The Picnic: Inside Out.

I'd like to thank everyone who helped me get this far in Project Food Blog. I appreciate all your support in all its forms! Thank you!

“For this challenge, you're tasked with creating a delicious meal that will travel well and still look great. From picnics and school lunches to bento boxes, or any other meal on the go, you need to whip up an entree, side, drink, and dessert to enjoy after hitting the road. Be sure that your meal fits inside the Project Food Blog Road Trip Cooler.”

Have you ever wistfully watched a sunset stained with roses and violets while sipping a glass of wine? Have you ever savoured a simple chocolate bar on the waterfront, salty breeze in your hair and sand beneath your feet? Have you ever bitten into an apple and let the juices run down your chin on a lazy afternoon absentmindedly swaying on a creaking porch swing?

Twitterpated birds are the best dinner companions. Fresh air is the sweetest spice to add to any meal. A park bench is the perfect table setting. The fading glow of the sun rivals any candlelit dinner. Food is best enjoyed in the presence of nature, humbling and beautiful.

The picnic is the traditional way to bring the inside out and eat at nature's table. There's nothing traditional about this picnic. I've expanded on simple picnic food to elevate your experience. The plain sandwich has been spiced up and transformed into the Curried Egg Salad Sandwich. Chips and dip have been revamped into sweet and spicy Peach Salsa with baked Pita Chips. The simple glass of juice has been stirred into a bubbly frenzy and become Sparkling White Grape Peach Juice. The average Rice Krispies square has been reinvented into a nutty and flavourful Brown Butter Maple Pecan Crispy Treat.

Nature is in a constant state of flux and I've pulled my inspiration for this meal from that fact. Nature's ever changing landscape offers a unique and beautiful tablescape. Go outside and enjoy the fresh air. I think you'll find your food tastes a little bit sweeter, a little more satisfying. Curried Egg Salad Makes about 5 sandwiches.

Source: My imagination.

8 eggs, hard boiled, cooled and shelled 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard 1/4 cup red pepper, diced 1/4 cup green onion, chopped Salt and pepper to taste 2 tsp curry powder 5 sandwich buns, sliced Lettuce of choice Printer-Friendly Version

In a large bowl break up the hard boiled eggs using a fork until they're about the size of peas. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, red pepper, green onion, salt, pepper and curry powder then mix it all up. Depending on how moist you like your egg salad you might want to add more or less of the mayonnaise and mustard.

Spread about 1/3 of a cup of egg salad onto each bun and top it with some lettuce.

Peach Salsa and Pita Chips

Source: My imagination.

2 large peaches, peeled and chopped 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped 1/4 cup red pepper, diced 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped 2 – 3 tbsp jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced 2 tbsp honey 2 tbsp lime juice Salt to taste Pepper to taste

5 pitas sliced into triangles 1/4 cup olive oil Salt to taste Printer-Friendly Version

In a large bowl combine the chopped peaches and tomatoes, red pepper, cilantro, onion and jalapeno pepper. Toss the mixture with the honey, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Refrigerate the mixture until you're ready to serve it. It's best if made the day before and refrigerated overnight to really bring out the flavours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and position a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

Brush the pita slices with olive oil using a pastry brush then sprinkle them with salt. Flip them over and do the same on the other side.

Bake them for 5 - 7 minutes, but make sure to keep an eye on them because they burn easily. They should be lightly browned and crispy. Let them cool slightly before serving them with the salsa.

Sparkling White Grape Peach Juice

Source: My imagination.

10 peaches, sliced 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 cup water 2 pound white grapes 4 cup Sprite Printer-Friendly Version

In a large pot combine the unpeeled sliced peaches, sugar and water. Cover the pot and set it on low heat so it's just below the point of simmering. Let it cook for about an hour, checking it occasionally to stir it and make sure it's not boiling.

While the peaches are cooking mash the grapes in a separate pot. Heat the pot to a simmer on medium while stirring and mashing periodically. Let them cook for about 10 minutes.

With a potato masher squish any peaches that are still whole then strain both the peach and grape mixtures through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Let the juice cool in the refrigerator before combining it with the Sprite and serving.

Brown Butter Maple Pecan Crispy Treats Makes 16 squares.

Source: My imagination.

1/2 cup unsalted butter 1/4 cup maple syrup 16 large marshmallows or 1 3/4 cup mini marshmallows 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped 5 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal Printer-Friendly Version

Butter a 9 inch square baking dish and set it aside.

In a medium sauce pan melt and cook the butter on medium heat for about 6 – 8 minutes, stirring frequently. When it's ready the foam subsides, the butter turns amber brown and you smell that delicious caramel scent.

Turn off the heat then add the maple syrup and marshmallows. Stir it until the marshmallows melt and the mixture becomes smooth.

Quickly fold in the chopped pecans and Rice Krispies then pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth out the top using an oiled spatula making sure to press it evenly into the corners. Let it sit and cool for at least 20 minutes then cut it into 16 squares. Enjoy!

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