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Festive Fourth of July Desserts

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You can’t have a Fourth of July celebration without fireworks, great food and a lot of red, white, and blue. There are plenty of ways to incorporate the festivity of this holiday into your desserts, making it delightful for kids and adults alike.

Fourth of July Sparkler

Celebrate Independence Day with some of your grilled favorites and potluck side dishes, and be sure to include some of these patriotic sweet treats on your dessert table for everyone to enjoy:
Holiday Stars Salad – Use star shaped cookie cutters to shape delicious seasonal fruits into stars. A salad with watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew works really well for this occasion.

Strawberries and Blueberries Topped with Whipped Cream – Serve in individual dessert glasses for a simple but tasty treat! For a fancier twist, make a trifle layering cubes of pound cake, vanilla pudding or fresh whipped cream, and fresh strawberries and blueberries. Trifles present beautifully whether served in a trifle bowl or individual glasses.

Star shaped watermelon fourth of july

For another fruit based dessert, make skewers with alternating layers of strawberries, blueberries, and star-shaped pieces of pound cake (using a small star-shaped cookie cutter). Or you can forego the pound cake and have a vanilla yogurt dip for the fruit instead.

Patriotic Cupcakes

Patriotic Cupcakes – Cupcakes are always a hit and the serving size is perfect for everyone! You can get as creative as you want with these, from making vanilla cupcakes topped with strawberry buttercream frosting and blue sprinkles, to making red, white, and blue layered cupcakes.

Cheesecake – Cheesecake is scrumptious on its own but is always extra special when topped with fresh fruit. Seasonal berries, such as raspberries and blackberries, are a great choice to decorate this cake for a Fourth of July gathering.

Ice Cream – Top plain vanilla ice cream with red and blue sprinkles or, for some added fun, dip the sides of ice cream sandwiches into red and blue sprinkles.

And don’t forget to have a holiday beverage on your menu! Strawberry margaritas topped with frozen blueberries make for a festive drink that will help guests cool down and relax. Be sure to make a non-alcoholic batch of these frozen beverages so little ones and those who don’t drink can enjoy as well!

Desserts are always welcome at any occasion and, when you make any of these a part of your Fourth of July celebration, they’ll not only taste delicious, but also add to the festivity of the holiday. Happy Fourth of July!

5 Graduation Party Menu Ideas

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With school out and the arrival of summer, a graduation party is a great reason to celebrate with family and friends. But figuring out what to serve can make your head spin if you overthink it.

family party

One of the best places to start when creating a graduation party menu is to think about the graduate’s favorite foods and design a menu centered around that type of fare. Here are five menu ideas to help you plan a celebration with delicious, crowd-pleasing foods, including options for graduates who are pizza fans and dessert lovers.

1) Casual BBQ

  • Cobb Salad
  • Pulled Pork Sliders
  • Potato Salad
  • Baked Beans

2) Dinner Style

  • Spring Greens Salad
  • Spinach and Ricotta Baked Shells
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Meatball Assortment (served with dipping sauces)

3) Simply Healthy

  • Seasonal Vegetable Crudite Tray
  • Assortment of Cheese and Crackers
  • Orzo Salad
  • Grilled Mediterranean Kabobs with Vegetables

4) Pizza Party

  • Chips and Dip
  • Chopped Italian Salad
  • Stromboli
  • Pizza*

*For variety, serve some gourmet pizzas in addition to the standard favorites.

5) A Dessert Affair

graduation party dessertsIf your graduate loves desserts, have a dessert only party that starts later in the evening. The options here are endless, from fancy fondues and pastries, to a make your own sundae or banana split bar. Just be sure to specify that it’s a dessert party on the invitations so your guests will know to eat dinner beforehand!

Whether your party will be “just desserts” or not, here are a few dessert options that are always a hit and great to include:

  • Cookie Assortment
  • Double Chocolate Brownies
  • Cheesecake
  • Seasonal Fruit Tray

And, if you have the time, homemade popsicles are a perfect addition to any summer graduation celebration. They can be made in advance and all guests are sure to enjoy this refreshing treat.

The Beverage Dilemma

punch bowl sangriaWith various age groups attending graduation parties, it can be challenging to decide what drinks to serve. Consider having a table with sangria or punch bowl beverages in lieu of a full bar. These types of drinks give you the option to serve alcohol-free or with some wine or spirits. And you can’t go wrong with some pitchers of water, iced tea, or lemonade.

These menu ideas should help you narrow down your food choices and make your graduation party planning a whole lot easier!  Thinking about catering? Direct from Blue Plate can customize your graduation menu. Contact us today!

 

Simple Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day

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While every day is an opportunity to let Dad know just how much he’s appreciated and loved, Father’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate him and make him feel extra special. But it shouldn’t be a day so packed with activities and the pressure of time constraints that it becomes unenjoyable for everyone, especially the man of honor.

fathers day breakfast

Here are some simple ways to make sure this Father’s Day is a truly special one that Dad will cherish:

Celebrate Father’s Day With Food

We can’t talk about celebrating Father’s Day without including food as part of the festivities! Dad has to eat, after all, so incorporate one (or more) of these ideas into his day:

  • Let Dad enjoy breakfast in bed, a treat usually reserved for moms. Bring him his favorite breakfast foods accompanied by his reading material of choice– a book, a magazine, the Sunday paper, or an iPad. Don’t be surprised if he lingers a while.
  • Have a BBQ and let Dad relax while the grilling is done for him – unless he’s in his element at the grill. In this case, hand over the tools and let him enjoy making the meal. Depending on his preferences, you can keep the BBQ small with just the family, or invite friends and extended family over for a group celebration.
    dad grilling meat on barbecue
  • Throw a patio party in your backyard or host a summer evening picnic at a park. Consider having it catered so everyone can sit back and relax while enjoying each other’s company on a warm, summer evening. You’ll find a great variety of palate-pleasing menu options from Direct From Blue Plate.

