The warmer days of Spring are here and Summer is just around the corner. For me this means that it is time to bring dinner OUTDOORS! Spring and Summer holidays and special occasions (Mother’s Day is Sunday!) are the perfect opportunity to bring a meal outdoors. The change of scenery can help make any meal feel like a special meal. But, not every meal makes for a great outdoor meal. You’ll want a meal that can hold up to the weather, be easy to serve and not too complicated to pack up and bring to wherever you are having your outdoor meal. When Grocery Outlet asked if I wanted to work with them on a post I immediately thought of all the fun outdoor items that they get this time of year, and wanted to throw a little outdoor party in honor of Mother’s Day. Below are some of my tips for creating a great outdoor meal. Check in tomorrow for a few recipes that anyone can make that are great for an outdoor meal!
I think that there are a few factors that make for an outdoor meal, including simplicity. Part of eating outdoors should be that the whole meal has a more relaxed feel to it. Even if you are going super fancy and formal, the meal itself can be made simple and easy to eat while still being elegant. Last year I went to a wonderful outdoor farm to table meal that completely hit all my favorite notes of an outdoor meal! Here are my tips for what makes a great outdoor meal:
1. Keep it Simple – The meal does not need to be complicated nor have a lot of steps. The perfect outdoor meal can either be cooked outdoors, or packed up and easy carried outdoors. When planning an outdoor meal you’ll want to keep your ingredient list down (at least the items that are going to the table, if you want to prep a complicated many ingredient meal at home that still carries nicely and is easy to serve then by all means, go for it!), keep the garnishes to a minimum and let the meal really be the centerpiece of the experience.
2. Make sure it holds up to the weather- Besides food safety, considering the weather is important for the overall meal experience. If the meal you are serving really tastes best piping hot then you’ll need to figure out a way to cook or at least reheat outdoors so that the wind doesn’t take down the temp. Or, you can choose a meal that can be served at room temperature or cooled. If it is really hot then you might need to think about whether your desserts or meal items are going to just melt while waiting to be served. Of course, don’t forget about food safety as no one likes food poisoning. Items that are sitting out need to be properly cooled or heated to keep the items out of the danger zone.
3. A pretty setting – Eating outdoors can be a wonderful experience that can make any meal feel like a special occasion. Of course, if that meal is served in a not-so-ideal space and handed out wrapped in plastic it can feel more like a fast food experience than a special occasion. Take a few moments to make the meal special by taking care on how it is served. Even dressing up your picnic items a bit can make an ordinary meal feel extraordinary. When throwing parties in my back yard I often opt to cut flowers from my yard and use my basic dishware from the house. I leave my really nice dishware inside, but the basics can still feel dressed up when surrounded by nature! When I picnic I try to make things nicer by wrapping them in parchment paper and twine rather than just plastic baggies, or serving items on bamboo plates or reusable outdoor plastic plates instead of opting for paper.There are also a lot of great brands of really beautiful paper plates out there that can be perfect for making an outdoor meal feel special.
4. Think about pests – Nothing can ruin a meal faster than a few pests. Supply bug spray, plant bug repellent plants around your yard, or use some citronella candles to ward off pesky mosquitoes and flies. I found these adorable yellow tins with citronella candles at Grocery Outlet for less than $2 and bought a whole bunch of them for my outdoor parties. Not only do they look cute on the table, but they help ward off unwanted bugs!
Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for some super easy recipes that ANYONE can make for a great outdoor meal!
Grocery Outlet wants to help you serve a great outdoor (or indoor) meal and are sharing a $25 Gift Card with one lucky reader. Grocery Outlet operates 210+ stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Check out the Grocery Outlet website to find a store near you!
This post was created in collaboration with Grocery Outlet. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and sharing posts that are created in partnership with brands that help support this blog.
This year my home parties have been pretty laid back due to busy schedules and tightening of budgets. But, being me, I still wanted to celebrate our milestones in some fashion. The picnic-themed party that I hosted for my husband’s birthday this year fit the bill for an easy, but fun event.
