Alfresco Summer Picnic Menu

Bare feet, cool floors, whitewashed walls, open windows, morning dew, sprinkler sounds, fresh flowers, shaded porches, cut-grass scent, outdoor meals, frosty glasses, cold lemonade, aqua blue swimming pools, hot skin, lounge chairs, coconut oil, sun showers, chirping crickets, glowing stars, mosquito netting, cool sheets. 

Just another day in paradise. 

Eat A Colourful Rainbow of Vegetables and Fruit 

Recipes With Super Nutrients That Promote Immune System Health, Sun Tolerance, and Happiness
The food that you eat can be healing; can prevent disease; boost your immune system health and function; support the natural detoxification functions of your body; increase your sun tolerance, and stabilize and elevate your mood.

These foods have many shared qualities. They are predominantly fresh, whole, organic plant foods with generous amounts of antioxidant, disease-fighting nutrients, and they are all anti-inflammatory, high fibre,  and acid-alkaline pH balanced foods. It is equally important to reduce and eliminate refined and processed foods. These recipes make food that is easy to pack, transport, and eat. Perfect for picnics in the fresh air and sunshine. 

Food In A Jar

Niçoise Terrine This single-serving version of Salade Niçoise is the perfect picnic or work-lunch fare, becoming even more flavorful in transit. Just layer high-quality ingredients such as roasted red and yellow peppers, fresh vegetables, white beans, olives, artichokes, and olive oil-packed tuna and anchovies and fresh herbs in an airtight jar, and drizzle with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice vinaigrette.  
From Martha Stewart Food

click to enlarge

You can make any kind of a salad in a jar such as a slaw, bean or fruit salad, or fruit, yogurt and granola parfaits.  

Pickled Vegetables
1 t coriander seeds
1 t mustard seeds

1/2 t cumin seeds
2 c cider vinegar
5 medium garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
Three 1/4-inch thick slices peeled fresh ginger
One half small yellow sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 c cane sugar
2 T Kosher salt
1 t black peppercorns
1/2 t ground turmeric
1/4 t red pepper flakes
One small head cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch florets
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into lengthwise 4-inch pieces
1 small red bell pepper, cored & seeded & cut into strips

Add the coriander, mustard and cumin seeds to a medium saucepan. Toast the seeds over medium heat, swirling the pan around until the seeds are fragrant and slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, garlic, ginger, onion, sugar, salt, peppercorns, turmeric, red pepper flakes and 1 cup water to the toasted spices. Bring to a boil.

Pack the cauliflower, carrots and bell pepper in a 2-quart jar or bowl. Pour the hot liquid over the vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, and then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 days before tasting. The veggies will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Yield: About 5 cups pickled vegetables
From Recipe Girl

Simple Cherry Crisp in Jars
3 c fresh cherry pie filling
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c rolled oats
1/3 c packed demerara brown sugar
1/4 c butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Evenly divide cherry pie filling between 4 individual oven-safe ramekins or jars.

In a medium bowl, combine, flour, rolled oats, brown sugar and butter and mix until thoroughly combined.

Evenly distribute the crumble topping on top of each individual servings.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Make these cherry crisps extra special by topping each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Yield: 4 servings
From My Baking Addiction

Olive Oil, Lemon & Sea Salt Sundaes
1 pint vanilla ice cream (or yogurt)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
zest from 1 organic lemon
1/4 t coarse, flakey sea salt

Place one scoop of ice cream in the bottom of a jar, or ice cream dish. Tamp down the ice cream gently with a cocktail muddler or the back of a spoon. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon olive oil on top. Add a few pinches lemon zest and a tiny pinch of salt. Repeat these layers two more times. Serve immediately, or freeze until ready to serve.
Yield: 4 Servings
From The Kitchn

Rolls and Wraps

Cucumber and Avocado Summer Rolls with Mustard Soy Sauce
Juice from 1/2 lime
2 T rice bran or canola oil
1 T rice vinegar
1/2 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t soy sauce
1 t brown sugar
2 Haas avocados
20 rice paper rounds, 6 or 8 inches in diameter
10 green lettuce leaves
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh basil
Leaves from 1 bunch fresh mint
2 carrots, coarsely shredded
1/2 English cucumber, cut into thin strips

In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, oil, vinegar, mustard, soy sauce and brown sugar until the sugar dissolves; set aside. 

Halve, pit and peel the avocados, and then cut them into 1/2-inch dice. 

Place a wide, shallow bowl of warm water on a work surface. Lay a clean kitchen towel next to the bowl. Dip 1 rice paper round into the water for a few seconds to soften, then lay it flat on the towel. Dip a second round into the water and lay it directly on top of the first one. Using another towel, pat the top of the rice paper dry. 

Center a lettuce leaf on top of the stacked rice papers. Starting about one-third in from the edge closest to you, arrange a few of the basil and mint leaves in a line across the lettuce. Top with a small row each of the carrot, cucumber and avocado; be careful not to overstuff the roll. Lift the bottom edge of the rice paper up and over the filling and then roll once to form a tight cylinder. Fold in the sides of the rice paper and continue to roll the paper and filling into a tight cylinder. Set aside, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rice paper and filling ingredients to make 10 rolls. 

Cut each roll in half crosswise and arrange, cut side up, on a platter. Place the sauce alongside for dipping and serve immediately. 
Yield: 20 rolls
From Williams Sonoma

Arugula, Apple and Chickpea Salad Wraps

Two big handfuls arugula, washed and dried
1/2 apple, diced
1/2 c canned garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 hard-boiled egg, diced
2-4 ounces hard Gouda cheese, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2-1 T balsamic vinegar
kosher salt
black pepper
2 - 12-inch high fiber whole grain tortillas

Combine all the salad ingredients in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the oil and balsamic vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle this over the salad and gently toss to coat all the ingredients. Taste a few leaves to check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as desired. Lay the tortilla out on a piece of parchment paper. Pile about half the salad greens down the center of one of the tortillas. Fold the side-flaps inward and then roll the tortilla up like a burrito, tucking the greens inward and compressing them as you go. Honestly, the more greens you can coerce into your roll, the better.
Yield: 2 salad wraps
From The Kitchn

Mexican Lettuce Wraps
2 t chili powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t dried oregano
1 + 1/2 t ground cumin
1 t sea salt
1 T lime juice
2 T water
14 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
One head of Bibb lettuce, leaves removed and washed 
1 c shredded carrots 
1 c jicama, julienned 
1 c of your favourite prepared salsa (or strawberry avocado salsa would be excellent) 
1 c guacamole 
1 can sliced olives, drained 
1 c shredded cabbage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cumin, salt, lime juice and water.  Add chickpeas and marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.  Place chickpeas on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring once during cooking, until chickpeas are slightly crispy.  Prepare lettuce leaves and rest of trimmings and place in small bowls.
Serves 2-4 
From Peas and Thank You


Mini and Hand Held Pies

Chicken and Kale Hand Pies
2 T all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 T unsalted butter
1 leek (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick, and rinsed well
1 small bunch kale, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 t fresh thyme leaves
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 c chicken broth
1 c cooked chicken, torn into bite-size pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 1/4 c whole grain all-purpose flour
1 c grated cheddar cheese
1/2 t coarse salt
1/2 c (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 c ice water

In a food processor, pulse flour and salt to combine. 

Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. 

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons more water, 1 tablespoon at a time). 

Form dough into a 1-inch-thick rectangle, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half. On a floured sheet of parchment paper, roll out one half to a 14-inch round. With a knife or biscuit cutter, cut out six 4 1/4-inch circles (re-rolling dough once if necessary) and transfer, on parchment, to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, cutting out six (larger) 4 1/2-inch rounds. Chill rounds on sheet until ready to use.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add leek and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add kale and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook until kale wilts, 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens, 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, season with salt and pepper, and stir in chicken. Let cool slightly.