Do What He Loves

Instead of planning out the entire day, have Dad choose how he’d like to spend it. The most important thing is to focus on him and have some quality family time together. Why not accomplish this by participating in one of his favorite activities? Take a family bike ride, enjoy a leisurely walk along the beach, go to a ballgame, or catch the latest movie. He’ll adore being with his family and doing something he loves with everyone.

Give Him the Gift of Time

 Whatever your plans are for the day, Dad is sure to appreciate some unscheduled time to himself. Whether he chooses to chill out in a hammock, watch his favorite show, or go fishing, he deserves a couple hours to unwind without having anything specific to do.

A day filled with delicious food, quality time with loved ones, and some hours alone to savor. Sounds like a perfect Father’s Day to us – and we think most dads will agree. Happy Father’s Day from all of us at Blue Plate!

Hosting a Stress-Free BBQ

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If you enjoy grilling and entertaining, have family and friends over for a backyard barbecue. By doing some planning ahead of time, you’ll give yourself the luxury of relaxing and spending time with your guests at the barbecue.

hosting a stress free barbeque

Follow these tips for a stress-free BBQ:

Get Your Grill Ready
Don’t use your grill for the first time of the season on the day of your barbecue. You’ll want to check it beforehand to allow enough time to take care of any potential issues. While you’re at it, check inventory to ensure you have all the necessary equipment, especially a well-stocked supply of charcoal or gas!

Plan Your Menu
Create a menu based on the size of your group. A basic menu typically works best for larger crowds but, for a smaller gathering, you can add one or two more complex dishes.

With some grilled meat entrées, a variety of appetizers and side salads, a selection of fresh fruits and desserts, you’ll have a menu with something everyone can enjoy. And don’t forget to provide guests with some refreshing beverages to help them cool down from the summer heat. Brewed sweet tea and freshly squeezed lemonade are always welcome.

Prep the Day Before
Do as much as you can the night before to take some of the pressure off yourself during the barbecue. Marinating meats and chopping vegetables are not tasks you want to be doing as your guests are arriving!Barbecue prepping

Seating Arrangements
Even though the nature of a barbecue lends itself to mingling, provide enough seating so your guests can give their feet a rest from time to time. If needed, rent additional chairs or have a basket of blankets available for guests to use on the lawn.

Music and Games
When guests are done eating, liven up your barbecue with some background music and classic backyard games like limbo and horseshoes. Both adults and children will have a blast!

Enjoy Yourself
You’ll definitely want to plan ahead to have the most stress-free barbecue possible. But don’t forget the goal isn’t perfection, but to spend quality time with your loved ones. If you’re having a good time, so will your guests, making for a truly memorable time.

A Simply Chic Backyard Brunch

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If you’re hosting a summer bridal shower, or just want to have an excuse to invite a few friends over, a backyard brunch is the perfect way to celebrate and enjoy some fresh air and the summer sun. See below for some ideas for hosting a simply chic backyard brunch that everyone will love!

Chic Backyard BrunchA Warm Welcome

Plan for how you want your guests to feel upon their arrival. A simple sign that reads “Welcome! So glad you’re here!” is a great way to greet guests. Once they’ve settled in, have a cocktail or an appetizer to offer them and make them feel at home.

Decorate the Space

Let nature inspire the color palette of your décor. With a backyard as your backdrop, you won’t need to go overboard. The naturally beautiful setting will speak for itself so a few simple, elegant accents are all you need. Think floral centerpieces, pretty table linens, and paper flower garlands.

Seating

Plan to have enough seating to accommodate more guests than you’re expecting. Although people tend to mingle, especially at an outdoor event, having various places to sit throughout the party adds coziness, encourages conversation, and provides ample space for guests to relax.
If your brunch will be more intimate, a few farm tables dressed with burlap runners and some beautiful floral arrangements make a lovely seating area. If you need to accommodate a larger crowd, consider renting tables and chairs and dressing them up with linens that complement the rest of your décor.

Beverage Bar

Refreshing drinks are a must at any outdoor gathering, so set up a beverage bar or table that holds a variety of drinks for guests to enjoy. And be sure to include a signature cocktail. Mimosas are always a hit and are perfect for a brunch. If you want to get a bit fancy and add to the fun, have a make-your-own mimosa bar!

Buffet Style

While a backyard brunch can be as chic as you desire, it isn’t meant to be a highly formal affair. Serving individual meals to each guest is time consuming and unnecessary. Keep it simple with an appetizing display of brunch dishes on a buffet table and let your guests help themselves.
Here are some delicious menu ideas that are great for a buffet style brunch:
• French Toast Casserole
• Fresh Fruit Salad
• Gazpacho
• Hummus Platter with Vegetables and Crackers
• Quiche

For a unique spin that no one will be able to resist, set up a separate pastry table with favorite items such as donuts, sweet breads and scones. Or how about a waffle bar with a variety of toppings like fruit, granola and pure maple syrup?

Now you’re all set to plan an unforgettable backyard brunch. Just don’t forget to relax and enjoy the special time (and scrumptious food) with your guests!