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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 a fun party! I'm definitely going to suggest this to my little group of girlfriends!

07.27.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

What a lovely idea!

07.28.2010 | Unregistered CommenterKrishana

great party idea!

07.28.2010 | Unregistered Commentertanya

I was inspired to go get a basil plant! Any advice for bugs? It is getting nibbled at. I found a spider in my house and transported it to the basil, which seemed to help a little.

Delightful recipes! Basil and Sunflowers almost make our hot summers bearable. I tried a charming new basil this year - boxwood basil - and it's a great performer, especially for small spaces. To find out more about it and other basils, check out my blog (www.potagerblog.com)! And thanks for the ongoing charm of your blog.

07.29.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Vater

I have a HUGE favor to ask of you. I was searching on line for a cute homemade advent calendar, because I want to make them as gifts for this Christmas (thus why I'm starting now). I came across the one you listed a few years ago, and fell in love with it! Would you do me a favor, and take a photo of all of the ornaments? I realize there are 25 of them, but maybe you could take a photo of them in groups of five? I am sure I can copy them, I just need to see what they look like.
Thank you so much!!

07.30.2010 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

I love this idea! And I cannot wait until we live in a place where I can grow pots of herbs...

07.31.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJTay

belated congratulations on your new little one! This favorite thing exchange is such a great idea and a great excuse to get together. I hope you and your family are enjoying each other!

07.31.2010 | Unregistered Commentermeanders

A wonderful, wonderful idea. It reminds me of 'live blogging' a little bit- sharing your favorite "things"... but actually having the items visible for the others to see and possibly receive. It is a creative outlet and at the same time, a chance to get to know your friends a little better (what makes them :)).

And we are overflowing with basil, so THANK YOU for the ideas. I can't wait to try the recipes this week.

I love the elegant simplicity of your blog! Such good tips and optimistic content. I invite you and your readers to stop by my blog, P O T A G E R, for garden and lifestyle tips and treats. Enjoy this hot summer!

08.2.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Vater

Wow.I love it.Wow.

08.4.2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia

Your basil looks so nice. I wish I could get mine to look like that.

08.5.2010 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

Such a sweet idea! We're going to try it for our next party!

08.8.2010 | Unregistered Commentercarrie

Just what I need! I have a pot of basil on my balcony...I know they can turn into something fabulous, not just pesto & Caprese salad :)

08.13.2010 | Unregistered Commenterclaire

What typeface did you use on the recipe book? I really love it!

08.19.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLindsey

What a great idea! Will try it soon.
Have a lovely weekend!

08.20.2010 | Unregistered CommenterHusfruen

Hi Brooke,

I'm founder of catchmyparty.com. I love this party idea so I just blogged about it. I hope you like what I wrote.




I'm definitely giving this a try. It sounds great!

10.20.2010 | Unregistered CommenterHere Be Dragons

And thanks for sharing your basil recipes, we have crazy amounts of it in our garden right now and I'm trying to use it in every way I can!

05.20.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

my female family members and i have a similar tradition. i definitely recommend everyone try it! i love the typeface you used on your recipe book. can you tell me what it is?

many thanks!

05.22.2011 | Unregistered Commenterarianne

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