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Our Blogs

  • Oct 18, 2018

    In general, one doesn’t usually need a special day to celebrate a particular food item but hey, if it exists, then why not? Especially if the specific food in question is an all-time favorite dessert. Decadent, rich, melt in your mouth chocolatey goodness is the makeup of the classic brownie! That’s right. There is a whole day dedicated to glorifying an already amazing dessert! National Brownie Day is celebrated annually on December 8th, so mark your calendars now. This unofficial holiday is your chance to indulge in all the gooey goodness of brownies and is an opportunity to go into some serious brownie overdose! The very first brownies were created in the United States at the end of the 19th century and quickly gained popularity. The story goes that there was a request for a dessert for a group of ladies that would be attending a fair in the late 1800s. They wanted a small cake-like dessert that could be eaten from a boxed lunch. A Chicago chef, working at the Palmer House Hotel, created the first brownie for the ladies, which featured an apricot glaze and walnuts. How surprising is that? There was no chocolate in the original brownie! The earliest recipes for brownies comparable to those familiar to us today are found published in regional cookbooks and newspapers around the turn of the last century. The 1904 Laconia, NH Home Cookery, the 1904 Chicago, IL Service Club Cook Book, and an April 2, 1905, edition of The Boston Globe are three early examples. It seems to be pretty self-explanatory how one should celebrate this day. Eat as much brownie as you can! In fact, why not make it a real treat by having gourmet brownies? You guessed it, Gardenia’s Fire provides a lineup of gourmet fudge brownies with a variety of taste. You can opt for our classic, walnut, or cranberry flavors. We even offer the best of all three by presenting a variety box which is sure to tantalize your taste buds. You couldn’t find a more befitting way of celebrating National Brownie Day. So go ahead, throw a brownie themed party and take it to the next level by ordering from Gardenia’s Fire!

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  • Oct 05, 2018

    One of the hallmarks of holidays and celebrations is the giving of gifts. A seemingly simple task but once one starts the process of gifting, it can at times be quite overwhelming and even stressful. So many questions whirl about in our minds such as; What to get? How much to spend? How to present it? Should it be store bought or handmade? There is often a lingering doubt in the back of our minds where we are afraid of making a faux pas. An activity as rewarding as gifting should not be this stressful and hard. Here are a few tips on gift giving etiquettes to help you along. Recipient- This is one of the most imperative points to consider when giving a gift. Since they are the ones who will be receiving it, the gift should be catered to what they like, what they may need, their personality and characteristic, as well as their likes and dislikes. Your relationship with the recipient also has an affect on what gift you would get them. Is it a family member, close friend, work colleague, significant other? These are valuable things to keep in mind when choosing a gift. Reciprocity- After receiving a gift, often one of our first thoughts is usually about what we will give to the person in return. However, this is not always necessary. There are many situations where a gift is given without the expectation of receiving one back. This especially applies to occasions where individuals are being celebrated or their accomplishments are being highlighted. Events such as weddings, birthdays, and graduations do not require an exchange of gifts. So it is advised to not burden oneself with the thought of having to get a gift in return. Equality- For occasions where gift exchanges are expected such as certain holidays or gift exchange activities in the workplace, many people feel pressured that the gift must be of equal or greater value than the gift given to them. This thought should be avoided, and it should be kept in mind that it is more about the act than it is about the monetary value. Gifts should be tied to meaning and not to the price tag attached to them. Gratitude- Etiquette experts have stated that after receiving a gift, the appropriate time to express gratitude is within a week of being given the gift. Of course, there is the immediate gratitude we show as we smile and verbally thank the person giving us the gift. But it is seen as more impactful to take the time afterwards to write out a personal thank you note. This small act can have an immense significance and truly make the gift giver happy. So, there you have it ladies and gentlemen! A few quick tips that will help make the task of gift giving less stressful and more enjoyable. Always remember that this is not meant to be something full of anxiety, rather it should be a fun and meaningful experience for all those involved.

