SOURCE: Almond Board of California

August 08, 2011 05:00 ET

Stock Up Your Pantry for Stress-Free Entertaining

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Aug 8, 2011) - (Family Features) Anytime is the perfect time to sit back, relax and enjoy friends and family at cookouts, poolside cocktail parties and carefree dinners at home. While planning and organizing an event can become daunting, entertaining is meant to be a relaxing experience that everyone can enjoy, even the host. HGTV star and lifestyle expert Rick Rifle has some tips to help make your next soirée stress-free. These simple and festive pantry-to-party ideas are sure to create an unforgettable experience.

Secrets of a Pro
"Entertaining season is about to heat up, so whether the neighbors drop by unexpectedly or you're hosting your annual backyard bash, relaxing al fresco is the way to go," says Rifle. "Usually, when I have guests over I like to pull from the pantry essentials I always have on hand, like almonds, to help liven things up without breaking a sweat. With a well-stocked pantry it makes any spur-of-the-moment entertaining opportunity effortless."

The secret to being party-ready is starting with a well-organized pantry. Pantry essentials are the foundation to making any last-minute party simple and relaxing. Almonds, for example, are the perfect pantry companion. They're a versatile nut that provides a full sensory experience and can be utilized in numerous simple ways to turn up the sophistication in texture, taste and style.

Next time you're planning a barbecue or having cocktails on the back patio turn to Rifle's party-planning advice, inspiring decorating tips and easy entertaining ideas by putting your must-have pantry items to work making hosting any event a breeze.

Enjoy Your Party with these Tips
Designed to utilize and highlight pantry staples and entertaining essentials, Rifle's top tips to get party-ready include:

  • Start with style. Everything's better in a martini glass, right? Not just the sippable treats. A stylish martini glass filled with roasted almonds is a quick way to add a touch of glam to your impromptu gatherings. Alternate with glasses filled with water and floating tea lights for a sparkling touch of sophistication.
  • Dress the table. Look at your table linens differently. Instead of your usual flat table runner - scrunch a colorful tablecloth up and use as a three dimensional accent on your entertaining table.
  • Keep it simple. Got the brunch bunch coming? Decorative bowls with seasonal fruit, tall tumblers, a bucket of ice and pitcher of almond milk make for a smart, do-it-yourself smoothie station.
  • Set out snacks. Spiced almonds always hit the right note and they're so simple to create. Just toss whole natural almonds from your pantry with a bit of olive oil and your favorite spice mix. Toast lightly and voilà -- instant party snack. If short on time, keep on hand your favorite flavored almonds from the store for a quick and simple way to elevate the taste and sophistication.
  • Top it off. Sliced almonds add the perfect crunch to store-bought salsa for that made-from-scratch look right from the pantry. Sprinkle a few sliced almonds on top for just the right touch.

For these and more easy pantry entertaining tips from Rick Rifle, visit

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