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Charming Picnics for Two for Any Occasion

Picnics for two friends can be fun and casual, or they can be romantic, in the case of two more-than-just-friends. Whichever outdoors meal you plan, the picnic basket you choose, as well as the foods you include, will set the tone.

The Casual Picnic

A picnic should be an experience more than a few minutes spent scarfing down some food outside. Choose a picnic basket or a backpack that comes with everything you need for a nice meal or snack so you don't have to fuss with gathering everything. While those that come with plastic plates and glasses will certainly do, how often do you go on a picnic? Don't you deserve to treat yourself even for a casual meal? Get the best picnic set you can afford--you'll use it and enjoy it for years.messy-sauce.jpg

And don't forget to pack food that's not going to embarrass anybody. Even on a picnic with your best friend, you don't want to look as if you wrestled a barbecue rib and lost by the time it's over! Stick to simple foods so you can focus on your friend and the beautiful outdoors rather spending a lot of energy not dripping sauce down your chin.

The Romantic Picnic

Want to invite someone on a picnic and wow him or her with a romantic meal? Don't forget the blanket, and don't grab an old faded sheet, blanket or rag and think that'll do. Choose something pretty and attractive. It's going to get noticed since you'll be sitting on it, so you want it to look great. Choosing something old and ratty is a bit like going on a date and dressing in holey jeans and a stained shirt.

Next, choose a romantic picnic basket or at least an attractive picnic basketthat has some charm. A plastic container just isn't going to make the impression you want. Real willow with charming accents, pretty patterned napkins and real stainless steel flatware will impress far more than plastic forks and paper napkins. Real glasses and china plates can help, too.

Follow the KISS principles when choosing food: Keep It Simple, Silly. For romantic picnics, finger foods are definitely in order. Grapes and strawberries, and why not some champagne you take in a basket designed for bottles of wine or champagne, are great choices. Crackers with cheese and things like chicken salad or spreads, and anything you might be able to feed each other are perfect choices for romantic picnics.

Pick your basket, plan your meal, and call that friend or special someone today.


Labor Day Grilling and Picnic Ideas

Labor Day is the idea holiday for grilling outdoors. It's the last official holiday of summer that marks the beginning of school for many children, the closure of public swimming pools and the preparation for the change of seasons. Why not enjoy the day outside with family and friends? You can barbecue and enjoy a meal in your own backyard, or pack up a picnic basket and take food on the go.

Labor Day doesn't have to mean a lot of labor for you, however. You can enjoy grilling and barbecuing or picnicking without tons of work by doing a little bit of the food preparation ahead of time. So many different foods including grilled and barbecued meats, lots of cold salads and slaws, and desserts like bars or pies can be made the day ahead so that you can enjoy Labor Day without so much work.

kebabs.jpgColeslaw, gelatin salads and fruit salads (put banana slices in at the last minute to avoid them turning brown and slick) can be prepared a day or even two ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Meat and poultry can be prepared in advance, as well, though you'll want to have a way to warm it before your picnic. Even if you're cooking out right at home, doing the work ahead of time can make the holiday more enjoyable for you.

You could also opt to use a grill at a park or campgrounds, or use a portable grill, to prepare the meat on the day of your picnic. If you don't want to spend hours over a grill, choose fast-cooking foods like steaks that you'll want medium rare or kebabs, which can be assembled a day ahead and carried to your picnic site to grill. Be sure you keep any uncooked meats in a separate compartment from cooked or ready to eat food to avoid spreading germs that could make you sick.

Here's a great kebab marinade recipe you can whip up the day before your Labor Day festivities. Let your beef, lamb or pork kebabs marinate overnight or for up to 24 hours to give them the best flavor. All the work's done in advance! If you don't want to grill at all on the day of your picnic, then opt for something like Make-Ahead Grilled BBQ Pork Spareribs.

Enjoy your day!

Tips for Better Picnicking

Summertime is the time for swimming, parties, picnics and fun, but it's also the time when temperatures soar. Children don't necessarily notice how hot they're becoming when they're busy playing, and busy adults can lose track of how much they've had to drink, too. A big part of any successful picnic has to be plenty of liquids, preferably ice cold ones.

tea.jpgIce water, cold lemonade, iced tea and even cold soda if that's all you have are good to have on hand, though water is far and away the best beverage for those hot summer days. Keep an eye on busy kids to make sure they don't go too longwithout drinking, especially if it's extremely hot.

Also, don't forget to pack sunscreen for everyone. Choose a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide in some form (zinc oxide, micro zinc oxide or micronized zinc oxide) for the best protection. A concentration of at least 5% is best. If you can't find a sunscreen with zinc oxide, titanium oxide is the next best thing, but it won't block all of the damaging UVA rays the way a zinc formula will.

Experts recommend an SPF of at least 15, but remember that the higher the number, the longer you can stay in the sun without burning. And even if you're in a shady spot, those UV rays can still reach you, so use sunscreen anytime you'll be outdoors for more than 20 minutes. Don't forget to coat the kids well and reapply often if they sweat a lot or swim.

In the hottest months, it's also a good idea to avoid filling your picnic baskets with heavy, rich and super-filling food. Hotter days call for lighter fare like salad, fruit, finger foods, sandwiches, crisp veggies and things like wine and cheese for simplicity. If the temps are really soaring and you want to dine outside, consider substituting grape juice for wine and saving the alcohol for later. Also, hold off on the fancy entrees and heavy desserts like pie or cheesecake for slightly cooler days.


