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SEPTEMBER COOKING WITH CHARACTERS

CBS Soap Recipes by Dani

“Babies are SWEET!” Shower

Babies are so sweet and always a special added drama to any daytime soap. Before they grow up to act just like their parents lets focus on the joy of their arrival. Specifically Taylor and Nick Marone's expected bundle of joy. This is a themed baby shower with the focus being on “Babies are SWEET!” Everything about this shower centers around sweets. Anything can be altered to fit a budget, but even the smallest wallet can pull off a nice shower using these ideas.

No party can get started without invitations. To really kick off and stay true to your theme, my favorite invitation is a lollipop. From a country store or party supply company such as Oriental trading, purchase the circular old fashioned lollipops. They should be at least 4 inches in diameter. Cover lollipop top with tissue paper to match color scheme of shower. I like to use at least two or three sheets in two colors. Tie off below sucker with a nice ribbon. Set aside.

At an arts and craft store or section of Wal-mart or Target, you can pick up sheets of velum. This is an elegant see through paper that is sturdier than tissue paper. Cut out circles that are the exact same size as the surface of your lollipops. Using acid free pens apply your invitation information to each velum circle and apply to one side of sucker using acid-free photo tabs (these can be purchased in the scrapbook section of any store). Wal-lah! Your invitation is complete and an extra treat for your guest.

For an alternative begin with a simple printable invitation paper and using a print shop make invitations using candy, cake, and confections art clips.

In preparation for the party. You can purchase a variety of bowls that match your color scheme or make your own that guest can take with them as a door prize at the conclusion of your baby shower. Here’s how:

Start with a variety of sizes of terracotta pots. These can be found in the garden section of your local store and are cheap. Don’t go smaller than 4 inches or larger than 7 ½ inches. The number should depend on the number of guests. 10-18 guests I suggest 10-12 pots, 18-36 guests I would go with 15-17 pots.

Prior to your even spray paint your pots with the colors of your choice. (I recently did this for a party and used gold and silver, they looked great!) When the paint dries using a hot glue gun apply beaded appliqués. This is intricate bead designs attached to ribbon. This is so easy and they can be purchased on the aisle with puff paint and fabric crafts. Just line the edge with alternating colors of ribbon and beads and you are done.

On the day of the shower, set up decorated pots separate from the other foods you plan to serve. Fill each pot with a different kind of loose candy in vibrant or even matching colors. I will provide a list of suggestions at the end. Choose a small bag of some sort. I like to use the small drawstring bags that are often used for weddings. Have available on table for guests to fill with your candies and take home with them. The candy bar is easy and inexpensive, though I have listed a lot of directions but it will make your baby shower memorable for guests and yourself.

For beverages, provide a nice colorful punch, coffee, and hot and iced tea. I suggest holding a shower of this theme in the late afternoon say around 4 pm or late evening 8 pm.

There are two different options for the refreshments served during the shower. Instruct guests to each bring a dessert. This will give you a large assortment of sweet goodies while making the guests part of the fun. This is a really good idea if you are going to go really out of your way on the candy bar.

Or you can provide an assortment of cakes, pastries, cookies, and confections yourself. If you do this, remember to go small with everything. People will want to try a little of a lot, so they won’t need larger portions per item. It is a good idea to provide fresh fruit as well.

Now that everything is set up and ready to go, enjoy your day and take lots of pictures. Another nice touch is at the end of your candy bar, have a guest book or journal for each guests to write their well wishes for the mom-to-be and the new baby.

Candy Suggestions: jelly beans, M&M’s, skittles, good & plenty, nerds (loose), candy necklaces, gumballs, lemon heads, fireballs, red hots, malted milk balls, gummy bears, Reese's pieces, Hershey’s kisses, candy corn, dinner mints, lifesavers, creamsavers. There really is no limit; be creative. I would stay away from chocolates for the candy bar just because everything will be mixed together in the goodie bag.

Sharon Abbott Florentine Meatloaf

With hubby Senator Jack Abbott battling his troubled political career while trying to keep his family life as normal as possible, Sharon, an exec spokesmodel and career woman herself, also struggles for a normal home life for the sake of Noah. But the whole family has become accustomed to eating at the posh Athletic Club, so what does the ultra busy family with swanky taste have for dinner? Florentine Meatloaf.

Grease a loaf pan with Olive Oil and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, add one egg, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or 2 tablespoons of red table wine, teaspoon of ground black pepper, and a pinch of salt to 1 pound of ground beef. Mix together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, use fresh or frozen chopped spinach. Sprinkle lightly with a dash of salt. Toss together with crumbled feta cheese, roasted red pepper strips, 1 teaspoon of minced or roasted garlic & one table spoon of Italian or Caesar salad dressing. Also if you like anchovies, blend nicely with this recipe **If you use anchovies with the spinach, DO NOT ADD SALT TO BEEF OR SPINACH**

Pack half of ground beef into loaf pan. Cover top with spinach mix, top with remainder of beef. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let sit for 5-7 minutes before slicing. Garnish or top with sautéed mushrooms.

To sauté mushrooms, start with one pound of fresh mushroom caps or slices. Place in skillet and heat on medium with ¼ cup olive oil and ¼ cup balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste along with a dash of sugar just before mushrooms are finished. Spoon over meatloaf.

What about the leftovers? If you can find a nice klamata olive artesian bread at a local or gourmet grocer, you are in for a real treat. Slice bread relatively thick, toast and place a slab of your leftover meatloaf between the slices for a delectable way to utilize what is leftover. A side of marinara isn’t bad as a dipping sauce either.

Spaghetti Squash

A healthy and easy side dish is spaghetti squash. Prepare as directed on label. After scooping spaghetti like contents from shell, melt one stick of butter. To butter add juice from one half of a lemon and finely chopped basil and walnut pieces. Crushed red peppers and or roasted garlic can also be added to taste. Mix butter with squash and serve.

Felicia Forrester Brie Dip

Arrange wheat thins, sweet pretzels, graham crackers, fresh berries, granny smith apple slices, and fresh pear slices on a plate or platter. Set aside.

Carefully remove the top rind of a cake of brie and remove all foil wrapping. Place in microwave for 30 seconds. Remove, stir, and add the tablespoon of brown sugar and ½ teaspoon of butter. Heat again for thirty seconds, stir, and add the same amounts of the above. This time before heating again, add walnut pieces. This can be to taste, but the nuts really draw out the flavor of the brie, butter, and brown sugar when mixed together. Continue to heat in 30-second intervals, adding brown sugar and butter as needed for a creamy sweet nutty warm flavor, until entire creamy brie is smooth and the consistency of a dip. Depending on your microwave, this should take no more than two to three minutes in total.

AS ALWAYS IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT AMOUNTS, VARIATIONS, OR SUBSTITUTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME AT thevelvetchef@yahoo.com

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