August 22, 2019

Simple & Stylish Party Secrets to Wow Your Friends


Time for some classy upgrades to the typical hot dogs and hamburgers. Instead, we teamed up with with Veronica Leslie of HealthDoll.Co to provide you with some easy, yet stylish fare to excite your friends, while keeping your prep time minimal before and during your party. We will help you make cocktails (and mocktails), appetizers, main dishes and dessert that will prove a memorable experience for all. And you’ll have enough energy to enjoy your own party, too!

It’s All About First Impressions

Have an easy-to-make cocktail that can work as a mocktail, too. Going with an option that uses real ingredients like fresh herbs, citrus, or brined veggies is always a safe bet. Since you want this to be something that you can bring pronto, directly to your friends’ hands, it’s always a great idea to batch prep your concoction the night before and save the toppings for the party. In fact, you can even make this interactive and have your guests add their own adornment to their beverage.

Labor Day 10

An Organic Bloody Mary is always a hit and you can bring the fun with lots of garnish choices. A quick way to make this recipe is by making it in batches (each batch serves 4 people). Use one 16 oz. organic bloody mary mix, 8 ounces vodka, 4 teaspoons organic steak sauce, 4 ounces castelvetrano olive juice, 4 teaspoons organic hot sauce (or to taste), and a couple shakes of classic steak seasoning salt (this can also be used for the rim). Stock up on brined veggies for garnish galore. And don’t forget to make a virgin batch; you can always add vodka if someone wants it.

Pro tip – you can keep brined veggies stocked in your fridge at all times; they can be used for cheeseboard and charcuterie accompaniments, too.

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The Cucumber Mint Rum Refresher sounds and tastes amazing, and will appeal to those who want a cocktail or a mocktail. This easy peasy cocktail combines muddled mint and lime, rum (vodka works well, too) and is topped with cucumber soda and ice. For a chic beverage option for guests desiring a mocktail, just omit the alcohol. This is an easy bevie to imbibe all evening long.

Chips & Dips Always A Win

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A chips and dips bar is a fun and super simple way for your guests to keep on dipping. Kettle papita chili lime chips and corn chips pair nicely with salsa and guacamole, or you can go a little wild and add almond dips, garlic & chive hummus, vegan cheese spreads, and garlic mint yogurt dip. For presentation, you can just pour the chips in big bowls and open the dips—serve them directly from their containers or be a little more mysterious by putting into individual bowls. Either way, your guests will be excited for some unique dip options.

Always Room for Caprese Your Way

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Caprese, typically comprised of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, can be served in many ways. A couple of our favs are as skewers (you can use tooth picks, too) or on crackers. Serving on skewers looks fancy, requires little prep, and is easy to make the night before. Start with ciliegine mozzarella, then add a basil leaf and end with a cherry tomato. Just before serving, drizzle a little balsamic reduction and add salt and pepper to taste. We also like to serve this classic recipe on a cracker. We use organic rosemary & olive oil flatbread bites. It’s best to make these the day of the party, so that the crackers stay crunchy. Add a slice of heirloom tomato, a basil leaf and a slice of fresh mozzarella. Complete with balsamic reduction and salt and pepper.

Pro Tip: you can boil balsamic vinegar on the stove for about 10 minutes until it becomes thick and syrupy to make your own balsamic reduction for a flavorful finish.

Delish Dinner Options Without the Fuss

Here are some great options to serve for dinner that won’t cause a fuss, and better yet, your guests will think you spent hours preparing. We have suggestions for all types of dietary desires, too. With just a little bit of effort the day before, you will have the perfect assortment of dishes for your deserving guests.

Labor Day 3

Spatchcock style BBQ chicken proves a beautiful presentation. The butterfly cut allows the chicken to roast flat to cook more evenly and quickly. Because the chicken arrives as a butterfly cut, you don’t need to be a pro with the kitchen sheers and you can rest assured that you can cook the perfect chicken on the bbq or in your oven. We like to use honey & thyme vinaigrette for the marinade, and add veggies and sprigs of rosemary. Voila!

Labor Day 7

You can make Veggie & Sirloin Steak Skewers by marinating in lemon juice, garlic seasoning and organic steak sauce. These skewers brown up beautifully on the BBQ. Marinate the night before to ensure your meat is tender and full of flavor. And don’t forget to make a few veggie ones for your non-steak eating friends. You can bring back that garlic mint yogurt dip we mentioned before to use as a topping and finish with a squeeze of bright lemon.

Labor Day 18

A simple, yet elegant dish is Puttanesca pasta. You can whip up your own sauce by adding olive oil, heirloom tomatoes, capers, sundried olives or kalamata olives, fresh basil, and garlic. You can use many of the ingredients from the prior menu items for this dish as well. Start with medium-low heat, a little olive oil and some crushed garlic. Once lightly golden, add the tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Then stir in the other goodies. (Or you can opt for the pre-made sun-dried tomato pesto instead.) While waiting for your sauce to simmer, cook your pasta. We suggest using strozzapreti or gluten-free ravioli.

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Last but not least, don’t forget the Vegan Lavash Flatbread! Begin with lavash flatbread and coat with sun-dried tomato pesto to your desired thickness. Place thinly sliced vegan cheeses of choice; we like to do a duet of vegan mozzerella and vegan creamy chao slices. For a final touch, add a medley of fresh Italian herbs before baking till golden brown. This recipe can also work on the BBQ if you use a pizza stone (look up directions for proper use on a BBQ).

And for the Finale, S’mores please!

Labor Day 5

S’mores are always a crowd pleaser and a great interactive way to end the evening. Everyone can gather around the fire pit to make s’mores and merriment. Another option is using the remaining heat from your BBQ. Have fun mixing and matching marshmallow flavors and various chocolate selections, too. And to make it even a little more fresh and tasty, by adding fresh blueberries or strawberry vanilla jam.

We hope that you have a fabulous party and we would love to see your feasts in your Instagram stories. Make sure to tag us @farmfreshtoyou

Recipes & tips provided in collaboration with Veronica Leslie of HealthDoll.Co.

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