Party people, it's party time! It's finally nice enough to take advantage of those backyards and patios that were covered in snow all winter. Whether planning parties is your jam or you're more a “don't sweat the small stuff” kind of host, these 8 entertaining trends will really get your party going!
Simplicity lends itself best to outdoor dining and homemade popsicles (like blood orange margarita, strawberry lemonade or creamy Nutella) are a perfect no mess, no fuss way to close out the evening. Fruity, boozy or covered in chocolate (actually, can we have all three rolled into one?), frozen treats will have your guests feeling like kids again.
“Build Your Own ...” Interactive Fun
Maybe it's the opportunity to customize your plate to your personal taste, or it might simply be the chance to get your hands dirty. Whatever it is, there's something about an interactive “build your own ...” station that makes party-goers salivate. Not only will your guests love piecing together their own sliders, grilled cheese or tacos but, the time you normally spend plating and serving can be put to better use, like enjoying yourself!
Tapas and Small Plates
In the dead heat of summer, no one wants to be bogged down by huge portions of heavy, starch-rich salads and nap-inducing red meats. Follow the “feel good” trend and lighten up your fare – portion wise. Opt for small plate or tapas dining - one bite morsels that won't leave you feeling sluggish.
Low Key (Low Cost) Lighting
Who doesn't relish an opportunity to be kind to their bank account? Rather than break the bank on expensive backyard lighting fixtures, DIY it! Mason jars (depending on size, boxes of 12 start for as low as $7 at Canadian Tire) make perfect candle holders, and cast soft light over a rustic-themed table. Or, if you're feeling really crafty, check out this tutorial on making your own mason jar lamps. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpNq8f3kM1Q)
Sweet, cool and easy to prep (and eat!), watermelon is so much more than the ultimate party snack. It has graduated from a simple snack and become the star of savoury salads and cocktails. Skewer cubed watermelon with salty feta and drizzled balsamic for a quick and easy appetizer, or grill honey coated watermelon triangles on the barbecue and serve with sliced buffalo mozzarella and basil for a sweet Caprese salad.
Are you fancy, or are you fancy? A summer fete is the perfect time to dust off your cocktail shaker and get creative with a signature beverage. A personal favourite, or something whipped up special for the occasion. Create a big batch early in the day and let folks serve themselves, or simply offer a glass as a welcoming drink when guests arrive.
Smoke It If You've Got It
Considered one of 2014's trends to look out for, serving your own smoked delicacies will surely impress your foodie friends. No smoker? No problem! You can still achieve that smokey flavour with a gas grill – in addition to your quality cut of meat, you'll need wood chips (soaked in water for at least an hour prior to smoking), a smoker box and foil.
Go Bold Or Go Home
Colour is always a crowd pleaser and this year fashion dictates brights – think vibrant hues like orchid and cerulean. Incorporate bright pops into your outdoor gathering with fresh cut flowers, accent furniture and even food (eat the rainbow and be healthy!).