Got company? 5 quick and easy refreshments for summer guests

(BPT) – Summer is a great time to create memories with friends and family, and some of the best times happen when you gather your favorite people together on your deck, balcony, poolside or screen porch. As singer John Mayer puts it, ‘A little bit of summer’s what the whole year’s all about.”

As you prepare to entertain during these long, lazy days of summer, it’s convenient to keep on hand easy-to-prepare refreshments your guests can snack on as they enjoy the balmy breezes. Consider the following suggestions for lightning-fast, ultra-easy, fresh-tasting treats that can help you welcome visitors at a moment’s notice.

1. Refreshing blender drinks: Stockpile a selection of frozen juices and fruits so you can blend up icy-cold cocktails – either the adult or kiddie versions – on demand. Because so many tasty drinks start with simple syrup or sour mix, you may want to mix up your own and store those concoctions in your fridge for impromptu events. When serving, don’t forget the fruit garnishes and little umbrellas.

2. Fresh guacamole and chips: Whipping up everyone’s favorite avocado dip is nearly effortless when you keep on hand Simply Organic’s Guacamole Mixes. The flavorful, liquid-based mixes, available in spicy or regular varieties, come in handy packets so you need only add two ripe, peeled, pitted avocados (organic is best) and break open a bag of tortilla chips to create a fresh, fun and wholesome snack. You get all the flavor, texture and tang without taking on all the work.

3. Mediterranean pita dip: Stock your vegetable drawer and spice cabinet with organic ingredients for this hearty, cool and flavorful dip: hummus, red bell pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, black olives, artichokes, feta cheese, oregano, onion powder and garlic powder. When guests arrive, spread the hummus in a casserole dish, sprinkle on the seasonings, layer the vegetables, then top your colorful creation with the cheese. Enjoy with pita chips or crudités.

4. Divine deviled eggs: When you keep hard-boiled eggs on hand, whipping up these classic favorites only takes a few minutes. Remove the shells, halve the eggs and mash up the yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, pickle relish, salt and/or pepper to taste. If desired, you can add even more flavor by stirring in hot sauce, bacon bits, blue cheese, chives, pickles, mango chutney, pesto, pickled okra or crumbled potato chips. Spoon or swirl the yolk mixture back into the half-eggs and serve.

5. Bountiful bruschetta: Slice a crusty baguette, brush it with olive oil and toast the slices under your broiler (one to two minutes for each side). Top the slices with a mixture of chopped tomatoes, basil leaves, onion and garlic, mixing in olive oil, salt and pepper and grated Parmesan cheese to taste. Sprinkle with balsamic reduction and serve.

Check out for more delicious recipes to enhance your summer entertaining.

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