Picnic Safety--Keep Your Food Fresh

The last thing you want to have to worry about on a picnic is food poisoning. Improperly handled food and foods that are allowed to get too warm can cause illness, however, so it's important to make sure all the dishes you take on your picnic are prepared properly and kept at the proper temperature.

If you're using a portable grill to cook things like meat or poultry, you'll want to make sure that everything that comes into contact with the raw meat is washed thoroughly afterward. Improper cleaning of a grill before or after cooking can cause foodborne illness. It's also especially important to make sure that you don't use the same utensils or basting brush on food that's partially cooked that you used on the raw meat. A basting brush used on raw meat that's used on cooked or mostly cooked meat can transfer dangerous bacteria that won't have time to cook away.

ice1.jpgIt's also important to monitor the temperatures of foods that contain egg, mayonnaise and other spoilable foods. You don't need to take the actual temperature of these foods, but you do want to make sure you keep them in an insulated picnic tote or insulated portion of a picnic basket that stays below 40 degrees. Ice or ice packs of some kind should be used to keep the compartment nice and cold. Foods of this type that are allowed to warm up can foster the growth of bacteria that can make you sick.

Cooked meats and chicken should also be kept either very hot or cold and not allowed to sit out in the open air for long. Even though the meat is cooked, a tepid temperature can allow bacteria to grow. In very hot weather, food can become questionable in a short amount of time. In 90 degree weather, food shouldn't be out any longer than hour, and even less than that if possible. If you're taking highly spoilable foods, insulated picnic coolers of some type are a necessity.


Simple Foods for Great Picnics

The Best Picnic Foods to Pack

Picnicking with family, friends and loved ones is a great way to spend the summer afternoons. While the right picnic basket makes it simple, since you don't have to fret over scrounging up utensils, plates and everything else you'll need, there is still a sort of art to preparing a good picnic. And that's all in the foods you choose.

A wine and cheese picnic is one of the easiest types, and perfect for a romantic outing for two, or even a picnic for a few people who enjoy wine and each other's company. Choose a basket that comes with pretty handblown glasses (or choose acrylic if you prefer), grab a favorite bottle of wine or two, and a few favorite cheeses. Most wine and cheese picnic baskets have a corkscrew, glasses and usually a cheese knife and cutting board. Some might have plates and utensils, too.

You can add some crackers, dips and other foods that are appropriate with wine and cheese. If your basket has a coffee service, don't forget coffee and perhaps a light dessert like some type of fruit dish. Strawberries dipped in chocolate make the perfect ending to a romantic wine and cheese picnic for two!

Larger meals require a bit more planning. The key is to choose foods that may be eaten either hot or cold. Even if you choose an insulated picnic totedesigned to keep hot food hot and cold food cold, you'll probably enjoy yourself more if you stick with foods that are still good as they start to cool, like roasted or fried chicken. Cold foods that may spoil if they warm up should always be kept in an insulated cooler compartment, with the containers on ice if at all possible, for food safety.

Avoid fussy, difficult to serve or difficult to eat foods. Sloppy Joes are yummy, but they can be messy, too. Foods that are less likely to drip, drop or come apart are better choices.

Whether you're having a wine and cheese picnic or a full meal, here's a recipe that's appropriate. This recipe has only a few core ingredient and offers you lots of choices so you can make it your own. It's perfect on crackers in a finger-food picnic, or on sandwiches for a more substantial meal.

Picnic in Style with Outdoor Posh

Most people love picnics. You get to enjoy the great outdoors while enjoying a great meal with family and friends. That's one reason picnic baskets can be such a charming part of spring and summer, or any time of year when the weather's nice enough that we can venture outside.

The fun of picnicking can be even better when you don't have to try to find everything you need to take with you. That's where things like stocked baskets, picnic backpacks and picnic coolers come in handy!

Organized for the Outdoors

Your picnics can be a success with the right picnic baskets. Just as you need the right tool for the right job when you're building something or making repairs, the right picnic items can take an outdoor meal from plain to fantastic!

It's easy to forget important things when you have to gather utensils, plates, glasses, napkins and other items from your kitchen. But quality products like designer picnic backpacks and totes that come complete with service for 2 or 4 have everything you need already strapped and secured inside. There's no easier or more stress-free way to enjoy outdoor dining. Many cooler and tote styles also have different sizes, as well as variations with coffee service, wine holders and blankets so you can get exactly what you need.

Go for Green Picnicking

You don't have to tote several different heavy containers full of plates, glasses and flatware. And you don't have to buy paper plates and plastic utensils to enjoy an outdoor picnic. Not when you can buy picnic baskets that come with lightweight plates, glasses and stainless steel flatware that can all be washed in a dishwasher and reused again and again.

You'll save money over time because you won't have to buy the disposable picnicware, and you'll be helping the planet by keeping those plates and forks out of landfills. You can even find truly green picnic backpacks and food and wine sets at Outdoor Posh that are completely PVC-free.

Picnics, Camping, Sporting Events, Parties, Tailgating and More!

Your ideal picnic might have 5-7 courses, coffee, wine and dessert, or it might be a simple snack of cheese and wine on a comfy fleece blanket under a shade tree. Whether you want to head to a local park, curl up outside your camping tent or enjoy a snack at a fun sporting event or concert, Outdoor Posh has the right picnic baskets for you!

Let Outdoor Posh make your picnics and all your time spent outdoors even better!