The last few days have been spent doing a lot of cooking, entertaining and hanging out with friends. A few of my favorite things! We haven't hosted a party at our house in a while so it felt good to have people over again.
On Thursday night we hosted our annual fantasy football draft. I can't believe it's already almost football time, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited. Our draft was from 8-10, but friends should up a little early to have some snacks and get settled. I made a few platters of apps for the gang - nothing fancy, but hey, football food isn't supposed to be.
Matt did, however, make a batch of homemade jalapeno poppers with peppers from the garden. He made the filling with a mixture of cream cheese and habanero peach jam, so they were both spicy and sweet. So good!
Friday night and all day Saturday was spent prepping for our BBQ yesterday afternoon. We had a group of about 30 friends coming over, so I had a lot of kitchen work to do. I made a few different dips and appetizers for snacking, several different salads and a variety of meats for the grill (plus veggie burgers for me and Heather, of course). I also made a big pot of marinara sauce to stash in the freezer since we have a ton of tomatoes ripening all at once and threatening to go bad before we can eat them.
I loved spending the whole day in the kitchen, and I powered through my cooking duties with several mugs of coffee, some Van Morrison on the iPod and eyes glued to my Kindle. I'm currently obsessed with the Trylle trilogy and am halfway through the second book, and simply could not put it down yesterday.
Apps included buffalo chicken & blue cheese dip (by Matt), homemade guacamole, various veggies, chips & dips, and of course spinach dip in a bread bowl.
Once we got the grill going for dinner, I brought out all the side dishes. I didn't snap photos of all the finished salads, but I made a lot of the usuals including Summer Corn & Arugula Salad, Mediterranean Couscous Salad (this time made with quinoa instead of couscous, to switch things up a bit), pasta salad with homemade pesto, and coleslaw.
I'm actually not a coleslaw fan at all, but this particular recipe is so, so good and I love it. It's from a Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives cookbook, and it has so much flavor from apple cider vinegar, celery seeds and fresh cracked pepper. It's definitely not your average bland slaw, and is always a hit.
A fresh peach cake and s'mores fixins served as desserts, and a few of our friends brought some delicious homemade sweet treats as well.
As soon as the party started I put my phone away and neglected to take any photos after the first 5 minutes, but I did snag one of the most adorable baby feet ever. Our friend Vanessa was cradling their newborn Brayden, and when I saw his little toes peeking out I couldn't resist taking a pic. So cute!
The afternoon was really a great time. Great friends, good food, sunny weather, backyard games, a fire, and a few glasses of Flower Power IPA.
I'm definitely going to miss summer.
Matt's sister Missy, her husband Corey and MomMom came over a little while ago for some leftovers and to watch Breaking Bad, so I'm off to it. :)