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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Easter is just over a week away and I wanted to give you some ideas for the perfect Easter baskets! You know, something a little different, not your average Reese’s and Cadbury baskets (although, Cadbury mini eggs are my weakness!). All of these items (with an exception of a few things) are from small (mostly local) businesses, which I hope that you will support.

So here we go: Are you throwing an Easter brunch? What a perfect Pinterest way to showcase your amazing Easter baskets! Our party included home made chocolate covered pretzel rods and treats made by Bisous Sweet. Karen Collins is the talented baker behind the Bisous Sweet name. I’ve loved her linzer heart cookies and rugelach for some time now, and was delighted to see that she’s adding new things to her repertoire. These iced cookies are adorable, great for individual place settings or served on a platter. They come individually wrapped, so they can also go in your Easter basket. Look at that chocolate tart – so rich, with topping light as air! It’s sure to impress all of your guests. The chocolate cupcakes were a hit with us, the dark chocolate cupcake was filled with vanilla Italian meringue buttercream and glazed with dark chocolate ganache (and topped with my favorite, a Cadbury mini egg). Her bakery is located in Shirley, MA, but we have found Bisous Sweet goodies at Brothers Market in Weston, Volante Farms in Needham and Donelan’s Market in Lincoln. Check out her website to see where you can find Bisous Sweet treats near you.

I always like to send my guests away with something sweet – something from Spindler Confections would be perfect. I love the chocolate caramel pretzels because they come covered in white, milk AND dark chocolate. The caramel is made in house and the sea salt it’s topped with is from Gloucester. You can buy these goodies online, or if you are local, check out their shop in Davis Square.

I’ve been a big fan of EHChocolatier, so I am excited to show you an ENTIRE Easter basket with their goodies in it. The company started in 2010, by Elaine Hsieh and Catharine Sweeney. Their chocolates are top notch, trust me, you’ll love them. You can order these goodies online or you can visit their shop in Somerville during the week. So let’s talk about what’s in this basket: (clockwise from top right) Hand piped marshmallow chicks (4 for $8.00); Salted caramel Easter domes made with dark chocolate and filled with their popular salted caramel (5 for $15.95); Honey Bunnies filled with honey caramel (made with local Carlisle honey) (6 for $15.95); the classic chocolate rabbit that comes in white, milk or dark chocolate is approximately 5″ tall ($9.95) and the bunny pop ($3.50) comes in caramelized white chocolate, 70% dark chocolate or 45% milk chocolate; and the marshmallow caramel bunnies (3 for $11.95) are made with homemade vanilla marshmallow with a touch of honey and a dollop of dark caramel.

Do you have a sports fanatic at home? I filled this basket with a Red Sox hat (because, hometown pride and all), a Si’p by S’well 15oz aluminum water bottle (it’s important to stay hydrated when consuming this amount of Easter candy!) which I bought at Target for $24.99 (it comes in a variety of colors), chocolate sports ball candy (basketballs, golf balls, and soccer balls) that I picked up at the Wayside Country Store in Marlborough, and some hard candy sports balls from Pure Sugar Candy. Stacey Nectow runs Pure Sugar Candy, based in Needham, and makes all kinds of custom hard candy. Basically anything you can dream of: basketballs, golf balls, tennis balls, baseballs, footballs, hockey players etc. And that is just the sports themed things, you’ll have to check out her Facebook page to see a larger sample of what she can make! (Continue reading to see some of her other goodies below) Their new spot in Holliston is almost ready, so keep an eye out for their brick and mortar shop to open!

Don’t want to go with a theme? No problem, this Easter basket will make anyone happy! I had this bunny from Jellycat that I couldn’t resist adding in, along with the Duck & Goose Here Comes the Easter Bunny book. Duck & Goose books are favorites in our house, and the board book fits perfectly in this adorable Spritz basket that I found at Target. The pink bunny pajamas are from Gap ($26.95) and come in sizes 6 months to 5 years. The Spindler Confections caramel pretzels are in here, as well as a Bisous Sweet cookie. No Easter basket would be complete without Peeps ($5.95), these ones, dipped in chocolate (white, milk or dark) are from Phillips Chocolates, Boston’s oldest chocolatier. You can order Phillips candy online, head to their corporate headquarters on Morrissey Blvd., or check out their store in the South Shore Plaza. Side note: they make the most delicious turtles, so you should pick some up for yourself while you’re shopping for others.