Place a heaping 1/4 cup chicken mixture on each of the smaller dough rounds, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Brush edges with egg and top with larger dough rounds; using fingers, press edges firmly to seal. Cut a small vent in each pie. Bake until browned and crisp, 30 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let cool slightly on sheets on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 6 Pies 
From Delish


Spinach Cheese Calzones

Spinach Mixture
325g spinach, chopped
1 small onion, diced
¼ t salt
¼ t pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
100g extra firm tofu, grated
100g low fat mozzarella, grated
1 c ricotta (or cottage) cheese
1 egg

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe
Preheat oven to 500F

In a non-stick skillet, cook onion, salt and pepper over medium heat until translucent. Lower heat, add spinach and stir until spinach is completely wilted, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, add cottage cheese, tofu, mozzarella, egg and nutmeg and mix until well combined.

Remove excess liquid from spinach and fold into cheese mixture. Mix until well combined. Set aside.

Divide dough ball in 2 equal pieces and roll or stretch each piece into a 6-8 inch disc. I like to use cornmeal when rolling and stretching my dough as it tends to get trapped into the dough and adds a nice little crunch.

Mound half of the spinach mixture on the center of each of the discs. Flatten it just a bit with a spoon, bringing the mixture more towards one side of the disc.

Fold the dough back onto itself and press lightly on the calzone to form a half moon.

Fold the edges, twice if possible, to seal in the filling.

Transfer to a pizza pan or cookie sheet and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the crust turns crispy, nice and golden brown.
Yield: 2 Calzones
From The Healthy Foodie 

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling
5 to 6 c fresh pitted cherries, about 2 1/2 - 3 pounds
1/2 cup water
2 T fresh lemon juice
2/3 c granulated sugar
4 T cornstarch
1/4 t almond extract

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, water, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Stir in almond extract. Cool slightly before using.

Whole Wheat Pastry
1 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 t salt
7 T very cold butter

Mix flour with salt in a medium bowl or food processor. Add cold butter and cut in using a pastry blender, or pulse in food processor. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until dough forms into a ball. Gather up and pat into a disc. If possible, cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before rolling out. When ready to use, roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 10-inch circle. Gently fold into quarters using a little flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in pie plate and carefully unfold, fitting loosely and then pressing into place. Trim the edges and crimp for a decorative crust.  
Yield: 12 Mini Pies
From My Baking Addiction


 Vegetable and Bean Cakes

Sweet Potato Cakes with Sour Cream and Chipotle Black Bean Salsa

Sweet Potato Cakes
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
½ c all-purpose flour
1 t salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
5 green onions, both white and green parts, finely chopped
4-6 T extra virgin olive oil
4-6 T butter

Steam the sweet potato chunks for 15-20 minutes until completely tender, and then transfer to a colander and allow to drain until dry. 

Once very dry, place sweet potato chunks in a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher to break up chunks. Add flour and finely chopped green onions, and mix with your hands to form a smooth batter. Using your hands here is best so that it doesn’t become over mixed. In a food processor, the sweet potato mixture could quickly become gummy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Once the mixture is smooth, and the flour and green onions are mixed in, you’re ready to fry. Note: the mixture should be sticky but not wet, so more flour may be needed.

In a non-stick skillet, heat two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Form round, flat cakes from about two tablespoons of batter per cake, and fry four or five at a time for three minutes per side until golden. Transfer finished cakes to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain and cool. Add more oil and butter to pan between batches as needed, and continue frying a few cakes at a time until all are ready for their toppings.
Yield: 34 small cakes
From Lisa is Cooking

Chipotle Black Bean Salsa
1 16 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
1 small, yellow bell pepper, small diced
¼ c finely minced red onion
¼ c cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
¼ t salt

