There is literally no way to bring us down this time of year. The sun is shining, the kids are running through the sprinklers, and the farmer’s market is quite literally bursting at the seams with fresh produce. As a result, we’re walking around with an ever-so-slight pep in our steps, and just about the only question on our minds is “When is the next party?” And since we couldn’t possible wait for another weekend to fly by, the Out & About Baby team thought we’d get outside while the weather was still warm and host a picnic in the park with all the dads and babies too.
Summer entertaining is at it’s best when it’s impromptu and you are outdoors soaking up the sunshine. Even better is when its fuss-free and the Mum in charge can have as much fun as everyone else rather than slaving over the stove and washing up for hours afterwards.
So before Summer comes to a close we want to encourage each of you to round up a group of your favourite people and host a picnic in your local park too! Choose a park with some good play equipment, everyone BYO blanket, throw in a portable iPhone speaker and the Polariod camera and turn your picnic into a relaxing afternoon al fresco.
To help keep your picnic stress-free, the Out & About Baby team has curated a few of their favourite easy-to-make and easy-to-pack, fuss free and kid friendly recipes to bring it to life.
Alarna’s Kid Friendly Sangria
Sangria is a typical Spanish drink made with wine, fruits and some sweetener. This version is made with grape juice and fruits, so it’s alcohol-free and kid friendly. But if you want to then make it a bit more fun for the grown ups just top your glass with champagne or prosecco.
- 4 cups white grape juice (1 l)
- 1 cup orange juice (250 ml)
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 punnet blueberries
- 1 punnet halved strawberries
- 1 bananas
- 2 peaches
Blend the white grape juice with 1/4 cup blueberries. Pour this liquid mixture into a jug or bowl.
Add the orange and the lime juice. Stir until is well mixed.
Place ice in a jug, add the liquid, the chopped fruits (2 oranges, 2 bananas, 2 limes, halved strawberries and 2 peaches) and remaining blueberries. Let stand in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Note: If you are scratching your head when you read “white grape juice” don’t worry. It’s basically like a non alcoholic wine and you can usually buy it at most supermarkets in the aisle with the rest of the juices and mineral waters.
Alarna’s tips for a family friendly cheese plate on a budget
Everyone loves a big beautiful cheese board brimming with charcuterie, figs, and almonds — I bet you’ve pinned a few, right? There’s no denying they’re gorgeous, but anyone who’s put together a cheese board for a party can tell you: that stuff gets expensive! As someone who’s done her fair share of cheese boards, I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think to create a delicious one on a budget AND perfect for picnics at the same time!
Tip 1: Include just one expensive type of cheese.
I always choose one cheese to be my splurge and make sure that everyone has a chance to try it — everyone will be so wow’d by that one unforgettable cheese that they won’t notice if the others are a little less standout.
Pro tip: ask the person working the cheese counter about their favourite cheeses to serve for a party. They’ll likely choose something that’s really special but won’t break the bank.
Tip 2: Be sneaky with quantities.
Ask the cheese guy (or girl) to cut smaller portions from the more expensive selections, then stock up on larger portions of the more budget-friendly cheeses so your board looks full and abundant. The key is to have a little knowledge about what varieties to spend and splurge on; I can usually find cheaper types of brie that are really beautiful and still delicious, so I’ll buy an entire wheel. Then maybe I’ll go for a pricier goat or blue and just include a very small piece of it on my board for guests to sample.
Tip 3: Focus on variety and texture.
For a $25 budget, I’ll choose 3 or 4 different types of cheeses: a hard, sharper cheese (cheddar, parmesan, or gruyere), a stinky soft cheese (gotta have a blue), and a creamy cheese (like brie or goat.) It’s also fun to incorporate at least a couple different milks — cow, goat, sheep — to keep things interesting and make you look like a pro.
Tip 4: Go crazy with garnishes.
This is the real secret to styling a knockout cheese board without breaking the bank. Slice up a baguette, scatter a few toasted walnuts, fan out some apple slices, place a little bowl of olives, and nestle a few pieces of affordable salami into any empty spots on the board. These accoutrements total just a few dollars and go a long way in dressing up the final look.
