Giveaway: A Year of Picnics by Ashley English

When I turned ten, my mom’s best friend Maria gave me a wicker picnic basket. Inside, it was stocked with sturdy, reusable plastic cups, plates, and utensils. I was completely thrilled and spent the next couple days packing and unpacking those wicker walls.

So powerful was the pull of the basket that I even made temporary peace with my sister (it took us growing up and living in different places to finally become friends) so that she would accompany me on trips to the neighborhood playground, where I’d plate up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in order to make best use of my picnic gear.

While I’m not quite as enamored of picnics as I was in 1989, I still believe that there’s no better way to make an ordinary day special than to pack up lunch or dinner and take it to the park (and when there’s something to celebrate, an outdoor gathering is my favorite way to make merry).

Thanks to Ashley English‘s gorgeous new book, A Year of Picnics, I am once again filled with picnic inspiration (in the past, Ashley’s books have also motivatedΒ me to bake pies, blend my own tisanes, and gather up friends for seasonal celebrations).

Organized by season, this book makes an excellent case for the concept that dining well and beautifully in the outdoors is possible all year round. During spring and summer, some of the picnics Ashley suggests include those for breakfast, while seated near the water, and for a movie night gathering.

Some of the fall and winter picnics are those to celebrate the falling leaves, for tailgating, and for when perched on a rooftop. Each picnic includes suggestions for choosing your picnic site and activities appropriate for all ages, as well as tidbits tailored specifically to theme.

You’ll also find between three and five recipes for each picnic. I’m particularly looking forward to trying the Cardamom, Rose Water, and Berry Coffee Cake (page 24), the Moroccan Apple Salad (page 93) and the Mason Jar Apple Cardamom Crumbles (page 187).

For those of you hoping to be inspired to pack a picnic, I’ve got two copies of this book to give away. This giveaway is open to everyone (though it is void if giveaways are prohibited where you live). Please use the widget below to enter.

PS – As you enter the giveaway, please do take a moment to send Ashley and her family good thoughts. She recently gave pre-mature birth to a sweet but tiny baby named Alistair. Everyone seems to be healing and growing, but well wishes are never unwelcome. May they all picnic as a family together soon!

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Disclosure: Roost Books sent me three copies of this book for review and giveaway purposes. No additional funds were provided and all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.Β 

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137 responses to “Giveaway: A Year of Picnics by Ashley English”

  1. My favorite picnics are on the beach at the Chicago Air and Water show. There’s nothing like a picnic lunch with the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds overhead!

  2. We take a picnic with us on every road trip – πŸ™‚ Parks, beaches, rest stops – we love them all.

  3. I haven’t gone on a picnic since last summer after I got engaged. My friend and I packed pasta salad, sandwiches and a few bottled beverages and threw out a blanket in one of our favorite parks. I would love to picnic more often!

  4. I love picnics. My husband and I got married in a state park and we try to have a picnic there each year around our anniversary.

  5. I love picnics, and I love how much my two little kids love them. Even the simplest meal is exciting when it’s eaten outside!

  6. I always love picnics. It’s so nice to spend leisurely time outdoors with everyone, eating and playing!

  7. We picnic to have less formal meals so the kids can play as soon as they have eaten and to enjoy the beautiful PNW summer. Thinking of Ashely and he family.

  8. Love picnics. My parents have a picnic basket collection- it might be time for me to dust them off and take one for a spin!

  9. Last year, for my birthday, my husband and I packed the kids up with lunch and toys and went to the lake and had a lovely picnic. One of the best memories I have of last year.

    This book looks darling. I’d love to check it out.

  10. Early in my marriage, thirty years ago now, my husband took me on a picnic in the snow. It was such fun! He made hot chocolate & soup. We lived in Chattanooga then & snow is so rare there that the whole city shut down. We drove to the top of Missionary Ridge, found a park with a giant tree stump & spread our picnic out on it.

    After a life time of picnics I still love them. We’re in the empty nest now & so it’s back to picnics for two for the most part. We usually take our little dog & go the the little company park for employees where my husband works…beautiful shade trees, wide open spaces, comfortable picnic tables & a little fenced area for our dog to roam as we eat.

    We also have picnics on our porch though it’s usually home cooked meals & we each carry our plates out, take a seat & enjoy the views.

