November 15, 2007
With Holiday Deadlines just around the corner, we’ve got some tips for you today to make your ordering experience smooth and fast, so you don’t have to worry last minute!
- TIP: Keepsake BooksAfter you place your Keepsake order, one of our team members will send you links to a complete preview of your cookbook! We do not print your order before getting your final approval, so be sure to look out for our preview email. We will need your final approval by December 3rd, so contact as soon as you can if you have changes. (Don’t worry, we’ll call you if we don’t hear from you to make sure you received the email!)
After you place your Keepsake order, one of our team members will send you links to a complete preview of your cookbook! We do not print your order before getting your final approval, so be sure to look out for our preview email. We will need your final approval by December 3rd, so contact as soon as you can if you have changes. (Don’t worry, we’ll call you if we don’t hear from you to make sure you received the email!)
- TIP: Reordering Holiday Keepsakes from Past OrdersReordering a Keepsake Cookbook for the Holidays is as easy as 1-2-3.
1. Choose the Holiday cover you’d like your Keepsake Cookbook to have.
2. Contact a Secret Ingredients Customer Service Representative at toll free 866-697-3247 or firstname.lastname@example.org
3. We’ll take care of the rest!
Reordering a Keepsake Cookbook for the Holidays is as easy as 1-2-3.1. Choose the Holiday cover you’d like your Keepsake Cookbook to have.2. Contact a Secret Ingredients Customer Service Representative at toll free 866-697-3247 or 3. We’ll take care of the rest!
- TIP: Last Minute GiftsCookbook Kits and Gift Certificates are great last minute gifts! If you don’t have the extra few moments to put together a cookbook, cookbook kits and gift certificates can do the trick. The gift recipient still gets an awesome personalized gift, plus they get to make sure their gift is exactly how they want it thanks to you.
Cookbook Kits and Gift Certificates are If you don’t have the extra few moments to put together a cookbook, cookbook kits and gift certificates can do the trick. The gift recipient still gets an awesome personalized gift, plus they get to make sure their gift is exactly how they want it thanks to you.
Please let us know of any questions and have a wonderful day!
November 7, 2007
Thanksgiving is two weeks away and some of you are just now being dubbed with the title of hostess. Don’t panic. You can pull off an awesome meal in no time as long as you keep a few things in mind.
First, consider your guest list and determine your menu. Are you having all adults over for dinner, or do you have to create a more kid friendly menu? That’ll make the difference between a Roasted Pumpkin Casserole with Glazed Pecans versus Sweet Potatoes Topped with Marshmallows. Can you add sausage to your stuffing or should you avoid that because you’ve got vegetarians coming to dinner?
Once you’ve figured out your menu, now you can create your shopping list. Check your cabinets first. See what kind of stock you already have like frozen veggies, gravy or broth, flour, spices, etc. Also decide what’s best for you; do you want to do all of your shopping at once or break it up and take advantage of last minute sales?
Now that the shopping’s taken care of, come up with a plan of action for preparation. When will you do all of your prep work like chopping veggies, boiling noodles, and greasing pie plates; the night before or morning of? Also, are you doing all the work yourself or will you recruit the help of a significant other, kids, or whoever else is in the house that can lend a hand? Don’t forget; timing is everything when it comes to the turkey. You’ll need enough time to thaw it out and cook it too.
In addition to a plan of action for the kitchen, consider what you hope to do with the rest of the house. Obviously, check your supply of dishes and make sure you can accommodate your guest and that everyone will have a place to sit down to eat. Next decide whether or not you’re going to decorate. Will you simply add a cornucopia to the table, or do you plan to pull out chair covers, centerpieces and candles, and dress your windows as well? And of course, if you anyone plans to stay overnight, or even if you anticipate someone needing to sleep off that extra glass of wine, spruce up your guest room or have an extra pillow and blanket on hand just in case.
Finally, as host for the evening, make sure there’s a plan for FUN! Thanksgiving isn’t just about a group of people who only see each other a few times a year getting together to stuff their bellies and go home. It’s a time to reflect on things and people we’re thankful to have in our lives. Usually that comes naturally when people are having a great time. Pull out those old board games, photo albums, and even old records to play the sounds of yesteryear. Enjoy the food, the company, and most importantly, take some time to enjoy the moment; it’ll be gone before you know it.
That’s it for me, until next time…
November 5, 2007
Thanksgiving is 2 weeks from Thursday. Can you believe it?! My mother is coming to Seattle from North Carolina to eat Thanksgiving with me this year, and she called yesterday to remind me that she’ll see me very soon. I’m very excited about her visit. Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday- delicious food, family, friends, and of course, the Macy’s Day Parade!
Whether you are cooking a feast at home, traveling to see family, or preparing a dish for a Thanksgiving potluck, it’s time to start planning! Mom and I are eating Thanksgiving dinner with friends, but we still have preparations to make for her visit, including travel plans and cooking several dishes for our feast.
