What I’m Loving: Smart Camping Gear

What I'm Loving: Really Cool Camp Gear from A Well Crafted Party

Over 8 years ago I married my husband and we went on our very first camping trip as a married couple for our honeymoon. It has always been one of my favorite things to do with my husband, friends, and family. My son’s first camping trip was when he was 6 weeks old, but we then got out of the habit of stealing away to the woods for a weekend because life happened. This year I promised myself that we’d make time for trips like this instead of looking back at another Summer of missed opportunities due to busy schedules.

I’m so glad that I made that commitment. The past two weekends I’ve enjoyed some real quality time with my family, friends, and good ole’ Mother Nature. I came back to the real world with posts about a delicious summer sipping cocktail perfect for camping and a tutorial on how to make fire roasted corn on the cob.


Smart Camping Gear that is also Really Cool!

While I love a good rustic campground, I also know that there are a few items that are just awesome to have while camping. Here are some of my favorites and some items that are on my wish list for future camping trips.

Camping Wish List via A Well Crafted Party

(Please note that many of the below links are affiliate links. Purchases made from these links helps to support this blog and keep fresh content coming your way. Thank you for your support!)

  1. Ozark Trail Hobo Tool – 7-in-1 This has been my favorite camping tool hands down! It is a knife, spoon, fork, can opener, bottle opener, and corkscrew all-in-one! The tool folds all up together, but can also detach so that you have a knife and fork usable at the same time!
  2. GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Dualist Wish list item big time! My friends had this when we were camping and it was amazing! The set had a pot, two bowls, to cups, and two forks that all fit into each other. The pot helped water boil SUPER fast on a little camp stove.
  3. Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Trekker Air Mattress, Pistachio, Regular While I love camping and I love camping in a tent… but, I’m getting older and I need a little cushion. I love that this air mattress is compact and doesn’t need a big pump to air it up. But, if I’m gonna be completely honest with you… I really want the Coleman Double-High Quickbed because would be like sleeping on a real bed in the middle of the woods!
  4. ReVIVE Rugged Camping Charger & 5000mAh Solar Battery Pack for Charging at the Beach, Lake, Forest, Desert, and more – Includes Cleaning Brush While I tell myself that I am going to unplug when camping… I still want to have my iPhone camera. This charger would save me when my palms start to get sweaty from being disconnected for too long! (I joke. Sorta.)
  5. Sol Republic’s Motorola Deck Speaker  Speaking of things that need charging… I was recently sent this amazing little speaker (smaller than a breadbox) that can be charged up and used nearly anywhere. It connects to phones/ipods wirelessly and up to 5 people can play DJ by highjacking the link. It is so cool and has great sound. The first thing I thought of when playing around with it was how great it would be for our next camping trip.

That is my current gear list… though, I know I’m missing quite a few items.

Know of another camping item you can’t live without or is on your current wish list? Comment with a link below!

Fire Roasted Corn on the Cob with Amaize Corn

Disclaimer: I was offered compensation for my work on this post about Amaize Sweet Corn. The below idea for how to cook and eat Amaize is my own. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading, sharing, commenting, and interacting with sponsored posts on my page. This helps support this blog and keeps original content coming your way!


Fire Roasted Corn from A Well Crafted Party

Little known fact about me… I went to high school in the middle of a corn field. My senior shirt had a caricature of my entire class (all 40 or so of us) in the middle of corn with the caption “Children of the Corn!” Besides being a little bit creepy… it was great growing up with farms all around us! I was raised on tasty corn on the cob, creamed corn, sweet corn, pop corn and the likes. While I don’t eat as much corn as I used to, I do like to dress up salads, garnish tacos, or just eat a perfectly cooked corn-on-the-cob in the hot summer months.

When I received a box of Amaize, a sweet corn, right before heading out camping I knew that I wanted to try roasting it over a fire. Pretty much everything tastes better over a fire while camping. But, I gotta say, cooking over a fire isn’t always the easiest! The heat is constantly changing, you have to make sure your food doesn’t catch on fire, and you have to sometimes deal with smoke. These corn on the cobs were SO worth it though!

How to Make Fire Roasted Corn

Ingredients:

  • Corn with husks (I used the Amaize Sweet Corn)
  • Contained fire with grill grates positioned above it. (Tip: Make sure the fire is burning completely and fairly consistently. I usually wait until some of my wood looks more like charcoal before throwing down some food on the grill.)
  • Tongs
  • Sharp Knife & Cutting Board
  • Butter & Seasonings of Choice (I used salt, pepper, and an italian seasoning blend)

Fire Roasted Corn a How To from A Well Crafted Party

amaize-fire-roasted-corn-cutcorn

Fire Roasted Corn from A Well Crafted Party

Directions:

  1. After your fire is burning fairly consistently (not huge flames!) put down the corn husk and all on a grill grate above the flames. That is right… you don’t need to peel back the husks, don’t need to de-silk the corn, and you don’t need to wrap it in anything. Bonus, if you accidentally drop an ear in the dust it won’t matter because it is protected by a husk! Don’t worry if your husks are getting a little singed. Your corn will still be great unless the husks begin to come off completely.
  2. Roast for approximately 1 hour— rotating your corn every 10 to 15 minutes. This is absolutely not precise! Fire burns at different temps depending on a lot of different factors. Test the corn by squeezing with your tongs or sticking a fork in them. If it feels like there is some give or juice comes out then it is a safe bet that they are done. When I feel like the corn is done I typically pull one out and cut it up to test. If it isn’t quite done then you can always wrap the corn in foil and cook it a little longer.
  3. Using tongs, put a corn on the cob on your cutting board. Slice off the back end of your corn.
  4. Then, holding the corn husk firmly at the top of the corn, squeeze the corn out of the husk. (Saw this little corn trick via Instructables using microwaved corn. It totally works on roasted corn as well! Changed my life.)
  5. Doctor your corn with butter and seasonings… enjoy!

Fire Roasted Corn from A Well Crafted Party

 

More About Amaize Sweet Corn:

  • Amaize Sweet Corn was created using traditional, natural breeding methods through hybridization meaning this corn is never genetically modified. (Non-GMO)
  • The corn is sweet and crunchy… it didn’t get gross and mushy after cooking!
  • The corn had a 22 year development period. Seriously, so cool to think about how many different variations and flavors were created to get to this sweet and crunchy corn.
  • Amaize is available from June to September and is currently being sold for a limited time exclusively in Portland at New Seasons Market.
  • Follow along on their Facebook page to learn more!

PS. Please be careful of fires this time of year and pay attention to your local burning laws!

What do you like cooking over a camp fire?

Saturday Spirits: Spiked Arnold Palmer (Perfect Camping Beverage)

20140726-161844-58724146.jpg20140726-161844-58724313.jpg20140726-161844-58724241.jpg

One of my hands down favorite things to do in the summer months is going camping. I love being outdoors, the way the stars look when away from the city, and anything and everything cooked over a campfire. This last weekend (and this weekend actually) we got away from it all and headed out to the wilderness to camp.

While I enjoy a good beer next to the campfire… Sometimes it’s nice to have something a little different. I wanted a refreshing cocktail that would be the perfect thing to drink after a long hike when settling in to enjoy the campfire for the evening.

This drink did the trick and it’s SUPER simple to make and take on your next camping trip, outdoor party, or picnic.

Bourbon Arnold Palmer

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 oz Bourbon ( I used one of my favorites- Buffalo Trace)
  • 3 oz lemonade
  • 3 oz iced black tea
  • ice
  • lemon wedge for a squeeze and for garnish
  • Directions:
    Pour all ingredients over ice, pouring bourbon last, squeeze 1 lemon slice in, drop over top, and enjoy!

    Sunday Snapshots: Movies in the Park

    Movies in the Park in Portland, OR // Review from A Well Crafted Party

    Movies in the Park in Portland, OR // Review from A Well Crafted Party

    This was a tough week that I’m not quite ready to go into about on here… But, on Friday night the family (including my wonderful in-laws who are in town visiting) visited a local park for Movies in the Park. It was absolutely the most perfect ending to a very long week.

    I had read a little about movies in the park program and knew we’d go to a park, picnic in tow, and see a little live music and a movie. We picked a local park playing the movie Frozen. It was all of that, but so much more! I was impressed by what the City of Portland and the local sponsors put together for a free evening of entertainment.

