***Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Pier 1 Imports. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and to thank me for participating.***
During the warmer months, we spend a ton of time outdoors. After all, we still have cabin fever after the incredibly brutal winter we just had to endure. Summer sunshine and comfortable temperatures are certainly a very welcomed change!
We have a lot of reason to celebrate this summer as well. Both my birthday and my husband's birthday are in the summer, just 10 days apart. (We tend to celebrate them all at once, though, as it's easier on the pocketbook!) My 14 year old son also just graduated from the 8th grade, and will be heading to high school this fall. We're so proud of him and can't wait to see what his high school years have in store.
But before any of those things happen, we have a wedding to celebrate! My baby brother is getting married this coming weekend, and he and his beautiful fiancee are here in Ohio preparing for their nuptials.
This gave me the perfect excuse to have a nice, Outdoor Oasis dinner party, with the help of Pier 1 Imports! They offer a wide variety of outdoor entertaining products, including these beautiful plates and serving platters, which just happen to match our outdoor decor perfectly. The best part? They're melamine, so they will not shatter if they're dropped. (Or thrown, in the case of my little ones.)
We had a few friends and family members, including the soon-to-be bride and groom, over to enjoy a nice meal out on the deck. The weather was a pleasant 75 degrees, and the sun was just starting to make its descent to the horizon. Perfect weather for a dinner party, if you ask me!
Of course we had to set up a kiddie table, too, as our dining area became crowded rather quickly. We even had to serve food in courses, since it wouldn't all fit on the table. What can I say? I love feeding people!
So what did we eat? I thought you'd never ask....We had quite the spread at our little outdoor soiree. Everyone loved munching on these fresh, organic veggies and Roasted Garlic Hummus. We served fresh peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans. They were crisp and absolutely delicious.
I also prepared a quick and simple Caesar Salad using a mix of fresh organic field greens, buttery garlic croutons, and some lovely little cherry tomatoes I found at our local natural foods store. I added some Parmesan cheese and a special House Caesar dressing. Yum!
My brother loves to cook, too, and he brought along a very inventive White Grape Gazpacho. This chilled soup was made with cucumbers, white grapes, garlic, and a handful of slivered almonds on the top. It was definitely very interesting with a nice, mild flavor. I thought it made the perfect palate cleanser!
Of course we had chips and salsa, too. What party is complete without these classics? I chose a mild jarred salsa and added some minced cilantro to it for added flavor and dimension.
I also whipped up my almost famous "Bacon Chicken." This is one of my husband's most requested main dishes, and it's super easy to prepare. If you're a fan of the Alice Springs Chicken at Outback or the Monterey Chicken at Chili's, you'll definitely want to try your hand at this easy, at home copycat recipe. (You can find it on my Recipe Page!)
I also made some juicy Garlic Balsamic Pork Tenderloins. These were absolutely amazing, and had the perfect balance of sweet and savory. I am a huge fan of balsamic glazes and marinades, and this features both of them. I whipped up a simple marinade using olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs, and roasted garlic. The tenderloins marinated overnight in this mixture. I also made a wonderful glaze to baste them with as they sizzled away on our grill. The glaze was easy, too. It's just a quick mixture of balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and a few secret spices to give it just a little kick.
Everyone really had a great time eating and talking. Here are the Bride and Groom, just days before they're set to be married. I thought they'd be a bit more stressed out, but they were surprisingly relaxed. I loved hearing all about the wedding plans as well as their plans for their future as man and wife. Who knows...Maybe I will get to be an Auntie sometime within the next few years. How cool would that be?!
Even my teenager wandered outside to mingle with our guests a bit. (Or maybe it was just for the food. You never know with teenage boys, and Kyle is the classic example of a bottomless pit!)
Overall, out Outdoor Oasis Dinner Party was a huge success. The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious, and the decor couldn't have been any more perfect. Our guests all raved about our table set up, and were thrilled when I told them they could find these items at their own local Pier 1, and at prices that won't break the bank.
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Enter to WIN a $25 Pier 1 Gift Card!
I am thrilled to announce that one lucky reader will receive their very own $25 Pier 1 Gift Card! (Please note: Winners may only receive ONE gift card for this promotion, even though several blogs are hosting similar giveaways.)
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Simply enter using the easy Rafflecopter form below!
This giveaway is open to US residents 18+ until 11:59PM EST on June 14, 2014. No PO Boxes. Winners will be drawn using Rafflecopter's Random Number Generator. All entries will be verified, so play fair! I will notify winner via e-mail and they will have 48 hours to reply before I am forced to redraw winners. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This contest is not affiliated with Facebook in any way. Thanks for entering, and Good Luck!
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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