  11. We do picnic dinners a few times a dinner for concerts in the park – I’d love to up my game for that!

  12. We love a good picnic and the favorite ones are often around our own bonfire at the edge of our property. We are homeschoolers and often find ourselves enjoying a picnic when out on a nature ramble (or in a starving fashion in the car on the way home!) Looks lovely, like so many of her books!

  13. I used to love camping but, after a back injury, sleeping on the ground isn’t as much fun, so I’ve started to enjoy the pleasures of a simple picnic. My friend packs the best picnic lunches that I’ve ever had, so I’d like to try to up my own game in the picnic arena!

  14. I love picnicking, in parks and at events, but with small children there is a picnic daily; this book might just inspire me to include myself in those picnics as well.

  15. I love picnics! I even do living room picnics with my kids, since meals always taste better and are more fun when eaten on a blanket!

  16. Oh, I want this book! I love picnics. Most of the time, with our young children, they are last minute affairs. I want some inspiration to plan for one and make it amazing!

  17. I love a good picnic. One of my favorite picnic memories was taking food to Trek in the Park, where a group of volunteers would put on a stage production of one episode of the original Star Trek. It’s now defunct, but it was great fun for the years that it lasted.

  18. It’s always great to discover new packable food ideas. “Picnics” for us often take place in “town” rather than in the country.

    • Some of my favorite memories are of picnics along the road during vacations. My family always found the coolest spots to stop for lunch on the way to our destinations. Thanks for the giveaway!

  19. First picnic of the year is scheduled for May 20! I’m looking forward to the sun and the flowers!

  20. I have a lovely wicker picnic basket in my basement I haven’t used in years. This book would be an inspiration!

  21. I love picnics! I have so many fond childhood memories of picnicking at the park near our house. Food was usually simple – sandwiches, salads, fruit, etc. But it was so fun.

  22. The book looks lovely. My kids and I are frequent picnicers and it’s what I asked to do for mothers day. Best wishes and prayers for the author and her family.

  23. I am not yet a picnic person, but I would like to be! My young kids love to have a picnic at the park. I would love some ideas beyond peanut butter and jelly.

  24. In 2009, I had my second son and decided to quit my job. 2010 was a stay at home mom’s dream come true. A little baby, a four year old and all the time in the world each day. That was the year of the picnic for us. My boys ate lunch spread on a blanket under a tree in the back yard at least twice a week We ate picnics at the park, at the library, with friends, with cousins, in the cold, in the heat. In addition to our lunches, we had breakfast picnics, afternoon snack picnics, we even had a picnic dinner at the local lake at night while watching Wall-E! We are huge fans of the family picnic!

  25. Our picnics are mostly in the front and back yard at our house. If we picnic elsewhere, it’s likely the beach, a few hours away, or at a rest stop on a road trip. Or possibly a movie shown on a big screen in a nearby park – we’ll definitely take a picnic for that! I found a picnic backpack – velcro and pockets to hold the dishes and tableware and cups for two – at a thrift store a while back. So we’re ready! We just need some new food ideas!

  26. I have two picnic baskets, a red one and a blue one (incomplete due to the theft by a colleague!)

    I don’t picnic much but I love my baskets.

    I made them myself, but when it comes to the actual food, I’m not quite as creative.

  27. I love picnics of any kind and when my kids were young I used to take them to a small park and we had pb&j sandwiches to eat and koolaid to drink. We all loved it.

  28. Oh, would Love to win one of these books.
    Love picnics but don’t do as often as I would like. Sometimes I keep it simple; bottle of wine with cheese and crackers or prepare more something more exciting and filling.
    If raining; who says you have to have a picnic outside? Just throw down a blanket on your living room or dining room floor and lay out your picnic items.
    Thank You for this giveaway opportunity.

  29. My Mom was picnic crazy, even if it was just an apple!
    I inherited the trait, and we do a lot of small picnics

  30. Picnics are what we did when we were on a long drive to somewhere. In the early 60s here in Ontario Canada we did not have drive thru or fast food highly processed mass produced foods. It was a treat when travelling on the Canadian Shield to be able to stop and pick wild blueberries off the side of the road and place them in our Mason glass jars to eat when we got back on the road. That was our equivalent of today’s stop at a convenience store for a candy bar. I tried to recreate that experience for my children as they grew up in the 80s. I miss those days!