    Quick recap of our Movies in the Park experience for memory-sake and just in case you want to check out some of these companies/entertainment options for yourself:

    • Pre-show entertainment was done by The Danny Black  and  The Sale. Both bands were great! The Danny Black one-mad band had me cracking up with fun new lyrics put against a background of familiar music and sung by a really strong male voice. The Sale had all the kiddos out front dancing!
    • Free popcorn was being handed out by local cheerleaders. Kiddo loved this and being able to do a little craft with a cheerleader.
    • Several companies were raffling off the opportunity to win some pretty awesome prize. I won a gift certificate and bag of coffee from Mojo Cafe and Drive Thru out on SE Powell. How cool is that!?
    • Movie didn’t start til dusk (understandably) so it made for a late night. Several smart families brought their kiddos in pjs.
    • One incredibly smart momma (or dad) decided to throw a Frozen themed birthday party at the park! They brought blankets, frozen balloons, and treats. The entertainment was taken care of for them!
    • We brought a blanket and picnic. Next time I’ll worry less about the food (there were three food carts in attendance and a popsicle vendor!) and more about cushion. My old rear can’t handle 4+hours on hard ground. Next time some pillows and maybe low camp chairs will attend as well.
    • I really, really want to go see The Little Mermaid at Mt. Scott Park on August 29. Who is with me?

    This isn’t a sponsored post. I was just throughly impressed by the offerings of the Movies in the Park program and the Summer Free For All programs in general. I hope to attend more this summer!

    Movies in the Park in Portland, OR // Review from A Well Crafted Party

    Movies in the Park in Portland, OR // Review from A Well Crafted Party

     

    Curvy Girl Style: Sun Safe Fashion with Summer Skin Pt. 1

    7 Days of Sun Safe Style with Summer Skin // A Well Crafted Party

    Right after my skin cancer diagnosis I had the opportunity to meet the owner and creator of the sun safe fashion line SummerSkin. Summer Kramer (yep, that is her name!) is seriously such an inspirational powerhouse of a woman that has really made a beautiful brand of clothing that can also help protect you. I was fortunate enough to be able to sample one of her creations— the Endless Summer Scarf. The Endless Summer Scarf is just too much fun because it can be worn so many different ways. I got the scarf the week before my surgery and had fun creating 7 Different Days of SummerSkin Style for my Instagram feed. Over the next couple of Curvy Girl Style posts I’ll be sharing some of my favorite outfits from that week! Check out all the styles I did by looking up #mysummerskin on Instagram!

    So, my first favorite is actually the first outfit I put together. It is perfect for an easy summer day at the beach. Casual, cool, but still protected!

    Summer Casual Outfit with SummerSkin // A Well Crafted Party

    Summer Casual Outfit with SummerSkin // A Well Crafted Party Summer Casual Outfit with SummerSkin // A Well Crafted Party

    Summer Casual Outfit with SummerSkin // A Well Crafted Party

    Outfit details: Hat —Target // White T-Shirt —Target // Bracelets: 1 home made from old shoe straps and the red leather braided bracelet is a favorite from Flourish Leather // Shoes— Payless // Boyfriend Jeans— Old Navy // Scarf: Endless Summer Scarf from SummerSkin in White

    Saturday Spirits: Spiked Ice Cream Recipes (No Ice Cream Maker Needed!)

    Spiked Ice Cream Recipes (without an icecream maker!) // A Well Crafted Party

     

    Happy Saturday Spirits! It is getting HOT HOT HOT outside which makes this a very fun recipe for a hot summer evening. These Spiked Ice Cream recipes are easy to make at home without the use of any fancy ice cream makers or tools. I used a food processor for mine… but, they can just as easily be made with a hand blender or by mixing with big spoon.

    These are fairly light on the alcohol over all. But, they should definitely be served to those legal to drink only.

    These recipes aren’t super precise since they are not from scratch recipes, but rather are using some premade items. When I say a carton it may be slightly different than your size of carton. I do write how big of a carton I used. But, please get creative with these items and taste test along the way! (That is most the fun anyways!)

    Mango & Bitters Cocktail Sorbet

    Supplies: (Some of the below links are affiliate links. Purchases from affiliate links help suppport this blog)

    • Approximately 1 carton of your favorite Mango Sorbet (I used Trader Joes Mango Sorbet which is 33.81 oz)
    • 10 Shakes of Bitters
    • 3 oz Vodka
    • Mint (for Garnish)
    • Food Processor (or hand mixer or big wooden spoon with large mixing bowl)
    • Ice cream containers (you can use the original container if you’d like, or pretty containers for parties! Portland locals can pick up ones like those photographed at Fancy That Shop in Orenco Station! )

    Directions:

    1. Let your mango sorbet soften on the counter for a bit. You should be able to easily scoop out the sorbet.
    2. Scoop the sorbet into your food processor or into a large mixing bowl
    3. Add in the 10 shakes of bitters and 3 oz vodka
    4. Mix like crazy. Make sure everything is incorporated.
    5. Fill your ice cream container with the sorbet and then place back into freezer. It should firm up after an hour or two and be ready to fill ice cream bowls!

