MEMORIAL DAY PICNIC: Food and Friends

Today I wrote the date “June 1st” and it felt so strange. When I think about all the great things that the past several months are comprised of, it helps to ease the anxiety I sometimes have about the uncertainty of the future (which is strange: I don’t even want there to be certainty, just new chances to take, people to meet and goals to set).

Ryan and I threw together a little Memorial Day picnic at the last minute, and despite the sometimes unbearable heat, it was such a lovely day. Some people stayed for 8 hours and it was sad to see them leave after all the food had been gobbled up, the music turned off and the fire put out.

Here are a few photos of the day (hoping to collect more from friends’ cameras!). A sincere “thank you” to everyone for coming over and sharing your food and sharing your friendship and smiles with us!

Picnic-ing.

Christian and Alison contemplate how many plates of food one can eat in an afternoon.

Food: Israeli cous cous salad with kumquats, apples, fresh dill, other goodies from Jon and Ali; Coconut Curry chickpea cakes; Cilantro Bean dip; Masala Potato Salad; bread from Mike and Sarah; Raspberry Blackout Cake from Chrsitian; vegan Buffalo Wings

Some of the wonderful food!

Christian made this AMAZING CAKE. It’s a Raspberry Blackout cake from Vegan with a Vengeance. It changed all of our lives. I still have some leftover in the freezer and am having trouble eating it only because then there won’t be any left. 😦

Raspberry Blackout Cake.

One of my FAVORITES. Vegan basil ricotta whole wheat pizza with fresh arugula, lemon and black pepper.

Thanks to the amazing Lou of  THIS vegan blog, and Kutztown University’s vegan/vegetarian group! She made a Chai Spiced Baklava, as she is also an offical recipe-tester for an upcoming vegan baking book by Kelly Peloza who authored The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur.  It was faaaaabulous. (I have that in the freezer, too!)

Chai Spiced Baklava from Lou; Cucumber Tomato salad from Danielle; Fruit Salad from Tesh

Danielle reaping the potluck benefits!

Lou, still happy and full, despite the blazing sun that followed her unrelentingly.

Danielle brought this AWESOME Dandelion Wine – made from dandelions she picked herself! – which tasted like a creamy pineapple juice. Who knew?

I am so happy about homemade wine! Thanks Danielle.

Sarah, Me and Michell escape the wrath of the sun for a few brief minutes of AC!

Fire pit wind down.

Just before the largest game of Apples to Apples I've ever played. *Note: If you come to our house, we will suck you into this game. It's a given.

Christian has a PETA SNUGGIE. A PETA! SNUGGIE!

Alison left me this wonderful FB comment the day after our party: “Seriously, I’m not kidding- nothing I ate today tasted good (except Christian’s leftover cake). You’ve raised the bar on food so high that all food is crap compared to what we all had yesterday- and I mean everyone’s food was awesome! When can we open a restaurant? Can it be in your backyard and feature apples to apples as the entertainment? We’ll call it Jaime K’s Backyard!”

A hundred thousand smiley emoticons wouldn’t be fun to look at here, but that’s how I feel!

Advertisements

Picnic and (Iron)Pigs!

Tonight I’m going on a double-date picnic at a baseball game! Goodbye, summer!

I’m excited to squish my toes in the grass, see how much I actually know about baseball (I think I finally get it), and share vegan foods with good friends.

One of the dishes I’m bringing is a mock-tuna salad. I can’t take the credit for this one – it comes straight from one of my favorite cooks, authors, podcasters, and all-around inspirational people, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

It’s the first time I’m making this particular recipe, and I’m totally impressed by how healthy it is! Even with Vegenaise (which is an amazing animal-free mayo substitute, but not low calorie by any means) it’s so full of fresh, whole foods that one serving only gets a tiny portion of Vegenaise, so don’t feel bad about eating this!

Better-Than-Tuna Salad (from The Vegan Table)

  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Vegenaise
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

I used the food processor for everything, and did it in this order:

Cut the carrots into 1-inch thick chunks, to help them break up easier in the food processer. Throw them in and process until they’re in tiny pieces/shreds. Transfer to a LARGE mixing bowl.  Cut the bell pepper and celery into 1-inch chunks, and do the same thing, transferring to the bowl.

Add walnuts and parsley to processor, mix until crumbly. Add to bowl. Add chickpeas to processor, mix until crumbly – consistency will be like a dry peanut butter, still film and crumbly, but really soft. Add to bowl.

Add Vegenaise, mustard and salt and pepper to bowl, mix everything together. THAT’S IT! *Note: You can add some sea vegetable flakes, like kelp or dulse, to the mix to make it taste “fishy” you’d like that.

This makes a TON of food! I filled two medium-sized tupperware containers with the salad. This is very inexpensive, and would be great for a large family, a potluck or party at which you need to feed a lot of people.

Some raw chopped onions would make a nice addition, but I didn’t want us all to have to breathe on each other with onion breath all night.

Spread on a sandwich, in a pita, or over some greens. ENJOY!