  31. I love my picnic basket, and old one I’ve had for 30 years and got used from my mom. I am going to look for the picnic book. It sounds like something I’d use.

  32. I love the idea of packing a picnic, strapping the basket on the back of my bike and going on an adventure!

    And am praying for momma and little baby. May he grow and gain strength every day and fully develop with no lingering issues!

  33. We love to picnic. Most times we go out to the beach and sit at the tables and watch people and waves. Sometimes we camp out at the end of the dock with lunch and books.

  34. I love picnics! There is something about packing food to a special spot and sitting on a blanket with good company that turns a meal into a memorable moment every time. That being said, my menu usually consists of sandwiches, and this book looks like it has great ideas that go beyond the basics, I’d love to win a copy! Congratulations to Ashley and her family on the birth of Alistair- well wishes to the new baby.

  35. Pickles, wine and packed sandwiches are the go to, and usually a sweet treat! Congratulations to Ashley and family!

  36. My preferred wedding shower gift for years has been a picnic basket. Most soon to be marrieds don’t have this on their registry, but should. A picnic is romantic, usually inexpensive, and fun. However,
    maybe I have given so many of them because I have basket envy….I don’t have one of my own. The
    book may have to be an addition to my basket gift. My thoughts and prayers are with Ashley and her baby.

  37. Who doesn’t love a picnic!! Just looking at the pics that you shared of the book makes me have picnic envy!! I love a traditional picnic basket and it is so enjoyable sitting out on the ground with some tasty treats and nature. My thoughts are with Ashley and the family!

  38. I’m trying to move to a tiny old farmhouse that is just made for picnics! Now I’m daydreaming about mason jars in the grass and ants on the blanket… What a great inspiration. Thank you!

  39. We’ve got a beach vacation coming up this summer and a picnic near the water would be amazing! I’m also thinking about how a backyard picnic could add a lot of fun to a regular weekend <3

  40. My daughter and I love to plan picnics together during the summer when she’s out of school. We started the tradition when she was just a toddler. We’d pack up the basket and walk down to the park a couple blocks away. We’d perch on a hill top that overlooks a pond full of ducks and geese. Always a treat.

  41. Looking forward to picnic season! Cardamom, rosewater and berry sounds like a delicious combination of ingredients. Can’t wait to try this book!

  42. I have a lovely picnic basket that my BFF gave me many years ago…time to get it out of storage!
    This is inspiring!!!!!

  43. We used to go on a drive to Colonial Williamsburg and stop for a picnic along the James River. It’s been a while. We definitely need to do that again soon. I would love some new recipe ideas.

    Best wishes to Ashley and her newly expanded family ?

  44. There’s a beautiful park near my house. Nice to go sit on the grass and look at the water, with two bridges soaring overhead. Sending good vibes for Ashley and her family. Her books are very nice.

  45. We like to take day trips. Having a nice picnic lunch to eat instead of Burger King would be wonderful.

  46. This looks like a lovely book and everyone loves a picnic! Since we camp a lot, this would be really nice to take along for those hiking days in the woods.

  47. When I think of picnics, I think of summer concerts at the Washington Park (now Oregon) Zoo. My mom, sister, and I would go in early on our membership, usually with friends, and us kids would run around the zoo for a while. My dad would join us after work, and we’d eat a picnic dinner on the grass in front of the stage. I haven’t picnicked a lot for years now, but might be time to recapture that magic.

  48. I’ll just take my lunch outside to eat if I can. And the SO and I are not opposed to sitting on the apartment steps to eat dinner.
    I need to find excuses to picnic; especially as we no longer live near a park.

  49. With small kids it’s hard to do a proper picnic, but I sure do love it! Usually getting great sandwiches at a local deli and taking them to the park is how we do it!

  50. Picnics have been very rare in my life, when I was young my mom was deathly afraid of snakes and couldn’t be on grass and now I’m working on my health diligently so I can start picnicking next summer. I’ll be sure to find a non grass safe place so mom can join! Best wishes to the author. I was born 3 months premature in 1970 so good things can still come after such harrowing beginnings.

  51. Whoa after visiting the FB, I’m super interested in that Year of Pies. Make it Pies in Picnics and it’s perfect!

  52. I’m always looking for romantic dates to surprise my wife with. This book looks like it can lead to many surprises!

  53. I adore picnics and love going to beach on Lake Michigan to eat al fresco! πŸ™‚ I’m sure I’ll be even more inspired for more menu options from this book!

