Most often, the outdoors space is used for entertaining in the spring and summer. With this in mind, I’m kicking the series off with tips on creating an entertaining oasis in your backyard. It doesn’t matter how big or small your space is, you can have a party that people will talk about for the rest of the season!
Here are some tips for entertaining outdoors:
- Keep the food simple and the drinks stocked (keep scrolling for recipe ideas).
- Mix non-citronella and citronella candles so the mosquitoes stay away but the scent isn’t overwhelming to your guests.
- Create a good flow: all of the drinks should be together, snacks in easy reach wherever someone may sit, and chairs spaced to allow for easy movement.
- Use flowers to decorate.
- Have music playing, but not too loud, your guests want to be able to hear each other!
- It’s always nice to have some games on hand (keep scrolling and you’ll find some ideas).
Create a bar cart. It’s an easy way to store and display drinks in a small space.
Build a flip-down side board. It’s perfect for entertaining and can be tucked away when your guests leave.
Make a cooler table. Every one of your guests will love it!
DIY Instructions at Domesticated Engineer
Get creative with your table décor.
Make utensils easy to grab (and pretty to look at).
Keep salads in large glass jars with lids to keep the bugs away.
Twinkle lights aren’t just for the holidays! Add some white lights to your trees for an elegant look.
Have comfy seating – and plenty of it.
Have easy outdoor games set up:
Corn Hole requires no skill and is a ton of fun.
Giant Jenga is always a crowd pleaser.
Last but not least, have tasty treats that everyone will love:
Honey Porter Glazed Chicken Skewers – From the Beeroness
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane (or minced)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup porter or stout beer
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 tbs olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped shallots (about 1 medium shallot)
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into cubes
- oil for the grill
- Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
- In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, honey, porter, red pepper flakes, mustard, soy sauce and pepper. Add the chicken cubes, refrigerate for 1 hour and up to overnight.
- Remove the chicken from marinade (reserve the marinade) thread the chicken through wooden skewers.
- In a pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil and shallots. Sautee until shallots have softened, about 5 minutes. Add marinade and boil, stirring frequently, until reduced and thickened, about 8 minutes.
- Preheat grill to medium high.
- Brush the grill lightly with oil.
- Brush the chicken with the glaze, place on the grill. Brush with glaze and turn every 2-4 minutes until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle with chopped cilantro prior to serving.
- Preheat the oven to 400. Place chicken on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Brush liberally with glaze. Roast at 400 for 30-40 minutes, brushing with glaze every 8-10 minutes until cooked through.
- Sprinkle with chopped cilantro prior to serving.
Ginger Shandies – From Food and Wine
Makes 6 drinks
- Mint springs, for garnish
- One 12-ounce bottle chilled ginger beer
- 1 thinly sliced lemon
- Three 11.2 ounce bottles of chilled Hoegaarden beer
In a large pitcher, combine the Hoegaarden with the ginger beer. Stir in most of the lemon slices and mint springs. Fill 6 rocks glasses with ice. Add the remaining lemon slices to the glasses and pour in the shandy. Garnish each drink with a mint sprig and serve.
Mini Brownie Fruit Pizzas with Cream Cheese Frosting – From Cooking Classy
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 18 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours
- Yield: about 14 mini pizzas
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Fresh fruit, diced small, for topping
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and line with one long sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two sides. Butter parchment paper (or foil), set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together melted butter and cocoa powder until well blended. Mix in sugar and salt. Using a wooden spoon, blend in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract then add flour and stir until no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven 18 – 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Set baking dish on a wire rack and cool completely.
- Using overhang of parchment, lift brownies from pan. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut brownies into rounds* (I got 14. The tops crack a little but that’s fine because they are frosted anyway. Also they’ll stick to the cookie cutter since the brownies are so moist, so just carefully push down on the edges of brownie being cut when lifting cookie cutter up). Frost each round with cream cheese frosting (pipe or spread) then top with fresh fruit (for the bananas I tossed in a light lemon water mixture then dried so they didn’t brown so quickly). For best results serve just after assembling (you can make both the brownies and frosting ahead of time, you can even frost them the day before and refrigerate them, just add the fruit just before serving).
- For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Mix in vanilla then add powdered sugar and continue to whip mixture until smooth and fluffy.
- *For an easier method, bake brownies in a whoopie pie pan or bake in the 13 by 9 and skip the cutting into rounds part, simply frost the entire layer, top with fruit then cut into bars.
How do you make your outdoor space a LifeStyled one? I would love to hear your tips and tricks! Leave a comment and you may be featured in an upcoming post.