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The Best Summer Plan

McCain Blog Author Diane Peters

By: Diane Peters

​Whether writing for The Globe and Mail or​, Diane Peters brings ...

​The first long weekend of the summer is nearly here! No deadlines, no responsibilities, just three days of serious rest and relaxation. To pack in as much leisure and great food in your weekend spent with friends, follow this guide to maximizing your weekend time.

Day 1

Morning – Veggie Brunch

Get up early. Just kidding! Draw the blinds and put in at least an extra hour of snooze time. Worried that you’ve missed breakfast? Not a concern. Skip your usual toast and juice and head straight into a Saturday morning brunch. That means an omelette dressed with whatever you can scrounge from the fridge. Not enough vegetables in there? Make your side a hearty serving of Diced Vegetable Hash Browns. Toss some fresh fruit on your plate and you won’t be hungry again until late afternoon.

Noon – Scenic Hike

It’s been a lazy morning, but it’s time to get out. Pack some sunscreen and sneakers for a drive out to find some nature on a light, scenic hike. Bring your camera to capture some shots of dappled sun on the forest floor, or the arc of a small waterfall. Most importantly, prepare an afternoon tea picnic to enjoy at the end of your hike. Brew up some hot and cold tea (you just never know what you’ll be in the mood for). Throw some fresh berries in a container and pack a frozen McCain Deep and Delicious Carrot Cake into a well-insulated cooler with a freezer pack. If you think something savory is in order, quickly spread some cream cheese onto bread, layer with cucumber slices, and cut into four pieces each, and pack in a plastic container and add to your cooler.

Late afternoon – Afternoon Tea

OK, that brunch filled you up for awhile, but not all day. The hike is over and your crew is ready for afternoon tea; picnic style. Find a patch of grass or a picnic table and unveil your amazing picnic (that took you five minutes to pack). Your cake will be at the perfect temperature.

Evening – Movie Marathon

You’ve been outside all day. Excuse to hit the couch for a lot of movies. Get yourself a theme everyone can agree on — Oscar winners, the Mission: Impossible titles, Jimmy Stewart flicks or great books made into movies. You’ve got to time these things out to make them work, so set your movie times and bathroom breaks and go for it. In between, no need to serve dinner: just cold beers and nibbles. Start with a veggie tray (slice one up or get one ready-to-go from the grocery store) and then the next intermission serve a round or two of McCain Pizza Pockets; this crowd will probably go for the Deluxe and the Three Cheese, and may require some hot sauce and ranch dressing on the side for dipping. While the next movie’s on, bake up some frozen chicken wings and end the night with a bowl of fruit salad and some fudgy, pre-made brownies. Minimal effort all round. Happy guests all round.

Day 2

Mid day – Geocaching

After a lazy morning of reading and sipping coffee, time to get outside again and enjoy this gorgeous weather. Or at least behind the wheel to enjoy the scenery. Consider an afternoon of geocaching. Using a GPS, you do a treasure-hunt-style competitive game with others, trying to find the treasure (it’s a container called the geocache). There are games set up all over the place. Just check out Ge​ to find a game near you. Divide your guests into teams and pile into different vehicles and set off. Winner gets the cache. And has to buy drinks.

Evening – Outdoor BBQ & Night Swim

Fire up the grill for a traditional meal of steak frites. Throw a few T-bones on the grill and, if you’re a surf and turf kinda person, a few salmon steaks too. Inside, get some McCain SuperQuick 5 Minute Shoestring Fries crisping up in the oven. These cook up so fast you won’t overheat your kitchen in this toasty weather. Plus, shoestrings just go perfectly with steak. Throw together a big green salad and that’s all you need for dinner.

After the meal, under cover of total darkness, usher your crew over to the pool or down to the lake for a little night dipping. (Skinny or no — we won’t judge.) As they dry off, turn your still-warm oven back on to heat up a McCain Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. A slice of this sweet wonder, served with a hot cup of coffee or herbal tea, will warm up anyone feeling a little chilly under the stars.

Day 3

All day – Brunch and Laziness

Today’s brunch has got to be the laziest one you can muster. Eggs over easy and a side of simple McCain Diced Hashbrowns. These are so reliable you can cook them lightly or brown them like crazy, they’re still delicious. The rest of the day is all about reading, napping, eating snacks right from the fridge and resting up for the week ahead. By late afternoon, the weekend is all over. Everyone’s got to head home to do the laundry, look at the to-do list and accept that sadly, even lazy long weekends with friends must end.