The warmth of bright sunshine. The scent of freshly-cut grass. The crackle of a campfire.
We all have our favorite things about summer. But whether you love picnics to the park, kicking back in the backyard or drinking cold cocktails out on the patio, there's no doubt about it: it's the perfect time to take it outside.
So how do you make the most of the warm weather? Try these helpful hints and tips!
9 Great Tips for the Great Outdoors
- Make the most of mason jars. To keep everything eco-friendly, use glass jars for lemonade or iced tea, since the heavy bottoms ensure they won't tip over in the breeze. Plus, the resealable lids make them great for transporting (not to mention, avoiding bugs if you’ll be out in the wilderness)!
Jars work really well for toting trifle-style desserts or single-serving salads, too. (For salads, just put the dressing at the bottom so they don't get soggy!)
- Pack like a pro. Use resealable containers to avoid any leaks as well as refreezable ice packs for taking chilled foods and drinks on the go. And put the foods you'll want first on top of your basket or cooler. That makes it easier to keep everything cold, since the lid will be open less frequently.
- Serve up some slaw. Crunchy coleslaw is a summer staple. But since warm temperatures and mayo don't exactly mix, try tossing ½ cup Vidalia® Onion Dressing with a bag of tri-color coleslaw mix instead.
Bonus tip: Like it spicy? Stir in 2 tablespoons Jalapeno Lime Hot Sauce, too. Or like it sweet? Add a couple handfuls of halved grapes, or stir in matchstick-style slices of crisp apples.
- Bring on the BBQ. Fried chicken is an easy-to-pack picnic favorite, since it’s delicious warm or cold. Plus, it doesn’t require any utensils!
But if you're having a backyard gathering, impress your guests with grilled burgers, ribs or a lip-smacking star like this Saucy Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin. Smoky and sassy, this succulent BBQ-slathered pork is so tender that you don’t even need a knife. And it’s really simple, too!
(Seriously, the sauce is absolutely amazing. My husband has requested that we add this recipe to our regular meal rotation this summer.)
- Fill up on fruits and veggies. So fresh. So healthy. So easy. My personal picks for picnics: juicy watermelon (no need to worry about bruising, even if the trip gets bumpy!), red grapes and baby carrots for snacking.
- Stick with sturdy sandwiches. If you're making cold sandwiches, try a crusty baguette or hearty bread that isn't likely to get squished. Wrapping sandwiches with parchment or waxed paper instead of plastic wrap will help avoid sogginess, too!
- Don't forget about food safety. It seems like a no-brainer, but be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. And always discard anything that’s been sitting out in warm weather for more than two hours.
- Save room for s'mores. Even if you can't have a campfire, s'more-inspired desserts are always a hit with all ages. And they are perfect for summertime! Try these gloriously gooey S'more Truffle Brownie Cups. (Since these marshmallow-topped bites are baked in foil cupcake liners, no utensils are needed!)
You can also try this five-star recipe for S'more Cake. It's so decadent and delicious!
- Don't forget the wet wipes. And last but not least, if you won’t have access to running water, moist towelettes are a life-saver for easy clean-up.
What are YOUR favorite picnic recipes and tried-and-true outdoor tips? Comment right below, or share your ideas with us on Facebook!
Happy summer, friends!