Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Holiday Pears

As friends and family begin filtering in for the holiday season, or as you travel to their homes, we invite you to indulge in this recipe for Holiday Pears that will awaken your taste buds. With a decadent mix of spices, this dish will surely become a staple in your holiday traditions.

1 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
4 firm-ripe pears such as d’Anjou or Bosc (about 2 1/2 lb. total)
1/2 rinsed lemon (about 2 oz. total), thinly sliced (ends discarded)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1. Sort cranberries and discard stems and any bruised or decayed fruit. Rinse and drain berries. Peel pears; cut in half and core. In a 2- to 2 1/2-quart baking dish, combine cranberries, pears, and lemon slices.

2. In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium-high heat, stir sugar, vinegar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and 1/2 cup water until mixture boils and sugar is dissolved. Pour over fruit. Cover dish tightly with foil.

3. Bake in a 350° regular or convection oven until pears are tender when pierced, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

From Sunset December 2001

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Popular Outdoor Products for Fall

With the changing colors of the leaves and more tolerable temperatures, fall is a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy your outdoor space. Here are some of our favorite outdoor products for fall:

A good mug is essential for sipping down a hot beverage in cooler temperatures. We love this Barkaris Olive Mug from Pier 1 (1).

This Selamat Reo Lounge Chair from Wayfair (2) makes a cozy spot for long conversations into the night with friends.

A brick oven from the Belgard Elements Collection (3) is the perfect accessory for dinner and dessert; fire up some tasty pizzas with all your favorite toppings and then break out the s’mores for a treat that’s sure to please.

Nothing makes an outdoor space feel more like the indoors than soft, fluffy pillows and throws, plus they brighten up your patio with seasonal colors. We’re fans of the Tuscan and Brittany Papaya pillows and Canyon Chenille throw from Frontgate (4) because they’re made using Sunbrella which means they can withstand mother nature.

A rug is the foundation for making an outdoor space a room, defining the space and creating a focal area. We like the fall colors in this Red Floor Tile Rug from World Market (5).

Ready for a s’mores upgrade? Try this S’mores Party Maker from Bed, Bath and Beyond (6) and make up to three s’mores at once with one tool. Plus, if you want a twist on the classic s’more, try these exciting flavors in the 5-Piece Chocolate Bar Gift Set from Crate & Barrel (6) – toffee brittle, milk chocolate, malted milkshake, s’mores and peanut butter cup, yum!

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Enjoying Fall Outdoors

Fall is one of our favorite times of the year – daytime temperatures have cooled enough to enjoy outdoor spaces without summer’s heat and in the nighttime we are comforted by the warmth and glow of a roaring fire.

Here are some ways to enjoy fall outdoors with your friends and family:

  • Start an annual flag football game – boys against girls, generation against generation, whatever it may be.
  • Enjoy a staycation in your own backyard by pitching a tent and camping outside. Don’t forget to bring the marshmallows for some late night s’mores!
  • Create the ultimate tailgate by firing up the grill and setting up the TV outdoors. We prefer outdoor cooking in the fall when the temperatures are more tolerable to standing over a hot flame
  • Enjoy the quiet moments. Take your morning cup of coffee to the patio and listen to nature’s music.
  • Have a date night at home. Enjoy a romantic evening with a glass of wine by the fireplace or fire pit.

How do you enjoy fall outdoors? Let us know in the comments section!

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Grilled Beer-Cooked Sausages

This quick and easy recipe packs a lot of punch. We love these sausages smeared with coarse-grain mustard on crusty rolls. The onions take on a lot of the ale’s flavor, including its slight bitterness. We recommend leaving them off your sausage if you’re sensitive to bitter flavors.

6 bottles (12 oz. each) medium- to heavy-bodied ale (9 cups)
12 bratwurst
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise

1. Bring beer to a boil in a large, wide pot. Add sausages and onions and simmer 15 minutes. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit until ready to grill.

2. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium (you can hold your hand 1 to 2 in. above the cooking grate only 4 to 5 seconds). Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer sausages to the grill. Cook sausages, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, drain onions and set aside. Serve sausages hot or warm, with onions if you like.

Note: You can add up to 8 more sausages without increasing the amount of beer or onion.

From Sunset October 2007

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Enter the My Belgard Backyard Sweepstakes!

Sweepstakes Page - 1 (Brighton)

We’ve teamed up with the folks at Time Inc., publishers of Southern Living, Coastal Living, Sunset and This Old House to bring you the My Belgard Backyard Sweepstakes.

From now until November 17, 2013, you can enter for a chance to win a Brighton fireplace from the Belgard Elements Collection valued at $10,000!

For full contest rules and regulations and to enter, visit Belgard.com/fireplace.

Good luck!

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Enjoying the Dog Days of Summer

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It’s just a few weeks into summer and we’re already feeling the heat in many parts of the country. While the summer months provide the warm weather to enjoy our outdoor spaces, the dog days of summer can sometimes mean higher temperatures than we’d prefer. Here are some tips for enjoying your patio even on the hottest of days:

– Shade and sunscreen are a winning combination for hot summer days. Make sure your outdoor space has a shady retreat to escape the sun and always wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days.

