Labor Day Celebration, Anyone?

Who doesn’t love Labor Day Weekend? The bitter sweetness of a final “summer fling” – time spent relaxing with family and friends, enjoying the outdoors, eating good, casual meals on the patio, drinking ice cold beverages. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. 

In my household, Labor Day Weekend usual means a big beach picnic dinner with about 10 to 15 close family friends. The key to success? As usual: Keep it Simple. Everyone pitches in and brings something, we don’t fuss over tableware and fancy presentation, and the attire is relaxed casual. 

While we haven’t firmed up the menu just yet, I’m getting inspiration by perusing the following helpful and clever online features:

4 Fast, Delicious Picnics – Part Homemade, Part Store-Bought – I love how these recipes and tips own up to the fact that life is just easier when you allow friends to bring part of the meal for you – and that it’s okay to have certain things be grab-and-go from the store. Another thing I love is how it’s divided by destination – the type of food you might bring to the beach differs from that which is appropriate for the car or the park. Love it!

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The Labor Day Guide over at Bon Appetit is comprehensive to say the least. There I’ve found everything from veggie-grilling tips to fizzy end-of-summer cocktails. I’m especially excited about the Peach Desserts Slideshow as I just brought home a giant basket full of fresh farm stand peaches that are just ripened to perfection. 

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Worried about overspending on your Labor Day feast? A good time doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Over at, there’s a delectable slideshow of 10 Recession-Proof Grilling Recipes that are sure to provide high-flavor at low-cost. Check out these little sliders – yum! 

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One summer favorite I won’t be able to resist including in the beach picnic this year is Ina Garten’s Confetti Corn. It’s so easy to make, and I could literally gobble up about five gallons of it – it’s that good – and I don’t think I’m alone in this sentiment…

I’ve had a few friends tell me that the one thing that keeps them from making corn recipes like this – ones that require you cut the corn from the cob before cooking – is that such a task is a big PITA (Pain In The you know what). Not if you are armed with this trick I tell them! 

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And finally, who can resist a little colorful picnic gear? 

I’ve been lusting after this Blanket Picnic Set from French Bull since we photographed it for a story back in April. It has everything you need for a gorgeously set picnic dinner for four, and is just so perfectly compact and efficient. At $150, I know it’s not cheap – but perhaps it would be a very special and wonderful gift for a person who really likes to have picnics (hint hint…). 

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Discovering these Party Troughs from Bungalow Co has changed my outdoor entertaining life. Available in dozens of cute and colorful patterns, they’re the perfect way to keep drinks and food on ice but still accessible for guests to grab, all while adding an easy-decor-factor to your gathering. When it’s time to clean up you just hose them off and fold them up for convenient storage – how great is that?

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Okay, enough from me. What are your Labor Day Weekend plans? Doing any outdoor entertaining, grilling, or picnic-ing? Share your own inspiration and suggestions here – I’d love to hear them!