Tag Archives: Cooking Light

Ham FREE eBook: Spring Ham Primer

gThankYou! is excited to announce our free eBook,
“A Spring Ham Primer”.

gThankYou! Spring Ham Primer

Click Image to Download!

We believe a glazed ham is the perfect centerpiece for a spring party or holiday celebration. If you’ve never cooked one before, gThankYou! is here to help with this quick step-by-step guide on how to cook your ham, as well as suggestions for side dishes and additional places to look for great recipes.

Novice or seasoned pro, you’ll find useful tips and resources in this handy Ham Primer.  gThankYou! Ham Gift Certificates are a popular employee gift this time of year.  Share this free Primer with recipients, include one of our free personalizable spring-themed enclosure cards and make your Certificate of Gratitude gift truly special!

Here’s a peek at our “A Spring Ham Primer” Table of Contents:

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. How to Choose and Cook a Spring Holiday Ham
2. Great Ways to Glaze
3. Recipes
4. Super Side Dishes for Spring Ham
5. Resources

Download your free copy now by clicking this link:
“Spring Ham Primer”

For more recipes and “how to” posts about Ham, be sure to check out the links to these popular gThankYou! posts.  More posts are available under the “Ham Recipes” category so check them out and let us know what you like!

More Ham Posts!

Please enjoy your new Ham Primer and let us know about your spring ham feast!

Bon Appétit !

The gThankYou! Team

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey, or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

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Ham Appetizers for Holiday Entertaining

A holiday ham doesn’t have only one part to play in your end-of-the-year celebrations. Check out these great appetizer ideas for passing around at family gatherings — all finger food and easy to execute.

Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry

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From Ina Garten, The Food Network.

This is one of my favorite holiday appetizers. It starts with premade puff pastry and comes out of the oven bubbling and delicious. (I especially like it because it doesn’t involve filling little individual quiche cups or wrapping dozens of shrimp in bacon. Who has time?)

You can vary the cheese — cheddar is great for a more kid-friendly version, as is part-skim mozzarella — and any hard cheese could substitute for Gruyere.

Smoked Ham Roll-ups

Smoked_Ham_Roll_Ups

From Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats.

This is another take on the “make something big and cut it into small bites” school of appetizer cooking. You could skip the horseradish, add some chopped sundried tomatoes to the cream cheese or augment with green onions for color and a little onion flavor.

Deviled Ham Sandwiches

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From Lisa Lavery on CHOW.com.

Deviled ham comes together quickly in a food processor, blended with pickle relish, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and spices. Recipe author Lisa Lavery says to served the ham “with fancy crackers, or enjoy it on bread for a departure from the everyday ham sandwich.”

Bonus: This can be made three days ahead, to give you more time for other things on the day of the party.

Mini Buttermilk Biscuits with Ham, Arugula and Fig Preserves

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From Louisa’s Catering on GroupRecipes.com.

Feel free to cheat on the buttermilk biscuit part of these tasty little sandwiches, a riff on the classic fig/ham combination commonly found in tapas form (usually with a cured ham, like Parma or prosciutto). Fresh arugula lends crunch and a touch of spice, while the fig preserves go beautifully with the saltiness of the ham.

Mini Frittatas with Ham and Cheese

From Cooking Light.

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Credit Randy Mayor; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

These bite size frittatas will require the purchase of a mini-muffin pan if you don’t already have one. But they’re savory, surprisingly light (even with regular instead of reduced-fat ham) and so simple to make, that could be a worthy investment.

Made with onions, chives,  cheddar and egg, these taste great hot and at room temperature, so they’re a cinch to make ahead.

Have fun entertaining!  Merry Christmas one and all!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

The Joy of Thanksgiving Turkey: A History

At the first Thanksgiving, they probably didn’t have a turkey.

According to a story by NPR’s Robert Krulwich, the main course was probably deer (brought by the Wampanoags), goose and duck (brought by the English).

But in these United States, in 2012, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without a fat, browned bird popping and sizzling in the oven, rendering fat for a rich gravy, leaving behind a wishbone for kids to fight over.

“I believe from a good turkey all Thanksgiving flows,” wrote Kim Severson in The New York Times, in a story headlined “After the Turkey, Everything Else is Secondary.”

“Norman Rockwell didn’t spend all that time painting pans of sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, did he? No. He painted turkeys.”

