10 Awesome Picnic Recipes

10 Awesome Picnic Recipes

10 Awesome Picnic Recipes

Okay, I promise I maybe might stop talking about picnics for a few days after this. But seriously, you guys, they’re the best. We have a very small apartment and no dining table, so our local beach park is where we do most of our entertaining. It’s always awesome. Here are ten recipes that are either easily portable or can be cooked outdoors. And did I mention they’re all completely awesome?

Passion Fruit Green Tea from Awesome on 20

Of course, I prefer to drink sparkling wine or cider at a picnic, but that’s not technically legal in some parks. Passion Fruit Green Tea is super refreshing and can be enjoyed by everybody. Don’t have a sealable pitcher? Just rinse out and reuse a two liter soda bottle. And if you wanted to add a little vodka or rum to your tea, I won’t tell.

Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with Ham and Cheddar | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Open up a container of Fancy Pants Sausage Rolls with ham and cheddar at your next picnic. Check your watch. See how long it takes for them to disappear. If it takes more than 5 minutes, your guests are just being excessively polite.

Easy Peanut Butter Hummus from Awesome on 20

A bag of chips and a bowl of Easy Peanut Butter Hummus is going to be so awesome at your next picnic. You can pretend to be healthy for a minute before you eat a juicy cheeseburger while also eating something ever so tasty.

Jalapeno Deviled Eggs from Awesome on 20 Put a container of Jalapeno Deviled Eggs in your cooler. I think it’s what my mom would do. I just can’t think of one good reason to not have deviled eggs at a party. Like, how do you even know you’re having a party without them?

Mini Pork Pies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Mini Pork Pies are basically made to travel. We’re always trying to add a bit of English flare to all of our occasions, and I’m told pork pies are sort of the equivalent of deviled eggs in the UK. I don’t think you can have a party without them. Since you can’t just pick them up at every store here in the states, you can now make your own. 

Cuban Burgers from Awesome on 20

Okay, you’re going to need to bring a roll of foil with you to cook these Cuban Burgers on the grill, but seriously, that’s not too much to ask. You should also add pickles if you like them. I happen to think pickles are gross, but I love everything else about this burger, especially the spicy spread that gets slathered on the ciabatta. 

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Another amazing burger option is this Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Burger. Cheese on the inside, cheese on the outside, all your favorite toppings, a bit of a spicy kick. I’m in love.

Southwest Pasta Salad Southwest Pasta Salad is one of my very favorite picnic side dishes. You can make this well ahead of time and then throw it in your cooler before you head to your picnic. The more the spicy vinaigrette soaks into the pasta, the more flavorful it becomes. 

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

You could go to the store and pick up a tub of mushy, processed potato salad. Or you could make your own Dill Potato Salad from scratch. Fresh herbs, Yukon Gold potatoes, creamy dressing, and crunchy green onions are going to be so much better. Again, you can make it the day before, and it will just keep getting better. Do everyone a favor. Make this.

White Chocolate Chip Brownies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I cannot possibly hope to find the words to adequately express how amazingly buttery/fudgy these White Chocolate Chip Brownies actually are. All I can say is, you might as well not bother putting the lid back on the box. Just keep eating.

Happy picnicking, friends. See you at the beach!


A Dozen Awesome Labor Day Party Recipes

A Dozen Awesome Labor Day Recipes

A Dozen Awesome Labor Day Party Recipes

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be more excited to be looking down the barrel of this long weekend. And I get a bonus fourth day off since I’ll be starting my new job on Wednesday!!!!! I can’t wait. I’ve got a little shopping planned, and I just found out we’re going to a bbq on the beach on Sunday. 

I hope you have some relaxing with friends planned for this final hurrah of summer. For me, there’s really no point to a party if there’s not great food. Make any of these, and I’m pretty sure everyone will love you.

Awesome Party Snacks


Show up anywhere with a plate of jalapeno deviled eggs and you are instantly hip. Retro deliciousness!

You’ll have to race my husband to the bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. He might not leave you any. We brought these to our last bbq on the beach. They didn’t last long.

I think this time it looks like we’re going to show up with sausage rolls. Who else will think to bring British food to such an American holiday?

Awesome Party Burgers


You have to have burgers at a bbq. Here’s a great basic burger recipe.

Or you can spice things up with Spicy Southwest Burgers. Get excited! We’ve made both of these at the beach. What else is there?

Awesome Party Salads

And I suppose you should serve something to go along side your burgers. That’s what grown ups do. Keep it traditional but fabulous with this dill potato salad.

Or if you’re diggin’ that spicy action, keep it hot with Southwest Pasta Salad. We make this for almost every picnic.

Passion Fruit Green Tea from Awesome on 20

It’s going to be hot so you’re going to need a giant jug of sweet tea. Make it tropical with passion fruit green tea. And spike it with vodka. It’s a holiday.

Awesome Party Desserts


Of course, if you want to be a real labor day hero, show up with a bottle of booze and dessert. Bring giant chocolate chip cookies and everybody will be your best friend.

Caramel swirl cheesecake bars travel well, and are pretty much heaven to eat.

If you love the summery citrusy flavor of lemon, and you want to show some extra love to your gluten-free friends, take along this lemon polenta cake. Not only does it taste amazing, but since it’s unfrosted, you don’t have to worry about anything melting.

And seriously, make someone’s day extra super awesome by making these orange cream cheese swirl brownies. I cannot urge you vehemently enough. Just do it. You can thank me later.

And if you are lucky enough to get Monday off from work, take a moment out of your feasting and relaxing to give thanks to all the people who fought so hard for things many of us take for granted, like a weekend. That hasn’t always been a thing. Even if you’re like me and you have a very unglamorous, low-paying job, you’re still much better off than workers a hundred years ago.  And if you’re interacting with someone who isn’t fortunate enough to get this holiday, for heaven’s sake, be extra nice to them. They’re serving you on a holiday. Make it as special for them as you can.

