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A Category 1 Hurricane Still Packs a Powerful Punch

A Category 1 Hurricane Still Packs a Powerful Punch

According to the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale, a Category 1 Hurricane such as Sandy, which the East Coast is now bracing for, should still be considered very dangerous and those in the path of the hurricane are encouraged to heed the warnings and mandatory evacuations set by Local, State and Federal Agencies.

MSNBC TV has just reported during an on-air update that Sandy may collide with two other storms creating a huge super-storm.

The latest reports show the peak of the storm hitting Monday evening in Mid-Southern New Jersey.

A 4-7ft. storm surge is predicted which means coastal flooding in addition to power outages is quite possible.

To be classified as a Cat 1 Hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (Category 1). The highest classification in the scale, Category 5, is reserved for storms with winds exceeding 156 mph.

Past Cat 1 Hurricanes have caused major damage often in the billions. Last year Hurricane Irene caused an estimated $15.8 billion in total damage with 2 deaths reported in Florida.

I just saw a report of a lone boogie boarder on a beach in Delaware with the surf pounding around him. MSNBC was interviewing Delaware Governor Jack Markell at the time I saw the boogie boarder. The Governor was urging everyone to adhere to all warnings and to take Sandy seriously.

We urge everyone to heed all warnings and evacuate your homes or businesses if asked/required to do so.

Don’t think a Cat 1 Hurricane can’t cause damage? Check out the photo’s below.

Hurricane Sandy 2012 Images

Updated 10/29/12 @ 4pm PST

10/29/12 Hurricane Sandy in NY – Surreal

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10/29/12 People swimming in a Sandy sea. Dumb!

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10/29/12 This is what Sandy’s winds can do.

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10/29/12 Sandy’s already causing flooding

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10/29/12 Sandy coming ashore

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10/29/12 Wide spread damage expected

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Damage caused in cuba

Flooding in Cuba

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Hurricane Sandy causes damage in  Cuba

Image courtesy of Google

South Carolina- This is what you should not do!

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More damage in Cuba Hurricane Sandy Oct. 2012

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Please don’t think of staying in an area where you have been asked to leave or stay away from.

We wish all our family, friends, customers and readers who may be in the affected areas the very best and our thoughts and prayers are with you.

An MSNBC  TV update @ 6pm PST stated millions of Americans could be in danger! DON’T TAKE ANY CHANCES!

Thanks to:


Seasonal Affective Disorder and You

You or someone you know may very well be prone to the winter blues, even the summer blues, without even knowing it.

Seasonal affective disorder (or SAD) is a form of depression experienced during certain times of the year. Most suffer from SAD during the winter months (the winter-blues), while others may notice varied symptoms in the spring and summer.

It’s no surprise that those who live in colder climates are more prone to the effects of SAD since light is thought to play an important role and may be the catalyst that triggers the winter blues.

 Seasonal affective disorder symptoms

The symptoms of SAD vary. Some may suffer from feeling a little down or sad, while others may find themselves in a severe depression, yet others find they are in between. The duration can last from a few days to months.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities
  • Heavy or “leaded” feeling in arms and or legs
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of focus
  • Oversleeping or excessive napping
  • Changes in appetite including a strong craving for high-carb foods and sugar
  • Low self-esteem
  • Obsessiveness over little things

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder

According to WebMD the lack of natural light in the winter leads to lower levels of serotonin which is thought to be a major contributor of depression.

In a study done at Humboldt University in Berlin researches gave participants an online diary and we’re asked to answer questions daily as it pertained to their levels of tiredness, positive and negative moods and more.

The study found, among other interesting findings, that “temperature, wind, and sunlight were found to have an effect on negative mood. Sunlight seemed to play a role on how tired people said they were.”

Read more here

Foods that help fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

The traditional course taken to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder is for a physician to prescribe medications, therapy and even light therapy.

However, there are some foods that boost serotonin naturally thereby helping us to feel less “blue”.

These foods include:

Popcorn –Easy to make and a great on-the-go snack

Nuts –Who does not like some kind of nut? Heck some of us love them so much we married one! Oatmeal –Why not make some breakfast bars with fresh fruits and nuts in them? Here’s a great recipe for baked oatmeal snack bars that are sure to please.

