Have you finalized your 4th of July plans, yet? How about taking a picnic to the park to watch your community fireworks display? I’m not quite sure why my community decided to have our 4th of July celebration a couple of weeks early, but they did, and this is what we did to enjoy the festivities.
I wanted something really fun and festive, but not terribly complicated to prepare so I went to my local Fresh & Easy store for inspiration. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know this is not the first time I have mentioned Fresh & Easy. It is kind of my go to place–both when I just don’t have the stamina for a larger grocery store (which is most of the time), and also when I am looking for fun products that will make it easy to pull together a celebration. The romantic anniversary dinner at home a few years back, was made possibly entirely by Fresh & Easy. So it was a natural place for me to go when I needed picnic ideas. I’m so glad they are still around!
The square shape of this ciabatta bread got me thinking. I also grabbed some individually packaged red jello cups. A tall can of Pringles set off my imagination. As did some red, white and blue fruits and vegetables. And who can resist pop in cute bottles. Here is what I came up with:
Since this picnic was aimed at an evening watching fireworks, I wanted to play that up and since we know I like food that have to do with pop, I made labels that said “POP POP POP,” to decorate bottles of red Izze soda.
I also made a special kind of POP-corn for the occasion, but more on that in another post. I scooped it into that Pringles can that made me think of a firecracker and designed a printable label for it. Adding a fun gift bow and some striped washi tape completed the effect.
The rest of the food didn’t necessarily follow the POP theme, but it was all patriotic. I designed this vegetable tray to remind us of the American flag, with rows of red and white vegetables. I used grape tomatoes and cauliflower. Jicama would also work nicely. And can you guess what the dip is??? Blue cheese! Get it? Of course, I had to make it blue blue cheese.
Remember the ciabatta bread? It also became a flag. I made a variation on a BLT for this flag. We lost the L completely and added some C. I put a little dressing on the bread and then covered it all in sliced mozzerlla cheese (sliced was a big time saver here). I decided to try cooking our bacon in the oven to help it to stay flat rather than curl up as it often does. BSB took it a step further and placed aluminum foil above and below the bacon on a the cookie sheet and placed another cookie sheet on top of the bacon to keep it flat. He baked it at 350 for about 15 mins. Then removed the top sheet and foil and broiled it for a couple more minutes to help it get crispy.
I arranged the slices of bacon in a stripe pattern on the cheese. Then I added a tomato slice in the corner, and used a small cookie cutter to make a star shape to place on top of the tomato.
We wrapped these in plastic to pack in our picnic basket.
I added some fireworks stickers to some small apples from Fresh & Easy to carry out the picnic branding.
I also added fun circular labels to the tops of the jello cups. At the picnic, we opened the cups, added whipped cream and blue berries.
For firework shaped desserts, I started with these adorable mini lemon bundt cakes in the bakery section at Fresh and Easy. I drizzled melted white chocolate, and a little sparkly blue frostings to look like fireworks on each one. I let the kids add some red sanding sugar sprinkles for a little more sparkle. They made a perfect portable, thematic dessert for our picnic (And I didn’t have to bake them from scratch! Hooray!)
We had a great time enjoying the fireworks inside and outside of our picnic basket.
I hope this gives you some ideas for some 4th of July family fun! I am making the printables I designed for this picnic available to my Facebook followers. I just had everything printed at my copy shop on full-sheet label paper. You could also print on regular paper and tape or glue on the items.
And if you are looking for fast, easy and fun food ideas, you should definitely see if there is a Fresh & Easy in your area. They have so many convenient and healthy options both for special occasions and for every day. They saved our bacon (well, it was actually beef) last night, as we found a couple of packages of fajitas ready to cook and black beans in the Clearance section. We had a delicious dinner with about 15 mins. of prep–which is all we had time for. Oh, and one more quick shout out…They have special parking spots for people with young children! Can you hear the angel choirs singing?!? I love companies that understand how difficult it is to manage all we have to manage with little people in tow. Ok, enough gushing! Go try it out for yourself. If you need one more incentive, here is a coupon for $5 off your purchase of $20 to help get you started! (expires 7/7)
And let me know how you are planning to celebrate this 4th of July!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.