New! Top Picnic Picks for your Basket

Think fast!  It’s time to go to an outdoor concert with your friends or a park with your kids or a romantic al fresco dinner with your boo.  What do you pack for your picnic?  You need something light, portable, tasty and healthy… and a crowd pleaser cuz you don’t wanna be that person who brought the last minute convenience store cheese curls.

We recently were given some samples of new products guaranteed to liven up your summer adventures and omgee, we had to pack them for our own picnic!

For the sweet tooth:

Get your potassium on while satisfying the sweet cravings with Barnana.  We didn’t really know what to expect but we were pleasantly surprised and happy campers (even Monica liked it since she does not like any banana flavor products).  Simply, they are dehydrated bananas with a twist of treat.  Barnana offers 4 types of munchable banana bites which are Original, Chocolate, Coconut and Peanut Butter.  These are organic, gluten free, non GMO and non-dairy heart healthy snacks.  Barnana consist of minimal ingredients a.k.a you won’t find a mile long list on the side of the bag.

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For the purist, original Barnana is like popping mini banana chunks in your mouth.  The chocolate Barnanas felt decadent, with a coco shell surrounded the soft banana inside.  Tip: mix the chocolate with the peanut butter Barnanas and you will feel like you’re eating an extra healthy peanut butter cup (YES!).  The coconut Barnana seemed more like a homemade energy bite with a chewy texture and flakes of coconut.  We had guests over, ages ranging from 3 to 50, who quickly depleted our precious coconut Barnana supply.  The bites come in a compact package, perfect for backpack carrying.  You can purchase all flavors of Barnana online or search for a local vendor.

For the savory lover:

Ditch the greasy bag of potato chips and get classy with the back-packable Tuscan inspired Pasta Chips.  Made with semolina flour and sprinkled with Italian herbs, Pasta Chips pair well with the picnic classics like hummus, dips or the party favorite of Wisconsinites, CHEESE!

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On our summer picnic to the new Maggie Daley Park, our guests sampled 3 different flavors: Mediterranean Sea Salt, Spicy Tomato Herb and Spinach Broccoli Kale.  Spinach Broccoli Kale will please the veggie lover and go well with an artichoke dip.  The Spicy Tomato Herb wasn’t so much spicy as much as a pop of zesty tomato flavor.  The light flaky texture would be perfect with mozzarella, tomato, basil bites as an appetizer.  The Mediterranean Sea Salt could easily knock a potato chip out of the park with it’s crispy crunch and touch of salt.  Dab it with french onion dip or an olive tapenade to wow a crowd with your master picnic status.  You can purchase Pasta Chips online or we’ve spotted them at Chicagoland Mariano’s.

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Dear audience, you know there’s nothing like a picnic with your fave friends in a park on a warm summer day.  Load up your basket and get ready to Mangia! with Pasta Chips and the seductive yet not sinful Barnana.  Where’s your top spot to stop for a picnic?  We’ll bring the snacks if you bring the blanket and the boombox (or bluetooth speaker…but that’s not as fun *wink*).

One Salad to Rule them All (AKA Fiesta Quinoa)

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Did we ever admit sometimes we are terribly lazy? When it came time to prepare for the opening credits of our “Lord of the Rings” Ravinia park movie picnic, Kat, predictably, was poking about. With a nudge and some coaxing, she whipped up the easy peasy quinoa even Gollum would approve of…

Fiesta Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cups Quinoa
  • Vegetarian broth
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 cup of fire roasted salsa
  • 3/4 cup red bell peppers
  • Scallions (green onions), chopped
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp, chopped jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp, chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp grounded cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Lime

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Instructions

Cook quinoa in vegetarian broth as per instruction on quinoa package.  Rinse and drain black beans and corn and mix together with quinoa and bell peppers.  Add the mixture of fire roasted salsa, chopped scallions, cilantro and jalapeño pepper with cumin, salt, black pepper, olive oil and lime juice.

Modified recipe from savvyvegetarian.

Mmmm our precioussss quinoa was a success. We are sure it will make a return for the Return of the King movie next summer at Ravinia. Maybe you will brave the fires of Mordor and join us next time. Enjoy!

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Zucchini Picnic Nachos

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After the opening credits, the scene begins with the Chi Organic Girls running around trying to figure out what to bring to the outdoor movie in the park. A cartoon light bulb pops over Mon’s head. “I have 20 Godzilla sized Zucchinis from my garden. What to make?”

Grilled Zucchini Nachos

modified from here.

  • 1 medium zucchini or 2 small zucchini sliced about 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • Olive oil
  • pinch of Black pepper and salt
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 3/4 can of black beans, rinsed and drain
  • 1 large avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • Garlic, sea salt, black pepper
  • Tajin spice (Mexican spice found at any Mexican grocery store)
  • 1/2 fresh lime
  • shredded sharp cheddar, optional garnish

Slice zucchini into a bowl.  Add olive oil to coat the zucchini and sprinkle salt and black pepper.  Arrange zucchini on a grill pan over medium heat.  Grill until zucchini is tender as seen in picture.

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Remove zucchini from grill and place two layers on a platter or flat container to take for a picnic.  Top with black beans, tomatoes, red onions, avocado, green onion, cilantro, sprinkle garlic, sea salt, black pepper and squeeze fresh lime juice. Recipe will feed about 6 people.

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Wondering what other picnic goodies the gals will bring to the blanket? Coming after the intermission: Fiesta Quinoa!