With azaleas blooming and warmer weather on the horizon for the weekend, it's the perfect time to pack an picnic and head to the park.
Callaway Gardens' Overlook Azalea Garden is expected to be at peak bloom this weekend and next week, and the Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl looks promising. Guests will also see blooming dogwoods, silverbells, sweetshrub, red buckeye and early spring wildflowers. The Gardens' Celebrate Spring! festival is running now through April 29. Admission is $25 per adult; $12.50 per child ages 6 to 12; children 5 and younger are admitted for free. Military (active and retired with valid ID) are admitted for half-price during Celebrate Spring! The Gardens are open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Contact Callaway Gardens at 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292) or visit callawaygardens.com .
Packing a picnic doesn't need to be a lot of work. Check out this article. from the New York Times on 101 picnic dishes that take 20 minutes or less to prepare.
For a simple picnic, I suggest making your favorite chicken salad sandwiches and serving the with Corn and Tomato Salad and cookies.
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CORN AND TOMATO SALAD
1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
4 cups corn kernels (either fresh or canned)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed and cut in half
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a frying pan on medium-high heat, sauté onion in olive oil for about five minutes until soft but not browned. Add corn and stir until tender, about another 5 minutes. Pour mixture into a large bowl and stir in tomatoes, basil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill. Serve cold.
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) package milk chocolate toffee bits
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping the bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking soda and salt. Beat until well mixed. Gently stir in toffee bits.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack.