Take your meal outdoors this spring or summer and try a picnic in a nearby park, or brown-bag lunch to get out of the office, or maybe dinner on your outdoor deck.

Time outside can go a long way toward lowering our stress levels, boosting our moods and make lasting memories with friends and family. These are easy ideas during the week, now think of parties, vacations and tailgating.

When we plan our vacation, for instance, besides rooming and a list of activities, we plan to eat! Come on, what family on their way to the Wisconsin Dells doesn’t usually have snacks for either before or after the waterparks? So besides trying a few restaurants it is time to strategize coolers for our thrifty side of the trip.

Not leaving the county? Having fresh ideas for meals or snacks can really add to our staycation.

What about a lazy Saturday with your sweetie or having friends for drinks and snacks in the backyard. The nice days are here let’s have some fun with our food.

Two selections for ideas are: Beach House Brunch by Lei Shishak and The Outdoor table by April McKinney.

Beach House Brunch has sample menus to fit an occasion but also includes recipes for beverages, pastries, eggs, salads casseroles and of course something sweet, all to make a mix of indulgent and healthy. It will keep you busy for a while.

This is an excellent reference when some of your guests you’re inviting may not be an early riser. Maybe the “café au lait d’amande” could be just for yourself to sip in your favorite chair outside with a new summer read.

The Outdoor Table has recipes from drinks to desserts and all look easy to make and appealing. You won’t be called boring with these tasty ideas.

All the recipes are easy to follow and require ingredients that readily available at the grocery store. Having one recipe per page with a brief description of why it’s a favorite of the author’s and why it could be your next favorite too is awesome.

I loved the book’s extra feature: scattered through the pages are one-page descriptions of some of the most beautiful parks and best tailgate venues in America.

If you have a weekend get-together, and you are thinking of what to bring, thumb through this selection and get read to get cooking and get outside. This is one to reference again and again.

Visit any of our La Crosse County Library locations in Bangor, Campbell, Holmen, Onalaska and West Salem and check out our website at lacrossecountylibrary.org from the comfort of your own home to search our library catalog.

Amy Resac is a circulation clerk at the Onalaska Branch of the La Crosse County Library.

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Coulee Courier and Houston County News editor

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