Picnics are a perfect excuse to spend the day outdoors being lazy, enjoying family and friends and doing nothing at all while soaking up the memories.

Grab your blanket, your cooler, picnic basket, some toys, music, a good read, the camera, and pack-up some of these delish dishes to enjoy your day.

From the all time basics of hotdogs, burgers, potato salad, chips, watermelon and pies to the gourmet meal of crackers and soft cheese (with thinly slice cucumber and chives), cold chicken salad sandwiches, caprese salad*, and individual tarts or chocolate cupcakes for dessert. An array of ideas to help make your day special.

*A Caprese Salad is a summer classic, and it’s portability is simple as can be. Layer tomatoes, mozzarella, some herbed olive oil and parsley into individually pint sized canning jars.

For a Mediterranean Style Picnic serve hummus with pita bread and olives, a grilled shrimp salad, some Honey Almond Peaches* and of course, wine.

*Rinse 1 can of halves peaches and arrange face up on baking sheet

Mix: ½ cup low-fat ricotta cheese, ½ teaspoon cardamom,   
      2 Tablespoons honey

Spoon the honey-ricotta mixture into the peach halves and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Grind ¼ cup almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground and gently toast in pan over medium heat.

Sprinkle almonds over peaches after removing from oven.

Wine Lovers Picnic try some Gruyere cheese served with red grapes, a Greek salad topped with pre-cooked salmon, individual chocolate tortes (or even decadent brownies) served with some port wine. Maybe try serving a different wine with each course.

For a different take on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich try making a Ham and Avocado Sandwich.

Cut Baguette bread into slices

Mix together: ¼ cup butter, 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard,
                   1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Spread on bread slices and top with sliced ham am avocados

Wrap the sandwiches with parchment paper and tie with string.

A Little Bit of Barbecue Picnic could include barbecue chicken or ribs complete with baked beans, coleslaw, grilled vegetables and an assortment of cookies or cherry cobbler.

A Jamaican Feast try a mango salsa marinated grilled pork, skewered grilled pineapple, a black bean salad and key lime pie for dessert.

Make sure you pack those drinks of lemonade, ice tea, soda, water, beers and wines. To steady those drinks try the Steady Stick at http://www.kitchenconservatory.com/Picnic-and-Steady-Sticks-C407.aspx.

This handy Messermeister knife from http://www.chefsresource.com/messermeister-picnic-knife.html is a great addition to any picnic basket with its plastic sheath that snaps on securely over the blade. Chefs Resource also sells the Steady Stick along with many other picnic accessories.

There are so many ideas for your perfect day that no matter what you make, fun will surely be had by all. Picnics don’t have to be just an afternoon event. Try something different with breakfast by a brook or a little candlelight romance. Most of all, just remember to enjoy yourself and one another!