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  • Oct 03, 2018

    Brownie and cookies. Two delectable desserts on their own which can be combined to make one super dessert. When thinking of a brownie cookie, there are a few possibilities which come to mind. Is it a brownie batter slightly adjusted so that it can be baked as a cookie? Or are we talking about a cookie batter which has been tweaked to be made as a brownie? In this case, we’re going to choose to take the best of both worlds and bring them together. Brookies! That’s right, one layer of brownie topped with a layer of cookies so you have a two in one dessert that is sure to be a hit at parties, potlucks, or any get together which you may have. We begin with the cookie batter as that will be the bottom layer: 1 cup butter ½ cup white sugar 1 cup brown sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract 2 eggs 2 ½ cups flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt 2 cups semisweet chocolate In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and eggs one at a time. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir into the sugar mixture. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan. For the brownie layer: 1 cup butter 2 cups white sugar ½ cup cocoa powder 1 tsp. vanilla extract 4 eggs 1 ½ cups flour ½ tsp. baking powder ½ tsp. salt First, melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Next, add one ingredient at a time, in the order listed above and mix well after each ingredient. Once the batter is ready, pour it over the cookie batter which has already been prepared. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, for 25 to 30 minutes.

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  • Oct 02, 2018

    In a corporate setting, one of the crucial keys to success of a company is the boss and their relationship with the employees. This should be built upon trust and understanding in order to increase the productivity and cohesiveness of any workplace. While the boss’ top priority is likely to have hardworking employees who fulfill his vision for the company, it is a safe bet that he would also like to have more than superficial relationships with the people he works with every day. Several elements constitute a healthy boss and employee relationship and these points need to understood by both parties in order to be fully effective. 1. Communication- This is a two-way road that needs to be equally accessible to both parties. The workplace environment should be such that the employees feel comfortable enough to approach their boss with ideas, suggestions, and concerns. Sometimes it can be intimidating for employees to state something which might be in contradiction to something the boss has said. However, when done in a respectable and polite manner, this can be advantageous to the company and help it progress. Likewise, employees should remain open to constructive feedback as that is done in their interest and to help them be better employees. 2. Mentoring- When a boss becomes an employee’s mentor, it helps both the employee as well as the company. Offering advice and career training would ensure that in the future the employees are adhering to the same vision and company culture which is present in the company. Employees should not hesitate to initiate career-path discussions with their boss so that they may find out how they need to improve in order to reach their goals. 3. Recognition- Who doesn’t like to be appreciated, right? Managers need to keep their employees happy and motivated by acknowledging their hard work and accomplishments. This provides intrinsic motivation to the employees to put their best foot forward for the company and have positive performances going forward as well. 4. Teamwork- There should be a commitment from both parties to engage in teamwork where the roles of each individual are clearly defined. The expectation from the employee is that they will follow instructions, give input when needed, and meet or exceed performance criteria which has been set forth for them. It is expected that the boss will provide the employee with the resources and training needed to perform the job effectively, take on the leadership role, and help his employees meet company goals. If either side of the boss and employee relationship does not hold up their end of the teamwork requirements, then productivity suffers and teamwork cannot be established. 5. Work life balance- Oftentimes, the workplace can demand long working hours and have high expectations from its employees. In this case, bosses can try to offer flexible scheduling which works for both the company as well as the employee. Having on site perks such as a gym or free meal from the cafeteria can also help workers achieve a balance. Employees shouldn’t hesitate to communicate to their boss when they need a schedule change, or time off, as long as they are willing to be compromise and make up the time elsewhere. Life happens to everyone and surprises can catch anyone off guard, the workplace should not be a daunting place that adds stress, rather there should be a balance between work and life.

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  • Sep 20, 2018
    Upgrade Your Brownie

