Let’s be honest… spring and early summer have felt a bit… strange (and that might be putting it nicely). It has been hard not to have drinks on the deck with friends, share evenings on the water with neighbors, and welcome extended family for weekend getaways at the lake.
On the other hand, this time has brought so many blessings in disguise. Extra quality time with our immediate families. The chance to play around with new recipes on the grill. Even the opportunity to remodel the outdoor living spaces to our heart’s content.
Fortunately, thanks to all of our wonderful customers (like you), who have taken our showroom policies to heart and continued to care about the health and safety of others, our community is seeing a shift in the right direction. Which also means the possibility of small get-togethers with family and friends. Thank goodness!
Whether you’re preparing to host family at your cabin, reconvening the ladies’ monthly book club, or even planning an intimate dinner party for close friends, we hope that these simple suggestions will help make your outdoor entertaining just that much more special and enjoyable in the weeks to come…
1. Recipes your guests will rave about
We can’t be the only ones who adore trying new recipes when we have guests…right?! Whether it is a savory appetizer, a unique dessert, or the perfect make-ahead cocktail, we are always looking for innovative ideas that everyone can enjoy. Here are a few of our recent favorites…
APPETIZER: Put it on EVERYTHING Cashew Dip
Courtesy of Bon Appetit
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1 cup tender herbs
- 2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
- Pour boiling water over the cashews in a heat-proof bowl.
- Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Strain cashews through a sieve into a medium bowl, reserving the liquid.
- Put cashews in a blender and add 1 cup of herbs, 2 Tbsp vinegar, 1 Tbsp salt, and ½ the reserved liquid.
- Blend until smooth and resembles the consistency of yogurt.
- Place in a serving bowl and serve with Crudités and sliced French bread.
DESSERT: Peanut Butter Cheese Ball
Courtesy of Karly Campbell
- 8 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter (not all-natural)
- 3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup milk chocolate chips
- ¾ cup peanut butter chips
- Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and brown sugar in a bowl.
- Spoon mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap.
- Pull up all 4 corners of wrap and twist tightly to form a ball.
- Freeze for 1 ½ hours or until firm enough to keep its shape.
- Pour both kinds of chips onto a plate and roll the ball in the chips to cover.
- Freeze again for no more than 2 hours
- Thaw at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving.
- Serve with graham cracker sticks, apple slices, and Nilla Wafers for dipping.
COCKTAIL: Frozen, Make-Ahead Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned
Courtesy of WISCO Wheeler
- 6 cups water
- 1 ½ cup Old Fashioned mix
- 2 cups brandy
- 12 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- Sweet and sour soda, for mixing
- Mix water, Old Fashioned mix, brandy, and orange Juice concentrate.
- Freeze 24 hours or until set.
- For each serving, scoop ¾ cup of slush into a rocks glass.
- Pour desired mixer (sweet and sour soda, lemon lime soda, etc.) into the glass and garnish.
2. Stunning, yet care-free serveware
While good food is a great start to your outdoor entertaining, how you serve those delicious dishes matters almost as much!
We don’t recommend that you pull out your best china to take onto the patio. And ceramic serveware can be risky as well (after all, nobody wants to excuse themselves from the party to clean up broken dishes on a hard surface…yikes!).
The good news is that there are beautiful, elegant options in melamine serveware these days that are both pretty and practical for outdoor use. (The only drawback to this type of dishware – it can’t be microwaved. Other than that, it is perfect for al fresco dining.)
Don’t forget a selection of rocks glasses in beautiful summer patterns for your guests. (Pro tip – even though you might be tempted to put out a selection of glasses that match perfectly…you might consider glasses of similar styles, but varying patterns so that guests can easily track which drink belongs to them.)
Top off your place settings with fun, brightly-colored cocktail napkins. Whether you choose quality paper napkins for easy clean-up, or reusable cloth napkins that can be enjoyed time and time again, this little detail is the perfect way to add an extra splash of personality to your gathering.
Best of all, we carry all of this and more in our showroom…stop by anytime to take a peek and stock up for your next get-together.
3. Practical protection from the sun
Have you ever spent days looking forward to a meal out…one where you can sit on the patio and sip a fancy drink…only to have your dreams dashed by the fact that the patio of the restaurant is soaked by the sun without an inch of shade to break up those blistering UV rays?
We know we have…and it’s the worst! Don’t let your outdoor living spaces pose the same problem for family and friends.
An oversized umbrella to cover your dining table, a slim profile retractable awning over the deck, or any type of portable shade screen will provide welcome relief to your summertime guests. Trust us, any of these (or a combination thereof) make for a very wise investment.
If you’re looking for some additional inspiration for an upcoming event…
If you’re looking to upgrade your outdoor living spaces before entertaining this summer…
Or if you’re looking to take our suggestions to heart and stock up on outdoor-friendly serving ware and shade protection…
…then give us a call or stop by our showroom! We can’t wait to see you and meet all of your outdoor entertaining needs.
The Lakeside Living Team