  54. What a lovely idea for a book. We like to picnic on our own property–going to a location by one of our ponds.

  55. We visit Oregon Coast every year. I have so many fond memories of picnics on the beach with fun in the water all day and bonfire nights.

  56. I love Ashley’s books and her other work, and am lucky to call her a friend. I particularly love her pie book, and think pie makes a darn good picnic menu, but would love to get my hands on this book as well because it’s good to broaden one’s horizons πŸ˜‰

  57. i love a good picnic! i like to keep it simple and just stop by the natural foods co-op near my house to get yummy things at the deli. i might pair that with some strawberries and maybe a homemade cake, and call it good!

  58. I love eating outside! Less mess from the kids too. My basket is a bit small for a family of five though. Need to pack more efficiently!

  59. Hmmm. Yes, I AM a picnic person. Sadly, it seems that they are now mostly taking fast food to an interesting location to consume it.

    Best picnic ever was while on a road trip some years ago. We stopped in a local grocery, picked up suitable items and had a picnic at the next rest stop. Our dog was able to join us on a little hill away from traffic. It was lovely and just what we all needed at the time.

    Come to think of it – all my best picnic memories are of impromptu picnics.

  60. Nothing like a sweet picnic. My daughter and I have a couple a year, usually involving a hike or bike ride to arrive at our location. What a great theme for a book.

  61. We do picnic as a family and with friends. It’s a great idea for a book.

    I’m always particularly for a thermos of tea on a chilly picnic outing.

  62. Picnics are best in the fall IMO. But I do love spring planting and summer baling and surprising the guys in the field with food.

    Blessings for the new baby.

  63. I came late to the idea of eating outside (never even tried it growing up) but I’m now a convert. Impromptu picnics are my favorites.

  64. I would love to be a picnic person… but I can’t remember the last time I was actually on a picnic, so this book would be great inspiration. πŸ™‚

  65. My fave picnic spot used to be at Tanglewood, but now that I’ve moved i will have to find a new spot! A good bottle of wine, great fruit, it’s so fun to put together a great picnic.

  66. Oh, I am a picnic person. I was raised with my grandma who always had a full icebox in the bed of our truck. I’m lucky she’s taught me most of her tricks. Our family spends alot of time outdoors. We picnic on the tailgate during hunting season. And in the spring and early summer we do weinie roasts by the creek.

  67. I looking forward to start going on picnics with my kids. Lots of love and hugs to Ashely and her family <3

  68. Oh my, I am such a picnic person and fantasize about Barefoot Contessa-level picnics. None of my friends have seemed to be interested in the past but I guess I’m going to have to start bribing them with jars of (more) jam, since they respond to having a good jam supply LOL. I would LOVE this book to plan my bribe-picnic at our local Buchanan Park! It’s the perfect setting. Thanks for the giveaway!

  69. I have never been on a picnic….but it always looks sooo wonderful! And now that I am pregnant, the love of my life, and I NEED to start making these memories not only for us (my husband and me) but also for them! πŸ™‚

  70. Lately our favorite picnic spot is a blanket (towel) on the kitchen floor with my 3 year old and some popcorn, but I’m looking forward to some inspiration!

  71. My Mom turns 88 this year and one of her favorite things is to “go on a picnic”. We do the “traditional” w/potatoe salad made with olive oil etc. The shortest and one of the best was in late fall/early winter 2 yrs ago. While sitting outside at a picnic table in a rural area we had hot chocolate and Saltines! It is what we always had after slogging through the snow looking for a tree to cut for Christmas.
    We are just discussing where to go for her 88 birthday picnic with her lady friends.

  72. A year ago, I bought a house two blocks from one of the biggest and best parks in town. I dreamed of lazy Sunday picnics on the grass. I have vivid, happy memories of childhood birthday parties and graduate school friendsgivings in the park. So far, we haven’t made it over once for a picnic, but maybe this book would help provide motivation.

  73. Last summer we squeezed in one tiny picnic during an afternoon hike, I am determined this summer we will figure d time for more, especially since there is a great land trust right down the street from our new house

  74. Picnics are the best! I definitely hear you on the allure of the nice basket filled with delicious things. A container of raw vegetables with dip plus a bunch of egg salad sandwiches and some cold rose is my idea of the best picnic ever. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

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