Outdoor Life

Picnic Basket Essentials

photo credit:  food52.com

photo credit: food52.com

Tis the season, summer and picnicking.  Last week's post I told you about 3 picnic baskets locally made here in the U.S. Today I want to help you pack that basket. I did some digging to see what people like to pack and eat on a picnic.  Most of it goes back to common sense, logistics and classic traditional foods.  I will start off with saying, nothing with mayonnaise. It spoils super fast (1.5 hours)  and you don't want a slew of sick people on your hands. (although trash bags and wipes are on the things to bring list). 

Food: finger foods, easy to eat for kids and adults, and most finger foods stay edible. Crudités, hummus and my personal favorite french onion dip, cheese sticks for kids, 2 to 3 blocks of cheese. I had a truffle cheese recently at an outdoor night picnic that was absolutely amazing, so try something different.  Cut up fruit or just bring a watermelon to cut up onsite.  Baguette, crackers, tortilla chips because they can be eaten plain or with the hummus, pickles and/or olives.  Now on to more substantial items, salads, try to skip basic greens because of wilting, substitute the lettuce with kale or a grain like quinoa or farro and pack the dressing in a mason jar so you can shake and apply when you arrive. Caprese salad is always a hit, be sure to use local farmer heirloom tomatoes and a very nice Italian balsamic dressing. I go to L'Albero dei Gelati to buy our balsamic syrup.  A local place in Brooklyn who imports from Italy. It can be expensive but you do get what you pay for.  For the third course, I think fried chicken is always a hit and a cold pasta salad. Brownies or pie for dessert and don't forget the beverages; beer, wine and water.

photo:  oprah.com

photo: oprah.com

Ok so I told you all the food items, now for the non-food essentials. I try my best to leave a small carbon foot print. Have you seen the signs at the beach, take out what you brought in?  First on the list is trash bags. So easy to forget. Cloth napkins, gingham is a summer time classic, biodegradable plates/cups and flatware or take it up a notch and bring your melamine, acrylic or tin plates. Flatware, once again go with biodegradable wooden flatware or bamboo which you can get quite a few uses out of.  Another option is bring your flatware from home. You can wrap it up in each napkin and tie some twine or ribbon around it. Ready for use.  Corkscrew/bottle opener, salt/pepper, serving utensils and a small cutting board is ideal but not a deal breaker. 

Do you have some favorites you like to bring on a picnic?


Baking, Locally Made

3 Locally Made Picnic Baskets

It's that time of year again, that time to go enjoy the outdoors.  Living in a city, most of us are desperate to get out onto some grassy knolls and away from the hoards of people. Even in Brooklyn where our apartments are right next to each other. We have a great community but sometimes space is nice.  We have many events in the city to celebrate the warm weather. Some of them even call for some fancy dressing and picnicking.  Picnic baskets can be incredibly utilitarian and you can buy a beautiful, quality made one here in the US that is made locally.  Yes made local can be more expensive but think of why. It is supporting someone's job, cost of living in America and the cost of materials. It's important we keep supporting our community whenever possible.  It may be a few dollars more but don't you want people to continue to have jobs? 

Materials used are mainly Appalachian Ash. A strong wood sourced from the Appalachian Mountain Region that includes 11 states in the Eastside of the U.S. The Peterboro Basket Company based in New Hampshire may have my favorite, the Picnic on the Green Deluxe Basket. This is such a fantastic wedding or anniversary gift and it can be personalized.  All of their baskets come lined or unlined. 

Peterboro Picnic Basket on the Green $89.00

The basket has a split lid so you can store beverages in the back and leave open to serve yourself.  When the lid is open it acts as a table for serving. How convenient is that!  There is a dowel to keep your goods from moving around making a noisy journey. The closed section also has a removable tray. Check out the photo above, pie anyone?  And if you feel the classic honey color is too "old timey" there are 4 colors to choose from. Although I tend to gravitate towards the classic, this way I know I won't tire of it in 10 years. One more thing that makes it a great way to celebrate an occasion, you can get it personalised.  Also I don't receive any compensation for my postings. I just did some research on locally made baskets the ones listed are the ones I believe to be nice quality.

Peterboro Picnic Basket on the Green 

Prairie Empty Picnic Basket, another made of Appalachian Ash, woven wood and brass hardware is an open top, classic style.  Many companies sell this style that comes from the Picnic Family Brand who have been around since 1982; Wayfair, Macys, Hayneedle and Houzz to name a few.  The Prairie style is made in the USA.

The Prairie also comes in a lined version. 

Prairie Picnic Lined Basket

The last basket is the 2 Pie Basket. Is that not a great name?! Because of course it will hold two pies. I found this one on Nortons USA. After doing a little digging, I learned that this 2 pie and the 3 pie basket is made by none other than Peterboro Basket Company in New Hampshire.  I am still going to tell you about it because it's such a great alternative. And if you are a baker like myself and are in charge of the desserts you will love this basket. It's smaller than the average picnic basket because it is built to hold the desserts.  It's a simple flip lid and has a tray inside that comes out to act as a table.

You can get this at NortonsUSA.com where they sell exclusively American Made Products! yay! 

So do you have a favorite? Do you know of any American Made baskets that I didn't mention or find?  Next up is what to put in that basket. 



Product, Brooklyn Made

Time for a Picnic

lobster picnic blanket

Here in the northern hemisphere we are in mid-summer and it certainly feels like it in the northeast. I am probably more aware of it because my mother--in-law from Sydney is visiting and it has been a topic of conversation that it is unusually cold there right now, in the 40's fahreneheit. But here in New York City it has been in the high 80's and 90's plus awful high humidity.  I certainly don't want to stay indoors when the temperatures rise.  Each morning I can't wait to get out to my small urban garden and see what has transformed over night. After I poke around the veggie plants and flowers I like to sit on the couch outside, have an ice coffee and do a little work.  Sometimes I opt for a picnic blanket in our patch of grass.  

Perfect for a baby who is in his or her tummy time stage or learning to crawl or a little one who might be a little unsure of the grass.  My daughter was not a fan of grass or sand in the first few years.  Whatever the case may be I have designed and made a variety of picnic blanket styles that come in 2 fabrications; denim cotton and water resistant poly. 

Neon Orange Tassel Denim Conductor Stripe Blanket $55.00

Neon Orange Tassel Denim Conductor Stripe Blanket $55.00

denim blanket with neon tassels

I am always drawn to the denim and natural fabrics.  I like the way they wash, ware and feel but in early summer when the ground still has that spring dampness or after a heavy rainfall there is nothing like getting a wet bottom on your picnic. For these occasions there are water resistant blankets I am selling in my Etsy shop and at Celebrate Brooklyn. 

Lobster in Nantucket Red Water Resistant Blanket to  purchase visit my etsy shop   by clicking here.  $50.00

Lobster in Nantucket Red Water Resistant Blanket to purchase visit my etsy shop by clicking here. $50.00

These blankets are relatively easy to make depending on straps and pockets.  The main factor is time.  If you don't have the time you can purchase by visiting my Etsy shop or one of the many great shows at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park. Check out the schedule here. 

Hope to see you at the bandshell!