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Pool Party!

Make a splash with a cool, kid-tested backyard party.

We asked the experts to create an easy, family-friendly backyard party with fun, family-friendly recipes that will keep guests cool in the summer heat. For more tips on all things hosting, cooking, decorating and more, check out Lauren Lane Culinarian (@lauren_lane_culinarian) and LeAnne Parker (@silvertoothhome).



  • 2 small cantaloupes (or sub watermelon)
  • 1 small honeydew
  • 1 Tbsp. lime zest
  • Juice of one lime
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh mint (or sub basil)


Use a melon baller to scoop round spheres out of each melon and place them into a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine honey, lime juice and zest. Whisk to combine and pour over the melon. Gently toss together before serving with torn fresh mint leaves.


These make-ahead sandwiches are perfect for pool parties, picnics and tailgates — try adding pesto and olive tapenade.


  • 1 ciabatta baguette or loaf, cut in half horizontally
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 medium red peppers
  • 3 cups arugula, spinach or mixed greens, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 10 oz. assorted Italian deli meats (we used soppressata salami and mortadella sausage)
  • Olive oil
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. capers (optional)


Roast the red peppers: Set your peppers on your cooktop flame, grill or broiler. Cook until they are mostly black, turning as needed. Place the peppers in a plastic Ziploc or paper bag and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove peppers from bag and peel off the blackened skin. Discard the skin and slice the peppers into wide strips. Place in a bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a Tbsp. of capers, if using. Set aside.  

Prepare the sandwiches: Butter each piece of ciabatta and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Butter will help prevent moisture from getting into the bread.

Place a generous layer of overlapping cold meats. Top with cooled roasted red pepper strips.

Tap dry mozzarella slices with a paper towel. Top the red peppers with a layer of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Top with a generous layer of arugula. Top with top slice of ciabatta.

Wrap each sandwich tightly with plastic wrap and place on a platter or baking sheet. When all the sandwiches are prepared, place the platter in the refrigerator, topped with a heavy skillet or brick.

Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove from plastic wrap. Slice into pieces using a serrated knife, holding the sandwich in place while using a sawing motion.



  • 12 store-bought cookies
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream or flavor of your choice
  • Miniature chocolate chips, sprinkles or chopped nuts


Top cookie with a scoop of ice cream. Top with another cookie; press down with the palm of your hand gently to ensure the cookie doesn't break.

Roll sides of ice cream sandwich in chocolate chips, sprinkles or nuts.

Wrap in plastic. Freeze until serving.



  • 1 store-bought pound cake cake
  • 1 can of store-bought icing (we used buttercream; try mixing in a package of softened cream cheese or a stick of butter)
  • Berries
  • Powdered sugar (optional)


Cut cake into squares or circles with a cookie cutter

Place icing in a Ziplock. 

Snip the tip off the corner of the bag to allow the frosting to be piped out. Be careful with how large you create the hole based on how you’d like to pipe out your frosting. Start small; you can always make it bigger.

Squeeze a dollop of icing onto each cake bite

Top with berries

Dust with powdered sugar, if desired

  • “Paint” your own sugar cookies: Find instructions at