How to Enjoy National Picnic Month Like a Pro

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich by JAC

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich by JAC

After another long, cold winter, ‘tis finally the season to enjoy the sunshine and spend as much time as possible outdoors. From BBQs and birthday celebrations to poolside parties and beach days, there are a ton of ways to enjoy nature’s bounty. But none quite like dining al fresco on a good, old-fashioned picnic in the park!

Here are 10 ways that you can picnic like a pro as we wind down National Picnic Month:

  1. Make the event as easy & eco-friendly as possible: Try to stick to 1 or 2 cooked or pre-prepped dishes that can be eaten with your hands. This nifty tip will reduce the need for excess cutlery and will help to reduce waste.
  2. Stack up on sandwiches: Bee’s Wrap sandwich wraps are a sustainable way to promote food storage. And who doesn’t love to bite into a satisfying sandwich on a picnic?
  3. Seek out a level patch of ground located mostly in the shade: As we all know, eating at a place like the beach can be a challenge without umbrellas & coolers because of the power of the almighty sun. Set up your picnic on an even patch of ground in the shade to help preserve the freshness of your food.
  4. Leverage the power of insulated bottles: Whether you’re transporting a hot item like soup or a cold liquid like water, or something a little stronger, keep it simple. Make sure you have an insulated bottle on-hand that’s built to last.
  5. Water Bottles vs. Ice Packs: On that same note, try to use cold, water bottles to keep your food cool versus gel or ice packs. We use Givn water bottles in our own meal kits to make them more environmentally-friendly.
  6. Invest in a collapsible cooler: If your childhood consisted of lugging bulky coolers to every outdoor event, it’s time to fully erase those distant yet haunting memories. Collapsible coolers make transport much easier, fold up into compact pieces & can often double as seating support!
  7. Save the ice cream for later: Although a cold, refreshing dessert may sound like a great idea, it’s best to bring a treat that doesn’t melt too easily. Consider cookies or fruit to help cleanse your palate!
  8. Bug spray: Be prepared. The vision of a perfect picnic is often just that; a vision. Keep bug spray on-hand in case you find yourself in a typical New England mosquito melee.
  9. Sustainable threads vs. paper products: Bring some smaller dish towels or biodegradable napkins to use instead of paper products or wet wipes.
  10. Leave Fido at home: We all love our pets, but our pets love our food, chasing small animals and trying to make nice with strangers who have food. Try to keep your picnic party as problem-free as possible so that you can enjoy a stress-free outing!

What are your favorite picnic tips and tricks?

 

Local Ingredients for the week of July 22, 2018

Grilled Veggie Pita Pockets with local ingredients from Narragansett Creamery, Green Mountain Creamery & Middle East Bakery

Grilled Veggie Pita Pockets with local ingredients from Narragansett Creamery, Green Mountain Creamery & Middle East Bakery

Each week, we strive to include as many local ingredients in our meal kits as possible. This often means we source ingredients just a few days before delivery. If you’re a regular customer, you’ve seen our lists of local ingredients in your box letters. Now, we’ll be publishing the list each week as we source. Please note: ingredient sources are subject to change due to last-minute availability!

  • Organic Carrots from Next Barn Over Farm in Hadley, MA. – Cauliflower Fried Rice
  • Organic Scallions from Next Barn Over Farm in Hadley, MA. – Shrimp and Creamy Orzo, Poblano and Corn Chowder, Cauliflower Fried Rice
  • Broccoli Rabe, Garlic, and Cheese Sausage from Bianco and Sons in Medford, MA. – Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pasta
  • Cream Cheese from Cabot Creamery in Cabot, VT. – Shrimp and Creamy Orzo
  • Cage-Free Eggs from Maple Meadow Farm in Barre, VT. – Cauliflower Fried Rice
  • Feta Cheese from Narragansett Creamery in Providence, RI. – Grilled Vegetable Pita Pockets
  • Greek Yogurt from Green Mountain Creamery in Brattleboro, MA. – Grilled Vegetable Pita Pockets
  • Pita from Middle East Bakery in Lawrence, MA. – Grilled Vegetable Pita Pockets
  • Bay Leaf from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Cuban Picadillo
  • Cinnamon Stick from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Chicken Biryani
  • Crushed Red Pepper from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pasta
  • Cumin from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Cuban Picadillo, Poblano and Corn Chowder
  • Curry from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Chicken Biryani
  • Paprika from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Poblano and Corn Chowder
  • Sesame Seed from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Cauliflower Fried Rice
  • Fresh Spaghetti from Maria’s Gourmet Pasta in Malden, MA. – Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pasta
  • Sriracha from Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland, MA. – Cauliflower Fried Rice

Dan’s Domain: Enjoy Iced Tea Season with MEM Tea Imports!

