Spring is the time where people in the Chicagoland area remember why we actually live here. The warm breeze blows through the city, the sun shines, and people smile a little easier. Let’s celebrate spring as it blows into our windy city, shall we?
I was recently on Fox 32 Chicago chatting with Scott Schneider about an at home Oscar party, but these same scrumptious snacks and delicious drinks can easily be used for a Celebrate Spring bash. It is time to party and celebrate the melting snow, baseball home openers and the appearance of the sun once in a while.
Pop into Spring with Highland Pop Popcorn Bar
Popcorn is the perfect light snack for parties, but why settle for plain? I recently discovered Highland Pop– you pick the flavors, they pop for your to pick it up! I would love to see a dozen mini buckets with silver scoops lined up on a table for guests to customize their munchies. I sampled the Cinnamon Churro, Slim Kim and Birthday Cake flavors, and loved the freshness of the popcorn. The sweet flavors still had a little salt in them- the ideal combo!
Here is a list of their current offerings, make sure to check their Facebook page and Instagram account for flavor updates and party ideas. I saw a photo of adorable mini popcorn bucket favors- what a perfect parting gift!
Fresco Fish Tacos with Nuestro Queso
In Spanish, fresco means fresh…and isn’t that what spring is all about? Nuestro Queso has a “Fresco” cheese that is a perfect topping for fresco tacos- it is semi-soft, slightly salted and creamy with a mild flavor. You can have a selection of different tacos- shredded chicken, chipotle beef, tequila shrimp or spicy cilantro fish. Top with diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, salsa and fresco cheese. The Nuestro Queso website has a variety of different recipes- from Mexican to Caribbean to Central American, they cover a wide variety of traditional dishes.
Check out this recipe for Fresco Fish Tacos, made with Nuestro Queso!
|adapted from Food Network- Bobby Flay’s Fish Tacos|
Ferris Bueller Beer Brat Reuben Roll with Gilbert’s Craft Sausages
Follow in Ferris Bueller’s footsteps since this is the 30th anniversary- ditch school or work because of the gorgeous spring day outside! This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate spring by making Ferris Bueller Reuben Rolls with Gilbert’s Craft Sausages. Another connection to this movie- this company was started by two guys who are definitely the sausage kings of Chicago. They even have uncured beef franks, appropriately named The Froman (Abe Froman….Sausage King of Chicago? Get it?)
This is an amazingly portable snack, easy and quick to whip up, and there are many more delicious recipes on the Gilbert’s site.
|Recipe from Gilbert’s|
Spring Seafood Sampler- Lobster Rolls from Lucky Fish
I love seafood, what a better way to ring in spring than a seafood sampler! I am not a fan of cooking seafood, though- I usually overcook my shrimp, steaming oysters terrifies me (eek!), and the last time I made ceviche I became incredibly nervous about giving my guests food poisoning. I say leave it to the experts, and order in from Lucky Fish in Highwood (soon to be opening in Northbrook). They have a variety of amazing options- from crab cakes with mango salsa to tostadas de ceviche to oysters on the 1/2 shell to lobster rolls with grilled bread. Don’t forget the hush puppies!!
Made in the Shade Martinis with Vitani
Every party, I have a signature drink. During the winter, I have made a caramel apple sangria (that actually tasted horrible since I used the wrong wine), for St. Patrick’s Day I make an alcoholic Shamrock Shake (the BEST- but it takes me forever to make a batch), and during the summer I shoot for mojitos (which again, take forEVER to put together). Why not take the bartending work out of the party equation, and grab these pre-mixed martinis? Vitani is a relatively new company out of Northbrook, and I have already stocked my fridge with one of each of their 5 flavors of top shelf martinis.
Cosmo Martini– Orange and sweet cranberry aroma
Dirty Martini– Premium vodka infused with real olive brine
Citrus-Ginger Martini– Delicate, sweet citrus flavors
Cucumber Martini– Clean, cucumber aroma
Elderpear Martini– Pear, honey and floral aroma
These are available at a ton of different locations in the Chicagoland area, including Whole Foods and Mariano’s!
Herb Garden Desserts by Chocolate Twist
Every spring, I plant an herb garden to use for summer cooking- mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, dill, basil, you name it, I will grow it. This amazing company, Chocolate Twist, creates insane sweet treat combinations with herbs (in addition to their other amazing creations)! Perfect for a spring party. Here are some of their twisted offerings:
How do you plan to ring in spring and celebrate the snow melt?
A big thank you to Fox 32 for having me on their show this past weekend, and to all of the companies mentioned in the post. I am THRILLED to discover all of these local small businesses who produce incredible products!