Memorial Day Barbecue

Memorial Day Barbecue

Memorial Day is always the last Monday in May.  It is of course the day to remember all the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to this great nation.

But it is also marks the beginning of summer, Yay!

Traditionally it’s the first day one can wear white colored pants (remember back in the day when wearing white pants was only acceptable between Memorial and Labor Days?).  It’s a day of rest and relaxation; a day to spend with family and friends; and a day to barbecue!

A Memorial Day barbecue was something I always looked forward to growing up in New York.  It was the first day my dad would fire up the backyard grill and the women would bring out all sorts of meats to grill, tons of side dishes, and my favorite part all the dessert!  Yes Memorial Day was a big deal at our humble home in Queens.

I’m not too sure if it was a big deal  because my grandfather was a Captain in the Philippine/American Army led by General MacArthur during WWII, or that my great uncle survived the forced march to Corrigedor with his fellow soldiers (American and Filipino) during that same war, or if we were just a house full of first generation immigrants thankful for the welcome we received from our newly adopted country and all the opportunities it offered.  Whatever the reason my family took to celebrating Memorial Day (and all the other American holidays) with a gusto only grateful immigrants can muster.  So for us a Memorial Day barbecue was a definite must!

Now a Memorial Day barbecue doesn’t mean you’ll just throw some hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, although you can if you like, it can be so much more fun!  You can decorate using a patriotic theme, grill all sorts of meats, have all types of sides, and whatever desserts your heart desires.  Think of your Memorial Day Barbecue as a trial run for the big event…your 4th. of July Barbecue!  Here are some ideas and recipes to get you started!

Decorate the front door (or anywhere) with a basket of flags!

Just grab a bunch of small flags from Walmart or Target and fill up a small basket and tack it to your door.  Or if you prefer grab some larger flags and fill up a basket you can place on the table top or even on the ground.

You can even stick the flags in potted plants!

Wood Pallets

Paint wooden pallets of any size in patriotic colors.  You can add a wooden star, or not, or paint on the stars if you’re so inclined.

You can get small pallets at craft stores or even Walmart’s craft department.  They make great wall or door plaques.

You can find larger pallets at home improvement stores or ask your local stores if they have any from their deliveries.  They’ll more than likely be happy to give you a pallet or two just so they don’t have to throw them away.

 

Mason Jars

Paint mason jars in patriotic colors using acrylic paints.  They make great vases and utensil caddies for your table.

Painted Cans

You can also paint cans to use as utensil caddies, napkin holders, vases, centerpieces, etc.

This is a cute and inexpensive way to decorate for your Memorial Day Barbecue.

 

 

Colored Water Vases

Don’t want to paint?  No problem turn clear jars or bowls into patriotic vases with food coloring.  So simple yet so pretty!

 

Of course the most important part of any Memorial Day Barbecue is the food!  Here are some yummy recipes you can try for your Barbecue!

Butter Burgers

Try these Butter Burgers they are the best burgers ever!

 

Click here for the recipe!

 

 

 

Kalbi Beef Kebabs

Looking for something other than burgers and dogs?  Try these Kalbi Beef Kebabs, they are awesome!

You can even use them to fill small corn tortillas.  Add some shredded cabbage and sprinkle with chopped green onions and you’ve got the perfect Kalbi Street Tacos!  Click here for the recipe!

Chipotle Lime Corn On the Cob

No barbecue is complete without some corn on the cob.

Try these Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob, they are super delish!

Click here for the recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

Skillet Frozen Corn

Prefer your corn off the cob?  Try this Skillet Corn dish using frozen corn.

Use the same seasoned butter used in the Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob (click here for that recipe)

Melt the seasoned butter in a cast iron skillet.

Add Frozen Corn

Sprinkle with 1 Tbs. Smoked Paprika and 1 Tbs. Chipotle Pepper Powder

Keep mixing the corn so it doesn’t burn and evenly distribute the seasoning.

When the corn is cooked sprinkle with chopped cilantro and squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime over all before serving.

Garlic Parmesan Asparagus Spears

Take advantage of summer veggies like asparagus.

These Garlic Parmesan Asparagus Spears are super easy to make in the oven.

Just take 2 lbs. spears with bottom ends cut off and arrange them in a baking pan.

Mix together: 1 Tbs. Lemon Pepper, 2 Tbs. Olive Oil, 1 Tbs. Minced Garlic and drizzle over asparagus spears.

Sprinkle with 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake in 425º oven for 15 -20 minutes.

Click here for more Memorial Day Barbecue ideas and recipes!