Dan Snedeker, Head of Product Development at Just Add Cooking

Dan Snedeker, Head of Product Development at Just Add Cooking

Welcome to the first installment of “Dan’s Domain”. If you’re enjoying our recipes and the delicious local products in our Marketplace, then you’ve got this guy to thank! Meet Dan Snedeker, who we recently named our Head of Product Development. Dan’s got his hands in our recipes, ingredient sourcing and our marketplace of delicious local goodies.

From time to time, we’ll be bringing you local product information & tips on Dan’s favorite New England “finds”. Have a question, comment, product suggestion or fun fact to share with Dan? Post here or on our social pages so Dan can enjoy a conversation with you!

This summer heat means it’s iced tea season here in New England. I wanted to share my favorite, foolproof method for making iced teas for you to enjoy from the cool comfort of your front porch, roof deck, or that one cool spot on your kitchen tile floor.

The easiest way to make tea in the summer is with the power of the sun! No boiling necessary. Just three easy steps.

  1. Add 1 tea bag or 1 tbsp loose leaf* tea per 4 cups of water to a large, clear container (glass or hard plastic work the best).
  2. Place in your sunniest window or outside in direct sunlight.
  3. Let the tea steep for at least 3-5 hours . You want to brew the tea fairly strong since it will get diluted by the ice.

That’s it. Once the tea is your desired strength, remove the tea bags and refrigerate until cold. If you can’t wait that long, fill up a big glass with ice and pour over.  

*(When using loose leaf tea, use a tea infuser or strainer or add the loose tea directly to the water and then strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth once it has steeped.)

Check out these three fantastic teas from MEM Tea Imports, available now in our Marketplace!

First up, the classic: English Breakfast Tea – This tea is a classic for a reason. For those with a sweet tooth, you can also try putting a New England twist on Southern Sweet Tea by adding some maple syrup for a little sweetness. (One thing to avoid when making sweet tea is adding granular sweeteners like sugar, these will take too long to dissolve in a cold liquid so always add a liquid sweetener to cold teas.)

English Breakfast Tea from MEM Tea Imports

English Breakfast Tea from MEM Tea Imports

Moroccan Mint – In addition to specially selected mint, this tea features Chinese Gunpowder green tea, which adds richness and complexity. The cooling flavor of mint makes it a perfect match for those hot and muggy New England summer days. For an extra cool and refreshing tea, try adding some fresh mint leaves once the tea has steeped or a fresh lemon wedge.

Moroccan Mint Tea from MEM Tea Imports

Moroccan Mint Tea from MEM Tea Imports

Blood Orange Hibiscus – Last but not least, feast your eyes on the Just Add Cooking office’s favorite when it comes to making iced tea. The hibiscus makes for a lush, dark magenta tea. Mix equal parts cranberry lime seltzer and blood orange hibiscus tea for an effervescent twist. If it’s happy hour, add a splash of your favorite gin or an aperitif like campari and a fresh squeeze of lime juice for a refreshing summer cocktail.

Blood Orange Hibiscus Tea from MEM Tea Imports

Blood Orange Hibiscus Tea from MEM Tea Imports

Have any other tea tips or tricks we should know of? Feel free to share!

Support Local Farms this National Ice Cream Month

Did you know that ice cream was originally called “cream ice” and dates back to the 17th century? It seems to have a much smoother ring to it with its current moniker. Whether the phrase “ice cream” means just that, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, gelato or sorbet to you, this cold, refreshing treat can be consumed in its simplest form via cup or cone, or as a unique addition to a variety of delectable desserts. With the wealth of flavor combos that has come to fruition over the course of its evolution, don’t be surprised that vanilla and chocolate still reign supreme in North America.

