These days, with so much time being spent sheltering at home, any chance we have for a change of pace and some much-needed fresh air goes a long way for the whole family. A safe, simple occasion that will have you feel like you have something to look forward to is an alfresco dining experience in your own backyard. Grab some blankets, pillows and a delicious array of easy-to-prepare food and walk a few feet outside your door for a pleasant picnic. Here are some of my essentials to make it happen!
Bring your own bedding outside
Whether it’s a washable bedspread or a duvet with a removable cover, throw that down on the grass along with some big throw pillows to lean against. If the ground is damp, add a tarp as the first layer to protect your soft furnishings.
Set the mood
Set up the perfect ambiance with your portable speakers that you can plug into your phone and play some tunes – nothing uplifts more than some of your favourite songs. If you’re planning your picnic for later in the afternoon or evening, add some flameless candles to create a warm, cozy atmosphere.
If you want, add a low table
You absolutely could eat on your lap and laze on the pillows, but if you want to make it a bit more comfortable, a low table (like a coffee table) is easy to transport outside. Throw on a tablecloth and some fresh blooms from your garden, and you have turned a casual affair into something quite elegant!
Have some games
Turn a regular hang-out in the backyard into something that feels like more of an occasion with some games and a little friendly competition. Bocce ball, board games or a Frisbee is a great way to pass some time and have some fun.
Decide on the menu
With some extra time on our hands, we can take more time to plan out a menu that goes beyond sandwiches and a bag of chips. Whether you assemble a charcuterie board or try a new potato salad recipe, the landscape should suit the mood of what you make: Keep it fresh, light and easy to eat with your fingers or a fork. I love a grilled corn salad for the summertime, and old-school deviled eggs with tarragon are always a hit. Some other favourites: prosciutto-wrapped melon, white bean tapenade and, as a special treat for the adults, a gin-spiked orange ice tea from Bon Appetit that is absolutely delicious!