Picnic Basket: 4th of July in Your Own Backyard

photo: golly molly The great thing about picnicking at home or in your own backyard (balcony, roof deck, what have you) is that the sky's pretty much the limit. You can make all your favorites, open a bottle of rosé or two or three or...(it is a holiday), spread a blanket on the floor, cop a squat and enjoy your independence from needing to be anywhere but in your own backyard. Here are some ideas:


 And in case you need recipes, well we've got those too:

Simple Skillet Corn Recipe

Firecracker Crab Cakes Recipe

Tomatillo, Onion, and Black Bean Salad 

Roasted Radishes with Greens 

Raw Zucchini Summer Salad Recipe

Edamame Veggie Burger Recipe

Midsummer Strawberry Cream Cake Recipe


Picnic Basket: Motorcycle Day Trip

  photo: sheridesabeemer

If your mode of transportation is two wheels and if those two wheels are powered by an engine, this ones for you. Now I know that if you ride a motorbike, the stopping and eating part is the least exciting part. However, if you want to bring that special someone along, they most likely will be looking forward to that part the most. So why not make it romantic and delicious! Or even better? Get a group together and make a day of it.

When riding via motorbike, you'll be amazed at what type of spread you'll be able to configure once you get where you're going. So get your backpack ready or strap a picnic basket to the back (I've seen it done) and check out these great food options to fill it up. You will discover that you can easily refuel yourself with better foods than those found at pit stops and gas stations. Not to mention the points you'll score with the one who's along for the ride.

Pasta or potato salad: These are great because they don't need to be hot or cold. Once you arrive at your destination, the temperature of your food will be perfect. Try this whole-wheat pasta salad or this warm potato salad with arugula and string beans.

Another great choice is left over grilled vegetables. Like the salads above, they are also tasty at a sort of warm temperature and are a great source of energy to keep you going on the journey or for the journey back home. Find out how to grill vegetables like a pro here.

Prosciutto and cheese sandwiches or any cold cut and cheese on crusty baguette is great for really any picnic as it's easy to prepare, easy to pack up and very easy to eat. As well as a great source of fuel to keep you going.

Fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries or blueberries are a simple and easy dessert that will taste flavorful and juicy after being allowed to warm up on the ride.

Iced tea is a great accompaniment to any of these menu items, is quite refreshing and gives you that extra boost to continue traveling. Check out how to make the perfect pitcher of ice tea.


photo: Lauren Brooks

Picnic Basket: At the Beach

When planning a picnic on the beach there are a few things you want to remember. Like, there is sand, and salt and a lot of it. Therefore bringing things that can be eaten with minimal utensil usage, things that have less moisture to attract wind-blown sand, or keeping wet foods covered are all good rules to abide by when planning your day at the beach. Below are some suggestions on how to make the most out of your day at the beach, pack in the flavor, while keeping your food free of unwanted seasonings.

Charcuterie with a Crusty Baguette:  Cold cuts and cheese accompanied by a fresh crusty, soft and chewy baguette is a great option and can be eaten without utensils. Just rip off a piece of bread, spread some cheese (okay so maybe you'll need 1 knife), and top with meat of choice. Need some ideas? Check out, How to Arrange a Charcuterie Plate.

Wraps: If meats and cheeses aren't your thing, wraps are another fabulous choice. The tortilla keeps the contents protected and that way you can fill it with anything you want! Try this Cobb Salad Wrap Recipe, Summer Shrimp and Mango Salsa Lettuce Wrap Recipe , or a West Indian-Style Channa Wrap.

Crudites: If you're looking to add more vegetables to your diet, fresh pre-cut vegetables and grape tomatoes are a great way to get your fill of veggies and can easily be eaten with hands or toothpicks.

Fruit (whole or juiced):  Fruit can be tricky as it's typically very high in water content and therefore a easy prey for sand. Solution? Bring whole fruits that are protected by their skin or bottled it up by making a fresh fruit juice. Craving watermelon? Fresh squeeze it for a refreshing beverage or try this Mint Julep Juice Recipe. You could even add some mint and cucumber to your watermelon juice if that tickles your fancy.

