Magazine article Working Mother

Quick and Easy Backyard Bash

Magazine article Working Mother

Quick and Easy Backyard Bash

Article excerpt

YOuR BROTHER BARBECuES lIkE BOBBY FlAY ON MEMORIAl DAY. Gal pals, couples and mommy friends have invited your family to countless backyard soirées. Yep, it's definitely your turn to entertain. Do. Not. Panic. There's no need to spend weeks planning and prepping, hire a caterer out of desperation-or even light the grill. We've got an outdoor-party plan that's low on fuss, high on fun and easy on the budget. Best of all, after you go grocery shopping, this party can be pulled together in less than two hours, start to finish-invites included.

you're invited Set the tone for this gettogether with a juicy theme: citrus. Lemons, limes, oranges-zesty summer fruits that keep things cool on balmy summer days. To get this party started, log on to, select the lemon-lime design, fill out the info, and import your contacts. Invite anyone who has entertained you recently, then add to the mix: a few work friends, childhood buddies, a couple you've met recently, a few of your kids' friends and their parents.

the party is here

An optimal setup is one that encourages guests to mingle and roam. So arrange food stations- one for drinks, another for salads-to make the most of your backyard space and get people up and moving. Spreading out the spread also helps avoid bottlenecks and gives off a help-yourself vibe that puts people at ease. To help guests find you, give the kids orange, yellow and green colored chalk and send them to the driveway or the front sidewalk to draw a large colorful arrow and the word "party." Other doodles will add to the chill decor.

Station 1


Avoid backups at the bar and keep things simple by setting out four coolers with ice: one each for soda, water, beer and wine. This setup does away with the formality and expense of a full bar. On a small table, display your signature drink, Cranberry sangria. To prepare, combine 1 cup sugar, 4 cranberryflavored tea bags, 4 lemon slices, 6 cloves, ½ teaspoon each nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, and 1½ cups water in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer 10 minutes. Strain and let cool. Add 2 bottles white wine, 2 ounces apple brandy and 1 sliced lemon. Chill 24 hours, and add fresh mint just before serving.

Prep No need for fancy glasses: Set out some Etch Its ($9 for a pack of 32, Guests use their fingernails to write their name on a chalkboardlike swatch.

Station 2


One of the most difficult things to get right when entertaining is timing. How do you ensure that everything is ready at the same time? One solution is to offer dishes that can be eaten at room temperature. Take advantage of summer by serving fruits and vegetables at their peak. Their bright, tangy flavors stand on their own without complicated, time-consuming recipes that call for lots of ingredients.


Easy fruit salad

Slice and combine strawberries, bananas, kiwis and oranges in a bowl. No toppings or extras required.

Orzo with lemon, feta and blueberry

2 pounds orzo ? cup extra-virgin olive oil Juice of 2 lemons 2 cups crumbled feta ½ cup chopped parsley 1 cup dried blueberries 2 teaspoons black pepper

Cook orzo until al dente (about 6 minutes), drain, and rinse with cold water. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Stir well to combine.

Layered veggie salad

using different-colored veggie leaves makes this combo irresistible. Remove the stems from 3 bunches of arugula, separate the leaves of 4 heads endive, and slice 2 heads of radicchio. Arrange in stacks around a serving platter. Set out with bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Station 3

Finger Food

A hot day means you can skip the hot food. …

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