For Americans, the bird is central to (arguably) the biggest feast of the year. Expatriates, like David Leite in France, students abroad in Spain and Peace Corps workers in Morocco go to great lengths to procure, prepare and serve a bird, which, thousands of miles away, tastes a little bit like home.

One small food pantry gives out 2,000 Thanksgiving meals on the weekend before the holiday, anchoring each one with a Jenny-O or a Butterball between 13 and 20 lbs.

Even Sam Sifton, the former New York Times restaurant critic and author of “Thanksgiving: How To Cook It Well” (Random House, October 2012), will never forget the memory of the first turkey he cooked as a college kid.

“The aroma that wafted through the house for the duration of that first college Thanksgiving was and remains incredible to me,” Sifton writes. “I have forgotten the conversations. But never the meal. I have been cooking that Thanksgiving turkey ever since.”

Charles Masters for CookingLight.com

Your family Thanksgiving table might include sweet potatoes with Gorgonzola, creamy corn casserole, roasted cauliflower or stuffing with spicy peppers. It might include Jell-O salad, cranberry sauce from a can and Stove Top stuffing.

But your Thanksgiving table, like mine — like 88 percent of Americans’ — needs a beautiful, browned turkey to make it complete. And that is a very delicious tradition.

Here at gThankYou!, we wish you and your family a joyous Thanksgiving.  We are grateful for all of your support, inspiration and business.

Gratefully yours,
The gThankYou! Team

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Looking for Thanksgiving Recipes? Start Here

The holidays can be a thoroughly overwhelming time — even when they technically haven’t started.

Getting a sense of your Thanksgiving Day feast menu in advance can ease the stress of the day, and ensure you’re not quick-thawing a 20-lb. turkey the day you plan to serve it.

A home cook might compile recipes in a Word document (as I have done for years, with a fair amount of success). Even simpler, some of the sites below will make up a menu for you.

One Epicurious app for Android allows you to choose the recipes you want to make, and then puts the ingredients from each one into a shopping list. So easy.

1. Epicurious is a great place to start for Thanksgiving recipes. I like the handy timeline; a list of budget-conscious, American wine recommendations; suggested tools; and tons of recipes from Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Sunset Living and more.

I love the suggestions from fellow cooks — you can click on helpful reviews and have them print along with the recipe, a great tool — and I love this Thanksgiving menu planner.

It asks six simple questions — like: How many people are you serving? Do you want something traditional, modern, exotic? Do you want the dishes to be healthy? — and then spits out a menu (I got “Ted Allen’s Modern Thanksgiving“) you can reject or accept.

gThankYou! Ginger Pumpkin Pie by Cooking Light

Cooking Light’s Ginger Pumpkin Pie
Photo by Charles Masters

2. If this is your first Thanksgiving at the stove, check out Cooking Light’s Thanksgiving for the Novice. Their suggested lineup is basic: creamy salsa dip, sausage and mushroom stuffing, honey-roasted sweet potatoes, classic pumpkin pie. But there are also dozens of fun, approachable and often health-conscious feast day recipes to be found here, including ideas for cocktails, “perfect” pies and what to do with leftovers.

3. A new site for me, and the one I’m using to plan my own meal this year, is Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs’ Food52. There are ideas for how to dress up your Thanksgiving table, an approachable how-to for the Russ Parsons dry-brined “Judy bird,” and contests among home cooks to find the best recipes for Thanksgiving staples like mashed potatoes.

Recipes that are currently catching my eye: cider-glazed sweet potatoes with bacon, pecans and blue cheese (below); beer-and-bacon glazed collard greens; crispy delicata squash rings with currant, fennel and apple relish.

If you like a recipe, you can click the button with the little turkey on it that says “Add to My Menu” and it pops the recipe into a Thanksgiving file. I love this.

Photo from SuperStarter on Food52.

4. A few other sites to try include Martha Stewart Living’s Everything Thanksgiving (it does literally look like EVERYTHING, from appetizers and side dishes to fall centerpieces and projects for the kids).

Thanksgiving Turkey Cake at Chow.com

I like the practical thrust and the nice visuals at the Food Network, which is a great place to find themed recipes for a Paula Deen-style Southern menu or a failsafe batch of ideas from science guru Alton Brown. If you want how-to videos, this is also the best place to start.

