I don't know about you, but after a long winter, I'm ready to celebrate spring. So St. Patrick's Day comes at just the right time -- plenty of good cheer, good food and bright green to perk things up.

If you want to add some green to your table, try dying cut flowers. Take white flowers, such as daisies or carnations, and trim a little bit off their stems. Add a few drops of green food coloring to a vase filled with water. (The water should be medium to dark green.)

Put your flowers in the vase and let them sit in direct sunlight for a day or two. The flowers will absorb the colored water through the stems, giving you a St. Patrick's Day bouquet to be proud of.

If you're looking for a sweet way to finish off your St. Patrick's Day, try an Irish twist on bread pudding. This Chocolate Shamrock Bread Pudding has a touch of Irish cream liqueur for a fun, yet sophisticated, flavor. You can always leave out the liqueur -- it's still delicious.

No St. Patrick's Day is complete without an Irish toast or blessing. So here's one just for you:

May your day be touched by a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart and warmed by the smiles of the people you love.

For more ways to enjoy St. Patrick's Day, visit VeryBestBaking.com.

Chocolate Shamrock Bread Pudding

10 slices bread, cubed (6 cups)

2 cans (12 fluid ounces each) Nestl? Carnation Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk

2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestl? Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, divided

8 large egg yolks, beaten

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup Irish cream liqueur (optional)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Whipped cream (optional)

Nestl? Toll House Baking Cocoa (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Place bread cubes in prepared baking dish.

Heat evaporated milk in medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring just to a boil. Remove from heat. Add 1 1/2 cups morsels; whisk until smooth.

Combine egg yolks, sugar, liqueur and salt in large bowl. Slowly add milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Pour over bread; pressing bread into milk mixture.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Top with remaining 1/2 cup morsels. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream and dusting of cocoa, if desired.

Makes 12 servings

Calories, 420g; total fat, 15g; cholesterol, 145mg; protein, 10g; carbohydrates, 59g; sodium, 270mg.

-- Source: Nestl?

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