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Plan an unforgettable picnic with these summer picnic tips — perfect for turning the everyday into something awesome.
“Hey, Mommy! Remember when we used to go outside and have picnics in our backyard?”
Will asked me that as we were packing to go to an outdoor event where we’d be picnicking earlier this week. I smiled. It was one of those funny things I do — spontaneous picnicking. It didn’t matter that we had a picnic table or that there were plenty of nearby outdoor spots perfect for summer picnics. On the first warm evening of the year, we’d picnic in our backyard and then the kids would play while I read. For me, it was fun — but I didn’t realize it had made such an impact on Will too.
Off we went on our picnic that night, but Will’s comment lingered with me and I realized I wanted to have a fun backyard picnic too. So with the help of some easy food, some Snapple Half and Half and a nice afternoon, I planned a simple, easy lunch to enjoy on a blanket in our backyard — and the kids were thrilled. What is it about eating outside on the ground that is so darn special?
Want to have an easy summer picnic of your own? Here’s how to plan a good one:
Your Picnic Can Be Anywhere
This week we picnicked before an outdoor concert (and fortunately finished eating before it began pouring) at a local park. It was a blast. We also picnicked in our own backyard. And we will probably hit the beach for another picnic before the week’s over. The great thing about picnics? There are no hard and fast rules for when and where you can do it. Local parks, beaches and outdoor spots are great for picnics. But so is your own yard. The soccer field. The playground. Wherever you can spread out a blanket and enjoy. And it doesn’t have to be dinner either — your picnic can be for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
And, of course, on rainy days indoor picnics are a-ok too.
The Picnic Food Should Be Simple, Easy and Good
Look, the idea of having a fabulous picnic with fancy canapes and delicate pastries is so sweet. But it’s not exactly practical. I mean really: delicate and fancy don’t really mesh that well with a laid-back, fun picnic, do they? Instead, keep it simple, easy and good with dishes like Picnic Pasta Salad, fried chicken and tasty summer salads. You want to keep the mess to a minimum and the yum factor to a maximum.
Sandwiches are great too. Heck, even pizza can be a good picnic food. But avoid anything that’s squishy, drippy or otherwise ready to spill.
Don’t Forget Summer Drinks!
No picnic is complete without delicious summer drinks. They should be cold, refreshing and ready to enjoy. If you are bringing smaller plastic bottles, you can even freeze your summer drinks for your picnic to double as ice packs for your cooler.
One of our favorite summer picnic drinks is Half and Half — a combination of lemonade and iced tea that screams summer to me. That’s probably because for the longest time I’d only be able to have it in summertime when visiting the Jersey shore.
However, these days you can buy it all made and mixed up — like this Snapple Half and Half that we picked up at Walmart for a recent assignment. It’s inexpensive and the kids adore it. Kind of a win-win, no? (Hint: You can find a $1 off coupon and a fun photo contest at walmart.com/snapple.
PS — Check out the photos from my shop for Snapple at Walmart. I have a Google+ Album all ready to be viewed.
Have you been picnicking this summer? Where?
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of four cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to a tween and a teen, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.