Portable Patriotic Picnic (pail)
Written by on Monday, June 10th, 2013

courtesy of flickr

Have you decided to head out, on the 4th of July, to watch fireworks at a special event?

Then, why not take your patriotic picnic with you!

If that sounds good, I’ve created some fun, functional and not-too-perishable ideas to inspire you.

I prefer to pack picnics individually ~ they’re so much easier to carry & hand out.

One issue… lunchbox-sized coolers have gotten very expensive ($10 & up)!

So, consider opting for an inexpensive summer staple to hold your picnic goodies… the sand pail!

s_sand pail_before

 Keeping in mind that you’ll be carrying heavier things in your pails, purchase the largest, sturdiest version you can find.

[I found this one at Christmas Tree Shops for $2.97]

Then, make them patriotically perfect by adding window clings, foil star garland and a little ribbon.

s_patrtiotic clings

Window Clings – $1

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Also, if you line it with a little plastic wrapping (I used leftover Christmas gift basket wrap), the pail exterior should stay fairly dry.

s_bucket_plastic liner

For a summer beverage, make some homemade lemonade.  It’s easy & CLICK HERE to view the recipe I use.

Decorate larger (24-oz) BALL jars with stickers & ribbon, add your homemade drink delight

(leaving a couple of inches at the top -without liquid- to allow for expansion), place the lid on and pop them in the freezer.

[I found the “CELEBRATE” sticker for 50 cents @ Michaels Craft Store]

s_ball jar and sticker

This frozen concoction will slowly dissolve into a slushy treat, while it doubles as an ice pack to keep your entire lunch fresh & cool.


If you prefer a caffeinated drink, add milk and sugar to a pot of coffee, which can also be frozen.

And because it’s always nice to have a little cookie for dipping, use candy melts & patriotic sprinkles to coat an artisan rolled wafer.

Make it festive by adding a patriotic toothpick on one end before wrapping it up in a plastic bag to tuck in your lunch pail.

coffee drink_jpg

For the main course, consider a grilled Ciabatta sandwich.  Click HERE to see the printable recipe for my version.

It’s perfect for a picnic in the summer heat because I use olive oil instead of mayonnaise.

Once it’s grilled, wrap it up in parchment paper (to seal in freshness) and tie closed with a patriotic ribbon.

My favorite ingredient is the fresh basil, which is why it’s a great herb to grow in your garden…


Here’s a look at the entire sandwich process, in photos (cheese added right before final grilling):

Sandwich Steps_jpg

For a healthy side dish… use a star-shaped cookie cutter or free-hand small, star shapes out of watermelon slices.

s_watermelon star

In the bottom of a recycled jam jar, place a small amount of yogurt, mixed with small  pieces of fresh,

ripe pineapple and a tablespoon of the (pineapple’s) juice.

yogurt n pineapple

On top of the yogurt mix, layer the star-shaped pieces of watermelon, blueberries, fresh pineapple and blackberries.

Fruit Cup_jpg

Close the lid and add a patriotic ribbon embellishment.

And finally…. it’s dessert time!!!

I love that cupcakes are such an individual and ready-to-eat dessert.

And to keep with a patriotic theme, strawberry is the perfect flavor and color!

Also, if you add freshly crushed strawberries into the cake batter, they’ll be extra moist!

After frosting, top them with a single blueberry & tiny US flag for a perfectly patriotic dessert.

Now, I’m thinking how well that coffee drink would go with the cupcake, so what the heck… I’ll probably make both! LOL

s_cupcake 2

To make your cupcake portable, position it on the underside of the lid to a sturdy plastic cup

(ask your local fast food retailer, i.e. Starbucks for a couple of these) and place the cup over it, locking it in place.

Tuck all of your goodies inside each of your embellished sand pails, along with a fan because it’s ALWAYS hot!

Finally, add a clean tea towel or bandanna (over the top) because it will keep the chill inside and double as your napkin.

s_pail contents 2

Grab your sparklers, picnic pails and head out to enjoy a local patriotic celebration!

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FINAL NOTE:  I love these ideas because using glass containers creates very little waste.

Plus, the bucket is perfect for storing the used wrappers, glass jars, etc. AND to utilize as a carrier on the way home too!

Enjoy the Fun and the Fireworks!


CLICK on the Fireworks photo (below) to enjoy a one-minute fireworks show… set to music 🙂


P.S.  Don’t forget to check out my patriotic decorating ideas (under the “Patriotic” category), including my “Patriotic Pinwheel Wreath” tutorial… click HERE to check it out!

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One Comment

  1. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back

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