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Planning A Fall Picnic At The Park
The weather is cooling, the leaves are turning and its the perfect time for planning a fall picnic at the park! Now I say cooling, but its still shorts and sandals weather in SoCal. I grew up in the northeast and fall meant jackets, long pants and a slight chill in the air. Sometimes its hard for me to embrace fall when its 90 degrees outside. I was getting an ICED coffee at Ralph’s the other day and I picked up the Glade® Limited Edition Fall Collection candles in Pumpkin Pit Stop™ and Hit the Road™. I LOVE these scents!
The Pumpkin Pit Stop™ made me think of pumpkin pie baking in the oven. Hit the Road™ reminded me of driving through the crisp country air in my old convertible. As I left the store, I thought of the many times we had a fall picnic at the park when I was growing up, and I wanted to do it again!
When I got home, I placed the Glade® Hit The Road™ Jar Candle on my mantle. I love that crisp fall scent that greets me when I enter my home. I lit the Glade® Pumpkin Pit Stop™ candle in my kitchen and my daughter asked if I was making a pumpkin pie! The yummy smell inspired the menu I planned for my fall picnic at the park.
Planning A Fall Picnic At the Park Menu
- Creamy Italian Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
- Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
- Roasted Golden Beets with Onion
- Sparkling Apple Cider Coolers
Having lived in a warm climate for so many years, I have become accustomed to creating salads that will hold up in warm weather. This means I try to avoid mayo and other cream products when dining outdoors.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad is one of my favorites. I use a combination of sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Then I add an assortment of other ingredients, but the basic recipe includes dried cranberries, onion, and parsley, with a vinaigrette. This time, I added goat cheese, tomatoes and replaced the balsamic with cider vinegar in the dressing.
Golden Beets are another one of my favorite fall veggies. I peel and thinly slice the beets, then toss them with a little olive oil and thinly sliced onion. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until beets are tender. Cool and serve at room temperature. This is also a great dish to serve at a fall picnic at the park!
Creamy Italian Chicken Salad
- 2-3 Cups Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
- 2 TBSP Red Onion, Finely Chopped
- 1-2 TBSP Sun Dried Tomatoes, Julienne Sliced
- Small Handful Cilantro, Coarsely Chopped
- Salt & Pepper, To Taste
- Lettuce leaves – Romaine, Butter or Ice Berg
- 1/4 Cup Italian Dressing of Choice (prepared or homemade)
- 1-2 TSP Olive Oil Mayonnaise or Greek Yogurt
Shred the rotisserie chicken and set aside. Finely chop 2 TBSP red onion, then the sun dried tomatoes. Remove the cilantro leaves, and discard the stems. Coarsely chop the leaves. Combine these ingredients, then mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the Italian dressing with the mayonnaise or Greek yogurt, until smooth. Add a little of the dressing at a time to the chicken mixture, and gently mix until lightly coated. Refrigerate. Separate and clean your lettuce leaves for the wraps. Cover with lightly damp paper towel to keep fresh until served.
Sparking Apple Cider Cooler
Mix 2 parts organic apple cider with 1 part seltzer or club soda. Serve over ice. Add a few thin slices of apple for garnish.
Today I served sea salt potato chips, olive oil popcorn and red grapes. For dessert, we enjoyed oatmeal raisin cookies and some dark chocolate. To save time, I purchased the cookies.
- Freeze water bottles to use as ice packs. They will keep your food chilled and as they melt, the water bottles can be used to drink. This saves space in your cooler.
- Use lunch sacks to serve snacks like chips, popcorn, bread, crackers. They travel well and look so much better than the bag the snacks came in. Carefully fold over the top and adjust the height according to the amount of food to be served.
- Use a vinyl table cloth as a picnic blanket. They are waterproof and clean up easily.
- Bring a serving tray or two. This will easily keep food together and will aid in serving. A tray will also provide a flat surface to set down your beverages, to prevent the cups from falling over.
- Wrap sets of utensils in napkins, in advance. Tie with a ribbon, cord or bakery string for a decorative touch.
- Bring a cute fall table runner to lie across the picnic blanket for a festive touch.
For more fall inspired stories, recipes, and a closer look at the Glade® Limited Edition Fall Collection, visit http://cbi.as/u1p8.
What are your tips for planning a fall picnic at the park? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!