Laura’s Kid Friendly Vegetable Fritters
Great if you want to use up veggies in the fridge, these wholesome fritters easy to eat (read: no utensils required) and are great either hot or cold, so they are perfect for picnics.
Use whatever vegetable combo you like but my special secret ingredient is the grated halloumi.
- 1/4 cup self raising flour
- 4 eggs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 block of grated halloumi
- 1 grated carrot
- 1 grated zucchini
- 1 tin creamed corn
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- butter or oil for cooking
Whisk together eggs and milk.
Add cheese and veggies to mixture, combine well.
Sift in self raising flour and mix well.
Heat oil or butter in mid-heat frypan. Drop tablespoon-lots of fritter mix into pan.
Flip over fritters when bubbles appear on top and bottom is golden.
Krystyna’s Rocky Road
Rocky road is so simple and fast to make, and keeps really well so it’s the perfect food to take to a picnic to satisfy all the sweet cravings in the afternoon. This version (you can pretty much throw whatever you want in it) is on the more substantial side thanks to the addition of biscuits. The dads in your group will love it.
- 400g dark chocolate,(buds or broken up block)
- 400g milk chocolate (buds or broken up block)
- half a packet of McVitie’s Original Digestives broken into pieces
- 1 cup mini marshmallows (or normal ones chopped up a bit smaller)
- 8 bars of Turkish Delight, chopped.
- 85 grams of roughly chopped pistachios
Note: If you are not a fan of Turkish Delight then you can swap them out with 2 packets of Allen’s Snakes.
- Grease a 7cm-deep, 19cm (base) square pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
- Place all chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan with water on medium-low heat. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Cook, stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes or until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
- Throw all the chopped ingredients into the chocolate. Stir to combine.
- Spoon into prepared pan. Using the back of a fork, press mixture into pan.
- Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm and then chop into appropriate sized squares to serve.
Kate’s Healthy Gingerbread Mini Loaf
The flavours in this recipe come from a yummy blend of Christmas spices; nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. But even though it smells like Christmas, we love it all year round.
If possible try to buy your spices in small quantities as they lose their flavour super quickly if left sitting in a jar for months on end. This is especially so for nutmeg. The best way to buy nutmeg is to buy it whole and grate what you need when you need it. Believe me the difference in fresh nutmeg is unbelievably different than using a powdered one.
- 8 eggs
- 250g blackstrap molassas
- 120g butter
- 250ml milk of your choice (I used oat milk)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 360g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pre-heat oven to 180ºC.
- Using a hand blender or mixer, beat the eggs, blackstrap molasses and butter together until it becomes smooth and creamy then beat in the milk and vanilla until totally combined.
- Slowly beat in the flour, baking powder and spices until the mixture resembles a thick batter.
- I used 4 mini loaf tins lined with parchment paper but you can also use 2 large ones as well. Fill the tins 3/4 ways to the top as the cake will rise.
- Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes if using the mini loaf tins or 50-60 minutes for the larger tins. When cooked a skewer should come out clean.
- Cool fully before serving.
Kate’s Healthy Raspberry and Banana Pancake Muffins
Raspberry banana pancake muffins are perfect for so many things and even more perfect as I don’t need to stand at the oven flipping the pancakes (save that effort for the corn fritters).
This recipe in particular is loaded with protein and fibre and very low in added sugar. To tell the truth you could definitely get away with no added sugars or syrups if you are that way inclined, especially if the bananas you use are very ripe. The end result is a super soft muffin, that doesn’t crumble so it’s also brilliant for Baby Led Weaning.
- 2 medium bananas
- 1 Cup oats
- 1 Cup cottage cheese
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 Cup Frozen Raspberries
- Place everything excluding the raspberries in a food processor or blender
- Whizz until you have a nice smooth consistency
- Pour into greased muffin tray (I used a silicon muffin tray with a spray of olive oil)
- Top with the raspberries
- Bake at 180 degrees Celsius / 350-360 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 – 30 mins
- Leave to cool in tin for 5-10 mins before serving
- If you have babies who are under 1, please do not use honey
- If your bananas are really ripe you will probably not need to use any maple syrup or honey