Celebrate Your Graduate with Food, Fun and Great Memories

Celebrate Your Graduate with Food, Fun and Great Memories

This season is all about celebrating achievements, accomplishments and success. If you have a graduate in your family, you know the mix of excitement and emotion that comes with this milestone.
Allow me to join you to help them celebrate in style!

Reflect on your graduation memories—those heartfelt cards, generous
gifts, and the joyous faces of friends and family. Now let’s create
new memories for our graduates, with a fabulous summer cookout. Here
are some tips to make your celebration both fun and safe:

Keep Bugs at Bay Naturally
We all dread those pesky mosquitoes and flies. Instead of reaching for
harsh chemicals, try these natural bug repellents:

  • Citronella Candles: They add ambiance and keep bugs away.
  • Essential Oils: Oils like eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree are effective
    and smell wonderful. Mix with water in a clean spray bottle and for ease of
    spraying your guest area.

Food Safety First
Nothing ruins a celebration faster than food poisoning. Ensure your food
stays fresh and safe:

  • Keep it Cold: Store perishables like dairy and seafood on ice until ready to
    eat or cook.
  • Separate Raw and Cooked Foods: Use different coolers and utensils to
    prevent cross-contamination.
  • Pre-cook Meal: Pre-cook chicken and other meats so you can just reheat
    and sauce them on the grill, ensuring they are cooked through safely.

Suggested Delicious and Safe Recipes
Here are some great, safe-to-eat recipes that are perfect for a cookout:

  • Vinaigrette Potato Salad: Skip the mayo and go for a vinaigrette to keep
    it safe and tasty.
  • Grilled Vegetables: Marinate in olive oil and herbs, then grill to
  • Frozen Meats: Bring frozen burgers and hotdogs; they’ll stay cool and
    cook up fresh.

Stay Cool and Hydrated
Cooking outdoors can get hot. Make sure you:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, and offer your guests refreshing
  • Use Proper Utensils: Make sure you have the right tools for each dish to
    avoid cross-contamination.

Liquid Joy Mocktail Recipes

Here’s a fun and hydrating mocktail to put the brakes on dehydrating at your cookout:

Watermelon Mint Bliss – Serves (6) 4 oz. glasses

● 2 cups of watermelon, cubed and seeds removed
● 1 cup of coconut water
● 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice
● 1 bunch of fresh mint leaves
● Ice cubes


  1. Blend the watermelon cubes until smooth.
  2. Add the coconut water, lime juice, and a few mint leaves to the blender.
  3. Blend again until all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into a glass over ice cubes.
  5. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

This mocktail works for hydration by combining the high water content of
watermelon with the electrolyte-rich coconut water, making it both
refreshing and hydrating.

My closing salute until we connect again…Put a Fork In It!

~Chef Monica

Photo credit: Famous Dave’s

Chef Monica