I'm not sure why, but I am super excited for summer to arrive this year. I've already wiped down the banquette, brought out the outdoor pillows, and made the back porch ready for entertaining. I've even set up my office out there; the outdoors are just too enticing at this time of year.
My favourite summer memories involve enjoying meals outdoors with friends and family. In our busy lives, it's always nice to find the time to share food with loved ones. I've partnered again with Barilla Canada to bring awareness of Share The Table which promotes this idea of bringing people together during mealtime. Sharing conversation and laughter over a good meal really does bring you closer together and in our house, it's one of my favourite things to do with Sean and Chloe. We talk about our days, play I Spy while we wait for Chloe to finish up, and have long uninterrupted conversations without the distractions of iPads, phones, or TV shows.
With BBQ season just around the corner, I thought I'd share some entertaining tips that will help you get ready to share your outdoor table. Outdoor entertaining doesn’t demand anything elaborate: just good company, simple food, and a comfortable setting.
1. Start the party early. Ask a few guests if they’d like to arrive early to help with pre-party preparation. Turn up the music, sample some of the dishes, and get into the party mood. Making meals together is part of the fun! I rely on songza to get everyone cooking and smiling.
2. Keep your decor simple and fuss-free. Shop your house for easy decorations: take cuttings from your garden and put them in tea cups, mason jars or pitchers for a casual and elegant display.
In a pinch, grab a simple grocery-bought bouquet (use a single flower type or single colour for impact) to add whimsy to your outdoor table.
3. Offer a variety of self-serve foods. When you're the host, you want to spend your time with your guests, not stuck in the kitchen. So serve up dishes that can be made in larger quantities like a cold pasta salad that can be made ahead of time, and offer it along with bowls of fruit, or grilled vegetables on skewers that guests can serve themselves. Make sure that plates, cutlery, and glasses are accessible and ready for guests.
4. Invite lingering. Ensure your guests are relaxed by providing ample seating and adding toss pillows for comfort. Encourage late night lingering by adding mini-lights to your outdoor area, putting lanterns on the stairs or candlelight on the table. You can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere with lights and keep the party going well after the sun goes down.
Have you dined outdoors yet this spring? I'm always up for an invitation. I'll even bring the wine!