Over 30 Tasty Picnic Desserts

The past few weeks I’ve shared some great picnic ideas to keep your outside dining more interesting than the usual stand-by items. We’ve enjoyed Over 30 Delicious Recipes for Easy Picnic Food and 40 Perfect Side Dishes for Summer Picnics. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this collection could never be complete without a round-up of picnic dessert recipes! So today I’m sharing over 30 Tasty Picnic Desserts, from those that are lighter and almost snack-like to the more decadent treats.

Muffins – they aren’t just for breakfast!

Muffins aren’t just for breakfast anymore! They make a nice sweet treat after a meal without being too sweet and heavy to toss a frisbee or hike or enjoy whatever adventure you have planned as part of your picnic. Try some of these on your next picnic, and if somehow you have a few leftover, then you have breakfast started for the next day!

Snickerdoodle Muffins

 Bars and Brownies for quick treats that travel way

Bars and brownies are perfect picnic treat because they can be made fairly quickly, spread into a pan, baked and you’re ready for your adventure!

Cookies are always a hit – picnic or no picnic!

Personally, cookies are one of my favorite desserts to pack for a picnic, trip or even a lunch. Many cookies can even be baked ahead of time and frozen so you could grab a dozen of several different types and bring a nice variety on your picnic!

Snacks and Mixes to please every crowd

And a few other treats just because they’re that good!

And just because they’re always favorites, why not whip up some cupcakes? Or bring a small cooler with some fudge in it for a decadent finale to your picnic!

With almost 100 picnic recipes including a nice collection of main dishes, sides and desserts, you should be more than ready to head outdoors and enjoy some great food and time with your family and friends. Why not start a picnic tradition? It may be weekly or the first Friday of each month or the 2nd and 4th Tuesday. Which time or specific location isn’t as important as taking the time to gather with your people and enjoying dinner in a slightly new and different way. Somehow a change of venue and a new menu can create memories that last a lifetime.

And let us know what your favorite picnic dishes are in the comments below. Even with all the recipes included in this little series it never hurts to have a few more new ideas. Happy picnicking!

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How to do Road Trip Picnics – where to stop and other tips to make them easy

Road Trip Picnics

 

We’ve been talking picnics all month.  We’ve covered Day Trip Picnics and Vacation Home Food.

This week, let’s talk about road trip picnics.  I really like to pack our lunch for our first (and sometimes, last) day of travel.  We prefer our own sandwiches to fast food, especially when traveling.  A couple of my kids deal with car sickness and it really helps to have control of the food choices.  Not to mention that it’s much cheaper to pack.

I won’t talk too much about what to pack.  We’ve covered that pretty well already.

I do want to share some tips I’ve learned and I’d love to hear yours too!

Where to stop for a road side picnic.

When you’re on a long trip, trying to get where you’re going, you don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for a place to eat.  Convenience wins big over scenic views in this case.

Rest stops are an obvious solution.  Many of them have picnic tables.  We’ve found that as you enter most states, there are Welcome Centers that tend to be a notch above regular rest stops.

Tip: It’s nice to have a roll of paper towels to use as place mats or even to sit on if the benches aren’t the best.  Although, the adults tend to eat standing up to counteract all the hours in the car.

Eating in the car.

We’ve found it’s best to get out for a break, but there are times when it makes sense to eat in the car.  If it’s raining, you may want to skip the picnic.  Heavy traffic occasionally makes it hard to to stop.

Just in case you end up needing to eat while driving, pack the cooler where an older child or adult can get to it.  Have that person pass out the lunches and drinks.

Tip: For snacks like boxes of cheese crackers or grapes, small paper cups work great for handing out individual servings.  These are also easy for the driver to eat from.

Strategically splurge on treats.

If you’re looking at 8-15 hours in the car, you can bet you’re going to need a few treats.  Here are a few things that have worked for us in the past:

  • DumDum lollipops and Jolly Ranchers – It’s fun to choose a flavor and the small candy lasts a while too.
  • Planned afternoon breaks that involve purchased treats like soft drinks, coffees, or even ice cream.
  • Treat bags – When the kids were little, I would pack a bag of small games, toys, stickers, etc.  I tried to aim for one treat per hour.  Some of the most successful items were masking tape, pipe cleaners, dry erase markers (to use on the windows),  and blank notebooks.  The car was usually a mess when we arrived at the destination, but everyone was was (relatively) happy.

I’d love to hear your tips!

Many of us will be hitting the road this summer for long trips.  Share what works for you and your family in the comments.

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6 Picnic Tips and Menu Ideas for a Day at the Zoo, Park etc.

6 Tips and Menu Ideas for a Day Trip Picnic to the Zoo or park

I’m a big fan of packing food for day trips.  It saves money and the food I bring is almost always better than what can be bought at our destination.

Here are my best tips for BYOP (bring your own picnic).

1.  Go with a standard plan

One trick I use for these types of outings is to pack nearly the same thing every time.  The big reason to do this is it makes spur of the moment picnics a breeze.  There have been times when we’ve woken up on a summer Saturday and decided to hit the road that morning.  I’ve been able to make a quick trip to the grocery for supplies, come home and pack it all up and be ready to go in less than an hour.  Buying our standard picnic fair makes this a no-brainer.

You can make it special by packing crackers, chips or cookies you don’t usually buy.  Grapes are a standard in our picnic, but they’ve gotten so expensive that they’re now a treat too.

2.  Try tortilla wraps instead of sandwiches

Tortilla wraps hold up better in the cooler than sandwiches made on bread.  They don’t seem as prone to squishing or getting soggy like sandwiches will.

3.  Pack sides that can double as snacks part way through the day

Mostly this involves making sure you’ve packed enough extras to go with your main course.  It’s fun to stop for a special treat, but it’s also nice to not have to purchase every snack and drink your family will need through a whole day.

We like a mix of healthy and not-so-healthy.  Grapes and baby carrots are our go-to healthy choices.  I like these because they’re easy to eat and not messy or sticky.  They hold up great in the cooler too.

We also like cheese crackers and some kind of packaged cookie.  Homemade cookies taste better, but store-bought handle being packed without crushing or smooshing.

4.  Avoid things that melt or get sticky

Cut fruit, frosting and chocolate are things that come to mind here.

5.  Keep beverages simple and pack plenty

When people get hot, they get thirsty.  You can save a ton of money just by having enough drinks packed.  We usually go with water, but juice boxes are nice to have too.

6.  Don’t forget plenty of ice for the cooler, napkins and wet wipes

Picnic Menu Options

Sandwiches/Wraps

Try turkey, beef, ham or hummus.

Add Swiss, provolone, cheddar or American cheese.

Lettuce and sprouts can be added when you make the wraps at home.  Tomatoes are best skipped or added later at the picnic site, because they tend to make thing soggy.

Savory sides

  • Cheese crackers
  • Chips
  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery sticks
  • Bell pepper strips
  • Pea pods
  • String cheese

Sweet sides

 

 

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Drive. Play. Feed. Sports Season Suppers – Grocery Store Meals

Last week, we talked about packing food to eat on the sidelines.  Or in the car.  Whatever works, right?

But there are times when packing just isn’t going to happen.  When you didn’t make a plan, didn’t have time to think about it, forgot to look at the calendar (please tell me I’m not the only one!).

You still have to eat, but it doesn’t have to be drive-thru.  Here are some grocery store meal ideas.  Print this list and keep it in your purse or glove box of your car.  It will only take a couple minutes to run into the store and grab dinner.

Don’t miss the tips below that will help this plan run smoothly.  With most of these meal ideas, you will have leftovers that you can take home and eat later. [Read more…]