Happy feasting! Don’t forget to be awesome!



Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Picnic Week: Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies


The long weekend is so close, I can almost taste it. School is ending. It seems the sun is finally shining on the mainland. Summer is about to arrive. It’s calling to you to get out and enjoy a feast on a blanket.

Here are a few quick do’s and don’t’s for your picnic.

  • Do invite all your friends. Especially if their parents own the best Chinese restaurant in town.
Hee Hing Snack Box of Awesomeness
Hee Hing has my favorite maunapua!
  • Don’t put your grill on a plastic picnic table. That’s just ruins it for everyone else.
  • Do put your wine or cocktail in your Starbucks reusable cup. It’s more stylish, more discreet, and it doesn’t waste plastic. And it has a lid, in case you get carried away.
  • Don’t leave a mess. You’re not Don and Betty Draper. Also, if you live in a city, there’s probably someone hanging around who would be happy to have your recyclables and any leftover food. They need it more than you.
  • Do pick a spot with a view of the epic South Shore swell. (Actually, anywhere beautiful will do.)

South Shore Swell

And most definitely DO bring giant chocolate chip cookies. There’s nothing like watching people’s eyes light up when you show them the size of these babies. It doesn’t matter what age they are; they’re excited. This is my go to chocolate chip cookie. It’s soft and dense in the center and loaded with chocolate.

I love this recipe by who else, Nigella Lawson. My favorite thing is that it’s made with melted butter, so you don’t have to plan ahead. The only thing her recipe was missing is a nice fat pinch of salt. Trust me. It’s essential to making these cookies taste like heaven.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies


I hope your long weekend is filled with laughter and sunshine, and I hope it tastes like cookies.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 15
A dense and chocolaty cookie nearly the size of your face
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
  1. 150 grams (2/3 cup) butter
  2. 125 grams (5/8 cup) brown sugar
  3. 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 egg yolk
  7. 300 grams (2-1/2 cups) flour
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1-1/2 tsp salt
  10. 326 grams (12 ounces) chocolate chips (I like to mix it up with milk, semi-sweet, and dark chocolate. Whatever you have on hand.)
  1. Preheat oven to 340 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter and let it cool for a bit. I use the microwave in 30 second intervals. Get it all melted, then go check Facebook for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the brown and white sugar in a mixing bowl, then pour the melted butter over them and beat them together with your mixer or a strong arm.
  4. Add the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk and beat until creamy and smooth.
  5. Slowly mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Finally, fold in the chocolate.
  7. Using your 1/4 cup measure, scoop out the cookie dough onto your parchment-lined baking sheet. Give them plenty of space to spread out. I make mine six at a time. You may need to stash your dough in the fridge between batches.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool on the pan for five minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Pack them up to share with friends. They’ll be so impressed.
Adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/

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Southwest Pasta Salad

Picnic Week: Southwest Pasta Salad

Southwest Pasta Salad

There are a few things you need in order to have a totally awesome picnic. Plenty of food is a no-brainer. Also, don’t forget the wine, and/or beer, and/or cider. And bring all of your awesome friends because that makes everything perfect. Here are a few more things to check off your list.

  1. A big tablecloth for covering the possibly gross picnic table in the park, or to use as a big picnic blanket if you can’t get a table.
  2. Cups for discreet sipping of adult beverages.
  3. Matches to light the grill.
  4. A corkscrew (unless you brought screw top wine which I do all the time)
  5. Plates, napkins, and utensils. (I’ve forgotten forks before.)
  6. Condiments because that’s what makes stuff extra awesome.

Southwest Pasta Salad

You should also probably bring along this Southwest Pasta Salad. It totally rocks. It’s simple, bright, delicious, and a bit spicy. That’s where it’s at!

I love this recipe because it’s unexpected. It’s also brilliant for a picnic because it can be made ahead of time. In fact, it’s even better after it’s had a chance to sit in the fridge for a day. Black beans, corn, green onions, and bell peppers, combined with a spicy lime dressing, take this recipe above and beyond your normal every day pasta salad.

It also never hurts to have a vegetarian dish at your picnic. You never know who might stop by.

Pack your picnic basket with plenty of flavors. Trust me. It’s awesome.

Southwest Pasta Salad

Southwest Pasta Salad
Serves 6
A spicy take on pasta salad
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 1/2 pound small pasta (I used penne because it was in my pantry)
  2. zest of 2 limes
  3. 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  4. 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  5. 3 green onions, chopped (I use scissors)
  6. 1/2 cup frozen corn
  7. 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
for the dressing
  1. 6 Tbsp lime juice (I combine the juice from the fresh limes I zested with some from the squeezy lime-shaped bottle. Nigella does it, so it’s okay.)
  2. 1/4 cup cider or rice vinegar (really whatever’s in your pantry will probably work)
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1-1/2 tsp chili powder
  5. 1 tsp cumin
  6. 1/2 tsp coriander
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 2 tsp sugar
  9. 3/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
  1. Cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, according to the time on the package. Drain
  2. Zest your lime into the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the black beans, bell pepper, green onion, corn, and cheese. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the pasta and stir it up.
  5. The easiest way to make the dressing is to combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Give it a good shake until the oil has mixed in.
  6. Pour the about 2/3 of the dressing over your salad and give it a stir. If you want more, add it. If not, save it for something awesome later.
  7. Allow the salad to chill in the fridge for at least an hour, but overnight is even better.
  8. Best served under puffy clouds.
Adapted from Our Best Bites
Adapted from Our Best Bites
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/

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