Egg-whites –Omelets are a great way to start the day.

Peanut butter –How about a PB sandwich on whole-wheat bread?

Vegetables –Prewashed and preferably fresh and uncooked.

Whole grains –We’re talking breads and crackers here.

Cottage cheese –Add some fresh fruit and you have a great tasting treat!

There are many ways to prepare dishes and desserts using these foods that are sure to please any member of your home. You’ll be helping them to fight the winter blues and they won’t even know it.

Try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. Also, substitute sugar cravings with fresh fruit. Fruit contains natural sugars that help increase serotonin. Though, a proper diet full of healthy foods and healthier desserts should always be followed no matter what time of year.

In addition, keep your home and or office as well lit as possible. Use the sun’s natural rays to improve your mood and keep plants close by as well.

These tips are in no way intended to be a cure-all for the winter blues or depression. This article was written solely to provide information on Seasonal Affective Disorder and nothing more.



The Mayo Clinic

Halloween Best Practices: Sometimes Common Sense Makes Perfect Sense

Halloween Best Practices

According to Statistic Brain last year consumers spent 7 billion—yes billion—dollars on Halloween. Also, each year people get hurt, consume too much alcohol, and worse.

So, here are a few tips to insure we enjoy each and every penny all the while insuring everyone returns home safe.

Candy, Candy and more Candy

Let’s face it when it comes down to it this is the fuel that drives Halloweens engine. Without candy All Hallows’ Eve would become like the Superbowl—party time for the adults while the kids just get to run amuck (seems when parents drink kids get a reprieve from manners) but there’s nothing really in it for them.

You don’t want to run out of candy but at the same time you don’t want too much. I hate turning my porch light out because I ran out of candy but at the same time if I buy too much it will just sit around tempting me to devour it. You should go by of how much candy you handed out the few previous Halloweens combined then purchase just that much—with a just enough extra to cover the family. Problem solved.

Remember, there is no rule that says you have to give out unhealthy treats. You can give out healthier candy or give away healthy treats all together.


Make sure you’re able to communicate with your children at all times throughout the evening including teenagers. No strike that, especially the teenagers because one out their whole group of friends will probably be driving. Just keep in mind that there is a huge difference between a nag and a concerned parent.

You kids should have their cellphones with them at all times throughout the night, even your youngsters that have phones. Set a time or times (remember don’t be a nag), let them know you expect them to call or answer at that particular time and if they don’t there will be ramifications.

Its 2102 so there is no excuse why you should not be able to keep tabs on your kids nor should a child expect to have their parents buy them a phone without their parents checking in!

Think about the pets

Growing up my little buddy was Bruno. Bruno was a pug who loved most anything except costumed humans. He was the most affectionate loving dog anyone could hope for. However, I truly believe he was frightened to death at the sight of someone dressed up in a costume which caused a switch to go off in his head turning him into an aggressive puppy. Not cool for him or those who were subjected to him. He was boarded after his first two Halloweens. End of problem.

We also had Hotye a crossed eyed Siamese. He really wasn’t afraid at Halloween per say since he figured out hiding in my closet, under my clothes for a night was way easier than having to look at Batmen, witches, cowboys, Indians and like.

If your pets are afraid of trick-or-treaters do them a favor and find a safe quite place in your home and make some temporary digs for them for the night. Better yet, if you can afford one, a pet board and care is another alternative. Some even offer specials on Holidays to make more affordable for those who otherwise may not the funds available to put their pets up for an evening. You can’t beat that.

Control your alcohol consumption

Duh right? Wrong. Maybe to you and me but unfortunately some people just don’t get it.

According to AAA alcohol related fatalities can increase as much as 30% when Halloween falls on a weekend and up to 17% on non-weekend days. AAA offers “Tipsy Tow” which is a free tow home for impaired drives—members or nonmembers.

I know firsthand that New Year’s Eve is not the only Holiday on which resolutions are made. Without going into details I had a bad experience as a young adult at a Halloween party that prompted me to vow never to let that happen again. Yes, alcohol was involved.

