Because, as my grandmother used to say, everything tastes better outside!
This may be your next summer picnic go-to. It’s easy and it actually needs to be refrigerated and then eaten cold. Because there is no meat or cheese (unless you want to put some feta in), it keeps very well. There’s little to no cutting involved (something I hate) and you don’t have to turn on your oven in the heat of the summer. There are lots of “wins” there!
1 box Dreamfields spiral pasta (cooked and drained)
1 jar artichoke hearts (drained)
1 jar Kalamata olives pitted (drained)
1 carton organic grape tomatoes
1/4 purple onion (either sauteed or raw) sliced thinly
1 packet of Italian dressing mix
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
*8 oz feta (optional)
sprinkle of black pepper or red pepper
Cook and drain the pasta as usual (Dreamfields is a low-carb version but my family has never known the difference).
Cut up a quarter of the purple onion. You are welcome to saute this with a little oil or coconut oil until tender.
Drain the artichoke hearts and olives and throw in with the pasta.
Wash the tomatoes and throw them in.
Add the onion (and feta if you like).
Mix up the Italian dressing packet according to the directions on the back of the packet with your very best extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar- that is the trick to making the best Italian dressing. Toss the dressing into the pasta and veggies and chill for at least two hours. When you serve, you can put out the pepper for them to shake that on if they like.
It’s so easy! This is also great to have in your refrigerator to use as a quick lunch or for a summer picnic.
What to serve with it:
I really like to serve this with a huge bowl of fruit salad such watermelon, grapes, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, melon, and coconut.
It also goes really well with the Sunshine Punch.
5 Picnic Tips to keep bugs at bay:
- Consider taking a large tablecloth to go over the picnic table on the site. It cuts down tremendously on bugs crawling on the food.
- Hang a plastic baggie with water and pennies from a tree overhead or nearby. Bugs hate it and it deters them from your site better.
- Make sure your kids are wearing socks and sneakers as many injuries and bug bites can be prevented. Trust me on this one- I almost had to be hospitalized from being bit on my feet.
- Peppermint oil mixed with coconut oil is better than any bug deterrent I know and it’s a lot better for your kids -except I cannot use peppermint so that is sad for me.
- Always make sure everyone is clean before going outside. I know it sounds ridiculous, but bugs are less likely to bite a clean person than a sweaty one!
When my husband and I were engaged, we were poor college students. We were always looking for dates that cost little to nothing. Picnics are great for that. Here are some of our ideas we have used.
5 Romantic Ideas for a picnic:
- Try to have a theme- such as all the food and tablecloth is the color red.
- Light a few battery powered candles around and buy a really pretty basket.
- Sit on the beach with a well secured blanket (no candles) and some extra blankets to snuggle in.
- Dress up and have a friend take your picture while eating at the prettiest outdoor location you can find.
- Light biodegradable lanterns.
5 Ideas to keep your kids entertained at a picnic:
- Hoola Hoops take no batteries and you’d be surprised how much kids love to do it. Make sure you have plenty for each child because a competition will ensue!
- Water guns are always a huge hit- just make sure you take towels and changes of clothes for the ride home and set some boundaries with them (e.g. getting an adult wet is an automatic time out).
- Bubbles are great for little ones while they wait for the food.
- If it’s a windy day, take some kites- or better yet make them before you go.
- To settle the kids down, take a card game like UNO. That game is always a favorite in my family.
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