breaking news

Springfield stabbing victim suffers life-threatening injury, police search for suspect

Backyard entertaining

Your best party place might be your own backyard.Summer isn’t over yet; celebrate with flair.

In backyards from Beavercreek to Belmont, from Sugarcreek Twp. to Springboro, terrific events are held under the sun and under the stars for birthdays, fund-raisers, retirements — or as a way to get together with 25 of your best friends.

“People love being outdoors and nothing beats a summer party in your own backyard,” says Joe Swartztrauber, owner of Rob’s Restaurant in Brookville which caters hundreds of events each year.

Before summer 2013 slips away, plan your own backyard bash.

Love themes? An outdoor venue is perfect for a fiesta, luau, round-up or another creative idea and gives you a direction in planning party elements.

When you invite people, be sure to mention the party is outdoors so they dress for the weather.

Remember to plan music (an iPod with speakers gives hours of non-repeat tunes) and activities (cornhole toss game, volleyball or a putting green).

Smart hosts have the grass cut about two days before, and some use a “yard bomb” or a lawn service to help ward off a bug problem. Shade for serving areas and seating is a must, so have umbrellas, tents or canopies provide what trees don’t.

They come to eat!

Sit-down meals are lovely for some events but the outdoors lends itself more to buffet serving. Separate stations for food and beverages result in a better flow of guests.

Potluck style? Sure, if it’s for a “no reason” get-together. Assign each guest a category of dish — appetizer, salad, dessert — and you provide the main course and beverages.

In planning an outdoor menu, avoid foods that don’t stand up to hotter weather, such as mayonnaise-based salads. Colorful side dishes with a lot of flavor are appealing. Consider mozzarella-tomato salad, fruit dishes or grilled vegetables.

“Popular right now is the Mediterranean style buffet, with imported and domestic chesses, bruschettas, fresh and dried fruits, and blanched and raw vegetables,” says Rick Schaefer of Brock Masterson’s Catering, in Dayton. “It makes a grand presentation.”

He reports that slider bars are also popular. “Along with basics, include some fun choices such as steak burger sliders with blue cheese and bacon or crab cake sliders with raspberry Dijon creme fraiche,” he says.

Believe it or not, Schaefer says that a popular party cookout item is grilled cheese. “With a flat top grill right on your barbecue, you can wow your guests with specialty grilled cheese such as a sandwich of two cheeses, laced with pesto and bacon bits,” he says.

Dessert? Of course! “While your grill is still hot, put on some fresh apples or peaches that you have washed, cut in half and cored,” he says. “Brush a little bit of butter on the grill first and place the fruit right on the grate for about 5 minutes. Then remove, and serve in a bowl with ice cream.”

Consider being a guest at your own party by having a caterer. Caterers provide a variety of services, including delivering cooked food for you to serve. Caterers can also do on-the-spot grilling, serving, bartending, and clean-up as well as provide dishes, flatware, glasses, tables, tablecloths and other elements.



4 large firm tomatoes

6 tablespoons fresh white bread crumbs

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

2 small garlic clove, crushed

2 oz. grated cheese, e.g. cheddar, mozzarella, etc.

4 tablespoons soft butter

2 pinches of dried basil


Prepare the barbecue for grilling. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds using a teaspoon.

Combine the remaining ingredients and lightly pack the mixture into the tomato cavities.

Place the tomato halves, cut side up, on the grill and cook, over medium heat, for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are heated through and the cheese has melted.

Makes 8 servings.

From the National Barbeque Association

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Garth Brooks’ donation helps K99.1FM raise $310,000 for hospital
Garth Brooks’ donation helps K99.1FM raise $310,000 for hospital

Garth Brooks and his fellow county music entertainer wife Trisha Yearwood helped K99.1FM’s “Cares for Kids” Radiothon gather a record $310,713 in its 20th year raising money for Dayton’s Children’s Hospital. Brooks’ and Yearwood’s matching of funds meant each dollar in that hour was quadrupled leading to a...
D.L. STEWART: ‘Last class’ creates plenty more room for concern

Boarding an airplane is traumatic for me. It has nothing to do with a fear of flying. I’ve managed to put that in the back of my mind, although any time there are 10 or more consecutive seconds of turbulence it vaults to the front of my mind. My concern is walking through the first class or business section and looking down on the passengers...
Coupon deals of the week
Coupon deals of the week

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods. All Laundry Detergent This week at CVS, All laundry detergent is on sale for $2.99. Use the $1 off one All laundry detergent coupon found in most of today’s RedPlum inserts. Plus, if you have the CVS Pharmacy app on your smartphone, and have your Extra Care...
PARENTING WITH DR. RAMEY: Why kids don’t reveal sexual abuse

At my Catholic high school in Massachusetts, it was well known that a few of the clergy were molesting various boys. While several of my friends spoke about this informally, I said nothing to any adult. I assumed that since it was such common knowledge around the school, that people in authority accepted such behavior. I’ve been thinking of my...
Why you shouldn’t ignore hand and wrist arthritis
Why you shouldn’t ignore hand and wrist arthritis

What starts out as a dull, deep aching pain in the hand may eventually lead to a less impressive golf swing or the inability to open a jar lid. ››RELATED: Older people should screen for Hepatitis C The progressive pain is known as arthritis in the hand and wrist, and if not caught and treated early could mean permanent loss...
More Stories