– One of our favorite ways of staying cool in the summer is going for a dip in the pool. Pools that integrate into your outdoor space become a stunning visual throughout the year.

– Stock your outdoor fridge with plenty of drinks. Cool, refreshing beverages will keep you hydrated throughout the day.

– An outdoor fan is a great option for porches or patios with a ceiling overhead. They help circulate the air and can provide just the right amount of breeze on no-wind days.

– Always remember, safety first. If the temperatures are just too high to tolerate, stay indoors. The elderly and those with health conditions are most at risk so take proper caution on severe heat days.

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Our Favorite Products for Keeping Cool Outdoors

Spring and summer provide homeowners with warm temperatures for enjoying the outdoors, but it’s never too soon to plan ahead for when those temperatures get a little too warm! This week we’re sharing our favorite products for keeping cool outdoors so you can enjoy your outdoor living space even in the heat of summer.6.7.13
Air circulation is essential to making a space feel cool and refreshing. An outdoor fan (1) on a patio or porch can not only help keep you cool but looks stylish and adds charm to any home.

It’s all about relaxation when it comes to enjoying a warm summer day. A comfy hammock (2), complete with pillow, lets you swing in a soft breeze.

Adding a Belgard water feature (3) to your outdoor space provides calming, natural sounds while you day dream the afternoon away.

Throw back a refreshing beverage from a tumbler (4) designed to keep drinks cold while the outside of the glass stays condensation-free.

Lastly, if you’re the neighbor entertainer, keep drinks cool for a group with a drink dispenser (5) with a built in ice compartment.

1. Hampton Bay Sailwind II Outdoor Ceiling Fan from Home Depot
2. 2-Point Beige Hammock from Target
3. Water Feature from the Belgard Elements Collection
4. 16 oz. Tumbler from Tervis
5. Drink Dispenser with Ice Chamber from Pier 1

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Enjoying Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off to the summer season and we’ve got plenty of tips for making your outdoor space the place to be with friends and family.

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  • What better way to celebrate Memorial Day than to fire up the grill and cook up some all-American favorites like hot dogs, burgers and corn-on-the-cob? An outdoor kitchen is the perfect accessory for entertaining and eating outdoors.
  • The Memorial Day holiday is a popular time for homeowner to open their pools for the summer season. So don’t forget to invite guests to bring their bathing suits for the first pool party of the year.
  • Keep plenty of cool beverages within easy reach. Adding a mini fridge to your outdoor kitchen is a small investment you won’t soon regret.
  • Refreshing snacks like fresh fruit and veggies are easy-to-eat munchies that are perfect for a warm day.
  • Whether your patio is equipped with an outdoor speaker system or you have a portable speaker for your iPod, create a summer jam playlist that will keep the good tunes riding all weekend long.

While the weekend is all about entertaining and enjoying the company of friends and family, be sure to schedule some relaxation time to unwind. Enjoy a quiet Monday evening on the patio under the stars and listen to nature’s music before the real world begins again Tuesday morning.

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Golden State Fish Tacos

Start the outdoor season with a creative new recipe for fish tacos. These light, refreshing Golden State Fish Tacos are the perfect meal to enjoy on your patio. The delicious ripe avocado paired with fresh, zesty lemon will perk up your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned halibut fillets (1 in. thick), cut into 1 1/2-in. chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 to 14 corn tortillas (5 to 6 in.), warmed on grill
3 cups iceberg lettuce cut in fine shreds
Avocado and Salted Lemon Salad
Yogurt Sauce

1. Heat grill to high (450° to 550°). Mix seasonings in a small bowl. Put halibut on a rimmed baking sheet; coat with oil. Sprinkle with seasonings. Thread fish on 6 to 8 slender metal skewers. Oil cooking grate, using tongs and a wad of oiled paper towels.

2. Grill fish, covered, turning once, until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total. Fill tortillas with lettuce, fish, and salad. Serve with yogurt sauce.

From Sunset September 2010

Outdoor Entertaining Tip of the Month: Enter to Win a $9,000 Outdoor Living Makeover!


– PLEASE NOTE: This contest has closed as of May 27, 2013 –

This month we’re bringing you an extra special outdoor entertaining tip of the month where you can enter to win a $9,000 outdoor living makeover that will make you the host with the most when friends and family visit.

In conjunction with Meredith Corporation, publisher of Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home and Midwest Living, we’re launching an outdoor living style quiz and backyard makeover sweepstakes running March 8, 2013 through May 27, 2013.

The questions at Belgard.biz/StyleQuiz will help you explore your tastes and preferences in outdoor living and entertaining, generating a profile that identifies your outdoor living style. Offering inspiration and education, the quiz matches you with the Belgard pavers that capture looks that are classic, transitional and natural. Upon receiving your outdoor living style type, you will be entered to win a $9,000 backyard makeover.

The randomly selected grand prize winner will receive a personalized landscape plan specifically tailored to the winner‘s outdoor lifestyle, up to $4,000 worth of Belgard pavers and wall product and up to $5,000 towards the cost of installation.

For full contest rules and regulations and to enter, visit Belgard.biz/StyleQuiz.