Spice up your summer party with these these do-it-yourself projects and recipes

It's almost time for summer parties! Spice up your backyard celebration with these do-it-yourself projects and recipes.

Keep the Bugs at Bay

Check out your local Dollar Store for inexpensive glass cylinders for our bug repellent centerpiece. Recipe Kevin Miller Design Contributor MYO party


  • 8-inch glass cylinder
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Few sprigs of rosemary
  • Water
  • Few drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 1 floating candle


1. Add sliced lemons and limes and rosemary to the glass cylinder. Fill 1-inch under the top of the vase with water. Add a few drops of the rosemary essential oil (5-7 drops per cylinder).

2. Add your floating candle and light it. This will look cute and help keep the bugs away!

Lemonade Sparkle Bar GF | V+

Lemonade is a crowd pleaser for all ages. Make a big batch of base lemonade and take base and add other summer flavors like listed below.

  • Simply Lemonade
  • Yield 8-10 servings
  • Ingredients
  • 2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup sugar (can substitute ½ cup honey or agave syrup or 3-5 packets of unflavored Stevia,)
  • 2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cups cool water
  • Couple pinches of sea salt


1. In a small, heavy bottom saucepan, add water and sugar and cook, over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool, or place in an ice bath for a quick cool option.

2. In a large pitcher, add sugar syrup, lemon juice, 6 cups of water and a couple pinches of sea salt. Stir to combine. If you prefer no sugar, omit the first step and replace the sugar syrup with 3-5 packets of unflavored stevia or swirl in honey or agave syrup to taste.

Flavor Options

· Blackberry Basil: Add 2 pints of pureed blackberries with a tablespoon of basil to the base recipe.

· Strawberry Lemon. Add 1 quart of pureed strawberries to the base recipe.

· Simply Lemonade: Float lemon slices in a pitcher.

· Citrus punch: Replace ½ cup lemon juice with ⅔ cup orange and ⅔ cup lime juice.

· Sparklers: Offer an array of sparkling waters to mix with lemonade to make them sparklers.

· Adult Cocktail: This lemonade bar would also pair well with a vodka option for the adult faction at the party.


· Citrus Guajillo Chicken

· Elote

· Sedona Chopped slaw

· Summer Watermelon salad

Traditional Street Corn Spread GF | V


Yield 6 servings


· 5 ears of corn

· 1 cup mayonnaise

· 1 cup cotija (reserve ¼ cup and sprinkle on top)

· 2 tablespoons chili powder

· 2 tablespoon lime juice

· 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

· I teaspoon sea salt

· 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce (optional)


1. Lightly brush corn with olive oil and grill over medium heat on barbeque, turning as needed for 4-6 minutes until corn is a little charred. Let cool a little and cut kernels off the cob.

2. Mix mayonnaise, chili powder and lime juice until well combined.

3. Gently fold in cotija, cilantro and grilled corn kernels

4. Place in baking dish, top with reserved cheese and bake at 350 for 15 minutes until golden on top

Sedona Summer Chopped Salad GF | V

Yield 10-12 servings


5 cups of cabbage slaw mix (or 10–14-ounce bag)

2 cups chopped green kale

1 cup shaved brussels sprouts

1 cup cotija queso cheese, crumbled

1-pint grape tomatoes, cut in half

1 English cucumber, diced medium

½-¾ cup diced red onion

½ cup chopped banana peppers

½ cup assorted bell peppers, diced small

⅛ cup fresh cilantro leaves, picked

2 avocados, cleaned and diced

For the Lime Vinaigrette

1½ cup olive oil

½ cup fresh lime juice

1 bunch fresh cilantro (leaves only)

¼ cup agave syrup (or honey)

1 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic

Small handful of banana peppers (5-7)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Pinch of cayenne


1. In a large bowl, add the salad ingredients and gently toss together.

2. For the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients using a blender or an immersion stick.

3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Finish with fresh cracked pepper if desired.

Citrus Guajillo Chicken GF | DF

Yield 12 pieces 6 thighs cut into 2 pieces (thigh & leg)


6 chicken leg quarters

For the Rub

1 stick Mexican cinnamon

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

2 teaspoons Mexican oregano

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 whole allspice berries

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons sea salt salt

2 tablespoons sugar

For the Sauce

2 whole dried guajillo chilies

2 cloves garlic

1 each zest and juice: lime, orange, and lemon

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey


1. For the rub, in a small sauté or nonstick pan over medium heat add spices (everything except sea salt and sugar) and lightly toast. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes before grinding in a spice grinder. Place spices in a small mixing bowl or ramekin, add sea salt and sugar and blend with a fork. Rub chicken with prepared spice blend and rest in the fridge for 2-4 hours.

2. For the sauce, in a small dry pan over medium heat, toast chili peppers and garlic cloves for about one minute until fragrant. Place toasted chili and garlic in a blender. Add remaining ingredients and puree. Pour puree into a medium saucepan over medium heat and reduce sauce, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

3. Preheat BBQ grill to 400℉. Turn the heat to low and add chicken. Grill chicken over low heat for about 6-8 minutes per side until an internal temperature reads 140-145℉.

4. Brush chicken with glaze every couple of minutes for another 4 minutes per side until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165℉.


Chef’s Note

The spice blend can be made weeks ahead and the sauce can be prepped up to 3 days ahead of time.