Friday, July 15, 2011

Pic a Nic Baskets

We found ourselves with a gorgeous summer weekend recently, so I fought my usual "indoor kid" instincts and said we should pack up and spend some time at the beach/park not too far a walk from the place we currently call home. 

We stopped at the grocery store and picked up some snacky snacks: raspberries, crackers, a baguette and some creamy cheese. Our park time was going to be later in the day so it was not a full on lunch. Although when we staked out our spot we couldn't help but be jealous of the folks near us that were grilling some wonderful smelling meats on their mini-Weber.
One day I'm sure we'll get a real picnic basket to be all cutesy when we head out for an afternoon, but this time around all the (perishable) food and drink was thrown into our new cooler - a months-ago Costco purchase. I love it not only because it came with a detachable dolly, but also because it folds down into a quarter of the size for easy storage.
Our go-to blanket for any outdoor activity, a book, the iPad for some tunes and a camera just in case inspiration struck were all we needed for a serene couple hours out on the grass.

A few ideas culled from random websites on how to build the perfect picnic basket:
- Chop and divide up into servings before you go. Prep work should not be part of your relaxation! But if you must. . .
- Bring a small cutting board - if there is some prep work involved you won't want to use your lap or the blanket as a sturdy work surface!
- Move past the disposable plates and silverware and invest in a break-resistant set that can be reused - also perfect for outdoor dining on your balcony, deck or backyard! Target typically has some adorable sets each summer that regularly go on sale.
- If wine is in the cards, don't forget the corkscrew! Or just grab bottles that have twist off caps.
- Sunscreen! Although probably not stored in the same area as your food, just as important.
- an extra bag/container for garbage items or recycling.

And a few recipes that look oh so good you might not be able to wait to leave the house before you dig in:
- Avocado and Ham Sandwiches
- Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Raisins 
- Watermelon (no recipe, just watermelon!)
- Black Bean Salad served with Tortilla Chips
- Puff Pastry Cheese Twists
- A Martha Stewart Picnic

Take advantage of your summer by checking out Movies in the Park, Concerts on the Square and other city run opportunities that are likely free of charge - its just up to you to stake out a spot for your blanket early! 

What other tips for al fresco fun do you have to share?


  1. We went on a picnic today! We went to Whole Foods on the way, and asked for recommendations on cheese and bread. (Nels had his usual lunch...formula.) :)

    Last year, our best picnic was had at an outdoor evening concert.

  2. Very fun - I remember your photos of the whoopie pies you had on a picnic - that's what inspired me to make the pumpkin ones I'm now addicted to!