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essentials for a romantic summer date picnic
by Kelly Martin
While you're dreaming of a tropical getaway and sipping margaritas on a white sandy beach with your loved one, the realities of life may leave you stuck at home without the funds for such an extravagant trip. A tight wallet doesn't mean you can't create a romantic getaway of your own. This summer, plan a picnic date with your significant other to get away from daily life for a few hours and enjoy a meal outdoors that's a little more within your budget.
Setting the Stage: Supplies for a Comfy Picnic
The ambiance is perhaps even more important than what you eat, so choose a location that has soft grass and a bit of privacy so you aren't surrounded by runners or playing children. Set up under a tree for shade, or plan to bring an umbrella along so you aren't burning in the sun. Spread out a big picnic blanket and bring along a few pillows to make it easy get comfortable and relax. Portable speakers and a playlist of some of your favorite love songs create the perfectly romantic setting.
Main Dish: Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Leave the PB&J sandwiches for the kids at home and plan a delicious Rachael Ray barbeque dish for your picnic date. For a tasty and healthy meal from the Food Network, throw together Barbequed Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Cook the chicken pieces, mushrooms, scallions, ginger, garlic, water chestnuts and hoisin sauce before you leave. Pack this delicious filling in a Tupperware container and bring it along with some crispy iceberg lettuce leaves to create wraps at your picnic site. Don't forget a few wet wipes to clean off your fingers when you're done.
Cool and Refreshing Salads
Keeping with the theme of being a Food Network cooking connoisseur, toss together fresh ingredients for a summer salad. Particularly if you live in a warm climate, a salad is cool and refreshing to the palate. Toss together a fruit salad with melon, mint, and cucumber slices, which combine wonderfully and leave a cool aftertaste. You can also prepare a savory pasta salad. Rather than a mayonnaise-based dressing, which can be cloying, stick to fresh flavors. Use basil, tomatoes, olives and cubes of fresh mozzarella, plus a vinaigrette.
Dessert: Simple Yet Decadent Treats
Ignite romance with heart-warming treats and sweet ingredients. One winning combination is a slice of cheesecake paired with fresh raspberry syrup or jam and dark chocolate shavings. You can also simply bake brownies with dried cherries or cranberries mixed into the batter for a fancy touch. All these homemade foods and desserts will put you in the mood, and soon you'll be having cooking and baking dates at home. According to www.rasertech.com, TV packages that include Food Network stars such as chefs Rachael Ray and Ina Garten, start around $30.
Drinks: Don't Forget the Wine
A bottle of wine will help change small talk into flirting for a truly romantic setting. Chilled white wine is wonderfully refreshing on a picnic and pairs well with lighter fare. Don't forget the water either, especially if you'll be walking a long distance to your picnic site for a leisure afternoon. Once you're outside in nature, leave behind the worries of your daily life and spend your time remembering why you fell in love with each other in the first place.