I don’t have to tell you how hot the weather is right now. I had to think long and hard (about 2 minutes) whether to reintroduce last years Once-a-week Picnic-In-The-Park in the sweltering heat. We began this tradition last year – super casual – usually based on a theme – meeting different friends each week. But as summer progressed it became an expected event. Friends would pop by with a salad or a bevie and join the gathered group in the shade – as we watched our children play on the sort-of-dangerous – sort-of-awesome – play equipment and eat and drink. One of the big bonuses for meeting every Wednesday…the Stratford Concert Band puts on a mini, free concert right there by the park, in the Band Stand. (This also happens Sundays). Watching my kids get excited by this makes me so happy – as I believe music to be one of the most important parts of being alive. This week we met our friends Peg & Arlo in the park. (Peg is a fellow Dalai Mama – our band.) With friends and music and the sun dipping behind the trees, the 35+ degree weather didn’t seem so bad. This week’s theme: “NO-COOK-salad-things”. I have posted things to consume in the summer heat. Here are a few salads I brought along that make it possible to still eat-in-the-heat.
Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Salad - Recipe HERE - (by the brilliant and amazing Sarah Britton)
Swiss Chard Dolmades – (adapted from Julie Daniluk) - Recipe HERE
Avocado Salsa - (cherry tomato, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, avocado, lime juice & zest, garlic, touch of honey)
Pea Pod Carcass (also known to Arlo as “Mamas & Babies”)
It was necessary, of course, to bring water and drinks. Peg and I just didn’t feel it was possible to drink this delicious Cilantro Limeade Spritzer without putting a little vodka in it. (Remember the 80/20 rule? – ha ha.) This is not recommended for staying hydrated. But it tasted very refreshing and YUMMY.
Cilantro Limeade Spritzer – (Make a simple syrup using raw sugar and water OR mix hot water and raw honey. Steep 1-2 cups fresh cilantro for 15 min. or more in the sweet mixture. Add to fresh squeezed lime juice (a lot), ice and fizzy water – vodka optional)
And last – but NOT least – DESSERT. Typically it would be the perfect day for a fresh-fruit dessert…but Violet insisted on baking something with blueberries in our hot, little kitchen. Muffins weren’t going to cut it today. We had to go big. No one had a problem eating this regardless of the heat.
Blueberry Pudding Cake – original Recipe HERE - (I adapted a tiny bit by using honey + raw, organic sugar, spelt flour, water buffalo buttermilk)
And I thought we would be so clever and MAKE OUR OWN organic whipping cream right there in the park, in a jar, and let the kids do the work. Well, the whipping effect turned into more of a churning effect and essentially we ended up with…butter. Ha ha. But boy-oh-boy…butter on blueberry pudding cake is almost as good as whipping cream. So there you go.
The perfect picnic #1. More to come!!!