These few simple steps can mean the difference between a safe Halloween and a disastrous one:

  • Use a designated driver
  • Take your guests keys as they enter your party. If they give you a hard time you can explain to them that you have their best interest at heart. If they still refuse politely tell them they can either give you the keys or find another party to attend.
  • Only purchase enough alcohol that is needed. If you are going to have 25 guests and you set a limit at 3 drinks per person then you need enough alcohol to serve 75 drinks.
  • Offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages including coffee and water.
  • Don’t serve alcohol at all. This completely eliminates the problem no?

And whatever you do guys don’t drink and drive with the kids in the car. Really?

If it looks suspicious don’t eat it.

This is also a no-brainer but keep in mind there are no evil villains lurking about poisoning our kids’ candy or placing broken up pieces of razor blades in their candy. This urban legend seems to have crept its way into Halloween folklore in Long Island, NY in 1964 and was further fueled by a story the New York Times ran in 1970

This doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. As we all know, in this day and age anything is possible. Unfortunate but sadly true.

Be wary of opened candy, homemade goodies, any treat that appears tampered with or misshaped, and if it looks or smells suspect then toss it in the garbage without hesitation.

Why not spend Halloween as a family—at least part of it?

We all know the older our children grow they become less and less interested in hanging out with their parents they become. They look at us differently like we’re from some foreign planet in Alpha Zentar Galaxy and think we speak the alien language!

This is an inevitable part of every child’s adolescence and we can either fight it, ignore it or maybe we can compromise. What?

We sure can compromise. Remember, they may be spreading their wings, but we as parents still rule the roost. Let them know this Halloween you have planned the first two hours of the evening for family time. This can be taking your younger kids trick-or-treating as a family, making treats to hand out, helping each other with costumes etc. just as long as it is done as a family unit.

Classy is better than trashy

Seems there is always one slutty dressed nurse, a flasher in a trench coat or someone who dons a revealing costume that’s really not suitable for children then decides to come to your party. Sure it’s cool if it’s an age appropriate party but not so much if my kids are present.

Dress up for the occasion. This is just common sense.

If you plan on wearing next to nothing that’s fine all I ask is that you cover-up the parts you know we parents don’t need our kids seeing. Then when you leave you can get buck naked for all I care just please show some respect when there will be kids present.

And there you have it

Each year during Halloween people say “that will never happen to me cause’ I know my limit” or “Ah, my kids will be safe there” and each year people get injured or die as a result of a lackadaisical attitude.

Be smart, be respectful, know your limits, set limits, be prepared, be flexible and most of all remember…

A little common sense goes a long way.

Have a safe and happy Halloween from all of us at Beautiful Sweets!


Beautiful Sweets Organic Bakery



Readers Digest

The Washington Post

Statistic Brain

The LA Times

The NY Times


Trying to Get Your Kids Eating Healthy: Fight the Good Fight with Preparation and Little White-Lies

If trying to get your kids eating healthy is like trying to diet during the Holidays (an uphill battle to say the least) then fear no more my bewildered friends for there is hope.

It doesn’t  have to be World War III at your dinner table each night. Remember, it takes many battles to win a war. Some battles you’ll lose, it’s inevitable. The key is preparation, choosing your battles wisely and knowing that no war was ever been won without a little deception.

Before you know it there will be peace and harmony at your dinner table. If your family even eats at the dinner table. It’s tough in this day and age I know. More on this below.

Win the war and get your kids eating healthy with proper preparation

This is perhaps the easiest part because it’s all on you. If you’re ever going to see your kids eating healthy then you need to prepare yourself beforehand.

These tips can make your efforts a lot simpler for the mere fact that you’ve prepared and in doing so you will catch the enemy off guard.

