I love to visit local playgrounds and parklands during the week with Florence but also as a whole family at the weekends and in holidays. As a family of 6 we find eating out/buying snacks can be pretty expensive and unnecessary, so we like to take our own food and drink to most paces we visit. It means we also don’t get too stressed about the kids behaving well in restaurants and cafes and they’re able to let off steam and run about and play near where we’re picnicking. I think we also get to chat more as a couple when we picnic than we would do in a restaurant with them. We love to get out all year round and in most weathers, and living in the UK we can’t always rely on the weather to behave itself, so we just adapt our picnic seasonally and include some Autumnal and Winter warmers to help keep cozy on colder and wetter days. So I thought it was about time after discussing our picnics with a friend that I shared some of our picnic ideas. All of these ideas can be made vegetarian by swapping meat ingredients for meat free ones.
A simple warm lunch for when you haven’t got much time to prepare a picnic. As we leave the house we simply pop hotdogs into a small flask of boiling water. They gently heat up and then we simply drain the water onto the ground and then pop them into some ready sliced hot dog buns and serve with ketchup or mustard.
We have some favourite Soup recipes for taking out and about. I have included our kids’ favourite soup but I often swap the butternut squash for a pumpkin in pumpkin season. I have also attached a Pinterest board at the bottom of the page with some other soup ideas. If you haven’t enough time to prepare some homemade soup then my kids love Heinz tomato soup with bread. We take our own cups (Ikea beakers for the kids and picnic mugs for us) and pour them warm, steaming cups of soup. It can really extend your time outdoors and make a visit more enjoyable.
This is for the slightly more prepared and adventurous! My husband, being an outdoors man, has small gas stoves for wild camping trips and is often happy to pack it in his rucksack with a small frying pan and cook up eggs and bacon in a bread roll. He refers to them as egg banjos because when the runny egg dries out of the bread and spills on your front you wipe it off like you’re playing a banjo! I have included a really old video of our very first vlog that we did of an outdoors walk and at the end of the blog it shows where we cooked up bacon and egg banjos after a woodland adventure. This was before I had a proper camera to film from and before I knew all the tricks of the trade such as videoing in landscape! All the same it’s a sweet video that gives you an idea of how we have Wintry picnics in the woods.
I often have sheets of ready rolled puff pastry in the fridge and have also been know to do this on shortcrust pastry as well. Simply whizz up a healthy pizza sauce in a smoothie maker or blender. We usually use canned tomatoes, carrots, courgettes, garlic, basil/oregano, tomato puree and seasoning. We then spread this over the pizza and add mozzarella/cheddar cheese and bake in the oven until done. We have also been know to cheat and top with a ready made sauce when we’re keen to get out on time. We then wrap the pizza up in foil and pop it in our picnic bag and eat as soon as we can so it’s still warm. Another slightly less messy way to transport puff pastry is to make pizza pinwheels. Just simply roll the pastry and topping and slice into individual pinwheels.
If you really love a traditional sandwich picnic then just take a flask with a hot drink in such as some hot squash for the kids. It’s a simple way to extend and make a trip to the park more fun and warming. Especially with a biscuit or two!
Hot chocolate – A real winner in our house to take out for an afternoon play. Again usually with a biscuit or cake. I promise we do have healthy snacks as well!
Cinnamon rolls – we have been known to cheat with dough tins and make up a batch of cinnamon rolls to wrap them up to stay warm with a warm drink for an afternoon or 2nd breakfast snack for being outdoors.
Warm fresh bread- what could be better than to wrap up some hot freshly baked bread from the oven to your picnic bag, we often cheat and heat up the part baked rolls to be quick.
Boiled eggs – A nice and filling healthy addition to most of the above picnic ideas.
Sausage rolls – Make your own batch or simply heat up some ready made sausage rolls.
Beans in a flask – A good winter warmer to serve up in cups with hunks of bread.