entertainingsummer

Summer is Here {Picnicking Tips}

As the days get longer, everyone is itching to get outside.  Instead of hosting a lunch or dinner party at home, take the party outside and plan a spring picnic. Picnics provide a laid-back and relaxed setting and can be tailored for any occasion, be it a romantic picnic for two, a fun family outing or a gourmet spread for your foodie friends.  Here are some tips for getting your picnic started:

Location, Location, Location

A picnic is all about the setting, so start your picnic planning by picking a great location.  Picnic venue options include a local park, rooftop, backyard, beach, mountain ridge, meadow, garden, hillside or pond.  Choose a private spot for an intimate picnic or a more open area for families and larger groups so you have room for frolicking or tossing a Frisbee around.

Gearing Up

Planning a good picnic involves packing the proper gear for the occasion. Some basics to include are: blankets, cups, utensils, a sharp knife, a beer/wine bottle opener, sturdy plates, a cutting board, napkins, ice, a cooler or insulated bag, hand wipes, garbage bags, sunblock and bug spray.  If picnicking earlier in the season, bring a tarp or an extra blanket since the grass might still be wet.

Picnic “Table”

Use a flat-topped cooler as a “table” for your food by draping a casual tablecloth over the top of the cooler.  By placing food on top of the cooler, you’ll free up space on your blanket.

Stay Hydrated

Be sure to pack plenty of water, which you can jazz up with slices of lemon or lime.  Sparkling water, iced tea (especially flavored), lemonade, wine and light beer are great beverage options for a picnic.  Be sure to transfer alcoholic beverages into plastic cups if you’re picnicking in a public area—getting a ticket for an open container is no fun.

Additional Hip Tips:

  • Pack your picnic goods in a backpack or canvas tote bag instead of a cumbersome picnic basket (though I do love my picnic basket!).
  • Prewrap utensils in napkins and secure with a rubber band or ribbon to make passing out sets a snap.
  • Bring fabric napkins for a more-formal feel.
  • Use disposable bamboo plates, which are sturdier than traditional paper or plastic disposables.
  • Freeze plastic bottles of water to use as ice packs for any items that need to stay cold, then drink the bottles of water after they thaw.
  • Pack cookies, brownies or another dessert in a plastic container and separate layers with pieces of parchment paper for a fresh-from-the-bakery look.

 

Visit my food/ entertaining blog, The Hip Hostess, for more great recipes, hip tips and ideas for entertaining.

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