    Brownies. Gooey, chocolaty, melt in your mouth brownies! What’s not to love about such a decadent dessert? Sounds mouthwatering enough on its own but certainly there’s always room for improvement. Whether you make them from scratch at home or out of a box, a minor tweak can take it to a whole other level of dessert deliciousness. Here are a few suggestions: Nuts-This option adds both texture and more taste to your brownie. Chop up some nuts with a knife or in a food processor and add them to the batter before putting it into the oven. Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and cashews are all excellent options. Depending on your preference of how nutty you want your brownies to be, add anywhere from ½ cup to 1 cup of the chopped nuts. We personally followed this upgrade to present to you Gardenia’s Gourmet Brownies Walnut! Add chocolate chips-Extra chocolate never hurt anyone! But don’t just stop at original chocolate chips. With so many flavors available in the market now, the possibilities are endless. You could add 1 cup of dark, semi-sweet, milk, white chocolate, cinnamon, mint or even peanut butter chips. Top with chocolate chips-Now instead of putting the chips in the batter, try putting them on after brownie has baked. As soon as you have taken the brownie out of the oven, sprinkle a thin layer of your choice of chips on top and wait for them to melt, it should only take a minute or two. You will then be able to spread them out with a butter knife and will have created an instant frosting for your brownie. Cookie pieces-This is another great way to add both texture and flavor to your brownie. There are as many options as there are cookies in your supermarket! Break or chop your favorite cookie into small pieces and add 1 cup of them into the mixture before baking. Try adding whole cookies to your brownies as well. Pour half of the batter, put a layer of cookies and then top with the rest of the batter. Cheesecake flavor-Bringing together two desserts, cheesecake and brownie, into one! Soften 1 package of cream cheese in your microwave for about 30 seconds and mix it with 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla. Pour it on top of your brownie mix. Create a pattern of the cream cheese throughout the brownie mix either by swirling a knife or fork through it. Favorite candy bar-There really isn’t such a thing as too sweet, is there? Chop up 1 large candy bar into 1-centimeter sized pieces and add them to your brownie mix before baking. Some yummy choices would be peppermint patties, Twix, M&Ms, or Almond Joy, Basically, any of your favorite chocolate candy bars would be delicious! Peanut butter-The timeless combination of chocolate and peanut butter! Simply melt ½ cup of peanut butter in you microwave. Add it on top of the batter right before placing it in the oven and use a butter knife of fork to draw patterns. Mix and match-If more than one of the options above sounds good to you then why not go ahead and try them both? There are endless possibilities and one never knows what delicious treat could be created just by trying! Of course, it is still possible that some people prefer the classic and simple brownie, there is something to be said about chocolate on its own as well. Our Gardenia’s Brownie Classic is a favorite If you like pure, hand-made, gourmet fudge brownies presented in their native state.

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  • Sep 17, 2018
    Happy National White Chocolate Day

    Happy National White Chocolate Day! This smooth, creamy, and delicious dessert tends to create controversy in the chocolate world. To begin with, the history of it is quite ambiguous. Some claim it was produced in New Hampshire just after World War I, after an American saw it in Europe. Nestlé launched a white chocolate bar in Europe in the 1930s. According to Nestlé, white chocolate was originally created as a way to use excess cocoa butter. The company does not specify who created it or why and that is believed to be a part of history that has been lost along the line somewhere. Furthermore, it doesn’t look, taste, or smell like traditional chocolate so can it even be classified as chocolate? Despite it being introduced to the world in 1930, it was technically not classified as chocolate until 2004. White chocolate does not contain cocoa solids, one of the main ingredients in traditional chocolate. In 2004 the FDA finally relaxed its definition of “chocolate” and accepted white chocolate into the family. According to the regulations, true white chocolate must contain at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% total milk solids, 3.5% milk fat, and less than 63% sugar. White chocolate happens to be a part of the process of creating our signature Gardenia’s Berries. The artisan confectioners at Gardenias Fire create gourmet chocolate fudge brownies which are dipped in white chocolate and then each treat is decorated by hand with our crunchy pearls. Sounds like a delicious way to celebrate white chocolate! Even if you don’t accept it as chocolate and prefer the more traditional milk chocolate treats then let us tempt you with our gourmet brownies and chocolate covered strawberries. Chocolate lovers would agree that it’s not necessary to have a reason to enjoy chocolate and it can be celebrated at any given time!

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  • Sep 14, 2018
    Benefits of Gifting

    There is a saying which goes, “It is better to give than to receive,” and this is especially true in the case of gift giving. Something much bigger is happening than simply giving a loved one a present which will bring them happiness. The act of giving leads to emotional, spiritual, and physical benefits. Our mind, body, and spirit react in ways that we don’t even realize. Regardless of whether the gift is big or small, the blessing of giving is immense. In general, giving creates joy and happiness but science has also shown that it improves a person’s health overall. There are certain chemicals which are known as the Happiness Trifecta because they are responsible for driving the feeling of happiness in our brains. Namely, these are dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Any activity which increases the release of these chemicals will automatically increase one’s mood as well, and giving gifts is such an activity. A happy mood is just the beginning of the benefits which these chemicals offer. Serotonin also contributes to better sleep, memory, digestion, and learning. Dopamine is responsible for increased motivation. Oxytocin is known as an ancient neurochemical which decreases blood pressure, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and enhances the healing of wounds. So if giving allows us to trigger and activate these chemicals, we owe it to ourselves to give as often as we can. There are even more positive affects when we participate in giving gifts. One of the questions we often ask ourselves when choosing the gift is whether the other person will like it or not. This act of putting ourselves in the shoes of other to be able to see from their perspective promotes the value of empathy in us. Gifting is a highly social activity as it connects us to our friends, families, and colleagues when we exchange gifts. Thus, it has been argued that gift giving can help fight loneliness as well. Self-gratification is also achieved by exchanging gifts as it makes us feel good about ourselves overall. So indeed, gift giving is the gift that truly keeps on giving!