Crescent Ridge Ice Cream (Photo courtesy of Boston Magazine)

In honor of National Ice Cream Month, we’re coming to you with the scoop on the best local spots in the area. Beat the heat as we cruise through July at one of these flavorful and festive farms:

  • Bedford Farms: This hometown fave has been whipping up and scooping award-winning ice cream since 1880. Yup, that’s over 100 years and an expansion of over 60 flavors of fresh made, locally sourced ice cream, frozen yogurt and soft serve. With locations in Bedford, Burlington and Concord and 22 flavors always on tap with a rotation of others, PLUS custom cakes, pies & ice cream sandwiches, Bedford Farms has something to satisfy anyone’s creamy craving.
  • Crescent Ridge: “Serving Smiles Since 1968”, the Crescent Ridge Dairy Bar in Sharon, MA offers over 40 flavors of premium ice cream. From the tried and true like chocolate, chocolate chip, strawberry and vanilla to unique fusions like Black Bear, Graham Central Station and Cow Prints, each flavor starts with the Parrish family’s 50-year old recipe that has withstood the test of time.
  • Kimball Farm: With its flagship location in Westford, MA, the Kimball name has been legendary to the local ice cream industry since 1939, and expanded with the addition of 3 other locations in the late 1980s. Jack and Clara Kimball kicked off their legacy with 3 original flavors: maple walnut, frozen pudding and peppermint stick. Today, their rich and creamy offering features over 50 fantastic flavors. And the Westford location now offers a variety of exciting activities for families to enjoy including, but not limited to: batting cages, mini golf, bumper boats, restaurants & more.
  • Richardson’s Farm: These are listed in no particular order, but is there truth in the saying ‘save the best for last’? Located in Middleton, MA, the Richardson family has been operating the dairy farm for over 300 years. The ice cream stand came to fruition in the early 1950s with the idea of creating “one perfect ice cream”. Today, Richardson’s award-winning ice cream stand offers over 50 flavors and has been featured on the Phantom Gourmet.

What’s the one local ice cream spot that you can’t live without and the flavor that makes your mouth water?

 

Local Ingredients for the Week of July 15, 2018

mexicancod_wide

Each week, we strive to include as many local ingredients in our meal kits as possible. This often means we source ingredients just a few days before delivery. If you’re a regular customer, you’ve seen our lists of local ingredients in your box letters. Now, we’ll be publishing the list each week as we source. Please note: ingredient sources are subject to change due to last-minute availability!

  • Organic Baby Bok Choy from Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury, VT – Beef Stir-Fry
  • Organic Baby Spinach from Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury, VT – Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto
  • Lettuce Mix from Fresh Box Farms in Millis, MA – Maple Glazed Pork Chops
  • Shiitake Mushrooms from Mousam Valley Mushrooms in Springvale, ME – Quinoa with Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Pollock from Red’s Best in Boston, MA – Mexican Pollock
  • Butter from Cabot Creamery in Cabot, VT – Mexican Pollock
  • Goat Cheese from Vermont Creamery in Websterville, VT – Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto
  • Sour Cream from Cabot Creamery in Cabot, VT – Sweet Potato Flautas, Chicken Chili Verde
  • Chili Powder from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT – Mexican Pollock, Sweet Potato Flautas
  • Dried Sage from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT – Maple Glazed Pork Chops
  • Nutmeg from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT – Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto
  • Dried Oregano from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT – Mexican Pollock
  • Corn Tortillas from Vermont Tortilla Co. in Shelburne, VT – Chicken Chili Verde
  • Flour Tortillas from Cinco De Mayo in Chelsea, MA – Sweet Potato Flautas
  • Maple Syrup from Square Deal Farm in Hardwick, VT – Maple Glazed Pork Chops

Local Ingredients for the Week of July 8, 2018

blacknbleuburger-wide

Each week, we strive to include as many local ingredients in our meal kits as possible. This often means we source ingredients just a few days before delivery. If you’re a regular customer, you’ve seen our lists of local ingredients in your box letters. Now, we’ll be publishing the list each week as we source. Please note: ingredient sources are subject to change due to last-minute availability!

  • Lettuce Mix from Fresh Box Farm in Millis, MA. – Shrimp Roll with Fresh Salad, Southwest Chopped Salad
  • Blue Cheese from Great Hill Blue Creamery in Marion, MA. – Black ‘n Bleu Burger
  • Sourdough Bread from Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis, MA. – Spanakopita Grilled Cheese
  • Hamburger Buns from Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis, MA. –  Black ‘n Bleu Burger
  • Hotdog Rolls from Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis, MA. –  Shrimp Roll with Fresh Salad
  • Creole Spice Mix from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Black ‘n Bleu Burger
  • Mass. Rubies by Deborah’s from Deborah’s Kitchen in Boston, MA. – Pork Chops and Potato Salad
  • Linguine from Maria’s Gourmet Pasta in Malden, MA. – Linguine with Garlic Fried Kale

Local Ingredients for the Week of June 24, 2018

turmeric_chick_peas_fritters

Each week, we strive to include as many local ingredients in our meal kits as possible. This often means we source ingredients just a few days before delivery. If you’re a regular customer, you’ve seen our lists of local ingredients in your box letters. Now, we’ll be publishing the list each week as we source. Please note: ingredient sources are subject to change due to last-minute availability!

  • Organic Cilantro from Queen’s Greens in Amherst, MA. – Ground Beef Tostadas
  • Organic Cucumber from Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland, MA. – Sweet and Sour Chicken Nuggets
  • Organic Romaine Lettuce from Queen’s Greens in Amherst, MA. – Turmeric Chickpea Fritters
  • Organic Scallions from Riverland Farm in Sunderland, MA. – Tofu Pad Thai
  • Forest Medley Mushrooms from Mousam Valley Farm in Springvale, ME. – Juliet Mushroom Pasta and Brown Butter
  • Italian Sausage from Bianco and Sons in Medford, MA. – Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Hoagies
  • New England Caught Haddock from Red’s Best in Boston, MA. – Keralan Fish Curry
  • Butter from Cabot Creamery in Cabot, VT. – Juliet Mushroom Pasta and Brown Butter
  • Cage-Free Eggs from Maple Meadow Farm in Barre, VT. – Sweet and Sour Chicken Nuggets, Turmeric Chickpea Fritters, Tofu Pad Thai
  • Greek Yogurt from Green Mountain Creamery in Brattleboro, VT. – Turmeric Chickpea Fritters
  • Monterey Jack Cheese from Cabot Creamery in Cabot, VT. – Ground Beef Tostadas
  • Hot Dog Rolls from Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis, MA. – Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Hoagies
  • Cumin from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Turmeric Chickpea Fritters, Ground Beef Tostadas
  • Curry & Mustard Seed from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Keralan Fish Curry
  • Turmeric from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Turmeric Chickpea Fritters
  • Corn Tortillas from Vermont Tortilla Co. in Shelburne, VT.  – Ground Beef Tostadas
  • Fresh Pappardelle from Maria’s Gourmet Pasta in Malden, MA.  – Juliet Mushroom Pasta and Brown Butter

Local Ingredients for the Week of June 17, 2018

 greekburger-wide
Each week, we strive to include as many local ingredients in our meal kits as possible. This often means we source ingredients just a few days before delivery. If you’re a regular customer, you’ve seen our lists of local ingredients in your box letters. Now, we’ll be publishing the list each week as we source. Please note: ingredient sources are subject to change due to last-minute availability!
  • Organic Baby Spinach from Queen’s Greens in Amherst, MA. – Greek-Style Burgers with Cucumber Salad
  • Fresh Basil from Green Mountain Harvest in Waitsfield, VT. – Grilled Eggplant and Greek Salad
  • Organic Lacinato Kale from Harlow Farm in Westminster, VT. – Chorizo Burger with Massaged Kale Salad
  • Organic Red Potatoes from Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury, VT. – Seared Bluefish with Potato Salad
  • Organic Oyster Mushrooms from Mousam Valley Mushrooms in Springvale, ME. – Mixed Mushroom Tacos
  • Organic Shiitake Mushrooms from Mousam Valley Mushrooms in Springvale, ME. – Shanghai Noodles
  • Chorizo from Bianco and Sons in Medford, MA. – Chorizo Burger with Massaged Kale Salad
  • New England Caught Bluefish from Red’s Best in Boston, MA. – Seared Bluefish with Potato Salad
  • Butter from Cabot Creamery in Cabot, VT. – Chicken Marsala with Polenta
  • Feta Cheese from Narragansett Creamery in Providence, RI. – Grilled Eggplant and Greek Salad
  • Greek Yogurt from Green Mountain Creamery in Brattleboro, VT. – Greek-Style Burgers with Cucumber Salad
  • English Muffins from Stone and Skillet in Boston, MA. – Chorizo Burger with Massaged Kale Salad
  • Chili Powder and Cumin from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Mixed Mushroom Tacos
  • Oregano from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Greek-Style Burgers with Cucumber Salad
  • Corn Tortillas from Vermont Tortilla Company in Shelburne, VT. – Mixed Mushroom Tacos
  • Polenta from Maine’s Grains in Skowhegan, ME. –  Chicken Marsala with Polenta

