**This post is made in collaboration with Horizon Milk. All content, ideas, and words are my own.**
Everyone knows the best way to celebrate spring is to get out and have a picnic. Something I told my boys, and my 4-year-old quickly told me, “I’ve never been to a picnic.” For someone who likes to get her toes in the grass this is horrifying.
How did Matt and I miss the mark on this one? I’m not sure what his definition of picnic is, but obviously, I reminded him, “We have picnicked so many times.”
Nope, to him those said “times” were just days at the park that we played and ate. A picnic in his world involves real food, real drinks and a basket—not a blanket on the ground with some sandwiches slathered all together, fruit in baggies, water in metal bottles and everything and pulled out of a cooler.
With that I decided to kick off spring with a “proper” picnic—tablecloth, food in bowls, no paper or plasticware, flowers and our favorite family beverage: Horizon® milk, with everything neatly packed in a wood picnic basket. The latter being something I actually had to source since I didn’t own one.
I did it, the whole shebang, or how he imagined a “real” picnic to be. As for the food, this is what it looks like when your audience’s palate is still developing: simple, unfussy and very familiar. Familiar things that I punched up, like with the chicken skewers that are dipped and coated in harissa before grilling, and Cesar pasta salad made more pungent with salt-cured anchovies served alongside a few of their favorite fruits. These of course are my sneaky mom tricks to expand his palate in small doses.
But something I don’t mess with is the milk. Horizon Milk is their beverage of choice, especially their Organic Grassfed milk. The kids love the creamy texture. I love everything that Horizon milk has to offer. Their milk is made from cows who spend at least 150 days on organic pastures where they graze freely. It’s also the only milk brand using milk that is certified by the American Grassfed Association. They pioneered organic dairy 30 years ago and today they continue to help the USDA write the organic standards to push them ever forward.
Naturally, he loved all of it—belly full and a milk mustache to show for it, we played tag ran our toes through the grass and when we all fell down to take a break he jumped up and said, “We forgot the basket.” I did, because picnics like this just don’t fit in a 17 1/2” x 14” x 9 1/2” wicker basket.
Gah. I’m still working on getting him to understand there are a variety of ways to picnic and a variety of tools to pull it off.
For now, here are just a few tips to pulling off a picnic that won’t have you pulling out your hair:
- Keep the food simple. It should travel well and shouldn’t need more than one step with any final finishing touches.
- Know the weather and be prepared: keep anything dairy based chilled up to the point of serving.
- If you are picnicking with kids, have some games, books or activities for them to engage with while you are setting up.
Most of all keep it loose and have fun. The whole idea of picnicking it to relax and enjoy being outside.