March 13, 2012

A Practically Martha Picnic

I love hosting.  I love the planning and prep work and having everything taken care of so that all anyone has to worry about is showing up.  It's something that brings me immense joy and satisfaction.

I wanted to share the menu from a picnic brunch I threw this past weekend for a large group of friends.  Not because I think it's mind-blowing, but because it was SO easy.  (minus the dessert part below, which I take zero credit for)

Here is a breakdown of all the little nibbles. 

Greek Pasta Salad
Boil bowtie or penne pasta in salty water (salty like the ocean, not the Dead Sea).  Toss with chopped Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese and some balsamic salad dressing.

Berry Salad
Mix together strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries.  Squeeze the juice of one lemon over them and toss. 

Chop up peppers, cucumbers and/or celery and add some baby carrots and cherry tomatoes too.  Include some hummus or a ranch dip (sour cream + 1 packet Hidden Valley seasoning) for dipping. 

Cheese & Cracker Platter
Dice up cubes of cheddar, pepper jack or colby cheese and plus some logs of softer cheeses like Brie.  Trader Joes sells a delicious goat cheese and honey log for less than $5.00 that is so unbelievably flavorful.  

Find a local bakery and grab a mix of favorites like glazed or chocolate sprinkled donuts!  They're classic yet oh-so-indulgent.

Deviled Eggs
Hard boil a dozen eggs.  Cut them in half, diagonally and set aside the yolks.  Mix them up with some mayonnaise and Dijon mustard and use to fill in the little yolk holes.  Season with cayenne pepper.

I went with a big bowl of Castelvetrano olives because I'm slightly obsessed with them.  A variety works great though too!

Grab a pitcher and pour in some champagne with some OJ.  Bonus points for using Trop 50 (50% less sugar & calories).

No picnic is complete without a little something sweet.  My dear friend brought homemade funfetti cupcakes with a dark chocolate ganache frosting, plus...chocolate fudge cookies.  (recipes to follow)

I hope this makes your next hosting adventure one teeny bit easier!  Some photos from my picnic adventure below!