This upcoming weekend marks the beginning of summer, with many of us taking the long weekend off work and some of us staying close to home, enjoying the longer days and outdoor pools opening. With all the summer celebrating, it can be easy to forget that this holiday is dedicated to the brave men and women who serve our country. Keeping this in mind we have thought of a few ways to incorporate a little patriotism into your long weekend and first official summer celebration.
Without having a red, white, and blue explosion, try adding small patriotic touches such as red painted tin cans with blue hydrangeas for centerpieces. Add other American touches like red and blue handkerchiefs for napkins, or bright flower arrangements with small American flags. If you have any former or current members of your party in the armed forces, display their pictures. Vintage pictures of family members who have served our country work well too, and can inspire interesting conversation. Assuming your gathering is outdoors, light the evening with paper globes or white Christmas lights.
Burger and hot dogs are always a given on Memorial Day weekend, but for something more unusual, try adding grilled lamb chops, or find a variety of gourmet sausages at your local market to pair with a variety of mustards and relishes. For lighter fare, skewered shrimp and veggies are perfect hot off the grill. For a really laid-back host approach, request a “you bring it, we grill it” for your guests. This is a great option for anyone who may have a pickier crowd, or a crowd with mixed dietary needs, such as vegetarians, or gluten free. For side dishes, fresh vegetable summer salads, and refreshing fruit salads are always seasonal hits. For starchier sides, don’t forget the traditional pasta and potato salad! We like the lighter versions like lemon herb potato salad, or pasta salad with snow peas and feta.
No dessert is more American than pie! Serve apple pie with a variety of toppings for your guests to choose from, caramel sauce, whipped cream, melted cheddar, or ice cream. Or ask a few of your guests to bring a different flavored pie and have a contest to see which one is the crowd favorite.
Firstly, for any summer gathering we always recommend having plenty of ice on hand to keep your guests happy and cool! Place ice buckets throughout your party filled with bottled water, sodas, and beer. This will allow guests to serve themselves while you are busy manning the grill! Set up a drink station with traditional lemonade and iced tea, or try one of these:
Check back in with the Serendipity blog on Friday for more refreshing summer drink ideas!
Have a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend!