Tips for a Great Outdoor Meal & Grocery Outlet Giveaway

Tips for a Great Outdoor Meal & Grocery Outlet Giveaway

Simple decor for an outdoor meal - A Well Crafted Party

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!

Quick, Easy Outdoor Meal Anyone Can Make - A Well Crafted Party

What makes a great 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!

Enter to win a giveaway to Grocery Outlet

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!

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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. 

Celebrating a New Addition to our Party – Free Printables!

Celebrating a New Addition to our Party – Free Printables!

This bright pregnancy announcement is welcoming the new addition to the party! // A Well Crafted Party

A few months ago we got the news that we are adding one more to our little party. The new addition has RSVPd for November 10, 2015 and we can’t wait to welcome him or her to our family!

If you know me, you know I like to celebrate the tiniest of moments. Sharing the news that we are having our second child feels like just the right type of thing to celebrate! I’ve struggled with the fact that the second pregnancy doesn’t feel as special to me as the first one did. I’m just as happy about it, just as excited for baby number two, but if feels a little less celebrated none-the-less. It became important to me to make sure I took a little time to celebrate the news of this baby. Of course, we are saving our pennies for the second baby (we know how expensive these things are now!), so didn’t want to do anything over-the-top, but still wanted to celebrate the new addition.

I partnered with Kohl’s to help me celebrate baby number two. Kohl’s is currently striving to be top of mind for families as they celebrate the special moments in life, big or small, together. Their current goal to help be present in the everyday and the extra special moments in life made me very excited to see how they could help me celebrate my second baby. I already love Kohl’s and shop there often. The deals that they offer are hard to beat, and I can find something for the entire family in one shopping trip.

We're welcoming baby number two with a small celebration welcoming him or her to our family. // A Well Crafted Party We aren't sure if he is more excited about getting to eat the cupcake or becoming a big brother! Our family is excited to welcome baby number two to this crazy party that is our life! Our family is excited to welcome baby number two to this crazy party that is our life! I've had all the typical pregnancy cravings including peanut butter and pickles! A welcoming celebration for baby isn't complete without them!

Kohl’s helped us celebrate in a variety of different ways! I knew I’d be able to find the men in the family some clothes for the party, but what I didn’t know is that they also carried baby items, housewares AND maternity wear! The items we found at Kohl’s included:

  • Ninja Blender which is not only good for a daily smoothie packed full of nutritious items that are good for the growing baby, but will come in handy after the baby is here and I’m making his or her food. (Stay tuned for a fun non-alcoholic dessert smoothie coming to the blog this week!)
  • Food Network’s Three Tiered Party Platter…awesome for all the obvious reasons.
  • Evenflo Convertible Highchair – We gave away nearly all of our baby items from when my son was a baby. Finding an affordable high chair on Kohls.com that would grow with the baby made my day. This highchair comes apart and becomes a small chair and table that is perfect for a toddler!
  • Just Born Security Blankets – these are my favorite blankets to swaddle the little one with after delivery. I was thrilled that Kohl’s had them in the grey and yellow print.
  • Small cuddle toy with blanket
  • Maternity Dress
  • Toddler Shirt
  • Men’s Shirt

The best part is that I was able to get all of the above items with a savings of nearly 50% off if I had gotten them all at full price. It made our money go further, which is more important than ever right now!

These free printables are perfect for your own welcome baby celebration! // A Well Crafted Party

You know me… no party is complete without free printables! Click the items below to download and print off your own celebration!

Thank you to Kohl’s for sending me a gift card to explore how your products could help me celebrate a life event. I’ve been a fan of Kohl’s for some time and spent my own money as well as the gift card. All opinions are my own. Thank you to readers for supporting the companies that help support this blog. 

Cooking with Spices from RawSpiceBar and a Giveaway!

Cooking with Spices from RawSpiceBar and a Giveaway!

RawSpiceBar spice subscription service featured on A Well Crafted Party

I love cooking. You can take one look at my “A Well Crafted Pantry” section of this blog for proof of that. However, one thing you won’t find in many of my recipes is a variety of spices. I’m sort of simple when it comes to using spices in my cooking. I like using fresh and dried herbs in cooking, but even that I typically limit to two or three different ingredients. Because of that I’ve stayed away from cooking some of my favorite styles of foods. Part of the hesitation is not knowing if I’ll like a certain spice or spice combination. The other is whether I’m going to use it very often. Then of course, there is the cost! Buying ten different spices to create one dish is not easy to do when living on a budget. Cooking with spices always seemed intimidating and expensive.

RawSpiceBar spice subscription service featured on A Well Crafted Party

Enter my new favorite subscription service. I love subscription services. I’m a member of several for my entertainment, to my blog work to simple pleasures we want to enjoy at home such as food or beverages. I was thrilled when asked to try out a new spice-centric subscription service.

The RawSpiceBar is a subscription service perfect for people like me who want to try different spices and spice combinations, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg trying them out.

For $6/month you get a small batch of spices delivered to your door with a short story about the spices and the region that they come from along with some recipes. The past three month spice batches included:

How much fun is that? I have never cooked ANYTHING with any of these spices. It is a whole new world of cooking at my finger tips.

RawSpiceBar spice subscription service featured on A Well Crafted Party

I originally wanted to try creating my own recipe with the spices. But, since I had never worked with ANY of these spices before, I decided to try out one of the recipes that were provided.

I made the Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala using the Punjabi Garam Masala spice mix and the Tandoori Spices. One of the directions on the recipe was to bring the spices back to life by heating them in a dry saucepan on the stovetop. I cannot describe the amazing smells that were in my kitchen. I want to do this with ALL my spices now!

Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala recipe from RawSpiceBar featured on A Well Crafted Party.

Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala recipe from RawSpiceBar featured on A Well Crafted Party.I made this meal for myself, my husband and my toddler. All three of us ate as much as we could and there was enough for at least 4 more grown adults! I love that the recipes create enough for a crowd. Perfect for when I want to try out a fun new dish with friends.

I do have to say that the recipe card was missing a few bits of important information while cooking. But, the online recipe fixed any of my questions. So, if you read through the card and have questions, jump on the RawSpiceBar website and use the online version of the recipe instead.

Want to give it a shot? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win one of two 3-month subscriptions to RawSpiceBar! Or, hop on over to RawSpiceBar now to sign up for just $6 a month!

Please read giveaway guidelines. Giveaway begins today, March 26 and ends 12AM PST April 6. Giveaway open to readers in US & Canada only. 

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Thank you to RawSpiceBar for providing me with a sample subscription to try the RawSpiceBar services and share with readers as well as the giveaway subscriptions. All opinions and images are my own. 

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