Finally, if you like moral support in your cooking adventures, start with the Thanksgiving recipes at Chow, the site connected to the active Chowhound forums. Search the Home Cooking board before you ask your question; chances are, it has been asked (and answered, in detail) before.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving Recipe sources?  Happy Cooking!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Five Ways to Add Flavor to Your Thankgiving Turkey

Turkey by itself — especially the breast meat — doesn’t have a ton of flavor and can run a little dry. For the best-tasting, juiciest turkey, most birds need a little help.

Here are five ways to add richness, spice and excitement to your Thanksgiving turkey.

Photo via Indulgy.com

1. Brine it. The white meat of turkey is not naturally  juicy. To add both moisture and flavor, soak the bird in brine the night before you plan to cook it. It works wonders.

There is a fair amount of internet buzz for Alton Brown’s five-star-rated Good Eats Roast Turkey, which as of this posting has 4,007 reviews on Food Network. To make his brine, you basically make a tea using kosher salt, brown sugar, vegetable stock, peppercorns, allspice and candied ginger. Cool it down and then soak the bird in the mixture for 8 to 16 hours.

The results? See the reviews: “A HUGE hit,” “soooooo easy,” “awesome turkey flavor, mild, subtle, and what Thanksgiving is all about!”

2. Inject it. You can buy pre-injected turkey, though some are wary of these — a whole frozen turkey from Butterball, for example, includes “modified food starch, sodium phosphates (and) natural flavorings.”

Williams-Sonoma Flavor Injector

You’ll know exactly what’s in the injection if you do it yourself. Granted, this requires some tools, but those who tried Brian Page‘s butter-injected turkey with thyme gave it “four forks” out of four on Epicurious.com.

“By putting the butter inside of the turkey it makes the turkey moist inside,” wrote one reviewer. “When the butter comes out into your water it makes it good for basting, because it helps brown the skin on the outside. I also use poultry seasoning, putting some on the inside and out.

3. Rub spices on the skin. Add flavor fast with a simple spice rub, which can range from basic to bold. One Cooking Light recipe packs tons of flavor, with cumin, coriander, oregano, sage, thyme, dry mustard and a little brown sugar.

Saveur has a recipe for a beautiful chile-rubbed Mexican turkey, involving toasted pasilla chiles, 30 cloves of garlic, orange juice, olive oil and honey.

Chile-rubbed roasted turkey. Photo by Landon Nordeman for Saveur.

4. Spread herb butter under the skin. No time to brine? This is a great last-minute technique that you can easily adapt for roast chicken, too.

Both Ina Garten and Martha Stewart offer step-by-step instructions for making a compound butter (with chopped herbs and lemon zest), then (in Martha’s case) loosening the skin of the bird and slathering the slightly softened butter underneath. Ina gets brown skin by brushing the melted butter mixture on top.

5. Stuff it. Take a lemon or an orange, a quartered Spanish onion or a full head of garlic, a bunch of rosemary or a few sprigs of thyme, and shove them into the cavity of the bird. (Apples are delicious, too.) This perfumes the meat lightly. Garlic left in its papery skin emerges melting and sweet, amazing spread on crusty bread.

Happy Cooking! Let us know what you do to make your Thanksgiving Turkey it’s flavorful best.

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Thanksgiving Dinner Planning Starts NOW: Mining the Food Magazines

It’s time. The Thanksgiving-themed glossy food magazines have arrived!

I love these covers. The birds themselves are always quite beautiful, burnished golden and ornamented with grapes and figs and sprigs of thyme. (I’ve decided not to worry about what advanced techniques may have made them so attractive. Food photography is a magician’s craft, and it works like magic — good enough for me.)

This is also where being a minor magazine collector comes in handy. Every year I return to my growing stash of Thanksgiving-themed mags, finding new inspiration and ideas. My personal favorite: Bon Appetit, November 2009 (top row, center):

I know, they all kind of blur together, don’t they? Here are a few of my favorite recipes (with more to come!) to help you get started planning your Thanksgiving feast:

Salted roast turkey with herbs and shallot-Dijon gravy, by Rick Rodgers, Bon Appetit, November 2008: This is hands down my favorite way to prepare Thanksgiving turkey.

Photo by Tim Morris for Bon Appetit

The salt dry rub is much easier than a wet brine (no watery mess!) and the rosemary, sage and thyme are a classic holiday combination that make the meat incredibly flavorful. Read the comments for more ideas and tips, but you really can’t go wrong here.

