Inspired Entertaining: 5 Clever Summer Entertaining Ideas

With summer entertaining season upon us, I wanted to share some clever presentation ideas I've spotted at some of the food events I've attended lately.

I started using this fun app for my Windows Phone called "Apict," which lets you take a snapshot and add a quick note to it. It then saves the photo to look like a polaroid and lets you upload it to Facebook or Flickr, or just save it to your camera roll. It's a fun way of recording a visual "note to self."

Here are a few of the ideas I've saved over the past couple weeks:

I ordered a croque-monsieur at a lunch a few days ago, and it arrived sliced in these easy to pick up little strips, which I thought would be perfect for entertaining! This would be such a fun way to serve grilled cheese sandwiches or paninis at a summer party, and will probably be a hit with both adults and kids alike.

Long strips of lacinato kale (or "dinosaur kale") were dried into kale chips and arranged in low clear glass vases decorating the centers of all the cocktail tables at a recent reception. These edible centerpieces were pretty and delicious (though you may want to add a little sign to let guests know they can help themselves--at first, I wasn't sure if I was allowed to eat them!).

At BlogHer Food, the bagels on the breakfast buffet were served on this interesting "bagel tree" made out of a few dowels screwed into a piece of wood. Each dowel had a different flavor, which made it possible for guests to quickly grab without having to rummage through a big basket (it also kept the everything bagels from contaminating the sweet bagels with onion-y flavor!). An even easier way would be just to arrange a few inexpensive paper towel holders on your buffet table--one for each bagel flavor!

On the ride home from the Women's Entrepreneur Retreat I co-hosted in Vermont last week, we stopped and bought a bunch of little wine bottles to sip on the bus with a straw. These would be a fun option to make available at an outdoor bbq or reception; fill a large cooler with ice and tuck in a few bottles of these in white and rose for those of us who don't drink beer or soda. No need to worry about wine glasses!

I also spotted this one at BlogHer. They used damp light brown sugar to create "sand piles" to hold up paper cones filled with various treats--cherries, roasted salted almonds, yogurt pretzels, and maltballs. Using sugar could get a little spendy, but you could easily use real sand from a nearby beach (or Home Depot). Even better if you're already hosting your party on the beach!
Let me know if you give any of these a try! I'll be sure to let you know if I spot any more cool ideas.

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(Windows Phone is a sponsor of Always Order Dessert, but all opinions in this post are 100% my own. (Seriously, guys. I'm a little bit in love with this phone!)

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