Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Simple Summer Party...

Mason jars with decorative lids for parties
      So early this Summer I asked one of my favorite vendors at the Lake Forest Park Farmer's Market to do me a favor.  My gal, Tracy, at Social Ice Cream makes the best ice cream in the entire world.  Problem is, a solid portion of my friends can't eat sugar, dairy, soy, gluten, food colorings, flavorings, like basically anything.  But I knew Tracy could handle it. What did I need two gallons of sugar-dairy-soy-gluten-everything-free ice cream for?  You already know, don't you, you smart thing you!

A blue and yellow Summer party
My oldest's Cub Scout manual lists plan a party and make an obstacle course for your friends as two things you can get badges for and we're all about the badges around here.  We need all the stinkin' badges.  Fittingly, he chose blue and yellow as the colors.

blue and yellow Summer party decor
He helped with all the set up, too!

Marigolds lend a little sweetness to the table and they're bug repellant!  
 These little marigolds were just the right color and had a light citronella scent that, I think, helped keep the bugs a way.  So did the little fans you see in the background.

A flag pick from a party store makes an easy drink label.
I found a thing on Pinterest about making little flags to mark drinks.  Good ol' party store came through with these puppies.

Flag pick drink lables for parties.

My oldest also had a say in the menu so we planned hamburgers and hot dogs and left the rest up to the generosity of our guests! 

party food
My neighbor supplied us with this gorgeous caprese salad appetizer. 

a mixture of cherry tomatoes from my garden
My garden has been generously pumping out cherry tomatoes like nobody's business this year.

infused vodka
My honey making friend also dabbles in flavored vodka.  Holy man.

homemade bread and local honey
And she brings homemade bread.  Yeah she does!

Hot Mix Pickles Recipe
These homemade hot mix pickles were my offering this year.

Hot Pickle Mix

4 C sliced trimmed pickling cucumbers (1/4 inch slices)
2 C cauliflower florets
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 C sliced, peeled carrots
1 C peeled pearl or pickling onions
2/3 C pickling or canning salt
8 1/2 C water, divided
3 C sliced seeded hot yellow banana peppers (1 1/2- inch slices)
1 clove garlic
8 1/2 C white vinegar
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 Tbs horseradish
3-9 jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine cucumbers, cauliflower, green and red peppers, carrots, and onions.  In another large glass or stainless steel bowl, dissolve pickling salt in 7 C of the water.  Pour over vegetables.  Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.  Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars, and lids.  In a colander placed over a sink, drain vegetables.  Rinse with cool running water and drain thoroughly.  Add hot yellow peppers and mix well.  In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine garlic, remaining 1 1/2 C water, vinegar, sugar, and horseradish.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes, until liquid is infused with garlic flavor.  Discard garlic clove.  Pack vegetables and 1 to 3 jalapeno pepper halves into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch of top of jar.  Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover vegetables, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and and adjust headspace if necessary, by adding hot pickling liquid.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.  Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

buffet line

 We bought our burgers from Martiny Livestock at our farmer's market.  People said they were some of the best burgers they ever had!
Beecher's Cheese on Martiny Farms Burgers
Little bit of local cheese to top it off...

A little bit of socializing and then it was finally, finally time for...

Vegan ice cream from Social Ice cream
Ice cream and sorbet!  We had Coconut Vanilla Bean, Peach Raspberry sorbet, and Raspberry Lemon Verbena. All made without soy, without dairy, without white sugar, but made with coconut milk, honey, and fresh local produce.  Because Tracy is a flippin' wizard.

Fun obstacle course for kids

Then it was obstacle course time!  First down the slide, then a search through bubbles for a statuette, and a quick hula hoop for 5 seconds before a dash across the finish line!  Fastest time wins!  It was a quick, fun game and they loved it!

Even this dude and he doesn't like anything...


  1. Your photos should be featured in magazines, I love that outdoor party table setting!


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