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This coming Monday is Memorial Day. It’s both a day to remember those who gave their lives in service for our country and the unofficial start of Summer for many. I couldn’t be more excited to start my favorite season and it’s definitely a reason to celebrate with those we love.
Normally I have advance notice when people are coming over but have you ever decided to host something at the last minute or had your inlaws call and let you know they were on their way over? If you have ever been in this situation you know how stressful it can be so I wanted to share my simple tips for preparing a table that looks like you planned for company. A table, like the one above, can be completely ready and setup within an hour if you use what you have on hand.
First, try to find some festive decor. Since Memorial Day is celebrated with red, white and blue you can easily pull out your 4th of July decorations and nobody will know the difference. I keep baskets on the top shelf of my kitchen pantry for the major holidays and tend to buy tableware on clearance after the holiday has passed. This helps me save money and be prepared for company. I love this star tablecloth and these little flag bowls. Think outside the box as well…do you have something around your house that works for the holiday or theme? I used these child flag pinwheels to add a pop of fun to the table!
Next, don’t worry about fixing a meal. I enjoy having people over for holidays but don’t like to cook so I usually do an appetizer spread. It is easy and can fill people up just like a meal would. It also gives you the chance to spend time with your family and friends since you don’t have to be sitting in the kitchen cooking.
The best appetizer tables are those that are kept simple. For Winter holidays I set out more appetizers that need to be cooked or prepared but for Spring and Summer anything that keeps the stove off is best. I love to set out fresh fruit, including watermelon which is a summer staple. Look in your pantry or fridge to see what other snacks you have and set them out in festive cups for your guests. Things like pretzels, pickles, chips, cheese and crackers work perfect.
I always try to have something sweet out as well. I found these adorable mini cake bites at Walmart but some sliced pound cake would also work and would pair well with the sliced strawberries.
A vegetable tray with lots of healthy veggies and a great dip is something my mom always set out for parties and a tradition I continue. My rule for the vegetable platter is to only include veggies my family enjoys so if there are any leftover I know they will get eaten with lunches and dinners. A good dip is always a nice addition to the veggie tray and I recently discovered these new Chobani Mezé™ Dips that are delicious.
These dips combine delicious Chobani Greek Yogurt and real vegetables and are made with only natural and non-GMO ingredients. Found in the deli section of Walmart, they come in four flavors- Roasted Red Pepper (a sweet and slightly hot, mix of roasted peppers), Three Pepper Salsa (a light blend of green peppers, chili peppers & jalapeno peppers with herbs), Smoked Onion Parmesan (a rich mix that combines bold onion flavor with nutty parmesan) and Chili Lime (a tangy blend of lime and light spice, with ranch-style herbs).
As someone who loves cheese it’s no surprise that my favorite flavor was the Smoked Onion Parmesan. Sinisa liked the kick of the Chili Lime flavor.
Another fun way to add a little something special is to find a cookie cutter that works with the holiday you are celebrating and add some shapes to your fruits and vegetables. This is a quick way to make things look “fancy” when you have limited time. I thought stars would be perfect for Memorial Day so I grabbed some star cookie cutters and cut out some stars in the strawberries, cucumbers and cheese.
It was so simple to do. For the cucumbers I just sliced them into round circles and cut a star out of the center where the seeds are. I served the cute star cucumbers and kept the seed stars to put on my salads for the week. I created the stars in the strawberries the same way. The cheese I used a large star cookie cutter and then cut a smaller star out of the middle which left me with two types of stars, an outline star and then a mini-star. I also decided to cut out a few stars from my red pepper to set on top of the dip for decoration. This is so easy but your guests will think you spent hours in the kitchen!
I’d love to hear what your family does on Memorial Day and I hope that my post gave you some ideas of simple ways to set a party table for those last minute guests. If you want to recreate our tablespread you can find all the delicious food you need at Walmart, including the amazing Chobani Mezé Dips (we got our’s at the Hodgkins, IL location in the deli area)! Your guests won’t be able to stop talking about these savory dips and they won’t even realize that you’re serving them a nutritious option. Click here for a $1 off coupon.