Sunday, August 12, 2012

Backyard Summer Dinner Party + $100 Giveaway to Layla Grayce

I know we started with dessert (if you missed the peach layer cake see it here), but I wanted to share the rest of the party details and recipes from a few weeks ago. I had to wait because my favorite home store, Layla Grayce, provided some beautiful products in exchange for a post on their blog. It just so happened that a couple of my girlfriends and I were throwing a dinner party around the same time Layla Grayce asked if I would create a post. This job definitely has its perks at times!

Holley was in charge of the appetizers and had the brilliant idea to make a DIY crostini bar. Guests loved creating their own crostini with a variety of spreads, cheeses and toppings.  Easy and delicious!
This burlap runner took me about 5 minutes to make. I bought a long piece of burlap from the craft store, cut it into a 18" wide long strip, and pulled a few threads on either side to fray it. Holley, Ronda, and I divided up the cooking which made party prep so much easier. We served dinner family style which created a fun and relaxed atmosphere.  
 I tied a piece of twine around the gorgeous linen Pom Pom at Home napkins and tucked a piece of lavender in. These napkins are so super soft and I love that they are casual and elegant at the same time. I adore the matching runner set! The 12-foot party table was too long for them, but we use them on our dining table inside all the time. Though not good for the environment (and I DO feel bad about that), we went with disposable plates and "silverware" from Smarty Had a Party. We just didn't have enough matching place settings or time to clean up. So sorry classy party throwers of the world.
This Aidan Gray Decor Plate Stand made a stunning centerpiece when topped with jars and roses from our garden. This tray can be used to show off your favorite decor items. What would put on it? I'm  thinking some pumpkins for fall (but not yet!!!).
 We went with dishes that could all be prepared in advance and be served at room temperature to make things easy. Grilled summer vegetables served with the lovely Eclectic Hostess Serving Set were a big hit.
 Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad is a must for summer.
Holley made an absolutely delicious shrimp, white bean, and corn salad over arugula. 

Backyard Summer Dinner Party Menu 
  • Crostini Station 
  • Grilled Summer Vegetables
  • Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad 
  • Shrimp and White Bean Salad over Arugula 
  • Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions 
  • Peach Layer Cake 
*Recipes after the jump

 I decided to share the love and give away a $100 gift card so one of you could do some shopping over at Layla Grayce. 
 We love Layla Grayce

Follow the directions in the box to enter the giveaway. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crostini Station
1-2 baguettes, toasted and sliced
3 soft cheeses
3 spreads or soft toppings, such as hot pepper jelly, apricot jam, roasted tomatoes or tomato bruschette
3 hard toppings, such as various types of nuts

Arrange bread and all toppings in small bowls for self-serving

Grilled Summer Vegetables

serves 12 
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
2 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
1 Japanese eggplant, sliced lengthwise
1 large red onion, quartered
1 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed off
1 bunch small carrots, tops trimmed off
1 each red and yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
 3 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat vegetables with oil, garlic, herbs and salt Cover and refrigerate 4-8 hours..
Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Lightly coat the grill with cooking spray.
Place vegetable pieces on hot grill and cook, turning once, until tender crisp, about 2 minutes per side.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad
serves 12
5 cups mixed heirloom tomatoes wedges
2 small English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 avocadoes, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 bunch fresh basil, sliced or torn
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly cracked pepper

Place tomatoes, cucumber, avocadoes and basil in a large serving bowl or platter.
Drizzle with oil and vinegar and gently toss to coat.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
*Can be made several hours in advance, covered and refrigerated.

Shrimp and White Bean Salad over Watercress
This is a similar recipe to Holley’s and is adapted from Cooking Light

serves 12

2 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined 
2 corn cobs, kernels cut off 
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup avocado oil (such as Elysian Isle)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 cups trimmed arugula
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Lemon wedges (optional)

Prepare grill.
Sprinkle shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place shrimp and corn kernels in skillet and cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Cool completely. Place shrimp, corn, and beans in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.

Combine oil and lemon juice, stirring with a whisk; stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle dressing over shrimp mixture; toss gently to combine.

Arrange watercress on a large platter, and top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle evenly with chives. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Pork Tenderloin over Balsamic Caramelized Onions
This recipe similar to Ronda’s is from Saveur

Serves 4 (be sure to double or triple recipe for larger parties)

7 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. flour
Freshly ground black
1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1 "- thick medallions
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 200°. Melt 4 tbsp. of the butter and 1 tbsp. of the oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add onions, and cook, stirring often, until deep golden brown, 15–20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Transfer half the onions to a large baking dish and the remaining half to a small bowl.

Melt the remaining butter and oil together in same skillet over medium-high heat. Season 1/2 cup of the flour with salt and pepper, then lightly dredge pork and brown in skillet, 2–3 minutes per side. Put pork on top of onions in dish and scatter reserved onions on top of pork. Cover dish and keep warm in oven.

Pour off fat from skillet, then heat skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk the remaining flour and 1 1/2 cups water together in a bowl until smooth, add to skillet, and cook, whisking and scraping browned bits stuck to bottom of skillet, until slightly thickened, 4–5 minutes. Add cream, season to taste with salt and pepper, and boil for 1 minute. Strain sauce over the pork and onions in dish.


