymen who had criticized his tactics.

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Marching for Freedom

Later that year, Martin Luther King Jr. began working with a number of civil rights and religious groups to organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – A peaceful political rally designed to shed light on the injustices African Americans continued to face across the country. Held on August 28 and attended by some 200,000 to 300,000 participants, the event is regarded as a watershed moment in the history of the American civil rights movement and a factor in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The march culminated in King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a spirited call for peace and equality.  Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King shared his vision of a future in which “this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'” The speech and march cemented King’s reputation at home and abroad – Later that year he was named Man of the Year by TIME magazine and in 1964 became the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

King’s elevated profile drew international attention to the violence that erupted between white segregationists and peaceful demonstrators in Selma, Alabama in the Spring of 1965, where the SCLC and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had organized a voter registration campaign. The brutal scene was captured on television and outraged many Americans and inspired supporters from across the country to gather in Selma and take part in a march to Montgomery led by King and supported by President Lyndon Johnson, who sent in federal troops to keep the peace. That August, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed the right to vote (first awarded by the 15th Amendment) to all African Americans.

Martin Luther King Jr. - March on Washington 1963 Image credit: Bettman/Corbes

Martin Luther King Jr. – March on Washington 1963
Image credit: Bettman/Corbes

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The Final Years

The growing rift between Martin Luther King Jr. and young radicals who repudiated his nonviolent methods and commitment to working within the established political framework was deepened in the wake of the events in Selma.  As more militant black leaders rose to prominence, King broadened the scope of his activism to address issues such as the Vietnam War and poverty among Americans of all races. In 1967, King and his SCLC colleagues embarked on an ambitious program known as the Poor People’s Campaign, which was to include a massive march on the capital.

Tragically, on the evening of April 4, 1968, King was fatally shot while standing on the balcony of a motel in Memphis, where he had traveled to support a sanitation workers’ strike. In the wake of his death, a wave of riots swept major cities across the country, while President Johnson declared a national day of mourning.

After years of campaigning by activists, members of Congress and Coretta Scott King, in 1983 President Reagan signed a bill creating a U.S. federal holiday in honor of King – Observed on the third Monday of January, it was first celebrated in 1986.

Happy New Year!

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New Year’s Morning

Only a night from old to new!
Only a night, and so much wrought!
The Old Year’s heart all weary grew,
But said: “The New Year rest has brought.”
The Old Year’s hopes its heart laid down,
As in a grave; but trusting, said:
“The blossoms of the New Year’s crown
Bloom from the ashes of the dead.”
The Old Year’s heart was full of greed;
With selfishness it longed and ached,
And cried: “I have not half I need.
My thirst is bitter and unslaked.
But to the New Year’s generous hand
All gifts in plenty shall return;
True love it shall understand;
By all my failures it shall learn.
I have been reckless; it shall be
Quiet and calm and pure of life.
I was a slave; it shall go free,
And find sweet peace where I leave strife.”

Only a night from old to new!
Never a night such changes brought.
The Old Year had its work to do;
No New Year miracles are wrought.
Always a night from old to new!
Night and the healing balm of sleep!
Each morn is New Year’s morn come true,
Morn of a festival to keep.
All nights are sacred nights to make
Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old come true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.

~Helen Hunt Jackson (1892)

1819 New Year’s Carrier’s Address

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Believe me, dear patrons, I have wand’red too far,
Without any compass, or planet or star;
My dear native village I scarcely can see
So I’ll hie to my hive like the tempest-tost bee.
Hail home! sacred home! to my soul ever dear;
Abroad may be wonders but rapture is here.
My future ambition will never soar higher
Than the clean brushed hearth and convivial fire;
Here I lounge at my pleasure, and bask at my ease,
Full readily sooth’d, and desirous to please,
As happy myself as I happy can be,
I wish all the circle as happy as me.
But hark what a clatter! the Jolly bells ringing,
The lads and the lasses so jovially singing,
Tis New-Years they shout and then haul me along
In the mdist of their merry-make Juvenile throng;
But I burst from their grasp: unforgetful of duty
To first pay obeisence to wisdom and Beauty,
My conscience and int’rest unite to command it,
And you, my kind PATRONS, deserve & demand it.
On your patience to trespass no longer I dare,
So bowing, I wish you a Happy New Year.