I found this great article today that will help you plan your menu and suggests a great timeline for preparing your feast. Remember that the earlier you start, the more time you will have to relax and enjoy the day. Thanksgiving can be stressful enough without all the cooking! Why not plan for smooth sailing? Click here to read this helpful article at What’s Cooking America.
Don’t forget: December 1 is the last day to order your Keepsake Cookbooks for the holidays.
Have a great day,
October 29, 2007
I love holiday festivities! Gathering with friends and family, caroling with hot chocolate, Christmas lights, wearing my favorite color red, Dirty Santa, and all the delicious baked treats are just some of my favorite things about the season. However, festive times can easily lead to overindulgence. Before you know it, it’s January and all the weight missing from your pocketbook has gone straight to your waistline!
Start this Holiday season off the smart way! In the November 13th issue of Woman’s Day, Mary Hunt tells us how in her article titled A Festive Christmas Without Breaking the Bank. This article gives you great tips on setting a budget for your Holiday shopping and ideas on thoughtful, custom gifts that are inexpensive. Secret Ingredients is very excited to be included in this list! Be sure to pick up your copy of Woman’s Day today!
Reminder: Our Keepsake Cookbook Coupons expire on Wednesday!
Have a great day,
October 26, 2007
Halloween night doesn’t just have to be about the kids. This Halloween, invite some adult friends over, cook a delicious meal, and throw a spooky recipe sharing party.
Tell your guests to bring generic recipes, or go with a theme; perhaps Fall and Winter themed recipes or ones that are geared specifically towards Halloween. Although your friends won’t be going home with a bucket full of candy like the neighborhood kids, they’ll certainly be able to add several treats to their recipe collection.
If you’re expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters, hand out recipes with the candy. Since most parents inspect their kids stash at the end of the night, finding the treat of a brand new recipe in their kids bucket will be a welcomed surprise. Also, if you and all your friends have kids, you can still make a night of it. Have everyone meet at your place, and serve the kids something light for dinner like sandwiches or wraps. (This is also a great time to take pictures of the kids in their costumes.). Send everyone on their way with a designated adult or older sibling and let the adult dinner party and recipe swap begin.
That’s it for me, until next time…
October 25, 2007
There are just some people out there who are self-sufficient when it comes to gifts. These are the people you usually get gift cards and gift certificates for. Well, you can do the same right here at Secret Ingredients.
We offer gift certificates in any dollar amount. They’re great gifts for people who are perfect for customized cookbooks, but like to do the customizing themselves.
Gift certificates can be used for Heirloom and Keepsake Cookbooks, as well as Cookbook Kits. If you’re having trouble figuring out the best dollar amount, feel free to contact a Secret Ingredients Customer Service representative. We’re available via our Customer Service line at toll free 866-697-3247, or you can email us at email@example.com. We’ll be happy to help you determine the best gift certificate amount to best suit you and your gift recipients needs.
That’s it for me, until next time…
October 23, 2007
Can you believe next week is Halloween? It’s almost November! The Holidays are creeping up on us. Here are some simple reminders as we approach the holiday festivities:
- Take plenty of photos of your kids this Halloween! Halloween photos are SO cute in Secret Ingredients’ cookbooks. Last year we made an Heirloom cookbook that had ten years of Halloween photos. It was precious!
- Keepsake Coupons expire next Wednesday, October 31. Be sure to checkout in time for these savings!
- Look through your Thanksgiving and Holiday recipes. Planning your meals in advance will make your holidays more enjoyable! Remember that your family’s Holiday recipes are treasures. Consider including them in your cookbook project. These recipes are traditions that your children will want to continue.
- Our Holiday deadline for Keepsake Cookbooks is December 1. Please keep this in mind if you are ordering Holiday gifts. Our turnaround time is 2-3 weeks.
- Gift Certificates and Cookbook Kits may be ordered up until December 17. These are great gifts for someone who would like to make their own cookbook!
- Get your kids in the kitchen! This is the best time of year to get your children in the kitchen with you. Make pumpkin cupcakes or turkey- shaped cookies. Baked items are the safest recipes for kids, and there are so many opportunities to bring the festivities into the kitchen during the holidays.
Have a wonderful fall day,
September 17, 2007
The Holidays are right around the corner. Can you believe it? I noticed that Macy’s is already displaying their Christmas ornaments. As you all know, Secret Ingredients’ Keepsake Cookbooks make the perfect holiday gifts for your friends, neighbors, and family members. Instead of handing out fudge, rum cakes, and candy canes this year, why not give your favorite people something they can use all year… like a cookbook!
My mother goes all out for Christmas. Each year she makes individual rum cakes, soup mixes, homemade crackers, and fudge. She packages everything individually in boxes and tins, and then places one of each item in a clear bag tied beautifully with ribbon. Last year Mom made Holiday Homecoming and Merry Maker cookbooks for all of her friends and included them in her gift bags. It was the perfect touch! Click here to flip through a small sample of her book.
