When parties move outdoors, try these simple ideas

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2012

(ARA) – Warm weather and outdoor entertaining go hand in hand. Sit back and relax this summer with family, friends and great food at your next backyard barbecue. No matter who or how many guests, you’ll want to create a memorable gathering that keeps people talking. Plan your next summer celebration with these no-fuss party ideas.

* Set a festive table. Instead of using flowers as a centerpiece, try a decoration that is functional yet stylish like mixing citronella candles with tea lights to keep away pests and adding atmosphere. And don’t forget about the picnic table itself; add an umbrella, gingham table cloth or a fresh coat of paint.

* Set up tables in different locations throughout the yard to encourage guests to roam. Host a salad bar in one location, desserts in another and allow guests to move around frequently to socialize.

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* Capture every moment. Hosting duties can leave you busy with prepping food and greeting guests, so ask one guest to take photos throughout the gathering. Surprise guests with a post-party slide show or digital album.

* Make cooking a family affair. Preparing for any gathering – large or small – can be a lot of work, so get the whole family involved by inviting them into the kitchen and assigning roles. Let your kids have fun with you in the kitchen by jumping in to help mix up cake batter or carefully place cheese and crackers on trays.

* Keep food simple for a backyard gathering. Keep the heat down in the kitchen with a no-bake dessert like this Triple Berry Mousse Tart. It comes together easily with a vanilla wafer crust and a cream cheese filling made with Smucker’s(R) Orchard’s Finest(R) Northwest Triple Berry Preserves and topped with mixed fresh berries.

There are eight Smucker’s(R) Orchard’s Finest(R) varieties, each featuring the best fruit from the best places. Learn more and find recipe inspirations at www.smuckers.com.

Triple Berry Mousse Tart


1 2/3 cups vanilla wafer crumbs

1/3 cup quick rolled oats

5 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

5 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided

3 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons boiling water

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2 teaspoons)

1 (12 oz.) jar Smucker’s(R) Orchard’s Finest(R) Northwest Triple Berry Preserves, divided

3/4 cup fresh mixed berries such as chopped strawberries, blueberries and/or raspberries


1. Combine cookie crumbs, oats and brown sugar in medium bowl. Stir in melted butter with a fork until evenly moistened. Press into 8-inch spring form pan.

2. Beat 1 cup heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Beat in 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla. Place cream cheese on microwave-safe plate. Microwave on HIGH 15 to 20 seconds or until very soft. Add to whipped cream, beating until smooth. Pour boiling water over gelatin in small bowl. Stir about 2 minutes or until gelatin is completely dissolved. Beat into cream cheese mixture until blended. Stir 3/4 cup preserves. Spread over crumb crust. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

3. Beat remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Beat in 1 tablespoon sugar. Place in resealable plastic bag. Cut small corner off bag. Remove outer rim of pan. Place dollops of whipped cream around outside edge of cheesecake. Stir remaining preserves with fresh mixed berries in small bowl. Spoon evenly in center of cheesecake.