Every summer, I try to round up my girlfriends for a fun day of good food, summer treats, and great conversation. But, I must confess that no matter how prepared I am for a party, I always find myself running to the grocery store the morning of the event in a mild panic that I don’t have enough food. About two hours before my annual brunch party this year, I found myself riding my bike to the store, but it was only because I wanted to grab fresh flowers and some ice. I have FreshDirect to thank for my sanity and the box of groceries delivered to my doorstep this year.
As I’ve said in the past, I like to pick a theme, and more importantly, stick to it. This year, I decided on lemons, inspired in part by Beyonce, some cute napkins I had recently been gifted, and fun items I’ve added to my closet with the citrus of the moment (stay tuned for an upcoming lust list on my lemon outfit). I also figured we’re all craving a dose of bright, cheerful moments these days.
Whether it’s citrus or flamingos or just a damn good lobster salad, here are some tips and hacks to inspire your own care-free and cute summer shindig.
Aim for refreshing, easy to assemble cocktails
My guests came to my apartment to eat brunch before we headed up to our rooftop pool. It’s easier to keep the food fresh in a cool space, not to mention I wasn’t in the mood to schlep everything to the roof. However, I wanted to subtly allude to the pool theme, so I ordered doughnut drink floats on Amazon and had individual BYOCocktails in each float with a straw for guests to sip on when they arrived. I loved that this was a pre-made craft cocktail that required no effort on my end, but still made guests feel welcome upon arrival. This was the first time we sampled the Zen and Juice Cucumber and Water My Melon flavors from the D.C. based, female-owned, craft cocktail company. Both were smooth and tasted like I had just made them fresh! We were feeling great by the time we headed up to the pool.
Make the party last all weekend
While guests did end up staying at our place until midnight, that’s not what I’m suggesting. You don’t have to go crazy here, but I always like my guests to leave with a little token of love to keep the good vibes going for the rest of their weekend. To bring the lemonade theme to life, each guest had a lemon mask ($3 at Urban Outfitters) on their plate to take home for a Sunday morning indulgence. It was also a creative way to add even more yellow to our tablescape.
Keep your bites bite-sized
The most important part of hostessing is spending time with your guests! That’s why I employed FreshDirect as my sous chef. The online grocer delivers inventive, fresh products that are made fresh by their own chefs–the lobster salad was seriously some of the freshest we have tasted all summer. I hosted an entire brunch party without stepping foot in a grocery store. You can too! Bitches Who Brunch readers can enjoy a discount on their next order by using: DCLOVE50.
Knowing my guests would be itching to lay out by the pool, I kept our party food bite-sized and simple. Plus, no one wants to feel stuffed before stripping down to your bathing suit. I stuck with the summer theme: potato chips, lobster rolls, and cucumber all scream summer to me. Here are some easy hacks for throwing together delicious, party bites perfect for summer:
Lobster Salad Bites
- Cape Cod potato chips
- FreshDirect Lobster Salad
- Source the large, unbroken chips from the bag and spread them out evenly on a platter.
- Pour the FreshDirect lobster salad into a bowl and split the meat into smaller pieces with a fork and knife.
- Scoop dollops of the salad onto individual Cape Cod chips – I like these because of the New England theme and the fact that they are thick enough to hold the lobster. The crunchy chip with the smooth lobster salad is a perfect combo.
- Once the lobster salad is plated onto each chip, chop some chives as garnish on top.
- IMPORTANT: Plate the lobster salad onto the chips right before guests arrive, this way the chips aren’t soggy. Once you serve it, I guarantee they won’t be on the plate for more than 5 minutes.
Mango Salsa Cucumber Bites
- 2 cucumbers
- FreshDirect mango mint salsa
- Olive oil
- Cut the cucumbers into 1 inch round slices.
- Place them evenly on a platter with one surface face up.
- Scoop even dollops of mango mint salsa onto each slice.
- Top off with a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
- Tip: make sure the slices aren’t too thin, they should be able to hold salsa like a chip. This is also a great appetizer for your gluten-free friends, or anyone who is trying to avoid bloat before the pool.
Keep your dessert cool
For an easy, cool, mess-free dessert I used a few cartons of the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough from P.S. Snacks, a local, female-owned nut based protein snack. It took us a total of four minutes to form mini balls of dough, roll them in granola and chocolate chips, pop them in the freezer, and forget about them until we were heading up to the roof. People could not believe this was a vegan, gluten-free, guilt-free treat. The best part? We threw them in a bowl with a few berries before heading out the door to the farmers market the next morning.
BitchBiz: Bitches Who Brunch partners with BYO Cocktail and FreshDirect. While this post was written independently, we do receive compensation from the companies.