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Great Ideas

updated 06/08/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/08/2009 01:00AM

ENTERTAINING

PARTY LIKE A JERSEY HOUSEWIFE!

Family favorites from TV's newest domestic divas

"We're big advocates of celebrating life, okay?" says event planner Caroline Manzo, who, with her sister Dina and three pals, stars in Bravo's hit reality show. Here is their guide to adding a little bada-bing to a get-together.

DRINK & SNACK
FOR $4 PER PERSON

CAROLINE'S TOMATO BRUSCHETTA
• 1 loaf Italian bread
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
• 2 tbsp. basil, chopped
• Ground black pepper
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• ¾ tsp. kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Slice bread diagonally into ½-inch pieces. Brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Place sliced Italian bread on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.

3. Combine tomatoes, basil, pepper, garlic, olive oil and salt in a medium-size bowl. Mix gently to combine. Serve on top of toasted bread slices.

DINA'S BLUEBERRY LEMON BELLINI
• 8 oz. fresh or frozen blueberries
• Up to ¼ cup simple syrup (To make simple syrup, mix 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water; heat until sugar is melted. Cool.)
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 24-oz. bottle of Prosecco

1. Blend the blueberries, lemon juice and syrup in a blender. Puree.

2. Strain blueberry puree. Put two tbsp. in bottom of each glass.

3. Fill glass with chilled Prosecco and (if desired) garnish with lemon slice, mint and blueberries.

See Caroline, Dina and the gang on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on Bravo

HOME

PING-PONG IS HOT AGAIN!

Table tennis fan Susan Sarandon explains why the classic sport is bouncing back

Susan Sarandon is so into Ping-Pong, this month she's opening her own club (Spin NYC) devoted to the game. "It's fast, fun, inexpensive and it's almost impossible to get hurt," she says. And Sarandon's not the only star picking up a paddle. Her fiercest competition? "George Clooney and Ed Norton."

SUSAN SAYS:

• It's fun for the whole family
"Ping-Pong transcends gender and age," she says. "Thirteen-year-old girls can beat 35-year-old men."

• It keeps you on your toes
"I find it's better for sharpness of mind than crossword puzzles."

• Remember the two P's
"Patience and practice."

STIGA ULTRA TABLE TENNIS RACQUET
$39.98; walmart.com

NITTAKU 3-STAR PREMIUM TABLE TENNIS BALLS
$25.95 per dozen; paddlepalace.com

People DEAL

STIGA AEROTECH TABLE
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Kim Myles ...
IT'S TRENDY BEING GREEN

The HGTV host suggests a fresh new hue for kitchens.

Catch Kim on her interior decorating show Myles of Style, Fridays at 10 p.m. on HGTV.

"Summer is a time of awakening," says Myles. "Bring vibrant colors into the house!"

CRATE & BARREL
Rio Plate, $6.95; crateandbarrel.com

Bright green accessories are instant mood lifters, says Myles. "It's visual candy."

KITCHENAID
Teakettle, $49.95; cooking.com

Celery-colored cookware "pops out like a jewel against a clean backdrop."

LE CREUSET
Kiwi Citrus Juicer, $25; lecreuset.com

ROWENTA FIRST CLASS TRAVEL IRON $49.99; rowentausa.com

Zac Picks Up Steam

Designer Zac Posen's fave clothes steamer? This mini Rowenta. "It's also good for an impromptu facial!" he says.

FOOD

Rocco DiSpirito's ...
LUNCH FOR FOUR UNDER $10
The celebrity chef and cookbook author dishes up some toasted treats

HAM AND WHITE CHEDDAR MELTS WITH PINEAPPLE SALSA
• 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
• 8 slices rye bread
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• 8 slices white cheddar cheese
• 12 oz. boiled ham, sliced thin
• ¾ cup store-bought pineapple salsa

1. Preheat toaster oven to medium low. Spread each slice of bread with 1 tbsp. of butter. Flip each slice over and spread other side with 1 tbsp. of mayonnaise.

2. Top 4 slices of bread (the buttered side) with one slice of cheddar, ¼ of the ham and then divide the pineapple salsa among the four sandwiches. Lastly, top the salsa with one more slice of cheddar and the remaining slices of bread, mayo side down.

3. Toast sandwiches in toaster oven about 6 minutes, or until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted. Slice in half and serve.

DiSpirito's latest cookbook, Rocco Gets Real, is in bookstores now

STAR TALK

We Asked ...
What's Your Favorite Ice Cream?

DONALD FAISON
"Butter pecan."

EVA MENDES
"A combo of rainbow sherbet and rocky road."

HENRY CAVILL
"Pralines and cream."

LINDSAY PRICE
"Chocolate chip cookie dough."

ROB THOMAS
"I'm a cookies 'n' cream guy."

ESTELLE
"Mint chocolate chip with chocolate fudge and caramel."

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BASKIN-ROBBINS DISCOUNT!

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88¢ Regular (6 oz.) Soft Serve Cone. Limit one coupon per customer per visit. Coupon must be presented at time of purchase. Shop must retain coupon. No substitutions allowed. Void if copied or transferred and where prohibited or restricted by law. Consumer must pay applicable tax. Good only at U.S. participating stores. May not be combined with any other coupon, discount or promotion. Coupon may not be reproduced, copied, purchased, traded or sold. Internet distribution and resale strictly prohibited. Cash redemption value ½0 of 1¢. Offer valid at participating Baskin-Robbins® locations. While supplies last. © 2009 BR IP Holder LLC. All rights reserved. PLU: 2393 Expires: 6/25/09

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