Local Ingredients for the Week of June 10, 2018

hoisintofutacos-wideEach week, we strive to include as many local ingredients in our meal kits as possible. This often means we source ingredients just a few days before delivery. If you’re a regular customer, you’ve seen our lists of local ingredients in your box letters. Now, we’ll be publishing the list each week as we source. Please note: ingredient sources are subject to change due to last-minute availability!
  • Organic Baby Spinach from Queen’s Greens in Amherst, MA. – Spinach Shakshuka
  • Organic Cilantro from Old Athens Farm in Putney, VT. – Hawaiian Pork Chops
  • Organic Lacinato Kale Harlow Farm in Westminster, VT. – Spiced Cauliflower with Harissa Sauce
  • Organic Scallions from Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury and Riverland Farm in Sunderland, MA. – Beef Teriyaki, Chili Lime Salmon, Hoisin Tofu Tacos
  • Gulf of Maine Salmon from Red’s Best in Boston, MA. – Chili Lime Salmon
  • Cage-Free Eggs from Perfect Circle Farm in Barre, VT. – Spinach Shakshuka, Cornmeal Fried Chicken with Green Beans
  • Feta Cheese from Narragansett  Creamery in Providence, RI. – Spinach Shakshuka
  • Greek Yogurt from Green Mountain Creamery in Brattleboro, VT. – Spiced Cauliflower with Harissa Sauce
  • Pita from Middle East Bakery in Lawrence, MA. – Spinach Shakshuka
  • BBQ Seasoning from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Cornmeal Fried Chicken with Green Beans
  • Cumin from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Spinach Shakshuka
  • Garam Masala from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Spiced Cauliflower with Harissa Sauce
  • Sesame Seeds from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Hoisin Tofu Tacos
  • Corn Tortillas from Vermont Tortilla Co. in Shelburne, VT. – Hoisin Tofu Tacos
  • Sriracha from The Kitchen Garden in Sunderland, MA. – Hoisin Tofu Tacos

Local Ingredients for the Week of June 3, 2018

stuffed_turkey_burgers-sweet-potatoes
Each week, we strive to include as many local ingredients in our meal kits as possible. This often means we source ingredients just a few days before delivery. If you’re a regular customer, you’ve seen our lists of local ingredients in your box letters. Now, we’ll be publishing the list each week as we source. Please note: ingredient sources are subject to change due to last-minute availability!
  • Organic Baby Spinach from Queen’s Greens in Amherst, MA. – Roasted Red Pepper Quesadillas
  • Organic Kale from Harlow Farm in Westminster, VT. – Chana Saag
  • Organic Red Potatoes from Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury, VT. – Corn and Fish Chowder
  • Lettuce Mix from Fresh Box Farm in Millis, MA. – Quinoa and Cranberry Salad with Spiced Nuts, Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries
  • New England Caught Haddock from Red’s Best in Boston, MA. – Corn and Fish Chowder
  • Butter from Cabot Creamery in Cabot, VT. – Corn and Fish Chowder
  • Goat Cheese from Vermont Creamery in Websterville, VT. – Quinoa and Cranberry Salad with Spiced Nuts, Roasted Red Pepper Quesadillas.
  • Monterey Jack Cheese from Cabot Creamery in Cabot, VT. - Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries
  • Hamburger Buns from Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis, MA. – Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries
  • Chili Powder from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Roasted Red Pepper Quesadillas
  • Cumin, Curry & Fennel Seeds from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Chana Saag
  • Paprika from The Spice Mill in Manchester, CT. – Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Corn Tortillas from Vermont Tortilla Co. in Shelburne, VT. – Spicy Korean Pork Tacos
  • Flour Tortillas from Cinco De Mayo in Chelsea, MA. – Roasted Red Pepper Quesadillas
  • Maple Syrup from Square Deal Farm in Hardwick, VT.- Stuffed Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries
  • Fresh Spaghetti from Maria’s Gourmet Pasta in Malden, MA. – Spaghetti Bolognese