~Major Henry Livingston, Jr.

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Christmas Bells

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I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken sonC
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Christmas Bells

Special Occasions You Do Not Want to Overlook

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Do you feel like one day is just like the last? With so much to be done on a daily basis, sometimes it seems as if the days of the week run together. In fact, sometimes it even feels like the weeks and months simply blur into one another!

The truth is, it is normal to feel this way. Most people today have very full lives; keep extremely busy work schedules; raising children; maintaining relationships; staying healthy; and completely the chores of everyday life.

This is why it is important to remember and celebrate the special occasions that come along in life. Without paying attention to important events, milestones in the lives of loved ones, holidays, and other unique opportunities to step out of the daily grind, some of life’s enjoyment is lost.

It does not take a big budget or even a lot of time and planning to make something memorable out of special occasions. Most of the time it just takes a little acknowledgement of the loved ones in your life as you celebrate the special times with them. Here are some occasions that you won’t want to overlook….

New baby: The arrival of a new baby is indeed a joyful time to celebrate! New parents, and grandparents will appreciate your thoughtful gift, and you can participate in one of the happiest times in their lives.

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Birthdays and anniversaries: You will want to make the most of these special days when they come around on the calendar. Celebrating birthdays and anniversaries with family and friends, giving thoughtful gifts they will love is a great way to insert some extra joy into everyone’s lives. Don’t forget to mark the birthdays of co-workers, neighbors, and more with small but memorable tokens of your friendship.

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Job promotion, house-warming, high-school or college graduation, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day: These special occasions deserve to be recognized in the lives of your family, friends, and loved ones.  Gift baskets are the perfect way to mark these momentous events offering a lot of variety and opportunities for customization and personalization.

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Life offers many opportunities to step out of your normal routine, if you take the time to notice. Marking the special occasions in your life with your loved ones is rewarding and enjoyable, and will make memories you will treasure forever. Sometimes the best special occasion is the one that you create by giving a gift “just because.” A surprise gift to show you are thinking of someone turns an ordinary day into an extraordinary day!

 

 

 

Administrative Professionals – Thank Them For All They Do

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Administrative Professionals Week – April 21, 2014 – April 25, 2014

Celebrating excellence Administrative Professionals Week recognizes the achievements of the administrative staff members who help run your office. The people who help run your business are an invaluable part of the team, and for most of the year their work often goes overlooked in a hectic work environment.  Give one of our Administrative Professionals Day Gift Baskets and remind them how important they are and how much you appreciate all of their hard work.

Thanks A Million  $64.95

Thanks A Million $64.95

Thank You  $59.95

Thank You $59.95

 

New Arrivals for the New Arrival

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A new arrival in the family is a joyous occasion and cause for celebration! These beautifully arranged and designed new baby gift baskets from Exquisite Gift Baskets incorporate safe plush toys and layette materials in pastel blue and pink, or customers can also choose to put together a custom baby gift basket that includes the exact items they wish to give. 

 

The New Arrival - $64.95

The New Arrival – $64.95

 

The New Arrival - $64.95

The New Arrival – $64.95

Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment

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March is ‘National Women’s History Month’….

The National Women’s History Project (NWHP), founded in 1980, is an educational nonprofit organization. Their mission is to recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women through information, education, and programs.

This year’s theme, “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment”, honors the extraordinary and often unrecognized determination and tenacity of women. Against social convention and often legal restraints, women have created a legacy that expands the frontiers of possibility for generations to come. They have demonstrated their character, courage and commitment as mothers, educators, institution builders, business, labor, political and community leaders, relief workers, women religious, and CEOs. Their lives and their work inspire girls and women to achieve their full potential and encourage boys and men to respect the diversity and depth of women’s experience. These role models along with countless others demonstrate the importance of writing women back into history. ~NWHP, 2014

2014 NWHP