  • Erase all negativity as it pertains to previous dinner table battles. Forget about the failed attempts, arguments, time-outs, frustration, hissy-fits, etc. as negativity breeds negativity. It’s time for a clean slate.
  • Have a budget and plan your meals ahead of time. What? I can appreciate just how busy you are and I know planning meals is the last thing on your mind. However, by budgeting and planning meals ahead of time, you can research, shop and prepare healthier and tastier meals. When we shop without a budget or list, common sense can fly out the window — we more often than not grab the old unhealthy, crowd pleasing, standbys or we’re in a rush just throwing things in the cart. Oh, we do occasionally grab something healthy only to have it thoroughly rejected come meal time. Not anymore.
  • Have some support in place—not your significant other either—so you can vent elsewhere. Venting to someone is your home can just lead to unwanted tension which may sabotage you’re well thought battle plan.

And that’s that. Go into this with a positive mindset, plan ahead and have some biased support you can turn to when needed.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll have won half the battle already.

Now it’s time to implement your battle plan.

Tips to assuring victory and have your kids eating healthy.

How many times have we all heard the old clichés “kill em’ with kindness” and “anger begets anger”? Well in our particular scenario these adages will prove to be true yet both easier said than done I know.

But, you’re prepared remember?

Preparation coupled with these steps should help to bring peace and stability to your dinner table.

  • Do not be forceful in any way, shape or manner. If you plan ahead, try different things and do not force things, you’ll be surprised at the results. Please remember that kids have choices too. Do you like having anything forced on you? Now I am not saying be a pushover, just take it easy on them.
  • Keep your temper in check. That goes without saying
  • Don’t expect your kids to eat anything you won’t eat. It’s just like smoking—how can I tell my kids not to smoke if I smoke?
  • Eat at the dinner table! Even if it’s only a few nights a week. Why has this become a lost part of a majority of family’s dinner? It’s like a tradition now and this is sad. Oh, I know why it’s died, I was being facetious.
  • Don’t blow it by giving in at dessert time. Introduce healthier desserts in addition to other meals.
  • It’s OK to tell white-lies. A good one is “Johnny’s mom said his older brother loves these?” Hum, someone cool and older likes it so maybe it’s not so bad. Shady? A little. Effective? Yep.
  • Ask your husband, wife, partner, significant other, roommate or anyone you may live with to be on board with the plan. You may have to put your foot down (withholding something usually works—wink-wink) and let them know you all will be eating healthy no matter what. Seriously, you need to be in unison. Kids are not dumb and will play one against the other. This too is inevitable, I’m afraid.

And there you have it, my keys to winning the war of “Getting My Kids Eating Healthy

Salads: A Brief History and My 61 Favorite Toppings

Guest Post

Salads are interesting and diverse dishes with many variations, colors, flavors, textures, ingredients and fans as just about any dish known to man—and animals too since they are huge consumers/lovers of salads in their own right.

These delectable dishes are served as snacks, appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, main courses, and desserts.

According to Wikipedia the word “salad” comes from the French salade of the same meaning, from the Latin salata (salty), from sal (salt). In English, the word first appears as “salad” or “sallet” in the 14th century.

Salt is associated with salad because vegetables were seasoned with brine or salty oil-and-vinegar dressings during Roman times.

The terminology “salad days”, meaning a “time of youthful inexperience” (a notion of “green”), is first recorded by Shakespeare in 1606, while the use of salad bar first appeared in American English in 1976.

Wikipedia further states: “Food historians say the Romans and ancient Greeks ate mixed greens and dressing. In his 1699 book, Acetaria: A Discourse on Sallets, John Evelyn attempted with little success to encourage his fellow Britons to eat fresh salad greens.  Royalty dabbled in salads: Mary, Queen of Scots, ate boiled celery root over salad covered with creamy mustard dressing, truffles, chervil, and slices of hard boiled eggs.”

So there you have it—the word salad first appeared in the 14th century, the evil Romans gave us green salads topped with oil-and-vinegar dressing, a Brit named John Evelyn appears to be the first to shout the benefits of salad or salade and Mary, Queen of Scots, enjoyed creamy mustard dressing on her salad.

Who knew?

I wonder how Mary and Caesar would react if they popped in from the great beyond and happened to land in a Sizzler only to bestow their eyes upon that huge salad bar. Oh wait she can’t do that cause she has no head.  Poor Mary, she’d have to sit there while Caesar ate his favorite salad… and that isn’t a Cobb that’s for sure.

