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Hostess Idea Exchange

This is the page where we welcome your ideas about home entertaining, decorating suggestions, recipes for party food & drink, product uses, etc.

Having been in the special events industry for a number of years, this topic is near and dear to my heart. I love entertaining and what I found surprisingly, is that some of the best ideas come from non-professional hostesses who use their imagination to create fabulous entertaining ideas.

So, I thought it would be fun to create an idea exchange among those of us who enjoy creative entertaining to showcase and share ideas and experiences that have worked, have touched the people around us, and added a little joy to our world.

All ideas will be credited by first & last name and city & state unless you indicate otherwise. Please go to our Comments Page to submit your ideas.

As seen on WREG CBS TV  

From the Kitchen of:   Julie Salter
Strawberries & Cream Trifle

Makes a beautiful, fresh presentation for any special occasion. Great blend of flavors. Prepare the strawberries and custard & almonds the night before. Put together in just minutes.

2 lb. fresh strawberries (see below)
2 T. sugar
1/2 Quite A Stir Sour Cream Pound Cake
2 1/2 -3 c. custard, chilled (see below)
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
3-4 T. confectioner's sugar
slivered almonds - toasted (optional)
3 1/2 qt. trifle bowl or clear flat bottom bowl

Whip cream to soft peaks. Add confectioner's sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Set aside. Cut cake into large chunks (approx. 1"x 1"). Layer cake along the bottom of your bowl. Next add a layer of strawberries & syrup. Pour custard over strawberry layer and then start again with the cake layer. Repeat above and top with whip cream. Sprinkle with almonds and/or garnish with strawberries. Serves 12.

Substitute different flavored cakes, fruits and sauces. You can also brush cake with your favorite liquor or spirits before cutting into smaller pieces.

Day before:
3/4 c. sugar            3 c. milk
1/3 c. flour             3 egg yolks
1/4 t. salt                2 t. vanilla extract
3 T. butter

Blend sugar, flour & salt together. Stir in milk. Add butter and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Add egg yolks* and cook a few more minutes. Cool and add vanilla. Chill covered overnight in refrigerator.

* Temper them before adding. Beat yolks and then slowly spoon some of hot mixture into them. Stir then mix into remaining mixture.

Save 1 - 3 pretty whole ones for garnish. Wash, stem & halve remaining strawberries. Sprinkle with 3 T of sugar and toss. Cover. Set in fridge to syrup. To make syrup redder in color, add a few drops of red food coloring.


Pecan Updates

The FDA ruled that pecan packages may now state on their labels "scientific evidence suggests but does not prove eating 1.5 ounces per day…may reduce the risk of heart disease" if part of a healthy diet. Newsweek, 7/28/2003

Catastrope Averted

Being new to the neighborhood, we had met our neighbors but really didn't know any of them very well. During the past summer's heat wave, the power on our street went out for three days. On the second night, my husband and I had previously planned a cocktail party at our house with friends from outside the neighborhood. Although we could have moved the party to another home,
we decided it would be much more fun to make it a "Lights Out" party and invite the entire street, as well.

We invited neighbors to bring food that due to lack of refrigeration needed to be eaten. We had a gas stove that still worked so we could prepare limited things. We put out and lit every candle we had. Quite a few folks brought flashlights. The kids used the flashlights for games in the back yard while the adults used them to see the bar, buffet, and each other!

We were thrilled to help turn a calamity into a delightful party event. The candles provided a great ambiance there was plenty of good food and we used things that would have gone to waste. So what if the ice cream was a little runny! It was an enchanting evening of fun and friendship and my husband and I now really feel a part of the community.

Michele Gupperlet
Oxford, MD


Company's Coming - hostesses don't forget your low carb friends when entertaining!

Low Carb Dip Recipes

These are great tastes for all your guests. Be sure to check each ingredient's nutrition label to determine actual carb count. Make up little low carb identification tags for those special selections!

From the Kitchen of:   Julie Salter
Hot Chipped Beef Dip

1c. Southern Cocktail PecansTM
16 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sour cream
4 t. onion
2 pkgs. chipped beef
1/4 t. garlic salt
Mix all ingredients. Save some pecans for topping. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes. You can cut carbs even more by omitting pecans. Serve with Southern Cocktail Cheese SnapsTM

From the Kitchen of:   Julie Salter
Hot Crab Meat Dip

2 - 8 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. sour cream
1 T. mayonnaise
1 T. worchestershire sauce
1/2 t. salt
pinch of salt
1 lb. crab meat
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
Mix first 6 ingredients plus 1/2 the cheese, well. Gently fold in crab. Place in ovenproof casserole. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with Southern Cocktail Cheese SnapsTM

From the Kitchen of:   Julie Salter
Spinach Dip

1 c. sour cream
1 c. mayonnaise
1 envelope Hidden Valley® Ranch Dressing
1 package frozen spinach, thawed & well-drained
3/4 c. red pepper, chopped.
Mix sour cream, mayonnaise and dressing mix. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill. Makes 3-1/4 cups. Serve with fresh vegetables and Southern Cocktail Cheese SnapsTM