The season of rooftop parties and backyard BBQs is here, hooray! To celebrate, chef and cookbook author Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking has partnered with California Almonds to create this delicious collection of recipes and simple, everyday tips to throw a fun yet organized summer party. Were you just invited to a party last-minute? Do you need some fun, simple party favor ideas? Gaby has you covered! Read on to delight in her recipes and tips.

                                   
                                       Gaby’s Tips for a Pinterest-Worthy Summer Soirée

Summer dinner parties are all about enjoying the great weather and friends! So don’t stress about making something super complicated and crazy. Instead, stick to things you’re comfortable making so you can spend less time worrying about cooking, and more time enjoying the fruits of your labor with your friends.


Tip 1: Prep and Serve
Of course, preparing as much as possible before the day of the event is the best way to keep stress low. Choose recipes and ingredients that can help do this, like my Toasted and Roasted Almond Romesco Dip – it’s a great appetizer to serve as guests arrive and is simple to assemble ahead of time. Also, you can make the dressing for my Zucchini Noodles and Grilled Shrimp with Lemon Basil Dressing the day before your party – saves you time the day-of.

                                               

Tip 2: ABS (Always Bring Something)
If you’ve been invited to a last minute dinner party or get-together and don’t know what to make… do not fear! Whip two egg whites with your favorite spice mixture, and toss together with a few cups of whole natural almonds until coated.  Toast the coated almonds in a 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes to let the flavors meld together. Be it barbecue, sweet cinnamon, cocoa or parmesan herb, any spice combination combined with crunchy almonds makes a great hostess gift, just wrap them up in a pretty container – how easy is that?

Tip 3: Keep it Fresh
Salads are pretty much on every menu in the summer months. I like to add a few pops of color and some crunch to jazz things up even more. Swing by your local market and grab some fun colorful veggies to add on top of your greens, and finish every salad with some slivered almonds for some extra crunch, like my Grilled Peach & Arugula Salad with Mustard Herb Vinaigrette. Before you leave the market, do not forget to grab some asparagus for the Almond and Parsley Pesto with Asparagus and Freekeh side dish!

                                          

Tip 4: Little Details with Big Impact
One of the easiest ways to jazz up a summer cocktail party is to make beautiful fruit-infused ice cubes. Just add a few raspberries, sliced strawberries or blueberries to an ice cube tray before filling it up with water. That way, when you pop out the ice cubes, you’ll have an extra dose of color and fruit in your drinks!

Tip 5: Toast Almonds for Extra Flavor
Baking with almond flour is essential year round, but in the summer months I really love to toast the almond flour before baking with it to give it an extra layer of flavor. It brings out the nuttiness in the flour and cranks up a dessert. I’ve used this tip with my Gluten-Free Almond Cake with Strawberries, the perfect finale to a beautiful summer party.








Tip 6: Decorate Liberally
Outdoor entertaining is the name of the game in the beautiful summer months, but no one wants the party to end once the sun goes down. Make sure your backyard or patio is decorated with plenty of candles or fun lights so you can enjoy your soirée well into the evening.

Tip 7: #TreatYoSelf

Summer is meant for superfoods! So when you’re in a pinch for breakfast, try whipping up a superfood smoothie with almond milk, spinach, bananas and chia seeds. It’s a seriously energy packed way to start your day. Try my Almond Butter Spinach Smoothie as a simple breakfast option, or as a hunger-fighting snack as you whip up the menu for your party.

Tip 8: Musical Accompaniment
Music! Make sure to create a killer playlist, or enlist the help of one of your friends who can play DJ. It sets the mood for the entire party, so be sure to add tunes that you know will make people feel comfortable and right at home in your backyard. Mix in a few songs from today’s hits along with some of your favorites from back in the day.

Tip 9: Mix ‘n Match Table Decor
Don’t be afraid to mix things up! Often times I find that I’ve invited more people that I have matching place settings – and in the past, I’ve always panicked. Nowadays, I just use mixed and matched place settings. It gives my parties a vintage feel. In fact, I received so many compliments on that style, I’ve started collecting one-off pieces from all my travels. That way I’ll never have a shortage of dishes and each plate comes with a story.

Tip 10: Pinterest-Worthy Photos
Golden light is KEY for summer entertaining. I find that the most perfect light happens between 5 – 7pm, so I usually try and take photos in that time frame to make the pictures look even better!

Tip 11: Finish with a Bag (a Gift Bag)
Party favors are an easy way to show your guests you really went the extra mile. I like to whip up a batch of my famous Coconut and Almond Granola and send each guest home with a bag. It lets them know you really care and they can enjoy the granola the next morning and reminisce about your amazing gathering.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
About Gaby Dalkin

Gaby Dalkin is a chef, cookbook author, food writer, recipe developer and blogger of the popular food blog What’s Gaby Cooking. Her work regularly appears in Better Homes and Gardens, People Magazine and Ladies’ Home Journal, among other outlets. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Thomas, and cat, Stella. Follow Gaby on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.