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favorite things

My friends have started a great tradition of throwing a "Favorite Things" party twice a year. A week before Baby M was born, we gathered at my friends home for the Spring party (they also have a Winter party in early December). Funny enough, I think this may be the only photo of my pregnant belly.

Here's how it works: Each person brings their favorite thing (anything you like.. your favorite lip gloss, favorite kitchen tool, favorite gift wrapping supply, a gift card for your favorite frozen yogurt, etc.). It can't cost more than $6, and each person brings five of the same thing. When you arrive at the party, you write your name on five slips of paper and throw them in a big bowl. The bowl is passed around, and each person takes five names (making sure you don't pick your own.. or two of the same name).

One at a time each person introduces their favorite thing and then reads the five names they picked from the bowl, passing out their gift to those five guests. After everyone at the party has presented their favorite thing, each person should end up with five gifts to take home. It's always interesting to see what people choose, and some guests have started to bring a notepad and pen to jot down what people love (this is how I was introduced to Trader Joe's Sea Salt Chocolate Caramels, which are nearly my undoing each winter).

This year I decided to bring basil plants as my favorite thing. It's always nice to cook with fresh herbs, but I hate buying a little pack at the store, using a few leaves, and then tossing the rest away when they go bad. Basil plants are inexpensive (these were $2.99) and somehow they stay alive for quite a while in my yard, despite my lack of a green thumb. I printed up some of my favorite recipes that use fresh basil and included that, along with a little jar of pre-made pesto (I like Trader Joe's version).

You can download my favorite basil recipes here.. (These are printed four to a page, so you can print them out, and add them to your recipe file.) And if you have a favorite basil recipe you'd like to share, feel free to comment, my basil plant is producing like crazy right now!

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Reader Comments (66)

What an awesome idea! A wonderful way to grow, learn, share and not to mention get some pretty sweet loot :) Thank you for sharing the idea!

07.16.2010 | Unregistered Commentersammyw

What an awesome idea!!!

07.16.2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara

What a lovely idea! And yes to basil. I cannot get enough of the stuff. I just ate some, in fact, and it was delish!

07.16.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJocelyn Stott

That is such a fun idea for a party! And I love that photo.

07.16.2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

yes! i'm am practically jumping for joy over this idea. i love the concept.

07.16.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica O'Brien

This is a great idea and I have a perfect group of girls to try it with. We used to be a book club but now we call ourselves 'Therapy Girls' cause we get together and talk about our hopes and dreams and trials and tribulations. I also love your recipes. The penne and chicken pasta used to be one of my favourites and I have forgotton it. I love this blog.

07.16.2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Cregan

This is such a fun idea! I have to try it!

07.16.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissaP

I totally need to do this, silly me.

Ina Garten's Tomato Basil Soup. Love this soup, my toddlers love it and it keeps well for leftovers. I add half the basil she recommends, I found that it tasted too much like marinara sauce with so much basil. But everything else is killer.

Thanks Brooke, big fan of your blog.

07.16.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

awesome idea! something i definitely want to do with my friends!!! thanks for sharing the recipes!

07.16.2010 | Unregistered Commenterkama

I love creative party ideas and this is one of the best I have heard in awhile! Thanks for sharing!

07.16.2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

My favorite basil recipe is from a book by Molly Wizenberg called A Homemade LIfe- it's absolutely a great book and includes some fantastic recipes including the one you should add to your stash for fresh basil-- it's called Zucchini Noodles with Pesto (p. 273) and it's a great dish.

07.16.2010 | Unregistered Commentersacha

What a great idea! I think I'm going to try it during Christmas season for a girl's lunch/night. How many people do y'all usually have? Is there a number you think works best?

My favorite basil recipe is something my daughter calls Spicy Tomato Pasta. It's "real" name is Capellini with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic and it's from Frank Stitt's Bottega cookbook. Delicious, vegetarian and takes only as long as it take for your water to boil for the pasta to cook. Yummy!

I love this idea. self-made traditions are the best. off to check out your basil recipes!

07.16.2010 | Unregistered Commentersherri/the claw

What a fab idea. Now I just need to find 5 friends who want to do this. HMMMMM

07.16.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJodz

completely charmed by this party idea.

07.17.2010 | Unregistered Commenterjane

I absolutely love that party idea!! Sounds like a lot of fun! :)

07.17.2010 | Unregistered CommenterConcha

I love your blog so much there are so many little things you that little bit differently to anyone else I know and its always an awesome idea like this one! Thanks for sharing.

PS- your bump looked awesome, and I love your yellow cardigan, beautifully summery!

07.17.2010 | Unregistered CommenterSammi

Once my life gets a little less hectic I am throwing this party! Or maybe I will do it for my birthday...either way it is a phenomenal idea!

07.17.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJolie

What a great idea! These are two of my favorite basil recipes:




07.17.2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

oh my goodness!! what fun. i can't wait to start a similar thing!!!!!

07.17.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

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