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  • Sep 11, 2018

    When we think of desserts, chocolate is one of the main ingredients which instantaneously jumps to our mind. Fruit is also another classic ingredient used in desserts. So bringing the two together can only result in a treat for our taste buds, right? It definitely can when done correctly as there are some flavors which go well together and others do not. The factors of the type of chocolate being used as well as the sweetness or acidity of the fruit contribute to how well the pairing will taste. The most common types of chocolates which are paired with fruit are dark, milk, and white and each lends its own uniqueness to the final dish. From these three chocolates, dark chocolate is the most bitter. This bitterness tends to balance out the super sweetness of fruits such as raspberries, bananas, and pears. On the other end of the spectrum, we have white chocolate which is smoot, rich, and sweet. The coupling of white chocolate works well with fruits that are high in acidity such as oranges, blackberries, and blueberries. Milk chocolate falls in the middle of dark and white chocolate and thus makes it the most versatile kind of chocolate to be paired with fruits. It can work well with both acidic and sweet fruit. Some of the more popular recommended pairings of milk chocolate are with bananas, cherries, pears, and raspberries. There is no hard and fast rule about which chocolate goes with which fruit. It is all about finding the right balance of flavor which will make our taste buds pop and leave us wanting more. Keeping that in mind, we have crafted our Gardenia’s Fire Berry Collection as well as our Strawberry Collection. The Gardenia’s Strawberry Collection is further embellished with toppings such as walnuts, pistachios, coconuts, and almonds to give it our special gourmet touch. This fruit-chocolate combination is sure to entice all those who try it and leave you wanting more!

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  • Sep 07, 2018

    September 9th marks the annual celebration of National Teddy Bear Day. Yes, such a day does exist! And why shouldn’t it? Teddy bears are a classic and timeless toy as well as symbol which elicit warm fuzzy feelings of joy, comfort, and love. They hold a unique place in the hearts of children as well as adults. So it make sense there should be a special day for them. A day to take them off of our shelves, out of the cupboards, or wherever we may have stashed them, and make them the center of attention. The invention of this beloved toy is traced back to 1902 and a story which involves American President Theodore Roosevelt, who was called Teddy for short. The story goes that the president was on a hunting trip in the Mississippi when he happened upon a baby bear cub. Even though he was hunting, the president refused to shoot the cub and this incident happened to make national news at the time. The Washington Post published a cartoon of the event and it became an instant hit. This in turn inspired store owner Mitch Michtom to create this new toy. He personally wrote to President Roosevelt to attain his permission to name the toys “teddy bears.” The permission was given, and the rest is, well, history. Gardenia’s Fire has a personal collection of Cuddly Friends that would be perfect for such a celebration. To name a few, Bosco, Baby Wuggles, and Coco the Bear are exactly the kind of teddy bears who deserve to be snuggled and celebrated. Pairing them with our signature Strawberry, Brownie, or Berry collection box will take the celebration to a whole new level. This combination of a new memorable huggable friend and a treat to entice your taste buds is sure to make this day, or any other day, special and unforgettable!

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  • Sep 01, 2018

    In a nation of people who work more hours and take less vacations than other western countries, any day off is a much needed and well-deserved break. Cue the last big hurrah of Summer, Labor Day Weekend. This holiday is unique in that it does not have a fixed date but is celebrated on the first Monday of September each year. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the holiday is “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” It is a “yearly national tribute” to the “contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and wellbeing of our country. The holiday dates back to September 5th, 1882 as being the first time such an even was celebrated. The contribution of laborers was most evident during the Industrial Revolution when they worked tirelessly and with dedication to build railways, dams, roads, and more as they laid the infrastructure of our country. The original intent of the Central Labor Union was to provide a holiday which would honor the achievements and hard work of American laborers. So they organized a parade which was followed by a festival for the recreation and entertainment of the workers as well as their families. This form of celebration is still observed to this day as parades are one of the most common features of Labor Day Weekend. Some other celebrations include BBQs, fireworks, picnics, and of course shopping sales. As we partake in these fun activities it is worth taking a minute to remember the reason behind the festivities and to appreciate the hard work of laborers past, present, and even future.

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