The first day of Spring is almost here! After enduring another COVID weary Winter, thoughts of longer days and warmer temps are on everyone’s minds. Did you know that March 20th is also known as the International Day of Happiness? What better way to commemorate the impending season of joy than to host an outdoor Spring-themed luncheon for a few friends! Here are some tips to get you started:
COVID protocol continues to be the top priority this Spring! Choose an outdoor location at your home which allows guests to feel properly distanced and safe. Covered porches, decks, or patios offer fresh air and space. Although “Spring is in the air,” it still may be chilly. (Or even snowy!) Propane patio heaters can be used to warm the chilly air, and a pile of warm blankets on display lets your guests know that their comfort is important to you!
Decorate your space for the occasion! Think yellow and other bright colors associated with the changing of seasons. In March, forsythia, pussy willow, and other woodland treasures can be forced into early bloom by cutting the branches and immersing in hot water several days before your party. Local florists and nurseries are the perfect sources for acquiring daffodils, daisies, or any of your favorite warm-weather flowers or potted plants. I personally never need an excuse for a treasure hunt! Plan a pre-party visit to any number of Frederick’s fine vintage and home décor shops for colorful table linens, napkins and other fun decorative themed items! Your guests will love the effort you put into making this year’s International Day of Happiness beautiful.
After feasting for months on heavier comfort foods, plan a menu that is light and Spring-friendly. (It’s almost time to store those bulky sweaters away until next year in favor of something a little less forgiving!) I’m serving Asparagus Vichyssoise for my luncheon, accompanied by a flavorful salad complete with shrimp, veggies, and strawberries. Add a baguette with honey butter, and voila! After all, every savvy hostess knows that a party is not the appropriate time to withhold carbs from her guests. Don’t you agree?
Champagne and cookies for dessert? Yes, please! Order dessert from your favorite bakery and save your long hours of prep work for Thanksgiving. Your first-day-of-Spring party should be delightfully hassle-free! It’s time to greet your guests and simply be happy! Cheers!
2 pounds asparagus, tips reserved, stalks cut into 1-inch lengths
2 tablespoons butter
3 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 large thyme sprig
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
In a saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch asparagus tips until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain asparagus tips and refresh under cold water. Pat dry, halve the tips lengthwise and set aside.
Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus stalks, potatoes, stock, water and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Discard the thyme sprig. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the milk, salt and white pepper. Let the soup cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Ladle the soup into chilled bowls. Garnish with asparagus tips and serve.
Julie believes there is always something new to discover. She describes herself as speaker, trainer, author and friend, but is perhaps more well-known for her generous spirit and heart for philanthropy. She is founder of Julie Gaver Discovery, providing professional and personal coaching. JulieGaver.com
She is based in Hagerstown but serving Frederick, too. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
"Plan a pre-party visit to any number of Frederick’s fine vintage and home décor shops..."