- 4 cups water
- 10 ounces farro (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 1 pound tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 sweet onion (recommended: Walla Walla) chopped
- 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 Tips for Throwing an Outdoor Party
Let's face it: with work schedules, commitments and life in general, we probably don't spend enough time outdoors. Take a day off and throw an outdoor party with friends and family! Whether your event is simple or elaborate, in your backyard or the courtyard of a beachside hotel, here are your top ten tips for throwing your own outdoor affair!
If you're venturing far from your backyard (a beach club, a park, a vineyard, etc.) make sure you let the guests know far enough in advance so they can plan their trip! Finding babysitters or planning around schedules is easier when you know when and where the party is! Send out a fun and colorful invitation! If you're really feeling like investing extra time and energy, write out invitations and send them by snail mail! Guests will love a break from the traditional Evite! If you're pressed for time, go ahead and send an invite by email! There are tons of cute options online to help you brighten up someone's inbox!
Remember the party you're throwing is outdoors! Check the weather forecast to make sure there is no extreme weather such as rain or thunder storms. If you're determined to have an open-air party, you can invest in a tent rental to ensure you and your guests stay dry if showers are a possibility in the weather report.
8. Have a Backup
Sometimes the weather gets the best of us. It has the tendency to cancel outdoor plans from time to time. Have a backup location so you can keep the party going! Parties of 10 or more should try to find a covered area, indoor or out, to move to in case of surprise downpours. Smaller, more intimate parties can come back to your home! Easy-up tents are also a great investment to make. Put one on your porch so guests can venture in and out of the house to get some air, even in the rain! By cleaning the day before the party you can feel comfortable moving the event to your living room. We all know the stress of having someone over when our home is...less than presentable. By setting up the alternative location in advance you're reducing stress for yourself. And you don't need stress, you're a fabulous person throwing a party for your friends! You deserve a trophy!
There are some types of food that shouldn't be left unrefrigerated. The last thing you want as the hostess of a party is for a guest to get sick because the potato salad was left to spoil in the sun. Meat and mayonaise are the two foods most likely to spoil outdoors. This includes egg or potato salad and mayonaise spread on sandwiches. Pasta or vegetable salads are healthy alternatives that keep well in all types of weather and stay fresh without a refrigerator. This recipe from the Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis is sure to be a hit with guests of all ages!
Combine the water and farro in a medium saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.
Add the tomatoes, onion, chives, and parsley to the farro, and toss to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to coat.
The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Fruit salad and vegetable platters are also great for the outdoors - who doesn't love watermelon, especially during the summer?
6. Potential Pests
Think for a moment. Outdoors. Summer. Being outdoors during the day exposes you and your guests to insects such as ants, spiders and bees. Be prepared with Benadryl and a first aid kit in case of bites or stings. If your party is in the late afternoon or evening, the likelihood of mosquito bites goes way up. OFF! has great products that are family friendly and lightly scented (we promise, there is a tropical scent that will rival your summer fragrance!) If you have guests who hate insect spray OFF also makes a clip on that repels insects that doesn't require any spray! Check out drugstore.com to purchase. Your picky guests will thank you.
If your party goes into the late afternoon or evening, you should have lighting arrangements made for safety. Make it fun! Choose a location with a fire pit or rent electric lights. If you're willing to invest in battery powered lanterns or lights there are a lot of options from the Home Depot, which specializes in battery operated lights for inside and out!
Have a power source nearby? Grab a few extension chords and put up a few strings of lights! This is a fun and beautiful decoration to have that also provides light and safety for your guests! As for other decorations, grab a few summer table cloths. Looking for something to decorate the tables? Fresh flowers are a beautiful option! If you're not so into breaking the bank, go to your local grocery store and buy candy to sprinkle on the table! Kids will love it and adults will feel like children again with this affordable, edible table decoration.
Have a cooler with drinks for guests (juice or cider for the kids!) Having a selection of beer, wine and easy to mix cocktails will ensure a refreshing option for everyone! This party calls for LOTS of ice, so bring an extra cooler of just ice cubes to ensure no one has a warm drink. Check out our post on Delicious Summer Cocktails for the best drink ideas! Have a table ready to turn into a makeshift bar and pack a shaker and some plastic cups!
3. A Few Last Safety Precautions
If you're having your party on grass, let your guests know! Flat shoes and sandals will help you navigate across dim lawns as it gets darker. Be sure to monitor kids and make sure the area where you're having your party is safe - check the area for sharp objects like nails or broken glass before guests come. Again, have a first aid kit in case of scrapes or stubbed toes!
2. Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help!
Have a friend help you set up the area, be it the picnic tables in your back yard or the ones at your local park! A good friend will jump right in to help you transport coolers, food and lights. You are taking on the role of getting a group of friends together, your guests will thank you for giving them a night of fun!
1. HAVE FUN!
Once all the details are in order, make sure you relax and have fun! You've worked so hard to get your friends together for an afternoon or evening outdoors - make it count!
Have a friend help you refresh bowls of chips and salsa so you don't feel overwhelmed. Enjoy the company of your friends and enjoy the time you spend outdoors!!