Monday, April 30, 2012

Cinco De' Mayo Picnic

Cinco De' Mayo Picnic Ideas  

Ole! It’s nearly Cinco de Mayo, and whether or not you have a connection to the Mexican culture, it’s still fun to celebrate with some good food and drink!

Cinco de Mayo – the fifth of May – began as an occasion to celebrate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

These days, it has become more a celebration of Hispanic/Mexican heritage and pride and it’s not unusual to find a nod to the holiday in cities and even small towns across the U.S., especially in places where there’s a large Hispanic population.

But rather than going to your favorite Mexican restaurant to celebrate the holiday this year, why not put together a fun get-together in your own backyard? Have a Cinco de Mayo picnic and start a new tradition!

Mexican Barbecue?

If Cinco de Mayo calls to mind baskets of tortilla chips and pitchers full of margaritas, you’ve probably spent a lot of May 5ths eating in restaurants. The fact is, however, that there’s so much more you can do to honor the great food of Mexico. Think barbecue, for example. There are many foods with a Mexican slant that can be cooked on your backyard grill. Consider steaks with mole sauce or salsa, grilled seafood, spice-rubbed chicken, and much more.

Backyard cooks can experiment with all sorts of items that are regular components of Mexican food including chilies, avocado, cilantro, coconut, plantains or bananas, and other tropical fruits. Use them in the grilling process or for side dishes.

Of course, you’ll want to include some traditional stuff. too. It’s okay to break out the tortilla chips (consider frying your own!) and homemade salsa (make some with mangoes!) for munching before the main meal, and you’ll want to be sure you have several pitchers of margaritas on hand as well.

The Mexican Picnic Basket

If you want to pack a Cinco de Mayo picnic basket to take to the park or elsewhere, you may want to opt for the traditional as well, especially if the kids are in tow. One suggestion is to pack the components of tacos and let picnickers but them together on their own.

For example, bring along some flour or corn tortillas as well as containers full of cold chicken or beef, shredded cheese, salsa, lettuce, and anything else you like on your hard or soft tacos. Be sure to keep them in an insulated tote if it’s hot outside. Then just remove the containers and let everyone design their own taco. Furthermore, they’re easy to eat without silverware and fairly mess-free.

For beverages, pack a cooler with some exotic juices like mango or papaya or some fruit flavored bottles of water. For dessert, end the meal with a selection of Mexican cookies including traditional wedding cookies or these cool looking Taco Cookies and be sure to try these easy-to-make Mexican Hot Chocolate cookie treats!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)

    In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides. Add eggs and beat until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture.

    In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and chili powder (if using). Form tablespoon-sized balls of dough and roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on two parchment-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake at 400 degrees until cookies are set in center and begin to crack, about 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks.

    Compliments of | 1-800-861-8823


    1. Hi,

      My name is Kelly and I am writing an article on picnics for Pink Play Magazine (Toronto) and it will be great to point people to your blog and its great ideas!