I can’t believe it’s the last week of August! I’m holding onto that last bit of Summer by filling my weekends with road trips and roadside picnics with the help of the 2018 Ford EcoSport. Earlier this year, I had the chance to celebrate the launch of this crossover SUV at the Ford Life Hack Academy event in New York City. And now, I finally had the chance to take it for a spin and test out the built in technological features such as the touchscreen panel that works pretty much like a smart phone and unique swing gate style trunk door offering easy access to the trunk space for extra storage, mobility, and did I mention, a spontaneous roadside picnic?!
I mean we’ve all taken road trips before. We typically focus on the destination, but why not enjoy the journey and rather than taking a short lunch break at the rest stop, pick a scenic spot and pack a fun, summer picnic? The Ford EcoSport offers plenty of trunk space to set up and enjoy a break! During my time at the Life Hacks Academy, I learned that, simple life hacks can save so much time, and well, I discovered a handful of picnic hacks to share!
Picnic Hacks that Save Time and Money
If you’re looking to prepare a picnic in no time, make sure you’ve got yourself a picnic basket. No picnic basket? No problem!
Hack: Picnic baskets can be quite expensive, luckily mine was a birthday gift from a friend. If you don’t have a basket, you can swap out with an inexpensive wire basket, tin ice bucket, or even a canvas tote bag!
Want to keep your things compact and don’t want to pack all those condiment bottles with you?
Hack: Save space and reduce weight by using muffin trays to hold your condiments. Pre-squeeze ketchup, mustard and mayo into each muffin cavity, cover with tin foil and place the tray on the very top. Easy peasy and no spills!
Bringing a few glass bottled drinks and don’t want to break them during your drive?
Hack: Securely wrap the bottles using a table cloth which protects bottles from breaking and you’ve also now got something to sit on!
Interested in bringing cupcakes but not sure how to transport them without ruining the icing?
Hack: Bake mini sized cupcakes and transport them using an empty egg carton! The peaked tops will be well protected!
Hack: My favourite hack of all time has got to be the use of mason jars. You can make layered salads, personal sized 7 layered dips, and jam topped yogurt cups with the help of mason jars! These meals are not only simple to prepare but also impressive to look at!
For my picnic, I made homemade strawberry and blueberry jams and also a few yogurt cups that are perfect for a morning or afternoon picnic. Best part? The jam only took two minutes of cooking time in my Instant Pot and four simple ingredients. I’ve included the recipe below!
2 Minute Instant Pot Fruit JamPrint This
- 1 pint of fresh berries of your choice (I used Strawberries and Blueberries)
- 1/2 to 1 cup apple sauce
- A drizzle of organic or Natural Maple Syrup (or you can also use natural/raw honey)
- 3-4 tablespoon chia seeds (acts as “pectin”)
- Rinse berries, dry and place into Instant Pot (or electric pressure cooker)
- Add apple sauce and maple syrup and give it a stir (you can add a little or more syrup depending on how sweet you may want it)
- Secure lid and make sure the release valve is in the correct position
- Set Instant Pot to 2 minutes on high pressure
- Once it is complete, quick release and carefully open the lid
- The jam is going to look soupy, but don’t worry!
- Give it a stir and add chia seeds. I recommend adding a tablespoon at a time, and keep stirring to avoid clumping
- Place the lid back on and set timer for 10-15 minutes. This will allow the chia seeds to expand.
- Once cool to handle, place into mason jars and keep refrigerated up to one week, or you can freeze them for later use.
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Ford Canada but all opinions are my own.