Outdoor Entertaining – Free Corn on the Cob Recipe!

Outdoor Entertaining – Free Corn on the Cob Recipe!

Summer is almost here!  And in our family that means outdoor entertaining!  It’s always a good idea to take advantage of good weather and dine alfresco every chance you get!

I know that outdoor entertaining means backyard barbecues complete with grilled meats, corn on the cob, and other mouth watering goodies we can make outside.  Don’t forget the S’mores!  But really outdoor entertaining isn’t limited to cooking stuff on your grill, there are so many ways you can enjoy dining on your patio or backyard.  It could be an intimate breakfast for two, a rambunctious kids’ birthday party, or a more serene adult dinner party for friends and family.

To get your creative juices flowing I’ve got 7 ideas you can build on to take your summer time entertaining outdoors!  By the way outdoor entertaining doesn’t mean you have to invite the whole neighborhood; you can enjoy a nice quite meal outdoors with just your immediate household!

How about an intimate breakfast for 2?

They’ve always said breakfast is the most important meal of the day; how better to start your day than with breakfast outdoors with your spouse or partner?

You don’t have to go all out.  A nice cup of coffee and a croissant will do; or if you’re feeling inclined a plate of bacon and egg and some warm biscuits will hit the spot.  Whatever the menu all you’ll really need is a simple table and chairs on the patio or in the backyard.  (And maybe keep the kids indoors so you can have some quiet time!)

If you’re not a morning person then make it lunch or dinner for two.  Remember the idea is to relax and enjoy some couples time!

Vintage Garden Tea Party

Tea is my favorite method of entertaining  and a Vintage Garden Party is a great to entertain outdoors.  I love tea parties, they’re simple and easy to prepare, they make you and your guests feel pampered, and they are so pretty!

Have everyone dress up in pretty summer frocks to make it an extra special event.  You don’t have to limit tea parties to adult parties, children, particularly little girls will adore a princess tea party for her birthday!  Our you can have a Teddy Bear Tea Party for boys and girls; each child is invited to bring along their favorite plush animal for the garden party.  Kids love it!

Kids’ Birthday Party

In my opinion kids’ parties should always be held outdoors, weather permitting of course.

There are so many options and themes for outdoor birthday parties.  The kids love it because they have room to run around and parents love it because it keeps the mess out of the house and makes clean up easier.

If your patio or yard isn’t big enough to let the kids run around then take your party to your neighborhood park!  Just be sure to clean up and place your trash in the trash containers.

Boho Adult Dinner Party

Adult Outdoor parties don’t always have to include grilled meats or barbecued anything for that matter!

A Boho themed or any themed outdoor party works for any occasion and it’s great if you don’t have enough outdoor tables and chairs.  Just stock up on large floor pillows or even picnic blankets.  Use low tables or a piece of plywood resting on cement tiles for your “dining table”.  Just be sure you cover it with a pretty tablecloth!

As for food serve anything your heart desires!

Baby or Bridal Showers

Who says indoor sofas and shelves can’t go outside?  Bring the indoors out and host your bridal or baby shower in the backyard.

It’s amazing what a bit of “redecorating” can do!

This works great if you have a small indoor living area and have lots of friends and family to invite!

 

Outdoor Weddings

I just love outdoor weddings!  They can be as low key or as fancy as the bride wants.

Lots of brides have learned to think outside of the box and hired some wonderful wedding venues.  You can check out vineyards, parks, beaches, and even zoos!

Depending on the venue outdoor weddings might take a bit more planning so it’s important to have a great wedding planner on your team!

Outdoor Barbecue

I can’t talk about outdoor entertaining without including the outdoor barbecue.  Take advantage of summer and take dinner (or lunch) outside.

You’ll definitely have lots of opportunities to host an outdoor barbecue between Memorial and Labor Days you’ve got Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, possibly a birthday or two.  Not to mention you don’t need a special occasion to barbecue, you can have one for the family just because!

Now one of my favorite things at an outdoor barbecue is the corn on the cob!  A barbecue isn’t complete without it.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Elotes, Mexican Street Corn, it’s super yummy!  Well it has mayo on it and my son will not touch anything with mayo.  So I had to find a way to make something similar to Elotes without the mayo and I came up with my Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob.  Here’s my recipe!

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Ingredients:

Corn

(For the corn – I used frozen mini cobs or niblets and boiled on the stove – you can use frozen or fresh and boil it, bake it, or grill it.  This recipe is to boil frozen corn.)

