Beat the Winter Blues
When it’s cold outside and you’re feeling a little blue…don’t just turn up the heat, throw a Beat the Winter Blues Party! Invite your family and friends for a tropical-themed celebration and feel the chill melt away, no matter what the thermometer says. Here’s all you need to set the mood and host a crowd-pleasing good time:
•Attire: Invite guests to wear their favorite tropical attire. That means it’s time to pull out that Hawaiian shirt! If guests don’t bring sandals, encourage them to ditch their shoes and socks and go barefoot. If you live in a cold climate, bump up the thermostat a bit, for a below-the-equator feel.
•Music: Rock the beach-themed music. Create a special playlist and crank up the volume! Or use a free online music streaming service like Pandora or Spotify. Search for reggae, calypso or Jimmy Buffett and dance the night away. Don’t forget to do the limbo and have a conga line!
•Tropical accents: Wear inexpensive faux-floral leis and dress up your drinks with paper umbrellas (you can find them at party stores or online). And, fun sunglasses are a must.
•Lather up: Light a few coconut candles to remind your guests of the scents of sunscreen and the beach. Better yet, offer coconut-scented lotion or sunscreen to make it feel like you’re actually at the beach.
•Table in paradise: Decorate the table with colorful plates and napkins. Corelle® dinnerware introduced South Beach this year, perfect for bringing a tropical flavor to your tablescape. Make an inexpensive centerpiece by filling a glass vessel with sand and seashells purchased at a craft store.
•Beach eats: Whip up these delicious recipes and your party will surely be sun-sational!
MANGO-POMEGRANATE RUM PUNCH
YIELD: 12 servings
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes
3 cups mango juice
3 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup dark rum
1 cup light rum
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 to 4 tablespoons grenadine syrup
Ice cubes or crushed ice
Maraschino cherries and pieces of tropical fruits threaded on decorative toothpicks
In large pitcher, mix juices, rum, lime juice and grenadine. Pour over ice in glasses; garnish with fruit.
SPICY PINEAPPLE RIBLETS
YIELD: about 42 appetizers
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 35 minutes
1 can (8 oz) pineapple tidbits in juice, undrained
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 rack (3 lb) pork back ribs
Heat oven to 375°F. Line shallow roasting pan with foil; spray foil with cooking spray.
Drain pineapple, reserving juice in medium bowl. Add water, vinegar, tomato paste and sugar; stir until smooth. Stir in pineapple, onions, pepper flakes, garlic and salt.
Cut rack of ribs lengthwise in half across bones; cut between ribs to separate. Place in single layer in roasting pan. Pour sauce over ribs.
Bake uncovered 30 minutes; turn ribs over. Bake 45 to 55 minutes longer or until meat is tender.
TROPICAL CUCUMBER BITES
YIELD: about 36 appetizers
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes
1/2 cup mango chutney
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped cooked tiny shrimp
1/3 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1/4 cup finely chopped papaya
3 medium English (seedless) cucumbers
Chop any large pieces of fruit in chutney. In medium bowl, mix chutney, shrimp, coconut and papaya.
Cut tapered ends from cucumbers. Draw tines of fork lengthwise through cucumber peel to score; cut each cucumber into 3/4-inch-thick slices.
With small melon baller, scoop out center of each cucumber slice, leaving bottom intact. Fill each with 1 tablespoon shrimp mixture. Refrigerate until serving.