PARTIES

These tips from Superpretzel.com can help you plan and get your outdoor space ready for your next party:

1. Think beyond the patio table, and provide more than enough seating for all. Arrange sofas and chairs into conversation clusters.

2. Get the holiday lights out of storage to light up the party zone by stringing them along deck rails, up tree trunks, or zig-zagging them overhead.

3. For a chemical-free bug repellent, set out a fan or two on a low setting to stir up a breeze.

4. For the ultimate crowd mixer and crowd pleaser, keep a few fun and easy yard games on hand.

5. Keep snacks simple. Soft pretzel bites make a great no-fuss party favorite, but you can also build some fun and delicious snacks around them that your guests will love.

GARDENING

Enhance home cooking with garden

The experts at Bonnie Plants offer easy, space-saving ideas for “garden to table” options that provide big flavor for your home cooking.

Caged tomatoes: Whether you choose juicy slicers or cherry-sized snackers, caged tomatoes are simple to grow. Try to select caged determinate varieties of tomatoes because the vines are relatively compact yet bear an intense harvest in one to two months.

Strawberries in hanging baskets: Sweet, juicy strawberries add loads of flavor to dishes. Think you need a plot to grow a bountiful harvest? Think again. Maximize space with hanging baskets that produce cascades of everbearing strawberries throughout the warm growing season.

Herbs in combo pots: Herb gardens can be grown in compact spaces. For example, a kitchen herb combo container, featuring sweet basil, cilantro and curled parsley, is a powerhouse pot that you can set right outside your door for convenient access any time.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Reasons to explore the freezer aisle

Here are reasons to check out the freezer section of your grocer, according to SeaPack:

1. Save steps. Proteins come portioned and seasoned, whole grains precooked, and frozen vegetables and potatoes are clean, peeled and pared.

2. Stock up. Frozen foods maintain their quality for several weeks, giving them a much longer shelf life than fresh options.

3. Nice price. Compared to restaurants and online meal kits, frozen foods are the most affordable of convenient dinner solutions.

4. Locked-in freshness and flavor. Produce and proteins are flash frozen at their at peak freshness.

EASY RECIPE

Slow-cooker Pulled Pork

This Slow-cooker Pulled Pork recipe from Delish.com is perfect for spring.

— 1 onion, finely chopped

— 3/4 cup ketchup

— 3 tablespoons tomato paste

— 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

— 1 teaspoon each of paprika, garlic powder, mustard powder and cumin

— 1 3- to 4-pound pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat

Combine onion, ketchup, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar and spices in the bowl of a slow cooker. Stir until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pork shoulder and toss to coat the meat in the sauce. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 5-6 hours, until tender. Remove pork from slow cooker and transfer to bowl. Shred pork with two forks and toss pork with juices from the slow cooker. Serve on buns with barbecue sauce and coleslaw.

— Brandpoint