  1. I want the napkins! Beautiful party and great giveaway!

  2. Your dinner party looks beautiful. I want to recreate this as best as possible. Thank you for being a wonderful inspiration.

  3. What a beautiful party. Thank you for all of your inspirations.

  4. summer perfection!

  5. Anonymous10:57 AM


    What a nice giveaway to win!

  6. Love Layla Grayce and what a gorgeous table....those napkins and serving pieces. SWOON.

  7. You have the magic touch when it comes to entertaining, I get so inspired by your posts. I am right now putting together my own cake stand/little jars with garden roses centerpiece, I love it!

  8. I love that crostini station - such a fabulous idea! And that grilled veggie platter is heaven!

  9. The pie stand is super fun!

  10. So gorgeous! Love the table setting! swoon

  11. Stunning photos and a fabulous giveaway!

  12. I would love to win this! Thanks for the chance!

  13. your party looked delightful - and thanks for the giveaway

  14. I'd love to win the gift card...looks like such a beautiful summer dinner party!

  15. I adore the rickshaw design anchor navy sundress

  16. i would love the giftcard= thank you so much for the chance and for all the great recipes! :)

  17. Erin Beck8:21 PM

    Great stuff Yummy Mummy! I love every ounce of this dinner party and all of your personal touches. My daughter is named Lyla Grace!! I'd love to take her to Layla Grayce :)

  18. Beautiful dinner party on a gorgeous summer evening! I love the silverware, very elegant... :)

    1. Gotta love elegant plastic silverware!

  19. what a splendid shindig!

    would love a chance to win!


  20. I could certainly use some new serving pieces.

  21. Anonymous7:28 AM

    Everything looked beautiful and delicious. And to top it off...a Layla Grayce giveaway!

  22. I love the dwell studio vase linking trellis double bulb blue vase.
    family74014 at gmail dot com

  23. Marina,
    What a beautiful setting. I wouldn't have guessed the plates were disposable...they looked very nice. The meal sounds delicious and I'm printing a couple of the recipes to try in these final weeks of summer. Such a pretty table and setting.

  24. I love the crostini bar idea! I think I might use that for a girl's night at my house next month :)

  25. I love love love the crostini table, the centerpieces, the burlap, it is all so pretty!

  26. I WANT TO WIN!!!!! and your photos are amazing, as always :)

  27. So beautiful! I love the make your own crostini bar!

  28. I would love to win this!!

  29. I would love to win this!! :)

  30. What a fun give away Marina! And your photos are fabulous as always...XoXo

  31. Anonymous5:03 PM

    I am always so inspired by your posts! You have a lovely family and friends. And I love the Central Coast....

  32. Can you tell I so want to win this!? Such a great giveaway and gorgeous photos, styling and cooking as always! (:

  33. It is all so soft and beautiful. What a wonderful and healthy spread of food. That little peach dessert looks delicious so I am off to read more about it. A summer garden party at its very finest!!

  34. Hi - I posted a comment yesterday, at least I THINK I posted a comment yesterday, but don't see it listed here. In any case, this beautiful feast is inspiring and I can't wait to try every salad ASAP since summers are all about salads for us here in Arizona.

  35. First off, what a great giveaway!
    Second, brilliant idea for a do-it-yourself crostini station! LOVE it and will definitely have to copy this idea :)
    Third, burlap is my favorite material for casual summer entertaining. You can make it both dressy/shabby-chic or casual country. Nicely done Marina!
    XO - Marion

  36. how amazing is that party. I want to come to your house for parties! Love the crostini idea!

  37. So...I shared your peach layer cake recipe with my mama the other day. Hoping she gets on it soon! :)
    This dinner party looks rustic and beautiful. If you hadn't mentioned the plates and silver ware were {ahem} plastic, I wouldn't have noticed! I never use "real" when we dine al fresco.
    Love your roses.

  38. I would love to win!

  39. I would choose the PINTUCK SHOWER CURTAIN

  40. This is absolute perfection Marina!! Oh how I hope to be a hostess like you one day, just gorgeous!! xoxo

  41. WOW. So elegant and appealing. I wish I was there.

  42. I would love this gift card and what an amazing party. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway :)

    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

  43. What a beautiful party!! I love every's like I was there.


  44. What great ideas! The food looked amazing and the decor was beautiful!

  45. Gorgeous and elegant! You've inspired me to attempt this for my next party

  46. What a lovely table arrangement.

  47. Your blog is AMAZING!!!
    Love the design.
    Love your photos.
    Love your creations!

    I am your newest follower!

  48. Fabulous giveaway, gorgeous table and I am starving for all that yummy food!! xoxo

  49. Deanna G.10:18 PM

    I want the gift card! :)

    calidreamin87 (at) gmail (dot) com

  50. I'm loving everything about this post. I love crostini... I posted a crostini appetizer yesterday on Love the napkins - touch of lavendar tied with twine. - love it. I'm making the burlap runner!

  51. I would love to win! thank you :) everything looks beautiful!

    Amanda S

    pokergrl8 at

  52. I would love the gift card!

  53. The crostini bar is a genius idea! And I absolutely love those napkins. Great pics!


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