Lori’s Favorite Summer Recipes & Party Tips   


Happy July!! Is it just me or do y’all feel like this summer is just flying by? July is a big month of celebrations for us, and we went from enjoying the 4th of July with our family at the beach to celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary. I still can’t believe my bridesmaids wore sunny yellow dresses but hey, it was the 70s and everything was feeling groovy.

It didn’t take us long to embrace the long, lazy days of summer though. While it seems like the rest of the world has decided to hit the road and travel throughout the globe this summer, we’re having a more low-key, relaxing summer staycation back at home and our beach condo. I could not be happier! I just love these summer days, tending to my garden early in the morning before the heat sets in, taking long walks with Chloe, and hosting lots of casual gatherings for family and friends.

While formal dinner parties stress me out,  I’ll admit I enjoy hosting guests over the summer; having cookouts around the pool with family is really what the summer is all about for me. Who doesn’t enjoy cocktails, hamburgers, and a healthy dose of laughter during these long, summer nights? 

With more than a month left of summer, I put together some of my go-to summer entertaining tips and favorite recipes. Read on!

Lori Allen entertains outdoors at her home in Atlanta, GA
  • Lori’s Outdoor Summer Party Tips:

    • Magical lighting – The right lighting sets the entire tone for your summer party. If you’re looking for soft and romantic, hang solar-powered fairy lights and strategically place lit candles around the party area. Keep pesky mosquitos at bay with citronella candles – check out this article on The Spruce for their 7 favorite options.  
    • Summer tablespaces – Start with bold linens to infuse some color into your event setup, then mix things up by using a range of materials in coordinating colors. Choose outdoor dishes and serving platters that are designed for outdoor use; I love the blue and white palette and beautiful design of this Puebla melamine collection from Pottery Barn. Plus, it’s shatterproof, which takes the stress out of entertaining with kids!
    • Comfy outdoor seatingTo fully enjoy the outdoors, you’ll need a cozy lounge area. A setup that’s stylish yet comfy, where guests can sit, sip, nibble, and mingle. I like to add outdoor throw pillows to our chaises, the sofa, and all chairs, plus colorful outdoor area rugs and plenty of potted plants and flowers from my garden. 
    • Poolside Bar CartSet up a poolside bar where guests can create their own cocktails that’s a stone’s throw away from their comfortable chaises or chairs. This rattan bar cart from West Elm has such a charming vintage vibe, while you can find more modern styles that are budget-friendly on Amazon. 
    • Hot dog bars – Grilled steaks, chicken, and seafood tend to take center stage at most summer BBQs. But whenever we entertain with kids over the summer, I love to set up a hot dog bar. We make sure to have all the sauces and fixings in bowls and dishes, along with a variety of bread and buns, so that our guests can just build their perfect bite. I find the adults enjoy it just as much as the kids! 


    Keep reading for my favorite summer recipes that will wow your palette. 

    • Sweet tea mule from Southern Living – This recipe is one of my favorite interpretations of our delightful, Sweet Tea. The adults will truly enjoy the combination of ginger beer and bourbon, giving a very appreciated boozy spin on our favorite beverage. 
    • Frozen peach Bellini mocktail from the Spicy Southern Kitchen – This fruity, sweet drink will keep you – and the kids – cool during the hottest summer days. We’re always looking for new ways to use those gorgeous Atlanta peaches, and this drink is bubbly and delicious. 
    • Chicken Caprese from Dinner at the Zoo – For health reasons, I recently went gluten-free, and have been experimenting a lot in the kitchen. I thought this recipe was such a winner! I didn’t even miss the toasted bread and loved the flavor of the balsamic drizzle with the grilled chicken thighs. Perfect for anyone who is gluten-free, keto, or just carb conscious. 
    • Grilled vegetable platter with Southern Living’s Summer sauce – To help Eddie maintain his weight loss, we eat a lot of vegetables with almost every meal. I love to grill a variety of vegetables: red onion, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, portobello mushrooms, asparagus – and then make this ultimate summer sauce that packs a flavor punch. Liberally sprinkle your favorite finishing salt and some chopped parsley, and I promise there won’t be any leftovers!  
    • Soba Noodles and Shrimp bowls from Southern Living  – This recipe is perfect for those smaller summer parties when it’s just you and another couple coming together to share a relaxing meal outside. I love these one-bowl meals; these soba noodle shrimp bowls are low in calories, easy to make, and delicious. 
    • Grilled flank steak platter from food blogger Damn Delicious– One of the best-grilled summer platters I’ve ever had! With the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth flank steak made with the seasonings you have in your pantry – this platter will feed and wow the crowd. 
    • Grilled corn salad with cilantro vinaigrette from the Pioneer Woman – It’s not a summer meal without some fresh, sweet corn. There are a million ways you can serve corn – fritters, creamed, grilled on or off the cob, even in sweet dessert – but I appreciate a delicious, easy-to-make, corn salad. This grilled corn salad is dressed with a fresh, cilantro vinaigrette, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to all of your grilled meats. 
    • Brown Butter grilled peaches with cinnamon “toast” brioche buns from Half Baked Harvest – Y’all know there was gonna be a grilled peaches recipe on my summer list! This recipe is such a winner, with fresh, ripe sweet peaches grilled and then liberally topped with browned honey butter, ice cream, and buttery brioche breadcrumbs. Let us know if you try it!! 
    • Magnolia bakery’s famous banana pudding from My Baking Addiction – Dreaming of Manhattan but having a staycation instead? The hype around Magnolia bakery’s banana pudding is real, y’all. Fortunately, you don’t need to fly anywhere to enjoy this delectable dessert. The ingredients and instructions are so easy to follow, and you can just close your eyes and imagine you’re eating your way through the Big Apple. 

    Are you entertaining this summer? Share with us your party tips and favorite summer treats & eats in the comments section! 

Till Next Time,

Lori Allen

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