All Keepsake orders must be placed by December 3rd this year, and we have some great deals for the early birds! Remember that these are only for Keepsake Cookbooks.
- $5 off your order of 10+ Keepsakes: Use promo code HighFive.
- $15 off your order of 15+ Keepsakes: Use promo code Snowflake.
- $25 off your order of 20+ Keepsakes: Use promo code HolidayCheer.
All of the above coupons expire on October 31, 2007.
To use the code, type it into the Promo Code box when you are Reviewing Your Order. If you have any problems, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great day,
February 23, 2007
Last week I had the honor of speaking with Dr. Rus on his radio show, LiveLine. We had a great time talking about Secret Ingredients family cookbooks and our own family traditions and favorite meals. Dr. Rus told me about one of his favorite memories and traditions, and it was one of the most unique stories I’ve heard…
Every year his mother would make this incredible birthday cake. She would prepare the batter and the cake pan, but before sticking it in the oven she would wrap coins in wax paper and place them strategically in the batter. During the birthday celebration the kids would get to have this great treasure hunt as they ate their cake! Of course, little Dr. Rus, the birthday boy, would get the piece with the most valuable coins. What a neat tradition!
Birthdays are an opportune time to integrate traditions. Not only is it very doable because birthdays only happen once a year, but sometimes the most simple traditions are very memorable when they are associated with an already important day.
A lot of families celebrate birthdays with a special cake recipe, and others let the guest of honor choose the theme or menu for the celebration. One of my favorite childhood friends, Sarah, and her younger brother, Paul, were allowed to choose the menu for their birthday meals. There were no boundaries. One year, I was invited to Paul’s birthday feast. The dining room table was set for a formal occasion with silver and the best china, and the entire family and Paul’s friends gathered around the table for a meal of macaroni and cheese, cheese potato chips, cheese and crackers, and kid’s fruit punch box drinks. It was great!
Here are some ideas for fun and easy Birthday traditions for children:
- Treasure Hunts are great for early childhood years. My parents used to set up a treasure hunt to lead my sister and I to our main gift. You can also incorporate a treasure hunt theme into the birthday party for guests. This is very helpful with smaller children because it keeps them occupied and focused on tasks and, of course, the treasure! (Tip: You can buy pre-made treasure hunt kits.)
- Birthday Photographs are a great way to document each birthday and for future scrapbooking projects. Try to take the photo the same each year. For example, go to a photo booth each year or take a photograph of your child blowing out the candles.
- Breakfast in Bed makes everyone feel special. Treat your children to their favorite breakfast meal in bed each year. It’s a great way to start the day and will create lasting memories! If a birthday falls on a weekday, put a special note and treat in your child’s lunch box.
- If your family has a Height Chart in your home, mark it with each passing birthday and celebrate your child’s physical growth and accomplishments of the year. This lets them know that you are proud of them and focuses on positive accomplishment.
When your children grow up, you can create a family cookbook and include favorite birthday cake recipes and photographs for the perfect gift for any occasion- weddings, baby showers, Mother’s day, and more!
February 6, 2007
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Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it! Although Valentine’s Day is a wonderful holiday for adults to have a special moment with their loved one and to celebrate their most important relationships, it is also a great holiday for kids.
I will never forget putting my homemade Valentine’s box (a Kleenex box covered with doiles and glitter) on top of my desk just waiting for my friends to add goodies! It was better than getting a letter in the mail because of the candies, pictures, and number of cards.
Making Valentine’s Day Treats is a fantastic way to spend quality time with your kids. Not only will they be excited to spend time with you, but they will love making something special for their friends and to show off at school. This is also the perfect way to introduce favorite family recipes and cooking to your children. Use this time to introduce kitchen vocabulary words and teach proper measuring.
Here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day projects:
- Make your favorite cookie recipe. Kids LOVE decorating cookies, and they can personalize them for all of their friends. Buy small gift bags at a craft store. Put one cookie in each bag and tie a ribbon through the top of the bag. Tape a Valentine card to the top of each one.
- Kids love cake- especially cupcakes! Make a batch of cupcakes and let your kids decorate each one for a fellow classmate. Sprinkles, edible hearts, and other Valentine’s Day candy will make the cupcakes beautiful and delicious!
- For a slightly healthier option, dip apples in chocolate and cover them with red and white sprinkles. Wrap each apple in a plastic bag and tie with a red ribbon. Tie on a red heart with a cute message for each friend and classmate.
If you have any other suggestions, please share them with us. Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to teach your children about caring for others and giving thoughtful gifts. It’s also a more quiet time of year, so take advantage of it and create some special memories. Your kids will have a sense of accomplishment for creating unique gifts and will always remember your special time in the kitchen.
If you have a Valentine’s Day story about a recipe or meal, please enter our contest. Each month we give the best story contributor a free Keepsake Cookbook.