Chips: Sweet Potato and Kettle Chips — I just bought these chips at Trader Joes and then put them into paper bags that I had printed labels on.
Dessert: We finished off the meal with a dessert of spiked ice creams.
Drinks: Signature cocktails, beers, and lemonades made for easy beverages
Finally, a selection of lawn games such as a ring toss, bocce ball, and badminton kept everyone entertained.
*Edited to add this bit of awesome info:
Guests left the part with their very own Emergency Picnic Kit! I shared the kit, directions for making your own, and free printables over on Today’s Creative Blog! Check out the blog to learn how to make your own Emergency Picnic Kit party favor!
Hopefully this post and the posts that come out of this party serve to be an inspiration to you!
A big thank you to Jenni for having me as a guest poster today on A Well Crafted Party! After a little hiatus from my own blog, her invite was just the kick in the pants I needed to get back on track and get some MacSuzie mojo going! It felt really good to be in the kitchen and at my craft table working on this menu and table decor.
I hope you all enjoy the summer recipes I’ve put together for you – great as a menu altogether for the 4th of July, or any of them on their own as additions to your gatherings throughout summer. Many items can be prepared ahead of time (or require barely any prep at all!) so you won’t toil away the afternoon in the in the kitchen. Plus, the table decor is very simple and won’t cost you an arm and a leg
Start yourself off right with a fun and festive summer cocktail reminiscent of the ice cream man jingling down the street.
This Bomb Pop Cocktail has all the flavors of the original – cherry, lime and blue raspberry, with a grown up twist.
For the kiddos, a real Bomb Pop is a fun way to keep lemonade or soda pop cold
Grill out (or in, if your 4th gets rained out, as mine always seems to!) with this flavor packed Homemade Veggie Burger with Blue Cheese & BBQ Sauce that will impress even the staunchest of carnivores.
Lately, my favorite way to eat these is topped with a slice of blue cheese plus some pickled onions and BBQ sauce – so good!
On the side, the smell of these Tin Foil “Camping” Potatoes will make it hard to decide what you want to take a bite of first.
Packed with onions and garlic in a pocket of foil, it doesn’t get any easier. Ok, maybe it does… See below for my roasted corn!
It wouldn’t be summer without an ear of In-Husk Roasted Sweet Corn – just like the county fair vendors
You won’t believe how easy it is to cook corn on the grill or in the oven – no husking required! Hahaha, guess you’ll have to find something else to keep the kids (or husband!) busy.
End the meal on a fruity note with my Mini Red, White & Blueberry Strawberry Shortcakes!
Smaller than the usual shortcake, you don’t have to choose between the two toppings – have one of each! (both with a giant dollop of homemade whipped cream of course!)
To break up the traditional (and sometimes boring) red, white and blue, I decided to add in a touch of light turquoise here and there. I pulled in a few of turquoise Fiesta serving pieces I already had, plus my trusty vintage ball jar, some bandanas and scraps of paper and fabric and ended up with a beautiful table. You can do the same – just use what you have on hand and get creative!
To start, I used bandanas as place mats.
Some coordinating ribbon dresses up a plain jar or old vase without much effort.
Just a few scraps of paper and some stickers make boring old skewers into fun decorations. Use them on your burgers as I have, or put the flags on toothpicks and use for fruit or cupcakes.
Lastly, ditch the paper napkins and use some clean bandanas instead!
Quickly folded into a pocket and dressed up with some fabric scraps and ribbon, these bandana napkins are festive AND won’t blow off the table. :
Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and summer!
Seriously, how cute is this party!? A huge thank you to Lindsey of MacSuzie.com for brining us this awesome 4th of July party! I can’t wait to try these recipes and entertaining tips for the upcoming holiday and throughout the Summer. By the way… if you’ve been wondering about the name MacSuzie here is how Lindsey describes it on her site: “A dash of ‘MacGyver’ plus a sprinkle of ‘Suzie Homemaker’ – all tied up with a bow!“