16 Niblets – Frozen

1 Pot water

1 Cup Milk

Topping:

1/2 Cup butter softened

1 Tbs. Chipotle Pepper Powder

1 Tsp. Cumin

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp. Honey

Queso Fresco – crumbled

Cilantro – chopped

1 Lime – cut into wedges

Directions:

Make the topping by mixing butter, honey, and powdered seasonings together.  Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

Boil corn in water/milk mixture for about 20 minutes or until done.  Drain corn and transfer to a baking pan.

Place spoonfuls of butter topping on each cob.  Butter topping will melt.  Roll cobs in melted butter until all sides are covered.

Sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro.

Serve with lime wedges for each person to squeeze over cob if they want to.

You can keep this warm in the oven until ready to serve.

You can store any extra butter topping in the fridge and use for other things.  I like to use it to saute chicken or even veggies.  Pretty much anything you want to add a bit of spice to!

 

Cinco de Mayo Celebration – Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Recipe

Cinco de Mayo Celebration – Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Recipe

It’s Cinco De Mayo again and to me that’s the best excuse for a celebration featuring Mexican food and drinks!  Not that I need a reason to enjoy Mexican food, I’m just crazy about it!  No one ever has to twist my arm into making a pitcher of Margaritas or a tray of tacos and burritos.

 

But Cinco De Mayo is still a great excuse to throw a party!  You don’t have to be Mexican in my opinion to celebrate.  But if you really must know the reason Cinco De Mayo is celebrated it’s a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.  Just in case you were thinking it’s the Mexican Independence day, it’s clearly not.  I believe the largest Cinco De Mayo celebration is in Puebla.

History aside Cinco De Mayo has become somewhat a part of American culture simple because it involves great food and drinks I think.  What ever the reason it’s a great time to throw a party or at the very least have a “Mexican” night with the family.

It doesn’t have to be an invite the whole neighborhood block party, you can keep it simple and have a pot luck with friends and family or simpler still enjoy some Mexican dishes with just the family.  Here’s a few fun ideas you can use to make your celebration fun for all!

Set up a Margarita Bar

Guests can help themselves to margaritas, you can serve the classic margarita or add a flavored one or two like mango and strawberry.

If you’ve got kids or for any one wanting something non-alcoholic (like the designated driver) put bottles of Jarrito in a tub of ice, don’t forget the bottle opener!

Or set up a Horchata bar with several flavors of this refreshing Mexican drink.

Put up a Pinata

Pinatas are always fun.  They’re colorful and full of candy, what’s not to like?  You can use your pinata as just decoration or you can actually have the kids break it.

If you consider breaking the pinata with a stick too violent, I’m a bit iffy on it too, you can cut a flap on the bottom of your pinata and attach ribbons or string to it.  The kids just have to tug on it to let the candy and other treats out.  This is a safer option specially when there are toddlers involved!

 

 

Set a colorful table!

Use colorful dinnerware at the table and as serving plates.

They don’t have to be ceramic, you can mix and match colorful paper or plastic plates.

 

Decorate with bright colors and props

Dust off the maracas and sombreros and haul out the serapes.  Use colorful balloons, fabrics, banners, paper lanterns and flowers to spruce up the party area.

Don’t forget colorful baskets they can hold everything from flatware to favors!

 

 

 

Serve lots and lots of Mexican Food!

Tacos, burritos, nachos, chimichangas, enchaladas, you name it!  Serve up lots of your favorites.  If you’re just wanting to keep it simple then focus on an entree like fajitas, and serve up sides of rice and beans.  But don’t forget the salsa and guacamole!

If you don’t  a lot of time to cook then whip up a pot of my Beef Barbacoa, you can use it in tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, or whatever you want.  Best of all it’s made in an Instant Pot and can be made in less than 2 hours.  Your friends and family will think you slaved over a hot stove all day!

Here’s the recipe!

This article contains affiliate links

Ingredients:

3-4 Lbs. Chuck Roast cut into large chunks

2 Tbs Minced Garlic

3-4 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (you can buy a can in the Mexican section of the grocery store) – chopped

1 (4oz) can of diced green chiles

1 Onion finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Bay Leaves

1 Tbs Cumin

1 Tbs Oregano

1 Tbs Sea Salt

1 Tbs Black Pepper

1/4 Tsp Ground cloves

3/4 Cup Beef Broth

2 Tbs Olive Oil

Directions:

Turn on pot to Saute and heat olive oil

Sear meat chunks in the oil

Add the remaining ingredients on top of the beef

Cover and make sure valve is set to “Sealing”

Change pot setting to Manual and adjust time to 60 minutes

Once it’s done let it sit in the pot for 15 minutes then carefully turn the valve to “venting” to depressurize the pot

 

Remove cover and shred beef – it shouldn’t take much to shred it by now the meat should be falling apart.

