And as much as we all love a good cocktail, glass of wine or cold beer during a summer BBQ….sometimes it’s just too hot!
Picture this scenario: You are hosting a BBQ on a hot, sunny day, and suddenly your guests are asking for a glass of water. Water?! Water is so boring, right? WRONG! Infuse your water with slices of lemons, limes, strawberries and bunches of mint. Not only will your guests be delighted by how delicious it tastes….they won’t stop talking about how pretty it looks!
Is your silver drink bucket a little too fancy for your summer picnic?! I love this idea…..cut off the top third of the watermelon (could be a straight cut, but I L-O-V-E the curved out version in the picture), and carve out the insides. Fill with ice, stick in your wine bottles and voila!
My brother-in-law is visiting us this weekend – so it’s dinner for three tonight! Me and two boys?! Let’s just say they don’t appreciate the fuss I typically put into a dinner party! So this dinner is going to be low on design but high in flavor.
In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the olive oil, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper, and stir until blended. Set aside.
Bring a large pot two-thirds full of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pasta, add it to the tomato sauce and toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta among individual bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and the lemon peel. Mix well and refrigerate.
In a medium bowl, toss the halved cherries and mixed berries with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Refrigerate.
Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high, 20 to 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate just starts to melt. Stir until smooth. Using a pastry brush, paint the inside of the cones with the melted chocolate. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate hardens, about 15 minutes.
To serve, stand the sugar cones in narrow glasses. Place a dollop of the sour cream mixture in each cone, then fill with the mixed berries. Top with another dollop of sour cream and garnish with a whole cherry.
Try skinny shot glasses or Champagne flutes to help the sugar cones stand upright!
Dinner at the beach….isn’t that what summer is all about?!
If you have a beach house, the “dinner at the beach” is easy enough! If you don’t live near water, invite some friends over for a casual summer dinner alfresco this weekend (with a beach theme, of course!). Create a casual, yet put-together outdoor space that will have your friends toasting your inner “Martha Stewart!” Set up a sitting area complete with the typical comforts of an indoor living room – pillows, lanterns with candles to create some mood lighting, a bowl of flowers or fruit on a table – make it an extension of your home.
Serve dinner on your patio table – no linens necessary, just a centerpiece of fresh flowers or pots of grass to give it that casual, beach feel. Add a special touch to your place setting by tying a personalized tag to a starfish, and slip it into your napkin. Make sure to add some votive candles or small lanterns to your centerpiece to give an additional glow.
Add a little fizz and some retro fun to your next party with a soda bar!
Whether you decide to use old-fashioned soda pop (available in a variety of flavors – all with fabulous vintage logos on the bottles) or the modern day versions – choose a variety of colors and flavors and prominently show them off. The colorful bottles can act as decorations for your party too!
Keep the bottles refrigerated until right before the party starts, and then arrange the bottles by color on a table. Add a bucket full of ice, a stack of cups, and for those wanting to drink right out of the bottle – brightly colored plastic straws!
I think this idea would be darling for a child’s birthday party, an outdoor BBQ, or even a casual, summer wedding.
Serve up this refreshing treat from Rachael Ray at your next party!
2 cups fresh red grapefruit juice (about 4 grapefruits)
2 cups ginger ale
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 tablespoons grenadine or pomegranate juice
4 maraschino cherries
In a large bowl, stir together the grapefruit juice, ginger ale, sugar and grenadine until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch metal baking dish and freeze for 2 hours. Using a fork, scrape the surface to break up the ice, then freeze for 2 more hours.
Scrape the surface again and divide the mixture among 4 chilled glasses; top each with a cherry. Serve immediately.