    Raspberries & Cream Spiked Ice Cream

    Supplies: (Some of the below links are affiliate links. Purchases from affiliate links help suppport this blog)

    • 1 carton of your favorite Raspberry Sorbet or Gelato (I used the Raspberry Sorbet from Trader Joes which is 1 pint)
    • 1/2 carton of your favorite Vanilla Ice Cream (I used Trader Joes  French Vanilla which is 1/2 a gallon)
    • 3 oz Raspberry Vodka
    • Food Processor (or hand mixer or big wooden spoon with large mixing bowl)
    • Ice cream containers (you can use the original container if you’d like, or pretty containers for parties! Portland locals can pick up ones like those photographed at Fancy That Shop in Orenco Station! )

    Directions:

    1. Let your Raspberry Sorbet (or gelato) and Vanilla Ice Cream soften up on the counter for a bit.
    2. Scoop the sorbet into your food processor or into a large mixing bowl
    3. Add in the 3 oz of Rasberry Vodka
    4. Mix like crazy. Make sure everything is incorporated.
    5. Fill your ice cream container half way with  the sorbet mixture. Then spoon in vanilla ice cream and swirl around with your spoon. You can mix everything together if you’d prefer, or you can leave it a little unincorporated for a swirl-like dessert.

    Raspberries & Limoncella Sorbet

    Supplies: (Some of the below links are affiliate links. Purchases from affiliate links help suppport this blog)

    • 1 carton of your favorite Raspberry Sorbet or Gelato (I used the Raspberry Sorbet from Trader Joes which is 1 pint)
    • 1 carton of your favorite Lemon Sorbet or Gelato (I used Cioa Bella Lemon Zest Sorbet 14 oz)
    • 3 oz Limoncello
    • Food Processor (or hand mixer or big wooden spoon with large mixing bowl)
    • Ice cream containers (you can use the original container if you’d like, or pretty containers for parties! Portland locals can pick up ones like those photographed at Fancy That Shop in Orenco Station! )

    Directions:

    1. Let your Raspberry Sorbet (or gelato) and Lemon Sorbet soften up on the counter for a bit.
    2. Scoop the Lemon Sorbet into your food processor or into a large mixing bowl
    3. Add in the 3 oz Limoncello
    4. Mix like crazy. Make sure everything is incorporated.
    5. Fill your ice cream container half way with  the Limoncello & Lemon sorbet mixture. Then spoon in Raspberry Sorbet and swirl around with your spoon. You can mix everything together if you’d prefer, or you can leave it a little unincorporated for a swirl-like dessert.

     

    What do you think? Will you be spiking some of your ice cream desserts?

     

    Summer Bucket List

    Summer Bucket List Ideas

    Tomorrow, June 21, is the official first day of Summer! While some parts of the country are probably already HOT, HOT, HOT… it still feels like the late Spring here in Portland. The sun is beginning to come out and I’m sure we are well on the way to enjoying a gorgeous Summer season. I’ve been daydreaming about my Summer bucket list and wanted to share a few of my Summer To Dos for 2014.

    My Summer Bucket List: For The  Home

    • Paint! I’ve got about 8 pieces of furniture that I’ve been meaning to paint. The thing is… we use this furniture already and can’t go several weeks without it while it cures in our garage. Thankfully, the warm days of Summer will help speed the curing process along! Look out for some “A Well Crafted Home” updates this summer.
    • Clean up our yard. We rent so our yard hasn’t really been a priority other than making sure it looks reasonably maintained. We’ve decided to stay in our rental for a while longer though and want to spruce up the yard a bit. I can’t wait to share the details of our upcoming porch re-vamp!

    My Summer Bucket List: Foods

    • Homemade Spiked Ice Creams! Okay, so… technically I’ve already checked this one off the bucket list. I’ve really been wanting to make my own ice creams, especially some fun adult concoctions. I bought a Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker to test out a few recipes. This past weekend I created a few different cocktail inspired pints for my hubby’s birthday party. (See photo above! Those cute little ice cream containers came from online and Portland area party shop Fancy That!) I hope to perfect a few of the recipes and get them blog ready soon. They were super tasty and a big hit at the party!
    • Grill Often. I pretty much like to grill all Summer long. I love our George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Grill
      for frequent use. But, I really want to buy a new grill this Summer that will allow for more food on the grill at one time and cooks with FIRE instead of electricity. What do you suggest…. charcoal or gas?
    • Enjoy more food from our garden. Last year was our first year to have a garden. This year we are seeing a LOT more of the vegetables that we love. So much so that it has been difficult to harvest and eat it all. I’m looking forward to a full Summer of garden-fresh vegetables.

