Memorial Day is upon us and while this year may be different from years past, you can still make the most of the unofficial start of summer with fun activities and yummy food in the comfort and safety of your backyard.
While BBQ is typically the fare for the weekend, you can alter the menu from the traditional burgers and hot dogs to add other grill-friendly foods that do well basking in the flame.
- Chicken or steak tastes great on the BBQ and can be so easy to cook with minimal effort and maximum taste. Marinade the chicken or meat with the simple ingredients below for a few hours to bring out the juicy flavors. If you want to go meat-free, you can even combine this marinade with extra firm tofu.
- 3 TB Lemon Juice
- 3 TB Soy Sauce
- 2 TB Balsamic Vinegar
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 TB Worcestershire Sauce
- Garlic powder or three minced garlic cloves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Nothing beats the taste of fresh grilled corn. You can cook it simply with no extra ingredients, just a few ears charred to perfection. The grilled corn can help enhance the taste of salads, quinoa, pasta, or dips or be used to create your own homemade salsa.
- Grilled fruit is not something most people think about when it comes to a BBQ fare, but sliced watermelon, peaches or pineapple on the grill can add a smoky flavor to the sweetness. Toss the fruit with some lime juice, honey and olive oil and grill for two minutes on each side for a delicious refreshing treat.
Don’t settle for boring potato salad; instead, cut some baby potatoes in half and mix them with oil, lemon juice, ranch seasoning or even some parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Slide a few on a skewer until charred for a tasty bite-sized side dish.
Besides filling your bellies, here are some outdoor/backyard activities to add to the festivities and keep the family entertained.
- Chalk it up. Sidewalk chalk has been popular with the kids lately highlighting messages of hope and love for those helping in the community. This Memorial Day, you can have your kids honor those who have served our country with a message of thanks and appreciation or create a chalk American flag mural on the driveway.
Turn up the tunes. Music is a great way to turn a quiet get together into a relaxing bonding experience with your family and friends. Plus, a fancy audio set up is not required — Target and Walmart have Bluetooth speakers for under $25. Not sure what to play? Check out our Backyard BBQ Bangers playlist full of crowd pleasers across generations that the whole family is sure to enjoy.
- Pitch a tent. Can’t go away for that camping weekend? Set up camp in your yard. The kids will enjoy the change of scenery and make them feel like they’re in the great outdoors. Recreate the traditional camping feel by telling ghost stories by flashlight or making s’mores in a fire pit.
- Make movie magic. While drive-in theaters may be making a comeback, you can easily set up your own personal outdoor theater in your yard. All you need is a projector (you can find small ones for under $200 on Amazon), a sheet or screen, laptop, tablet or DVD player (depending on the source of the flick) connected to some speakers. Also make sure you’re set up close to an outlet. Grab the popcorn, blankets and chairs for a cozy night under the stars.
- Go on the green. Outdoor lawn games can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Here are some ideas to bring the fun outside:
- Scavenger hunt. Put together a list of items you can find around your yard. This can include the typical items such as rocks or leaves, but you can also “plant” a few hidden objects such as a small toy, ball or Frisbee.
- Traditional games such as ring toss, bocce ball, lawn bowling or golf are great lawn games. Even if you don’t have the supplies for these games, you can improvise by using other balls you may have around the house or cut a hole in a paper plate for a ring toss over a stick or baseball bat. Have the kids bring their creativity and help find items around the house/yard to use.
- Bring the indoors out. Recreate indoor games outside and make them life-size. Recreate Twister by spray painting the grass different color circles or spray circles on a large sheet. Checkers can be made by alternating leftover pavers or bricks between the grass to set up the board and painting plastic plates black or red for the pieces. You can even create your own Jenga game by cutting and stacking boxes.
- Bring the beach back. Get some play sand, an inflatable pool, grab a lounge chair and towel, prepare a cocktail and relax under the sun in your yard. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
With some creativity, delicious food and fun activities, you can make this Memorial Day a memorable one for you and your family.