Tips for outdoor entertaining and keeping the kids happy || Simple Bites #entertaining #kids

Outdoor entertaining and keeping the kids happy

This week, I’m running a little series on outdoor entertaining, and a big part of a successful party is accommodating all of your guests, right down to the little chubby-kneed toddlers.

Danny and I are at that stage of life where most of our friends and cousins have two or three children each and those little darlings add up fast at gatherings! At our recent backyard wedding reception, the under-12 count came in at an even two dozen. 24 kids.

Tips for outdoor entertaining and keeping the kids happy || Simple Bites #entertaining #kids

Here’s how we came alongside the parents and helped keep the bambinos fed, watered and having a good time.

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How to build a tiered cheese wheel ‘cake’|| Simple Bites #entertaining #tip #cheese #weddingcake

How to build a tiered cheese wheel ‘cake’

This week, I sent out invitations for my annual jam swap, a birthday party for Noah, and our Thanksgiving celebration; ready or not, we’re heading into a new season of entertaining.

If you read my last post, I’m singing the praises of keeping the party out of doors this fall, however, this simple tiered cheese ‘cake’ is perfect for any well-attended event from a grown up birthday bash to a festive holiday party.

Cheese platters tend to be rather sprawling, which is fine if you have all the table space in the world. However, for the recent wedding reception we hosted here on the homestead, I was limited to, ahem, the space of canoe (that story coming soon).

I had to tighten up my whole buffet and a stacked cheese platter in the shape of a wedding cake seemed perfectly apropos.

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How to set up a functional outdoor bar || Simple Bites #entertaining #bar

How to set up a functional outdoor bar

If the beginning of fall has made you concede the end of outdoor entertaining, think again. This is the best time to move the party outside.

Think about it. The bugs are gone, the heat waves have passed. The fall air feels invigorating and bushels of autumnal produce are here to inspire you to cook. Are you with me yet? I hope so, because I’m kicking off a six-part series on fresh air feasts right now.

Last month we had the honour of hosting a casual wedding reception for my younger sister, Miranda, and Danny’s brother, Mike (fondly referred to as M&M from henceforth). My good friend and incomparable Montreal photographer, Tim Chin, was here to document the event – and how!

I’ll take you into the heart of my biggest party of all times and share my best tips for making it happen. Let’s get started with a drink at the bar, shall we?

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Backyard beer brew

Our Beer Chronicles: Part 1

If you want to brew your own beer at home, and learn how to do it more or less “properly”, there are innumerable blogs, books, videos, podcasts and conferences that you can use to learn. This is my preferred route, as I like to know what I am doing, and why, and what will go wrong if I don’t do it.

I’ve learned, though, that for some things, it can also be good to just jump in and get some hands on experience – ideally with someone guiding you through the process.  And so that is what I have done with some of my co-workers who have brewed together in the past with reasonably good results.

Based on the “Mild Mannered Ale” we made together a few months ago, which was fantastic, I’d say the recipes and process we followed so far are pretty good, and so we had the itch to give it another go.  I’m reading up in bits an pieces along the way, and figured I’d share about my basic understanding of the process.

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Eat Seasonal: Easy Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti || Simple Bites #recipe #dinner #vegetarian

Eat Seasonal: Easy Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti

I want to talk about tomatoes and corn, eggplant and zucchini, and all the other beautiful produce that is so abundant right now, but first, I must say thank you all for your kind responses to my last post.

You commented, emailed and left messages on social media; I read every one and was much encouraged. It really helped to hear from so many people that the emotional toll if an car accident is just as severe as the physical one. As it turned out, after a week of exhaustion, sensitivity to noise, and bad headaches, the conclusion is that I did suffer a mild concussion. Rest is needed, as is time away from screens, so this post will be short.

Fortunately I developed and photographed this simple summer pasta the day before the accident, and I’m so excited to share it. If your kitchen is anything like mine, there’s a pile of vegetables begging to be roasted and tossed with pasta, herbs and olive oil tonight[Read more…]