|Let's get right to it!
1. Add Sour Cream to your mashed potatoes.
2. After icing your cinnamon rolls, dust the tops lightly with cinnamon.
3. Always use special napkins - use seasonally-appropriate patterns and colors. If your family has a favorite sports team, serve their colors on the days they're playing. If you are NASCAR fans, by all means, go with your driver's colors on race day!
4. Never underestimate the elegance of candles. They set the mood and add mood to your setting.
5. Use freshly-grated Parmesan and leave the cans on the shelves.
6. Serve only coffee that has been freshly-ground and freshly-brewed. Top this coffee off with a dollop of whipped topping, and if you're really feeling "high brow", fresh shavings from a block of chocolate.
7. Use REAL crumbled bacon on top of your salads and baked potatoes. Leave the plastic containers of wanna-be bacon bits on the shelves beside the Parmesan.
8. Speaking of salads, add crumbled feta cheese to your tossed salads. You'll never want salads without it again!
9. Never, ever, under any circumstances - make salsa without fresh cilantro. If your store is out, drive to the next store. If, three stores later, you still haven't found any cilantro, skip the idea of salsa all together! Yes, it's that important.
10. Add zip to your loaf of French Bread. Spray, or brush, the top of the loaf with olive oil. Then sprinkle on dried red pepper flakes and dried onion flakes. Bake as usual.
11. Get a rounded ice-cream scoop of ice cream, roll in crushed nuts and serve on top of a plate that's been swirled with caramel or chocolate syrup. Then squeeze more over the top.
12. Do the same as above, but use coconut in place of the crushed nuts. This time, place the balls of coconut-covered ice cream on top of slices of pound cake. Now, pour some pineapple bits, juice and all, on top of the servings.
13. Serving Italian food? Softly play Italian music in the background.
14. Invest in several sets of dishes, as many as your budget will allow. Match the "mood" of your meal you're serving with the "mood" of the dishes you'll be serving it on. For example, if you're serving seafood, either a "Lighthouse" dish pattern, or blue dishes would be perfect. Asian food is great on black or floral dishes. Hamburgers? Red, white and blue!
15. When making grilled cheese sandwiches, use a thin layer of cream cheese alongside your typical slice of cheddar. Serve with a knock-out salad or your favorite soup.
16. Set aside a Saturday for Candy making. Try out fudge, taffy and even molded candies. If you have someone in the kitchen with you, it's even funner. If not, at least you don't have to share your spoils!
17. Make a tradition out of trying a new, challenging bread recipe on the first Sunday of every month (or any day of your choice, of course!) Start out with the basic loaf, then move on to Sourdough, Wheat, Irish Bread, French Bread, Twisted Loaves, etc.
18. Place sprigs of parsley on special dishes. Your family will appreciate the extra-special thought and it looks really pretty!
19. Buy thick "Texas Toast" for making French Toast. Prior to dipping into the egg bath, cut a slit in each of the bread's corners, fill each with 1 Tablespoon of softened cream cheese. Prepare as you normally would. Serve with syrup, a dusting of powdered sugar and a few fresh, plump strawberries. Delicious!!!
20. When serving Refried Beans, warm a small amount of Sour Cream until it has the consistency of whipping cream. Top each serving of beans with a teaspoon of the sour cream and top with chives or diced green onions.
Remember: Cooking is an art, so get creative and have fun with it!
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