By Kara Kimbrough
Despite the fickle weather, the calendar confirms spring is here. That means it’s time to celebrate the special occasions occurring now until summer. Mother’s Day, high school and college graduations and bridal showers are just some of the reasons to celebrate the special people in your life. And it’s a good time overall to put away the stockpots and skillets you used to make winter’s heavy comfort foods like chili, soup, stew and red beans and rice. Instead of filling, think light, refreshing and delicious!
If you’re contemplating hosting a special spring celebration but are worried about the time involved in preparing food for guests, consider mixing quality prepared baked goods from a reputable bakery or supermarket whose products you trust. A brunch or afternoon party table filled with layer cakes, cupcakes, sliced fruit breads and plates of sliced fruit is more than adequate. As long as everything is served on nice platters (throw away that unsightly cardboard from the bakery) nobody has to know who prepared the food.
Whichever route you choose — homemade or store-bought — the number one rule to remember is to relax, have fun and enjoy the moment. After all, the guests attending your spring celebration will treasure the memories of the special event long after thoughts about the food have faded.
Following are three of my favorite spring recipes that will make your event special while allowing you to enjoy your guests.
SPRINGTIME LEMONADE CAKE
- 1 box Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix
- ó of a 12-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 8-ounce container Cool Whip
- Garnish: one lemon, thinly sliced
Prepare cake using ingredients according to package directions and bake in two 8-inch cake pans. Cool and cut each layer in half.
For frosting, combine milk and Cool Whip; add lemonade (to taste) until the right consistency is achieved. (Some may be left over.) Frost and stack each layer, then cover entire cake with remaining frosting. Garnish with sugared lemon slices. Refrigerate before serving.
FAVORITE STRAWBERRY PIE
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 8-ounce container whipped topping
- 2 cups (or more) chopped strawberries
- 1 shortbread pie crust
Mix cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar in mixer; add whipped topping and strawberries, and mix well by hand. Pour into crust and garnish with strawberries. Chill for several hours or freeze slightly before serving.
THE PEABODY HOTEL’S VANILLA MUFFINS
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ó cup butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Beat sugar and eggs together. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Put liners in muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.
Source: The Peabody Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee