(Family Features) - As the calendar turns to May, my thoughts turn to warm breezes and reasons to celebrate. From Memorial Day to Father's Day and beyond, many of us will kick off the summer season with a picnic, barbecue, potluck or other casual gathering.
Whether you're celebrating a graduation, bridal shower or family reunion, planning pays off:
- Settle on a site that suits the size of your group. A backyard (yours or a friend's) or a city park with a picnic shelter and room to play.
- Make a menu with classic, crowd-pleasing flavors, with dishes that travel well and serve easily.
- Invite everyone to bring a dish; you provide them recipes for a coordinated meal.
- Those without culinary skills can bring ice, beverages, or tableware.
- Issue invitations electronically or by phone, requesting an RSVP.
- Ask teens to corral youngsters with games and activities.
Naturally, I like to plan what I'm going to bake. But I also like to encourage others of all ages to bake, too. So I'll share delectable dessert recipes with friends and family, choosing cake and cookie recipes designed for baking success.
One of my most-requested desserts is Brown Sugar Pound Cake, which hits everyone's sweet spot: It's irresistible served plain, or topped with fresh berries, whipped cream or ice cream. And it's an ideal traveler; transporting to the celebration site with no fuss.
For family-favorite and crowd-pleasing desserts and casual-gathering recipe ideas, check out classic and creative recipes at www.VeryBestBaking.com.