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Big Party in a Small Space: Independence Day Apartment Party

Charlottesville Apartment Party TipsThe 4th of July is an excellent opportunity to invite your friends to your Charlottesville apartment for a great summer gathering. Do you think it’s impossible to throw a party in your apartment? Think again! With our tips and a little planning, you can host the perfect get-together in any space!

First decide how many people you want to invite and determine how much seating you will want to provide. Don’t hesitate to move your furniture - push tables, sofas and chairs against the walls of your room to make more room while preserving seating and surfaces to use as serving areas. Scatter pillows, cushions, and bean bags near your existing seating to provide more places for guests to settle and to create additional spaces for conversation.

Fragile items and decorative furniture should be protected by relocating them into bedrooms or closets; in addition to saving valuables, you will also clear surfaces for serving more food. Designate an area where guests can leave bags and coats – this will help prevent clutter in your entryway or on your serving tables. Provide a place for your guests’ personal items away from the party, and be sure it can’t be used as a sleeping place for your pets.

Charlottesville Apartment Party TipsConsider offering one signature cocktail rather than taking drink orders (unless you like to be a bartender during the party). Try creating a drink that can be mixed quickly, or make a pitcher ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for easy service. Give your guests “drink charms” or markers so that they can label their drinks and keep track of glasses. It’s always a good idea to offer wine or beer as an alternative, and to have some soft drinks chilled for those who might not drink alcohol.

A dinner party for a large number of guests in your apartment may be unrealistic. Rather than sitting down to a meal, try putting together a menu of tapas and finger foods so that your guests can enjoy small bites without clumsily gathering around a crowded table. Divide your dishes onto several plates and place them all around the room. Guests can help themselves, and a little variety will provide motivation to mingle as they try different dishes.

Enjoy the theme of the season! Mini corn dogs and cocktail weenies are fun, easy to cook seasonal snacks for a 4th party in your apartment; watermelon wedges and corn bread are favorites you can have ready without the need to keep them warm. Grilled kebabs are also a fun way to grill up summer flavor while catering to a wide variety of palettes – grill tofu, chicken, shrimp, and beef kebabs and place them all around your party space with companion plates of veggie and fruit kebabs. You can avoid being chained to the grill by pre-cooking your kebabs and keeping them warm in a low temperature oven - put them out just before your guests arrive. Try serving ice cream sandwiches for a fun, no nonsense dessert (that won’t require you to heat up your kitchen).

And above all, have fun! Your guests came to spend time with you and your friends, so prepare your party in advance and then relax and enjoy celebrating in your Charlottesville apartment.

Charlottesville Apartment Party TipsWant to stage your own Independence Day party? Try our “Kebab Medley” recipe below!

Kebab Medley

1 Cup soy sauce
½ Cup molasses
1 hot red chile, chopped finely
¼ Cup Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger root

Meat Skewers:
4 chicken breasts, skinned and deboned, cut into 2 inch chunks
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 filet mignon steaks, sliced thinly
2 packages extra firm tofu, cut into 1 inch chunks

Veggie Skewers:
1 package Button Mushrooms, scrubbed
2 small sweet onions, cut into eighths and sectioned (approx. 2 inch pieces)
2 bell peppers (red or green or both), cut into 2 inch pieces

Fruit Skewers:
Charlottesville Apartment Party Tips1 pineapple, cut into 2 inch chunks
1 package of strawberries, cut in half
watermelon, cut into 2 inch chunks

Whisk all marinade ingredients together. Place chicken, shrimp, and beef skewers EACH in their own Ziploc bag and all other skewers can be marinated together. Divide marinade and add to bags so all skewers are covered and chill for 4-6 hours. If you prefer NOT to grill your fruit, you can skip marinating it as well.

Save unused marinade for basting.

Grill the tofu, veggie, and fruit skewers together, basting with the leftover marinade, for about 20 minutes, until the tofu is firm and charred and the onions are mostly softened. Place finished skewers in a warm oven (180 – 225 degrees) to keep them warm.

Baste and cook the chicken skewers, about 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. Baste and cook the beef skewers, depending on doneness desired, 6-12 minutes, and the shrimp will only need about 3-4 minutes – if you time your skewers properly, they can be done all at the same time.

Keep skewers warm in your oven until ready to serve. You can serve them with dipping sauces like ketchup, Ponzu, peanut sauce, or spicy mustard – get creative and try some of the more interesting sauces from the “international” section of your grocery store. If you have unused marinade, you can heat it in a saucepan just until it starts to bubble to make a yummy dipping sauce; if you add a dollop of tahini or peanut butter, it’s even more interesting.



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