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!