I thought that a farm themed basket would be cute. This basket was a Spritz basket I picked up at Target. Again, the pajamas from the basket above from the GAP. I added in a chicken stuffed animal by my favorite brand, Jellycat. I realize that lumberjacks aren’t found on a farm, but I love this guy, Duke, made by ChickPea Studios out of Waterbury, VT. I found him on Etsy, one of my favorite places to support small businesses. We love these “Bernie’s Farm Animal Cookies” by Annie’s in my house. The individual packages are perfect for snacking on the go and they come in fun shapes like a cow, a tractor, a barn and a chicken. They are made with organic wheat and are naturally colored with fruit and vegetable extracts (if that’s important to you!). Harbor Sweets makes my favorite candy, Sweet Sloops, but they make other delicious goodies as well. The peanut butter pony ($13.95) is perfect for this farm themed basket, and a lot more fun (and tasty) than those other peanut butter and chocolate treats. Farm shaped lollipops from Pure Sugar Candy are an adorable addition to this basket and they come in a variety of flavors. Those Donald and Daisy duck macarons are made by Tamy, of Maca Boston. Tamy makes some of the best macarons I’ve had outside of Paris, check out my previous post about her here.

My last basket is a nautical themed basket. The bags are bucket bags from Sea Bags, located in Portland, ME. I use these bags at Christmas as “stockings” for our family, so I was happy to find another holiday to use them for. I may have a small (ahem, large) addiction to Sea Bags, I probably have half a dozen tote bags in addition to 6 of these bucket bags. They are super functional and easy to clean, perfect for a family on the go. I filled these bags with a box of sweet sloops from Harbor Sweets (12 piece box for $13.50) and some Barque Sarah’s (my second favorite candy they make) which are whole toasted almonds in milk chocolate, chocolate mini turtles from the Wayside Country Store, sailboat lollipops and a lighthouse from Pure Sugar Candy, and a notepad and set of little notes from my new favorite company, E. Frances Paper, located in Newport, RI. How can you resist these adorable sailboats or the adorable seagull in a striped shirt (also, not to be missed are the crab and whale in the striped shirt). They’re so cute you almost don’t want to use them!

Not hosting an Easter brunch, but going to one? I always like to bring a little hostess gift. I filled a blue and white striped mixing bowl from Crate and Barrel  ($19.95) with some delicious goodies. The bowl will be used long after the treats are gone!

Here’s what’s inside:

  • A large chocolate Easter egg from Pao Brasil Bakery in Framingham ($16.95)
  • Custom flower cookies by A Dozen eggs. These all butter vanilla sugar cookies come individually wrapped and are just amazing. Beautifully decorated AND delicious. (Lilies are 4 for $15.95, 12 for $39.95, 24 for $78.95) (Tulips are 4 for $15.95, 12 for $34.95, 24 for $68.95). Laura started her business in Boston in 2004, and has since moved up to Mount Holly, VT.
  • Fudge filled egg from Phillips Chocolate ($14.95) which you can get in milk or dark chocolate. Other filled egg flavors include: dark coconut, dark yolk, milk coconut, milk rocky road, and milk turtle. (YUM!! Turtle filled egg, sign me up!!)
  • Gather Chocolates by Harbor Sweets (6 piece box for $12.50). These are the newest addition to the Harbor Sweets family, and they are raising awareness of the plight of the honeybee. Harbor Sweets will be donating 2.5% of all sales to the Pollinator Partnership to aid inn their efforts to preserve and protect the honeybees. Flavors in this box include: caramelized honey, pomegranate molasses, sour cherry, sesame crunch, coconut cluster and cashew caramel. Each chocolate is flavored with a  note of local wildflower honey.
  • A Robert L. Strohecker Assorted Rabbit ($18) by Harbor Sweets that is filled with caramel and pecans, almond butter crunch toffee and whole toasted almonds. It comes in two halves, each individually wrapped in gold foil.
  • Easter Marshmallows from Williams Sonoma
  • Assorted chocolates from Spindler Confections
  • Bottom left is a nice selection of treats from Formaggio Kitchen. You can order online or visit one of their stores in Boston, Cambridge, or New York. Greek Honey Botanic Blossoms ($14.95), P&T Sprite’s Delite tea ($23.95)  a green team with hints of strawberry and basil, Generous Stracciatella ($8.95) gluten free cookies that are made in Belgium,
    Sorelle Nurzia Classic Brittle Nougat with Almonds ($16.95), and Pietro Romanengo Fondant Candies ($32.95) that come in a variety of flavors, such as raspberry, pear, strawberry and licorice.

So now that I’ve told you all of my favorite things to add into my Easter baskets, what are your favorite things to add into your Easter baskets?

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