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9:04 AM / Sunday August 18, 2019

14 Jun 2013

Outdoor entertaining made easy

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June 14, 2013 Category: Food And Beverage Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Strawberry Agua Fresca

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BPT

Patio season has arrived, and opportunities for outdoor social gatherings will abound in the coming months. Birthdays, graduations, showers, holidays and
any other reasons to enjoy warm weather will call for unique outdoor party solutions that differ from indoor events. Here are a few ideas to make al fresco
entertaining a snap.

Fruity refreshment

Enjoying seasonal fruits is one of summer’s most delicious pleasures, so incorporate fresh fruits into every aspect of your gathering. Go beyond the
traditional fruit plates and garnishes, and sweeten regular water with fresh fruits for an invigorating beverage that is perfect for the patio. With a few
whole fruits, ice and a high-performance blender like the Vitamix Professional Series 750, which features five pre-programmed settings – including one for
smoothies, a perfect summer concoction is seconds away.

To make a Strawberry Agua Fresca, simply blend one cup of fresh strawberries, four cups of cubed, seeded watermelon, three fourths cup of lemon juice and
two cups of ice to create a rejuvenating and healthy whole-food juice beverage that your guests are sure to enjoy.

Get grilling

Many people associate summer gatherings with grilling, but that doesn’t mean your menu options need to be limited to the typical hamburgers and hot dogs
found at most cookouts. Explore the hundreds of recipes for more health-conscious grilled cuisine, including salmon, shrimp, veggie burgers and chicken.
Don’t just reserve the grill for entrees, either.

For an appetizer, try grilling slices of ciabatta or pita bread and topping with chopped tomatoes, basil and olive oil to create an easy bruschetta. Season
and toss sliced, cooked potatoes on the grill to make your own steak fries, and use your Vitamix blender to create a number of dipping sauces and homemade
condiments. Roasting vegetable skewers makes for a light but flavorful side, and you can even use rosemary sprigs as the skewers for extra zest. The grill
is a versatile tool for summer entertaining, so use it to its full potential this season!

Summer settings

Outdoor dinner parties are typically less formal events, but some instances still call for place settings and arranged seating. To create a fun, light
atmosphere that is still organized and thoughtful, use colorful place mats and napkins to offset a white or neutral tablecloth. There’s no need to break
out the fine china, either. Opt for bamboo or melamine plates and bowls instead, which are available in a wide array of colors and designs. Bamboo serving
utensils can create a beach-like feel, and reusable, recyclable plastic silverware is an affordable alternative to disposable cutlery.

Have fun with table decorations and fill glass bowls and vases with flowers, colorful stones and floating candles for an attractive, summery table setting
in no time. Add pretty citronella candles for decoration that will also keep your table bug-free.

Night lights

Many summer soirees carry on past sunset, so lighting your patio area is important. With hundreds of options available for any outdoor area and budget, you
can create whatever atmosphere you prefer. Solar lamps are a smart, energy-efficient way to light the walking and seating areas, while Chinese lanterns
hanging in the trees create a fun, party feel.

Garden lights lining the driveway and walkways will direct attendees to and from the gathering areas safely, and an enclosed bonfire pit or portable
fireplace is a great way to gather people for post-dinner revelry. The right mood will encourage guests to stay past dark and allow everyone to enjoy a
warm summer evening.

Follow these few simple tips to create the perfect outdoor gathering, and you’ll be in the swing of summer entertaining in no time.

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