    My Summer Bucket List: Outings

    • Coast. I must go to the Oregon coast… we try to go at least once a season. This Summer we are planning a couple of different trips out with visiting friends and family.
    • Camping. Camping is one of my favorite things to do during the Summer. We haven’t had the opportunity to go camping for over two years and I’m itching to get out again. We have visitors most of this Summer… but, we are hoping to get out at least once.

    My Summer Bucket List: The Blog

    • Consistent Posting. I’ve been terrible at consistently posting since I’ve began working full time. I’ve been at my job for over 7 months now… it is time to get back in the swing of things. I love writing and creating for this space and want to make it a priority. I’ve got some posts lined up for the next couple of weeks that will hopefully get me back on track!
    • Redesign? I’d love to freshen up the site with a redesign… but, we will see about this one!

    My Summer Bucket List: Teaching

    • Teach a DIY party class! This one I’ll be checking off my list next weekend. West Elm has asked me to teach a small Make & Meet class at their Portland location. I was thrilled to say yes as it is one of my goals to get out and teach more. I’ll be sharing some DIY crafts to help make a 4th of July Party that pops! Check out the West Elm Facebook for more information. 
    • Online courses. I’m working hard on creating some online courses. I hope to be bringing these to the website at the end of the Summer!

    What is on your Summer Bucket List?

    Featured On: My Open Faced Tomato Sandwich on the Lilac City Momma Blog

    Recipe for a Roasted Tomato Open Faced Sandwich

    I shared a recipe with the Lilac City Momma Blog and it’s now live! Run, don’t walk, over to her blog to get this scrumptious open faced tomato sandwich made with roasted heirloom tomatoes! It truly is one of my favorite things I’ve made of late!

    Picnic Week: Summer Picnic Beer

    Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party

    It’s Picnic Week here on A Well Crafted Party. My wife bought me beers to try so I could tell you which ones I’d bring to a picnic. It’s a hard, hard life. Check out the other picnic-related posts, but only after reading about the beer!


    Picnic Beer Options from HUB

    Beer in a Can, Perfect for a Picnic

    Beer comes in cans or bottles, usually. We once thought that beer in cans was cheaper, not as tasty, and only for frat boys and hipsters. It still is, but the audience is widening. Around 2009, craft breweries starting canning in addition to bottling. That lead to a shift in perception, and there are a few good reasons for breweries to offer their beer in cans. Cans don’t break like bottles do, and are cheaper to ship. For beer drinkers, the beer quality is actually better in cans, since no light can penetrate them, and the seal is tighter than bottle caps. The green consumer will also be happy that cans recycle much more efficiently. So let’s get tasting.

    Right now I’m trying the “Sweet As” Pacific Ale by GoodLife Brewing Company. They’re a brewery in Bend, Oregon (can we call Bend Portland’s tomboy sister, and get away with it?), and it’s a satisfying pale ale for an Oregon summer. The Pacific in the name refers to the two hop varieties used in this pale ale: Galaxy from Australia, and Pacifica from New Zealand. The galaxy hops give the beer a slight citrusy, passion fruit profile, and overall, it’s not so hoppy to fall into the IPA category of bitterness. If you’re a fan of Widmer’s Drifter Pale Ale, you’d probably like this summer brew by GoodLife.

    Hopworks Urban Brewery IPA is next. The hops hide behind the malt – the aroma’s all sweet and malty, and you don’t really know you’re drinking an IPA at first. I’d recommend it to beer drinkers who want to like IPAs, (oh, you’re from Portland? You must like IPAs, right?) but find that most are so bitter they shrivel their tongues. Now, I may be losing beer snob cred here, since Hopworks claims this beer is 75 IBU. But taste it, then taste something like Ninkasi’s Tricerihops. The HUB may indeed be a better picnic beer, but it’s not overly hoppy for an IPA.

    Another selection from HUB: Rise-Up Red, NW Red Ale. This seasonal beer was only made available in cans this year. It’s full bodied, thicker on the tongue than a pale ale or IPA, but delicious. It’s brewed with the northwest mainstays, Cascade and Centennial hops. I prefer more refreshing beers for picnics, but might go with the Rise-Up Red on a hiking trip in the spring. By the way, Centennial hops are also used in many other Oregon beers, like Bridgeport Brewing’s Hop Czar, Rogue’s Independence Hop Ale and Double Mountain Brewery‘s Pale Ale.