Okay history lessons over.  Let’s get down to the business at hand.  It is salad toppings you’re here for so it is salad toppings you’ll get—post haste.

My 61 Fav salad toppings

So who am I and why should you even read any further (that’s if you made it this far!?)

Well as you can already tell I’m a wanna be comedian whose first recollection of food is sitting in a booster seat with Granny eating salad, putting green beans in my ear.

I have been a faithful devotee of salad ever since, both for the nutritious benefits all the goodies salads include but also because I just enjoy the tastes. Salads send my taste-buds into nirvana with each dressing dripping bite.

Now I must be clear about one thing. I’m not much of a dessert type of salad lover. I prefer green salads piled high with all the tasty toppings I can get my hands on.

Such as (in no particular order or combination):


Artichoke hearts



Bell peppers

Feta cheese

Black olives


Glazed walnuts

Sun dried tomatoes

Greek olives







Red onion





Black olives

Mozzarella (in moderation)

Blue cheese (in moderation)

Jack cheese (in moderation)

Pepper Jack Cheese (in moderation)




Mrs. Dash

Oil and vinegar


Prosciutto (in moderation)

BBQ chicken (cooked with Low-Cal BBQ sauce)

Low-Cal ranch

Brussel sprouts (yummy really)


Sunflower seeds

Hard-boiled eggs (in moderation)




Fresh thyme

Free dill

Yogurt (low-fat)

Pepperoni (in moderation)


Cottage cheese (low-fat)


Roasted peppers





Green beans





Sesame seeds

OK I could go on for hours but it’s time to get dinner ready.

Bet you can’t guess what we’re having…

Now surely there are a few things in the that list that everyone you’re responsible for feeding will find appealing. Give it to them then slowly while introducing other ingredients. If they must use an unhealthy dressing it’s OK.

The key is introducing healthy foods is slowly, not in a pushy way.

What are some of your favorite toppings you load your salads up with? Please let us know by leaving a comment below or you can visit our main site and leave a comment there.

Planning on giving food as a gift this Holiday season? Don’t be like Janet.

Well the inevitable is close at hand as yet another Holiday Season is fast approaching. Geez, where does the time go?

And with the Holidays come the parties. There are the parties for work, school, friends, family, and then of course comes the actual Holiday—though a Holiday dinner with family and close friends is more of a gathering.

Anyway, as we are all aware, quite a few Holiday parties are potluck (as if we’re not busy enough) which requires more thought and effort. Again who wants to hear “And thank you Janet for the store bought cookies” as the kudos are being issued at the end of the party?

Don’t be like Janet.

Below are some great ideas that will not only make your coworker, friend or family member smile with delight but will also not potentially send them to the hospital with an allergic reaction.

Customized desserts as gifts

Food, especially desserts, can be the ultimate gift to customize. Whether made from scratch at home or purchased from a reputable baker, customized desserts show the recipient of the gift that yours is one meant to bring them joy.

A gift that is a customized dessert has two things going for it.

  1. It’s a dessert and who doesn’t love desserts?
  2. Their customized!

What a great combination these two make. When done right, they can pack a powerful punch that can really touch the recipient.

We recommend great care and preparation is taken when giving customized desserts as gifts. Also, be sure to present the gift in a manner that says you care—not just wrapped in aluminum foil—which speaks of laziness. You want this gift to have its intended purpose. People are smart and can pretty much tell when a gift, food being one of them, had any thought and/or care put into it.

You should always take into consideration that just because you or your family may enjoy a particular dessert, those who may be eating your gift may not. Try to be as diligent as possible, really taking the time to research your gift will be well received. Why give someone customized brownies when they disdain chocolate?

In addition, many people have food allergies they do not make public (especially coworkers) so make sure to keep this in mind when planning and prepping your dishes. It will not hurt to politely and quietly snoop around a little (even at the office) to insure your customized food gifts will not give someone an allergic reaction. Don’t laugh, it happens every year.

Can you imagine receiving a thank you card that reads “Dear Janet, thanks for the walnut brownies along with the allergic reaction and subsequent hospital stay. Here’s the hospital bill.” Yea, no thanks not me.

Again, don’t be like Janet.

