Tuesday, June 24, 2008

(this is my article for the july issue of tastebud magazine).

Patio Perfect Party

Our normal summer entertaining usually revolves around the grill but I wanted to try something different. My friend suggested having a ‘gourmet’ sandwich bar. Perfect! An evening picnic party. This idea works great for families and with most of the prep work done before guests arrive we could spend time playing in the back yard with the kids, talking with our friends and listening to great music.
First I wanted to set the mood: playful and relaxed. The centerpiece for the table was a picnic basket filled with plates, napkins, silverware and other essentials. I found great plates at Trapp’s in KCMO. The divided plates come in bright multi-colors and are recycled. Color was added to the table by placing single blooms of flowers in collected bud vases or recycled soda bottles (gerbera daisies or peonies cut from the yard work well for this). I laid out old quilts in the yard to eat on and set up the croquet set. My favorite detail was the hanging votive cups. Luckily there is a tree over our patio so the votives made the perfect floating chandelier. Even without a tree over the patio these look fun and festive hanging anywhere in the yard and entice people to stay after the sun sets. Find similar votive holders at Nell Hills, Curious Sofa and places like Hobby Lobby. Hang them at various heights with heavy fishing line or fun ribbons. I leave them hanging throughout the summer, they make family nights at home seem a little more special. To keep the party lively we created a playlist of songs that featured artists we knew our guests enjoyed. If there are young kids at the party don’t forget to add in a little Jim Cosgrove.

Now, planning the menu and drinks. We had one signature sandwich, a delicious chicken salad, sliced meats, cheeses and the makings for BLT’s. Fresh bread from Great Harvest Bread Company was a must. Great Harvest offers several varieties each day and don’t forget their great cookies, as well. Make sure to have a good selection of farmer’s market fresh lettuce, tomatoes, avocadoes, onions and cucumbers. To top off the sandwiches provide several condiment choices like mayonnaise with fresh herbs added, different types of mustard and home made vinaigrette. Serve the sandwiches with chips (we love Art & Mary’s salt & pepper), crunchy coleslaw or potato salad and fresh fruit. Because summers are hot here make sure to have plenty of beverages. Along with beer and wine we served a fun vodka slushy. Non-alcoholic drinks included raspberry lemonade and ice-cold strawberry water (this is so simple and pretty, just add sliced strawberries to a pitcher of ice water). Dessert completed the night: citrus cupcakes and Great Harvest cookies!
Great food, friends and fun-the perfect patio party!

Annie’s Chicken Salad
6-8 grilled chicken breast halves cubed
½ cup low fat sour cream
½ cup light mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon curry powder
Pinch of garlic salt
Pepper to taste
Add chopped celery, red grapes, water chestnuts and toasted almond slices
Toss together and add more sour cream and mayo to desired texture and taste.

Gigi’s Vodka Slushy
1-6 oz can frozen oj
1-6 oz can frozen lemonade
1 ½ quarts Cranberry juice
16 oz 7-up
16 oz squirt or fresca
1/5 Vodka
Mix in large container, freeze for 24 hours stirring occasionally
Scoop & enjoy!

Find Them Here:
Recycled Plates:
4110 Main
KCMO 816.931.6940
Hanging Votives:
Curious Sofa
3925 W 69 Terr.
Prairie Village, KS 913.432.8969
Nell Hill’s
4101 N Mulberry Dr.
KCMO 816.746.4320
Fresh Bread:
Great Harvest Bread Company
83rd & Mission Rd (Corinth Shopping Center)
145th & Metcalf
Overland Park

Patio Playlist:
“And it Stoned Me” Van Morrison
“Better Together” Jack Johnson
“1,2,3,4” Feist
“Acuff-Rose” Uncle Tupelo
“You Still Touch Me” Sting
“Genius of Love” Tom Tom Club
“Here We Go Again” Norah Jones & Ray Charles
“Diner” Widespread Panic
“Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes” Paul Simon
“Don’t Touch My Hat” Lyle Lovett
“Why Georgia” John Mayer

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About Me

my name is heather and i have three crazy, creative, funny, winey, smart, loving and sweet children (henry, charlie and lucy). we love exploring around town and playing at home. i love creating whether it is with fresh flowers, fabrics, papers or whatever inspires me on a particular day.