    Beer Options for Picnics

    21st Amendment Brewery’s Hell or High Watermelon is an American wheat beer, with watermelon added during second fermentation. I love eating watermelon, but I’ve never really been a fan of anything watermelon-flavored. When I tasted this beer, I did first notice the watermelon, but it really wasn’t overpowering. It ended up being really thirst quenching. I would pair it with campfire food or burgers.

    Looking for a cheap, session beer? Some picnics call for trunks full of beer, but you just can’t stoop down to the level of Bud and Coors. And PBR makes you feel like you’re trying too hard. Our local  Trader Joe’s stocks the Simpler Times Lager, from Minhas Craft Brewery, in Wisconsin, IL. Set your expectations to low, and you’ll be happy with this affordable (under $5!) six pack.

    If bottled beers are allowed in parks where you live, like they are in Oregon, I’d also recommend 10 Barrel Brewery‘s Swill. It’s a summer sipper, a berliner weisse infused with grapefruit. You might not find it to your liking, if you’ve never had a penchant for fruit beers. I loved the taste, and the look on people’s faces when they take a sip. It’s surprisingly good. And even the most machismo of men can maintain their masculinity while partaking in this fruity picnic beer. Maybe they’ll sell it in cans, after they read this post? C’mon 10 Barrel, you liked my tweet that one time, about your beer; you know you owe me for the free advertizing.

    For the perfect picnic, my recommendation is just to try them all. If I had to pick one, I’d suggest the Hell or High Watermelon Wheat. I had two at the Portland Blogger’s Family Picnic this afternoon, and it just felt right.

    What are your favorite canned beers?

    Picnic Week: Italian Inspired Picnic Menu

    Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party

    If you haven’t been reading this week then you may not know that it is Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party! I’m sharing all kinds of fun picnic ideas in honor of the Portland Bloggers family picnic that is happening this weekend. I’ve already shared a quick pasta salad, my favorite picnic supplies, and a huge list of picnic inspiration from around the web. Today I thought I’d delve into the picnic food menu. YUM. I’ve crafted menus that will make for a fabulous picnic meal and will continue sharing them throughout the weekend!


    Italian Inspired Picnic Menu

    I love a well crafted menu. There is just something really special about a menu that has been thought about and crafted to taste great together. I’ve come up with picnic menus based off of some of my favorite styles of food to inspire your own picnic menus. I’ve linked to some of my favorite recipes as well. You’ll get everything from snacks to nibble on while playing bocce ball through to dessert and beverages. Starting things off today is one of my very favorite types of food— Italian!

    Beverages—

    Okay, maybe it is a traditionalist in me, but you can’t go wrong with some sparkling water and your favorite Italian red for a picnic. Try taking a chilled Lambrusco to relieve the heat! A great way to keep your chilled red or white wine cold (and not watered down) while drinking is to freeze grapes and plop them in your wine glass! Eat the wine soaked grapes as they thaw.

    Snacks—

    Antipasti platters are one of my favorite Italian appetizers. Make it picnic-ready by creating antipasti skewers. You can really make this one up with items you like and stack them on skewers. I like to add items like olives, basil, cherry tomatoes, marinated mozzarella, Italian meats, and cooked tortellinis. Try this antipasta skewer recipe out for more ideas.

    Italian Pressed Sandwiches— Photo by Motormouth Studios

    Italian Pressed Sandwiches— Photo by Motormouth Studios

    Meal—

    Caprese Salad—I think salads are the perfect summer food. And, caprese salads are so easy, delicious, and refreshing. To make a caprese salad in a jar simply build the salad by putting in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, cherry tomatoes, balls of mozzarella (the fresher, the better), and basil leaves. I sometimes like to mix my basil with sweet baby green as well.

    Italian pressed sandwiches— These sammies make for a filling and very portable lunch. I’d cut them into individual portions, wrap in wax paper, and tie up with twine to add an extra special touch. This would be a great way to identify speciality sandwiches for friends and family that need items left out of their sandwiches— just write a note on the paper or tie it on with the baker’s twine! There are a ton of recipes out there for Italian pressed sandwiches. My favorite? My own! Check out my Italian Pressed Sandwich Recipe here!

    Dessert—

    No Bake Tiramisu in Jars— When I think Italian dessert I instantly think of tiramisu. MMMMM. I’m not a fan of too much fuss for a picnic meal, so I tend to lean toward things with “no bake” or “one pan.” Building an easy and delicious tiramisu in a jar will make you look like you slaved for hours over a hot stove while you sit pretty and relax with your Lambrusco in hand.

    Do you like to have a coordinated menu for your picnics? Or, would you rather throw something together the day of and wing it?