Leave in juices until ready to use

Use to fill tacos and burritos or to top nachos.  Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

You can store leftovers in its juices in a sealed container in the fridge for about 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.

 

 



Beef Barabacoa Nachos! Just one of the dishes you can make using the Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

April Showers Parties and Events

April Showers Parties and Events

April showers bring May flowers, and it also ushers in the spring/summer party season!  Yup the cold days are mostly behind us and the forecast says sunny days ahead, or so we all hope.  So what’s better than throwing some April Showers Parties this month?

April Showers Parties can be birthday parties, baby and bridal showers, engagement parties, weddings, or just because it’s spring parties.  So get out your umbrellas, rain boots, and flowers and host a colorful April Shower Party or even.  Here are some ideas to get you started!

Umbrellas!

April Showers Parties just wouldn’t be complete without umbrellas.  Use them in your decor.  I just love the floating inverted umbrellas filled with tissue flowers by Sweet & Petite Party Designs don’t you? (Top photo)  And the clear bubble umbrella, same concept, different style of umbrella, I found on Pinterest.

And what about these adorable little paper umbrella?  Use them as cake/ cupcake toppers, and float them on drinks.  Who doesn’t love a tropical concoction, with or without alcohol, topped with a colorful umbrella?

Rain Boots!

I just love kids’ rain boots they come in all sorts of colors and designs.  Stock up on some to use as centerpieces and flower vases.  If you don’t have kids who will use them send them home with guest who do!

You can use adult sized rain boots as vases too.  They look great by the door or in an odd corner or two.  Or on rainy days place them by the door and use as umbrella stands.

Watering Cans

Watering cans make great flower pots or for a bit of whimsy make them float in the air!  Dangle them from tree branches or light fixtures with clear fishing wire.  They’ll look amazing!

You can also use them to hold flatware at your buffet table!

 

Flower Pots

Small terracotta pots make great party favors.  Place flowers, (real or silk) or pinwheels in the pots and tuck in a seed packet or two.  Guest can take them home as favors!

Of course you can use them to hold flatware at the buffet table as well, and they make awesome centerpieces when you fill them with colorful spring blooms!

 

Clouds and Raindrops

Make a colorful raindrop backdrop using white balloons for clouds.  You can cut out cloud shapes from poster board and use that too!

Cut out raindrop shapes from cardstock or construction paper then string them up on clear fishing wire, they look so pretty.  Remember the raindrops can be any color you want!

 

 

These are just a few of my favorite ideas for April Showers Parties.  Do you have a cool idea?  Please share we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

Unicorn Theme Party Ideas

Unicorn Theme Party Ideas

UnicornUnicorns, rainbows, and princesses these three seem to go hand in hand.  What little girl doesn’t dream of being a princess riding her magical unicorn down a rainbow? Any or all three would make an ideal theme for your little princess’s next birthday party.

Of course you can use any or all ideas for your next party, but to keep it simple, sort of, I’ll stick with just one theme today, a Unicorn Party.  A unicorn theme party works great for children and adult birthday parties, bridal and baby showers, an just about any type of event you want. And don’t think it’s limited to girls only, just change the color scheme and nix the girly glitter and it’ll work for a boy’s or co-ed parties!

Here are some super cute ideas for a unicorn party! Hope they inspire you!

This article contains affiliate links

Invitations

Every party begins with an invitation.  So set the stage by choosing a coordinated invitation like this pretty one by Jessie K. Designs.

In fact she’s sharing this printable unicorn invitation for free!

Click here to download! 

 

Unicorn Decorations

One of my favorite party planning activities is decorating.  Coordinating decorations make any theme party more memorable.  In this case all things unicorn of course!  So go ahead let your imagination run wild!

Banners, balloons, streamers, lanterns, centerpieces, photo booths, backdrops, and even dessert tables (think cake, cake toppers, plates, cups, table cloths, and napkins) can all be party of the decor! In my opinion you can never have enough decorations!

I love these unicorn lanterns! It’s  amazing how these paper lanterns can be transformed into shy unicorns with a bit of paper, tulle, and flowers! Go ahead, mix and match colors and sizes!

 

How about this dessert table? Love how tulle makes an awesome table skirt and a simple white board or canvas becomes a chic backdrop!

 

 

Don’t you love these adorable centerpieces?

All it takes is some tissue paper, balloons, glitter and plain paper, and cupcake toppers.  Secure them to a base and you’ve got a centerpiece! Use them at guest tables, buffet and dessert tables, and anywhere else.

