Happy Holidays!! Tis the season for family, friends, food, games, cookies, dinner parties and shopping! It’s my favorite time of year! I’m the girl in her car (or kitchen or shower or anywhere else) singing Christmas carols at the top of her lungs. I dance around the Christmas tree in fuzzy pajamas and still squeal with glee over finding the perfect present for someone on my gift list! It’s just a fun time of year! There are always a few people on my list though, whom I want to give something extra special. Are you looking for a special gift too? Let me help you. Look no further than Melissa’s Produce Gift Baskets!
When Melissa’s asked if I would be willing to review one of their gift baskets, I didn’t hesitate! If you follow my adventures on Facebook or Instagram, you know I have been blessed to attend many events at Melissa’s Produce this year. I’ve met fabulous cookbook authors, learned a LOT about seasonal produce and healthy eating, been blessed to get to know Melissa’s amazing team of Corporate Chef’s and their equally amazing staff, plus, sample some of the best produce on the planet! You can find Melissa’s Produce in grocery stores, restaurants, sports venues and featured in the food photographs of many, many magazines! If you have a food lover on your holiday gift list, you can’t go wrong with any of Melissa’s Gift Baskets. Check out the whole line of delicious Melissa’s Produce Gift Baskets HERE!
So which basket did I get? I got their Healthy Grilling Basket and it came stuffed with a variety of vegetables, a grilling wok and four curved skewers! Because Melissa’s always uses the freshest ingredients, the contents of the basket may vary slightly throughout the year. Mine had a Fennel bulb, Cipollini onions, yellow potatoes, Anaheim Chilies, Bell Peppers, Pasilla Chilies, Elephant Garlic, Chayote Squash, three Asian Eggplants, Two huge Portobello Mushroom caps and some Plantains! There was enough food for several different meals! We couldn’t wait to light the BBQ and dig in!
Included in the basket was a great pamphlet with a description of the vegetables, how to store them and how long they will last! Also included in the pamphlet is a recipe for a balsamic marinade and directions on how to best grill the veggies on your BBQ! So helpful if you’re using ingredients you might not have grilled before.
Confession time: I’ve never seen a Chayote Squash nor have I cooked with Elephant Garlic or even thought to grill Fennel! Having this BBQ Gift Basket was a learning adventure! It’s exciting to try new things and discover new flavor combinations!
Since there were several things in the basket we hadn’t tried before, we decided to use the included balsamic veggie marinade over the fresh produce and use the grilling wok to cook them. A word of warning, the marinade recipe calls for the juice of 1 lemon. Depending on the size of your lemon, the amount of lemon juice that actually goes into the marinade can vary greatly. Ours was a large, very juicy, organic lemon. Consequently, the lemon flavor was a bit over powering. It was still very good, just a bit tangy! I’d suggest starting with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and adjust to your taste.
The Grilling Wok that came with the basket is awesome! My husband declared it very easy to use and he’s already planning more things to cook in it. We have a BBQ grilling pan that is similar, but it’s bulky and the holes in the bottom are larger which makes it’s hard to grill smaller or more delicate items. We both love this new Grilling Wok and will be putting it to use for a long time!
We used the curled skewers to have some BBQ shrimp with our grilled veggies. The skewers are the perfect plate size (as you can see!) and turned our simple dinner into a fun occasion. They looked so pretty on the table! Yeah, it might be a girl thing to be saying the skewers are “pretty” and “cute” but I don’t care! Presentation is important too and I like how they look!
Please do yourself (and the food/wine/vegetable lovers in your life) a favor, get one of Melissa’s Produce Gift Baskets this holiday season! Oh, and BTW, grilled fennel is darn tasty, elephant garlic is FUN to cook with and Chayote Squash will be finding it’s way into my kitchen again very soon! It’s so good!
Melissa’s is a fabulous company and I’m so very honored to know them! Here’s where you can find them on social media so you can get to know them better too!
Here’s to happy, healthy eating this holiday season and finding that perfect gift basket for someone you love!!
Disclosure: I was provided a Gift Basket from Melissa’s Produce to sample, but all options are 100% my own.