Holiday Gift Ideas for Clients

Many business people traditionally send holiday gifts as their way of showing appreciation for clients, customers, partners, etc. For those who like the idea of concierge service, gourmet food treats and making a great impression, this video offers some nice gift ideas. Look for the special offer at the end!

History of Cookies

How many cookies do Americans consume each year? That’s a good question, and one that I haven’t been able to find an answer to. One online source said “over 2 billion or 300 cookies per person.” But if you do the math, those numbers don’t add up right. So is it 2 billion (which seems like a low number to me)? Or is it 300 cookies per person? If we’re taking bets, I’m gonna go with the more likely 300 per person.

Regardless, it’s National Cookie Month and in honor, here’s some history on the origins of cookies.

According to culinary historians, cookies evolved out of the use of little test cakes. Back in the days of the Persian Empire, a small amount of cake batter was dropped onto baking pans to test the temperature of the oven before the cake was baked. The developing spice trade brought cooking techniques and ingredients such as sugar to Northern Europe in the Middle Ages and by the time of the Renaissance, cookbooks were filled with cookie recipes.

The word “cookie” comes from the Dutch word “koekje”, meaning “little cake” and it was the Dutch who first popularized cookies in the United States. According to The Oxford Companion to Food, the term “cookie” first appeared in print around 1703.

American colonists favored spice cookies, soft raisin cookies, shortbread, brown sugar-laced oatmeal, molasses and ginger drop cookies. Other sweet varieties were inspired by the Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonites, Amish, and Moravian communities. Early American cookbooks include recipes for jumbles, macaroons and gingerbread, Then the chocolate chip cookie was created by accident in 1930 in Massachusetts.

Zen Rabbit’s Gratitude Cookie™, is based on a simple butter or sugar cookie recipe, similar to those used for English tea cakes and Scottish shortbread.

Want to know even more? For details and history on specific kinds of cookies, check out Happy Eating!

Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and while we might want to celebrate these brave and admirable souls for more than just one week a year, let’s start with this. I’ve written before about finding memorable gifts for teachers here.

If you’re a parent who wants to find the perfect gift for your children’s teachers, think about what teachers might cherish most. What teachers want is probably what you would appreciate as well. Maybe some peace and quiet, a few minutes of alone time.

If you’re not up for spending enough for a spa visit, give the teachers you appreciate a few pause and savor moments with a memorable gift of a Gratitude Cookie package from Zen Rabbit. School teachers, music teachers, karate teachers, can all enjoy your expression of thanks.

One idea is the Signature Box, which holds 20 Gratitude Cookies™ paired with a jar of chocolate sauce.  Or the ever-popular Cookies & Crunch, which includes a dozen cookies and a bag of the amazingly addictive granola/nut brittle-like Zen Crunch. Or an Afternoon Indulgence combination of cookies and tea.

Whatever you do, make sure to acknowledge the great job performed by the important educators in your life.

Gift Ideas for Teachers

Finding memorable gifts for teachers can be a struggle for parents. Of course you want to find something different, distinctive and appropriate, within a reasonable budget. Oh, and if it could be a gift that the teacher would genuinely appreciate, that would be perfect!

Forget handmade crafts or the ugly scarf. The Gratitude Cookie™ is the perfect present for teachers. Think about it. The reason these cookies are so named is because when you give them, you’re showing appreciation for the person you’re presenting them to. Plus, we encourage the person eating them to think about something they’re grateful for too, so the chain of gratitude expands.

Spare yourself the time and stress of searching for gifts for piano teachers, dance teachers, soccer coaches and scout leaders. Show your appreciation for everything these educators do for your kids.

One idea is the Signature Box, which holds 20 Gratitude Cookies™. The card that goes in the front of the box can be customized, perhaps with a picture of your child, and whatever message you’d like to include. At $25.00 a box, it makes a great impression and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

The Gold Seal Gratitude Box is another great gift package for teachers. A dozen all-natural butter-sugar cookies, this box says a lot for $12.95, making it a fantastic choice for when you have a bunch of people to buy for. In fact, this particular package is available in cases of 12, so you can keep a few boxes on hand for last minute gifts.

And for just a little token of appreciation, the Pillow Packs are perfect for making a notable impact. Four yummy cookies give your teacher a few minutes of zen-blissful time.

As the season for giving teacher gifts approaches, it can be to find unforgettable gifts that you and your child are excited to give.

