The weather is immaculate here, bold sunny days with gentle breezes, so we took the opportunity to explore several local parks. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have read about my fear of bears while out hiking around last weekend. Although Joe thinks I’m irrational, I can’t help but reiterate that the sign is there for a reason.
I nervously walked through the silent forest, it was anything but relaxing. I took comfort in seeing other hikers who didn’t appear to have been mauled. Happy with surviving our brief trek, we headed over to Stanley Park for a gorgeous view of the city, the only apparent threat being the hoards of tourists.
My goal for the weekend was to picnic and I wasn’t about to do it in bear country. Stanley Park offered a safer locale for opening containers of fragrant tuna and boiled eggs. Admittedly, sitting in the sun and nibbling on food is one of my favorite things to do, and if it didn’t sound so lazy I would list it as one of my favorite hobbies.
I enjoy planning and prepping for picnics. I like to pack a variety of foods that are both nourishing and refreshing. After a quick trip to the market, I decided to make a mayo-less tuna sandwich on crusty baguette, along with spiced hard boiled eggs, pomegranate seeds, and flax corn chips. Crispy, crunchy, chewy, soft and juicy. All of my favorite textures.
2 cans tuna (in water), drained
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
zest of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
dash of pepper
Toss ingredients, adding enough oil to lightly coat. Feel feel to add or subtract ingredients based on preference. Fill a sliced baguette, or any sturdy bread, with the tuna salad. Place on waxed paper and tightly roll, twisting the ends of the paper at each end. These will hold nicely throughout the day without becoming soggy.
4 boiled eggs, peeled
dash Chinese 5 spice
dash red chili pepper
I love boiled eggs at picnics, especially when they’re deviled but only if we’re packing them on ice. There’s something about warmed mayo which makes me quiver. I opted to keep it simple and sprinkled the eggs with a few spices, so there would be no need to pack salt or other seasonings.
You might also try rolling the peeled eggs in finely chopped dill or other fresh herbs, along with a bit of salt. Delicious, flavorful and quick to make. A good burst of protein when taking longer hikes. For my egg ideas, see my short article on “10 Unique Uses for Hard Boiled Eggs“.
Since picnics seem to always involve some amount of hot weather and hiking, I like to pack a juicy fruit. For our picnic, I chose pomegranate seeds but watermelon, pears, or peaches would have been good as well.
Recently, I received two free product samples for juice which we hadn’t yet tried. I packed each one in a chilled thermos for taste testing.
POM – The juice promotes itself on the antioxidant content and associated health benefits. In addition to cardiovascular improvement, I was surprised to see additional benefits associated with prostate health and erectile functioning with actual clinical information to back up its statements. And, given the cardiovascular issues in my family, I am excited to see POM now offers POMx, a pomegranate supplement pill.
But, how does it taste? It’s tangy and flavorful, reminding me a more pleasant form of cranberry juice. Since we also packed fresh pomegranate seeds in our picnic, we felt fully fortified for a day in the sun. It was during my first month of blogging two years ago that I recorded my first pomegranate experience, and as you’ll read, I was not impressed. In retrospect, a little knowledge on how to use fresh pomegranate would have helped. I’ve come a long way since then and now enjoy them quite a bit.
V8 V-Fusion – Since moving to Vancouver, Joe started to buy a brand of juice which is a mix of fruits and vegetables. I normally don’t spend the money on such items but since he’s the one least likely to eat enough vegetables, I’ve encouraged his new found sense of health consciousness. I jumped a the chance to try this product as it provides a full serving of fruits and vegetables in each 8 ounce glass. Additionally, it includes an antioxidant combination of vitamins A, C and E.
What happens when you mix fruit and veggies in a glass? It’s delicious! We sampled the Goji Raspberry flavor and it was truly fruity, no undertones of the sweet potato or carrots it includes. While I don’t advocate replacing all of your fresh veggies with bottled juice, I view it as a tasty supplement. And, I like that it’s low in sodium with only 110 calories per serving.
So, how did our picnic turn out?
We were on the brink of starvation when we reached Stanley Park and immediately found a shaded spot to unpack our lunch. The sandwiches were delicious – I love the added zip you get from the salty olives and tangy lemon zest. A cricket game started up next to our picnic table, so we also had entertainment … until the balls started to land too close for comfort.
Next, we headed down near the seawall on a sunny patch of grass, watching tourists react to the beautiful city view. I read a book for awhile and then fell asleep, the sun softening my muscles as I napped. I woke myself when I started to snore. It turned out to be utterly relaxing, just as I had hoped. And, there were no bears.