Salted roast turkey with orange, fall spices and sherry gravy from the same issue uses the same technique, but with an Asian twist; spices include star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, clove, coriander, fennel seed, cinnamon and orange peel.

Roast heritage turkey with bacon, sage and herb butter; Bon Appetit, November 2008: It’s the compound butter that makes this bird, studded with thyme, sage, lemon peel and applewood-smoked bacon. You can change-up the recommended vegetables (onion, celery, fennel, carrots and apples) with whatever you like best.

Photo by Elinor Carucci for Bon Appetit

Shown above, sourdough stuffing with sausage, apples and golden raisins by Jeanne Thiel Kelley; Bon Appetit, November 2009: It’s important to use a good hearty sourdough here, ideally from a bakery (not the grocery). Let it sit out for a day or two before assembling this dressing. Tart baking apples are best in this.

Roasted brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds and vanilla pecan butter, from “Throwdown with Bobby Flay (episode: Thanksgiving Feast, November 2010): I know the combination of cabbage-y brussel sprouts and sweet pecan butter seems weird, but trust me. This will change your life. (And as a bonus you end up with pomegranate molasses, which is truly amazing on ice cream.)

Photo by Randy Mayor for Cooking Light

Brussels sprouts with crisp prosciutto; Cooking Light, December 2003: An easier take on the sprouts. Sub bacon if necessary.

Butternut squash and cheddar bread pudding, by Molly Wizenberg; Bon Appetit, November 2oo9: A perfect main dish for the vegetarians at your Thanksgiving table, this wonderful recipe combines sharp cheddar cheese, Tuscan kale and lots of eggs for a divinely rich entrée.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing ideas for green salads and sweet potato side dishes and exploring the many aspects of your holiday turkey, from brining to carving, plus the best recipe sites and who to ask for help.

For more magazine recipe testing, check out the guys at The Bitten Word. Each year they do a “Fakesgiving” where they invite over family and friends to try out holiday recipes from that year’s food magazines. It’s pretty great.

What are some of your magazine recipe favorites for Thanksgiving?  Be sure to check back as we will have more to share!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC

Five Ways to Build a Better Breakfast

Interesting breakfast doesn’t have to take much extra time, though some pre-planning the night before does help. Whether you need to break your breakfast rut or add variety to back-to-school breakfasts, check out these five simple steps to building a better breakfast!

5 Ways to Build a Better Breakfast

gThankYou! Overnight Oats by Kath Eats Real Food

Overnight Oats
Photo: Kath Eats Real Food

1. Overnight Oats. Among some of my friends, overnight oats (as well as a protein-rich variation known as “eggy oats“) enjoy a near cult following. As explained on Kath Eats Real Food, overnight oats involve no cooking at all — simply combine oats with equal parts milk and/or yogurt and store them in the fridge overnight. The next morning, top them with fruit and something crunchy and you won’t be hungry again for hours. (The variations are endless!)

2. Savory Scones. In one of my more enjoyable graduate school courses, the professor had both a sweet tooth and serious baking skill. I wanted to join the fun (and, honestly, show off a little bit), so I made a triple-batch of scones. Between the cranberry orange, the fresh blackberry/almond and the sun-dried tomato/cheddar options, I was astonished to find that the savory scones were nearly everyone’s favorite. Try adding bacon (with cheddar or dates) or, as The New York Time’s Melissa Clark’s Good Appetite column suggests, onions, currants and caraway.

gThankYou! Smoked Salmon

Photo Credit:
My Life As A Reluctant Housewife

3. Smoked Salmon. Smoked salmon is a lean, delicious way to add protein to your morning meal. It’s not the most economical thing in the grocery, but I have found that a little 8-ounce package of smoked salmon trim goes a long way. Put it on a sesame seed bagel with veggie cream cheese; wrap it in a tortilla with dill cream cheese, cucumbers and capers; and for lunch, layer it on top of a salad for a sweet, smoky topping.

4. Homemade Granola. Home-baked granola is so ridiculously easy to make (and so much better than the store-bought stuff) that you’ll wonder why you waited so long to try it. I got started with the encouragement of wonderful “Orangette” blogger and author of “A Homemade Life,” Molly Wizenberg, and hers is the one I still use (as printed in Bon Appetit). I also like this lighter version from Pam Anderson, author of “The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great,” and the heavier one in Ina Garten’s marvelous “Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.”