     

     

    Picnic Week: A Super Easy and Delicious Pasta Salad

    Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party

     

    I’m posting a series of picnic-themed posts this week in honor of the Portland Bloggers’ family picnic that is happening this weekend. The first post was all about fun picnic supplies to make for a pleasant picnic in the park (or wherever). Now, onto the food!\


    One of my favorite things to make for a picnic is my super easy and delicious pasta salad. It doesn’t have any name that I know of… I learned it from word of mouth from a friend and have been making it ever since. It doesn’t have any mayo so it is pretty heat friendly. You can add in things or take them out as you like. I’ll share the base recipe I use and then one of my favorite modifications!

    Easy Pasta Salad

    A Super Easy and Delicious Pasta Salad

    Serves a whole bunch of people… I really can’t even estimate well, but over 12 side dish portions.

    Ingredients:

    • Approximately 6 cups of tortellini (You can decide the filling, I typically go with cheese filling or half cheese and half spinach)
    • 1 16oz bag of frozen peas and carrots
    • 1 bottle of your favorite Italian dressing— I’ve used everything from Wishbone to Olive Garden. My favorite is Newman’s Own Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Italian Dressing (Affiliate Link)
    • 1 bag of shredded parmesan cheese— approximately 5 to 8 oz of cheese will be used. I sometimes shred my own. I sometimes get it in a bag. The pictured KRAFT Shredded Italian Cheese Mixture (Affiliate Link) would work nicely as well.

    Directions:

    • Boil the tortellini as you would any pasta— tortellini tends to float to the top when done. I always give it a taste test to check for sure.
    • Pour the frozen peas and carrots into a colander and put in sink while the tortellini is boiling.
    • Pour the finished pasta and boiling water into the colander after the pasta is al dente. The hot water will cook the veggies!
    • Rinse with cool water until the whole mess of yummy food is cool.
    • Pour in a BIG bowl.
    • Then add up to 1 full bottle of dressing (to taste, I typically use 1/2 to 3/4 a bottle) and the parmesan cheese to taste (I usually use the whole bag)
    • Cool and enjoy!

    See, so easy! Now, here is my most recent modification. I used all of the above ingredients, but I added diced ham and chives at the end! One of the best things about this recipe is you can make it as simple or as gourmet as you want. If you want to go supremely foodie on this picnic favorite then get some fresh tortellini, make your own Italian dressing, grate your own super nice parmesan, and add in some prosciutto.

    A great way to serve this dish is to just put them in individual canning jars. The jars can be the food storage containers and double as dinnerware.

    Want some more awesome pasta salad ideas? Check out my friend Bee’s Pasta Salad with Zucchini and Sun-dried Tomatoes or Rebekah’s Six-Ingredient or Less Greek-ish Pasta Salad.

    What food do you love bringing to a picnic?

    It’s Picnic Week: My Favorite Picnic Supplies

     

    Picnic Week on A Well Crafted Party

    In honor of the Portland Bloggers’ Family Picnic happening this weekend I wanted to feature a post about picnics. My love for picnics and my ideas for picnic-related posts covered an entire sheet of brainstorming paper though, so instead of ONE post, I’m posting several throughout the week! You’ll see ideas for creating beautiful picnics, picnic supplies, picnic clothing ideas, picnic-ready recipes, some free picnic printables and MORE. Are you as excited as I am? ;-)


    To get the party started I wanted to share some of my favorite picnic supplies out there ready for your next picnic. I like to mix some handmade items with store bought, and vintage with modern to really set the scene for the perfect picnic. Pictured below are a selection of store bought items that I think could really put together a very pleasant picnic. Throw in some items of your own, make a few selections, and pick up one or two of these fun picnic supplies to put on a perfect Summer picnic.

    Supplies for a Pleasant Picnic

    Picnic Supplies for a Pleasant Summer Picnic

    *The following are affiliate links— Affiliate Links help support the bloggers that post them. I only post products/brands I use and love or have been coveting for some time. See my policies for more information.

    1. Water resistant backed picnic blanket (You can also make your own… check out later this week to learn how!)
    2. A cooler of some sort. You can try just a regular everyday cooler like this one from Coleman, or a cool collapsable tote (pictured above).
    3. Wine Key— I’ve always been a fan of the traditional waiter’s wine key that has a foil cutter, corkscrew, and bottle opener all in one cool too. This lime green one needs to find its way into my cupboard!
    4. Cups and Plates— Picnics are a great time to bring out the outdoor dinnerware and use them instead of throwing away a lot of trash. This is especially great when picnicking somewhere that doesn’t have available trash containers. Campware tableware sets are great for picnics. I’m also a huge fan of these cute melamine plates and cups that look like the disposable kinds. My favorite type though are the ultra pretty ones, like the dinnerware pictured above from Waverly, that can bring a little cuteness to the practicalness of a picnic spread.
    5. A few throw pillows— this old lady can’t sit on the ground without a little cushion. I happen to love the pictured throw pillows because they are totally outdoor friendly!
    6. Great reusable containers to carry delish food and drinks in. While I love the above food storage containers from Kinetic, I’m a big fan of good old fashioned Kerr Jars or Ball Jars.

