Take it Outside

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Treats are tastier on summer picnics

Forget Sunday Funday, when the sun lingers a bit longer in the sky, and the weather envelops us in its warm embrace—we want every day to be a day of celebration.

We take advantage of summer and sate our foodie cravings all at once with a picnic.

Picnics can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like them to be. You can grab some gourmet goodies at local shops or restaurants and hit the road, or you can craft your own culinary creations before packing them up for a little supper on the lawn.

We’ve got some ideas for hosting a picnic—whether with that special someone or a group of special someones—now that summer has come a-calling in Lynchburg.

family-affairA Family Affair:
Dining al fresco can add some excitement to family night. Pack a basket and head to a park, or just spread a blanket in your own backyard and enjoy each other as the day turns into night.

Food
• Cut up fruit like fresh melons, strawberries, oranges; add berries and grapes
• Cut up veggies like carrots, zucchini, cucumber, radishes and celery
• Pretzel rods
• Variety of nuts
• Fresh, healthy dips such as hummus
• Cubes of cheese, like mild cheddar and Monterey Jack
• Granola tossed with raisins or dried cranberries
• Finger sandwiches on multigrain bread: deli roast beef and American cheese; pimiento cheese with tomato; homemade peanut butter (see recipe) and local honey; hummus with shredded carrots

Drink
• Homemade lemonade or limeade
• Pitcher of water with fresh mint

Details
Homemade Peanut Butter: Take four cups roasted, unsalted Virginia-type peanuts and three tablespoons peanut oil and place
in food processor. Pulse until you reach the desired consistency—a shorter time means chunkier peanut butter, a longer time means smoother; adjust oil just a little bit at a time if needed. Add a dash of salt near the end if you wish.

Picnic Tips
• Don’t forget everything you will need for the picnic: plates, bowls, cups, flatware, napkins, wet wipes and a garbage bag to tidy up after your meal. Scope out your location ahead to time to see if you might need a blanket, chairs or a small table.
• Keep hot food hot and cool food cool; don’t take a chance with food-borne illnesses and invest in a cooler for each to keep your dishes at the proper temperature until you are ready to eat.
• Be aware of alcohol laws; most public places don’t allow beer, wine or other spirits. Before bringing something to imbibe, check out the rules beforehand. Also, some places don’t allow your fur family, and if they do, they need to be leashed.


love-bitesLove Bites:
Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven; take your love and have a little bite under a canopy of fireflies and drink in life—for it is good.

Food
• Prosciutto or thinly sliced Virginia country ham
• Mix of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries drizzled in local honey
• Pimiento cheese
• Gourmet crackers
• Large wedge of Brie or other gourmet cheese
• Gourmet cookies or macaroons

Drink
• Sparkling water

Details
Homemade Soda: Bring a fruity simple syrup (like you add to coffee) to add a shot to your glass before pouring in the sparkling water, stir, and voila!—a homemade soda.


gormet-gangGourmet Gang:
Get a group together and enjoy each other’s company—and each other’s cooking. You are the host, so bring the most, but ask friends to supplement the supper by bringing an appealing appetizer.

Food
• Homemade hummus with homemade pita chips
• Cut up colorful vegetables
• Cut up fresh watermelon and cantaloupe drizzled with local honey
• Farmers Market Skewers (see recipe below)
• Fun nut mix: Brazil nuts, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios
• Gourmet deli meat slices

Drink
Iced Tea Sangria: To sweetened iced tea, add a handful of fresh, seasonal berries, chunks of watermelon, and slices of lemon, lime and oranges

Details
Farmers Market Skewers: Take bamboo skewers, found in the Asian section of most grocery stores, and thread on bite-size pieces of fresh veggies found that week at area farmers markets. Supplement with chunks of gourmet cheese and rolled up gourmet deli meat slices.


WORDS & STYLING BY Patrick Evans-HyltoN

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