A beautiful day for a picnic
Memorial day marks the unofficial start of summer loving, even though June 19 is the official start of summer. But who wants to wait? If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a 3-day weekend it’s the perfect time to relax, vacation or just enjoy the outdoors with a spontaneous and delicious picnic.
Picnics are hands down the best and cheapest summer activity and they’re super easy to execute, even with the little ones in tow. Time to fold up the blanket, raid the farmers market and grab your basket because we’re talking all things picnic.
Great picnic hacks
- Go bug-free – Place cupcake liners on the top of your drinks to keep unwanted pests out.
- Avoid a soggy bottom – Put a shower curtain under your blanket to avoid moisture from the grass soaking through.
- Tic, tac, spice – Don’t bring your salt and pepper mills to your picnic party – grass, sticky fingers and spillage spell disaster. Empty tic-tac containers and fill with just enough salt and pepper, label and you’re ready to go. Try putting condiments in muffin tins too.
- Stack your food – Between bowls, plates and utensils things can get messy and the dishes will pile up. Prep kababs for each stage of your picnic; salad kabab, burger kabab and a fruit kabab for dessert.
- Iced fruit – Ice cubes melt and will create an unwanted flood in your cooler. Freeze fruit the night before. The frozen fruit can keep food cold in the cooler and be used as a cool treat.
- Hollowed centerpiece – Spruce up your picnic by hollowing out a watermelon and place fresh-picked flowers in the middle. The fruit can be kababed and shared with your partner. Ohh la la how romantic!
- Save your utensils – Don’t spend time searching for your utensils in the grass, use a clothespin to attach them to a paper bag.
- Egg carton plates – Avoid dirty dishes or buying paper ones. Take your empty egg cartons and use them for plates or bowls. You can put condiments in the slots and sandwiches on the other side. Egg cartons are compostable so you’re helping the environment.
- Keep em’ together – Have you ever prepped sandwiches to be let down when they’ve fallen apart once you settle into your picnic spot? Wrap your sandwiches in greaseproof paper to keep all the delicious fillings intake.
Delish recipes to spice up your picnic
You can’t have a picnic without fantastic, mouth-watering recipes. We trolled the interwebs for the best picnic recipes so don’t look any further than below.
Eggplant, Prosciutto & Pesto Pressed Sandwiches
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ? cup Parmesan cheese
- ? cup pine nuts (Allergic to pine nuts? Try walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds!)
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 eggplant, cut lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices
- Olive oil, for brushing
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 oz soft goat cheese
- ½ lb fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into thick slices
- ? lb sliced prosciutto
- 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced in half
First, make the pesto. In a food processor, combine the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, and kosher salt. Pulse until well-mixed. Slowly pour the olive oil into the food processor as it is running, and continue to run until the pesto comes together. Set aside. Preheat the grill to high. Grill the bell pepper, turning frequently, until blackened on all sides. Remove from the grill, place in a bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, peel the skin from the pepper, rinse, pull out the stem and seeds, and cut into strips. As you wait for the pepper to be ready, brush the sliced eggplant with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill over medium-high until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Spread the pesto on one of the pieces of bread, and goat cheese on the other. Layer on the prosciutto, roasted red peppers, mozzarella, and eggplant, and then sandwich the two pieces together. Press down on the sandwich, and then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Weigh down with a heavy object and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight. When ready to serve or pack, unwrap the sandwich and cut off the very ends and sides to make them even. Then, cut the sandwich into mini sandwiches (I usually wind up with about 10 per loaf). Wrap the sandwiches to keep them together while traveling, if necessary, and serve at room temperature. Recipe via HostTheToast.com
S’mores Cake in a Jar
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. heavy cream
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 tbsp. sour cream
In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Mix until batter is smooth. Using a 1/4 cup measure, add batter to mason jars one scoop at a time. You only want to fill them up about half way, and the batter should work evenly for 4 jars. Again – don’t worry if it is perfect. Place mason jars in a baking dish and add about 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake is set.
Remove cake from the oven and press large marshmallows down on top, being careful not to burn yourself. There is no set number of marshmallows to use, I pressed down as many as I could, about 4-5 each. Heat the broiler on your oven and watching carefully, brown marshmallows for about 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Do not take your eyes off them! Serve immediately. Recipe via HowSweetEats.com
Not to be a Debby Downer but remember to plan your Memorial Day picnic accordingly so you can still maintain your sleep routine. Enjoy your 3 day weekend!