     

    All in one picnic supplies

    Okay, so you want something that is all in one and super portable? I LOVE my picnic backpack that has an insulated area, wine holder, plates, cups, etc. We got our backpack years ago… but, these packs look awesome as well: (The following links are affiliate links.)

    1. Picnic Time Malibu Insulated Cooler Picnic Tote, Service for 2
    2. Picnic Time Pioneer Picnic Basket, Moka— For the traditionalist who still wants to bring a basket to the picnic
    3. Picnic at Ascot Bold Lux Wine and Cheese Cooler(Perfect for when you just need the necessities— wine & cheese!)

    What must-have item makes an appearance at all of YOUR Summer picnics?

     

     

    Snapshot: A Day with Family

    I’ve been really good recently about sticking to my posting schedule. Today I had a post almost ready to go an just waiting a few small things before I could publish. But, life got in the way a bit. And, I’m so glad it did.

    My husband’s parents are in town visiting and we are having such fun together! My son is calling them “BamMa” and “Papa.” Today we decided to go out to the Willamette River and paddle board. I stayed at the shore with the kiddo…but, we all had a grand time. Afterwards we enjoyed a homemade dinner on a rooftop in downtown Portland.

    20130716-230057.jpg

    20130716-230230.jpg

    20130716-230329.jpg

    20130716-230342.jpg

    Pacific Northwest Summer Toddler Style

    PNW Summer Toddler Clothes

    PNW Summer Toddler Boy Clothing Style

    Summer in the Pacific Northwest just isn’t the same as it is in other places that I’ve lived. It is chilly in the morning and evening. It gets HOT in the day time. We wear layers year round. We buy cardigans in Summer colors and hang them in our closets rather than storing them away with our winter wear.

    So, when writing this post I was going to title it “Summer Toddler Style” until I realized that this would be WAY too much clothing for a lot of toddlers. I really was dressing my son for a Pacific Northwest Summer Toddler Style. (mouthful much?) So, if you are visiting the Pacific Northwest this Summer or live here year-round and need tips on dressing your toddler boy for the PNW Summer then this post will be for you.

    toddler clothing ideas

    I dress my son in a hat as much as possible during the Summer. Most of the year the sun is scarse out here in Portland. But, during the Summer it is shining bright. The sun protects his pale skin from burns (along with copious amounts of sunscreen) and keeps his eyes shielded some. I love the way this little blue sun hat makes his blue eyes shine. It is getting a tad small (bought it last year) which makes me sad. My baby isn’t a baby anymore.

    Pacific Northwest Summer Clothing Ideas

     

    PNW toddler style

    I like jeans year round for this kid. He has plenty of shorts for when it is really, really hot. However, because we were heading down to the water where it is cooler, I dressed him in jeans and rolled them into a capri length. We paired the jeans with a grey and white striped v-neck (big so he has room to grow) and a pair of black sandals. Closed toe shoes are important for my little guy… he stumbles a lot still and the closed toe protects his feet better than opened toe sandals. The jeans are the complementary jeans from 7 for All Mankind that I talked about in my 7 More Days of Toddler Style.

    Toddler Boy Summer Styling Ideas

    His Outfit: (The following links only go to the store website from which I got the clothing items. Many are from different seasons and are no longer being sold. However, similar items can be found.) Shirt: Old Navy, Jeans (Complimentary): 7 For All Mankind, Sun Hat: Old Navy, & Sandals: Burlington Coat Factory

    ** This is not a sponsored post as I did not receive anything in exchange for this post. However, I did receive the jeans my son is wearing in the photos above complimentary for a different series I wrote this year. All opinions are my own.**

    Gotta Get Paid
    Googleicious Ads
    Super Sponsors
    Check This Awesomeness Out
    Past Posts
    Follow Along


    Follow on Bloglovin


    Want the News?

    Fill out this short little form to sign up for our newsletter. We promise not to overload your inbox and to send fresh new printables with each newsletter!

    Free Printable Blog Planner