We hope everyone had a safe and celebrated weekend! We caught some fireworks on Thursday, beginning with head-turning war planes circling overhead. These are not your typical planes either - so it kept both Ava and Noah entertained for quite some time in their own little flyer. Many flew in groups of 3 or 6 while others flew so close to the ground, we could do nothing but say, "whoa" in unison.
The fireworks display wasn't until 9:30, which was worth keeping the kids up for...they enjoyed it as much as we did when we were kids... Until the bag of Cheetos was passed around, and the attention dwindled.... just like when we were kids....
We have been celebrating the All-American holiday with our cousins since I moved to Texas! and was proud to host such a time-honored tradition at our home this year. I was so wrapped up into food and conversation, that I forgot to capture it with my camera. Horrible I know - it hurts me more.
So, in lieu of making this a brief entry, I thought I'd post my backyard menu. I hope you try one or all of them for your next summer fling. And I would love to receive your ideas too!
Pesto Chicken Wraps - FineLiving is my secret resource for planning different dishes. This one included expensive ingredients - but a crowd pleaser. Everyone enjoyed the rich goat/cream cheese, pesto, chicken and sweet-tangy sun-dried tomatoes bursting in their mouths. I doubled the recipe and assorted them on a white tray for serving. Do cut the wraps so guests can see the layers of goodness waiting. [photo from FineLiving.com]
Fish Tacos - I received Rachael Ray's Express Lane book as a gift to inspire my Mommy-pressed time for cooking. To be honest, this was the only thing I have made from it. Three times. It's - what does she call it? - yum-o! The avocado dressing makes my mouth dance. While this was the one recipe that delayed the event, it was a welcoming addition to the traditional beef fajitas Aaron served straight from the grill. My future tip: cook your fish ahead of time and assembly of the remaining ingredients will take less than 10 minutes.
Ina Garten's Panzanella. Ina, an East Hampton cooking goddess - the closest I'll get to making a delicious seaside meal at home. So she's a must for any one's backyard party. I chose her Italian salad - a perfect pairing to grilled meat! We've upped our vegetables from the traditional pico, guac and cheese and replaced them with heirloom tomatoes, hothouse cucumbers and champagne vinegar. [photo from housebeautiful.com]
Other great party ideas:
Serve condiments in ice-cream bowls, offer old-fashioned bottled sodas, fresh flowers as your center piece, place a table nearby to serve as a buffet station that holds the extra pieces: cotton-napkins in a wire basket, silverware in divided straw baskets, outdoor plates in good 'ol blue hues, and a red small table-top fan with retro-styling....
I'd love to hear about your entertaining and tablescape ideas... please email or post them here! xoxo