July is National Park and Recreation Month! And while, yes, I might be celebrating by watching Leslie Knope crush it as Deputy Director in Pawnee, Indiana (again), I’ll also be spending some time in a few parks myself!
I’m a huge fan of taking picnics to the park, but it can be a bit tricky to take along your favorite foods without the right gear and gadgets. But not to worry! I’ve found a few supplies you can use to make your park-day picnics a success. I’ll also be sharing my new favorite pasta salad recipe – it’s my go-to for on-the-go dining!
I love eating outdoors, but when the wind picks up, take-out wrappers and paper plates can quickly become incredibly frustrating. That’s why I love bringing along sturdier items. However, there’s still the potential of dishes breaking during the drive to and from the park.
When it comes to picnics, it can be difficult to keep things from rolling around or flying away. Don’t let this hinder the fun! Instead, find a good sectioned basket. They’re great for keeping utensils and napkins in place, or storing fruit, bread, and small containers.
I’m a huge fan of this Savar Everything Basket. It’s just weighty enough to keep everything in place without being too heavy to carry. Not to mention it’s gorgeous – I have one in my guest bathroom and keep face towels, soap, etc. in it for whenever friends or family come to visit.
If you want something a bit smaller, go for this Utensil Caddy! It has a handle in the center, so it’s easy to carry with one hand – a huge help for beach trips that require carrying towels and chairs!
A Good Blanket
My skin can be really sensitive to certain types of grass, and it’s perpetually frustrating when sharp little blades stick up through whatever towel I’ve brought to sit on during a picnic. Finding a blanket that’s thick enough to keep you comfortable and light enough that it’s not a hassle to bring along is quite the balancing act.
I recently found this Tribal Turkish Throw Blanket, and I’ve been loving it for picnics and beach trips. It’s durable, versatile, and so pretty – perfect for picnic photo-ops!
Outdoor Serving Favorites
Time for a speed round! Here’s a few of my favorite items that make outdoor eating a breeze:
My favorite colorful and durable Cutlery Set is perfect for on-the-go dining.
The HAT Wine Cooler uses expanded polypropene to keep wine cool without extra ice.
Put small snacks (nuts, dried fruit, chocolates) into small bags for travel and pour into this Divided Bamboo Dish when you’re ready to set up your picnic!
My Favorite Pasta Salad Recipe
Pasta salad is my perfect picnic dish. It’s easy to travel with, and it offers a fresh, cool meal on a warm day. And while I’m a huge fan of everyone’s favorite Italian pasta salad, I’ve been loving this pickle pasta salad recipe!
Cook a box of your favorite pasta (16 oz). I like bowties, but rotini and shells also work well!
After the pasta is cooked, strain and rinse with cold water.
Put pasta into a mixing bowl and add 1/3 cup dill pickle juice. Stir.
Chop 2 cups of dill pickles, 1 block (8 oz) Colby Jack cheese, and one small white onion.
Drain the pasta again to strain out the pickle juice.
Add pickles, cheese, and onion to pasta and stir.
In a separate bowl, mix 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup dill pickle juice, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir together to make the salad dressing.