5. Eggs to Change Your Life Finally, the weekend! If I have any extra time at all in the morning, I immediately gravitate toward these eggs. (recipe in Leite’s Culinaria). Whisked with creme fraiche and cooked over very low heat for at least 10 minutes, these “goopy” eggs (as my husband calls them) are silky, rich and luxurious. I adore eggs fried and sunny-side up and poached, but I cannot stop making them this way, for breakfast (and dinner, and a mid-day weekend snack). I blame Amanda Hesser, who published the recipe I use in “Cooking for Mr. Latte.”

If you need more inspiration, read about my friend Laura’s valiant break out of her own breakfast rut on Forkful of News, check out some boards on Pinterest, or just browse the waffles, omelets and pancakes at The Food Network and get excited again about the first meal of the day.

What do you do to build a better breakfast?

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo, and ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

5 Back-to-School Lunches You’ll Love Too

When I was a kid, my packed lunch was often the same every day: a container of yogurt, frozen; a turkey sandwich on wheat bread (with lettuce and tomato in a separate baggie); raw, kid-sized veggies (baby carrots, celery sticks) and something sweet, maybe a mini candy bar if it was Halloween or Easter time.

But creativity in kids’ lunches doesn’t have to take a backseat when the school year (and track practice and band practice and school play rehearsals) resume in full force. Were betting even the adults in the family will enjoy these recipes.

Here are five great ideas for fun school lunches to kick- off 2012-13!

gThankYou! Turkey Wrap

Thanks to the “Taste and Tell Blog”

1. Got some leftover turkey? Try a cucumber ranch turkey wrap (inspired by Every Day with Rachel Ray) with cream cheese and fresh veggies. It’s quick and portable, and you can vary it a dozen ways using leftover ham or chicken, avocado, tomato, a mild blue cheese, grapes and/or fresh greens. If your kid is adventurous (or you want a more adult version), try adding sundried tomato pesto, marinated artichokes and roasted red peppers.

2. As summer comes to a close, make the most of all those beautiful tomatoes with a simple watermelon gazpacho (adapted from Food and Wine Magazine). Skip the salsa topping and it couldn’t be simpler — chop and blend together sweet seedless melon, fresh tomatoes (the more colorful the better!), cucumber, a touch of sherry vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil. On the side, make your own “Lunchable”; pack it with salami, cheddar cheese and crackers for extra protein and carbs.

3.  While we’re talking tomatoes, don’t miss the chance to make sweet roasted cherry tomato sauce for an easy lunchtime pasta that’s wonderful at room temperature. It’s like Kraft Mac and Cheese studied abroad in Italy. Check out recipes from Susie Middleton, author of The Fresh and Green Table and the blog Six Burner Sue, or adapt this one from Epicurious. Let your child choose a pasta shape, like cute ear-shaped orecchiette or twisty gemelli.

gThankYou! Sub Sandwich

Thanks to The Food Network
and Tyler Florence

4. Chefs send their kids to school, too. At the Food Network, celebrity chef Tyler Florence makes a BLT with pesto and fresh mozzarella, stuffed into an old tennis ball tube with a popcorn ball and a bottle of water. In addition to tasting great, the baguette keeps its shape during morning classes. With a green salad or a cup of tomato soup, these sandwiches are great for a family dinner, too. Check out Florence’s recipe here.

gThankYou! Chickpea & Hummus bento box

Thanks to James Wojick
at Real Simple

5. Take a tip from your favorite Med cafe and make a lunch out of hummus, fresh bell peppers, a chickpea-cucumber salad and whole wheat pita pockets, cut into bunny shapes for fun. Make hummus yourself (recipe at Forkful of News) or find it pre-packed — many grocery delis make their own. Add mild sheep’s milk feta, like Hidden Springs, and a couple of kalamata olives for salty contrast.

For more ideas, browse this gallery at Real Simple, peruse grab-and-go breakfasts at Cooking Light and check out Real Food for Healthy Kids (Harper Collins, 2008) for 200 kid-friendly recipes.

P.S. Need a sweet new lunchbox for your half-pint? Check out this post on Mommyish or browse Pinterest for a variety of ideas.

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are one of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand whole Turkey or half or whole Ham, at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo, and ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.