backyard cookouts & fresh party food ideas

this weekend, like most folks, we celebrated the 4th with with a backyard cookout!

since arriving home from our trip throughout europe, i've opted for fresh foods & salads over heavily prepared meals. i am craving caprese salads, bruschetta & pesto with cucumbers. blame it on italy, y'all.

for our friends' backyard party, i gathered an array of fresh ingredients in pretty little bowls. i brought along a small bowl of soft cheese from the farmers' market, homemade pesto, home-pickled sugar snap peas, spicy pickles & chopped cucumbers for dipping.

i was craving popcorn so we brought along a big bowl of sea salt caramel popcorn. this is my go-to recipe, friends. we'll be making it many more times this summer, that is for certain!

i also brought along a pretty bouquet of flowers from our farm complete with a happy flag for the special occasion. 

what are your go-to fresh party foods? please share!


Blair said...

I love Michael Chiarello's recipe for Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Salad. It's fast and easy and I find people are both impressed and glad to have a fresh veg addition to the usual party fare. My zucchini plant is about to blow up, so I know I'll be making it a ton in the coming weeks! Beautiful photos, Natalie; you inspire me, as usual.

Kristi Smith said...

I love the simplicity and beauty in everything you post. This weekend we went with a cookie triffle, since I overbaked a batch of cookies. Some pudding, whipped cream, fudge sauce and the cookies were good and new.

Alyssa Gramajo said...

Natalie, every picture you post is just so beautiful and inspiring. I truly don't know how you do it! And that popcorn. Drool-worthy! I'll have to try it out for our next cook-out. Thanks for sharing!

Katie @ Stress and Stars said...

Rainbow Coleslaw - NO mayonnaise and easy to customize to make it just right. We added a spicy pepper to really kick it up a notch. More lime, less lime, more cilantro or less... there's just no way to do this badly:

We used whole heads of cabbage and whole carrots instead of premade coleslaw and just cut everything up ourselves. It keeps really well since it doesn't have any dairy products in it and is truly delicious.

I also like to bring Mexican Street Corn to outdoor parties. Boil ears of corn, then toss on the grill to give them some good grill marks. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and a sprinkle of queso fresco. Squeeze a wedge of lime over the top just before eating.

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