Switching up summer: Unexpected tips that can make your gatherings memorable

(HIB) – Everything about summer should be fun, including the food. But if you always serve the same old burgers and potato salad, or hot dogs and coleslaw, your get-togethers could start to feel stale. Never fear: a few simple tips can really amp up your summer festivities. If you’re looking to add some new flavor to your summer celebrations, consider these ideas:

Familiar food with a twist
Food for a summer get-together has to be fun, social, easy to make, and taste great. That’s why so many people fall back on staples like hamburgers and hot dogs. Pizza is a great summer option with lots of possibilities to be the main attraction at your next party if you try something new like DiGiorno (R) Pizza Dipping Strips. Perfect for get-togethers, these 12 pull-apart strips are an exciting twist on the pizza experience. With minimal prep and cleanup required, they are easy to make, easy to eat and bring sharing one of your favorite foods to a whole new level. The strips come in three varieties: pepperoni, three-meat and four-cheese and include marinara and garlic dipping sauces in each pack. And, since you make them in your own oven, your guests won’t be sitting around waiting for the delivery guy to arrive. You can learn more at http://www.facebook.com/digiorno.

The spirit of summer
Summer is the peak selling season for beer. If you and your friends enjoy a nice, cold brew on a hot summer day, why not really celebrate the spirit of summer with a beer tasting party? Get the crew together and host a beer tasting where everyone brings their favorite beer to share. For an added variation, try a blind tasting and ask the guests to name the different beer varieties. Or, visit your local spirits store for some advice and serve up a selection of local/regional beers along with favorite dishes from those areas. Your local grocery store may also have an interesting selection of beers from around the world if you want to add an international flair to your party. Remember to drink responsibly and have a safe transportation plan in place for all those who participate in the fun.

Salads with spice
Salads can be great complements to summertime foods like pizza, and are also a smart way to ensure you’re not too full for on-the-go summer activities. Now is the perfect time to broaden your salad experience since plenty of fresh produce and interesting ingredients are in season and available in grocery stores or at farmers markets. Start by exploring greens other than the standard iceberg lettuce. Experiment with spinach, arugula, beet, watercress and fresh herbs. Switch up veggie staples beyond carrots, cucumber and tomato. Toss in a handful of nuts like pine, pecan or walnut for flavor and crunch, dried fruit like tart cherries and top off with an outside-the-box dressing choice like sweet chili, lemon poppy or apple mustard. The possibilities are endless and you can find ample ideas and suggestions online.

Stack the deck
Summer means spending time outdoors on your patio or deck enjoying good food and entertaining company, but do you really use your outdoor space as much as you could? Lots of other summer activities can take on new excitement when you take them outside to the deck or patio. Whether it’s date night at home with someone special, the weekly card game with the guys or a hosting friends and family for an amazing meal, moving fun indoor activities out onto the deck or patio lets you spice things up with summer flair.


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