Combine all salsa ingredients, starting with one chipotle, in a small bowl and stir to combine. Taste for chipotle heat and add more if desired, and taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Salsa can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Black Bean Cakes
2-15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed well
6 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 c finely chopped seeded red bell pepper
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 t minced seeded jalapeño chili
2 t ground cumin
2 large eggs
2 t + 1 c corn flour
1/4 cup corn (optional)
1 peeled carrot, chopped fine (optional)

Place drained beans in large bowl. Using hand masher, mash beans coarsely. Mix in green onions, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño and cumin & other vegetables, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in egg and 2 tablespoons of corn flour (Masa Harina)

Place remaining 1 cup cornflour in small dish. Using your hands, make little balls out of the bean mixture. Flatten to 1 1/2" discs or balls. Dip and roll in the cornflour mixture. Repeat with remaining bean mixture and cornflour.

Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry bean cakes until firm and crisp, adding more oil as needed, about 3 minutes per side. Drain bean cakes on paper towels. Transfer to platter. Serve warm with salsa or guacamole and garnish with cilantro.

Yield: 16 Cakes
From Stacey Snacks

Watermelon Slushies with Coconut Water

Watermelon has high amounts of the antioxidant lycopene and it is very detoxifying. For this recipe, always use seeded, organic watermelons. 

To make, freeze three cups of watermelon chunks overnight and blend with 2-1/2 cups of coconut water. 
From Kimberly Snyder

Herb, Vegetable and Fruit- Infused Water and Tea

Herbs contain large amounts of the super nutrients that support your body's natural detoxification functions, promote immune system health, sun tolerance and happiness.
Black and Green Tea contain potent antioxidant phytochemicals. 

Experiment with different flavour combinations of fresh herbs, vegetables and fruit, muddling the fresh ingredients together and adding water or brewed tea that has been cooled.  
Photo From The Yummy Life

The Super Nutrients That Promote Sun Tolerance, Immune System Health, and Happiness
Antioxidants are anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging phytochemicals in plant foods that give fruits and vegetables their brilliant variety of colours. Antioxidants protect all cells against oxygen free radicals that can cause DNA damage and inflammatory disease. Beans and legumes are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants.

Lycopene is a carotenoid antioxidant that gives watermelon and tomatoes their red colour; the lycopene is more potent when the tomatoes are cooked.

Lutein is found in vegetables and fruit, egg yolks and dark  leafy greens and herbs.

Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid which gives vegetables and fruits their yellow and orange colour such as carrots, peppers and squash.

Astaxanthin is the superstar of the carotenoids pigments that give flamingoes their brilliant colour as a result of eating shrimp and krill. This disease preventative antioxidant multiplies the benefits of Vitamin C and E, lowers LDL cholesterol, and is a powerful scavenger of oxygen free radicals that are created by ultra violet radiation (UVB). Astaxathin is derived from chlorella and spirulina algaes, krill, shrimp and wild salmon. Synthetic astaxathin is given to farm fish and is made from petrochemicals.

Beta Carotene converts to Vitamin A and is available in leafy greens, sweet potatoes, herbs, and carrots.


Selenium is a trace mineral that increases the potency of Vitamins C and E and is found in high amounts in brazil nuts. RDA 55 micrograms.
Polyphenols are botanical antioxidants found in black and green tea, herbs, leafy greens, cocoa, dark chocolate and wine.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and boosts the immune system, aids collagen production and health (protein structure of skin) and is found in vegetables especially broccoli and brussel sprouts, citrus fruits, papaya and strawberries. 
Vitamin E promotes immune system and heart health, protects against oxygen free radicals, helps to heal the skin, and is anti-inflammatory. It is found in cold-pressed oils especially wheat germ oil, seeds, nuts and oily fish.

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids are essential nutrients that must be obtained from our food and are anti-inflammatory. They inhibit the development of cancer including melanoma, protect the cardiovascular system and the brain, elevate mood, and protect against oxygen free radicals. They are found in cold water, fatty fish, fish oils, chia and flax seeds and algae. Recommended supplements: Barlean's Omega Swirl and Rainbow Light Omega with Astaxanthin.

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