I celebrated my birthday with a Summer Solstice Party. With lots of prep work and zero cooking except for grilling, this easy summer menu feeds 20 people easily and keeps you enjoying the party, not slaving in the kitchen, while looking like WAY more effort than it is.
If guests ask what they can bring, suggest beer, vodka, a prepared salad or a desert. For dessert, my sister brought these Lemon Bars which were a huge hit. I couldn’t eat them so I made my standard Peach Cobbler, which I’ll post separately soon. Another friend brought some wonderful prepared salads from Whole Foods which added a nice touch to the menu.
If grilling isn’t an option, the meat and fish can be prepared in a hot heavy skillet on the stove.
Grilled Tilapia Tacos | Party Guacamole and Chips | Chicken Apple Sausages
Lavender Infusion Cocktails | Ginger Infusion Cocktails | Cucumber water | Light Beer | Iced Tea |
Here in Florida at what I’ve come to refer to as the Family Compound, my sister’s family and my husband and I have been grilling (with propane and on the smoker) several times a week.
Recently, my brother in law James made pork ribs and chicken wings in the smoker. I’m sharing these recipes here, including James’s custom dry rubs and sauces.
James, Master of the Smoker
With just a few weeks left to pack up our home and say goodbye to our Los Angeles area friends, I still can’t stop partying. Ever inclined to host, even with one foot out my own door, I decided to just keep on inviting guests over and let us be our social selves. Because once we’re gone, it may be months or even years before we see our West Coast friends again.
One evening, after a long day of packing, our friend Jenny came over for dinner and relaxation with wine. We lounged in the back yard and grilled out and talked politics, religion, and jobs. Another night, we invited friends and family over for a “Come drink all our weird leftover alcohol” bar potluck. We still have a ton of vermouth, rum, and lychees, but we got rid of our pink champagne, vodka, and soda, and it was a pleasant evening enjoyed by all.
Here are some tips on how to host at home even when you’re moving out:
My fabulous friend, Husband’s hairdresser, and fellow blogger Missy of the blog “Technicolor Cutie” started a vintage ladies’ group here in Los Angeles a few months ago. One day a month, a gaggle of us gals get together and revel in our love of vintage. We try to pick a theme to share a skill or passion we have for things that are related to the vintage lifestyle. This month was hosted at my house, and it was called Ready, Set, Sew!
Missy was kind enough to teach us Sewing 101, and the machine I’ve let sit unused since our wedding reception a year ago is now churning out raised hemlines and stuffed animals with lightening speed! I’m going to edit and upload a video of it soon. Meanwhile, you can read her blog entry and pics about it here.
(Like seeing stuff like this? Follow me on Instagram @BerettaFleur for more behind-the-scenes shenanigans.)
I threw myself a Tiki Birthday Bash this month. Here’s a recap! Bonus: One of my esteemed guests, Technicolor Cutie, posted this blog about it here!
The Theme of Tiki
Vintage Tiki Drink menu, image found by browsing online. I took some of these fun-sounding drink names and made up recipes to go with them!
Although tiki is big in Pinup culture, I’ve never had a tiki-themed party before, so this was a good choice for me this year.
What’sa matter? Sad?
Why? No money?
Why don’t you have a party to cheer yourself up?
What? Parties are expensive unless they’re totally ghetto?!?
That’s crap. Here are five ways to feed and liquor a crowd of about 10 for around $40, and still make it pretty AND delicious.
In February of 2012, I hosted this party for my Father-in-Law Gamma’s 66th Birthday. There were about 16 people, from ages 4 – 68, and this menu worked out well. It was a lot of fun, especially getting to play Army Men with the 4 year old! Here’s the menu.
I wrote this post for Valentine’s Day, but it works for any time you want to be romatic.
Menu: Mussels Appetizer. Grilled Flank Steak, Grilled Veggies.
Dessert: Fruit and chocolate fondue
Bar: Pinot Grigio, Cabernet, Port
OR Sparkling or still water with lemon, espresso
This menus is for the cook at home, to make for someone you’re in love with and who loves you, since you will have garlic breath. OR, if you prefer, a great idea is to have sexy time BEFORE you eat it. And then make this in your bathrobe and enjoy it before a fire/ by candlelight.
Husband and I were laid up to the bone in February 2012. Coughing, sneezing. Waking each other up. Getting low grade lung infections. Getting into arguments about whether or not you can stop zombies by shooting them with feces. (We also had cabin fever).
We decided to dress up and have a Sick Picnic (SickNic) outside in the balmy weather. The dogs played. We drank. And coughed. And ate.
Menu (Required no effort):