I am trying to soak in as much of this summer as I can! This fall is going to be a big adjustment for us with both kids in school. That’s right, both kids! Grant will be starting kindergarten (cue the tears) and JJ will be in daycare. That means they will be in school 5 days a week! Also, I am officially on hiatus! Home & Family is taking a short break to update the house and give everyone a very much deserved break. The first thing on my list for the break is to host a dinner party for my family.
Since having JJ, I haven’t had the time to entertain as much as I’d like. Now that he has a scheduled bedtime (thank goodness), I am able to get back into the swing of things. My husband and I are so lucky to have his family live close to us. My brother-in-law hosts dinners at his place all of the time, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law are always so helpful with everything! I decided to kick off my hiatus by thanking them for everything they do with an al fresco taco night!! Tacos, cocktails, summer nights, family…, everything about that sounded perfect to me.
Usually, I find myself running to three or four different places to find all of the things I need to host a “get together,” and I always seem to forget something in the chaos as well. To omit the chaos, I tried out the Smart & Final Extra! store close to my house. I have to say, not only did I get what I needed for my dinner recipes, but I found myself roaming the store for other items I need for everyday life! I found cleaning products in bulk, which is very much needed in my life! There were also so many things I saw for the kids as well, like the big bottles of water that I use for JJ’s formula and the baby food that he likes. I also found bulk items for Grant’s school lunches. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t found Smart & Final sooner! While shopping for the al fresco summer dinner, I was also inspired to start planning for the school year and the new season of the show.
I found all of the fresh produce that I needed for the party, and, of course, all the ingredients to make a signature cocktail. Summer nights require a cocktail that is bright and refreshing, so the first thing that came to my mind was pineapple! Sparkling wine is also a must while dining al fresco in the summer, so I decided to mix the two for a Sparkling Summery Pineapple Punch! It’s quite effortless to make, and the flavors are a perfect blend of sparkling wine, sweet pineapple, tangy lime and fresh mint. I tend to make big batches of this cocktail so that I’m not playing bartender all night. Everyone can just pour their own drink, and top it off with a bit more sparkling wine.
A great tip when making a big batch cocktail is to not add too much ice. It waters the cocktail down and takes away the great fizz from the wine. Offer fresh ice close to the drink area, so guests can add fresh ice to their cup, which will make their drink nice and cold, without watering it down.
Everything you see in this spread I was able to find at Smart & Final Extra! For my taco night, I made my favorite coconut rice, chicken and beef for the tacos with my recipe for taco seasoning, and the base of my veggie tacos in case anyone wanted to go for a meatless option. I also found all the taco fixings like Mexican crema, avocados, chips and salsa at Smart & Final Extra!
I also made a great salad that was inspired by the one that Debbie made on Home & Family, but instead of sunflower seeds, I topped it off with the salted First Street pepita seeds. I couldn’t stop snacking on these while making the salad! They are so good!
Last, but not least! I have been wanting to grill some pound cake, and I found all the ingredients I needed at Smart & Final Extra! I was in need of fresh baking powder and baking soda, which is necessary to make the best desserts. It took everything in me to not buy all the bulk baking items, which I will need in the fall to test out all of my fall recipes…I will certainly be back to grab those in the near future.
- Recipe for a big batch of Sparkling Summery Pineapple Punch
- 2-quart container of Smart & Final First Street Pineapple Juice
- Cup fresh lime juice
- 2 bottles of sparkling wine, such as La Marcha OR if you want to make it non-alcoholic 1-liter club soda
- Mint and strawberries to garnish
- In a large punch bowl or large drink holder, pour in the pineapple juice, lime juice, and one bottle of the sparkling wine (or club soda)
- Note; if using the club soda, do not add all of it to the batch, save some to top off the drinks
- Stir to combine
- Add in some ice, and mix again; not too much ice or you will water down the punch
- Garnish drinks with a lime slice, freshly cut strawberries, and fresh ice
- Pour drink mixture over the ice and top off with a little more sparkling wine or club soda
- Adjust flavors to your liking by adding more wine, lime juice, or pineapple juice
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Smart & Final. All thoughts and opinions are my own.