Picture Perfect Picnic

As the last days of summer quickly approach, you may be realizing you didn’t complete all of your summer to-do’s… But – with our weather being as lovely as it has been, now is the ideal time to plan a relaxing picnic and enjoy some of these warm summer days before they’re over!

Picnics are perfect as a romantic date just as much as they’re an ideal way to spend some time with the family. Atlanta Magazine recently reached out to our team here at steve mckenzie’s and asked if we’d design a perfect, relaxing picnic for their July 2017 issue. It was a challenge Steve and Jill absolutely relished in accepting! And we hope the results inspire you to go enjoy some last-minute summertime fun in the outdoors!

PHOTOGRAPH BY NATHAN BOLSTER

First thing was a location. For Steve and Jill, this one was easy – it’s one of their favorite spots for a walk with the dog – Duck Pond Park in Peachtree Heights East. It’s absolutely picturesque and so serene!

Next they needed a place to perch drinks and wares and a vintage rattan table was an ideal selection. It is lightweight, but absolutely stylish! A patchwork Kilim from our neighbors, Verde Home, laid the groundwork for lounging. Add some kantha quilts and a bunch of pillows, and the scene is set.

When you think of a picnic, food is top of mind. Steve and Jill wanted something light and refreshing; as well as easy to transport. Enter glass jar salads! Not only pretty to look at, these salads absolutely delicious and so simple to enjoy – just shake, and pour onto your plate! Speaking of plates, although the McKenzie’s love the look of Italian pottery and cut crystal glassware, those selections aren’t exactly picnic practical. Instead, they brought along melamine plates by Le Cadeaux, which offer the look of the real thing, as well as acrylic glassware by Baci to serve cocktails made using Cathead Distillery‘s delectable pecan vodka.

Here’s the recipe for those delightful individual salads:

Mason jar salads
1 red onion sliced thin
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup water
Black peppercorns
2 cups cooked quinoa
4 cups lettuce of some mix
1 ½ 0z cannellini beans drained and rinsed
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbs mayonnaise
½ tsp salt
Ground pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp chili powder

First pickle the onions. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Add the onions and about five black peppercorns to the boiling mixture. Boil for 3 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool. When cooled, remove peppercorns and place in the refrigerator.

Prepare your dressing. Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Whisk thoroughly to fully combine ingredients.

Take four mason jars and assemble in layers in this order: Dressing in the bottom, quinoa, lettuce, cannellini beans, pickled onions, tomatoes, and chopped cucumber.

And we can’t forget the cocktails! Thank you to our friends at Cathead for making some pretty fantastic products. Our picture perfect cocktail utilizes their pecan vodka, and once you try it, we think it’ll become a liquor shelf staple!!

Spicy pecan spritz
1 oz Cathead Pecan Vodka
½ oz spicy simple syrup
6 oz Pellegrino water

Pour ingredients over ice in a highball glass and garnish with spearmint.

Spicy simple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup raw sugar
½ tsp of ground cayenne pepper
1 cup water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil turn back heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through coffee filter to remove the cayenne. Serve.

Happy picnicking everyone – hope to see you at Duck Pond Park soon!

All products seen in this article, except for the rug, are available at steve mckenzie’s.

A Guilt-Free Dip for the BIG GAME!

If you’re hosting or attending a Super Bowl party this Sunday have we got THE dip for you! And, it not only hits the spot, but it light too… It’s Virginia Willis’ “Sinless Seven Layer Dip.” It’s out standing and will be the hit of your get-together, even if it’s only you and your significant other.

Read below for the full recipe, from Willis’ cookbook, “Lighten Up, Y’all,” which we conveniently have in stock at the steve mckenzie’s showroom… 😉

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Sinless Seven-Layer Dip:

  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can low-sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp. dried red chilies, ground
  • Juice of 1 lime, separated
  • 1 avocado, halved and pitted
  • ½ cup broccoli florets, shelled English peas, or shelled edamame
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chunky salsa

  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • ½ cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 (4-oz.) can chilies, chopped
  • ½ cup (2 oz.)reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 green onions, trimmed and chopped

Place the beans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the ground chilies and half of the lime juice. Pulse until smooth.

Using a spatula, place the puree in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish to make the first layer. Set aside.

Make sure the processor bowl is mostly clean, then add the avocado, broccoli and the remaining lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth, making guacamole. Spoon on top of the beans to create the second layer.

In a small bowl, stir together the salsa, cilantro and jalapeño. Pour the salsa mixture over the guacamole for the third layer.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and yogurt. Spoon the mixture on top of the salsa for the fourth layer.

Pour the can of chopped chilies on top for the fifth layer. Top with grated cheese and chopped green onions for the sixth and seventh layers. Serve immediately.

This one is a winner, y’all. Just like our Atlanta Falcons will be come Sunday night!!

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Now, the only thing that would make this dip even better is a stylish – and durable – way to serve… Enter our Melamine Oval Serving Bowl. Not only is it beautiful, it’s break resistant, triple weight and dishwasher safe! As are our Melamine Serving Pieces. This duo makes a memorable combination, and when matched with this sinless dip, well, let’s just say, we know what folks will be asking you to bring to the Super Bowl party each year!

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So, are you watching for the actual game or the commercials?!? Either way, it’s sure to be a “SUPER” night… Enjoy all!!