Are you as sick of the rain as much as I am? I thought I would never say that after the drought we had a few years ago, but enough is enough. Summer is the time I look forward to celebrating outdoors. I love working in my flower garden but between the rain and those nasty mosquitoes I haven’t had the chance to enjoy them as much as I normally would. So I thought the next best thing I could do is throw a garden party with some of my friends on the back patio and show off some of those beautiful flowers. So I sat down one morning and planned out my menu.
Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktail Salad
I wanted to start off with a salad that would WOW my friends and I had gotten this recipe from my mom a few years back and fell in love with it. Number one reason why?? Anyone that loves Bloody Marys will love this recipe. It has no alcohol in it but it has all the flavors of a great Bloody Mary and the taste of fresh Grape Tomatoes makes this recipe outstanding.
In large bowl, toss tomatoes with celery, scallion and celery salt; let stand for 10 minutes, stirring once.
In separate bowl, grate 1 tsp. zest of lemon and squeeze 1-T. juice from lemon; stir in chili sauce, horseradish and pepper, then stir into tomato mixture.
Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Divide tomato mixture among 4 glasses or dishes and top with shrimp.
If desired, garnish with lemon and celery leaves.
Pink Lemonade Cocktail
Next I wanted something to drink that would scream “refreshing” for a hot summer day and I found the solution. This recipe is perfect for your next garden party, hot summer night or a picnic by the lake.
In a 2-quart pitcher, stir together frozen pink lemonade concentrate, water, rum and triple sec until blended.
Add ice cubes and lemon slices.
Top with lemon-lime soft drink; stir lightly.
Serve immediately in ice-filled glasses.
If desired, garnish with lemon slices.
This drink can be made without alcohol just by making the lemonade like it says on the package and just adding some lemon-lime soda to it.
Italian Roast Beef & Turkey Sandwich
Now for the main entrée and I wanted something simple so I decided to serve this sandwich. I think this was not only a hit for the party but it was also a hit in the kitchen for me because it was so easy and quick to make.
In small bowl, mix mayonnaise, Chipotle flavored mayonnaise and chopped cilantro.
Spread mixture over cut sides of bread.
Arrange half of lettuce on bottom half of bread.
Top with roast beef, turkey, cheese, tomatoes, banana peppers and remaining lettuce.
Cover with bread top.
If desired, before serving garnish with olives threaded onto toothpicks
Now it’s time for dessert and I was looking for something light and since we are in the heart of berry season I thought I would come up with something where I could use those fresh wonderful strawberries that make my mouth water every time I see them in the grocery store. Well sure enough I found the perfect recipe. Wait until you try this recipe with the chocolate covered graham crackers. Ooooo la la! They were fantastic.
Combine strawberries, pineapple, mint, lemon zest and sugar and mix together.
If desired you can garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Serve with ginger snap cookies or chocolate covered graham cracker cookies.
Now for putting the finishing touches together by creating a table setting that your friends will love. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on decorations for your party just look around your home and it’s amazing what you can find for ideas. Here are a few that I want to share with you.
Bring out pillows to create a relaxed atmosphere on your chairs.
Hang pretty paper lanterns in the trees or from the porch railing.
Make sure to add candles or fill small lanterns with tea lights surrounded by petals.
Mix and match linens and dishes, in pale, pretty colors. Try white and pink together or baby blue and peach or yellow.
Top your table with a vase of cut blooms, herbs or greenery. Have an extra watering can and fill them with flowers and put near your entryway of the patio.
I also added a little country touch to my garden party and since I do canning towards the fall I had empty jars to serve the lemonade in. I just love the look of the old fashioned striped paper straws and believe it or not I found them at our local craft store under $2.00. They just add that extra special touch.
Now I had pretty much everything planned except the weather and as we all know that is the one thing you can’t do in the great state of Minnesota. Well wouldn’t you know a half hour before my garden party was to start it rained and I was defiantly not a happy camper. Fortunately I did not have my table set so I was ok. Within 10 minutes the sun was out and everything turned out perfect. My neighbor Donna, my son’s girlfriend MacKenzie and Holly my co-worker and fellow blogger joined me for a perfect afternoon luncheon. Hopefully this gives you some simple easy ideas for you to create your own garden party or any fun occasion. Enjoy…we did!
Garden Party Giveaway!
Well it’s been a while since I have given something away on my blog so I believe it is time again!
I’m giving away this 2-Tier Stackable Ice Cube Glass Beverage Dispenser! It will be PERFECT for your next Garden Party!
This Giveaway has now ended. Thank you to everyone who participated and congratulations to Eva H. who shops at our Albertville Coborn’s, she WON the beverage dispenser.