Saturday, April 6, 2013

LET'S DO BRUNCH!--family, friends, food, fun--shake off your wintertime woes!

Let's do brunch! I am ready to celebrate the arrival of Spring! Let's get together and share our love of some of the finer things in life--food, friends, fiction and fun! We'll have a terrific variety of tempting treats that are easy to make and even easier to eat and enjoy.

I'll put on some easy listening and light jazz--Harry Connick, Jr; Norah Jones; Tony Bennett; Diana Krall; and Michael Buble'. Some nicely scented candles will provide aromatherapy along with the bunches of fresh cut flowers. Casual dress--relax and be yourself. Bring a favorite book along, and tell us why it's a favorite. Read a special passage or line from the book--don't be shy! Be sure to attend--bring a book and bring a friend. There's no telling when this party will end!


1 (6 ounce) package. chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash salt

Melt chocolate chips and butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt. Cook stirring constantly about 5 minutes until mixture is hot and slightly thickened. Keep warm in fondue pot while serving. If mixture thickens too much, add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until at a dipping consistency. May also be used as ice cream topping. Serve with assorted dippers. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Cubed pound or angel food cake
Fresh strawberries
Pineapple chunks
Apple wedges
Maraschino cherries (with stems)


One gallon lemonade
3 cups frozen mixed berries
if desired, sugar to taste

Place berries in a blender, and add enough lemonade to cover fruit. Puree until blended. Combine puree and remaining lemonade in a large serving pitcher. If desired, add sugar to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir well before serving.


1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar for topping

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture (the dough will be soft). Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.


2 cups cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and chilled
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 tablespoon finely minced onion
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
Romaine lettuce or mixed greens
thinly sliced tomatoes
avocado slices
lemon wedges

In a medium bowl, mix shrimp with celery, onion, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste. Chill well. Serve on individual salad plates on a bed of romaine lettuce. Garnish each plate with tomato and avocado slices and a lemon wedge.


1/2 pound elbow macaroni
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Cook the macaroni according to package directions (do not overcook). Drain and set aside. Spray four 12 cup mini-muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray (if you only have one mini-muffin pan just repeat the steps until finished). In a large saucepan melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and continue cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and continue cooking and whisking for 5 minutes. Add both cheeses and whisk until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in egg and paprika. Add macaroni to pan and stir with a large spoon to combine. Spoon macaroni into the muffin cups in slightly rounded tablespoons, gently pressing them into the cups. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden, careful not to overbake. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Gently loosen each mini mac from the cups using a butter knife, then lift from pan. Serve warm.


6 mini bagels, split
1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing
3/4 cup drained sauerkraut
1/4 pound thinly sliced deli-style corned beef
4 large slices of Swiss cheese, each cut into 6 pieces
12 dill pickle slices

Heat broiler. Place mini bagel halves onto ungreased baking sheet, cut-side up. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until bagels are lightly toasted (1 to 2 minutes). Spread 1 teaspoon dressing onto toasted-side of bagels. Divide corned beef evenly among bagel halves. Top each with 1 tablespoon sauerkraut and 2 pieces cheese. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until cheese is melted (1 to 2 minutes). Garnish each appetizer with 1 slice pickle; secure with toothpick. Serve warm.

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