This year, encourage Mom to be a basket case
Gift baskets a fun, easy choice for Mother's Day
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/05/2017 (2140 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Mother’s Day doesn’t always have to start with pancakes and eggs. It doesn’t even have to mean getting Mom out of a comfy bed on a Sunday morning to battle a crowd at brunch.
It could mean letting her sleep in and then waking up to a basket stocked with enough yummy things to nibble on all day and a couple of magazines to read while sipping from a wine glass.
Filling a gift basket for Mom is easy-peasy. You can get started with that right now. Depending on your household, letting her sleep in might be more difficult. You should work on that.
Here is a list of basket stuffers made up almost entirely of local items with just a couple from outside of Manitoba’s boundaries. The gift-giving guidelines come from a simple rhyme I found years ago in a 1999 book called The Benevolence of Manners: Recapturing the Lost Art of Gracious Victorian Living by Linda S. Lichter. I’ve used it ever since whenever gift-giving is in order:
- Something to eat
- Something to read
- Something to play with
- And something you need
To start, you’ll need a basket. The size will depend on how much you end up with — so maybe wait until you have all your gifts.
Can’t find a basket you like? Take the bottom half of a cardboard box and wrap it with lovely paper, being sure to bring the paper over the top to cover the inside. Some crumpled tissue paper on the bottom will make a little “nest” to rest the gifts on top.
Whatever you use for a container, a bouquet of flowers gives it a pretty finish.
Something to eat
This will make up the bulk of the contents of your basket. Ideally, Mom should be able to relax comfortably in an armchair, magazine in hand, while plucking bonbons and the like from the ideally situated basket.
As much as she might like to, Mom won’t make it through the day on bonbons and wine alone (I’ve tried it. I don’t recommend it.) Some cheese and crackers with a couple of toppings are dainty and filling.
Locally made Dairy Fairy Cream Cheese ($6.99 / 250 g) has a clean, fresh taste that is good by itself on a cracker or bread or paired with any one of the suggested toppings that follow.
These first two toppings are more savoury than sweet and are delicious with the cream cheese. Winnipeg’s Flora and Farmer make a Hot and Smokey Pineapple and Tomato Spread (212 ml) that is smoky and spicy; sweet and savoury. Taste pineapples, tomatoes and chipotle peppers.
Birch syrup has been around forever. Canadian Birch Company has been around since 2012. Their Birch Bacon Jam ($15 / 212 ml) is made with their birch syrup and the taste of garlic, onions, brewed coffee and apple cider vinegar. And yes, it has real bacon in it. It’s produced on a birch estate on Lake Winnipeg’s south basin.
Just a dab or a dribble with the cheese will do here. Dutchman’s Gold Raw Honey is a Canadian delectable at Marshall’s ($9.99 / kg). Out of Petersfield, the John Russell Honey Company makes both natural and flavoured honeys such as Strawberry and Rhubarb with 37-gram jars starting at $5.97.
There are lots of Manitoba honey producers, and here are a few more to try: Scott Creek Honey Farm, Phil’s Honey, Golden Bee Apiaries, Wendell Estate Honey.
Good old Bothwell Smokey Maple Cheese ($5.29 / 179 g), made in New Bothwell, combines well with a fruit-and-nut cracker, just like all the yumminess of Canadian-made Lesley Stowe Cranberry and Hazelnut Raincoast Crisps. Find them at Sobey’s, $6.99 for a 170-gram package. In fact, these crackers will get Mom through the day with any or all these toppings. Go here to find Bothwell retailers.
Add a little more protein to the mix with a mix… of nuts, that is. Manitoba mainstay Morden’s of Winnipeg offers a fresh-roasted Deluxe Mixed Nuts ($6.50 / 200 grams) with filberts, cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts and pecans from Texas. Find them in person at 674 Sargent Ave., or virtually at mordenschocolate.com.
Let your supermom snack on a little superfood. Aschenti Cocoa Handcrafted Bean to Bar chocolate should do the trick. Find it at 782 Corydon Ave. My personal favourite — Almonds & Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, $10 per 70-gram bar.
For something a little more “dessert-y,” Bliss Gourmet Baked Goods makes scrumptious, hand-crafted authentic Italian Buttercream Biscotti, Pecan Treasures and more. See blissgourmet.ca to find retailers or order online; a variety five-pack is priced at $45.
That leaves things to sip on, so include a nice bottle of chilled sparkling water as a palate cleanser and to keep Mom hydrated. She might also fancy a cup of tea, Canada True Premium Ice Wine Herbal Tea is $4.99 for a 50-gram tin at Marshall’s.
Keeping with the wine theme, my personal favourite to accompany nibbly things is a chilled Barefoot Refresh Pink Moscato. Hints of mandarin, cherry, raspberry and pomegranate and a splash of sparkle at $9.99 for 750 millilitres.
And just to be silly, throw in a bottle of that Manitoba Pic-a-Pop at 99 cents. Go here for a long list of retailers.
Something to read
I’m all for the magazines.
If she’s a Manitoba gardener, she wants Manitoba Gardener.
If she’s a “maker,” there are lots of others that will grab her: Cloth Paper Scissors, Art Doll Quarterly, or Somerset Studio. All of them are at McNally Robinson.
Failing that, there’s always her favourite author… check her nightstand to see who that is.
Tuck a cookbook in the basket. Not for Mom — for you. Make something yummy for her, not just Mother’s Day, but any day.
Shown is Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta (Ryland Paters & Small, $22.75).
Cake in a mug. It’s a miracle. It’s fast and you can do it in a few minutes.
Make a sweet surprise dessert on a weeknight.
Something to play with
Get Mom some tunes with iTunes.
The gift cards are everywhere. You know what to do.
Other ideas include a board game she can play with her loved ones from Toad Hall Toys at 54 Arthur St., an especially good place to go if the kids are small.
And check out Across the Board Game Café at 211 Bannatyne Ave., Unit 105.
They’ve got games for sale, or else take her out later in the week for a bite to eat and a family game night.
Go to acrosstheboardcafe.com to book and take a gander at their library of 1,100 games to play in the cafe.
Something you need
A little personal pampering is always welcome. There are lots of local soap makers in town making scintillating suds that smell good and feel good.
Rebecca Haverluck is the maker at Art. Soap. Life., where she produces handmade natural soap, skin care and original art.
Shown is Marilyn Rye Orange Spice Soap using PEG Beer Company’s Marilyn Rye Ale. Bars start at $5. Find a list of retailers at artsoaplife.com.
SoGa Artisan Soaperie (sogasoap.com) is a Winnipeg Vegan Bath & Body Bakery that manufactures and sells handmade vegan, certified cruelty-free cosmetics and skin care with a delightful little shop at 86 Albert St.
Bars start at $8. Shown is Prairie Fields soap. Get the Razzleberry Lip Balm, because when Mom is done opening the basket, she’s going to be feeling very smoochie!
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