Hey they double as party favors!

Make a frame and let guests take their own photos! They’ll love it!

Cut out a frame shape from a poster or foam board.  Glue on paper horn, ears, and flowers, and voila a unicorn frame!

If you’re crafty with wood you can make a wooden frame and decorate with colored paper flowers etc.  Just remember to keep it light weight, the kids gotta be able to lift them!

 

Treats

Food, specially treats, definitely is a must.  I’m sure there’ll be cake, there are many awesome unicorn cakes out there!

But how about these unicorn cupcakes by My Heavenly Recipes?  They can be in addition to or instead of a unicorn cake.  Click here for the recipe!

You can serve Unicorn Dip, chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, rainbow rice crispy treats, macaroons, and more.  The secret is make it colorful! Better yet coordinate your treat colors to you theme colors!

 

 

Activities

Keep guests entertained with a craft or some games.

I love this Unicorn Slime by momdot.com. 

Click here for directions!

 

Or pin the horn on the Unicorn! Get this free printable from Jessie K Designs.

Make these unicorn masks! Get the free template from rufflesandrainboots.com!

 

 

 

Unicorn rides would be a hit! Sign me up! But where do I get the unicorn?

Check your local stables to see if they rent pony rides, many do! Now ask if you can dress the pony in a unicorn costume, they might just agree.

Or if you’re lucky there will be companies who do rides for events in your area.  I’ll bet they already offer unicorn rides.

Your next best option would be to rent or buy a unicorn themed bounce house.

 

 

Favors

If you made masks or slime they can double as party favors.  Or you can package cookies, cotton candy, lollipops, and other favors to send home with guests

But I just love theses cute and cuddly plush unicorns guests can adopt!

Whatever you decide you can send favors home in unicorn bags!

I used plain white gift bags to make these his and her unicorn bags

Just cut horn, ears, eyes, shades, and other pieces out of cardstock and glitter paper and glue them on.

Easy peasy!

 

 


 

Awesome Shows to Watch in 2019

Awesome Shows to Watch in 2019

There are a lot of things to be excited about in 2019, but when it comes to entertainment, there are several titles that have us jumping for joy. I think you already know several of the shows I’ll mention, but some titles may be a surprise to some, so make sure to go through the entire list.

Game of Thrones Season 8
There is no doubt about it! This is the TV show the entire world is obsessing about since season 7 ended in 2017 and we were left hanging for two long years. Who will win the war and who will end up ruling in Westeros?

The answer is getting closer and closer as the show is scheduled to air on April 14th. Now, if you’ve lived under a rock and you don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest you catch up. Game of Thrones is available on stream on HBO’s online platform.

Stranger Things
This Netflix series got the world by surprise with an interesting idea and a wonderful storyline. The show has everything that fascinates us, from dark governmental agencies to extremely bright kids and loving parents.

The show reaches season 3 in 2019 (release date: July 4th) and I am looking forward to continuing the adventure!

The Daily Buzz
This is a morning show that used to run on CW, with the vivacious and colorful Lance Smith and Kia Malone. The show was recently revived and runs on Pop (last year was the first season after missing from our homes for two years).

The Daily Buzz is a fun and entertaining show that airs each Thursday morning at 8.30 am EST, and I recommend you try it (if you’re not yet a fan). It brings news, finance, fashion, celebrities, and lots of other areas into focus and it’s quite delicious!

Avengers: Endgame
Marvel fans were left in complete despair after the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ wiped out half of their most favorite superheroes. Luckily, many of the fallen heroes are presumed to return in the final installment of the series, which is scheduled to air on April 26th.

I am one of these fans and I am looking forward to seeing my favorite gang of superheroes reunited for one last fight. After this, the studio will continue some of the stories, but some of the characters we love will be retired.

Good Omens
Following the story of two old friends, the Good Omens talks about an angel and a demon who try to stop the apocalypse. While the concept isn’t original, the novel that is at the base of this six-part series was written by Neil Gaiman and Terry

Pratchett so it’s only natural to expect big things.
So, if you’re into supernatural stories and enjoy watching divine forces clashing, this may be one of the shows you’ll enjoy this year.

Star Wars: Episode IX
The last few years have been generous with the Star Wars fans, and 2019 looks just as generous. Sadly, this is announced to be the last installment of the Star Wars franchise, ending the Star Wars sequel trilogy that started in 2015 with The Force Awakens.

The events in Episode IX are set one year after the adventures of the Last Jedi and should resolve the Skywalker saga that began with the young Anakin. However, fans will have to be patient, since the launch date is set on December 20th.