Big Girl Trade Show

A big change is brewing at Zen Rabbit and I’m eager to tell you about it. BUT, I will restrain myself until the whole concept is created, so I can share it with you in full. One component that I can tell you about is that Zen Rabbit will be exhibiting at the Great American Dessert Experience in Atlanta, April 7-8. This show is not open to the public. However, I do have some admission tickets to give a way at my discretion. So if you are in the Atlanta area or will be those two days and you want to get in and eat, let me know and I can hook you up.

One hint for you about the big announcement, at this show, Zen Rabbit will publicly unveil it’s brand new retail packaging.

Zen Rabbit created many new aficionados this past Saturday at its Green Market debut at the Abacoa Green Market in Jupiter, Florida. From my area, I could see the local and organic produce stands, a soap maker, a bread baker, some artists. There were more vendors there but it was so busy, I could never leave my booth to check out the rest. Thanks to everyone who stopped by.

I had a couple of retail packaging prototypes on the table. These are packages I’m considering creating for gourmet and specialty food stores, coffee cafes and other retail locations. Based on how many people wanted to buy them, I’m guessing they’ll do well.Since I now know how to put up the canopy, look for Zen Rabbit there next week and the rest of the month of March.

Are you in Palm Beach County this weekend?

Feed your craving for Zen Rabbit cookies! Pick up a dozen this Saturday at the N*E*W Green Market at Abacoa Town Center. From 10am to 2pm, Zen Rabbit will be creating new addicts and supplying the current ones. Come by our canopy and mention this posting to get $2 off your one dozen bag.

You can also get some fresh, organic fruits and veggies from the local farmers who will be there.  See you Saturday!

Beware of How you Treat Small Companies

Debbi Fields wrote a book several years ago about her journey through the start up and development of Mrs. Fields Cookies. In it she recalls her challenges in finding a chocolate supplier. The sales rep of one large, well known chocolate company doesn’t want to give her the time of day when she calls him to ask for 25 pounds of chocolate because the order size is too small. He tells her to give him a call when she wants to buy 10,000 pounds.

So she opens the phone book and calls another company. That sales rep tells her the order is too small for his company’s trucks to deliver, but he could put it in the trunk of his car and bring it right over. And at the time she was writing this story, that sales rep Bob, was selling Mrs. Fields in excess of 25 million pounds of chocolate a year. She never reveals the name of either company. But she does finish the story by saying that the first gentleman would end up calling her continuously to ask for her business and she refused to work with him because of how he treated her that day.

There are many days when I think of this story because of the business people who disregard me, and I’m sure lots of others, with the thought that my business is too small to matter. This month I’m working on finding retail packaging for gourmet food stores. There is a list of who has been supportive and who has not. And when Zen Rabbit is the multi-million dollar company that it is destined to be, we’ll see who’s benefiting from believing in a small company.

One Grateful Thought Per Cookie

Zen Rabbit cookies have been known as “Gratitude Cookies” for some time now. They’ve been called that because the people giving the cookies are expressing their gratitude and appreciation for the people they’re giving the cookies to. But this week the term “Gratitude Cookies” takes on another dimension. Starting today, each box of Zen Rabbit cookies contains a card inviting the person eating the cookies to take a moment to be grateful for one thing in life. No need to make a whole overwhelming list, just think of ONE thing for which to be grateful per cookie. Could be your pet, your family, a blue sky, the ability to read, anything.

By thinking of the few or many things in life you can be grateful for, maybe, just maybe, we can counteract the massive negativity that often seems to surround us from all angles. For one moment in time, as you eat a Zen Rabbit cookie, I encourage you to think of and thank for what you DO have.

What is “Natural”?

There was an article in the business section of the Palm Beach Post on Monday about the use of the word “natural” in the food industry. Apparently the Food and Drug Administration does not have a formal definition for the word, nor does it plan to create one in the near future. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a definition that applies to meat and poultry products which states a product is “natural” if it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients and is only minimally processed.

The problem with not having a clear definition is that food and beverage manufacturers can make their own rules in regards to labeling. Deceptive labeling leads to confused consumers. Of course many consumers, who can’t be bothered to learn about nutrition or read labels, see the term “natural” and think, “oh, this must better for me than the product that doesn’t say that.”

So you end up seeing products containing high-fructose corn syrup labeled as “all-natural” when, in my book, high-fructose corn syrup is not at all natural. All-natural to me means no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. If it requires a chemical process to make it, it’s not natural. Bottom line – pay attention to what you’re eating!