The dog days of summer are here and it's only matter of time before the heat becomes a distant memory. This time of year is fleeting, and we've been taking advantage of the sunlit evenings by eating almost all of our dinner picnic-style.
Picnics are a great way to enjoy the outdoors; they're easy to pack, and even easier to clean up. We're rounded up a few tips and recipes to inspire your next picnic in the park. Read on for our guide to the perfect picnic.
We like to keep our outdoor meals simple, and we eat the ol' fashioned way - on a blanket. We DIYed this patterned picnic blanket using a canvas drop cloth (4x5 feet), some shimmery gold fabric paint, and a bottle top (for the circle shape).
The hardest part about this project is waiting for the paint to dry. It's really easy, and the heavy canvas makes the blanket extremely durable and hefty.
There are so many beautiful picnic baskets to choose from, but it's important not to get caught up in aesthetics. In most cases, your basket needs to do more than look pretty; it needs to keep your food cool and contained. For everyday picnics at our neighborhood park, we pack everything into our "pretty" $25 basket (currently available through Poppytalk's adorable line at Target). For bigger picnics at the beach or destinations that require a drive, we use our deluxe picnic cooler (here's the one we have in a different print).
While the picnic cooler is a little less quaint than our basket, this bad boy means business, holds everything we need, and comes with a full set of dinnerware and wine glasses. For real.
Once you have your blanket situation sorted out, it's time to pack your picnic. We like to keep the menu straightforward, sticking with basic sandwiches, veggies, fruit, a bottle of wine and lemonade, and a simple dessert.
Here are our favorite picnic recipes:
- The Best BLT (it really is the best)
- Turkey, Avocado, and Sprout Sandwich (this is an easy one to make vegetarian by skipping the turkey)
- The Perfect Picnic Sandwich (aptly named)
- Simple Sesame Noodles (these are great alone and you easily jazz them up by adding protein and veggies)
- Curried Chicken Salad (delicious and amazing, this recipe is easy to make ahead of time)
- Cherry Hand Pies (yes, this recipe takes some time, but there is not a more perfect picnic dessert)
- Salted Butter Rice Krispie Treats (if you like Rice Krispie treats, you must stop reading and make this recipe immediately - go!)
We wrap sandwiches in parchment paper and seal them with food picks. We also use durable jelly jars for glasses, and get by with a reusable set of bamboo plates. We favor doing the food preparation at home, and routinely only bring along a bread knife, cutting board, and a corkscrew.
Once you're packed and ready to go, all you need to do is find the perfect picnic spot, which is the best part of the whole process. Do you have a favorite picnic tip or destination? Please share in the comments below!