Give our cookies and avoid being Janet

Our healthy customized organic sugar cookies will not only insure none-of-the-above happens they also have the potential to make you a legend among your peers, coworkers and anyone else who is lucky enough to partake in your gift of love.

When you give our cookies as a gift you can be assured you’re giving 100% organic sugar cookies made from ingredients we purchase from sustainable organic farms. Yes, we have our customers and the environments best interest at heart.

For those who may suffer with celiac disease, all our themed sugar cookies can be made gluten-free as well. There are very few bakers that offer custom sugar cookies in a gluten-free variety — WE DO!

Our cookies make the perfect customized gift for any holiday, occasion, event, party, corporate event — you name it!  And they are especially nice to give as a token of love.

Please visit our main site where we have all our delightful and delicious organic sugar cookies on display.

Is a Cookie Gift Basket the Ideal Gift for All Occasions?

A cookie gift basket is one of those gift items which are considered perennial. These baskets can be presented for any occasion, irrespective of their significance. There’s hardly an occasion in the world in which cookie gift basket is not an appropriate and thoughtful gesture.

The presence of a cookie basket brings out the cookie loving side of adults and children alike. According to a recent survey, a cookie basket is one of the most preferred gifts in a wedding, which was compared to the likes of cutlery and wall mounts. This statistic doesn’t elicit as much surprise as a statement of “I hate cookies” does.

There are wide varieties of cookie gift baskets available in the market. Realizing the potential of the cookie business, a lot of online sellers have sprang up seemingly overnight.

With the popularity of the internet growing by leaps and bounds, traditional cookie retailers (especially home-based bakers) are readily adapting to using the internet as a way to promote their wares.

We here at Beautiful Sweets are no different. In fact, we embraced the internet as a viable way to serve our customers years before our competition.

Below we’ll give you few occasions for which a cookie gift basket would be an ideal gift.


What a great way to say ‘I love you’ that with a surprise Cookie Gift Basket.

There are times in life when we, as a loving species, will have to show our love. There are birthdays, holidays, weddings, deaths, illnesses, celebrations etc. and the list goes on and on. With that being said, when is the last time you did something special to show your significant other that you love them—just because you really do want to show them you care and some appreciation? A customized cookie gift basket is one sure way to show them just how much they mean to you and to do so for no particular reason, well this just makes the gesture that much more meaningful.

Use a Cookie Gift Basket to celebrate friends and co-workers milestones

The life of a corporate employee is frequented with celebrations. The reason might be a promotion or birth of a child, retirements, moves, get wells etc. Any kind of a treat can be substituted with a custom cookie gift basket; which is a quickly gathering a following and becoming the favorite of many corporate gift givers. The cookies within the basket can be customized for any occasion. For example, the cookie gift basket can include a co-workers name incorporated with the company logo to give as a gift for a much deserved promotion. Or when someone at the office has a new bundle of joy, a gift basket that contains cookies with the babies name and shaped as a rattler, a pacifier or anything else baby related, will make the perfect way to ‘congrats’ and you can be assured your gift will stand out from the crowd.


A cookie Gift basket is the fantastic way to say thank you

There are very few people who can resist the seduction of a cookie basket. adults and children alike love cookies. So, when you give a cookie gift basket as a token of thanks, it will go a long way in expressing the depth of your gratitude. This is especially useful when you are saying thanks to close friends and family. A more personalized ‘thank you’ can go a great deal further in cementing your heartfelt appreciation for the gesture in which you are saying thanks for than a store-bought gift.

Interested in ordering a custom cookie gift basket?

Then you have come to the right place!

At Beautiful Sweets, we specialize in creating truly unique cookie gift baskets that have brought joy and happiness to people the world over.

Each basket is thoughtfully planned for beforehand. Assembly will begin only after being assured we have all the information from our customer (and the person the gift is for) needed to insure their gift is personalized in a way to almost guarantee the custom cookie gift basket is a hit.

Please visit our main site by clicking here to view more information on ordering a custom cookie gift basket. We’re confident you’ll find our selection testimonials and our great prices are head and shoulders above our competition with our level of customer service being second to none.



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