Summer Picnic Essentials!
National Picnic Week is coming up (the last week of June), giving you plenty of time to gather picnic essentials and enjoy a tasty meal in the great outdoors. And since spending time outside has been scientifically proven to be good for you, here are a few ideas to help you dine alfresco, while reaping significant health benefits!
Tips from Pro Picnickers
Some quick tips from the experts include both convenience and health concerns. The first is to avoid ice cream, pudding, and cakes – not only are they fragile to transport, wasps love them!
Pack everything in lightweight, resealable containers and remember food can spoil and breed bacteria when not stored at the right temperature. You can keep everything cold with refreezable ice packs from Lowe’s (1360 New Beale St. in Castle Rock). Or, better yet, fill a couple of zipper bags with ice cubes to chill food till you reach your picnic spot. The ice cubes can then cool drinks during the picnic!
Some ketchups and mustards come in mini-jars that are small enough to throw in your tote, or get a few plastic mini-condiment bottles.
Check out this insulated picnic backpack with melamine plates, reusable utensils, a blanket, plastic drinking glasses, salt and pepper shakers, an insulated wine cooler, bottle stoppers, cotton napkins, a cheese board, knife and room for the cheese! Perfect for transporting all the essentials!
Don’t forget the trash bags so you can take your mess with you — disposing of everything you bring to the picnic site is one of those pay-it-forward practices of considerate picnickers.
And don’t forget a first-aid kit. The American Red Cross tells you everything you’ll need for yours, from bandages, gauze, compresses and adhesive tape, to hydrocortisone ointment packs and antiseptic wipes.
Picnic Recipes to Go
Picnic food should be easy to carry, keep well (as in, don’t take a lettuce salad only to watch it wilt!) and of course, delicious. These recipes all fit nicely into that description!
Burgers and hot dogs are a great picnic meal, especially if you take along a disposable grill like this one from Amazon. It’s a simple setup: ignite a piece of paper soaked in lighter fluid, drop it in the charcoal, and wait about 20 minutes. You can play frisbee, card games on your picnic blanket or bocce ball while your portable grill heats up. And it will stay hot for a few hours of cooking – burgers and hot dogs – maybe even s’mores!
Woman’s Day has a new entry in its collection of picnic food: chicken salad wraps in collard greens — the latest alternative to kale! You can find the greens at Whole Foods in Highlands Ranch or possibly at the Farmer’s Market at 9288 Dorchester in Highlands Ranch (the Castle Rock Farmer’s Market doesn’t open till next month).
Pierogi Picnic Salad from the Food Network or Smashed Buttermilk Potato Salad from Country Living make great sides – full of carbs to fuel your frisbee-fun, and all kinds of deliciousness.
Jammy Eggs from Bon Appetit are like deviled eggs—but faster, easier, more delicious, and fancier-sounding. This recipe calls for pepperoncini, but any pickle-y thing (olives, dill pickles) will work, too.
Easy-peasy Tomato Caprese from Tablespoon or Melon and Prosciutto skewers from That Skinny Chick Can Bake are yummy treats to eat al fresco, too! And these soft cream cheese and Chocolate Chip Cookies from Averie Cooks are the perfect dessert to pack for your picnic!
Where to Picnic?
One of the best places to get away from it all is Castlewood Canyon State Park, 12 miles away from Crystal Valley. It’s a great place for a hike and there are tables throughout the park at 2989 S. Hwy 83 in Franktown.
Picnicking in Crystal Valley
You can always picnic at the Rock, just minutes from the master-planned community of Crystal Valley. And if you’re in the market for a brand new home our newly built models are surrounded by nature, but near amenities, shopping, entertainment and dining. Explore all the beautiful models and move-in ready homes from Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton – ranch and two-story designs, priced from the $300s.