Celebrate Independence Day this weekend by grabbing a basket and heading to the park for a festive Latin-style picnic.
Wicker baskets may be classic, but they lack personality. Instead, pick up a handmade palm basket ($137.44, directfrommexico.com), which features flowers and other traditional Mexican designs and can be used as decoration in your home during the colder months.
Set the tone with a colorful blanket that stands out on the ground. This Mexican Serape blanket ($23.95, elchamaco.com) with its characteristic bright stripes is lightweight yet thick enough to keep those grass blades from poking through.
Disposable plastic and paper serveware do nothing for the environment. Opt for Bambu plates and utensils ($73.99, joannehudson.com) made from organically-grown bamboo to give your picnic an elegant, eco-chic feel.
Keep it simple. New York City–based health coach Marian Isel Barragán recommends gazpacho. “This cool and refreshing [dish is] a great way to open your palette to summertime flavors of fresh tomatoes,” she says.
She’s also a big fan of sandwiches for their portability. One of her favorites is guava con queso. “Make your lunch a dessert or vice versa,” says Barragán. “Place slices of guava paste and queso blanco on a buttered baguette for a sweet and salty experience.”
Another good one is a black bean enchilada sandwich. “Drain and blend the leftover black beans in your fridge onto a baguette. Top with grilled onions and peppers and a sprinkle of your favorite cheese and slices of avocado,” explains Barragán.
A sofrito-style pasta salad is also easy to make. “Grill tomatoes, onions, peppers and garlic the night before your picnic. Toss with pasta, cilantro, olive oil, salt and pepper,” she says.
Chances are you’ll need a siesta after organizing this outdoor feast, so pick up a handwoven Mayan hammock ($89.99, hammocks.com), which sleeps two. Your friends can take turns having a 15-minute snooze.