As seen on Canada AM: With the official start of summer just weeks away, it’s time to dream of BBQs, weekend trips to the beach, cocktails on patios, and bare feet on fresh cut grass. Why not invite friends over once in awhile? Here are some easy ideas for fun and frugal outdoor entertaining with flare.
You can save money by setting a menu in advance. And set that menu based on sales happening at the stores. Save.ca is a great resource for comparing flyers from stores – you can either visit the website or download the app on your phone. And they offer a number of special BBQ-themed coupon offers throughout the month of June! Another pro tip: round out your main BBQ dish with delicious sides that cost less than 50¢ per serving. For instance, potato salad, pasta salad and black beans and rice are all crowd-pleasing and cost-saving options.
– Potato salad (30¢ / serving)
– Black beans and rice(30¢ / serving)
– Pasta salad(40¢ / serving)
Don’t forget to schedule a weekly check of sites like WagJag.com for bulk deals on quality meats and foods…you may even find great deals on party games or summer activities for guests! If you’re worried about acquiring too much stuff when buying in bulk, split your haul with neighbours or family. This way everyone gets to enjoy the lower unit price of items but you don’t have to store, or use up, as much of it on your own.
EASY FRUIT HACKS FOR FAST SERVING
Serving fruit to guests is a no-brainer during the summer months. But prepping these foods can sometimes take up a lot of valuable time. Here are a couple of hacks that work like a charm, cost nothing to try, and will make fruit prep a snap!
PEEL A MANGO
HACK: use a glass.
Slice the two sides of the mango off, taking care to avoid the stone in the centre. Place the wide edge of the mango against the lip of a sturdy glass and slide it down. VIDEO TUTORIAL
HACK: cut into spears
Cut a watermelon in half lengthwise and place it skin side up on a cutting board. Slice the watermelon in 2-inch strips. Cut the watermelon in the opposite direction in 2-inch strips. Separate your spears and it’s easy eating for everyone! VIDEO TUTORIAL
PEEL A KIWI
HACK: use a spoon
Cut the end off each side of your kiwi. Insert a large spoon between the skin and flesh of the kiwi and slide the spoon around the shape of the kiwi. Remove your spoon and your peeled kiwi flesh should pop right out. VIDEO TUTORIAL
FRUGAL OUTDOOR DECOR
Add some whimsy to your outdoor eating area with easy DIY decor projects. These cost very little to try and if colour coordinated will make a fun (and bold!) statement.
POOL NOODLE GARLAND
Slice colour coordinated pool noodles into rings ranging from 1″ to 3″. Thread the rings onto string and use the garland to decorate your table, or trees in the backyard.
Upcycle a six-pack beer box by using it as a condiment and utensil holder for al fresco dining. If you feel extra crafty, spray paint the box and/or wrap it with pretty paper and turn it into an extra-special utensil holder.
BUG AWAY CENTREPIECE
This is a great way to use up the ends of herbs and citrus peels. Fill a jar with water and add a few sprigs of rosemary, sage or mint. Add a slice or peel of lemon or orange. Top with a floating candle. The candle can be citronella or vanilla scent. The combination of these scents will deter bugs from getting too close. It may not get rid of them all together but it’s a nice-looking repellant that’s frugal too!