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FRESH and Festive: Stylish But Simple Party Planning

Professional party planner Amy Hall doesn’t think much should stop you from throwing a party. Not the heat, not your schedule, not even your ability (or inability!) to cook.

Of course, that’s because Amy is full of fabulous entertaining ideas, whether it’s adding just the right decorating touch (cute paper lanterns to jazz up an Asian-themed dinner) or suggesting a few simple homemade touches to put your signature spin on chef-prepared, pre-prepped dishes.

This Sunday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., come soak up some of Amy’s wisdom when she takes over the FRESH Taste Kitchen with me! We’ll show you how to put a FRESH Asian spin on a late- summer get-together. Amy and I will help you build a quick and scrumptious menu that will impress your guests, without working you to the bone, by utilizing the best of FRESH, plus our own creative ideas.

Amy, who recently launched a new Tyler event service, HOST Event Design, began developing her expertise by creating events for Southern Living in Birmingham, Alabama. Later, in New York City, she put on stellar cocktail parties, dinners and showhouses for ELLE DECOR. And as a native Texan, she understands how to combine style with good old-fashioned Southern hospitality.

Enjoy a preview of Amy’s workshop with this sophisticated sangria. True to her style, the recipe does not require much prep-no marinating, no time spent over a stove preparing simple syrups. So just pour, stir, chill and serve – and capture the last bit of summer in a glass!

Ginger Strawberry & Pear Sangria (Serves 12 – 8 oz. glasses)

Non-Alcoholic:
4 cups fresh squeezed apple/lemon/ginger juice from the FRESH juice bar (1 small bottle sold at FRESH pours 2 cups)
4 cups ginger ale
4 cups club soda
4 Tbs honey
4 Tbs lemon juice
2 pears, diced
1 pint or bag of sliced strawberries, to color

Alchoholic:
4 cups fresh squeezed ginger juice from the FRESH juice bar (1 small bottle sold at FRESH pours 2 cups)
4 cups pinot grigio or other white wine
1/2 cup brandy (try a ginger if available to keep the flavors consistent)
4 cups club soda
4 Tbs honey
4 Tbs lemon juice
2 pears, diced
1 pint or bag of sliced strawberries, to color

Place all ingredients in a punch bowl or pitcher. A good old-fashioned punch bowl and ladle will allow guests to dip out their preferred mix of drink and fruit. Cover and refrigerate until guests arrive. Feel free to add sliced oranges, lemons or whole grapes.

TIP: A fun trick to keep the taste of your drink from getting watered down with ice is to prepare custom ice cubes in advance. Use the Ginger Juice freshly prepared at fresh to fill loose ice trays the night before. If you don’t have enough time for this upgrade, buy frozen fruit instead of fresh. Pull the bag straight from the freezer and pour into the drink mixture. They’ll double as a fruit garnish and ice cubes!