Water: With all the salt, sun, and sand the beach can be a dehydrating place. That's why stocking up with some fresh water is a great way to feel revitalized on the beach and remain hydrated later that day. Your future self will thank you. If you aren't a huge fan of water without a little kick, try this Lemon Water Recipe.

 For more by Ashley Beck, click here.

Now Serving: Spiked Snow Cones at Red Rooster!

It's here... The ultimate adult beverage. The one you didn't know you wanted and now won't be able to live without this summer. The perfect combination of your favorite summer treat as a kid: that icy, crunchy, sweet and refreshing combination of crushed ice and fruit-flavored syrup. Add booze. Eat, slurp, crunch and repeat. That's right, the adult snow cone is here and now available at Red Rooster.

watermelon with cucumber, mint and Bulldog gin

This frosty treat comes in 3 flavors, made with the freshest ingredients (none of that bottled syrup nonsense, we are after-all adults here) from our outstanding pastry team and can be ordered with or without the booze:

  1. Tres Leches: a traditional Spanish cake, magically transformed into liquid form served with Blackwell Rum and topped with white chocolate shavings
  2. Watermelon, Cucumber and Mint: all fresh squeezed served with Bulldog Gin and topped with a watermelon, cucumber and mint salsa. Ole!
  3. Cherry Cola: made to taste reminiscent of those cherry cola slushees we all grew up with and served with Vanilla Stoli

The snow cone cocktails are $12, which is quite a deal considering your getting dessert and your drink on for a little under the price of one. You will have to enjoy your boozy cone in house (but who doesn't want to spend some time at the Red Rooster bar?). However, if you're on the go but looking for an icy refreshment, the options sans booze can be conveniently taken to go, served in old school paper cones with adorable and eco-friendly bamboo spoons at a cool price of $6.

Which ever you choose, enjoy responsibly, and enjoy we guarantee you shall.

For more by Ashley Beck, click here.

What to Eat and Drink Over Memorial Day Weekend

It's here. The weekend we've all been waiting for...the weekend that tells us Summer is here and it's time to celebrate. Time for extra food, extra drinks, extra sunshine, and an extra day to enjoy it. So if you're planning on cooking, check out these tasty Memorial Day menu options, and if you plan on allowing some one else to do all the cooking, well at least you can get your eyes and stomach ready for what's potentially to come.  If y'all are anything like me, the classics are what you get excited about: hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, watermelon and corn on the cob. Just throw it on the grill, give it some succulent smokey flavor, and you're in heaven. However, I realize that others may be growing tired of having the same foods every year. So for those of you who are looking to mix it up, or just want to taste your BBQ favorites in a different way, here are some menu options. Riffs on American favorites, if you will, that add extra flavor and a twist to the familiar.

Lively libations:

Happy Hour: Spiked Sparkling Rhubarb Lemonade

Rhum Clement 'Ti Punch

Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria Recipe

Ole' Grand Dad's Lemonade Recipe

Rooster Punch Popsicles Recipe

Appetizing Appetizers:

Grilled Corn and Mango Guacamole

Herbed Goat Cheese-Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe

Cilantro, Basil, and Mint Yogurt Dip

The main event:

Four Great Ideas for Vegetarian Grilling

Grilled Sausage and Pepper Sandwich Recipe

Sicilian Turkey Burger Recipe

Tropical Fourth of July Burger Recipe

Grilled Trout Burger

BBQ Short Rib Recipe

Spice-filled side dishes:

Haitian Coleslaw

Grilled Treviso with Watercress and Creamy Blue Cheese Recipe

Warm Potato Salad with Arugula and String Beans Recipe

Baked Beans Recipe: The Perfect Summer Side Dish

Street Food Focus: Mexican Street Corn

Watermelon revivals:

Watermelon Basil Salad Recipe

Watermelon and Manchego Stacked with Arugula Pesto

Spiked Watermelon Recipe for Memorial Day BBQ

Twists on the traditional apple pies and crumbles:

Three Ingredient Nectarine Galette

Rhubarb Crumble Recipe

Sour Cherry Pie with Brown Butter Almond Crumble


For more stories by Ashley Beck click here.