Wednesday, August 15, 2007

perfect pasta salad

1 1/2 cups cooked rotini pasta
10 steamed asparagus spears, cut into one-inch pieces
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Garlic Oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
2 tablespoons fresh parsley


Combine the asparagus, pasta, onions, and bell pepper. Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and toss to coat.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

summertime in a cup

we just came across the most awesome fruit appetizer. It's called summertime in a watermelon cup. Basically you cut up cubes of watermelon, scoop out the middle and add some delicious ingredients. Their choice: jicama, peaches, and onion. Very refreshing.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

don't forget the coleslaw

If you're going to have potato salad you have to have coleslaw. They just go together.

Check out our coleslaw page for some great ideas: http://www.fasteasyrecipe.com/dishes/recipes/coleslaw

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

the classics

You can't go wrong with the classics. Especially potato salad.

Here's the easiest potato salad you'll ever make. Just combine the following ingredients in a bowl and serve.

4 cups of diced cooked potatoes
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup sliced red onion
3 chopped hardboiled eggs
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

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Friday, August 10, 2007

keep the bugs away

One item you may want to bring on your picnic is a citronella candle. Not only will it keep the critters away but will provide a nice light once the sun starts to set. To make sure mosquitoes don't attack, use a bug spray too, especially if you're with children.

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

fun in the sun

There are a lot of fun games you can play with a group of friends while you dine outdoors. Some of our favorite are surrealist games. If you have a faily large group for your picnic have each person say one word until a sentence is formed. Try not to think of a particular word, but just say the first thing that pops in your mind.

More surrealist games can be found at: http://www.philhine.org.uk/writings/rit_surrealg.html

There's also a great book on these games.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

sparkling strawberry lemonade

Lemonade is always welcome at a picnic. You can spike it up with vodka or leave it virgin and add fresh fruit juice. One of our favorite combinations is sparkling strawberry lemonade:

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon peel
1 cup lemon juice
1 pint fresh strawberries
2 cups cold sparkling water

In a medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add lemon peel and juice, stir, and remove from heat. Let cool completely. Pour into pitcher.

In blender, puree strawberries. Add to pitcher with lemon juice and sparkling water. Stir well and refrigerate.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

summer wines

Check out food and wine's summer wine guide for some ideas on a good wine for your picnic. All wines listed are available for $20 or less specifically chosen with outdoor food in mind.

http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/25-best-wines-for-summer
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Monday, August 6, 2007

picnic baskets

Every picnic starts with a good basket whether canvas or wicker. Here are a few ideas. Pick your features, insulation, wine duffels, blankets, cheese boards and cutting knives and your colors and you're all set.

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

spread for the bread

There are a lot of creative dips and spreads ideas to accompany your beer bread or any bread. From a spicy shrimp spread to cheesy chili dips can really liven up your picnic. They make a great appetizer and are very portable.

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Saturday, August 4, 2007

a loaf of bread

In addition to needing the bread to make the sandwiches, it's great to bring along for cheese or some kind of spread. If you don't have a bread maker, there are lots of breads that are simple and easy to make without all of the pounding. The simplest is beer bread which only requires two ingredients.

2 2/3 cup self-rising flour
12 oz. beer

Place the flour in a bowl and stir in half of the beer. Mix well. Add the rest of the beer. Divide into two 9x5 buttered loaf pans, place in oven at 350 degrees for 50 min. Remove from oven and drizzle with melted butter.

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Friday, August 3, 2007

salads with style

One of the keys to fabu salads is texture. Toppings add a whole new element and can change the experience. For a bold crunch you can add almonds or cashews. For a subtle chew cranberries and raisins will do. For creamy, soft try crumbled goat cheese. Play around with it and have fun.

Salad tip: Remember to put the dressing on at the picnic or it's soggy salad for you.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

sandwiches with flair

The staple to many picnics starts with a great sandwich. Sandwiches have come a long way. Take the standard: peanut butter and jelly. You know have the option of almond butter, hazelnut butter or virtually any other kind of nut. Add apple slices, and halved grapes with homemade preserves and you've got a gourmet pb&j. Here are some other ideas for gourmet sandwiches.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Picnics

We're devoting the month of August to picnics so grab a wicker basket and get packing with out tips and trick for a fun outing.

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