When I think of 4th of July, I automatically think of a magnificent day on the beach with family and friends, good food and a BBQ at the end of the day, followed by magnificent fireworks. Here in New York, we have the Macy’s Fireworks and they are always magnificent over the Hudson or East River (they seem to switch). When we lived in the DC area, we loved to go downtown and watch the fireworks on the Mall.
If the weather is nice, it is a long day and we come home weary. As a mom, there was always a lot of food to prepare. We need lunch for the beach or a picnic and then the end of day BBQ. With children around, we consume a good deal of fruit as well. Since I want to enjoy the day, I try to be extra organized. Here are some ways I manage the day and keep my growing family happy.
Our packed lunch usually consists of a variety of dairy dishes – tuna salad, egg salad, a bean salad, and if I have leftovers in the frig that would be ok, I bring them because I hate wasting food. I may have leftover fish or mashed potatoes, or couscous. These are all fine to take and my family will eat anything when they are hungry.
When packing our lunch, I use the same green bags I take to the grocery store. Throw in 1-2 of those plastic bags from the grocery store for our trash. I usually put the food in one and the other items in a second one. Pack paper plates, utensils, napkins and cups in Ziploc bags. Bread, usually pita and some rolls, in another Ziploc. Sliced cucumbers or kerbies, lettuce wedges, celery and carrots, and tomato slices are all brought in separate containers. To keep things cool, I throw a few ice cubes in each. I tend not to make the sandwiches ahead of time and do it on site. That way nothing gets soggy.
As I pack the bag, my family usually throws in a few snack foods as well, like chips. No candy, as it will melt. Fruit is a must for the day. Cut cantaloupe and watermelon are favorites, but so are seasonal blueberries. Cut the fruit into bite size pieces and pack with ice cubes so it stays cold. No one wants to eat warm fruit. By 3 pm, the fruit ends up being the hottest commodity and it all gets eaten. Our next blog will be about the end of day BBQ.